William J. Hendren

William J. Hendren, one of the substantial farmers of Hancock county, was born in Blue River township in 1870 and is the son of Jeremiah Hendren and wife. He was educated in the public schools of Hancock county and took up farming after leaving school. He first located on a farm near Alexandria, where he remained for five years and then came to the farm where he now lives, in Green township. At the death of his father in 1911 he bought one hundred and eight acres of land of the home place. Here his father erected the first buildings built on the place. Mr. Hendren is a general farmer and stock raiser.

In 1892 William J. Hendren was united in marriage to Sarah C. Nelliner, the daughter of Louis Nelliner and wife. Mr. Nelliner was born in Marion county, August 11, 1831, and was the son of George and Mary Nelliner, who were natives of Germany and came to Marion county at an early day, where they engaged in farming. Louis Nelliner came to Greenfield in 1856 and here married Lydia Lace, of Brandywine township, the daughter of Henry and Mina (Helms) Lace. Mr. Lace was a native of Pennsylvania and came to Brandywine township in an early day, where he engaged in farming. He died in Greenfield some years after retiring from active life on the farm. Mr. and Mrs. Nelliner were the parents of two children: George and Sarah C., who is the wife of William J. Hendren. The family were members of the Lutheran church.

To William J. Hendren and wife have been born the following children: Marie, Gladys and Iva. The family are members of the Methodist Episcopal church and take much interest in church work. Fraternally, Mr. Hendren is a member of the Free and Accepted Masons and the Modern Woodmen of America, at Fortville.

Jeremiah Hendren, father of William J. Hendren, was the son of John and Mary Hendren and was born in North Carolina, October 18,1831, and died on October 29, 1911. Jeremiah Hendren came to Hancock county with his parents when he was but twelve years of age, having walked the greater part of the way from the old home in North Carolina. The family having located in Hancock county, here young Jeremiah grew to manhood and attended school in the county. He later engaged in farming, in which he was successful. When war with Mexico was declared he was among the first to enlist and was the youngest member of the company and the last survivor of the war in Hancock county. When the Indiana General Assembly created the flag commission, Mr. Hendren was appointed a member and served as its president until just a short time before his death. Mr. Hendren was a charter member of the Morristown Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons and retained his membership there until he moved to Greenfield.

On August 23, 1850, Jeremiah Hendren was united in marriage to Sarah Gates, who died on May 18, 1898. They were the parents of the following children: Lavina Bixler, Ida E. Fisk, Nola M. Mazelin and William J. Hendren, and one daughter, who died when very young.

John Gates was a native of Pennsylvania, where he was born on May 1, 1793, and was the son of John Gates and wife. His parents were of German origin, the father having come to America with an elder brother when but a small boy. He later served as a private in the Revolutionary army and saw much of the hardships of the war. After the war he was married and settled in Pennsylvania, where he remained until about 1804, when he and his family removed to Virginia and settled in the rich and beautiful Shenandoah valley. There being no railroads at this time the family were engaged in driving teams over the mountains with products of the valley. In 1814 the family came to Ohio, settling near the present city of Chillicothe, and there the father bought one hundred and sixty acres of land.

John Gates, Jr., was the second of a family of nine children, five sons and four daughters. He moved with his father's family from Pennsylvania to Virginia and later to Ohio at the age of twenty-one. He remained at home and had but few advantages, which was common to the boys of that time. His education was limited. He had the opportunity of attending a German school but a few weeks. He served as a soldier in the War of 1812, after which he returned home, where he remained with his father until he was twenty-five years of age. After the debt on the farm was paid he engaged in work for himself. He worked at the carpenter's trade for three years, most of which time was employed in the building of bridges.

In 1821 John Gates was united in marriage to Mary Weaver, a native of Virginia and of German parentage. She was born in 1802 and at the age of sixteen came with her parents to Ohio, they driving a two-horse team the entire distance. After their marriage they resided in Ohio for about five years. There four children were born to them: Rebecca, Samuel, Henry and Dayton. In 1825 the made a visit to relatives in Brookville and Rush county, Indiana. After the visit they determined to try their fortunes in the new country. Mr. Gates at once entered eighty acres of land near Blue Valley in Ripley township, Rush county. In the fall of 1826 a rude log hut was erected, with a dirt floor, and the family moved in. On their arrival their property consisted of two horses and wagon, some household goods, three cows and three dollars in money. Here in the midst of the dense forest the family set to work to make a home and clear the land. After some years of toil they bought from the government another eighty acres of land. They soon made for themselves a comfortable place to reside. A new house was erected, which is still standing and occupied by members of the family.

It was there that nine children were born to them: Isaac T., Sarah Hendren, Mary Brooks, Malinda Stutsman, Elizabeth Hunt, John Wesley, Margaret Newson, William and Joseph, the latter two having died in infancy. John, while in the services of his country, during the Civil War, was taken sick and sent home on a furlough. He later died. The other children are all alive and with the exception of Mrs. Hunt, who lives in Illinois, live in Rush and Hancock counties.

Politically, Mr. Gates never took an active part in party politics, yet he was an advocate of the principles of the Republican party. He and Mrs. Gates in early life belonged to the Lutheran church, but after coming to their new home they found it so inconvenient to attend the church of their own denomination that they became members of the Methodist Episcopal church at Franklin and remained consistent workers in the society until the time of their death. Mary Gates died on March 21, 1858, and her husband passed away at the residence of his daughter on January 24, 1868. Mr. and Mrs. Gates were honest, upright and industrious people, leaving behind an example worthy of imitation. As parents they were kind, yet firm and resolute, and impressed upon the minds of their children lessons long to be remembered.

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 1012-1015.

Submitted by Sylvia (Rose) Duda, Laingsburg, MI October 25, 2001.

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