Miami County, Ohio Genealogical Researchers -- Sponsored by the Computerized Heritage Association


    WILLIAM M. DeBRA, one of Newberry Township's best known educators, residing on his improved farm of eighteen acres, which is situated on the Covington Polo turnpike road, about one and one-half miles north of Covington, was born on a farm near Pleasant Hill, Miami County, Ohio, September 30, 1859, and is a son of David and Elizabeth (Burns) DeBra.

    The DeBra family is of French extraction. The great-grandfather, Jacob DeBra, was born in Alsace-Lorraine, came to America, located in Maryland, where he died. He had married a thrifty German and when she was left a widow she came to Miami County with her children and entered a large tract of land in the vicinity of Pleasant Hill. Samuel DeBra, grandfather, was born in Maryland, and after coming to Miami County lived in Newton Township. He was a carpenter by trade and his son David, father of William M. DeBra, learned the same trade. David DeBra married Elizabeth Burns, who was born near Pleasant Hill, Miami County, and was a daughter of William Burns, a native of Wales. William Burns was a sailor in his early life, but later became a farmer in Miami County. David DeBra and his wife had four children Margaret, who is the wife of Stephen Benning, of Piqua, Ohio; Angeline, who is the wife of James Shoe, of Piqua; Ina, and William M., the last named being the eldest. David DeBra and wife are among the venerable residents of Newberry Township, to which they moved in 1866.

    William M. DeBra attended the Newberry Township schools, the Covington High School and the Ohio Normal University, at Ada, attending the latter institution's summer terms. In 1883 Mr. DeBra began to teach school and he has taught continuously in Newberry Township up to the present time, with the exception of the year 1901, when he taught in Staunton Township. He now has charge of District School No. 13, at Polo. In devoting himself to this work for so many years, Mr. DeBra has done a great service to his section, raising the standard of education and inspiring a feeling of emulation among his pupils that has borne rich fruit. Many of the young people who have been under his care during the past quarter of a century are proving, in responsible positions, that the instruction he has imparted has been thoroughly practical. It is said of Mr. DeBra that he takes an individual interest in every pupil and understands each so well that he is thus able to arouse each mind to its fullest capacity. Many teachers are never able to do this.

    On July 4 1887, Mr. De Bra was married to Miss Nellie Printz, a daughter of James K. Polk and Lavina (Babylon) Printz. Mrs. DeBra was born in Darke County, Ohio, but was reared in Miami County. Her parents now reside in Shelby County. Mr. and Mrs. DeBra have three children: Dorothy, Ruth and Paul. The family belong to the Christian Church. Fraternally, be is identified with the Odd Fellows. He has never been active in politics, but has always been ready to perform his whole duty as a public-spirited citizens.

    Return to the Biography Index

    Return to Main Page

    Copyright © 1998 by Computerized Heritage Association.
    All Rights Reserved.