Wayne County Biographies

Part of the Indiana Biographies Project

Rev. Reuben Tobey

For twenty-six years one of the most efficient laborers in the cause of Christianity in northern Indiana was Rev. Reuben Tobey, who for that period was a member of the conference of this section of the state, in the Methodist Episcopal church. A strong and forcible speaker, earnest and eloquent in the presentation of the truth, his efforts were abundantly blessed, and over two thousand persons identified themselves with the church under his teachling,—four hundred while he was pastor of the Pearl street church in Richmond, some three years. (This is now known as the Fifth Street church.) Since 1883 he has been on the superannuated list, but has been active in the continuance of the work to which he dedicated his life when in the prime of his early manhood.

The paternal grandfather of Rev. Reuben Tobey was named Michael. He was born near Hagerstown, Maryland, on Pleasant Valley farm, where he spent his entire Hfe. He was a very prosperous farmer and his homestead was one of the most beautiful in a section where lovely homes abounded. A fine spring, and great orchards which bore an abundance of excellent fruit of various kinds, were among the attractions of the farm. There the father of our subject, Michael Tobey, Jr., was born, May 15, 1789, and upon the death of his father the young man inherited the old homestead. He continued to cultivate the place until 1836, when he removed to Montgomery county, Ohio, and became extensively engaged in farming, at a point to the westward of Dayton. While a resident of Maryland he had also attended to contracting and building, employing a manager whose duty it was to look after the farm. In Ohio he followed much the same plan, giving his own attention chiefly to contracting, and giving employment to many men. His death took place in Dayton, September, 1872. Actively concerned in the spread of the Christian faith, he built a church on his own land in Ohio, it being popularly known as "Tobey's meeting-house." A large congregation grew up there and flourished, the doctrines of the United Brethren being taught in the little chapel. During the fifteen or twenty years of his residence in Dayton he was a faithful member of the Methodist Episcopal church. He had more than a local reputation as a man thoroughly posted on all public affairs and policies, and was strongly in favor of protective tariff for this country. First a Whig, he later identified himself with the Republican party. For his wife he chose Margaret Miller, of Maryland, and to them six sons and four daughters were born. Before his life closed he saw his sons all married and well settled, and four of them ofificiating as ministers—three of them of the United Brethren church, namely: Jonathan, Michael T. and Henry. Reuben was a clergyman of the Methodist Episcopal church. Another son. Dr. Robert Tobey, was a physician, and died in Decatur, Illinois, and Nathaniel was a rich capitalist and business man of Troy, Ohio.

The birth of Rev. Reuben Tobey occurred March 22, 1830, in his paternal home near Hagerstown, Maryland. His education was obtained in Ohio, and as early as 1855 he made a trip into this state, selling merchandise in Goshen and other towns. In 1857 he was ordained a deacon in the church and two years later was made an elder by Bishop Janes. For ten years he was connected with the Bethel work, having the state of Indiana under his supervision, as regards this department of usefulness, but recently he retired from this responsible position on account of failing health. He has always been a stalwart Republican in his political views.

The first marriage of Mr. Tobey was solemnized in West Alexandria, Ohio, in 1849. To himself and wife, whose maiden name was Adelina Houghman, three children were born: Maria E. Hazard, of Tacoma, Washington; Winfield Scott, freight agent at Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and Mrs. Mary E. Peabody, of Columbia City, Indiana. His first wife having died in 1870, Mr. Tobey married Nettie Mann, of McConnelisville, Ohio, in 1871. Their two sons are Edwin R., who is connected with the street-railroad lines in Seattle, Washington; and Charles P., who for the past five years has been employed in the Columbia City (Indiana) Bank.

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