Biography of Silvanus Ames

Silvanus Ames, long known in this county as Judge Ames, was born at Bridgewater, Massachusetts, March 26, 1771. His father, whose ancestor, William Ames, came from England in 1643, was a graduate of Harvard college, and an Episcopalian clergyman. He preached several years at Trinity church, in Taunton, Massachusetts, was afterwards a chaplain in the revolutionary army, and died in the camp at Valley Forge, during the hard winter of 1777-78. Silvanus Ames married Nabby Lee Johnson in 1795, and moved to the northwestern territory in 1798. They settled temporarily in Belpre, whence they removed to Ames township, in May, 1800, and settled on the farm now owned by the Henrys, and still familiarly called the “Ames farm.” Mr. Ames’ strong sense and solid judgment gave him a commanding influence among the early settlers, and he was soon brought into the public life of that day. He was the second sheriff of the county, colonel of militia, trustee of the Ohio university for many years, and associate judge from 1813 to 1823. He was also several times elected representative to the state legislature, and in all of these positions evinced a capacity for public affairs, and gained the approbation of the community. Intimately connected, as he was, with the political movements of the day, Judge Ames’ house became the resort of the political leaders in southern Ohio, and a favorite stopping place of public men, when making their long trips between the east and west. He was an active and liberal supporter of all educational and religious movements, and an acknowledged leader in the community for several years. He died September 23, 1823. At the time of his death his family consisted of five sons and four daughters, of whom four sons and two daughters are now living, viz: the Rev. Bishop E. R. Ames, John, in Kansas, Charles B., in the state of Mississippi, and George W., at Greencastle, Indiana. One of the daughters, Mrs. Eliza Dawes, lives at Ripon, Wisconsin, and the other, Mrs. A. B. Walker, at Athens. Another daughter, Mrs. de Steiguer, died at Athens, July 29, 1851; a son of her’s, Rodolph de Steiguer, a native of the county, is a leading lawyer at Athens.



Collection: Athens County Ohio Genealogy.

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