Isaac B. Essex being the first white man who made a
home upon our soil, has already been mentioned, and the circumstances of his
coming noted. Still, as he was but the forerunner of a large group of kinsmen
who speedily followed him hither, we feel it is proper to advert to the family
in this connection, and give some additional facts concerning them.
Thomas Essex, senior, was born January 13th, 1771, in
the "old Dominion," and Elizabeth his wife in 1773, reaching back farther into
the last century than any lives we have yet recorded, both of them ante dating
the Independence of the United States.
We regret our information is so meager concerning their
early life. They were married in the state of Virginia (we suppose), on Easter
Sunday, 1791, and lived together almost sixty-two years, both of them dying in
1853, at the house of their son-in-law, David Cooper, on section ten, Essex
township. Mrs. Essex was a devout Christian woman, died very suddenly January
26th, and Mr. Essex slowly and painfully, from cancer in the face, May 15th.
To these parents were born eleven children, two of whom
died in infancy, the remaining nine living to a good old age in the enjoyment of
In 1832, this father and mother followed their son,
Isaac B., into what has since been called, in their honor the Essex settlement;
now Essex township. "With them came four sons, and one daughter and her husband;
a man well remembered by the pioneers—David Cooper.
Other sons must soon have followed, as at least six
have been at one time or other residents here. Of these the eldest surviving, is
Isaac B., who states that he has reached the seventy-sixth year of his life, as
he was born in January, 1800. He now resides at Dongola, Union county, Illinois,
and if we can judge from the interesting letter he writes, is enjoying "a green
old age." The two brothers older than himself have passed away; those younger
are all living so far as he knows, but "scattered far and wide." David is in
California, William near Henderson in Knox county, Thomas in Peoria county,
while Joseph, John, and Mrs. Cooper still remain within the confines of little
Stark. These men appear, from what we can learn of them, to have been good order
loving citizens, democrats in politics; Methodists in faith, their parents were
prominent in all matters pertaining to that church at a very early day.
Isaac B., however, we conclude, was known as a
"Henderson man," prior to the formation of Stark county, and as very probable
his brothers were also, as at that time, local matters, more than party feelings
divided the people. This gentleman is now a Baptist by religious profession, and
a republican in politics, if we are correctly informed.
Since the foregoing notice was penned, Joseph Essex has
left us forever. He was stricken by paralysis, in the early part of this
centennial year, and never recovered from the shock. His grand-daughter, Mrs.
Sarah Reynolds, in an obituary notice, recalls the facts to mind, that he was
one of the first to move into the newly laid out town of Toulon, where he made
his home for 19 years, and had the pioneer blacksmith's shop in that place.
He was twice married and leaves a widow and eight
children. His second wife was a Miss Sarah Grass, a name well remembered among
the old settlers.