Farming is, everything else that requires physical labor and mental activity being taken into consideration, the only reliable source of a nations true prosperity and the only calling that assumes a certain return for the necessary expenditure of time and muscle. Neither strikes nor bread riots occur in the sections of the country where agriculture is the chief pursuit of the population, and although the actual work of the husbandman may at times be wearying and hard to perform, relaxation and rest are never far away for any great length of time. There are no trade unions in the rural districts, and the young man who is wiling to work and can find employment, as he usually can, is not interfered with by some swaggering "walking delegate" who, at the behest of a tyrannical "union," meanders his own lazy way through crowds of busy workmen and orders a "walkout" simply because an incompetent fellow-unionist is refused employment to the disparagement of the master workman or employers monetary interests. As age grows upon the farmer he can cast a retrospective eye over his youthful and middle-aged career with complacency and as a rule retire to a comfortable cottage in a neighboring village of town and quietly pass his declining years in the society of his older children or in that of old time neighbors, who, like himself, have withdrawn from the activities of farm life. With these few introductory remarks, a brief record of the career of the subject of this biographical sketch will now be given.
Daniel Stoner was born in Brown county, Ohio, October 30, 1829, and is a son of Jasper and Sarah (Yates) Stoner, the former of German nativity and the latter of English extraction. Jasper Stoner, at the age of sixteen years, started from Germany in company with his father for America, but on the voyage the father was taken ill and died. Jasper, however, reached the shores of the new world, as the people of his fatherland still term it, and at once came west through Pennsylvania, finally reaching Brown county, Ohio. There he first found employment in a distillery, but did not find the Buckeye state a straight and sure road to fortune; he consequently sought the first opportunity possible to hire himself out as a farm hand. Having succeeded in this endeavor, he labored as such until he was twenty years old, when he began farming on his own account.
Jasper Stone was united in marriage with Miss Yates a native of Brown county, Ohio, and a daughter of Thomas Yates, who was born in England. In 1862 he removed with his family from Ohio to Marion county, Indiana, where Mr. Stoner bought one hundred and thirty-five acres of land, mostly in the woods. This tract he transformed into a first class farm, on which he passed the remainder of his life and died in 1871. To him and wife were born eight children, namely: Elizabeth, deceased; Mary, widow of John W. Young, of Marshall county, Indiana; Daniel, the subject of this sketch; John, Susan, Eliza, all deceased; Wesley, a farmer in Missouri.
Daniel Stoner was educated in the old-time subscription schools of Ohio and Indiana. The buildings in which these schools were taught were of the crudest construction, furnished with seats made of logs split on the spot and the flat sides turned upward, while into the rounded under sides holes were bored into which were driven pegs that were long enough to answer for legs while a longer slab, fashioned in the same manner, was supported on pegs driven into the wall and served as a writing desk, over which the pupils leaned. Light to the room was admitted through greased paper, instead of glass in the windows, and the so-called furnishings were of the same uncouth character, the pedagogue being often equally uncouth. Such a school as this young Stoner attended about sixty days each winter, and the remainder of the year was devoted to labor on the home farm; this was the course of life he followed until eighteen years old, when he started in to learn wagon-making. Confinement in a dingy shop, however, was very distasteful to young Daniel Stoner. He longed for life in the free air and the exhilarating effects of a breath of pure oxygen into his lungs, and the companionship of birds and the gentler wild animals that made a home of the field or forest, and in accordance with this desire he wisely determined to devote his life to farming. In 1852 he purchased a portion of the land on which he still resides, for which he paid seven dollars per acre. It was mostly of a swampy nature and was grown over with heavy timer, but he diligently set himself to work to make the place habitable and almost entirely by his own hands wrought out from this gloomy and rather forbidding tract the best farm of its dimensions in Buck Creek township.
April 6, 1851, Daniel Stoner was joined in marriage with Miss Martha Haffeld, a daughter of John and Phebe Haffeld, and born in Clermont county, Ohio. To this union the following named children have been born: Eliza J.; Nelson M., a farmer in Buck Creek township; Elmer Ellsworth; Frances Olive, wife of Frank O. Welling; Phebe Alice, wife of John Mc Cord, a merchant in McCordsville; Charles H., a farmer in this township; Theodosia, wife of Hugh Johnson, and Walter B., who is employed in the Capital National Bank at Indianapolis.
Mr. and Mrs. Stoner are members of the Methodist Episcopal church at Pleasant Grove, and strictly follow its teachings, which they make the rule of their daily life, and to the maintenance of which they freely contribute from their ample means. In politics Mr. Stoner is a Republican, has been very popular with the party and in his active days, as a representative of its principles, was several times elected to minor local office.
Mr. Stoner is still the owner of two hundred and eighty acres of excellent land which is under a high state of cultivation, but has retired from active work to pass his days in peace and comfort in one of the pleasant homes in Buck Creek township, and which is environed with beautiful grounds that are the admiration of all who behold them. Here, surrounded by their numerous warm-hearted friends and children, Mr. and Mrs. Stoner celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of their wedded life, or golden wedding, in 1901, and here they await the summons with a confiding hope that will reward them with eternal rest in the life to come.
Transcribed from Biographical Memoirs of Hancock County B. F. Bowen, Publisher, Logansport, Indiana, 1902 Pages 296-298.
Submitted by Sylvia (Rose) Duda, Laingsburg, MI July 19, 2002.
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