When the Bechtel family left their comfortable homes in the state of Pennsylvania and came to the then new country of Wayne county, Ohio, they found conditions quite different from those they left behind, but they were men of courage, inured to hard toil and could stand privations unflinchingly, if need be; they liked the prospect here, the far-stretching woods and the fresh, strong soil, so they set to work with a will and soon had better homes than they left. However, it took much work and they had to do without many of the conveniences they formerly enjoyed. One of the best known of the present generation of this family is Tillman O. Bechtel, who was born in Pennsylvania on May 21, 1841. He is the son of Jacob B. and Elizabeth (Ridenour) Bechtel, both natives of Pennsylvania.

The paternal grandparents of the subject were George and Elizabeth (Barton) Bechtel, who came to Wayne county, Ohio, in an early day and settled in Wooster township, remaining there until their deaths. Grandfather Betchel was a successful farmer, having cleared and developed the land he purchased here. The maternal grandparents of the subject were George and Elizabeth Ridenour, both natives of Pennsylvania. Mrs. George Ridenour re-married and moved to Seneca county, Ohio where she died. Her second husband, Joseph Stever, was a soldier in the war of 1812.

Jacob B. Bechtel, father of Tillman O., was reared in Pennsylvania where he received his schooling. In 1842 he came to Wayne county, Ohio, and settled in Wooster township where he managed a sawmill, one of the largest in the township, becoming widely known as a mill man, being one of the earliest of the township, and he continued in this line until his health failed. His death occurred on the place where he first settled, having lived there continuously. To Mr. and Mrs.Jacob B. Bechtel fourteen children were born, eleven of whom grew to maturity. Jacob Bechtel lived a quiet life; politically he was Whig and later a Republican. He was a member of the German Reformed church and was a good and upright man.

Tillman O. Bechtel likes to tell of his trip to this county from his old Pennsylvania home, which was made in a covered wagon, the trip being somewhat arduous owing to the rough roads and unbridged streams. He was then only a boy and he received his education in the common schools of Wooster township, where the family settled when they arrived in Wayne county. He began working on the home place when very young and he has always followed farming. He is now the owner of sixty-one acres of good land in Plain township. He came to this vicinity in 1874 and bought the farm he now owns about 1894.

Tillman O. Bechtel was one of the loyal sons of the North who served in the defense of the national integrity in the early sixties, having been a member of Company F. One Hundred and Second Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry, for a period of three years. In the same company and regiment also served I. J. and W. D. Bechtel for three years, and George H. Bechtel for more than one year. They all took part in the various engagements in which the regiment was involved.

After the war Tillman O. Bechtel returned home and took up farming and has since led a quiet life, devoting his attention exclusively to his farm.

Mr. Bechtel was married in 1869 to Magdalena Lawrence, daughter of George Lawrence, the son of Christian Lawrence, whose sketch appears in another part of this work. The subject and wife are the parents of the following children; J. W. living in Iowa; W. D., living in Los Angeles, California; E. L. living in Akron, Ohio; Nellie married George Keets,of Plain township; J. A.; Elizabeth married Zeno Miller, living in Chester township; Eva Rebecca, who married Irvin O. Stair, died in April, 1909.

Religiously, Mr.Bechtel is a member of the Reformed church, and his fraternal affiliation is with the Grand Army of the Republic.



The History of Wayne County, Ohio,  B. E. Bowen & Co., 1910