Biography of Hon. William G. Zerface

HON. WILLIAM G. ZERFACE. whose career as legist, jurist, business moan and citizen has reflected honor upon himself and his community, is widely known to the legal profession throughout Madison County, as well as to realty men in this part of the state, where he has made his home for many years, He is a native of Indiana, having been born in Montgomery County, September 13, 1858, and is a son of Martin and Mary Jane (Larew) Zerface.

The Zerface family was founded in America by Philip Zerface, the paternal great-great-grandfather of Judge Zerface, who came from England, although his people were originally from near Berlin, Ger’ many, Jacob Zerface, the great-grandfather of Judge Zerface, was born in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, and from that place enlisted for service in the Colonial army during the War of the Revolution, Adam Zerface, son of Jacob Zerface, was born in Virginia, from whence he moved at an early day to Ohio, and in 1839 moved to Indiana and there spent the remainder of his life in farming, His wife, who bore the maiden name of Elizabeth, died young, in 1840, having been the mother of the following children George, Jacob, Margaret, Martin, Philip, Silas, Sarah and Catherine, Martin Zerface, father of Judge Zerface, was horn in Ohio, and was ten years of age when he accompanied his parents to Indiana in 1839. He grew to manhood in Montgomery County, and became a carpenter by trade, but subsequently turned his attention to farming in Wayne Township, where he accumulated 240 acres of land, There he reared his family, and his death occurred at Waynetown, in 1897, when he was sixty-nine years of age, while his widow survives him and resides at the old home place in town, Mr. Zerface was married in Montgomery County, Indiana, to Mary Jane Larew, who was born in Indiana, daughter of Garrett and Elizabeth (Ricketts) Larew, the former a native of Scotland and the latter of this country, They were pioneers of Indiana and located in Wayne Township, Montgomery County, where Mr. Larew became engaged in farming and stock dealing, He died on the home place when just past middle life, while she died in advanced years. Their children were: Abraham, Nancy, Garrett, Esther and Mary Jane, Mr. Larew served his country as a volunteer during the Blackhawk War, To Mr. and Mrs. Zerface there were born four children, namely: William G.; Jacob Andrew, who lives in Montgomery County; John W. who is deceased; and Rosa M., who became the wife of George Warfield, and resides in Montgomery County.

William G. Zerface was reared on his father’s farm in Montgomery County, it being his parents’ intention to make an agriculturist out of the lad, but the latter had other views as to what should be his life work, After attending the district schools of Wayne Township, he went through Ladoga College and the Northern Indiana Normal school, at Valparaiso, and for several years thereafter was employed as an educator. He next became a clerk in a mercantile establishment, and while so employed found an opportunity to study law, and in 1884 was admitted to the bar at Crawfordsville, where he began his practice as deputy prosecuting attorney in Wayne Township, under John H. Burford, who afterwards became judge of the Oklahoma Supreme bench. His health failing, after several years Judge Zerface came to Elwood, where he was again engaged in clerking for a time, but eventually resumed his law practice, and in 1904 was elected Judge of the Elwood City Court, a capacity in which he served until January 1, 1910, During this time he established a reputation as a wise, conscientious and impartial judge, and was known as one of the most popular officials Elwood has ever had, On his retirement from the bench, Judge Zerface entered the real estate business, in which he is engaged at the present time.

On October 9, 1880, Judge Zerface was married to Miss Emma Lidster, who was born in Montgomery County, Indiana, daughter of William and Melvina (Goode) Lidster, the former a native of England and the latter of Ohio. There were eight children in the Lidster family, namely Thomas, Mary, Henry, Anna, Cornelius, Araminta, Redden B. and Emma, Judge and Mrs. Zerface became the parents of the following children Princella, who married John Misner, of Elwood, and has four children,-Ruth, John, Lenora and Eugene; Grover, a decorator of Elwood, who married Bessie Hawkins, and has one child,-Gertrude; James Lloyd, who married Dorothy Eckhoff, daughter of Clemens Eckhoff, a furniture manufacturer, who lives in St, Louis, Missouri; Martin F. is in the employ of the American Sheet and Tin Plate Company, and also writes fire insurance as a side line; Allen Walter is in the employ of the G. I. Sellers Manufacturing Company, and resides at Elwood; and Nellie and Maurice Philip reside with their father. The mother of these children died June 10, 1902, aged forty-three years, in the faith of the Christian church, On December 15, 1910, Judge Zerface was married to Mrs. Myrtle (Mitchell) Perkins, daughter of John and Catherine (Shane) Mitchell, natives of Kentucky, Of the children born to Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell the following are now living: Myrtle; Sylvester; Gertrude, who married Charles Horton; Piona, who is single; and Ferol, Mrs. Zerface was born in Shelby County, Indiana, and was married to Arthur Perkins, by whom she had one son Henry B. Perkins.

Judge Zerface is a valued member of the Improved Order of Red Men and the Independent Order of Foresters. Although a stalwart Democrat, he has never been an office seeker, and has served in public office only when he has been suggested, nominated and elected by his friends. Of these he has many throughout this part of the state, where he is known as an exemplary citizen, a loyal friend and a man upon whose record there is not the slightest stain or blemish.



Madison County IN,

Forkner, John. History of Madison County, Indiana: a narrative account of its historical progress, its people and its principal interests. Chicago: The Lewis publishing company, 1914.

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