Ohio Biographies

William Fleming

Amid the mutations with which the years in their llight encompass the changing experiences of mankind, it becomes the happy fate of but few to pass a long and successful life upon the homestead where first their eyes opened to the light of day. Such has been the fortunate experience of Mr. Fleming, who was born January 31, 1809 upon the farm where he still lives, in Wayne Township, Pickaway County, and who has, during his useful existence of four-score and more years, been closely connected with the development of the county, growing with its growth, and attaining to personal independence as it gained a solid reputation among other counties of the Buckeye State.

Among the soldiers who during the Revolution fought for liberty, was Capt. Fleming, whose son John was the father of our subject. John Fleming was born in Berkeley County, Va., whence he emigrated to Ohio about 1802, and settled in Wayne Township. Some six years after his arrival here, he was married to Miss Elizabeth Moore, who was born in Bourbon County, Ky. Her father, Fergus Moore, emigrated from Ireland when a young man, and served five years in the Revolutionary War, and, after his marriage in Pennsylvania, emigrated to Kentucky, and thence to Chillicothe, Ohio, where he remained for a time. He was one of its earliest settlers, and put the first shingles on any building in the village. At that early day two or three families occupied one rude cabin, and kept corn under the bed in order to secrete it from the Indians.

Subsequently, Mr. Moore removed to Wayne Township, Pickaway County, where he purchased a tract of land, and was one of the first settlers. His useful and honorable life was brought to a close in 1806, when he passed from earth to his final rest. He is spoken of to this day as a brave soldier during the Revolutionary War, a kind neighbor and industrious man. The parents of our subject, after their marriage, made their home in a rude log cabin, surrounded by a dense wilderness, and containing only the absolute necessities of existence. There the father cleared and improved a farm, leaving it only to serve during the War of 1812, and when he reached the age of sixty four years, in 1844, he was called hence by death. His widow survived until 1806, when she died at the age of seventy-five. They were worthy people, sincere Christians, and interested in measures of public importance, he having served as one of the first Trustees of the township, and being in other ways identified with its progress.

The parental family consisted of eleven children, three of whom are still living, and tlie eldest of this large family is William. He was born in a cabin constructed of round logs, and in that primitive structure his boyhood days were passed. His education was limited to the old-fashioned schools of that time, with rude benches and few text-books, and he also aided in the clearing of the farm.

July 22, 1832, Mr. Fleming was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Sullivan, who was born in Pickaway County, January 11, 1812, and was the daughter of Aaron and Sarah (Atchison) Sullivan, natives, respectively, of Delaware and Virginia. After his marriage, Mr. Fleming continued to reside on the old homestead, when he purchased a part of his Grandfather Moore's old homestead, which belonged at the time to his uncle, and there engaged in farming and stock-raising on an extensive scale. The original log cabin was replaced with a small brick residence, and that was vacated in 1869, when the family were domiciled in the present commodious brick structure. The estate of one hundred and fifty-six acres is in good cultivation, and is still managed by its owner, who, however, no longer engages in the tilling of the soil. At an early day, he bought and sold cattle, owning some of the best grades ever brought into the county, and was accustomed to drive them to Philadelphia, where they were sold.

Five children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Fleming, namely: Sarah, wife of James H. Anderson, a pioneer of Wayne Township; John S., who is married, and lives near the old homestead; Mary, who married John Neff, and resides in Jackson Township; William, whose home is in San Francisco; and Samuel, who died when eighteen years old. For sixty years, some of it in sunshine and some in shadow, Mr. Fleming and his estimable wife have lived in happy wedded life, and now side by side are passing through that dim and twilight path, beyond whose lengthening shadows gleams the brightness of eternity.

For a half-century or more, Mr. Fleming has been connected with the public affairs of Wayne Township, and now has in his possession the book kept by the first Treasurer of the township. A stanch Democrat, he cast his first vote for Gen. Jackson, and has served in positions of honor and trust. During war times, he was County Commissioner, serving six years. When he shall have served his present term, he will complete his fiftieth year as Treasurer of Wayne Township. He has served as Justice of the Peace for thirty-three years, and during his administration, has performed many mairiage ceremonies, tried a great many suits, and transacted a large amount of business. In all cases brought before him, he endeavors to effect an amicable settlement, rather than encourage a suit.