Wesley Pontious

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The grandparents of Wesley Pontious*, on both sides, were from Germany. His father and mother, Jacob and Elizabeth Pontious, who were born, respectively November 3, 1783, and September 15, 1789, came from east of the mountains to Wayne Township, Armstrong County, in 1816, Mr. Pontious having been out the year previous and purchased 400 acres of land, over a portion of which Dayton borough has since extended. Mr. and Mrs. Pontious were the parents of nine children, whom they lived to see raised to industrious and moral habits, and respectably settle in life. Their names, with dates of birth, were as follows: Elias, born December 25, 1811; Wesley, July 31, 1813; Ezra, December 15, 1814; Mary Ann, April 20, 1817; Eliza Jane, July 12, 1819; Catherine, July 16, 1821; Maria, March 20, 1823; Margaret, November 15, 1826; and John, January 30, 1828. Of these, Mary Ann, Eliza Jane, Maria and John are now deceased. Jacob Pontious, the father, died in 1845, and Elizabeth, his wife, in 1842.

At the time when the elder Pontious made his settlement in Armstrong County the region around his location was very sparsely peopled, and but little improvement had been made. Many of the settlers gave more attention to hunting than to clearing their lands. Jacob Pontious did not, however, belong to that class�he was an industrious and enterprising man, and his children inherited those characteristics. He started a tanyard upon his farm, taking into partnership a young man who knew the trade. When Wesley Pontious was about sixteen years of age, he went to work under this man, and worked with him for five years; he then carried on the business for five years more for his father. Than, at his father's request, he went on the farm, which he managed to his father's satisfaction. When his father died in 1845 he left no will, but his son Wesley administered on the estate, and settled it up satisfactorily. He bought the old homestead, and by diligent labor paid for it and laid the foundation for this present independent condition in life. He was judicious in his farming, as he has been in the conduct of his other business, and slowly but surely (though he met with some losses, chiefly through the fault of others) accumulated considerable property. He still retains about fifty acres of his original farm, and lives in comparative retirement in Dayton, adjoining which village his land lies. He was one of the original stockholders of the Dayton Solders' Orphans' school, and is one of the board of managers of that institution. During the war of the rebellion he took the enrollment in Wayne Township, on which the draft was based, and he has before and since held various offices in the gift of his townspeople. He is held in high esteem by all who have been associated with him as a conservative citizen and conscientious man in all the relations of life. At present, and since 1880, he has had, besides other investments, an interest in the general store conducted by the firm of C. S. Marshall & Co. Mr. Pontious is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church.

Upon the 26th of May, 1846, Wesley Pontious was united in marriage with Hannah Jane, second daughter of Thomas Travis, and old citizen of this county, in the neighborhood of Dayton. There were three children by this marriage, of whom two are living, as follows: Mary Ann (wife of Rev. James B. Gray) and Rebecca C. (wife of Charles H. Gray).

His first wife dying March 18, 1870, Mr. Pontious married, October 24, 1872, Miss Louisa A. Funk.

*Transcriber's Note: The name is also spelled as Pontius.

Source: Page(s) 230, History of Armstrong County, Pennsylvania by Robert Walker Smith, Esq. Chicago: Waterman, Watkins & Co., 1883.
February 2001 by Alice J. Gayley for the Armstrong County Smith Project.
Contributed by Alice J. Gayley for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/armstrong/)

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