JACOB W. FENSTERMAKER, who is filling the office of the justice of the peace in Carroll, was born in this county, October 25, 1822.  His father, WILLIAM FENSTERMAKER, was a native of Pennsylvania, his birth having occurred near Reading, whence he came with his parents to Ohio in 1808, the family locating on a farm near Carroll, where a log cabin was erected and a blacksmith shop and it is claimed that in the smithy was manufactured the first ax ever made in this county.  His grandfather was GEORGE FENSTERMAKER.  The father worked upon the home farm in his youth and in the blacksmith shop, and when he started out in life for himself he chose as a companion and helpmate for the journey Miss MARY MINEHART, who was born on a farm in Mifflin County, Pennsylvania, near Juniata river.  Her father died leaving a good estate to his widow and eight children.  

The mother after settling up the estate came to Ohio with her little ones, hoping that they would have good opportunities in the new country and she gave to each child a sufficient sum of money to purchase eighty acres of land.  

WILLIAM FENSTERMAKER located his eighty acres north of Carroll on the northeast corner of Violet township.  Thereon he built a log cabin and a blacksmith shop.  The floor of his pioneer home was made from an ash log and smoothed with an ax.  The door was made in the same way and the bolts were fastened in with wooden pins, while the hinges were also ingeniously made of wood.  There was a latch and to this was attached a rawhide string, which hung on the outside of the door through the hours of the day and the method of locking the door was to pull the string on the inside.  For fuel Mr. FENSTERMAKER used charcoal, which he himself burned.  Primitive were the conditions of life which existed, but as the years passed the ingenuity of the settlers and their enterprising labors wrought many changes.  Wild turkey were plentiful in those days and wolves were also numerous.  Our subject relates that he has often seen his father open the door just wide enough to put his rifle through and shoot both wolves and turkeys.   When the grandfather of our subject died WILLIAM FENSTERMAKER purchased the old family homestead of one hundred and fifty-six acres and in the spring of 1832 took up his abode thereon, continuing to cultivate the land and also conduct his smithy until his death, which occurred in March, 1843.  He left a widow and ten children.

As the eldest son, GEORGE, was then married, SQUIRE FENSTERMAKER, at that time nineteen years of age, took charge of the home farm and assisted his mother in providing for the younger children.  His early life was one of active and earnest toil and his efforts proved of much benefit to the family.  In his twenty-fifth year he was united in marriage on the 1st of December, 1846, to SUSANA SMITH, a daughter of HENRY SMITH, a farmer of Fairfield county.  He then built a home on one corner of the old farm and he still continued to manage the land until he purchased a tract of eighty acres, adjoining his first purchase, so that he owned a quarter of that section, whereon his labors brought to him a good financial return.  He remodeled and enlarged his home but eventually sold that property which afterward came into the possession of JEFFRIES' family and on it was born the present champion prize fighter of that name. In the spring of 1862 Mr. FENSTERMAKER removed to his present home, purchasing the property the following year.  The house had been erected in 1839 and was the first brick house built in Carroll, being then considered quite a mansion.  When he came here in the spring of 1862 the Squire rented a warehouse near the canal and engaged in the grain business, but a year later the building and its contents were destroyed by fire and as he carried no insurance he suffered a heavy loss.  Since that time he has devoted his energies to agricultural pursuits and his well developed place, neat and thrifty in appearance, indicates his careful supervision and enterprise.

By his first marriage Mr. FENSTERMAKER had five children, three of whom are yet living: MARY E., the wife of DAVID SPENCER, a contractor and carpenter living in Columbus, Ohio; OLLIE, the wife of ROBERT McFARLAND, who follows farming and threshing and resides near Carroll; and CHARLES D., who married Mrs. EDWARD KISTLER, whose maiden name was JANE SANDS.  They have one child, ETHEL, and they reside with Mr. FENSTERMAKER, who on the 13th of August, 1883, was called upon to mourn the death of his first wife.  On the 5th of March, 1885, he married Mrs. WATTS, a widow, by whom he had two children: MYRTLE, born in 1889, is being educated in the convent of the Good Shepherd of Columbus; and PARLEY D., born in 1893, is attending the home school.  Mr. FENSTERMAKER has obtained a legal separation from his second wife.

For many years the Squire has filled the office of justice of the peace and his opinions have always been fair and impartial, few ever having been reversed.  In the spring of 1902 he was also elected mayor of Carroll and is now acceptably filling that office.  Although now nearly eighty years of age he is still a hale and hearty man and has never been obliged to wear glasses.  Having spent his entire life in the county, he is widely known among its residents.  From pioneer days to the present he has watched the development and progress of this portion of the state and his efforts in its behalf have been effective in promoting its welfare.  Those who know him entertain for him friendly regard and his circle of acquaintance is very extensive throughout Fairfield county.


A Biographical Record of Fairfield County, Ohio.  New York and Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1902.