Ohio Biographies

John Morrow Cochran

This gentleman, one of the most distinguished and useful citizens of Springfield township, resides one-half mile north of Glendale, upon the Glendale and Port Union turnpike. He was born near Gettysburgh, Adams county, Pennsylvania, June 18, 1808, son of William, grandson of James C., and great-grandson of William Cochran. The Cochrans are of English stock. The great-grandfather was born in 1699, and died in 1771; his wife, Sarah, born 1702, died 1785. The grandfather was born July 8, 1732, died December 8, 1810. The dates of birth and death of Jane, his wife, respectively, are November 14, 1742, and January 4, 1815.

Mr. Cochran's mother was Rebecca, daughter of John Morrow, from whom the subject of this notice was named, and sister of the late Governor Jeremiah Morrow, of Warren (formerly Hamilton) county. In 1814 his parents, with their young family, in wagons, with a five-horse team, and a saddle-horse for the mother, who would not trust herself upon the water, and hence insisted upon the land journey throughout, made the long trip across the country, still very much a wilderness, arrived in June at the residence of Governor Morrow, Twenty-miles Stand, on the banks of the Little Miami, eight miles north of Montgomery. After resting here a short time they then pushed westward, crossing the fertile valley of Mill creek, and settling finally two miles west of Sharonville, and just east of Mr. Cochran's present residence. The elder Cochran here purchased one hundred and sixty-nine acres, to which his son John has made important additions by successive purchases of fifty, seventy-five, and twenty acres. The latter attended the subscription schools of that day, at Springfield, now Springdale, and later the Miami university, at Oxford, where he numbered among his fellow students, these talented young men who were afterwards known as Lieutenant Governor Charles Anderson, the Hon. Robert Schenck, and Professor Freeman Cary, founder of Farmers' college, at College Hill. He spent seven years in all in Butler county, as a student at Oxford and a merchant at Millville, where his father owned and for some time conducted a mill property. In this county he was married June 28, 1832, to Miss Martha J., daughter of Joseph Wilson, of Rossville, now a part of Hamilton. Her mother was Elizabeth Dick, daughter of the old pioneer, Samuel Dick, who is celebrated in one chapter of McBride's Pioneer Biography. In the spring of 1839 they removed to Springfield township, and settled temporarily at Springdale, removing afterwards to the valuable property where they have since resided. About the same time he became president of the Hamilton, Springfield & Carthage turnpike company, which had just built the fine sixteen mile road from Hamilton to Carthage - the best paying turnpike, it is said, in the State. He has been continuously in this position for forty-two years, except during a very brief interval caused by his resignation. For four years in his young manhood he was township clerk, and consented in his later life to serve for three years as township trustee. He is naturally ambitious, was an ardent Whig and afterwards Republican, and easily turned to the active pursuits of politics and official life. In 1840, when but thirty-two years old, he was called into conspicuous service as a representative in the legislature from Hamilton county. Young as he was, he bore an influential part in securing the election Of his candidates for judges of the court of common pleas in Butler county; and the friends of the defeated ones, in derision and chagrin at his success, gave him sixteen votes for judge, although his residence was not in that county.

Mr. Cochran again served in the lower branch of the legislature in 1864-7, two terms (the Fifty-sixth and Fifty-seventh houses), during which he was chairman of the important committee on corporations other than municipal, and member of the joint committee on enrollment. In the latter session he was also on the penitentiary committee. In the little volume of Biographical Sketches prepared for members of the legislature, it is said of him: "He is known as one of the strong Union members of the house, faithful, prompt and efficient."

For the sessions of 1872-3 he was again summoned to service in the house by his fellow-citizens, when he acted as chairman of the committee on public printing, and member of that on public benevolent institutions.

During the war of the Rebellion he performed important duty as a member of the military committee of Hamilton county. While the great struggle was in progress, in November, 1863, he visited his childhood's home, but as an official representative of the State of Ohio, by appointment of Governor Tod, to attend the dedication of the cemetery at Gettysburgh, where one of the greatest battles of the war had been fought a few months before.

The confidence reposed by the community in Mr. Cochran has been shown most abundantly, not only by his repeated calls to official station, but by the frequent demands upon him to administrate upon estates, of which he has had as many as twenty-three in charge, settling all with thorough efficiency and integrity. He is universally regarded as an able and very useful citizen, in public and in private life. Mrs. Cochran also still survives. They have had thirteen children, as follows:

William Arman, born April 14, 1835; October 14, 1856, married Julia Ann Lewis; now a farmer near Decatur, Illinois. Joseph Wilson, born December 29, 1836, married Mattie H. Cox June 18, 1862; an attorney at Peoria, Illinois, and for six years circuit judge. Infant son, born September 29, 1838, died unnamed October 24, same year. John Morrow, born December 13, 1839, residing with his parents. Samuel D., born February 13, 1842; married Marie Fitzgerald November 8, 1876; a bookkeeper and local manager in Cincinnati for the Champion Reaper company, of Springfield. Eliza W., born November 15, 1843, married October 12, 1871, to the Rev. W. H. James, pastor of the Presbyterian church at Springdale. Jeremiah Morrow, born November 20, 1845, now an editor and proprietor of the Daily Freeman, Peoria, Illinois. Rebecca, born November 20, 1845, residing at the old home. Nannie A., born December 3, 1849, also at home. James Marion, born December 21, 1851, at home; Louisa D., born August 20, 1853, died April 12, 1854. Lewellyn, born May 20, 1855, died December 10, 1859. Martha Ella, born September 16, 1857, died April 12, 1854.


From History of Hamilton county, Ohio, Henry & Kate Ford, L. A. Williams & Co., Publishers, 1881