By Dorothy Dean Viets Schell, Gateway Press, Baltimore, 1990



(Because there is no record of any full brothers or sisters of Hezekiah Viets,

I am only including him in this generation.)


1-5-1-2-1. Hezekiah Viets

"Hezekiah Viets was probably a son of Hezekiah Phelps Viets from the fact that he bore the same name, and was born about 1780 when the latter was 21 years of age, but there is no positive proof of his descent. He was an errand boy in a hotel in Philadelphia when twelve years old, and sold books on commission in Philadelphia. Nothing is known of him previous to this time. Among his papers are found notes given to H.V., bearing date 1797. Letters were written him from Reading, Pa., in 1802 from some of his associates. [These papers are in the estate left by J. Elaine Wellmeier, a great great grandson of Hezekiah Viets, Dayton, Ohio, in 1988.] He was for a time in New Orleans, and later in Cuba and St. Domingo, where it seems that he was sent for his health. Again letters were written him in Philadelphia congratulating him on his safe return. He is next found in Cincinnati in 1802, doing business for a man by the name of Barnes, from whom he received goods up to 1813.

"In 1816 he brought a store to Fort Jefferson, Darke County, Ohio, where he laid out the town, and lived the reminder of his life. He entered several tracts of land at Fort Jefferson, opened up a farm, and built a sawmill, which furnished all the lumber that was used for building purposes for miles around.


"About 1839 he was attacked by rheumatism, which incapacitated him for his usual work. In 1845 he took a notion to peddle, and followed this until his death, which occurred July 3, 1850, at Parkersburg, Va.


"These interesting facts were furnished by John Wesley Viets, a son of Hezekiah, now living at Fort Jefferson. It may be added that a nephew of John Wesley Viets, living in another part of Ohio, speaks of his grandfather Hezekiah as having gone from Vermont and settled at Fort Jefferson. Hezekiah Viets married and raised a family at Fort Jefferson."—FHV.


HezekiahTs son, John Wesley Viets, in a speech at the dedication of an obelisk in Fort Jefferson October 24, 1907, states that he has a license certifying that Hezekiah Viets has the privilege of bringing a store to and selling goods in Fort Jefferson. [Garst Museum, Greenville, Ohio.]

From Wilson, Fort Jefferson, the Frontier Post of the Upper Miami Valley:

   . . . On Sept. 23, 1818, Hezekiah Viets laid off a town plat of fifty-eight lots, with two main streets running north and south, and three cross streets, including the site of the fort in the southwest corner of the village plat. As the fort site was not built in early days the boys of the village appropriated it for a commons and playground, dubbing it the Old War Ground. Here they picked up such relics as a flintlock, a bayonet, musket barrel, tomahawk, scalping-knife, six-ounce lead bullets and fragments of bombshells.

Hezekiah married first, Peninah Chapman and second, Hulda Ludington on December 14, 1828 in Darke County, Ohio. He supposedly died in Parkersburg, Virginia [now West Virginia], on July 3, 1850. His widow married September 24, 1857 John Young. She died September 25, 1861, and Mr. Young died February 24, 1862. Both are buried in Pioneer Cemetery, Fort Jefferson, Ohio. [Tombstones read by DVS, 1987.]

In this cemetery are also found tombstones for two infants presumably Hezekiah's, Henrietta and Henry, both dying between their first and second birthdays. The tombstones are almost identical and circumstances seem to indicate they were twins. However, the calculation from their ages at date of death indicates they were born five months apart. To further complicate the issue, Peninah's date of birth is given by H. Isabel Viets as the same year (1820). In 1842 Hezekiah and Hulda Viets donated land for the M.E. Church adjacent to the cemetery. [Short and Bower, Cemetery Inscriptions, Darke County, Ohio.]


Children by first marriage:

1-5-1-2-1-1. Peninah Viets, born March 17, 1820, married April 15, 1841, Dr. David Everts Reed, 4 children, died May 8, 1870

1-5-1-2-1-2. Henrietta Viets, born 1820?; died August 16, 1821


1-5-1-2-1-3. Henry Viets, born 1820?; died April 2, 1822

1-5-1-2-1-4.  Andrew Jackson Viets, born May 5, 1826, married Rebecca Washington, February 11, 1849, no children, died June 14, 1884

Children by second marriage:

1-5-1-2-1-5. Hezekiah Viets, born May 4, 1829; died August 6, Pioneer Cemetery, Ft. Jefferson, Ohio.]

1-5-1-2-1-6. William Viets, born September 18, 1830

1-5-1-2-1-7. Charles Viets, born June 10, 1832

1-5-1-2-1-8. John Wesley Viets, born January 6, 1835

1-5-1-2-1-9. Elijah Viets, born June 15, 1838

Reference: Beers, History of Darke County, Ohio.


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