I think we all have favorite ancestors who we like to work on or have enjoyed learning about. One of these is my 3rd great grandfather, Ebenezer Cheney. I am proud to be Ebenezer’s 3rd great granddaughter. He was a man who I have come to greatly admire.
Ebenezer was born on 15 January 1777, son of a Revolutionary War veteran, Thomas Cheney and Keturah Owen. Ebenezer was born and grew up in a frontier fort in Harrison County, Virginia. In 1798, he married Elizabeth H. Owen.
About 1807, Ebenezer and Elizabeth and their two children followed his father and brothers who had migrated to Champaign County, Ohio. Six more children were born to the couple in Champaign County.
When the War of 1812 broke out, Ebenezer, along with his brothers, served in Co. I., Wood's Spies from Ohio.
In 1827, Ebenezer moved his family to Union County, Ohio, following an old Indian trail in a covered wagon pulled by oxen. The trail was not really a “real” road and Ebenezer and those traveling with him had to frequently stop and cut and remove logs from their path.
Ebenezer was the second settler in Jackson Township, Union County and founded the second settlement there. It was part of Leesburg Township at the time. I’m not sure how it was determined who was the first or second settler. Several families had traveled from Champaign County together, including the family of Benjamin O. Carter, Ebenezer’s brother-in-law. Union County history credits Benjamin as the first settler. All I can figure is that Benjamin’s wagon must have led the wagon train and Ebenezer’s wagon was second.
In 1828, only three families resided in what became Jackson Township. Each of these families lost a member that year. The first death was that of little Johnnie Carter, the son of Benjamin O. Carter. Mary Allen and Elizabeth Cheney were the other two victims. When Elizabeth died, Ebenezer donated part of his farm land for a public cemetery. This was the first public cemetery there.
On March 3, 1829, Ebenezer presented a petition to the county commissioners of Union County for a new township, to be named Jackson to be created from the north side of Leesburg Township. The petition was granted and Jackson Township was formed on June 3, 1829.
The township's early religious services were held at the Cheney home when the Finley Methodist Episcopal church was organized at Ebenezer's cabin in 1830.
Ebenezer’s daughter, Elizabeth was the first school teacher in the new community in 1830 or 1831. Her marriage to Tabor Randall on January 1, 1832 was the first wedding in Union County.
Ebenezer Cheney died July 15, 1833 and is buried next to his wife, Elizabeth in Cheney Cemetery.
I admire my 3rd great grandfather for bravely serving his country and pioneering into new territory, for obviously being a good husband and father who cared that his wife had a place for a Christian burial and who raised children who became productive citizens. I think that he was a good man, intelligent, loyal, and brave. I’m proud to be his 3rd great granddaughter and have my birthday on the day after his, albeit, a couple of hundred years later.