Biography of Christopher R. Stark

The Stark family, deeply rooted in Licking County’s history, has notably contributed to its development since its early days. Christopher R. Stark, born in 1825, epitomized the essence of dedicated citizenship and agricultural innovation until his death. A descendant of Joshua Stark, who ventured from Connecticut in 1817 and established a successful life in Ohio, Christopher continued the legacy on the family farm, incorporating modern practices and excelling in cattle farming. Married to Mary Partridge, their lineage furthered the family’s impact on local agriculture and community affairs. Christopher’s life reflects the Stark family’s enduring influence on Licking County’s prosperity and agricultural heritage.

There are some names that are inseparably interwoven with the history of Licking County. The Stark family, from the period of earliest development, has been represented here, and the work which they have done in promoting general progress and improvement has given them the right to be classed among the most prominent and valued citizens in this part of the state. Christopher R. Stark, always loyal in his citizenship, made farming his life work, and continued an honored representative of agricultural interests to the time of his death. He was born February 9, 1825, on a farm two and a half miles west of Granville on the Worthington road, where he lived until called to the home beyond. He was a son of Joshua and Silence (Rose) Stark. The father was born in New London county, Connecticut, November 9, 1788, and was the older son in a family of two sons and seven daughters. In his youthful days he assisted his father in the farm work, also in the operation of a grist-mill and woolen factory which his father owned. Liberal educational advantages were afforded him, and he supplemented his early training by a course in Brown University. When the country became involved for the second time in war with England, he joined the American army and as an officer in a company led the defense of New London, Connecticut, when an attack was made upon that town. In consideration of his services, his family received a land warrant from the government for one hundred and sixty acres of land. Attracted by the growing west, for such Ohio was in those days, Joshua Stark left his old home in 1817 and with a one-horse wagon traveled toward what was then called New Connecticut, or the Western Reserve. On the way, however, he formed the acquaintance of George Case, who induced Mr. Stark to join him in a trip to Licking County, and eventually they reached Granville. They here formed a partnership for the manufacture of brick, which was in great demand for building operations. For three years the business was successfully conducted, and then Mr. Stark turned his attention to agricultural pursuits, locating on a farm two and a half miles west of the village of Granville. There a few years later he purchased one hundred acres of land, and afterward an additional tract of one hundred and seventy acres, and in time this place became the property of his son Christopher, whose name introduces this review.

On the 22nd of November, 1821, Joshua Stark was married to Silence Rose, of Granville, a daughter of Deacon Lemuel and Axa Rose, who came to Ohio in 1805 with the Granville company from Granville, Connecticut. Their daughter Silence was born September 4, 1795, and by her marriage became the mother of three children: LL. Barlow, born July 1, 1823; Christopher R., born February 9, 1825; and Olive, born June 20, 1828. The death of the father occurred June 29, 1858, and the mother passed away December 27, 1861. Mr. Stark was honest, frugal, and industrious, and was loyal in his friendships. His wife was a devoted Christian woman. On the home farm, amid the conditions of pioneer life, Christopher R. Stark was reared, and always resided upon this place save for nine years which he spent in California, crossing the plains to the Pacific coast in 1849, attracted by the discovery of gold in that state. He acted as captain of a company of thirty-two men who left Licking County for the far west, and day after day they traveled on, until the days lengthened into weeks and the weeks into months, ere they were gladdened by the sight of the green valleys of California. At first Mr. Stark engaged in mining, but soon came to the opinion that he would find more profitable labor in other fields, and ran a pack-train of mules, carrying provisions into the mountains for the miners. In 1858 he returned by way of the isthmus route and spent the remainder of his days on a farm. He was the owner of two hundred and seventy acres of rich and valuable land, which was devoted to the cultivation of such cereals as are best adapted to soil and climate. He also gave time to raising short-horned cattle, and became known as one of the prominent cattlemen of this part of the state. He always kept stock of the highest grade, had a fine herd of Durhams, and won various premiums by his exhibitions at the county and state fairs. On his place he made all modern improvements and erected a good dwelling and substantial outbuildings, while the latest improved machinery was used to facilitate the work of the fields.

On the 12th of March, 1860, Mr. Stark was married to Miss Mary Partridge, who was born in Granville township in 1827. Her father, Ebenezer Partridge, was born in Burlington, Vermont, May 18, 1802; while her mother, who bore the maiden name of Lucretia Rice, was born in Westford, Vermont, in 1808. In the spring of 1834, they became residents of Granville, where their remaining days were passed. Mrs. Partridge died March 21, 1849, and Mr. Partridge afterward married Marietta Hamilton, of Canaan, New York. His death occurred November 1, 1873. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Stark were born three children: Charles, who died September 17, 1887, at the age of twenty-one years; Joshua, who is living on the old home place; and William, who is also occupying a part of the old homestead. He married Cenith Prior and they have three children: Mary Esther, James L., and John C. Joshua Stark is the owner of valuable farming property lying in two townships. He is a worthy successor of his honored father in his farming and stock-raising interests, and is recognized as a man of good business ability, of unsullied integrity in all trade transactions, and of capable management in all of his affairs. On October 28, 1908, Joshua Stark was married to Minnie B. Sinnett, a daughter of Eugene and Harriet (Twining) Sinnett, natives of Granville township. Mr. Sinnett was a farmer of Granville township. His death occurred in the fall of 1884. His widow still survives and lives in Granville. Mrs. Stark was the only child. Eugene Sinnett’s parents, Alansen and Julia (Webster) Sinnett, were born in Massachusetts and Vermont, and numbered among the early settlers of Licking County. He later removed to Rock Island, Illinois, where his death occurred in 1886. Mrs. Eugene Sinnett’s parents were Merrick and Corinthia (Clark) Twining. Mrs. Sinnett was a cousin of Daniel Webster. Both Mr. and Mrs. Twining were pioneers of Granville township.

In his political views, Christopher R. Stark was a stalwart Republican. He took great interest in the affairs of the community, served as township trustee, and held other local offices. He also purchased the first lot in the Granville cemetery. At the time of the Civil War, he served as one of the squirrel-hunters and protected the interests of the community against the invasion of the southern troops. Death claimed him on the 6th of September, 1908, while his wife passed away in 1899. They were both people of the highest personal worth, who had done their full share toward promoting the progress and upbuilding of the county. Mr. Stark stood at all times for advancement, and his labors were particularly effective in promoting agricultural interests. He was a member of the Granville Farmers Club, and while he never spoke at length before that body, the ideas which he did express were terse and to the point. He was modest in the expression of his opinions, and yet his ideas were always recognized as of value, for he was a close observer and his deductions were logical and reasonable. He made good use of his time and opportunities, and his well-directed life won for him the unqualified respect of all who knew him.


Brister, Edwin M. P. Centennial History of the City of Newark and Licking County, Ohio, 2 vols. S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1909.

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