John Amen was born Apr. 9, 1799, in Botecourt Co., Virginia. He was the oldest son of Daniel and Katherine (Heistand) Amen. He, with his parents, came to Ohio about the year 1808. They traveled in a four-horse wagon. They settled in Highland Co., near East Monroe. They lived there a few years when his father bought some land a mile south of Sinking Springs in Adams Co., and built the stone house that still stands there, and removed to it in about 1812. There the boy, John, lived until he was grown. He attended district school in winter time. His was a rather hard and uneventful life. When twelve years of age, he drove a team of four horses and sometimes oxen, hauling pig iron from Marble Furnace to the Rapids Forge, a foundry owned by John Benner, near Bainbridge, a distance of twenty miles, starting at four o'clock in the morning and returning the same day or night. His life was all work, no play. When twenty-one years old, he left home to work in the store of his brother-in-law, David Johnson, at Georgetown, for the sum of four dollars a month and his board. He saved his earnings and when twenty-four years old, he married Melinda Craighead, the daughter of a well-to-do farmer living two miles from Georgetown. Mr. Craighead was a Kentuckian with aristocratic notions. He thought the young clerk was no match for his daughter, but the young people were married, making the trip to the minister's both riding horseback on one horse. Soon after their marriage, they went to the old stone house, making their home with his parents for several months, until a cabin was built for them on a farm owned by Daniel Amen, two miles north of Sinking Springs, where they lived and worked about six years, when, on account of failing health, he and family came to Sinking Springs, where he engaged in business for more than thirty years, enjoying the quiet village life. He was a great reader. Though very economical, he did not stint himself or family in reading matter. In politics, he felt a great interest, but had no desire for office. He was an Abolitionist when it was dangerous to own being a friend to the slave people. His house was a station on the underground railroad from which no slave was ever caught. He was fearless when he knew he was right. On one occasion, a family of seven slaves were brought into the community. A large reward was offered, and the pursuers or slave catchers were close behind them. Fearing to trust his son or any young person to carry them on, he had two fiery horses hitched to a covered wagon, and although he was a small man, and alone, drove away just after dark, loaded the family in the wagon and hurriedly drove them to Marshall, eight miles north, when another party took charge of them. He used to boast he had helped more slaves to liberty than any one else near, and that he never had one captured in his charge. He was a member of the Presbyterian Church and held the office of deacon for sixty years. In the year 1865, his wife died. After her death, he sold his old home and went to reside with his three married daughters, all of whom lived in Portsmouth, Ohio. He had one son, Daniel, who died, when thirty years of age, leaving two sons. The oldest, Harlan P. Amen, is president of Phillips Exeter Academy, New Hampshire, and the younger son, J. J. Amen, is a prosperous business man in Missouri Valley, Iowa.

The last four years of John Amen's life were spent at South Salem, Ohio, at the home of his eldest daughter, Mrs. E. McColm, who had removed from Portsmouth. He died at the age of eighty-eight, on Dec. 27, 1887. Unto the last week of his life, he read the daily papers with all the interest of a young person. His last vote was for Governor Foraker. The fall before he died, he was taken to the election by a grand-daughter. He was proud he had helped to elect the Highland County boy for Governor. His daughters are all living, Mrs. McColm in Norfolk, Nebraska; Mrs. P. J. Reed, in Cody, Neb., and Mrs. C. Gillilan at Sinking Springs, Highland Co., Ohio.

From History of Adams County, Ohio from its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time - by Nelson W. Evans and Emmons B. Stivers - West Union, Ohio - Published by E. B. Stivers - 1900