Ohio Biographies

Thomas J. Winston

Thomas J. Winston, junior member of the firm of Manville & Winston, leading business men of Ostrander, and a grain and stock farmer of Scioto Township, was born in Newark, Ohio, September 15, 1844. and is a son of Timothy and Elizabeth (Jones) Winston, The parents of Mr. Winston were born in Wales.

Timothy Winston was a pattern-maker by trade but when he came first to America and settled near Newark, Ohio, he followed farming. After his marriage he established himself in the furniture business at Covington, Kentucky, where he prospered for some five years, subsequently losing his stock through the explosion of a boiler and the fire which followed. He next engaged in the wash-board manufacture, at Cincinnati, but was again burned out. For a third time he lost all he had when his saw-mill burned, several years later, at Fulton, then a suburb of Cincinnati. These many disasters proved too much for even a man of his energy and courage and a mortal sickness came on him and he died in 1854. aged forty-three years. He died in the belief that his widow and children would not be left entirely unprovided for, in spite of his many losses, as he had a farm in Illinois on which coal had been found. Again misfortune visited the family, as the administrator of the estate only remained in charge long enough to realize on every asset and then left the country for Australia, having no concern about Mrs. Winston's almost penniless condition. She remained at Cincinnati until 1858 and then took her two surviving children and went to Columbia County. Wisconsin, where she died in 1860, aged 39 years.

Timothy Winston was married twice, his second wife being the mother of Thomas J. Winston, of Scioto County. Of his family born to his first marriage, the following reached maturity: Samuel and Gwen, both now deceased; Mary, who is the widow of James Hackett, of Cincinnati., and Sarah, now deceased, who married Joseph Murray, of Cincinnati. There were four children born of the second marriage, two of whom reached maturity, Thomas J., and Edward, the latter of whom is deceased. Timothy Winston was a man of more than usual parts. Combined with moral and physical courage, he was energetic and far-seeing, quick to grasp opportunities and able to mould them to his purpose. He was a member of the Town Council at Newark, Ohio, and took an active interest in public matters in every place in which he lived. For thirty years he was identified with the Odd Fellows.

Thomas J. Winston resided from 1858 until he enlisted for service in the Civil war, in Columbia County. Wisconsin. He was a mere youth when he entered Company D, Sixteenth Regiment. Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, and during this term of enlistment of three months duration, he was never called on to leave the State. When the call came for three-year men. he re-enlisted and the regiment was then accepted as a part of the Federal Army. From the mustering camp at Madison, Mr. Winston, with his regiment, went to Cairo, Illinois, then down the river to Pittsburg Landing, then on to Corinth, participating in the siege and battles there. From Corinth the regiment was ordered to Holly Springs, thence to Louisville and on to Vicksburg. The brigade to which Mr. Winston was connected was sent to Lake Providence, Louisiana, and engaged in opening the famous canal that was to connect the Mississippi river with Lake Providence. Mr. Winston relates that when the levee was tapped and the water was admitted, it spread so rapidly, on account of the high water in the lake at that time, that for a distance of fifty miles the entire lowlands were submerged and the men of the regiment were obliged to climb trees in order to avoid being drowned. For some three weeks, only the upper stories of houses in this region could be used. Sickness, during this time, sadly decimated the ranks and at one time there were onlv six men in Company D, who were fit for duty. Mr. Winston being one of this number. After the regiment had performed its part in the siege of Vicksburg, it was sent into winter quarters at Red Bone, Mississippi, passing much of the winter of 1863-64 in fighting guerrillas.

At this time, Mr. Winston, with many of his comrades, re-enlisted as veterans and all such re-enlisted soldiers were given a furlough of 30 days. During Mr. Winston's absence his brother died. Later, at Clifton, Tennessee, the Seventeenth Army Corps was reorganized, and it marched through Tennessee and Alabama and overtook Sherman's army at Big Shanty, Georgia. The members of Mr. Winston's company were thrown out as skirmishers. The company took part in the battle of Kenesaw Mountain and in all the engagements around Atlanta until the fall of that city. When the army left Atlanta, only five days' rations were issued, in fact they were only half rations, dependence being placed on the foragers for supplies. Mr. Winston being one of these, he had many adventures and a number of narrow escapes from capture and death. He relates one interesting adventure as typical of others. Being sent out as a non-commissioned officer in charge of a squad of three foragers, he found provisions scarce and told his men to scatter and ordered that each one should work by himself. All were well mounted and Mr. Winston rode some seven miles through the enemy's country, naturally on the outlook continually in some fear of attack. He finally reached a place where he saw provisions in plenty and there he ordered a servant to hitch up a wagon, load it full of meat, corn and poultry and a lot of tobacco, and congratulated himself that he was going to get back to camp with something worth while. When about a half mile distant he was attacked by a band of guerrillas, probably themselves out foraging, and barely escaped with his life, losing his load. Mr. Winston says he has not yet gotten entirely over his disappointment at losing that really first-class load of provisions. War in an enemy's country overturns all previously established ideas of rightful possession, and Mr. Winston recalls another incident, when, on finding an open buggy standing in front of a house, he took possession of it, quietly loaded into it the full contents of a near-by smoke-house and then peeped into the kitchen to see if he was observed. There he saw three loaded guns, which he proceeded to break and then went back to drive off his buggy load of eatables, but only to be confronted by three very determined looking men, who demanded by what right he was carrying off their goods. He represented that he was transferring them to a large body of Union soldiers in the nearby wood, and as he had taken their guns and was very frank about what he would do with his own, if they followed, he managed to get away. After some very diplomatic maneuvers and many adventures, he did really come up with a regiment of Union troops and was able to deliver his goods. When he reached camp about midnight, all the soldiers were roused and a great cooking went on, and Mr. Winston asserts that eating continued until morning. Want of space alone prevents the recital of many other interesting adventures.

At Peach Tree Creek the regiment to which Mr. Winston was attached, was attacked seven times on July 22nd and had to jump over their little works to fight on both sides. On July 21st they were drawn upon the extreme left wing of the army. Mr. Winston's company, being the color company, was given the tools to work with, and they threw up breastworks, but by the time the latter were complete they had to fall back and straighten the line, leaving their breastworks fifteen feet in advance. In their last charge the Confederates came in behind their breastworks and planted their colors there. They were shot down time and time again, until not another man was left to put them up and the next morning Mr. Winston's company found ninety dead men in that little enclosure barely twenty feet long, they having piled their dead up to defend their living, making a useless sacrifice. Many incidents of that time, some grotesque but the larger number pitiful, are engraved on Mr. Winston's memory. He was slightly wounded. He participated in the grand review at Washington and was mustered out of the service at Louisville. Kentucky. July 12. 1865. He is an honored member and past commander of Joseph Tanner Post. No. 531, Grand Army of the Republic, at Ostrander. For a number of years he has been a member of the Soldiers' Relief and Burial Commission.

After the close of his military service. Mr. Winston returned to Wisconsin, and in 1866 he came back to Ohio and settled down to farming in Scioto Township. Delaware County. He has resided on several different farms, but in 1887 he bought his present farm of 125 acres. This he devotes to grain and hogs; raising Poland China and Duroc varieties, keeping about seventy-five head. He has business interests at Ostrander, in 1903 entering into partnership with A. M. Manville, in a hardware enterprise, under the firm name of Manville & Winston. On August 9, 1868, Mr. Winston was married to Sarah Jones, who is a daughter of Thomas Jones of Scioto Township, and they had three children, namely: Edward, residing in Scioto Township; Nora, who married A. M. Manville; and Charles D.


From 20th Century History of Delaware County, Ohio, and Representative Citizens by James R. Lytle