|Birth: ||Nov. 7, 1830|
|Death: ||Oct. 31, 1914|
From the Vawter family Association news letter January 2003 page 3 & 4
PAST AND PRESENT OF TIPPECANOE COUNTY, INDIANA
Richard P. DeHart
B. E. Bowman & Company, Publishers
PHILEMON C. VAWTER
Seventy-nine years have dissolved in the mists of the past since the birth of the honored subject of this review. He springs from an old and highly esteemed pioneer family whose first representatives in West settled in Jefferson county, Indiana, as early as 1806, migrating to this state from Kentucky, though originally from Virginia. These early comers were William Vawter and Frances, his wife, who located on the hill near Madison, where Mr. Vawter secured a tract of land which he cleared and improved and in due time became one of the leading farmers and representative citizens of his part of the country. He was made captain of a militia company soon after his arrival and took an active part defending settlers against the Indians durting the troublous times which marked the pioneer history of southern Indiana. Later, in 1829, the family located in Jennings county.
William and Frances Vawter were the parents of ten children, six sons and four daughters, only two ofwho survive, a daughter who has reached the ripe old age of eighty-eight years, and the subject of this sketch, who is the youngest of the family and the only one born in Jennings county. Several of the children lived to be quite old, one dying in his ninety-fourth year, and the majority were past the half century mark when called from the scenes of their struggles and triumphs.
Philemon C. Vawter was born in Jennings county, Indiana, November 7, 1830, and spent his childhood any youth on the home farm near Vernon. While still a mere lad he attended a three-months subscription school taught in a small log building furnished with slag benches, the writing desk a rough board resting on pegs driven in the wall, the room being warmed by means of a large fireplace with clay chimney and lighted by two long narrow windows, one containing oiled paper, the other filled with glass. In this backwoods college young Vawter obtained a knowledge of the rudimentary branches, reading, arithmetic and geography, and learned to write with a goose quill pen, using the juice of pokeberries for ink. By diligent application, however, he soon mastered the common branches and in due time was sufficiently advanced to enter Franklin College, which he attended at intervals for about five years, completing the prescribed course during that time and leaving the institution with a high standing in all of his classes.
In 1855, Mr. Vawter came to Lafayette, and during the ensuing three years taught in the schools of the town, discontinuing the work in 1858 on account of the public funds being cut off by the supreme court. Returning to Jennings county, he worked on the farm in the summer time and taught in the country schools during the winter months until 1860, when he went to Decatur county where he had charge of a school for one yearand earned an honorable reputation as a capable instructor and successful disciplinarian. Meantime he accepted a position in a dry goods store and between clerking and teaching he spent the time until 1863, when he returned to Tippecanoe county and took up the profession of civil engineering, to which he devoted his attention for a number of years thereafter, serving eighteen years as county surveyor, five years as deputy in the office, five years as city engineer and ten years as engineer of West Lafayette, besides doing a great deal of private work the meanwhile in his and other counties and cities.
Mr. Vawter has seen West Lafayette grow from wooded tract into a flourishing city of five thousand inhabitants, much of the progress of the place being due to his intrest and energy in inaugurating and carring foward many important improvements. The city is modern in all the term implies, and with its excellent streets, and sidewalks, electric lights and waterworks, street railway, etc., has taken on not a few metropolitan airs and compares favorable with any other city of its size in the state.
Mr. Vawter's long and honorable career as a civil engineer has kept him prominently before the public and there are today in the county of Tippecanoe few men as well known and highly esteemed. As a matter of his profession he has rendered valuable service in a number of important public enterprises and a citizen his influence has ever been on the right side of every moral issue. Of noble aims and high ideals, he has always had the good of his fellowmen in view and to this end all movements for the advancement ofthe community alsong social, moral and religious as well as material lines have found in him a willing and generous helper.
On November 25, 1858, Mr. Vawter was united in marriage with Sylvia Hunter, daughter of Joseph and Rhoda Ann Hunter, of Jennings county, a union blessed with two children, Everett B., whose biography appears elsewhere in these pages, and William H., whose birth occurred in 1868, and who, after devoting ten years to the drug business in Lafayette, became traveling salesman for wholesale drug house, which position he now holds.
Mr. Vawter is a Republican in politics and well versed in the history of parties and in the current issue of the day. He keeps abreast of the times on all matters of public import and takes an active interest in questions concerning which men and parties divide, and is a man of strong convictions, whose opinions carry weight and command respect. He was reared under the influence of the Baptist church, to which both his parents belonged, and for a number of years he has been a zealous and respected member of the church of that denomination in the city of his residence.
In person Mr. Vawter is somewhat below the average stature, of small, though strong and well-developed physique, clear cut features and pleasant countenance, his appearance, bearing and manner indicating the man of thought and action who has always stood for the right and whose optimism makes his presence a welcome addition to the social circle. His life has been somewhat strenuous and, though well advanced in years, he is still alert and vigorus and his friends united in the wish that he may be spared to bless the world by his personality and influence for many years to come.
William Vawter (1783 - 1868)
Frances Vawter Vawter (1787 - 1869)
Sylvia Hunter Vawter (1839 - 1918)
Maria Vawter Burns (1809 - 1846)*
Elizabeth Vawter Stott (1811 - 1893)*
John Taylor Vawter (1813 - 1906)*
Williamson Dunn Vawter (1815 - 1894)*
Jesse R Vawter (1817 - 1901)*
James Vawter (1819 - 1872)*
Frances A Vawter King (1821 - 1909)*
Achilles Vawter (1823 - 1886)*
Achilles J. Vawter (1823 - 1886)*
Mary Litchfield Vawter Feagler (1825 - 1897)*
Philemon C. Vawter (1830 - 1914)
Spring Vale Cemetery
Created by: Willora Glee Krapf
Record added: Aug 16, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 75035217