Archiver > OH-FOOTSTEPS > 1999-10 > 0939477452

From: Harry Liggett <>
Subject: Bilderback: Holmes County
Date: Sat, 9 Oct 1999 09:57:32 -0400 (EDT)

Thomas Bilderback (463)
The farming interests of Adams township find a prominent representative in
Thomas Bilderback, one of the extensive landowners of this part of the
country. His property interests comprise six hundred and forty acres and his
farm is splendidly improved, indicating the spirit of enterprise and
progress which has ever dominated him in his business life, making him one
of the prosperous and leading agriculturists of this part of the state. He
has now reached the age of three score years and ten and is still actively
engaged in the supervision of his farming interests. He has been closely
identified with the county and its upbuilding since 1856, and prior to that
time had resided here for a long period, so that he is numbered among its
oldest settlers.
His birth occurred in Holmes county, Ohio, on the 24th of May, 1837, his
parents being Masson and Rebecca (Jackson) Bilderback, both of whom were
natives of Washington county, Pennsylvania, the father's birth having there
occurred in 1810, while the mother first opened her eyes to the light of day
in 1814. Masson Bilderback became a resident of Ohio in 1830 nd there
remained for two decades. In the meantime he married and several children
were added to the family during their residence in the Buckeye state. The
year 1850 witnessed his arrival in Iowa, at which time he settled in Dallas
County, entering a claim of one hundred and sixty acres in Adams township.
He established the first blacksmith shop of the district and began the
development of his farm, but his life's labors were ended in death in 1851,
when he was but forty-one years of age. In 1853 the mother returned with her
family to Ohio, where her remaining days were passed, her death occurring in
1890, when she had reached the advanced age of seventy-six years. The
members of their family were Hannah, now the wife of John Metzler, a
resident of Ohio; Thomas of this review; Mary Jane, the wife of Cornelius
Glick, living in Ohio; Sarah Ann, the wife of Rollin Bowers, of the Buckeye
State; Joseph, whose home is in California; Masson, a resident of Newton,
Iowa; and one deceased, Margaret, wife of D.W. Snyder, who died in Madison
county, Iowa, June 6, 1899.
Thomas Bilderback was a youth of thirteen when he accompanied his parents
on their removal to Iowa and was about sixteen years of aged at the time of
their return to Ohio. He had formed a liking for the Hawkeye state, however,
and in 1856 he came again to Dallas county, where he started in business
life as a farm hand, working by the month until 1865. Being the eldest son
of his father's family he had previously provided for the support of the
other children and although this was a heavy responsibility he faithfully
discharged the trust that devolved upon him. Strenuous toil was his lot but
he met his duty unflinchingly and the same spirit of determination and
courage has characterized him throughout his entire life. In Iowa he bore
the hardships and trails incident to life on the frontier and has
contributed his full share to the transformation of the wild land for the
uses of civilization. In 1862 he made two trips to Denver, Colorado, with an
ox-team carrying loads of fluor. The next year he crossed the plains of
California with a mule team and in 1865 returned on horseback.
It was on the 26th of December, that year, that Mr. Bilderback made
preparations for having a home of his own through his marriage to Miss Susan
Meads, a native of Sangamon county, Illinois, born February 6, 1836, and a
daughter of William and Sarah (Johnson) Meads, the former a native of
Illinois and the latter of Kentucky. Her father died in his native state and
the mother afterward removed to Missouri, where she lived until 1852, when
she came to Dallas county, Iowa, residing her up to the time of her death.
Mr. and Mrs. Bilderback have become the parents of two sons and a daughter,
J.E., who now operates a part of the home farm; Eva Jane, the widow of B.C.
Reeves, now living with her father; and F.C., who resides on one of his
fathers farms in Colfax township, Dallas county.
The success which Mr. Bilderback has achieved in his business life is due
entirely to his own efforts. He started out with few advantages but he
possessed the perseverance, ambition and diligence so necessary to success
and as the years have gone by he has gradually worked his way upward until
he now occupies a prominent position among the leading agriculturists of the
community. He made his first purchase of land in July, 1961, securing eighty
acres of the old homestead, whereon he built a little house fourteen by
twenty feet. In 1882 he erected f fine residence and he has many modern
buildings and equipments upon his place, all of which are indicative of his
progressive spirit. As the years have gone by he had added to his
possessions until he is now the owned of six hundred and forth acres of
valuable land in Adams, Adel and Colfax townships, from which he derives an
excellent income.
Mr. Bilderback has always been interested in the welfare of the community
and has done much for the cause of public education. For twenty-three years
he has held the office of school treasurer and has ever advocated the
employment of good teachers and the maintenance of excellent schools. He is
a democrat in politics and case his first presidential vote for Stephen A.
Douglas. He and his wife attend the United Brethren church and his influence
is ever on the side of right and improvement. His name is a synonym for
honor and integrity in business circles, for he has never been known to take
advantage of the necessities of his fellowmen in business transactions and
on the contrary has ever been found just and fair in his dealings. His
example should serve to encourage others who start out in life as he
did—without capital—for his history shows what may be accomplished when one
has the perseverance to continue in a chosen line of life, wresting fortune
from the hand of fate.
[Past and Present of Dallas County, Iowa (Chicago: 1907) pp. 712-715]
Line of Descent:
Ephraim Bilderback and Lydia
4 Thomas Bilderback d.1831 and Margaret Preston 1774-
46 Masson Bilderback 1810-1851 and Rebecca Jackson 1814-1890
461 Thomas Bilderback 1837-1917 and Susan Meads 1836-1918

Will of Thomas (4) see Washington County, PA, Wills 4:640
For Masson's will see LDS film 0908874

Submitted 9 Oct 1999 by Harry Liggett in Akron, OH

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