Maj. Emanuel Gephart, whose valor during the late war brought him official recognition, has resided in Circleville since February 28, 1836. He is descended from thrifty and worthy German ancestors and his grandfather was the first representative of the family in the United States, his home being in Pennsylvania for a time. Later, he removed to Martinsburgh, W. Va., where the closing years of his life were passed. Near that city, his son Bernard, who was born in the Keystone State, operated a large farm of three hundred acres. He was a man of strong determination of character and generous disposition, and in his religious views was a member of the German Reformed Church. His death occurred in 1829, in the prime of manhood; his wife, whose maiden name was Sarah Folk, died in Circleville, in 1872, at an advanced age.


The family to which Emanuel Gephart belongs comprised eleven children and he was the fifth in order of birth. He was born near Martinsburgh, Berkeley  County, W. Va., April 21, 1814 and was a lad of fourteen years when his father died. Before he was thus orphaned, he had attended the schools of Martinsburgh, but at the above-mentioned age he was apprenticed to the trade of a carpenter under Mr. Hostler. In 1836, having decided to cast in his lot with the citizens of Ohio, he came with his family to Circleville, the removal being made with a six-horse team. In this city, he found constant employment at his trade and formed a partnership with his brother Abram, continuing in that connection for some years. It was the custom in those days for the contractors to take the job and the parties to furnish the material.


While engaged in the trade of a carpenter, the Civil War broke out and in 1862 Mr. Gephart raised a company in sixteen days. The company, which was mustered in at Camp Circlevllle, was known as Company E, One Hundred and Fourteenth Ohio Infantry, the date of their enlistment being August 22. With our subject as Captain, they marched South and participated in the severe engagement of Chickasaw Bluffs, in which they suffered defeat.  They were present at Champion Hills and the siege of Vicksburg, marching thence to New Orleans and through the swamps of Louisiana to Texas, engaging in numerous skirmishes while en route to the last-named State.


Returning from Texas in April, 1864, the regiment marched along the banks of the Red River and every day engaged in skirmishes with the Rebels. At Mobile, they participated in the Farragut expedition, and when the war was brought to a close, they were ordered to Texas and there discharged in September, 1865. Our subject first commanded the company as Captain, remaining in that position until the spring of 1864, when he was promoted to Major of the One Hundred and Fourteenth Ohio Infantry. Upon his return home, he once more engaged at the carpenter's trade and was occupied in that way until he was appointed by the Government store-keeper at the Morris Steely & Co. Distillery, and afterward transferred to the same post in Fairfield County.


After occupying that position for some seven or eight years, Maj. Gephart resigned and came to Circleville, where he embarked in business as a wholesale liquor, oil and tobacco merchant, and is now proprietor of the principal wholesale house of the city. Maj. Gephart has been identified with the public affairs of Circleville for a long time and served as Alderman several terms before the late war. For thirteen years, he filled the position of Trustee of Circleville Township and has held other offices of responsibility. He is a charter member of Groce Post, G. A. R., and is prominent with the veterans of the war. In his political sympathies, he is a firm Republican, and socially is identified with the Masonic order as a Royal Arch Mason.


In 1835, Maj. Gephart was united in marriage with Miss Elizabeth Shaffer, a native of Pennsylvania, who died in Circleville after ten years of wedded life. Of the six children born of the union, four died in childhood and only one now survives, Ellen, Mrs. Hoffman, of Circleville. Noah enlisted when eighteen years old as a member of Company A, One Hundred and Fourteenth Ohio Infantry and served throughout the war, being mustered out as Quartermaster, with the rank of First Lieutenant. Eight years after the close of the war, he died of quick consumption.


The second marriage of the Major united him with Maria Shultz, a native of Pennsylvania, and an intelligent and worthy lady. They became the parents of four children, namely: Emma, who married Edward Olds and died in 1886; Adell, Mrs. Foresman, of Indiana; Kate, who is at home, and Josie, wife of George Stough, Assistant Cashier of the First National Bank at Circleville. The various members of the family find a religious home in the Presbyterian Church and occupy a high place in the esteem of the community.

 

From PORTRAIT & BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD OF FAYETTE, PICKAWAY AND MADISON COUNTIES, OHIO - Chapman Bros. [Chicago, 1892]