(The History of Ashland County, Ohio by Abraham J. Baughman, Pg. 370-373)
HON. GEORGE W. BRUBAKER
Hon. George W. Brubaker is preeminently a man of affairs and one who has wielded a wide influence. He is accounted one of the leading farmers of Lake township and while successfully controlling his agricultural interests he has at the same tie been a factor in the public life of the community and has been honored by his fellow townsmen with various local offices while twice he has been called to represent his district in the state legislature. A native of Pennsylvania he was born in Bedford county, January 12, 1828, his parents being George and Elizabeth (Burkhart) Brubaker. The father was born November 17, 1798, in Pennsylvania, and the mother's birth occurred near Altoona, that state, on the 5th of October, 1801. They married November 28, 1819, and spent several years of their early married life in Bedford county, Pennsylvania, after which they went to Fayette county and in 1834 arrived in Ohio. The journey westward was made in a covered wagon drawn by three horses and after a long weary trip through the forests they reached Mohican township and established their home near Mohicanville in that part of Wayne county which is now a part of Ashland county. Mr. Brubaker at once built a log cabin, eighteen by twenty feet in the midst of the dense forest. It had a puncheon floor and its furnishings were of a most primitive character. The father at once began to clear his land and place it under the plow while the family experienced many of the hardships and privations incident to pioneer life. Both he and his wife spent their last days in Lake township where his death occurred in January, 1862, while his wife passed away March 18, 1887. He had devoted his entire life to general farming, thus providing a comfortable living for his family while his labors were also an element in the reclamation of a wild western district which through the work of Mr. Brubaker and others was converted into a prosperous and populous section. In politics he was a Jacksonian democrat, stanchly advocating the principles promulgated by "Old Hickory," for whom he voted. He also cast a presidential ballot for James Monroe and as the years passed he continued to support the democratic nominees until he was called from this life. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, to which his wife also belonged. Their family numbered ten children: John, Ephraim and Joseph, all now deceased; Margaret, who be came the wife of Rev. A. K. Owen, both of whom have now passed away; George W.; Elias P., living in Shandon, California; Mary Elizabeth, who married Dewitt Kean, both now deceased; Harrison A., who has departed this life; Thomas M., who died in early life; and Nancy Magdalene, the deceased wife of A. C. Kean, a brother of Dewitt Kean.
The Hon. George W. Brubaker was an infant at the time of the removal of the family to Fayette county, Pennsylvania, and was but six years of age when he arrived in Ohio so that practically his entire life has been passed in Ashland county. He was reared amid the wild scenes and environments of the frontier and remained upon the old homestead until twenty-one years of age, aiding in the work of clearing and cultivating the land. From early boyhood he was very active and at a time when most boys are concerned with the duties of the schoolroom and the pleasures of the playground he was engaged in driving a team in the fields taking part in the work of plowing, planting and harvesting. He became an expert cradler. When he began work of that character the cradle which he used was a very inferior construction but he kept making demands for a better cradle until he had one that suited him and with it he cradled eight acres of wheat in a day while later he cut ten acres in a day. Afterward he cut oats at the rate of eleven acres in a day on a field of seven acres. His cradle had an edge of fifty-four inches. His record surpassed any that has ever been made in this part of the state. He was blessed with great strength, vigor and endurance and could split one thousand rails in a day. He learned how best to conserve and use his energy and in his sixty-eighth year he cut one hundred shocks of corn with one hundred hills to the shock. He remained upon the old homestead until he attained his majority, at which time his father purchased a farm near the present home of our subject in Lake township and a removal was made to that place.
Mr. Brubaker's educational privileges in his boyhood were extremely limited but when nineteen years of age he became a student in Hayesville Academy for three years and afterward took up the profession of teaching as a part of his regular work, continuing in active connection with the schools from 1848 until 1884, teaching each winter in the district schools. That he enjoyed a most excellent reputation in this direction goes without saying for his long connection with the schools at once manifests the ability which he displayed in his work. For one year he was superintendent of the Loudonville schools but most of the time taught in the country. In the summer months during his early manhood he worked on farms in the neighborhood and eventually took up farming on his own account. He has done considerable clearing, having cleared about sixty acres in Lake township in addition to the work which he did in that direction in Mohican township. He was married in 1852 and purchased a small farm of fifty-seven acres in Green township in 1854. In the spring of 1855 he removed to his present home on section 6, Lake township, where he has since resided. His first purchase made him owner of seventy acres to which he has added from time to time until he now has three hundred acres in his home farm and an additional tract of one hundred and eight acres in Green township. The present substantial buildings on his place were erected by him and much of the land was cleared by Mr. Brubaker who has always been an energetic, industrious man, accomplishing what he has undertaken by reason of his persistency of purpose and capable management. He now makes a specialty of raising horses and at one time he also engaged quite extensively in raising ship and hogs, his live-stock interests being an important feature of his place although he also gave considerable attention to the cultivation of grain. He practiced the rotation of crops, gave his soil needed rest and as the years passed annually gathered large harvests.
On the 21st of October, 1852, Mr. Brubaker was united in marriage to Miss Susanna Smith, who was born near Hagerstown, Maryland, July 14, 1829, and came to Ohio with her parents in the fall of 1834. She is a daughter of Jacob and Elizabeth (Barkdale) Smith, who were natives of Maryland, but spent their last days in Green township, Ashland county. On the journey westward they had a single horse hitched to a wagon in which they put their three little children and the household goods, while the father and mother walked most of the way. At length they settled in Jeromeville, which was then a part of Wayne county and subsequently took up their abode in Green township, where Mrs. Brubaker remained until her marriage. She was one of a family of six sons and six daughters and by her marriage she became the mother of ten children: Emma Elizabeth, the wife of Abel Goudy, who resides near Jeromesville; Simpson A., who died at the age of three years; Sophronia, the wife of H. A. Cooper, of Ashland; Mary L., the wife of S. E. McKinley, of Hayesville; Rosella, the wife of R. F. Helbert, now deceased; Diantha, the wife of Reuben M. Butler, of Wayne county, Ohio; Edson O., of Lake township, who is living on the farm where his grandparents died; Anna Belle, wife of Willis McGuire, of Vermillion township; George W., living in Green township; and a son who died in infancy.
Mr. Brubaker has been a lifelong democrat, unfaltering in his allegiance to the party. He cast his first presidential vote for James Buchanan and he can remember the presidential campaigns of William Henry Harrison, Polk, Taylor and Pierce. He has filled several local offices, serving as clerk and trustee while for nine years he was justice of the peace, his decisions during that time being strictly fair and impartial. In the fall of 1893 he was elected to the lower house of representatives and served so faithfully in the assembly that he was reelected for a second term in 1895. He thus aided in shaping the legislation of the state, giving to each question which came up for settlement his earnest consideration. When fifteen years of age he united with the Methodist Episcopal church and his Christian faith has been the guiding spirit of his entire life. He has served as class leader and recording steward in the Mohican church, has taken a very active part in this work and contributed generously to its support. Mr. Brubaker is a remarkably well preserved man for thought he has now passed the eighty-first milestone on life's journey he possesses the strength and vigor of many a man in his prime and in spirit and interest seems yet in middle life. He has never felt, as so many do, that with advancing years he should withdraw from activities and interests of the present and concentrate his thoughts upon memories of the past but is alive to all of the vital questions of the day, keeping informed on all of the issues which affect local and national progress. His memory, however, forms a connecting link between the primitive past and the progressive present and few men of this part of the county are more thoroughly informed concerning its history or the events which have shaped its annals. He has himself borne a most active part in the transformation of the county as it has emerged from the conditions of pioneer life and taken on all of the evidences of a modern and progressive civilization. No man of the community is more honored and respected than George W. Brubaker and no man more fully deserves the confidence and good will this extended.