George F. Elsbree
George F. Elsbree, who is numbered with the leading citizens of Orange Township, has resided for the past 41 years on his present farm of 137 acres. He was born September 9, 1834, in Orange Township, Delaware County, Ohio, and is the son of Collins P. and Matilda (Norton) Elsbree.
Collins P. Elsbree was born in 1800, in Dutchess County, New York, and in 1811 he accompanied his step-father, Jeremiah McCumber, to Orange Township, Delaware County, returned to his native place in 1816, and came back to Ohio in 1822. He had two half-brothers and two half-sisters, namely: Alva, Nahum, Phebe and Nancy. Alva McCumber lived to the age of 91 years and Nahum McCumber to be 93. In 1827, Collins P. Elsbree was married to Matilda Norton, who was the daughter of Captain Joab Norton, an officer in the State militia. He came from Hartford, Connecticut, to Ohio, and landed at Worthington, in 1805 and settled in Orange Township, Delaware County, in 1807. A rude log cabin in the forest was the first family home. Captain Norton died at Delaware. He erected block houses all along the Sandusky turnpike and when he built at what is now the town of Norton, the settlement was named in his honor. He became the owner of a number of large farms and also of property at Delaware. The land on which the Ohio Wesleyan University stands was once owned by him, and he also owned the corner of Sandusky and William streets, on which the present Interurban station of the C.D. & M. road is located. He owned a tannery which was situated on the property where the college now stands. He was one of the civilization builders of his time. The children of Joab Norton were the following: Desdemona, who married Jacob Coldflesh, lived and died in Liberty Township, Delaware County; Edward; Matilda, who was the mother of George F. Elsbree; and Minerva. She was married (first) to Samuel Falkner and they resided in Union County, Ohio. She was married (second) to John Gordon and they moved to Wisconsin.
Prior to returning to Ohio, Collins P. Elsbree learned the trade of distiller and when he came to Delaware County he established the first distillery on the Whetstone River, known now as the Olentangy River. Later he sold the same to Simon Thomas. His first purchase of land was 67 acres of John Goodrich, which he sold to George Gooding. In 1847 he bought 137 acres at Lewis Center Corners and remained on the same until his death, in 1880. He was a great fancier of fine stock. His family consisted of four sons and two daughters, those who survived infancy being: Gustavus, who died June 29, 1877; Augustus C., who served in the Union army during the Civil War, in Company H, Ohio National Guard, owns 240 acres of land in Orange Township, married Elizabeth Case; George F.; Cicero M., who owns 200 acres of land in Orange Township, married to Adaline Crawford; and Eliza, who died aged 16 years.
George F. Elsbree attended the local schools through his boyhood and as he increased in age became of more and more value to his father in managing the home property. On December 18, 1866, he was married to Caroline J. Case, who is a daughter of Rev. Titus and Hannah (Fisher) Case. Mrs. Case was a daughter of Isaac Fisher, who came to Ohio from Bergen County, New Jersey, in 1809. Grandfather Fisher settled on the edge of Franklin County. The paternal great-grandfather, George Case, came to Delaware County in 1806 and when he died he was laid to rest on a quiet part of his own farm. His son, Titus Case, was born in 1797 and was nine years old when he accompanied his father, who had been a Revolutionary soldier, to Ohio, from Simsbury, Connecticut. He became a preacher and elder in the Christian Church. The children of Rev. Titus Case and wife were: Fredonia C., who married Irvin Thurston; Elizabeth A, who married A.C. Elsbree; Miles S., who married Emily J. Bartholomew; and Caroline J., who became the wife of George F. Elsbree. The two survivors are Mrs. Elsbree and Miles S., the latter of whim resides near Hyattsville.
In 1867, Mr. And Mrs. Elsbree settled on this pleasant old farm and they hold a deed from the Maynard family which first owned this property before it came into the possession of the Elsbrees. In 1895, the old house was destroyed by fire, but Mr. Elsbree has rebuilt. Here he has continued to successfully carry on a general line of farming and is one of the township's substantial men in every particular. In 1864, when the call came for defenders of the National Capital, Mr. Elsbree went out as a member of Company H, Ohio National Guard, and remained at Arlington Heights, near Washington, as long as the alarm continued.
From 20th Century History of Delaware County, Ohio, and Representative Citizens, Edited and compiled by James R. Lytle, Delaware, Ohio, Biographical Publishing Co., Chicago, 1908