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Fruits Saga Continues – William Jason, A Man Of Marriages

Although I’m not 100% sure when the Fruits came here, don’t believe it was via a land grant (although had George decided to get one he may have been able to via his Revolutionary War experiences) but do know that David was the last born in Ohio in 1829 and William Jason our subject in today’s Fruit’s Saga was definitely born here in Montgomery County on January 16th in 1831. He passed away here 23 Sept 1904. It must have been quite a trip for George and Catherine Stonebraker Fruits with Jacob, age 24; Elizabeth, 22; Susan, 21; Sebastian, 15; Margaret 13, John S., 12; George, 8; Catherine, 6; and David 5; but then again, 10 years earlier would have been really wild with few ready to help. This way, it was a better family affair. William J. was born in Ripley Township as most of you could have guessed, lived there for 50 years (except for about three in Iowa) as a well-to-do farmer and spent the last 22 years of his life in Waynetown.

Quite a handsome man, as you can see, (thanks to Roger & Kim Hancock for this awesome photo) – if you know what old George looks like, you can sure get a feel of the relationship, although on a personal note, I think Will is the more stunning! He was married for 52 years of his life, which sounds quite impressive; however, to four wives, having the most spouses of the whole original Fruits clan. The first was Louisa Jones, whom he married 6 Feb in 1851 the ceremony performed by Justice of the Peace, John Britton. Louisa was a few months younger. They were wed for about 12 years before she passed away (Oct 1862), having birthed six of WJ’s children.

Allen appeared later in that year, close to a Christmas present, married Louise Meeks (who died young) and they were parents of Bert, Arthur, Grace and Alta.

Rebecca Ann arrived two years later in Dec 1853, married William L. Stivers last, a total of five spouses altogether. She mothered three sons: Fred, Alonzo and Lawrence plus a daughter, Fay.

This little Fruits family took off for Page County, Iowa with W.J.’s brother Sebastian but did not stay too long; however, long enough for the next couple of their children to be born, John Albert 3 October 1856 and Mary Matilda (13 Oct 1857 or 58 – some discrepancies), with her cute ‘lil nose and extremely beautiful eyes married William Thomas Keys and they were married unlike others in the family close to 60 years. They were blessed with Emily, Rosia Belle, Demmis Arene, Carrie Delila, Cora, Everett and Alice Cecil. John Albert married Mary Maltsberger (children: Harlie who died at age two; Effie and William Earl) and divorced her saying she was mean, even having hit him at times. The next morning after his divorce, he arrived with Mary Edwards (almost 30 years younger than he) and married her although not immediately as the divorce article sounded. Sadly, Mary wife #1 passed away just a couple of months later.

The next child of William Jason and Louisa Jones was born back home again in Indiana near Alamo on 23 August 1860. Her name was Barbara Ellen. Barbara was also married multiple times (just 5) but had children with only the first, Henry Bettice (Dessie, George, Walter and Rufus). Some of her marriages lasted just a couple of years but the first was due to Henry’s death in 1898. She passed 2 Dec 1938 and is buried with several other family members at Waynetown Masonic.

One other ‘lil gal came their way, Lavina (Vinney) who was about a year old born the last of July in 1861 died 2 Dec 1938 also buried in Waynetown) when her mother passed away. George Washington Maltsberger was her husband (ONLY) and they had four sons as far as I know (Clarence, Jacob, Manford and William Harrison).

Wife #2 for our subject – was Emanda (not Amanda) Thomas four years younger than her husband and just about 28 when they wed. They, too married in February and had their first-born in December that year. This was Esther Catharine who passed away at age 90 in Battle Creek, Michigan but also is buried in Waynetown (22 June 1954). She had married William Runyon who passed away 14 years previously. (Children: William; Linnie; Wesley; Mary Ann; Clara Ellen; Raymond; Harold and Paul). Her children were spread from coast to coast, every which way.

Possibly could have been others (I know at least one son, David W. was in a census but gone after that) since it was the biggest jump between children to this day but the next definitely known was Flora Etta also born in December (the 8th in 1869), married Francis Marion Waggoner and mothered Effie and Edith.

Granted there were several girls born to our fella, but it took him to his last child to finally produce a William Jason – JR. He was born just three days after the 4th of July in Alamo and died in Tangier, Parke County just shy of his 81st birthday but is, yep, buried in Waynetown Masonic!

Yes, William Jason Fruits was indeed married two other times but as far as descendants none from these two gals. In 1877, he married Elizabeth Tedlock widow of David Alexander Maltsberger who passed away 11 years later, and his last wife, Mary Sarah Myers widow of Marion Francis Philpott was 15 years younger than he. Married in 1889, they remained together 15 years until his death.

Will Jason was sick in bed for a whole year before passing on 23 Sept 1904 and the Masons laid their fellow member to rest in of course, the Masonic Cemetery in Waynetown. Oh, my so many names of the area intertwine with this family (Harpel, Davis, Demoret, Thayer, Truax, Utterback and many more) spreading the fruits in marvelous arrays throughout the area. Why, gracious, one would be quite busy chasing this fellow around, but circumstances in those days were so different than in today’s world. Who only knows what the future will bring?

Karen Zach is the editor of Montgomery Memories, our monthly magazine all about Montgomery County. Her column, Around the County, appears each Thursday in The Paper of Montgomery County. You can reach her at [email protected]