Stark County and Its Pioneers

Personal Sketches

     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 unusual health.
     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.

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Updated March 29, 2007