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The Christian Church (Campbellites), often abbreviated as the Disciples of Christ or the Christian Church, is a denomination of Christian Protestantism that grew out of the Restoration Movement founded by Thomas Campbell and Alexander Campbell of West Virginia (then Virginia) and Barton W. Stone of Kentucky. Both families were originally Presbyterians. (wikipedia)


A report by Linda Berney

17 Feb 1800 Michael was born in Tennessee (Christian Standard obit of March 23, 1872, “Bro. Combs was seventy-two years old the 17th day of February last.” Tennessee was listed as his place of birth in the 1850 and 1860 censuses.) See also quote under 1805 below.

30 Dec 1801 Job was born in Tennessee (from his obit written by his brother Michael in the Christian Record - “brother, Job Combs, aged sixty-six years, four months, and two days. Departed this life May 2d, 1868…” 1860 census lists Job as born in Tennessee.)

Abt 1805 - Job and Michael lived with an uncle after their mother Abigail Coons died - from Biographical Sketches of the Pioneer Preachers of Indiana by Madison Evans, Philadelphia, J. Challen & Sons, c 1862, 445 pages. (BSPPI hereon out) Long article about the life and ministry of Michael Combs is found on pages 139-157. Page 139: “He was born in East Tennessee, February 17, 1800. His father, Job Combs was of Scots descent and of the Presbyterian faith … His mother's maiden name was Abigail Coons. She was of German descent … The mother of Elder Combs died when he was quite young; whereupon he and his brother Job were placed in the family of a maternal uncle who was a strict Baptist of the Calvinistic dye.”

Abt 1811 - Michael moved to Preble County, OH (from an online history of Plainfield Christian Church, Plainfield, Indiana, which said in part “Michael Combs, the first preacher of Plainfield Christian, was born in east Tennessee in 1800 and was of Presbyterian background. In 1811 his family moved into Preble County, Ohio and were influenced by the Christians known as “New Lights”. He moved into Montgomery County, Indiana and organized the Christian Church in Crawfordsville in 1826.” Since he was only about 11 on the move to Preble County, is it generally assumed he moved with the uncle? Or is it assumed that since there is a Job Combs in Preble County in 1820 and 1830, that the boys were back with their father?

1 Jan 1818 - Michael married Mary Edwards - (BSPPI, page 142: “On the first of January, 1818, he was married to Mary Edwards, who had been brought up among the Quakers of North Carolina… She is the mother of 13 children, 11 of who are living; and all of whom, save one, have become obedient to the faith”

1822 - Both started preaching - (BSPPI, page 144: “About the year 1822 he and his brother Job both commenced exhorting and preaching.”

About 1826 - Michael moved to Montgomery County, Indiana, (BSPPI, page 146: “About the year 1826 he removed to Montgomery County, Indiana, having entered 80 acres of land near Crawfordsville.” From History of Montgomery County found on Ancestry, which said on Page 585 - “The first preaching in Franklin township, according to the principles and manner of teaching of Alexander Campbell was done by Michael Combs in the house of John Harland about 1827. He was afterward assisted by his brother, Job Combs, who also rode through the wilderness visiting the homes of the pioneers, and preaching in the cabins to the few that could be called together to hear the word.”

(History of Hendricks Co., IN) The Christian church at Plainfield was organized March, 1830, …among the first ministers were Revs. Michael and Job Combs.

Submitted by researcher: Constance Combs

By about 1840 - Michael was living near Terre Haute, Vigo County, Indiana, probably in Posey Township, Clay County. The 2 counties are adjacent. The 1840 and 1850 census both place Michael's family in Posey. Daughter Elizabeth was born about 1842 near Terre Haute, according to Des Moines County Iowa Biographical Dictionary page 611, found on Ancestry, on the life of Milo W. Phillips, which said this about his wife, “…On 4th of January 1860, he wedded Miss Elizabeth J. Combs, a daughter of Rev. Michael Combs of Albia, Iowa. Mrs. Phillips was born near Terre Haute, Ind. She died Oct 4, 1874 leaving 3 sons, Grant V. Cyrus C. and Paul H.…now aged 24, 22 and 16 years, employed with their father in Burlington.”

Also about 1840 - Michael was preaching across the boarder in Illinois according to an online Obituary in Wayne County, Iowa which said of Elizabeth Hodgin Trogdon, “She united with the Christian church in 1840 under the labors of Rev. Michael Combs in Edgar County, IL, at the church known as Little Grove.”


1850 census

Michael's family is in Posey Township, Clay County, Indiana, dwelling 65. There is a Job and Henrietta Combs family in dwelling 130. This Job is 48, which is right at the age of Michael's brother, but he lists his birthplace as Kentucky. According to Ancestry posting of Indiana Marriages to 1850, “Job Combs and Henrietta Williams, Married July 1, 1825 in Ripley Co, Indiana”. Further, according to a posting by Michael R. Wilson on this list, Nov 17, 1997, quoting the Power of Attorney between Job Combs and Jonathan Yocum, Montgomery County, Kentucky - Book 15, page 323, “…Job Combs and Henrietta, his wife of the County and State aforesaid … appoint Jonathan Yocum…to deliver warranty deed … for a tract of land … formerly owned and possessed by Nathan Williams, deceased, situated on the waters of Green Brier Creek … to John Ivans and James Mc____ … 6th day of August 1831" So it seems likely that this is a different Job Combs from the brother of Elder Michael. In the same census in dwelling 105 is Jobe S. Combs, age 24, making him likely a son of Michael and Henrietta.”


By 1851 Michael is into politics and railroad construction - (from History of Clay County (Indiana) found on Indiana Genweb Pg 152-153, which said, “Staunton … 12 miles east of Terre Haute … Founded in 1851. At the time the railroad was in the process of building, by Michael Combs and Lewis Bailey. This town was originally named Highland … Clay County - Coal was mined here at a very early day. This was the home of Michael Combs, who is credited with having not only discovered but developed and shipped the first coal produced within the county.” And from BSPPI, Page 154, “…he became a heavy contractor in the construction of railroads; and finally became involved in politics. He was elected to the State Senate about the year 1851, which marked the close of his political career … What he had made at other employments he lost in his railroad operations.”)

Abt 1852 - opened a coal mine (Indiana and Indianans 1919, page 959, found on Ancestry, which said, “Michael Combs, a Campbellite preacher, who served a term in the State Senate, first discovered coal in Clay County, and shipped the first car-load out of there in 1852; but this was bituminous coal.”

Abt 1853 - moved to Illinois, then on to Iowa, (BSPPI, page 154, which said, “About the year 1853 he collected the remnant of his means and removed to Illinois, still in hope of securing some land for his children. At a subsequent period he moved to Iowa, in which State he still resides, near Bellair, Appanoose county. He continues to preach and do good as he has opportunity;…”)

(History of Wapello County, Iowa p. 300) In this history of the Christian Church at Eddyville, IA, established 2 d of July, 1857, the following #8220;earlier pastors of the church are: Reverends Noe, Jacob Creath, Jr., G.T. Garrett, N.E. Cory, N.A. McConnell, G.T. Carpenter, William Thompson, Freeman Walden, William Cowley, and Job Combs.”

Submitted by researcher: Constance Combs

(Land Patents--Appanoose County prior to 1856) The following are lists of first purchasers of Appanoose County prior to 1856 as copied from Book1, Book of Patents by Jane McMichael. Iowa Genealogical Society.

Township 67-Range 16-District of Chariton.
Sweaney Williams assignee of Job Combs

Submitted by researcher: Constance Combs

Aug 25, 1859 - performed marriage of Jacob Combs and Olive McNiel in Monroe County, Iowa

Note: I think this is actually his brother Job (listed as Job in 1860 census.

1860 census

Michael is in Albia, Monroe County, Iowa - brother Job and Olive Combs are in the Mantua Township, Monroe County.

About 1867 - Nebraska became a state, and Michael is listed as a minister performing early ceremonies in the state (The Nebraska and Midwest Genealogical Record Vol IX found online at Nebr GENWEB)

Dec 1867, Job files for divorce from Olive in Lancaster County, Nebraska (Vital Records from Nebraska State Journal page 1, found at Nebraska State Historical Society - “Combs vs Combs Div. Job Combs of Lan Co. Nebr. Plaintiff vs Olive Combs of Iowa, defendant. Petition filed Nov 23, 1867 in District Ct. Lan Co. Nebr to be answered on or before Dec 16, 1867.”)

2 May 1868 - Job died (obit by brother Michael in The Christian Record, Vol II - No. 8, August 1868, pages 223-224 - “…I have the mournful intelligence to communicate of the death of my dear and only brother, Job Combs, aged sixty-six years, four months, and two days. Departed this life May 2d, 1868…”

Jan 1869 - Michael helps start church in Lincoln, Lancaster County, Nebraska (Lincoln the Capital City and Lancaster County by Andrew J. Sawyer, 1916, Vol 1, page 261, found at the Nebraska State Historical Society -- “On January 24, 1869, D. R. Dungan, chaplain of the Legislature, held services in Lincoln in the interests of the Christian denomination He found here about twenty-seven persons who had formerly been members of the Christian Church and on the 24th of January of that year they were legally organized. Michael Combs and Joseph Robinson were the first elders of the society…”

Feb 1870 - Michael performed wedding of his grand-daughter (Nebraska & Midwest Genealogical Record Vol 10, part 1, Jan 1932, Nebraska Marriage Records -Lancaster Co. page 14-18 found online on Nebraska Genweb - “Feb. 24, 1870 (Feb 23). Richard H. France of Lancaster co, age 21, born in Shrewsberry, England, son of Richard S. and Anna (Jones) France, married Mary J. Combs of Lancaster Co, age 16, born at Terre Haute, Ind, daughter of A. C. and Francis J. (EDDY) Combs, by Michael Combs at the home of A. C. Combs.” Note that I believe A. C. is probably Michael's son Alexander, who was listed on the 1850 census with the family.


1870 census

unable to locate Michael


4 March 1872 - Michael died. (The Christian Record, April 1872, page 190-191 - “We have just received a copy of the Daily State Journal, of Lincoln, Nebraska, of March 8, in which we have a full account of the death of Eld. MICHAEL COMBS, one of Indiana's pioneer preachers. From this we learn that Eld. COMBS died on the 4th day of March, 1872, at 7:30 P. M., in the 73d year of his age.”

My purpose in pursuing these 2 for so long was to find out if this Job Combs might in fact be the father of our Robert Andrew Combs, instead of the Job Combs who married either Sarah Love or Sarah Jones in 1809, as I often see posted. It seems to me that Robert Andrew's birth in 1823 is too long after that marriage, so I thought perhaps he was really born to the Job born in 1801. Unfortunately, I was unable to find anything about children for Michael's brother Job, or any definitive proof of the parentage of Robert Andrew. I found Robert Andrew, age 27, in 1850 in Mt. Pleasant Township, Delaware County, Indiana just a few houses away from an 80 year old Job Combs, born in Virginia. Father? Grandfather? Can anybody give me a hand? Has anybody found a probate record for that old Job combs in Delaware County?

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