Biography of Rev. John F. Brant
North Central Ohio Biographies

Rev. John F. Brant, who now resides at 407 Beacon Street, Boston, Mass., is a native of Hayesville and a member of one of the prominent pioneer families of Ashland County. He was born at Hayesville, Ohio, March 29, 1849, the son of Henry and Nancy (Whittington) Brant.

Henry Brant was born in Mannheim, Germany, and his wife was a native of Hayesville. He came to the United States at the age of 15 years and located first at Jeromeville, where he engaged in the mercantile business for a short time. His store was destroyed by fire, and at that time Mr. Brant removed to Hayesville, where he became interested in business as a manufacturer of boots and shoes. He also owned and operated a store at Mifflin and continued in business until the close of the Civil War, when he was stricken with fever and died in 1865 at the age of 45 years. His wife died in 1882. Both are buried at Hayesville. Mr. Brant had acquired a considerable fortune and had provided well for his family of eight children. They were: 1. James Whittington, deceased, had served as treasurer of Ashland County. 2. Elizabeth Zurialla, the widow of Newton C. Bryant, lives at Brookline, Mass. 3. John F., the subject of this sketch. 4. Dr. Austin Coleman, who died in 1928. He became a prominent physician and surgeon at Canton, Ohio. 5. Dr. Edmund D., physician, lives at Canton, where he is engaged in the practice of his profession. 6. Effie Eldora, who lives at Hayesville. She is a graduate of Vermilion Institute, and attended Oberlin College. Later, she studied art in Paris, France, and also majored in the study of the French language. She is one of the leading and highly esteemed residents of Hayesville, and still maintains the hospitality of the Brant family in the old homestead at this place, which is located on the Ashland Road. 7. Edna Florence, the widow of Charles Geidel, of Coshocton, Ohio, lives at Manitou, Colo. 8. Henry Whittington, who died in 1925. He was a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Yale Law School, having been awarded the Townsend scholarship for the best oration in his senior year of law.

John F. Brant grew up at Hayesville and attended Vermilion Institute. He studied under Professors Saunders Diffendorf and John Simpson, for whose memory he later initiated the movement for placing bronze tables in Hayesville in their honor. Mr. Brant was graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1873. He spent one year in study at Drew Theological Seminary, and was graduated from the Boston University School of Theology. While at Boston University he served for two years as associate pastor of the Brookline Methodist Church with Rev. Mark Trafton, known as the Poet of the New England M. E. Conference. In 1876 he joined the North Ohio Conference and was sent to Greenwich, Ohio, for one year, one year at Orville, and later spent three years at Oberlin as pastor of the M. E. Church and gave Oberlin the plan which drove the three saloons from town. After his marriage he went abroad and upon his return to his work he was sent to Cleveland, as pastor of the Lorain Street Methodist Church. He spent two years at Mt. Gilead, two years at Crestline, four years at Sandusky, two years at Wellington, and two years at Port Clinton, Ohio. He then went to Cleveland as the first district superintendent of the Anti-Saloon League and was the first secretary of the league who wrote the minutes at the organization in Oberlin in 1897. Reverend Brant then went to Lansing, Mich., where he organized the state for the Anti-Saloon League. After four years of work there he was located at Buffalo, N. Y., for four years as superintendent of the Anti-Saloon League. His next superintendency was in Boston, Mass., as superintendent of Greater Boston Anti-Saloon League, with the entire city of Boston and environment in his charge. After four years in that capacity he was chosen as the New England secretary of the International Reform Bureau, with Dr. Wilbur Craft as superintendent, with headquarters at Washington, D. C. At the present time Reverend Brant still holds this responsible office. He makes two visits to his old home at Hayesville each year, and although now 82 years of age, he still possesses his marvelous mentality and aggressive spirit.

In 1880 Reverend Brant was united in marriage with Miss Lydia May Morse, of Elyria, Ohio, going to Europe on their wedding trip. She was the daughter of Levi and Lydia Morse, natives of Connecticut and New York, respectively. Mr. Morse died in 1885 and his wife died in 1890. Both are buried in Elyria. To Reverend and Mrs. Brant were born five children: 1. Doctor Austin, born in 1881, a graduate of Boston University and the Medical School of Harvard University. He is now a practicing physician in Boston, Mass. 2. Carlotta May, born in 1883. She is a graduate of Boston University, now secretary to the editor of Girin & Company, publishers, Boston, Mass. 3. Helen Frances, born in 1885. She is a graduate of Newton (Mass.) High School, and also specialized in the study of music. She married Frederick Winslow Rust, of the Rust Craft Gift Card Stores, Boston, Mass. They have a son, Frederick Winslow Rust, Jr. They live at Newtonviile, Mass. 4. Marguerite Whittington, born in 1887. She was a student of Boston University, majoring in English literature. She married Frederick Choat Eaton, a graduate of Dartmouth University, and they live at Auburndale, Mass. They have three Sons: Frederick Choat, Jr., John Brant, and Austin Eaton. 5. Pauline Morse, born in 1889. She is a graduate of LaSalle College, Boston, Mass., and is identified with the New York City offices of the Rust Craft Gift Card Stores.

Reverend Brant is a Republican, and a devout member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

James Whittington, maternal grandfather of Reverend Brant, was born in Chester, Wales, and was among the very first settlers of Ashland County. He came to America about 1786 and settled in Baltimore, Md. He came to Ohio and cleared the forest where the Ashland County Infirmary stands and the farm north, about three sections in all.

History of North Central Ohio
Embracing Richland, Ashland, Wayne,
Medina, Lorin, Huron and Knox Counties
BY: William A. Duff
Historical Publishing Company
Topeka-Indianapolis 1931

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