Wayne County Biographies

Part of the Indiana Biographies Project

Samuel S. Clevenger

Representing as he does two of the oldest families of Wayne county, the Sparrs and the Clevengers, the subject of this sketch is well entitled to an honored place in the records of this section of Indiana. He and his relatives have borne a very important part in the development of this county, which was a wilderness at the time of their first settlement here, in the early part of this century. In tracing the history of this locality it is found that the three famihes who first permanently located in Washington township, Wayne county, as early as 1814, were the Jenkins, Sparrs and Doddridges, whose homes were near what was known as the Doddridge church. Our subject's maternal grandfather, Mr. Sparr, was the first, as it is believed, to take up his abode in the section which later was organized and named Abington township. The paternal grandfather, Daniel Clevenger, of Vermont, came west, and for a brief period resided in Preble county, Ohio. In 1819 he settled in the forest at a point about a mile and a half west of the present village of Abington, and the property which then came into his possession by purchase has remained in the hands of the Clevenger family ever since,—four-score years. On the place, which now belongs to the subject of this sketch, is an old pear-tree, in a good state of preservation, which was planted by the grandfather some seventy-two years ago.

A son of Samuel and Ruth (Sparr) Clevenger, Samuel S., of this sketch, was born in a humble log cabin in the midst of the forest, in 1844. The father, whose birth had occurred in 1810, died in 1881, after a career of honest industry and integrity. The wife and mother, a most estimable woman, who had bravely shared the vicissitudes of pioneer life, was called to her reward in 1894, when in her eighty-second year. Of the ten children born to this worthy couple two are deceased, namely: Susan and Daniel. Those who survive are as follows: Rebecca J., Sabrah L. , Mary E., Samuel S., Joseph, Nancy, Thomas J. and Francis M.

As was necessary, Samuel S. Clevenger aided in the.clearing and cultivation of his father's frontier farm, and had very limited educational advantages. When he became old enough to earn something independently he commenced working for neighboring farmers, and in this manner managed to obtain a start toward success. While still quite young, he rented a tract of land and raised some crops upon this property, and in the autumn of 1867 he settled upon the homestead of one hundred and sixty acres, where he has remained ever since. The place, which is now well improved and accordingly valuable, is situated in the western part of Abington township. On the 2d of December, 1869, his house was burned; but this disaster was not so great as it might have been, for, with the genuine kindliness of heart which prevailed among the sturdy pioneers of this section, they assembled and cut logs, hewed them, and erected a new dwelling for the Clevenger family within a short time, so that they moved into it and commenced the new year of 1870 under its friendly shelter.

During the years which have since rapidly rolled away, our subject has prospered and has occupied an enviable position in the community. As a business man his judgment is excellent, and all of his dealings with others are marked with the utmost fairness and justice. Thus he has steadily risen in the esteetn of those who are associated with him in any manner, and it was deemed most suitable and fitting that he should be called upon to serve in the capacity of supervisor of his township, and later, that his name should be presented for the higher office of county treasurer. He was duly nominated to this responsible position, on the Democratic ticket, and, though his party was defeated, he polled a good vote at the ensuing election. Upon the 27th of April, 1890, Mr. Clevenger joined Cornelius Lodge, No. 232, F. & A. M., in which he has held several offices, besides being past master.

The marriage of Mr. Clevenger and Miss Nancy V. Simmons was solemnized October 15, 1867. Their eldest child, Florence E., is the wife of William Plankenhorns; and the next daughter, Margaret Alice, now deceased, was the wife of Edward Garthwait. The other children are: David M., Thomas F., John S., Mary Edna, Leota Rebecca and Eva, — all living save the last mentioned. The father of Mrs. Clevenger, Thomas Simmons, formerly of Union county, Indiana, died in 1873, at the age of fifty-six years. His widow, Margaret, for the past two years a resident of Missouri, has attained the advanced age of eighty-one years.

Biographical and Genealogical History of Wayne, Fayette, Union and Franklin Counties, Indiana, Volume 1, The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, 1899