Rev. John Van Buskirk was born in Allegheny county, Maryland, November 19, 1795. His father, Peter Van Buskirk, emigrated to Ohio about 1799, bringing his family with him. They remained in Chillicothe one year, at which time he purchased land near Williamsport, and conducted a milling business at that place.
John Van Buskirk, as a boy, had no opportunities for obtaining a school education, but learned to read while at home. He was married, February 8, 1821, to Sophia Seward, who was born in Virginia, July 8, 1799. Soon after marriage he was converted, and though he did not immediately unite with a church, he preached the gospel as he found it in the Bible, throughout the neighborhood, in private houses, and where ever opportunity was offered. His conversion occurred under the preaching of Rev. Matthew Gardner, and he joined the Christian church at Williamsport, August 8, 1823. At his conversion he was strongly opposed by his father, who had no sympathy with the christian religion; but by prayer he was enabled to come off conqueror.
After his marriage he attended school one term, which was the extent of his school education. He was a man of strong common sense, and he applied this to every thing in life, making himself what he was a self-made man. His desire was to do all the good in the world that he could, and he followed out this desire throughout his life. Though never a salaried pastor, he was ordained a regular minister in the Christian church, and was always zealous in the cause of Christianity, laboring earnestly for the conversion of sinners. His church was the broad field of the world, and he preached in private houses and in school-houses, always producing a powerful impression on the minds of his hearers.
Mrs. Van Buskirk was a woman of strong convictions, but never had the benefit of an education, She filled a useful sphere, however, and was beloved by all with whom she came in contact for the fine qualities of her mind and heart. She was a true and consistent christian woman, a kind and loving mother, and a good wife to the husband of her choice. She always cherished the welfare of the church, and was very benevolent, giving to the needy as they required, and assisting in the building of the chapel in Monroe township to the amount of one hundred and seventy dollars. Rev. John Van. Buskirk gave three hundred and fifty dollars to the same object. He died September 15, 1874, aged nearly seventy-nine years. Mrs. Van Buskirk died January 10, 1868, aged sixty-nine years, six months, and ten days.
Their children were: Caroline, born June 18, 1822, who married John Wood, July 5, 1840, and now lives in Iowa; Diantha, born October 12, 1824, who was married, August 23, 1846, to Samuel Rowlen, and died in Monroe township, January 20, 1849; Peter, born May 15, 1826, who married Rebecca Wood, December 15, 1847, and died in Monroe, October 15, 1873; Rhoda, born June 2, 1831, who married William Bennett in August, 1845, and died in Monroe, March 22, 1874; Sarah, born August 28, 1833, who married Hiram Russell, February 3, 1857, and now lives in Delaware county, Indiana; Orlando, born June 6, 1829, who was married in August, 1856, to Elizabeth Betts, and died in Clarksburg, Pickaway county, January 11, 1858; Francis Marion, born September 25, 1838, who married Diana T. Hedges, and died, September 27, 1865, in Monroe township; Mary, born March 26, 1836, who was married, September 20, 1868, to Adam G. C. Bailey, and now lives in Mt. Sterling, Madison county; and William H. H., born May 3, 1842, who died November 2, 1865.
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