My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio published by Chapman Bros., in 1890.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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JOHN AMBLER SHIPMAN is the worthy descendant of a noble pioneer ancestry, and it gives us pleasure to insert in this volume an outline of his life. He is one of Springfield’s favorite and favored sons, who “native and to the manner born,” has been untiring in his efforts to aid his associates in the business world to place this city of his birth in the front ranks with its sister municipalities of this Commonwealth, as regards its commerce, its varied industries, its government, its public improvements, and in all else that go to the making of a progressive, enterprising and thriving city. While he has thus labored he has advanced his own interests and has acquired a handsome competency, which he enjoys in the beautiful home that he has established on Yellow Springs Street, where he lives in retirement, free from all business cares, excepting the management of his property and investments.

The subject of this biographical review was born in this city August 11, 1829, his father, Clark Shipman, having been an early pioneer of the place, coming here from his native Kentucky when this city was but an insignificant hamlet. In the forest wilds of this region and on the uncultivated prairies, deer, and other wild game were plentiful, and he being a fine marksman, was a successful hunter and kept the family larder well supplied with tempting game. He was an intelligent, wide-awake man, and held the rank of Brigadier-General in the State Militia, and his death in 1830, while yet in the prime of life, was a blow to the interests of the little community of pioneers who had settled in wilderness. His wife survived him for more than fifty years, her death finally occurring in this city in the home of our subject in 1884, at the venerable age of eighty four years. By her husband’s death she was left a young widow with the care of three children, but nobly did she take up the task that thus devolved upon her and trained them carefully to good and useful lives, so that they might be worthy members of any community wheresoever their lots might be cast. Our subject is now the sole survivor of the family, his brother Warren and sister Annie having both departed this life. His mother, whose maiden name was Ruth Ambler, was the daughter of one of the most noted and active of the early pioneers of Springfield and of Clark County.

John Ambler was one of the earliest settlers of this city, coming here from New Jersey in 1808, and ever after that he was a prominent figure in the annals of city and county until death rounded out a life that was an honor to himself, his family and the entire community. Soon after coming here he bought a farm in Mad River Township, but agriculture was not to his taste, and he soon sold out and settled in Springfield, buying a large tract of land here, which is now included within the corporate limits of the city. He engaged in the mercantile business and also kept a hotel, beside taking a part in the management of public affairs. His bold enterprise and large public spirit were moving powers in many a scheme for the advancement of the city and county, and he was always ready with hand and purse to do whatsoever he could for the infant colony. He donated the land for the Presbyterian Church, and contributed largely towards the erection of a house of worship. When the county seat was removed to Springfield he was elected County Treasurer, and had his office in his kitchen, and as a valuable memento of those early days in the pioneer history of Clark County, our subject has the bookcase in his possession in which he kept the books and moneys collected for public use.

John Ambler Shipman, of this sketch, was but one year old when his father died. He remained with his mother and attended school as opportunity offered until he was fifteen years old, when he was apprenticed to learn the trade of a cabinet-maker. He subsequently established himself as a furniture dealer on Main Street, and one year later bought a building on the corner of that and Center Street. A year after that his business had so increased that he was justified in building for himself, so as to obtain more commodious quarters, and buying a lot on Market Street, between Main and High Streets, he erected a substantial, conveniently arranged, roomy building, in which he carried on a large and steadily increasing trade, carrying a fine lot of furniture of all kinds to meet the demands of all purses and tastes. In January 29, 1877, he was appointed Postmaster by Gen. Grant, having secured the recommendations of Senator Sherman and Gen, Keifer. He was reappointed by President Hayes, and continued in office until 1885, giving entire satisfaction to all concerned, showing his eminent fitness for the position by his business-like and methodical management of the affairs of the office, by his close application to his duties in that connection, and by his invariably courteous treatment of those under him and of all with whom he came in contact. Since leaving the office he has lived retired, attending only to his private affairs.

Among other desirable property he owns the fine brick residence in which he lives on Yellow Springs Street. He is, as we have noted, liberal and public-spirited, and is generous with the wealth he has acquired, spending money freely in any cause that appeals to his warm heart. He has grown up with the city, and has a large circle of friends, and is of high social standing in this community where he is so well-known and esteemed, he is prominently identified with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, as a member of Springfield Lodge, No. 33, and belongs to Lagonda Lodge, No. 61, Improved Order of Red Men.

This sketch of our subject would be incomplete without reference to his devoted wife, the true home-maker, who has shared the joys and sorrows of life with him for thirty years. In 1859 he was united in marriage with Miss Fanny Grant, who is like himself, a native of Springfield, and a daughter of pioneer parents, William and Nancy (McCormick) Grant, of whom see sketch on another page of this volume. The felicities of their wedded life have been enhanced by the birth of three children — Warren, Annie and Earl.

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This family biography is one of the many biographies included in Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio published by Chapman Bros., in 1890. 

View additional Greene County, Ohio family biographies here: Greene County, Ohio Biographies

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