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Charles Ogden Breese

Submitted by Terry Breese. Thanks Terry.


Charles Breese was born in Morris County, NJ, on April 19, 1811.  He was the fifth child (third son) of Stephen Breese (1776-1853) and Harriet Ogden Breese (1782-1842).  Stephen's parents moved from New Jersey to Wyoming, PA, and Horseheads, NY, with  other descendants of John Brees and Dorothy Riggs in about 1789.   Stephen either remained behind or, more likely, returned as a young man to New Jersey for reasons that are unknown.  Stephen married Harriet Ogden in 1801.  Harriet was also from Morris County.  They had a total of twelve children, at least two of whom died in childhood. 

At the age of 17, Charles was apprenticed to William Ford, a blacksmith in Dover, NJ.  He remained with Mr. Ford until he was 21, when he established his own blacksmith shop in Rockaway, NJ.  In 1832, Charles moved to Mt. Gilead, Ohio.  He was apparently following his older brother, Alfred Brees, who had moved there in 1830 and had established himself in the wagon-making trade.  A younger brother, Henry Wood Breese, also moved to Mt. Gilead, possibly at the same time as Charles.  It is curious that Alfred and his son, Edwin, retained the original spelling of the name without the final "e" in Alfred's entry in the Morrow County centennial yearbook, while the census entry in 1860 for Alfred and all records relating to Charles, Henry and their descendants have the final "e".  This was despite living in the same small town and the evidence that all three men completed ten or more years of schooling in New Jersey.

 Charles returned to New Jersey in 1834 or 1835 and there married Phoebe Bockoven on July 22, 1836.  Phoebe had been born in New Jersey on March 30, 1818.  They returned to Mt. Gilead in 1837 or 1838 by wagon, accompanied by Peter Baird and Nancy (Bockoven) Baird.  Phoebe and Nancy were apparently sisters.  Peter died at the age of 36, leaving Nancy with twin sons.  Charles and Phoebe must have remained close to the Baird family; one of the Bairds' sons was named Charles Breese Baird. 

 Charles built a house and shop on land in Mt. Gilead that he had acquired during his earlier time there.  They remained at that residence until 1854, when Charles sold that land and bought 45 acres of timber a mile north of town.  Charles cleared and farmed this land, adding an adjacent 45 acres at a later date.   He was also at one time a partner with Nehemiah Miller in a sawmill, later selling out his interest to Miller.

 Mt. Gilead was a small town, as it remains to this day.  It was laid out in 1824 and became the seat of Morrow County when that county was formed in 1848.  The county was reasonably prosperous in agriculture and Mt. Gilead would have prospered as the county's largest town, supplying the needs of the surrounding farmers.  The main Columbus-Cleveland line of the Pennsylvania Railroad passed through the town, strengthening its economic importance.  Later, US 42 passed right through town.

Charles and Phoebe had six children, but two died in early childhood:

Emeline Breese was born August 27, 1837.  She married Ross N. Mateer, who had been born in 1831 in the village that later became Mt. Gilead.  His parents, William N. Mateer and Elizabeth Porter Mateer, had moved to Ohio from Pennsylvania the previous year.  They lived in Mt. Gilead most of there lives, but moved to Toledo in 1903.  Emeline died July 30, 1912.  They had six children, one of whom died in infancy.  Emeline and Ross are buried together in the Mt. Gilead's River Cliff cemetery.

Margaret Breese was born September 16, 1839.  She married David Moody but died in 1862, possibly in childbirth.

Amos Breese was born February 20, 1841.  He died in 1846.

Lemuel H. Breese was born in June 1845.  He returned to Mt. Gilead after service in the Civil War with the 96th Ohio Volunteer Infantry.  He married Lucinda Caroline Miller, also of Mt. Gilead and the daughter of his father's partner in the sawmill, on September 22, 1870.  They had six children.   They are buried together in the Mt. Gilead cemetery.  The large plot is marked by a small central obelisk marked on two sides "BREESE," while the remaining sides are marked "MATEER" and "BARGER."  Lemuel and Lucinda, along with his two sisters and their husbands are all buried here along with other descendents.

Warner Breese was born 1848 and died the following year.

Harriet Breese was born in September 7, 1853 and married Isaac Barger.  They remained in the area. She died November 20, 1928.

Charles Breese remained the rest of his life in Mt. Gilead, although his sketch in Morrow County's centennial yearbook states that he visited New Jersey more than a dozen times during his life, presumably to visit his relatives there.   On at least one of those visits, in 1846, he took his family with him and remained in New Jersey for three months -- the journey by wagon across Pennsylvania having taken three weeks.  Phoebe Bockoven Breese died June 22, 1882.  Charles died in 1885.  They are buried together in the Mt. Gilead's River Cliff cemetery. 


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