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


    LEWIS C. GESSAMAN, one of Bethel Township's substantial citizens, engages in general farming on his ninety acres of valuable land, which is situated not far from the village of Phoneton. He was born on this farm in Miami County, November 8, 1856, and is a son of George J. and Malinda (Fluke) Gessaman.

    The Gessaman family is numbered with the old representative ones of Bethel Township. The grandfather, George Gessaman, came to Ohio from Pennsylvania, accompanied by his wife, and reached the little frontier town of Dayton in 1811. There they were directed into the great wilderness where they had located a claim of 160 acres in the forests of Bethel Township, and their grandson, Lewis C. Gessaman, has the old sheepskin deed from the Government, which cemented the contract.

    George Gessaman was a typical pioneer, and before his strong arm the giants of the forest fell to make room for the building of his first cabin. On his cleared land he carefully planted the cherry stones he had thoughtfully brought from his old Pennsylvania home, and these transplanted seeds in the course of years produced, the fine cherry orchard which his descendants now enjoy the fruit of. No trace is left of the buildings he put up, but it was his industry and strength that cleared up the larger part of the original farm. It is certain that at one time he was a soldier and in all probability lie fought in the War of 1812. He died in 1839, his wife a few years later, and their burial was in Bethel Cemetery. They were among the founders of the German Reformed Church in this section.

    George J. Gessaman, father of Lewis C., was born March 19, 1819, on the farm which is now owned by the latter. He was twenty years old when his father died and he took charge of the home farm and also of two eighty-acre farms in Indiana, which had been willed to his two sisters. He gave filial care to his mother as long as she lived. He acquired other land in addition to the homestead and at the time of his death owned 182 acres, which he divided among his children. He erected the substantial buildings now in use, including the fine brick residence. He was never a politician, but he always took an interest in public affairs, especially those in connection with the good government of the township, casting his vote with the Republican party. Both he and his wife were worthy members of the German Reformed Church. During the Civil War he was twice drafted; on the first occasion he paid a substitute, and on the second he was found to have passed the age limit. He died March 9, 1894, his wife having passed away February 13, 1882, and both were buried in the Bethel Cemetery. He was married in early manhood to Malinda Fluke, a daughter of John Fluke, and thirteen children were born to them, all of whom reached mature years with the exception of the four eldest-John George, John Peter, David and Margaret. The others were named respectively: Sarah, Harriet, Lavina, Martha, Charlotte, Lewis C., William L., Sylvester G., and Grant.

    Lewis C. Gessaman first attended the Poplar Grove school near his home and had only the educational chances which to country boys in more or less isolated regions in his youth. He worked for his father until he purchased the farm, and his spent his whole life on the old place. The land was all cleared when he came into possession and all the improving he has found necessary has been the putting up of a few buildings, with a little repairing and draining. The land has been well fertilized and carefully cultivated by its three owners and if placed on the market would bring a large price per acre. Mr. Gessaman is a stockholder and one of the directors of the City National Bank of Tippecanoe City.

    On December 2, 1888, Mr. Gessaman was married to Miss Margaret E. Warner, daughter of Amos Warner. Mrs. Gessaman died February 15, 1903, and was interred in the new cemetery at Bethel. She is survived by one son, Ernest L., who attends school. Mr. Gessaman was married (second) December 27, 1905, to Miss Luella Perry, a daughter of Cyrus Perry. They are members of the Reformed Church, of Bethel, Mr. Gessaman being an elder. In his political sentiments he is a Republican. At one time he was identified with the Grange and also with the Odd Fellows.

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