“Among the men of sterling wort and strength of character who have made an impress upon the life of the locality in which they live, no one has achieved a larger meed of popular respect than John E. Free, a prosperous farmer of Wayne township and the president of the school board of his home township. His whole life of more than half a century has been spent on the farm where he is now living and thus the people have had an opportunity to know him in every phase of his character, and that he has been true to life in every phase is manifest by the esteem and regard in which he is held by all those who know him. He has gained his success by the honest endeavor and indomitable energy, and has placed himself in the front rank of the farmers of his community by exercising these excellent qualities. He has outstripped the less active plodders on the highway of life and has achieved a marked success in agricultural affairs and won for himself a name which all men who know him delight to honor.
John E. Free, the son of John and Mary (Hixon) Free, was born on the farm where he is now living March 23, 1863. His father, the son of John Free, was born in Ross county, this state, and he and his wife reared a family of six children: Mrs. Louisa DePoy; Samuel, who married Josie Smith; Fred, who married Alicina Bainter; Elizabeth, deceased; Almetta, deceased, who was the wife of Charles Burns, and John E., of whom this record speaks. The grandfather of John E. Free, whose name was also John Free was a native of Virginia and came to Ohio and settled in Ross county in 1800.
John E. Free received his education in the common schools of Wayne township, and at the age of eighteen began farming for himself by renting land from his father. After the death of his father the paternal estate was divided and John E. Free received the home place as his portion of the estate. On the farm he had placed many improvements and keeps it in high state of productivity by scientific crop rotation and the proper fertilization of the ground. He raises good crops and feeds most of his grain to live stock, which he always keeps on the farm.
Mr. Free was married December 24,1891, to Lula Ware the daughter of Anaias and Melinda (Eyman) Ware, and to this union have been born three children, Francis M., Walter and Dwight. Francis M. married Everett Ride and has one son, J. Norborn.
Politically,Mr. Free is a Democrat and has always been interested in local politics, and at the present time he is a member of the school board of his township, serving as its president. Fraternally, he is a member of the Modern Woodmen of America and the junior order of United American Mechanics. The members of his family are adherents of the Methodist Episcopal church, in whose welfare they are deeply interested and to whose support they are liberal contributors.”
Source: History of Fayette Co., Ohio, by Frank M. Allen, B.F. Bowen and Co., Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana, 1914, page 682.