A life-long resident of Sugar Creek township, Hancock county, Indiana, and one of the best known and successful citizens, is George Botsford, born on the farm where he now resides on March 25, 1859, a son of Elisha Sheldon Botsford and Lorinda Wright, his wife.
Elisha S. Botsford was born in Connecticut in 1827, a son of George Botsford, and when he was about eleven years of age, his parent came to Indiana, locating in Johnson county, where the father engaged in farming and passed the remainder of his life. George Botsford was married in Connecticut to Clara Parmerlee, and to this union were born two children, Elisha Sheldon and Amos. Mrs. Clara (Parmerlee) Botsford died when Elisha was a small child, and George Botsford was married, secondly, to Louise Parmerlee, cousin of his first wife, and to this union were born the following children: Mrs. Eliza Pudney, Mrs. Clara Hibbs, Mrs. Johanna Ralston and George.
Elisha S. Botsford was reared on the Johnson county homestead, receiving such education as the schools of that section at that time afforded and when he arrived at young manhood he was united in marriage with Lorinda Wright, born about 1828, a daughter of William and Rachael (Baker) Wright. The Wrights moved from Kentucky to Johnson county in the early days and there reared a large family, but one of whom Mrs. Rachael Walker, still survives. After marriage Elisha Botsford engaged in farming near his boyhood home in Johnson county and in the early fifties his father gave him a land warrant to locate in Jasper county, Indiana, and he drove overland to that county with several other men going for the same purpose. However, he did not like his location in Jasper county, and therefore negotiated a trade with a Mr. Musselman to exchange his Jasper county land for one hundred and sixty acres of land in Hancock county. This tract was located in the north part of section 15, of Sugar Creek township, and has since been the Botsford homestead. The land at the time of the purchase was all covered with heavy timber, and after erecting a small log cabin and barn, Elisha S. returned to Johnson county for his family, consisting at that time of his wife and two children, and established them in their wilderness home. Elisha S. Botsford died when forty-nine years of age, in 1876, and at that time had under the plow ninety acres of his farm. Politically, he was a Democrat and took an active interest in township affairs, serving for several years both as assessor and justice of the peace. His wife had died about one year previous to his death, passing away on January 28, 1875.
George Botsford was one of a family of eight children, namely: Clara L., Rachael, Ella, William Beaumont, George, Elizabeth, Allen S. and Lottie May, all still living with he exceptions of Clara, Rachael and Elizabeth. George Botsford received his education at the old Morford school near his home, his first teacher being Jospeh M. Lowe, and after school days were over, he continued assisting his father with the work of the farm. On May 4, 1852, when twenty-three years of age, he was united in marriage with Della E. Nelson, born in Posey township, Rush county, this state, January 13, 1861, a daughter of Thomas J. and Mary Ann (Hittle) Nelson, the latter born in Union township, Rush county, in 1837, and who died on September 24, 1876. Thomas J. Nelson was born in Bath county, Kentucky, July 7, 1835, a son of Solomon and Eliza Nelson, who came to Indiana in 1839 and located in Indianapolis, living in a house located on the land where the union station now stands. The Nelsons later went to Rush county, where Eliza died, but Solomon passed away in Hancock county. In Sugar Creek township, of this county, Thomas J. Nelson still resides. To Thomas J. and Mary Ann Nelson were born eight children, as follow: John, Marshall, Della E., George E., Sarah Alice, Ezra T., William A. and Eddie M. Thomas J. Nelson married, secondly, Mrs. Harriet A. (Hawkins) Riley, born in Brandywine township, Hancock county, July 27, 1842, a daughter of Joseph and Mary (Gray) Hawkins. The second Mrs. Nelson was the mother of two children by her first husband and to her union with Thomas J. Nelson, one child, Fannie, was born.
After marriage, George Botsford rented a portion of the old home place for several years. To his share of his father's estate he added the interests of other heirs, which he purchased, thus making sixty acres of the old homestead his property. He now owns one hundred and four acres, sixty of this being of the old home and the other twenty-four acres, located a short distance away, being a part of the Joseph Gray farm. Mr. and Mrs. Botsford went to housekeeping in a small four-room frame house, in which they lived for about thirty years, when their present modern home of nine rooms, bath, etc, was erected, with farm buildings to conform. Mr. Botsford is one of the successful farmers of Sugar Creek township, and attributes his success to the raising of corn and hogs. Of the latter he favors the 'Big Type" Poland China, feeding an average of forty for the market per annum. He keeps five or six cows and four good farm horses. Mr. Botsford has been especially successful in winning prize money on his corn, to which he has given especial attention for the past fifteen years. In 1914 he won first prize of fifteen dollars for the best ten ears of corn, offered by the Citizens' Bank of Greenfield during the exhibit of January 26 to 30; also fifth premium for exhibit of ten ears, and in the exhibit of February 23 to 27, he won the first prize offered by the Citizens' Bank for the best single ear as well as fifth premium for ten ears. Besides the special prizes, he had been a winner at other exhibits in Marion and Hancock counties in the past few years.
Mr. and Mrs. Botsford are the parents of four children. Crystal A., born on March 3, 1883, is the wife of John W. Wilson, of Brandywine township, and the mother of one child, Florence. Lelia E., born on December 21, 1884, died on August 11, 1900. George Ray, born on April 24, 1890, married Goldie G. Huffman, has two children, Dorothy E. and Sheldon B., and resides in Greenfield. Mary L., the youngest of the family, was born on May 24, 1899. Mrs. Botsford is a member of the Christian church at Little Sugar Creek.
George Botsford is regarded as one of the leading agriculturalists of his community and as a man worthy of the high esteem in which he is held by all. He has passed is entire life on the one farm and being in every respect a worthy citizen of Hancock county is, therefore, eminently entitled to representation in a work of the character of the one in hand.
Transcribed from History of Hancock County, Indiana, Its People, Industries and Institutions by George J. Richman, B. L., Federal Publishing Co., Indianapolis, Indiana, 1916. Page 955-957.
Submitted by Sylvia (Rose) Duda, Laingsburg, MI October 15, 2001.
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