Samuel and Eliza (Fuller) Meek were early settlers in Defiance County, coming from Columbiana County, Ohio. They have been designated into First Families of Defiance County, Ohio, having been in the county since about 1853.
Samuel and his twin, David Cooper Meek, were born either December 31, 1823 or January 1, 1824, (depending on the source) in Columbiana County to James and Anna (Cooper) Meek. They were the first of the couple's fourteen children. James Monroe was president and the Erie Canal from the Hudson River to Lake Erie had just opened. Ohio was the frontier.
Ten years later, Eliza Fuller was born on November 20, 1834, to Samuel H. Fuller and wife, Emily Camp. Eliza was born in either Morrow or Marion County, depending on the source, but the likelihood is that there were border changes between the counties. They do share a common border.
The Fuller family came to Dekalb County, Indiana, parts of which are only a few miles from the area where Samuel Meek settled in Hicksville Township, Defiance County, in 1853. Sam and Eliza were married in Dekalb County on May 12, 1855.
They first appear together in the 1860 census together with sons, James, 3, and David, 1. Samuel had a brother who died in the Civil War named James and, of course, his twin brother was named David -those are possible explanations for the naming. Farming in Hicksville township, Defiance County, Samuel had land worth $1600 and personal goods worth $200.
During the Civil War period, Samuel lost two brothers to the war, one who died in battle and one who died in Andersonville prison. The third brother who served, Hiram, was highly decorated and returned home to also settle in Defiance County near his brother, Samuel.
Some time before the 1870 census, the first born son, James, died. Their family in 1870, consisted of four sons: David, William Oscar, Hiram and Sherman. Their only daughter, Emily Anna was born in 1871, and the last son, John Emerson Meek, in 1874. (One son, Solomon, was deceased.)
In 1881, a land transfer was found where Samuel bought 80 acres from A. P. Edgerton, the premier developer of the area around Hicksville. I believe he sold the 58 acres he owned in Section 14 and bought the 80 acres in Section 13, as shown by a comparison between the plat maps of 1866 and 1890. So he was doing well as a farmer. His sons and daughter married, and settled nearby.
In the 1900 census, it was revealed that Samuel could neither read nor write, but Eliza could and that was probably how he managed.
Samuel Meek died on August 23, 1902 at the age of 78. His obituary was found in a compilation of obituaries of Northwestern Ohio pioneers:
Samuel Meek was born in Columbiana county, Ohio, Jan. 1, 1824, and departed this life Aug. 23, 1902, aged 78 years, 7 months and 23 days. He and his twin brother, David Meek, who departed this life August 10, 1901, were the oldest of a family of 14 children, five of whom are still living. He settled in this county in 1853, and May 17, 1855, was married to Eliza C. Fuller of Dekalb county, Ind. To this union was born one daughter and seven sons.
He joined the church of the United Brethern in Christ in 1870 and remained a faithful honored member until his death. He was a man of the strictest integrity, and held in high esteem in the community where he lived. His wife, daughter and four sons survive him.
Funeral services occurred from the U. B. church at Six Corners, Monday conducted by elder J. W. Lilly, assisted by Rev. M. R. Ballinger."
He was buried at Six Corners Cemetery, Hicksville Township, Defiance County, OH. Eliza died on July 2, 1909 and was buried beside her husband.
The obituary for Eliza C. Fuller (Meek) was found in a collection of old obituaries, mostly from the Hicksville, Ohio,newspapers. From Pioneers of Northwest Ohio, this undated article:
Eliza C. Fuller was born in Morrow County, Ohio, November 20, 1834. In early life, with her parents, she removed to Dekalb county, Ind., where she was converted to the christian life and joined the M.E. church. She was married to Samuel Meek, May 17, 1855, and with her husband, located on their farm one mile south of Six Corners, shortly after which she transferred her membership to the Six Corners U. B. church, where her membership was continued until her death, being a member of the church approximately thirty years. This marriage was blessed with 8 children, 7 sons and 1 daughter. Three sons and her husband preceded her in death, her husband dying about seven years ago, since when her home has been among her children. For several years, she has been afflicted with paralysis and for the past six weeks, she has been almost entirely helpless. For years she took pleasure in reading her Bible and hymn book. She said she wanted all to meet her in heaven. She passed away in death July 2, 1909, at the age of 74 years, 7 months, 12 days, leaving four sons, one daughter, two sisters, one brother, with other relatives and friends to mourn and follow. Funeral service was conduced from Six Corners church Sunday afternoon, Rev. J. F. Miller officiating."
It is possible that one of the sons continued farming the home place, but by 1913, it was time for the estate to be settled. At this point, I have not checked out the sale of the farm, but I did find a sale bill for the Samuel Meek farm goods. Published in The Tribune, Hicksville, Ohio, on Thursday, January 30, 1913: