Biography of William J. Havens
Ottawa & Sandusky Counties, OH Biographies





WILLIAM J. HAVENS. As a pioneer of the Black Swamp, a region lying between the Sandusky and Maunee rivers, extending several miles on each side of a line drawn from Fremont to Perrysburg, and as one who has spent the greater part of a busy life in helping to subdue the dense forests, reclaim the marshes and change the once howling, malarial wilderness into one of the choicest and healthiest garden spots of the Buckeye State, the subject of our sketch is well worthy of place in these pages. Having his residence on the old parental homestead which he has so grandly improved and beautified, he is able to appreciate the marvelous changes which have taken place in this region within the last half century, and is worthy of the modest laurels of pioneer heroes.

The grandfather of our subject was William Havens, a farmer, living in the State of New Jersey, who married a Miss Mackley, and about the year 1815 removed with his family of eight children to Franklin county, Ohio, and settled on Black Lick creek, about twelve miles east of Columbus. Here, after experiencing the usual vicissitudes of pioneer life, he died in 1820; his wife passed away twenty years later. Their children were Mary, Thomas, Susan, John, Sarah, Henry, Martha and William, all now dead except William, who is eighty one years of age.

Henry Havens, the father of our subject, was born in New Jersey, in 1809, and at the age of six years came with his father's family to Ohio. He grew up on the home farm in Franklin county, his educational advantages being very limited. In the fall of 1831, having saved up his hard earned money, he came to Sandusky county and entered 160 acres of government land in Section to, Jackson township; at $1.25 per acre. He was marrie& the same year to Miss Sarah Jams (daughter of Hugh Jams, who died in 1837), and on March 10, 1832, moved upon his farm in the Black Swamp. The moving party were ten days on the way through the forests, being obliged to cut out their way as they went among logs and underbrush, They built a double log cabin in which they lived comfortably for twelve years, when they built a frame residence, and herein he resided until within one year of his death, which occurred in 1853, when he was aged fortyfour years; his wife died in 1851, at the age of thirty eight. Their children were William J., Hugh, Birchard, Mahala, Ora and Mary J. Henry Havens svas a highly respected citizen, and held the office of justice of the peace in his township for a term of years. He was one of the jurors in the first murder trial ever held in Lower Sandusky, known as the Sperry case.

William J. Havens was born December 13, 1833, in Jackson township. He received only a common school education, but by reading and observation he has developed a broad and liberal intelligence. For many years he has been engaged in mixed farming, the raising of grain and live stock of superior quality, and at one time was the owner of over five hundred acres of land, only two hundred acres of which he now retains, having divided the remainder among his sons. He has given special attention to the breeding and fattening of fine hogs, while his farm is a model one in point of culture. Mr. Havens is a public spirited citizen, and has held various offices of honor and trust in his community, such as land appraiser, town clerk, treasurer, trustee, and member of the board of education. In 1863 he enlisted in Company B, Fiftieth Regiment, Ohio Home Guards, became first lieutenant of his company, and in the fall of that year assisted in the guarding of Johnsons Island, in Sandusky Bay, where Rebel officers were confined as prisoners of war. In the spring of 1864, when Abraham Lincoln called on Ohio for troops, and Gov. Brough responded with 40,000 Home Guards, Mr. Havens went with his regiment to Cleveland, Ohio, where, after consolidation with other companies, they were mustered into the United States service, and he took his place as first lieutenant of Company H, One Hundred and Sixty ninth O. V. I. They were sent to the defense of Washington, D. C., and were also located four months at Fort Ethan Allen, Va., where Mr. Havens was taken down with malarial fever, which impaired his health and rendered him unfit for service. After returning with his regiment he resumed farming. Mr. Havens is a member of the Sandusky County Pioneer and Historical Society, of Manville Moore Post, G. A. R., Fremont, and of the One Hundred and Sixty ninth O. V. I. Regimental Association. He is a Republican in politics, and in religious affiliation is a member of the U. B. Church, with which he and his wife united in i868.

On October 1, 1852, William J. Havens married Miss Ann M. Paden, daughter of Alexander and Maria (Remsburg) Paden, who migrated from Maryland, where they were both born, the father in Hagerstown, the mother in Middletown. The children born to this union were George W., who married Marcella Swickard, and has two children - Frank and Dora; Ann Rebecca, who married Jerome Voorhies, and had two children - Stella (who died at the age of seven years) and Lula; John F., who married for his first wife Ann Fry (by whom he had one child, Ida), and after her death wedded Miss Fanny Winters, by whom he had four children; Charles, who married Miss Celiette Warner, and has two children, Milo and Russell; Frank, who married Avilda Winters, and whose children are Flavel, Robert, Essie, Ray, and one son unnamed; James, who died in Denver, Col., at the age of twenty years; two children who died in infancy; Emma Jane, who married C. C. Ritter, and has one child, Virgil; Orville, who married Miss Cora Fonght, daughter of William Fought, of Gibsonbnrg, Ohio, and whose children are Chattie and Orlie.

From:
Commemorative Biograohical Record
of the Counties of
Sandusky and Ottawa, Ohio
J. H. Beers & Co. 1896


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