The subject of this sketch is descended from two of the oldest and best known families of Shelby county, and is herself well known and esteemed in the community where she lives, being a lady of reputable standing and possessing to a marked degree those qualities of mind and heart which win and retain permanent friendships. Her family name was Wharton, and her paternal antecedents were among the pioneers of Kentucky, in which state her grandparents, William and Sarah Wharton moved to Shelby county, Indiana, some time in the fifties, and located in section 8, Sugar Creek township, where he purchased land, developed a farm on which he and his wife spent the rest of their lives, both dying a number of years ago. Their family consisted of the following children, viz.: Mrs. Parmelia Rush, Mrs. Rachael Jenkins, Mrs. Palena Stevens, John, James, Thomas, and Mrs. Sarah Gunn, of whom James, of Kansas City, and Mrs. Gunn, of Fremont, Iowa are the only survivors.
John Wharton, the second of the above family and oldest of the sons, was born June 28, 1824, in Kentucky, came to Indiana with his parents, and spent his early life in Sugar Creek township. When a young man he learned carpentry, which he followed for a number of years at Fairland, and in connection with his trade also devoted considerable attention to agriculture. He first married Virginia Odell, after whose death her sister, Elizabeth, became his wife, both natives of North Carolina, and daughters of Jeremiah and Elizabeth (Dice) Odell, who moved overland from the Old North State in an early day, and purchased a claim of eighty acres a short distance south of the site of Fairland, Shelby county, Indiana, the country at the time of their arrival being a dense wilderness into which but few white men had previously penetrated.
Mr. Odell possessed great energy and fine business ability, and by judicious investments added to his original purchase at intervals until he finally became the owner of three hundred acres of fine land, the greater part of which he cleared and improved, developing it into one of the most beautiful farms in Sugar Creek township. Jeremiah Odell was born February 14, 1794, and died on the above farm July 16, 1830, his wife, whose birth occurred November 25, 1804, departing this life at the same place in the year 1885. They were the parents of children as follows: Elizabeth, second wife of John Wharton, William L., Isaac, Virginia, first wife of John Wharton, all deceased.
Mrs. Virginia Wharton was born on the 5th day of March, 1830, and died in her twenty-third year. Her sister, Elizabeth, the second wife of John Wharton, was born January 24, 1824, and closed her eyes to earthly scenes on February 12, 1906, her husband dying June 28, 1856, when nearly thirty-three years of age; John and Virginia Wharton became the parents of two children, Sophia, the subject of this sketch, and Virginia, who was born February 27, 1853, and who married Dr. James K. Stewart, both deceased.
Sophia Wharton was born in Fairland, Shelby county, and attended the district schools during the years of her childhood and youth, and early became proficient in the duties of the household, and her mother's able and willing assistant in conducting the home. She great up an intelligent young lady, with proper conceptions of life and its responsibilities, and on September 25, 1879, gave her hand in marriage to Robert Franklin Cherry, an estimable young gentleman of Shelby county, and a carpenter by trade, also a painter and paper-hanger, being skilled in all three trades.
Mr. Cherry was the son of Robert Cherry, Esq., and one of the best known and most highly esteemed men of the community in which he resided. As stated above, he followed mechanical pursuits for a livelihood, and for a number of years was noted as one of the best workmen in the county, his skill as a builder and proficiency and taste as a painter and decorator causing a wide and continuous demand for his services.
He was a Democrat, but not a politician, and in his fraternal relations belonged to the Improved Order of Red Men, having been honored from time to time in the local lodge with important official positions. In matters religious he had strong convictions and for many years he was a member of the Baptist church, and his life was a practical exponent of the faith, being in strict accord with its teachings.
Mr. and Mrs. Cherry's marriage was blessed with one child, a son named Thomas, whose birth occurred July 11, 1880, and who died on the 11th day of February, 1908. He married Lulu Bradley February 2, 1905.
Mr. Cherry died December 14, 1907.
Mrs. Cherry owns a beautiful county home in section 16, Brandywine township, a part of the original Odell farm, and is very comfortably situated. She is highly esteemed by all who know her, and moves in the best social circles of the community. She, too, is identified with the Methodist church.
Transcribed from Chadwick's History of Shelby County, Indiana. Pages 538-9
Surnames: Bradley, Cherry, Gunn, Jenkins, Odell, Rush, Stevens, Stewart, Wharton
Contributed by Mary Harrell Sesniak