John C. and Rachel Winans

During the 1790s and 1800s, there was a great migration of settlers from New Jersey to Ohio which included many of our Winans ancestors. The following biography, from page 557, History of Miami County, provides us some interesting details of this migration and of the early days in Ohio. This is one of several biographies of persons living in Staunton Township, and is noteworthy for its mention of my 4g-grandfather, Samuel Winans, and of the details of his coming to Ohio. In fact, the article devotes about as much space to Samuel as it does to his grandson, John Clawson Winans, who is supposedly the subject of the biography.

JOHN C. WINANS, farmer; P. O. Troy. Among the early families of Miami Co. were the Winans family; in 1807 Richard W. Winans left his native State, New Jersey, and came to this county and located at Upper Piqua; he was a son of Samuel and Hannah (Woodruff) Winans, who were also born in New Jersey; Samuel was born March 20, 1746, and his wife June 3, 1749; they were united in marriage Jan 1, 1770; their son, Richard, was born Jan 3, 1781; on June 4, 1807 Richard was united in marriage to Sarah R. Winans, who was born May 20, 1788.

In coming from New Jersey to Ohio they came by ox team to Wheeling, Va. [West Va. since Civil War], then by boat to Cincinnati, then by their teams to this county, the time consumed in making the journey being forty-one days; about two years after, or in 1809, his father, Samuel, came to this county and located on the south-west quarter section 14; shortly after, his son came from Upper Piqua and located with him; in the same year between Christmas and New Year's, Richard W. and wife were taken into M. E. Church on probation, being the first persons uniting with the church, in this manner, in Miami Co; for several years after locating on their farm, their house was used as a place for preaching and worship; here they lived and labored in pioneer style, opening out, clearing, and enduring all the hardships, deprivations and dangers of such early settlements; but the prospects of a better future, the comforts and benefits which they hoped to hand down to their children, renewed their courage from day to day and from year to year, enabling them to bear all their burdens patiently; finally, in their latter days, they were permitted to enjoy, to some extent, the comforts and conveniences which their labors had won.

Samuel Winans, the grandfather, departed this life May 6, 1830 and his wife, Hannah, followed him on Oct. 29 of the same year; Richard, their son, continued to reside upon the home place till his death, which occurred Jan. 10, 1863.

John C. Winans, the son of Richard W. Winans, was born March 8, 1822; on June 2, 1869, he was united in marriage with Mrs. Rachel Rollins, who was born Jan 8, 1830; by this union they have one child, viz., Richard Maxwell, born April 14, 1871. Mr. Winans has always remained upon the old home farm where he was born, and probably will continue here during his life, as he can see no reason to desire any other location, having a beautiful residence and home, with everything to make his life comfortable and pleasant; Mr. Winans and wife are members of the M. E. Church, his membership dating back for nine years, and hers for thirty-five years.

Cousin Jerry Stout, who is a Rollins descendant, filled in some details on John's wife Rachel and on her first husband, Jonathan Rollins:

Jonathan ROLLINS, son of Jonathan ROLLINS & Amy WINANS; b. 26 Dec 1813 Ohio; d. before June 1869 IN or Ohio. He married 1st at Miami Co. OH on 18 Apr 1839 to Elizabeth PETTIT who died before Nov 1849. He married 2nd 12 Nov 1849 Miami Co. OH to Rachel MAXWELL daughter of Thomas & Susanna MAXWELL. She was born 8 Jan 1830 and married 2nd John Clawson Winans.

Jonathan ROLLINS and 1st wife Elizabeth PETTIT had one son:

  1. Thaddeus S. ROLLINS b. about 1842 OH, he married in Cass Co. IN to Sarah A. BENHAM.

Jonathan ROLLINS and 2nd wife Rachel MAXWELL had:

  1. Candace ROLLINS [see notes below]
  2. Elizabeth ROLLINS b. about 1851 IN
  3. Florence ROLLINS b. about 1855 IN


We hope the additional information on this page, provided by Jerry Stout, will help others who are researching these families to decipher what at times seem to be very convoluted relationships.

According to the biography of Rachel's brother, Spafford Woodhull Maxwell, in the Biographical History of Miami County, by Lewis, published 1900, the Maxwell family came to Ohio from Monmouth county, NJ, in 1806. An obituary published upon Spafford Maxwell's death in 1911 fills in even more detail on his life. He owned a farm in Staunton township and served in the 147th Ohio Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War along with my great-grandfather.

In 2007-2008, there was some discussion on Rootsweb's Miami county list of an Italianate farmhouse ("the Nolan house") on Troy-Sidney Road, just north of the Piqua-Troy interchange, which was once owned by John and Rachel Winans. One very knowledgable list participant wrote:

I have done research at the courthouse here in Troy. It looks to me like the land was originally 160 acres that Samuel Winans received by patent from the United States in Aug 20, 1812.

There was land transferred to [from?] John C. Winans to Rachel Winans (his wife) Nov 28 1890 pt SW qtr 51 1/2 acres.

Then she transferred land to Levi Martin 5.10 acre in 1892 SW qtr John C. Winans admin transferred to Levi Martin 80.39 same date N pt SW 1/4

There was a transfer of land from Rachel Winans estate to Cory H. Nolan in Nov 1897 40 1/2 acres pt SW 1/4

In my opinion, without doing the more in depth type of research needed, this may be close to a line of ownership. If not, it will give you somewhere to check against.

If you go to the recorder's office at Safety Building in Troy, they can help you get more details on these transfers...

Barbara Besecker
Asst. Archivist, Local History Library

This page was last updated 23 Sep 2011.