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


    There are heroes whose names are not inscribed upon historic page, or chanted in sweet lines of poetry, because to them never came the opportunity for the world to know their true worth. Such men, unconscious of their own powers, do well the things that come in their way simply as a matter of duty. Their names may not awaken the admiration of the people of a state, but their neighbors and the community in which they live recognize their ability and respect and honor their judgment.

    Such a man is Jacob Rohrer, who is now a resident of Tippecanoe City, Miami county, Ohio, and was born on the 15th day of October, 1815, in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania. He is the son of Christian and Maria (Farrer) Rohrer. They had nine children, all of whom became useful and respected citizens. His father and grandfather, each of whom was named Christian, were born on the same farm as the subject of this sketch, which land was purchased by an ancestor from the agent of William Penn, and the farm remained in the family for one hundred and fifty years, and passed from the name of Rohrer in November, 1878, by the death of an elder brother of Jacob Rohrer.

    The ancestors of Mr. Rohrer emigrated to America early in the seventeenth century. They left the mountains of Switzerland and came to the colony of Pennsylvania on account of the persecution of their religious belief. At that time many in Europe were called to suffer and die at the stake, or to slowly rot and die in deep, dark dungeons, unless sooner released from their imprisonment and life by the rack and torture so freely used by a cruel, bigoted priesthood on all who dared to worship God according to the dictates of their own heart and conscience. The Rohrers had heard of William Penn, the Quaker, whose name is still remembered and will be as long as the Golden Rule is taught and a prayer for the brotherhood of man is offered to the God of peace and love.

    When Jacob Rohrer was a boy opportunities for education to a country boy consisted in subscription schools, and fortunate was the farmer's boy who learned to "read, write and cipher to the 'Single Rule of Three.' " His father died before Jacob Rohrer reached his tenth year, and his widowed mother needed her boys on the farm; hence his education was very limited. However, he was fortunate in possessing a vigorous constitution, and when he grew to manhood he was noted for his strength and ability to endure the hard work of the farm in those early days.

    In May, 1835; Mr. Rohrer came with his mother to Ohio, and settled on a farm four miles east of Dayton, where he remained for seven years. In 1842 he removed to Miami county, and located on a farm in Monroe township, near Tippecanoe, then a straggling village, which farm he had purchased from Joseph Jones in 1837 for the sum of five thousand dollars, on which he made a payment and gave his note for the balance, which he paid when due. This was his start in life, the beginning of a long and prosperous career. He was a successful farmer, and is now one of the largest land owners in Miami county.

    On Christmas day, in 1838, he was married to Elizabeth Kendig, who was born in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, and was the daughter of John Kendig, an old neighbor in that state. When a boy Mr. Rohrer often rocked the cradle in which the baby, who afterward was his wife, slept. She was his little playmate, but in those days there was little time for romance; however, when Mr. Kendig moved to Ohio, it was not long until the subject of our sketch was his son- in-law. Their home was humble, and their ambition was to pay for the farm on which they settled. He worked on the farm and she in the house, and both attended Dayton market and sold eggs at three cents per dozen and butter at five cents per pound, while his farm products were sold at thirty-seven cents per bushel for wheat, corn at twelve cents per bushel, and hogs at one dollar per hundred weight. Those were the times that tried men's fortitude and perseverance. There was no income then in a farmer's home for extravagance; self-denial and strict economy was necessary to live and save a small sum for the future; but little by little this young couple accumulated until the farm was paid for and money to buy another was in bank, and thus was laid the foundation of what afterward, grew into a comfortable fortune.

    His beloved wife, the companion of his life, who shared with him the hardships of those early days, and who was with him from early manhood to a ripe old age, passed away February 2, 1894, and her body "softly lies and sweetly sleeps" in the beautiful cemetery near the farm where fifty-two years before was her first home in Miami county. They had three children Mary the wife of T. C. Leonard; Ida, the wife of A. R. Garver; and John, who married Miss Rose Benham, and is now living on the old home farm.

    Mr. Rohrer was a very successful farmer and a splendid judge of land. He is now one of the. largest land owners in Miami county. He has no poor farms, and whenever he purchased a farm that was not well improved, his first building would be a large bank barn. His career as an agriculturist is evidence strong and convincing that while the profits of a farm, judiciously managed, are not large, yet they are always sure, and with proper management during the active years of life a competence for old age can always be obtained by cultivating the soil.

    Although Mr. Rohrer devoted the most of his time to agriculture, yet lie has given much attention to, and is largely identified with, the manufacturing interests of Miami county. He has for many years owned a controlling interest in Ford & Company's Wheel Works of Tippecanoe City, and served for many years as the president of the company. He is also interested in the furniture factory and strawboard company of the same place. He is a stockholder in the Troy Buggy Works and also in the Troy Carriage Works, and has also been identified with manufacturing interests in the city of Piqua.

    Mr. Rohrer's reputation as a man of sound, careful business judgment was the moving principle that caused him to be associated with the banks of this county. For thirty-seven years he has been a director in the First National Bank, of Troy, and for a number of years he was the vice-president of the bank. He is also a director of the Tippecanoe National Bank, and for a number of years the president of that bank. He was a director in the Firemen's Insurance Company, of Dayton, Ohio. He served for many years as a trustee in the Knoop's Children's Home, of Miami county, and has filled other positions of trust in his county, township and church.

    In politics he was a Whig, and cast, his first vote for William H. Harrison, in 1836; but when that party passed into the history of "has beens" he united with the Republican party, in 1856, and cast his vote for General John C. Freemont, "The Pathfinder," and has from that time to the present been an active, earnest, devoted Republican. In 1889 he was elected county commissioner, and again re-elected, and served the people of this county in that office to November 1865. His record in that office was characterized by the same practical sense and good judgment for which he has been noted all his life; and it is yet a trite saying in this county that "if the candidate will only make such a commissioner as Jacob Rohrer we will be satisfied." It was during his term of office that Miami county commenced the system of good roads, and now the county is noted in this state for her good roads, well graveled and cared for under the free-turnpike laws of Ohio.

    His ancestors were followers of Simon Meno, but for many years Mr. Rohrer has been a member of the Evangelical Lutheran church of Tippecanoe. In 1846 he hired the brick made and practically built the first Lutheran church in Tippecanoe, and he has been a church official ever since, and largely instrumental in building the present beautiful church edifice of that city, to which he was a generous contributor , personally on his own account and because he regarded it as an offering to the memory of his beloved wife, who was a devoted Christian woman and a member of that church.

    The 15th day of October, of this year, Mr. Rohrer will be eighty- five years of age. What changes have occurred in this nation, state and county, it is needless to dwell upon; but it is a satisfaction to sketch an individual life that has in it so much of that which is good and so little of that which is evil as the life of our subject. A man singularly free from ambition, whose character for integrity is without a stain, whose honesty is without question, whose word has always been as good as his bond, whose judgment is respected wherever he is known. In his old age he can look back upon a life in which mistakes were few; its pathway is not decorated with the flowers of fame, but all along its way are the little for-get-me-nots of a record of an earnest, honest, conscientious man. E. S. W.

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