Geo. Washington part of families’ histories

Two Howard County pioneer families had in their story an incident where a family member met George Washington. It was a bit more than the old cliche “George Washington slept here.”

David S. Farley was born in Ohio in 1815, moved to Howard County in 1854, first to Union Township and then to land be bought on Sycamore Road east of Kokomo. He built the first brick house in Howard Township in 1862, a cross-shaped structure that still stands.

His mother, Anna Tenneyck Farley, grew up in New Jersey, and as a little girl she was out along the side of a road one day, just at the end of the American Revolution. She was startled by a formidable looking party that came riding toward her. She was afraid, didn’t know whom they were, so she screamed loudly and called out, “Halt!”

The party stopped, and George Washington, in full dress, went to her. With soothing words he explained who he was, and when he did that a smile replaced her anxious tears. Washington left a lasting impression on little Anna, and a record of the encounter was proudly kept by the David Farley family.

Mary Gano Bryan Cobb was born in 1803, and her father and grandfather both fought in the American Revolution.There were members of the Gano family who helped capture the British spy, Maj. John Andre, in 1780. Mary Gano’s first husband was Lewis H. Bryan, who fought in the War of 1812 and was the great-grandfather of William Jennings Bryan, a future presidential candidate.

Lewis Bryan died, and Mary Gano Bryan married Mexican-American War veteran Stephen Cobb. He died in 1853, and Mary was a widow in Kentucky. A neighbor on the farm next to hers was Henry Clay, whom she knew well. During the War of the Rebellion, 400 of her relatives participated, all but one for the North, and her home was sacked by both sides.

In 1863 she moved to Howard County, living around New London. Her grandfather was John Gano, a Baptist minister known as “the fighting parson” when he went from his pulpit to the battlefield. It was said he knew George Washington and baptized him in the Potomac River. With news of peace Washington had John Gano give a prayer offering thanks.

Also in the family was a prized rocking chair, which was brought from France to America before the War for Independence had begun. In this chair George Washington used to sit when visiting Mary’s family. Mary Gano Bryan Cobb died at age 100 in 1903.

While George Washington never slept here, there were two families in Howard County who had members who knew him, and both families were very proud of that fact.

Jeff Hatton


Snowplows always going the other way

I want to introduce you to a new law. I call it, Ed’s Law.

Somebody or anybody else may have thought of this, but I have not seen it written, until now. Here it is:

When the snow is deep and the driving is bad because of it, and you really want a snowplow to clear your way, you will pass one going the other way. Happy spring!

Ed Roberts


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