Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Jacob and Louisa (Fisher) Phend

Jacob Phend was born June 27, 1829 in Aarmuhle, prefecture of Interlaken, Canton Bern, Switzerland. Not quite three years later, on June 11th 1832 Jacob left the city of LeHavre, France on his way to a new country. He was onboard a ship with his parents, Johannes and Susanna K├╝bla B'hend, his two half-sisters, Barbara and Margaret, and his half-brother, John, "bound for Baltimore, with the intention of settling in Ohio" according to his father's passport. Family tradition has it that as the ship was nearing the American shore they encountered a severe storm that drove them off their course and the ship was driven onto rocks. It is not known where they came ashore, or where they went immediately afterwards, only that by October of 1832 his father had purchased land in Stark County, Ohio. The family settled in that area of Stark County that by the end of 1832 became part of newly-formed Carroll County.

It was there that Jacob grew up, presumably performing the same tasks as any other youngster raised on a farm during that time period. In December, 1840, the Michael Fisher family moved into the neighborhood. Their oldest child was 11 year old Louisa. Seven years later, on August 27, 1847 according to family records, Jacob Phend and Louisa Fisher became husband and wife. It is thought that Jacob and Louisa may have moved to Holmes county, Ohio where his half-sister Margaret Phend Weiss lived with her family. According to family records, it was in Holmes county that John, the first child of Jacob and Louisa, was born on July 29th 1848.

The following year, Jacob moved his young family to Taylor township in Greene County, Indiana. His half-sister, Barbara, had moved there about 1840 with her husband, Christian Feutz. On May 12th 1851, the second child was born to Jacob and Louisa and he was named Christian.

In March of 1852, Jacob sold his land in Greene County and headed north to Marshall County near the Kosciusko County line, not far from where "his wife's people" lived. Louisa's father had died in 1845 and at about the same time that she and Jacob went to southern Indiana, her mother had moved with the other children to northern Indiana. It is not known why she went north and they went south; perhaps she had relatives living there. At any rate, in the spring of 1852, Jacob and Louisa moved their family to northern Indiana and settled in German township, Marshall county.

The Phend-Fisher Family History written by Clarence Phend (oldest son of Christian) in 1928 provides the following account of the family's journey to northern Indiana: "In the year of 1852, Jacob Phend took his family and a few meager possessions which included one horse, a yoke of oxen, a wagon, and a dog onto a canal boat and journeyed to Lafayette, Indiana. While they were loading the oxen and the horse onto the canal boat, the horse became frightened and jumped overboard into the canal. Immediately the dog jumped off the boat, seized the rope to the horse's halter with his teeth and swam to shore with the horse in tow. A passenger on the canal boat, upon seeing this unusual fete performed by the dog, offered to pay twenty dollars for the animal, but the offer was refused. Upon arriving in Lafayette the dog was missing. A thorough search failed to reveal the whereabouts of the animal. From Lafayette they journeyed to their claim in Marshall county by ox cart. There was no house on this land so it was necessary for them to stay with some German people who lived nearby. They immediately set about to build a log house in which to live, and it was here that their children Samuel, William, Jacob and Sophia were born."

The family moved once again, in 1865, but only about one mile east to Scott township in Kosciusko county. They lived near the small town of Hepton, about two miles south of where the town of Nappanee would be built in 1875. That part of the county, as it would have been at the time the Phend's lived there, was described in A Standard History of Kosciusko County, Indiana (1919): "Scott Township was the last of the three northwestern townships to be settled, and it compares favorably, as to soil and drainage, with other portions of the county. The first post office was established in the southern portion of the township during the year 1853. Scott Township settled very slowly, although a small hamlet commenced to form in the neighborhood of the Hepler and Yockey farms. The original name of the village was Hepton. A general store, a mill, a creamery, a good school and other evidences of an intelligent and settled community gradually appeared in that neighborhood."

The farm at Hepton became known as the "Phend Homestead" and it was there, in November 1865, that Henry Phend, the last child of Jacob and Louisa, was born. The "Biographical and Historical Record of Kosciusko County" (1887) states: "Jacob and Louisa Phend purchased 120 acres of partially improved land, and now have about 100 acres in a good state of cultivation. Mr. Phend has built a fine residence and good, substantial farm buildings, and is considered one of the representative farmers of Scott township. Politically he affiliates with the Republican party. He and his wife are members of the Evangelical church."

It wasn't until 1875 that Jacob and Louisa sold their farm in Marshall county to their two oldest children, John and Christian. In the deed there was an added provision whereby a plot of land, to be used for church purposes, was given to the trustees of the Ebenezer Church, Evangelical Association of North America. A small white church stands there today, though I don't know when it was built. Later, Jacob was instrumental in establishing three other churches; one at Hepton, one in Nappanee, and the other at the community of Pleasant Plains near Limon, Colorado.

To be continued. . . see part 2 (link added September 26, 2007)

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