Biography of Philip Weidner
Northwestern Ohio Biographies


This member of the firm of P. Weidner & Co., general merchants of Kunkle, Williams county, has demonstrated the true meaning of the word "success" as the full accomplishment of an honorable purpose. Energy, close application, perseverance and good management these are the elements which have entered into his business career and crowned his efforts with prosperity.

Mr. Weidner was born August 23, 1840, in Richland county, Ohio, a son of Wendal and Catherine (Weidner) Weidner, who, though bearing the same name, were not related previous to their marriage. Both were born on the Rhine, in Baden, Germany, were there married, and in 1831 crossed the Atlantic, becoming residents of Richland county, Ohio, where they spent their remaining days. The father purchased eighty acres of timber land, which he transformed into a good farm, and upon that place died in 1873 aged seventy three years; his wife passing away in 1855. They held membership in the German Reformed Church, and politically he was identified with the Democratic party. Their children were: Mrs. Christine Pfingsday, who was born in Germany; William, a resident of Mansfield. Ohio; Henry, who lives on the old homestead; George, of Williams county; Catherine, of Mansfield; Philip, the subject of this sketch; and Elizabeth, wife of J. Dohm, a farmer of Williams county.

The common schools of his native county afforded our subject his educational privileges, and upon the home farm he was reared to habits of industry. On leaving the parental roof in 1860, he came to Williams county, where during the first year he was employed at chopping timber and clearing land at twelve dollars per month, and then engaged in carpenter work until the spring of 1865, when he enlisted in the One Hundred and Ninety seventh Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Hancock's Corps, Army of the Potomac. When the war was over he was mustered out at Baltimore, Maryland, and at Columbus, Ohio, was paid off and received an honorable discharge. During his service he was mostly engaged in guard duty.

On his return to Williams county, Mr. Weidner resumed work at the carpenter's trade, but in the fall of 1865 he purchased eighty acres of timber land, and began to clear and improve the place, erecting thereon a small frame residence. Having secured a home, he in 1867 married Miss Catherine E. Stiving, a native of Richland county, and a daughter of Philip and Leah (Dohm) Stiving. Her father was born on the Rhine, in Baden, Germany, and in 1821, when a lad of thirteen years, came to the New World with his parents, Jacob and Savilla (Weidner) Stiving, who subsequently became residents of Richland county, Ohio, where they invested their capital in raw land. Jacob Stiving, as well as the other members of the family, labored at anything by which he could make an honest living, and at intervals worked on his own land in order to make a home for the family. Finally he was able to devote his entire attention to the cultivation and improvement of his own land He died upon that place, and his wife later made her home among her children in Williams county, where she passed away at the age of eighty two.

Philip Stiving grew to manhood in Richland county, where for several years he operated rented farms, and where most of his children were born. On coming to Williams county in 1856, he purchased a tract of wild land, which he converted into a good farm, and meeting with success in his undertakings, he later became the owner of four hundred acres of valuable land, and a half of that amount he placed under cultivation. When he arrived here, in order to reach his new home he had to cut a road through the forest, and the family made their temporary home in an old shanty until a more substantial log house could be erected. This was afterward weather boarded and made into a comfortable home, and in subsequent years was replaced with an elegant two story brick residence, supplied with all modern conveniences. In connection with general farming he also dealt quite extensively in stock, especially cattle and horses. Both he and his wife died in 1888, the latter surviving him only 'six months. Before leaving his native land he joined the Lutheran Church, always adhered to that faith, was a kind and indulgent husband and father, and had the respect and esteem of all who knew him. To his children he left a valuable estate, and they have carried forward the work he inaugurated, and are today prominent and useful members of society. In order of birth they are as follows: Catherine, wife of our subject; Jacob, a farmer; Mrs. Mary Traxler; George, a farmer; Mrs. Sarah A. Greek; Peter, a farmer; Mrs. Emma J. Keller; and Savilla L., wife of J. Kunkle.

Mr. and Mrs. Weidner began their domestic life upon his farm, to the cultivation and improvement of which he devoted his energies until it became one of the best farms in the locality, a good orchard having been planted, a two story frame residence erected and substantial outbuildings. In 1875 he left the farm and removed to the village of Kunkle, where he invested one thousand dollars in a stock of merchandise, becoming third owner in a general store; but at the end of three years sold his interest, and for a year engaged in contracting and building. At the end of that time, however, he purchased the store, with which he was formerly connected, and so rapidly has his trade increased that he has greatly enlarged his stock, and in 1896 was forced to add a new store room to his building, now occupying a good double store, in which he carries a large and well selected stock of general merchandise, including dry goods, clothing, boots, shoes, groceries, etc. He also deals in country produce, buying and shipping large quantities of poultry, wool, hay, clover seed, etc. Being a popular merchant, he has met with well deserved success, has become quite wealthy, and, besides his home in Kunkle, he owns a fine brick residence in that village, where he makes his home, and a good farm in Williams county. For eleven years he acceptably served as postmaster at Kunkle, but resigned in 1886 in order to give his entire attention to his business interests.

To Mr. and Mrs. Weidner have been born three children, namely: George, who is married, and is now interested in the store; Homer, who is also in the store; and Laura, at home. Although Mr. Weidner still superintends both farm and store, he leaves the more arduous labors to his sons, who are wide awake, progressive young business men. Since attaining his majority he has been identified with the Democratic party; socially he is a member of the I. O. O. F. Lodge, No. 821, of Kunkle, and London Post, G. A. R., of Montpelier.

Commemorative Biographical Record of Northwestern, Ohio
Including the counties of
Defiance, Henry, Williams and Fulton
Published by: J. H. Beers and Company
Chicago, Illinois

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