Robert Hurley, generally conceded to be one of Buck Creek township, Hancock county's, most successful farmers and for many many years a teacher in the public schools of the county, has a personal history differing considerably from that of his fellow citizens. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, on July 6, 1855, he was the eldest son of the family of three children of Dennis and Mary Hurley. Dennis Hurley was born in Ireland, while Mary, his wife, was born in England about 1831 and died in 1861 when but thirty years of age. Dennis came to America when a youth and was here married. He resided in Baltimore and was engaged in the oyster business. Shortly after the death of his young wife and at the outbreak of the Civil War, he enlisted and went to the front, never being heard from again. It is presumed that he was killed, but no record of his death was ever known. Patrick, the brother next to Robert, died when a small child, and John, the baby, was taken into the home of two maiden sisters of Dennis, residing in Baltimore. Robert was taken into the family of his father's eldest sister, Mary, wife of a Mr. Hurley, who resided at Factoryville, Staten Island, the family later moving to New Brighton. Robert was about six years of age when taken into his aunt's family and received his early education at the parochial schools near his home. When twelve years of age he obtained a position in the office of the old stock brokerage firm of B. Robinson & Company, of 22 Broad Street, New York City, this being his entry into the business world. So satisfactorily did he perform his duties that instead of receiving the twenty dollars per month for which he had hired, he was given thirty dollars from the first. His work in the heart of New York's financial district in the busy days following the close of the Civil War, has left an impression on the mind of Mr. Hurley which nothing can ever erase. His duties led him to the offices of the great financial men of that day, among them being Jay Gould, Jim Fiske and other well-known figures. However, B. Robinson & Company went to the wall. After which young Hurley secured employment with a firm of gold brokers, his duty being to keep his employers informed of the fluctuations of the gold market. He was with that firm for a few months and later was employed by the Western Union Telegraph Company at their office at 145 Broadway and it was shortly afterward, while lounging at the Newsboys' Home, that he heard of a party of orphan children to be taken to Indiana, which then still seemed a part of the far West. He investigated the project and joined the party, arriving at Greenfield on January 28, 1868. He was taken into the home of Moses Turk, two miles northwest of Greenfield, where he remained until he was twenty-one years of age. During the winter season he attended school, assisting with the farm work in the summer and after finishing his studies worked constantly on the farm for two years. In summer he attended the normal institute at Greenfield and in the fall of 1878 taught his first term of school. To further fit himself for his chosen work, he later attended the State Normal at Terre Haute and for the following twenty-seven years (twenty-nine terms) he taught school in Buck Creek township, with the exception of three terms in Center township. In 1905 he did his last teaching and has since been devoting himself to his farming interests. He first engaged in farming on his own account in 1882 when he rented a farm from Mary Bell and the following year he purchased eighty acres, being the south half of the northwest quarter of section 21. Shortly afterward he added twelve acres in the same section and later twenty acres, making a total of one hundred and twelve acres in all. During the years of his ownership he has cleared all but twenty acres of the land, and has thoroughly tiled and fenced it. He has erected a splendid residence of ten rooms, beautifully situated, a large barn, forty by fifty-two feet, and also other buildings in keeping with the general character of the place. Mr. Hurley divides his time between general farming and the raising of live stock, in all of which he is uniformly successful.
When twenty-seven years of age, Robert Hurley was united in marriage, on May 3, 1882, with Lou A. Dillman, born in Buck Creek township, on March 4, 1861, a daughter of James F. and Mary Jane (Wright) Dillman, who settled in Marion county when James F. was a small child. There James F. grew to manhood and married Mary Jane Wright, born in Buck Creek township on August 22, 1836, a daughter of William and Margaret (McCoy) Wright, both of whom were born in Wayne county, this state. William and Margaret Wright had six children, of whom but two now survive: Morgan and Mary Jane, mother of Mrs. Hurley. Morgan Wright is a prominent citizen of Tipton county, this state, having served as sheriff and county commissioner. James F. Dillman, father of Mrs. Hurley, enlisted for service in the Civil War about 1862 or 1863, as a private in the Seventy-ninth Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry, and served for eighteen months, when he met his death at the battle of Lookout Mountain. James F. Dillman was the father of four children, namely: William Thomas, Margaret F., Lou A. (Mrs. Hurley) and Mary C., deceased. After the death of James F. Dillman his widow married John N. Eastes, who died in 1882 and by him became the mother of five children: Minnie, who died in infancy; Ivy Belle, Charles N.., Laura A. and Daisy M. To Robert Hurley and wife have been born four children, as follow: Stanton A., married Lena Buchfink and resides at Indianapolis, and they have four children, John, Robert, Mary Elizabeth and Alice; Chester B. married Hazel Snodgrass and lives in Henry county, and they have two children, Claude and Mildred; Roscoe G. and Flossie Ethel are single and remain at home with the parents.
Mr. Hurley was a faithful member of the United Brethren church while his wife belongs to the Methodist Episcopal church. He gives his political support to the Democratic party, and is a member of Hancock Lodge No. 101, Free and Accepted Masons, at Greenfield. Robert Hurley is well worthy of the high esteem in which he is held by his large circle of friends and acquaintances.
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 950-952.
Submitted by Sylvia (Rose) Duda, Laingsburg, MI October 15, 2001.
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