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

    Following is the original biography as found in the
    1900 Biographical History of Miami County Ohio.
    Be sure to read the 1999 update with corrections
    and additions, which you will find at the end of
    this copy of the original.

    John H. Wilgus is one of Ohio's native sons and for many years has been a resident of Miami county, where he is successfully engaged in the operation of a farm. He was born in Warren county October 5, 1831, his parents being Thomas and Anna (Hunt) Wilgus. The former, a native of New Jersey, came to this state during his boyhood, the family locating in Warren county. As they traveled over the state they passed through Cincinnati, then a mere hamlet containing only three houses, and the father, William Wilgus, was offered all of the land upon which the city now stands in exchange for his team and wagon. He was one of four brothers who came from England to America prior to the Revolutionary war, and during the struggle for independence he served as quartermaster-general. The original family name was Wildgoose. Mr. Wilgus made a permanent home in Warren county, where he died at the age of eighty-eight years. His three sons, William, James and Thomas, came to Miami county about 1834 and all reared families here. William resided in Lost Creek township, where he died when more than eighty years of age. He had one son, Evan Wilgus, who is living in Brown township. James was a doctor, who engaged in the practice of medicine in Boone. He left four children: H. L. who is living in Ann Arbor; Elizabeth, who occupies the old homestead; Clara, wife of William McFarland, of Columbus, Ohio; and James Alva, who resides at Platteville, Wisconsin, and is a professor in the normal school there.

    Thomas Wilgus settled in Lost Creek township where his son William now resides. He resided on that farm for many years and carefully prosecuted his labors. About twenty acres had been cleared when he took up his residence upon the farm and the other improvements were all the work of his hands. He owned over five hundred acres of land, all in one body, and bought and sold other lands. As his sons reached maturity he divided his land among them, giving to each one hundred acres, while to his daughters he gave money. At his death his estate was settled in accordance with the law. Throughout his entire life he carried on agricultural pursuits and his success resulted from his well directed efforts. He became one of the stockholders and builders of the pike, taking a contract for the construction of some four miles of the pike in this county and then subletting it to others. He also became a stockholder in the railroad, but that proved an unprofitable investment. He was one of the leading stock-raisers in this section of the state, and exhibited many fine animals at the county fair. In the work of improvement and progress he took a deep interest and contributed in no small degree to the substantial welfare of the community. In politics he was a Whig and Republican and kept well informed on the issues of the day. He held various local offices, including that of township trustee. A member of the Wesley Chapel Methodist church, he contributed largely to the new house of worship, donating the land for the purpose and deeding it to the trustees. He was one of the pil1ars in the church, and in his life exemplified his Christian faith. His home was for many years the headquarters of ministers who visited the neighborhood. While firm in support of his belief and ever unflinching in the advocacy of what he believed to be right in all walks of life, he avoided litigation and concerned himself little with other people's affairs. He died in March, 1885, at the age of seventy-seven years, and in his death the community lost one of its valued citizens. By his first marriage he had two children--John H., of this review; Mary, who became the wife of John Babb. They resided in Lost Creek township, but both are now deceased, Mrs. Babb having died at the age of sixty years. Mrs. Wilgus died when only twenty-two years of age, and Mr. Wilgus afterward married Hannah Robinson, who passed away two years before his death. They had four children--William, who resides on the old homestead; Thomas, who resides in Brown township on land formerly owned by his grandfather, William Wilgus; and Anna, who became the wife of Harrison Brecount and died at the age of twenty-five years. For five years past the Wilgus family have held a reunion, three having been held in Miami county and two in Logan county where the descendants of one of the four brothers who came to America from England are located. As many as one hundred of the family name are present on those occasions.

    John Hunt Wilgus, whose name introduces this review, was only three years old at the time of his mother's death, and until about fifteen or sixteen years of age he lived either with his paternal or maternal grandparents in Warren county. He then returned to his father's home, remaining under the parental roof until his marriage which occurred in August, 1857, when he was twenty-six years of age, the lady of his choice being Miss Delcina Frazee, a daughter of Lewis and Rebecca (Wolcott) Frazee. She was born on the farm where she now lives. The first of the name to locate here was Moses Frazee, whose father was a native of France and the original American immigrant. Moses Frazee was married in Virginia to Priscilla Morris, who came to Ohio, locating near Cincinnati. He located in Miami county about 1812 and purchased land from a man who had entered it from the government. He had four sons and eight daughters, the former being Moses, Lewis, David and Newton, who died in early life. Of the eight daughters only one is now living, Priscilla, widow of David Pence, of Westville, Ohio. She is now eighty-six years of age and is the only survivor of her immediate branch of the Frazee family. Moses lived and died on a Miami farm, passing away at the age of seventy-nine years, and his wife was more than seventy years of age at the time of her death. One of the earliest ministers in the Baptist church in this locality, he labored earnestly to advance the cause of Christianity among the pioneer settlers of the community. David Frazee resided on a farm in Miami county until about 1851 when he removed to Clark county, Ohio, where he died. His son, James Frazee, now resides in Clark county. Moses, Jr., became a Baptist minister and died in middle life, while devoting his energies to that faith. Lewis Frazee, the father of Mrs. Wilgus, married Rebecca Wolcott, a daughter of John Wolcott. Of their eight children three are living, namely: Morris, of Conover; Sarah, wife of David Sise, of Lost Creek; and Moses. Lewis Frazee remained upon his farm until his death. He inherited property from his father who gave to each of his sons an equal amount of money. Mr. Frazee served as colonel of a militia and was in command on the old training days in Lost Creek, thus winning his title. Be died at the age of thirty-five years, and his wife remained upon the old homestead for twenty years thereafter. She then went to Champaign county, Ohio, where her death occurred in her eightieth year. Her eldest child was only twelve years of age at the time of her husband's death, but she managed to keep all of her children together, save one daughter, who went to live elsewhere and lived to see all her family settled in life. After leaving the old homestead her sons operated it until it was purchased by Mr. Wilgus on the first of January, 1863.

    In the meantime Mr. Wilgus resided upon another farm. His wife, however, was born on the old Frazee homestead February 20, 1837, in the old brick house which her grandfather had erected and which forms apart of the present home built by Mr. Wilgus in 1872. The farm now comprises two hundred and twenty acres, and upon it the present owner has made all the principal improvements. He makes a specialty of the growing and feeding of stock and for some years, in connection with. his brother, William, he was engaged in breeding short horn cattle, continuing that industry for thirty years. They were pioneers in that line and were very successful. Many fine short horns were exhibited by them at the annual fairs and won first premiums.

    Unto Mr. and Mrs. Wilgus have been born six sons--Lewis, who is now agent at Conover, Ohio; J. Franklin, who is engaged in farming near the old homestead; G. Rousseau, who after pursuing a normal course, in Lebanon, Ohio, and a business course, taught school for five years in Lost Creek township and is now operating the home farm, being recognized as one of the leading and enterprising agriculturists of the community; Thomas, a cabinet-maker of Piqua, Ohio; Ralph H., of Lost Creek township; and William, at home. All of the sons were reared under the parental roof and received good educational privileges, thereby being fitted for life's practical and responsible duties. Thomas is a graduate in the scientific department of the Delaware College of the class of 1895 and was a successful teacher for two years. G. Rousseau received excellent educational privileges and to his life work has brought a comprehensive and accurate knowledge of business principles. Mr. and Mrs. Wilgus now have eight grandchildren. About eighteen years ago Mrs. Wilgus had the sight destroyed in one of her eyes, and for six years she has been blind, but she still presides over her home, her counsels and advice being important factors in its conduct. Mr. Wilgus is a Republican in his political views, being a station advocate of the party principles and has served as trustee and in other township offices. His life has been quietly passed, yet his career is that of an honorable, enterprising and successful business man whose advancement is most creditable, for it has come as the diametrical result of his own efforts.

    Additions and corrections, added in 1999 by Adam Wilgus II

      The above biography was taken directly from the 1900 biographical history of Miami County Ohio, which
      contains a few very apparent inaccuracies. These inaccuracies are mentioned below:

      (1) In 1815, Cincinnati was quite a bit larger than "a mere hamlet containing only three houses."  That
      being the case, it is highly unlikely that William was offered all the land for his team and wagon.

      (2) This William could not have been in the Revolutionary War because he was not born until 1776. There was a
      William in that war, but he was a forage master, not the Quarter Master General.

      (3) This William had five sons - the three who came to Miami County (William, James, Thomas) and two more
      who married and stayed in Warren County.

      (4) The William Wilgus outlined in the above biography was born 29 Feb 1776 and died 9 March 1866, making him
      ninety years old at time of death.  He died in Warren County Ohio.

      Inaccuracies noted by Adam Wilgus II, 3rd Great Grandson
      of William Wilgus 1776-1866.     

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