George Confer, a retired farmer residing in Yellow Springs, is a native of Washington county. Maryland, his birth having occurred near Hagerstown, on the 8th of February, 1827, but since the age of seven years he has lived in Ohio, coming at that time to this state with his parents, George and Elizabeth (Bowman) Confer. The father was born in Maryland and followed the occupation of farming as a means of providing for his family. In 1834 he came to Ohio, locating in Greene county, his farm comprising one hundred and fifty acres of land in Miami township, a small part of which had been improved. He erected some new buildings, making many excellent improvements upon the farm. which is still in possesson of the family. There he lived and died, passing away at the age of seventy-two years. He was a manber of the German Reformed church and in early life gave his political support to the Whig party and on its dissolution became a Republican, but the honors and emoluments of office had no attraction for him. As the years passed his diligence and business ability brought to him success, so that he was enabled to give to each of his children a good home. His widow survived him twelve years and died in the city of Xenia. She was also born in Maryland and was a member of the Lutheran church. By her marriage she became the mother of five children, three of whom are still living: Hannah, who resides near Spring Valley; William G., now deceased; George; Susan, who died at the age of twenty-seven years and Elizabeth, who is the widow of Richard Partington and has one son, Edward. Her home is near Spring Valley. Greene county.
To the district school system of Miami township George Confer is indebted for the educational privileges which he enjoyed. He assisted his father upon the home place and after the death of his parent, in 1857, he and his brother began farming for themselves and were thus engaged for two or three years. The partnership was then dissolved and George Confer purchased more land adjoining the farm which his father had given him in Miami township. There he engaged in the tilling of the soil and stock-raising for thirty-three years and in 1891 he removed to the village of Yellow Springs, where he has since lived a retired life.
On May 2, 1861, George Confer was married in Miami township to Ann Johnson, whose birth occurred on the 15th of April, 1841, in Greene county. She is a daughter of James and Catherine (Ehrler) Johnson. The father was a native of Kentucky and at an early date came to Ohio. The mother was born in France, but when a young girl was brought to the United States, settling with her father in Clark county, Ohio, and with him she remained until her marriage, Afterward Mr. and Mrs. Johnson settled upon a farm in Miami township, Greene county, where the mother died in 1849. Mr. Johnson afterward married again and his death occurred in 1890, both passing away in Miami township. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Confer were born six children and the family circle yet remains unbroken by the hand of death.
Mary Etta is the wife of Joseph Vernanda Shoemaker, who resided at Goes Station, in Xenia township, where he is conducting a grocery store. They have one child, Cora May, who is the wife of George Hall, of Dayton, by whom she has a daughter, Dorothy. George Albert. the second member of the Confer family, resides upon his father's farm on the Dayton pike, in Miami township, where he is engaged in the cultivation of the fields and in the raising, purchasing and sale of stock. He married Miss Anna Fogle and they have five children: Vernanda. Earle, Raymond, Verna and Georgia. Arthur U. resides upon the home fami in Miami township. He married Miss Clara Miller and they have three children, Florence, Chester and Harry. William W., who is also living upon the home farm, wedded Miss Zella Fogle and they have two children, Edith and Esther. Howard T., a blacksmith at Goes Station, married Nora Ginneman and their children were Harold, Mildred and two that died in infancy. Susie, the youngest member of the Confer family, is the wife of John Conrad, a grocer of Springfield, Ohio, and they have one son, Herman.
In his political views Mr. Confer is a Republican and for one term he served as supervisor of his township, while for eight or nine years he was a director of the public schools. He belongs to the Reformed church and take a deep and active interest in everything tending to promote the general welfare, along all lines of substantial progress and improvement.
From History of Greene County, Ohio, by George F. Robinson (S. J. Clarke Publishing Co, 1902)
This gentleman occupies the post of honor as the head of one of the finest families in Miami Township, Greene County. It is safe to presume that a man’s surroundings are usually the indication of his character, his principles and his tastes. Mr. CONFER’S home is undoubtedly the abode of culture and refinement, while by his industry he has been enabled to gather around himself and family all of the comforts and many of the luxuries of life. Well educated, fond of books, music and art, the household forms one of the happiest families it is the lot of the biographer to meet. Mrs. CONFER is in all respects the equal of her husband, an amiable, intelligent lady, who still retains her youthful appearance, with whom time has dealt lightly and who is thoroughly devoted to her home and her family. The household is a model one and the proprietor enjoys in a marked degree the esteem and confidence of his neighbors. A sketch of his brother, William G. CONFER, also a prominent resident of Miami Township, will be found on another page in this volume.
The subject of this notice was the third child of his parents and was born February 8, 1827, in Washington County, Md. He was seven years old when he was brought by his parents to Ohio and received such education as was afforded by the pioneer schools, which, however, was quite limited. He remained at home on the farm until after his father’s death, and at the age of thirty-four years was married, May 2, 1861, to Miss Ann M. JOHNSON. After his marriage he settled on a farm three-fourths of a mile southwest of Yellow Springs, but a year later came to his present place, where, he has since resided. It bore little resemblance then to its present condition, the only improvements being a log house and barn and he commenced at first principles in the cultivation of the soil, which was largely in its primitive condition. He occupied the first dwelling until about 1879, when he put up his present residence. The necessary barns and out-buildings have been added from time to time and are all that is required for the shelter of stock and the storage of grain. Mr. CONFER subsequently increased his landed area and is now the owner of two hundred acres, all of which is in good state of cultivation, enclosed with neat and substantial fencing and yields to the proprietor a handsome income.
Mr. CONFER came to his present farm with a cash capital of twelve and one-half cents. It is scarcely necessary to say that it required close economy for several yeas to make both ends meet, and in his labors and struggles he was nobly assisted by his patient and courageous wife. In due time the household circle included six children, the eldest of whom, a daughter, Maryetta, is now the wife of Joseph Fernando SHOEMAKER, and they live at Goes Station, Greene County. They are the parents of one child, Cora May. George Albert married Miss Anna L. FOGLE; they live at the home farm and have two sons, Fernando W. and one unnamed. The remaining children—Arthur Upton, William W., Howard T. and Susanna, remain at home with their parents. Mr. CONFER’S children have all been given good advantages and are well fitted for an honorable position in life.
Mr. and Mrs. CONFER are members in good standing of the German Reformed Church. Mr. CONFER, politically, is an active adherent of the Republican party and keeps himself thoroughly posted upon current events. He has been a member of the School Board for a number of years and at one time was Township Supervisor. A library of choice books furnishes to the family abundant reading matter, assisted by the weekly papers and various monthly periodicals. The daughters are good musicians and a cottage organ frequently assists in affording pleasure and recreation to their family and their friends.
Mrs. CONFER was born April 15, 1841, in Greene County, Ohio and is a daughter of James M. and Catherine (EHRLER) JOHNSON, who were natives respectively of Kentucky and France. The mother came to the United States early in life, settling with her father in Clark County, this State, and remaining with him until her marriage. Afterward Mr. and Mrs. JOHNSON settled on a farm in Miami Township, Greene County, where the mother died in 1849. Mr. JOHNSON was married a second time and is still living with his second wife, being now seventy-seven years old. Of his first marriage there were born three children, only two of whom are living—Mrs. CONFER and her sister, Derizah, the wife of John W. BEETH, of Streator, Ill.; the latter has three children.
The father of our subject was George CONFER, SR., a native of Maryland, who married Miss Elizabeth BOWMAN, of the same State. They emigrated to Ohio in 1834, and settled on the farm now owned and occupied by their son William G. The father departed this life in 1857 and the mother in 1871. They were the parents of five children, four of whom are living.
Portrait and Biographical Album of Clark and Greene Counties, Chapman Bros., Chicago, published 1890