John Widney was a son of James Widney and Mary Wilson. As he wrote in his family Bible, he was born on 9 February 1766 in County Monaghan, Ireland. At the time, the Widney family home was the townland of Killymurry, which the family had owned since sometime prior to 1724.
In 1784, John and several siblings emigrated to America and settled in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. There, John served for some time as a justice of the peace. Also as noted in his Bible, John was married on 15 April 1794 to Mary Johnston, daughter of Stephen Johnston of County Fermanagh, Ireland and Elizabeth Bernard of French Huguenot descent. Nine of the couple's ten children were born in Franklin County.
In 1810, however, John sold their farm and a mill property and moved to Miami County, Ohio. The family settled three miles northwest of where the city of Piqua now stands, which at the time boasted of only two log cabins. John purchased a quarter-section of land, with 3 cleared acres and a log cabin, and entered three adjoining quarter-sections, one for each of his three sons. In 1814, John was elected a Trustee of newly organized Washington Township. In three years more, he was elected Associate Judge for the County, in which position he served for five years. Also in 1817, the Piqua Female Bible Society was formed "under the leadership of several excellent and benevolent ladies connected with the various church of the town", and John's wife was among its earliest members.
John Widney passed away on 29 June 1836 and was buried in the Johnston Cemetery in Piqua. The following chronology is derived in part from the research of Beulah (Widney) Wall, D.A.R. Other sources are cited where known.
1766 Feb 9 : Born in County Monaghan, Ireland.
1784 : Came from Ireland with his two brothers and presumably two of his three sister (Sarah coming in 1788).
1792 Jun 30 : A Capt. John Widney returned to Franklin County, PA.
1792 : Received a deed for 129 acres, 40 perches.
1794 Apr 15 : Married Mary Johnston.
1795 Dec 24 : Daughter Elizabeth born.
1797 Aug 3 : Daughter Mary Ann born.
1799 Sep? 21 : Daughter Margaret born.
1798 Owned 130 acres adjoining his brother, Charles. Valuation #650. [Franklin Co. Taxes, Bk. 5, p.56; Bk. 2, p. 264/493].
1800 : Bought a very large bible from his wife's father, Stephen Johnston. When John died, his son John received it. This John passed it on to his son, also named John. From there it was passed to his son George Jay. Having no living son, George Jay passed it to his eldest daughter, Phyllis (Miles), who passed it on to her daughter Barbara Phyllis (Long).
1800 Jul 23 : Appointed Justice of the Peace in Fannett Twp., Franklin Co., PA by Gov. Thomas M'Kean, Gov. of the Commonwealth of PA.
1801 Mar 6 : Another daughter Elizabeth born.
1802 Nov 14 : Son John born. in Washington Co., PA.
1804 Aug 18 : Daughter Rachel born.
1806 Apr 9 : Son Stephen born. in Franklin County, PA.
1810 : Sold the 129+ acres acquired in 1792 to Charles Widney. Is this the land for which he was taxed in 1798? [references made to Bk. 2, pp.264,494 and Bk. 5, p. 56]
1810 Jun : Sold the farm and mill property and moved to Ohio, settling in Miami Co. about 3 miles NW of what is now the city of Piqua. His uncle, John Johnston, who was then a government agent for five or six of the Northwestern tribes of Indians, brought his family and settled within a mile of the Widneys.
1818 : Elected by the legislature as an Associate Justice of the Court of Common Pleas; served seven years.
1834 Aug 21 : Wrote his will.
1836 Jun 29 : Died near Piqua, Miami County, OH.
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