Highlights on the lives of my Parents, Benjamin and Lorain Culp Brobst By, Aunt Anna Brobst Town
Ben Brobst was the son of Peter and Elizabeth Fellars Brobst. He was born in Fairfield County, Madison Twp., Ohio Jan. 21, 1842 Died Oct. 10, 1904 at the age of 62 years. During Civil War times, he married Lorain Jurie Culp, youngest daughter of Henry and Sarah Spangler Culp. His Uncle David Brobst also married into the Culp family-his wife being the oldest Culp daughter Leah. Ben's wife Lorain was born Feb. 27, l840 in Pickaway Co., Walnut Twp., Ohio. She died. Jan. 17, 1919 at about 74 years, and just a few months after the close of the World War, which was celebrated on Armistice Day, Nov. 11, 1918. She passed away from the Flu epidemic, which seemed to be all over the world. The final resting-place is Union Cemetery the north section of Columbus, Ohio.
They were the parents of four children Ernest Elverton, Sarah Elizabeth, (who was named for the two grandmothers) Anna Florence and John Benjamin. Ernest married Laura Thomas and have three children, Helen Louise, Chas. Lawrence, and Robert Wilson. Helen was married to Clarence Williams and had two children, Eleanor and John Robert. Lawrence married Irene Crawford. Have two children, Marilyn and Chas. Jr., Robert married Mildred Mayer and have a child Barbara. Helen's second marriage was to Harold Dunlay, third to Graham, fourth to Fred Leppin.
Lizzie married Ernest Dutoit. Had four children, Raymond, Benjamin, Lillian Marie and Francis Elizabeth. Francis married Earl Stump. Have three children, Alice Virginia, Earl Jr., and Barbara. Alice is married to Robert Holloway and has a son Robert Jr., Raymond is dead, Benjamin died when a baby. Marie died when about twelve years old. Lizzie's second marriage was to Darwin Foulk. Have a son Frederick who married Justene Ferrin. Have five children, Betty, Richard, Donald, Nancy Jane, and May Ellen.
Anna married Howard Town. Have three children, Monabelle Lorain, Dorothy Adella, and Roy Howard. Monabelle married Arthur Read. Dorothy married Frank Laughlin. Roy married Mary Hawley. They have a son William Howard, daughters Dorothy Sue, and Melody Ann. Dorothy's children are John Richard and Monabelle Ann.
Ben Jr. married Cora Shetler. Have two children, George and Alice Lorain. George married Louise--have a daughter Jennie, Alice married Ralph Philips, son of "Chip", Tennessee, and Melody Ann.
Ernest Brobst was born Oct. 31, 1863, died Nov. 12, 1929, 65 years of age. He also is buried in Union Cemetery in Col., Ohio. Lizzie was born Oct. 31, l868. Died Jan., l948, buried East Gate, Col., O. Anna was born Nov. 5, l88O at London, O. Ben was born April 22,1885 at London, Ohio.
As a young man Ben Brobst Sr. received education at a college in Lithopolis, O. During this school period, he lived with his sister, Mary who was married to Rev. Peter Eirich, a Lutheran Minister. Uncle Eirich was a well-educated man, spoke several different languages. Later in life, after he had left the church service, he was twice prime minister to France under President McKinley's term of office--also "stumped" the country for McKinley for his election. He was a splendid and fiery orator. Rev. Wagenhals in whose memory the beautiful Wagenhals Memorial has been erected in Lithopolis, O. and my father were very good friends.
Father was born in a log cabin near Marcy, O. This farm also boasted a very good Maple Sugar Camp. Father said there were a few friendly Indians still around when he was a boy. The cabin has been torn down since the birthplace was sold to Valentine Brobst, a cousin.
Father used to tell of a pot of gold, which he claimed was buried beneath a very large tree in the front of the house, by the Indians. He dreamed this so many times and in always the same location, same kind of container, depth of ground etc. He insisted to his dying day that there was something to the dream and if dug deep enough, the treasure would be found. He and Uncle George Crumley who was married to father's sister Matilda did get permission from Val Brobst to do some digging at the tree--but found nothing--except the fact the layers of dirt had been disturbed at some time or other. Papa wanted to dig deeper as he said they hadn't gone deep enough according to the dream. Uncle George didn't seem to want to do this and as it was on the other man's land, Papa gave up the idea, tho he always maintained the pot of gold was buried there by the Indians. The Indians did bury their treasures, so maybe the dreams were not so crazy, due to the fact that when Grandpa Brobst dug a new well, as the ground was turned over, they found a small vein of' gold, pieces of which were sent to Columbus to be examined and were pronounced pure gold metal. They did dig some further but no more of the metal was found and there seemed to be no explanation of the small vein they did find.
About the year 1720, two brothers, ancestors of ours, came over from Luxembourg, Germany and settled in Berks Co., Penn. Phillip was the name of the one from whom we got our family tree. I understand, some where along the line, the name was changed from Probst to Brobst. But I cannot vouch for the truth of this. Also the Brobst family history dates back to Martin Luther from whom we are supposed to be descended. Some relative told my brother Ernie he had the history, which had been traced back to Luther and the fifteenth century. That also our ancestors translated the Bible which caused them to war with the Popes for its possessions and caused them to flee for their lives into Switzerland and other surrounding countries. According to another history note, the name of Brobst, ranked next to that of Bishop, those days. Father also said many times that his father had told them that there was a fortune over in Germany for the Brobst family. Some years before Father's death, a lady and her husband, named Pfeiffer, had a bakery in Columbus, where my parents traded. They took the German paper from Germany in which there was an item asking for information of the Brobst family in America. They gave this paper to Papa, but the state of his health was so bad he couldn't attend to it himself, so gave the article to Uncle Pete Dotson to investigate. Uncle Pete claimed he did look into the matter but so far as it was translated, nothing of importance was found. Lizzie and I were recently told that Byron Dotson, a grandson of Uncle Pete and Aunt Cal still have the German letter, also an old German Bible and several other things, which were told they would give to us providing Aunt Cal had not placed thorn in the Wagenhal's Memorial Hall at Lithopolis, O. where they lived for the most part of their married lives.
Our parents started married life on a farm, but later moved to West Jefferson, Ohio where Papa opened a dry goods store. This business must not have turned out so well, for when they moved away later, the town folks owed around three thousand dollars for merchandise. This never was paid. Of course this all happened during the re-construction period following the Civil War. They must have then moved to Springfield, O. but I do not know what business was engaged in there or the length of time they lived there. The next residence was in London, O. where Papa engaged in the hardware business with Mr. Pern Cowling. He traveled thru the country sections selling the Florence sewing machine and other farm implements, which I presume, were carried by Mr. Cowling. It was here thru a second distribution of money from mother's side of the house, a home was bought and held in trust for the children, Ernie and Lizzie. Guess Ben and I had not become members of the family yet. In London and thru the country round about our parents were very well known as good and influential citizens. As well as pioneers of the district in several of the other counties and townships.
Along with many other close friends of my parents the Cowlings, Cheseldines, Pfeiffers, Ebners, Placiers, Minshalls, etc. they were written up in a history of Madison Twp. and several other places as pioneers and leading citizens. This book is in the possession of sister Lizzie. Our parents were always intensely interested and active in Church affairs. They helped to start several Lutheran missions. One in London, O. held service above a store which caught fire and in which Father and Ernie nearly lost their lives. They did lose the family Bible and records, an Altar, which I think Uncle Joe Brobst had made also some chairs. One minister served three missions. It seems to have fallen to my father to drive him from one village to the other, West Jefferson, Springfield, and London. While he was a guest of the several mission families in London over the Saturdays and Sundays. (Foot note) Sec)
Father was also very interested in politics. A staunch Democrat. At one time he was up for public office, but thru a dastardly political work of some rival, he was badly poisoned and nearly lost his life.
During Wm. Jennings Bryan Famous "16 to One" silver policy, he was a great admirer of him and it was only because of miserable health, that he didn't become more active. He also was much taken with the new teachings of Mary Baker Eddy. He wanted to go to Chicago to see if he couldn't get some health benefit thru her Christian Science teaching.
Father was of an inventive nature. He invented a Washing Machine called the "Crystal Washing Machine." We moved to Columbus, O. Where he with his two brothers went into the manufacture of this machine. The folks sold the home in London so they could use the money in this business. This my mother always regretted. Monroe Brobst and Joe Brobst were in the business with him. Uncle Monroe to take charge of the office work, Uncle Joe to do the manufacturing, while Papa took care of the sales and the establishing of agencies thru-out the country, so he did a lot of traveling. The business prospered until Old Man Sickness came, Father, Ernie, Lizzie's baby Bennie and our maid all became ill. This illness was called the Spanish Influenza. It was about the first time the disease had appeared in this country. They were both (Papa and Ernie) very ill. Ernie developed Pneumonia while Papa had a relapse, the result of which and the great amount of quinine which Dr. Edwards had given him was thought to have been the cause of his later illness. Epilepsy and complications. Medical Science never did get to the cause of it. Lizzie's baby died, a few hours after Papa's first attack.
Much money was spent to try to find a cure or help for Papa. But he never did regain his health. Poor Mother from then on never totally undressed for bed, as we never knew what hour we would have to get help. Ben was a baby at this time. Papa never gave up. He carried on his end of the business until the others decided to branch out and open a place in Chicago, Ill. Papa was the logical one to do this, so we moved there and settled in Englewood which was a very nice section in those days. We were there during the World's Fair of 1893. Also when the fire destroyed it after the fair had closed. Papa got reservations in one of the large department stores where he demonstrated the washer. Ernie and Lizzie were married at this time. He would have been successful, but his health had gotten so bad we had to return to Col., O. We went into the country thinking maybe he would be better. He had several sisters living there and everyone did all they could to make our lives as comfortable as possible.
After several months spent in the country, we returned to Columbus and established a home again. Ernie at this time was working with his Father-in-law, who was in the dry goods business there, so Father helped there when his health permitted. After Mr. Thomas sold his business Ernie opened a Gent's Furnishing Store and later added a Wallpaper and Paint store. Papa then helped him. But his health grew steadily worse. He was a man of fine character, jovial even thru all trouble, a pleasing personality and great favorite among all babies and children. A man who was a friend to all and had many friends.
And what can I say of Mother a great sufferer from Asthma herself, she was always "Old Faithful" in the care of Papa she did all she could to help him carry his burden of such illness. Tho quick of temper and rather sharp in speech at times, she was most unselfish and quick with sympathy for everyone in trouble. A good homemaker, patient in times of sickness and trouble, little given to complaint.
As a girl, she was one of the prettiest in that part of the country. I regret I do not know more of her parents and girlhood home. From what has been told me, her Father's home was one of the loveliest places around. The house was of two stories and made of brick. The woodwork was lovely made of walnut or one of the other hard woods. A very large room used as the living room had a huge fireplace with its andirons and tripod where hung the big iron kettles for cooking, hooks round about on which the utensils were hung, in other words, the rooms typical of homes during those times. In the second story there are the holes thru which muskets or rifles could be put to be fired. I suppose in case of an Indian attack. There was a large outside oven for baking also a very wonderful Spring House, the water supplied by a Spring for cooling purposes.
My Father's sister, Aunt Matilda Crumley told me she "thought it a rare treat indeed when they got to go on a visit to my mother's home, it was so beautiful." I guess my grandparents kept the grounds and home in very good condition always.
Mother had told me that her Mother always baked from 15 to 20 loaves of bread at once also as many pies, to say nothing of the cake and cookies. The older sisters did the spinning, sewing and made most of the quilts and other bedding. I have seen some of this work by Mother's sister Lucinda Swoyer, and the work was done beautifully. I have a coverlet and blanket which Grandma carded the wool and wove herself. I also did have some small pieces of linen from sheets, which she had woven. I have her old meat knife, a breadbasket in which she used to put bread to raise. Also my pillows are in use for which she plucked and cleaned the feathers for and gave to Mother when she married. (Cleveland Historical Society has some of these articles.)
There were ten or eleven children in the family, more girls than boys. Mother and several of the other younger girls would have to help in the fields during harvest times. Grandpa said he had more help from his girls than the boys. These folks were very prosperous farmers. (German) Grandpa was quite an eccentric character- used to hide and bury his money underground and in the rafters of the farm buildings. Grandma died from blood Poisoning caused by an infected bone on her knee. Mama said she suffered dreadful. She of a calm and even disposition. But Grandpa was quite fiery. She died before I was born. They raised foodstuffs in such quantities Mother said many times there were so much fruit and vegetables just rotted because there was more than they could ever use, even with the family as large as it was.
Mama had little terror of' snakes. Killed many, but once she had taken a book and her small dog into the orchard for a time of reading. She was very intent on the novel, as she was most fond of reading, when she heard something drop from the tree under which she was sitting, and close to her and the dog, she looked up and there was a big Blue Racer, coiled for spring. She said she was petrified. I guess the reason was she had nothing with which to defend the pup with. So she picked up the dog and raced for the house with old snake in hot pursuit after the dog. She had to climb over a rail fence to get into the yard, when he reached it, the snake was there too, so she screamed for help and some one came from the house. But I do not remember what she said happened to the snake. Another time when Ernie was a baby, she was sitting on the floor in the summer kitchen while Mama had gone to the springhouse, or some such errand and imagine her feelings upon returning to find Ernie reaching for a rattlesnake which had gotten in some way.
Mother was also very religious and a good Democrat. Always ready to stand pat and hold her own in an argument. She was brought up very strict, in the Methodist faith but after her marriage, she went to the Lutheran Church with Papa. She was a very good horse woman and enjoyed life greatly when she could ride around the country. Her Mother's name was Spangler. Her parents are buried in the Old Brick Church Cemetery, which has not been in use for many years. This is on the Groveport Road. I think this section was named Spangler Hill from Grandma's people. We visited the cemetery this past summer (1938) around Decoration Day and thrilled to the many old tombstones we found bearing names of many departed relatives. There is the one which looks like a pyramid, bearing the names of Grandpa and Grandpa Culp. Also one for a Levi Culp, the top of the stone molded in the shape of an old time coffin, and many more of ancient design and dates. The place was so overgrown with weeds we hesitated to search very far because of poison ivy and snakes since I cannot lay clam to any of Mother's bravery and skill when it comes to meeting with a snake.
Father's parents are buried at Marcy, O. at the Lutheran Church they helped to build.
And so I want to leave only words of praise and happy memories of Mother and Father who faced all their troubles in a very courageous manner. So Good-bye Mother Lorain and Father Ben.
The Madison Twp. History I gave to Cleveland Historical Society also articles to the museum.
This page was last updated on: ,