Was born in Butler county, Ohio, in the year 1825. His father, Samuel Fenton, was born in Ohio in the year 1800, and when at the proper age, he was apprenticed to learn the shoemaker's trade. He died in 1839. When upon his death-bed, he called his family around him, and, after pointing out to them the beauties of the Christian religion, and receiving a promise from John to be obedient to his good mother and to take good care of his brother and sisters, he bade them farewell, and the spirit of that good man returned to the God who gave it. That sad event remains fresh in the memory of the son to this day, and his promise to his dying father he has fulfilled to the best of his ability. At the death of her husband, Mrs. Fenton was left with a family of seven children — two sons and five daughters. John was the oldest child, and as the support of the family depended mainly upon him, he had to labor hard and faithfully in the discharge of his duties. His education was of necessity somewhat neglected, as it required him to devote his whole time to labor. After the labors of the day were over, he would attend school at night, and in this way he succeeded in obtaining sufficient education to enable him to transact any ordinary business.
In 1840 the family moved to Prebble county, Ohio, where they remained together until 1844, when John married Mrs. Sarah Thompson, of that county. When quite young, John learned the shoemaker's trade of his father, which proved a great advantage to him in after life. After his marriage he commenced the business, at first working alone; but as business increased he employed more help, and continued in that way until 1852, when he moved to Middletown, Henry county, Indiana, and there engaged in the mercantile business with J. R. Elder. He continued in that business for three years, when he disposed of his interest and moved to Washington, Tazewell county, Illinois. He remained there one year, and then removed to Pike county, and located on section 17, in Newburg township, where he remained until 1868. He then purchased of Col. William Ross a farm on section 21, in the same township, on the road leading from Pittsfield to Florence, two and three-quarter miles east of Pittsfield, where he now resides — his oldest son occupying the old farm.
To his amiable and worthy wife he attributes much of his success. His affection for his honored mother has never diminished, and he always speaks of her in the highest terms of praise. He is a warm friend of education and a strong advocate of the free school system. He seldom meddles with politics, but supports the press of both political parties, and votes for men of his own choice. He has a library of good books, both scientific and religious.
Mr. Fenton has given his attention exclusively to farming and raising stock since he came to Pike county, and he has done so well that he is now one of the wealthy men of Newburg township. He is consistent and reasonable in his opinions, and his kindness of heart ever prompts him to assist the poor. His veracity is unquestioned, and no man stands higher in the esteem of his neighbors.
Mr. Fenton has had six children born to him, three of whom — one daughter and two sons — are yet living; two are married, and one at home, single.
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