Posts Tagged ‘Willard DeWitt’

Willard DeWitt: Indiana Pioneer, 1776-1881

February 6, 2009
Dewitt Family 1880 Census

Dewitt Family 1880 Census

The Oldest Man in Steuben County.
Correspondence of the SENTINEL.
CHAMBERLAIN, Oct. 1, 1880.

I have been up in Steuben county visiting Father De Witt, the oldest man in the county. He will be one hundred and six years old next March. When I went there he was out husking corn. He carried the corn in a twelve-quart pail–I helped him pick up four or five bushels. He then told me to go to the house and visit with them, he said that he must husk some more corn. He said that he would come up after while. He has four daughters, the youngest is ten years old. Before I came away I asked him to read to me. He then turned to his wife and asked her what he should read in. The Bible was handed to him, he turned to Romans, the ninth chapter, and read from the first to the twenty-third verses–he read without specs. He was an officer in the M.E. church for about forty years. I believe he is now a member of the Wesleyan Methodist. He resigned his office in the church about nine years ago. Below will be found a piece written by his own hand.
WM. H. SAFFORD.

“Whereas has been circulated in the Steuben Republican, and I am informed other papers, that I had been a class leader in the Methodist church; and now, when over one hundred years of age, that I am a Universalist. Let me state a few facts: I feel very much grieved that any one should think that the devil had got me as he had Mother Eve. I have been a member of the M.E. church for forty years, and filled various offices in that society, and exhorted men to flee from the wrath to come. It is true I have been a member of the Wesleyan Methodist Church for many years, endorsing its reformatory principles. I am trying to live Godly in Christ Jesus, and only regret whatever I may have fallen short in my efforts so to do. I believe there is a devil to despise and regret. I believe there is a God to love and obey, a hell to shun, a heaven to gain. I am looking earnestly toward the place Jesus is preparing for me, that where he is I may be also, and I would disown the kinsman that would circulate so base a falsehood on an old man whom God has blessed and helped in the world for more than a hundred years. As many papers as have circulated the former, please copy. This is signed with my own hand.”

WILLARD DEWITT.

Fort Wayne Weekly Sentinel (Fort Wayne, Indiana) Oct 13, 1880

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This is a second  marriage for Willard. Previously, he was married to a woman named Elizabeth Mosier, who died in 1860.

Name:  Willard Dewitt
Spouse Name: Sarah B. Flood
Marriage Date: 26 Mar 1861
Marriage County: Dekalb
Performed By: S. W. Widney
Source Title 1: DEKALB COUNTY, INDIANA
Source Title 2: EARLY MARRIAGE RECORDS 1837 – 1882
Source Title 3: BOOK II
OS Page: 88

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From a newspaper clipping (Steuben Republican)–28 Jan., 1881. Sent by Robert & Harriet Hippenhamer.

“Last Friday morning, at a little past midnight, Uncle Willard DeWitt, the oldest surviving soldier of the War of 1812, and the oldest person in this section of the country, closed his eyes on the scenes of this world. According to the best authority obtainable, he was born March 25, 1776, therefore, was about 105 years of age at the time of his death. He served for some time in the War of 1812, being a member of Capt. I. Bartlett’s New York militia. For the past nine years he has received a government pension of $8 per month, obtained for him by Lawrence Gates*. He was married a few years ago to a woman many years his junior. She bore him several children, She still resides with them on their farm in Scott township.”

Posted by an anonymous source on Ancestry.com.

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*CAPT. LAWRENCE GATES, an honored veteran of the Civil war and one of the organizers of the First National Bank of Angola, was born in Germany April 25, 1839, and received his early education thee and then came to America. He arrived at Angola in 1853 and had some further education in the schools at Nevada Mills in Steuben County. He worked as a clerk in Angola until 1862, when he volunteered in Company H of the Seventy-Fourth Indiana Infantry. For his meritorious service he was promoted to first lieutenant and later to captain. and served until May 15, 1865. He was in the battles of Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge and in the Atlanta campaign. Two weeks after the fall of Atlanta he lost a leg during a railroad wreck. After the war Captain Gates engaged in the dry goods business at Angola, and was one of the local business men who organized the First National Bank. He held the post of director as long as he was content to serve. In recent years he has busied himself with a fire insurance agency. He is a Republican and cast a vote in 1860 for Abraham Lincoln and Oliver Morton. He was first city clerk of Angola after the incorporation of the town. He is a past grand patriarch of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and he and his family are members of the Christian Church.

History of northeast Indiana : LaGrange, Steuben, Noble and DeKalb Counties
Volume II
The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York, 1920

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Lived to be 105 years old. Politically a Whig but subsequently became a Republican and Abolitionist. He was a strong and zealous Methodist class leader.

[Ellis and Owens Families.FTW]

Posted by Harold McClure on Ancestry.com.