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Source: NMHS Newsletter May 1997

Henry Heeter

from Fellowship of Brethren Genealogists Newsletter, used with permission
Vol 25, Number 4, Winter, 1993-94

Henry Heeter, son of Sebastian Heeter and his second wife Elizabeth RARICK was the first of eleven children born to this couple. He was born in Pennsylvania on 19 July, 1796. He no doubt received his name from his maternal grandfather, Henry Rarick. It is assumed that Henry Rarick and his wife Catherine came to Ohio from Pennsylvania the same time that Sebastian and his family came. They are both buried at Ellerton, Montgomery Co., Ohio. He died 18 January 1817 at the age of 62 and she died Sept. 1829 at age 74.

Henry Heeter lived with his parents and came with them to Ohio about 1813 or 1814. Henry would have been 17 or 18 years old and was with them until he was married to Hannah VANIMAN. She was born 13 Dec. 1800. She was the daughter of John and Catherine (MARTIN) Vaniman. John Vaniman was born in England and came to this country at an early age.

Henry Heeter and Hannah Vaniman were married 9 May 1819. It is believed they lived on the Vaniman homestead or somewhere near. It is known their first child Abraham was born there. They had a daughter Catherine who died 11 Feb 1828 and is buried in a cemetery nearby. Then Hannah's father, John, died 22 October 1823 and according to John's will, each of his sons and daughters was given 80 acres of land except for Hannah Heeter and she no doubt received an equal amount in money as Henry Heeter then purchased land two miles north of New Lebanon 7 August 1825. Three years later on 25 October, 1818, Henry Heeter purchased 80 acres across the road. He purchased it from John Musselman for $210. Henry and Hannah's last eight children were born while they lived here.

On 10 December 1851, Henry made sale of all his personal property. On 24 December 1851, Henry sold all of this land except six acres for $8000 and moved to Chester Township, Wabash County, Indiana. He was more than 54 years old when he made this move and started all over again. Sometime in the latter part of January 1851, he arrived in Indiana, the weather being very cold. At this time he was living in a cabin and in February 1851 he was still living in a cabin and in a letter to his son in Ohio, he quotes some prices: corn 28cents a bu, potatoes 25cents per bu, two ten foot logs very large for 25 cents. three at 25 cents, two cherry logs at 60cents, wheat 60 cents.

In March 1851, he purchased twelve head of cattle for $75.00. Five of them were milk cows and he sold one milk cow for a $10.00 gold piece. In July the same year, he was harvesting his wheat crop and he had four cradles (working). He was paying $4.50 an acre to have land cleared. Living in those days and time was very simple.

Henry complained many times of bad roads and the problem of transportation. Those living at that time could not travel very far in the winter time. When he traveled from his home in Indiana to see his son and daughter in Ohio, it was a three-day journey.

Sometime in the first of the year 1854, Henry Heeter bought a new mill for $400. The story is told that when Henry's son-in-law Jacob Ulery, was thinking about getting ready to buy a threshing machine, Jacob Ulery's father and Henry Heeter went to see Jacob and tried to talk him out of it. When they left they asked Jacob what he was going to do. He said, "I am going to buy that threshing machine." I have heard it stated before that it has always been a characteristic of the Heeters and their descendants to own or operate heavy machinery such as saw mills, steam engines and threshing machines. When the first electric traction car ran from Dayton, Ohio to Richmond, Indiana in 1898, it was operated by Allen Heeter and in later years there was another Heeter who was on the same road.

The last year of Henry's life his house caught on fire and burned down. They had gone to meeting (church) and when they came home, it was gone. He had another one constructed and they were living in it by the fall of 1859. It is also to be noted that this house burned years later after Henry's death.

Throughout Henry's life, as he lived in Indiana, he never forgot his mother. Many times he would make inquiries about her welfare. She outlived him by more than seventeen years.

Henry Heeter was always concerned about the welfare of the members of his family and also his friends. He often wrote about the Eel River country and his home in Indiana. His life came to a close 2 October 1860 at age 64 years. His wife Hannah survived him more than 25 years. She died 10 April 1886. They are both buried in Indiana.

Note: Both Henry and wife are buried in the Old Cripe cemetery, Wabash Co.