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Jesse B. Vantine
1821-1893


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Commemorative Biographical Record of the counties of Sandusky and Ottawa, Ohio

J. H. Beers & Co, 1896
pp. 789-790

 

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Jesse B. Vantine
Although for many years the flowers have bloomed and faded over the grave of this well-known pioneer and agriculturist of Clay township, Ottawa county, his memory is still fresh in the hearts of his family and of those who knew his sterling worth, and appreciated the work he had done in the improvement and progress of the community in which at an early day he made his home.

Mr. Vantine was a native of the Empire State, born in Cayuga county, December 5, 1821. His school days were over at a tender age, and he commenced to do farm work, at which he continued several years, and also for a number of years worked upon the canals. In 1851 he came to Ohio, and purchased eighty acres of woodland in Clay township, Ottawa county.

We of the present day cannot realize what this meant. It meant living in a rudely-constructed log cabin, without a single comfort or convenience, surrounded by dense forests, where the howl of the wolf and the hoot of the owl were nightly heard; where the timid deer and the skulking Indian threaded their way through the underbrush, and where roads, neighbors, and post offices were things unknown.

Here the young pioneer built himself a cabin, and while clearing his land depended upon his trusty rifle for his subsistence. But one day, on returning from hunting, nothing remained but the ruins of his rude home, which with its contents had been burned. He was not discouraged, however; another cabin was constructed, and then, realizing more than ever the truth of the proverb that "it is not good for man to be alone," he returned to the East, and on October 16, 1851, was married in Cayuga county, N.Y., to Almira Rodgers, daughter of Joshua and Jerusia (McKee) Rodgers.

With his young bride Mr. Vantine once more took up his abode in the wilderness, and together they worked with willing hands to make for themselves a comfortable home. It is hard to conceive of the trials and hardships endured by the young wife so far from the accustomed comforts of the East, with no companions to share her solitude and recall pleasant associations; yet these sacrifices were cheerfully made for the sake of the husband whose inspiration she was, and to whom she was not only a helping hand, but a constant encouragement and sustainer.

In time children came to fill their humble home with laughter and song and make the days less lonely, and as the years rolled on the forests disappeared and broad fields of waving grain, fine orchards and a handsome dwelling, took their place. The log cabin, the scene of so much sacrifice and yet of so much true happiness, is gone forever, but the lessons there learned have borne their fruit in the busy useful lives of its occupants.

The children of these worthy pioneers, all of whom were born and educated in Clay township, were five in number, and a brief record of them is as follows: (1) Ellie J., born September 3, 1852, was the first white child born in the part of Clay township; she was married in 1871 to George White, a manufacturer of lime in Genoa, and they have five children-Mary, Bertha, Otto, Henry and Almira. (2) James B., born April 16, 1854, is a lime worker at Marblehead, Ottawa county; he was married in October, 1884, at Genoa, to Miss Carrie Walker, and they have two children, Elsie and Ray. (3) Maryetta, born April 10, 1860, is the wife of Taylor Hofman, a farmer in Clay township; they have two children, Pearl and Jay. (4) J. Frank, who was born April 24, 1871, followed the occupation of a farmer for a number of years, and is now in Toledo; he was married at Martin, in 1891, to Henrietta, daughter of John Beedee, a farmer of Clay township, and they have one child, [H/N]ettie May, born October 13, 1892. (5) Charles F. Vantine, the youngest, is living at home.

John Beedee, the father of Mrs. J. Frank Vantine, died in 1879, from the effects of an accident, his leg having been broken by a falling tree. His wife died December 9,1891. Their family comprised five children, of whom the following record is given: John Beedee is married and works in a mill; Martin Freeborn lives in Lorain county, and works in the bending shops (he has one child); Loren is a cooper, living at Clay Center (he is married and has four children); Mary is the wife of Mr. Downing, who is a conductor on the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway at Toledo (they have one child); Henrietta is the wife of J. Frank Vantine.

During his busy life, Jesse B. Vantine was very popular and highly respected by his fellow citizens. He was a stanch Democrat, and was for a number of years a trustee of the township, and was a commissioner when the town was first formed. He was also school director for several years, and served for some years as a constable. He died March 27, 1893, of consumption, contracted during the hardships of his early life. He was a faithful and devoted husband and father, and will never be forgotten by his family, who owe so much to his precepts and example. His wife survives him and makes her home on the old farm.