Brody Family History


Brody Family History


The Brody History is a facinating one. To the right you will see a list of Articles. Each is a story about the Brody family or one of it's relations. Please read through these and learn more about the Brody Family.

This web site in no way indicated that ALL of the Brody family is or was involved in unscrupulous acts.

Dennison's Bottom: History of the Brody's.

History of Richland County Ohio Broady's Grove: Ogle County, Illinois

Driskel & Brody Families The death of Mrs. Jesse Brody

Urbana Iowa Firsts

Urabana Worst Fire

The Regulators & The Banditti

The Driscol Gang

Dennison's Bottom

Taken from the History of the Brody's Family Book

In the fall of the year 1838, Brody family came to township 86, range 9, known as Dennison's bottom this the history of the Brody's.

In the early thirty's band of outlaws headed by the Brody's were driven by regulars from Ohio to Stubenville, Co., Indiana, thence to Ogle Co., Illinois and in the valley of the Red Cedar. John Brody and his son John, Stephen, William, and Hugh were among the first to locate in Linn Co., during that year. Their homes beame refuges from their accomplices. In 1843 Stephen, William , and Hugh Brody, and David Wilson, whose brother had been shot by a posse of decent settlers in Delaware Co., located in Benton Co., Hugh is said to have been the only decent Brody in the county and even would somtime go bail for his disreptable brothers. In Linn Co., Joel Leverich was tried and discharged counterfieter, was a leading spirit of mischief and crime. Chauncey Leverich, who built the first cabin on the present sight of Vinton and was generally suspected of being one of the gang who operated for more then ten years thru Cedar, Linn, and Benton and other counties. Horse thieving became so common that a man who owned an animal never presummed to leave him alone overnigh in an unlocked stable and in many cases, the owners of horses slept in their stables with rifles by their sides.

History of Richland County, Ohio

book # 97Driskel & Brody Families7.128, G. 76, Page 240

Every neighboorhood had it's bully or chief fighter, and these were pitted against each other like game-cocks. These fights often ende in general mlee, in which whole neighborhoods were sometimes engaged against each other. One fight took place on public square in Mansfield between the "Clearforkers" and "Blackforkers". The clearforkers were fighting men living in southern portion of the county in the Valley of clearfork. The blackforkers were from bnothern and eastern portions of the county, living along the blackfork. These two regions were always fighting with each other. Blackforkers were the Processors, Burrels, Pittingers, with Prosser the champion fighter of the group. The Clearforkers were the Brodies, Slaters, Driskolls, with Stephen Brody the champion.

History of Ogle Co., Illinois

Book # 977.332 OG 5 Page 57

Year 1835: Northern part of state infested with numerous bands of desperado's (robbery, horse-stealing, and counterfeiting). Ranged through Ogle and adjoining counties. "Broady's Grove" took it's name from the Broady's 1840 desperado's so numerous, they could control elextions, often procured some of own member to sit on juries. Regulators finally ran the Thieves out of the state. After harsh punishment had been inflicted on the desperado's. (see Driskel & Brody Family)

Driskel & Brody Families

From Article the Driskel & Brody Gang of Wayne County

by Bobby Knox Wayne County Genealogical Society

Note: John Driskel brother William marries Mercy Brody, the sister of Stephen Brody, Sr. and daughter to Hugh Brody and Hannah Pierce. John Driskel has four children who also marry into the Brody line. John Driskel marries Mercy Akin daughter of William Ackin and Sarah Pierce, sister to Hannah Pierce who married Hugh Brody.

It's not known exactly when the Driskel family came to Wayne County from Columbiana County, but John Driskel was here in time to be enumerated on the 1810 census and he voted in the first election in Wooster on the first Monday in April 1810. He was one of the first supervisors in Wooster, acting in that capacity in 1812. John Driskel had three brothers -- Dennis, William, and Pehnix, and one sister, Sally who married Bill Gibson. They all lived happily, one might assume, in Apple Creek near the old Stibb's Mill. In those early years, John was known as a honest man, although a real drinker who turned quite nasty when under the influence. he owned farms and bought and sold some land -- sounds like a typical family, right? So far....

The first indication that our John was headed down the wrong path, came one night in 1820, at the Bagle Hotel on Liberty Street. A party had gathered in the ballroom of the hotel owned by Horance Howard, and as parties do, it got rowdy to the point where Howard broke it up and ejected the men, John Driskel being one of them.

As John left the barroom, he picked up a candlestick and took it outdoors with him, almost immeditately throwning it into Howard's garden. Howard caused him to be arrested for theft the next morning, but as there was no proof of intent to steal, John was aquitted.

John Driskel and Stephen Brody were the respective leadersof their families. John was the father of thirteen children, four of whom married Brody's, and his brother, William, who married Mercy Brody, Stephen's sister. It's quite evident the two families were close, but how close. we'll soon see! Much evidence shows the families were connected in Pennsylvania before coming to Ohio, but it was their criminal activities in Ohio from 1810-30 that offers the most documentation.

Stephen Brody was sent to the Ohio Pen for three years for stealing a heifer from Jacob Shellabarger near Burbank. As his connection to the Driskels was well known, the officials soon discovered a gang led by John Driskel. A man named Ben Worthington was arrested and sent to the Ohio pen for stealing a yoke of oxen from Reasin Beall, but during the trial the facts established the complicity of the Driskels and the Brodys.

Meanwhile, John had felt the heat in Wayne County and thought it wise to leave the area. He went back to Columbiana County for a while until things settled down a bit. But, as usual, he was up to his old shenanignas while there, too.

Apparently a public muster was called and, as usual, John Driskel became 'terribly boisterous and flung his banter into the assembled crowd" It was his normal routine that "if he could not provoke a quarrel by boasting and threats," he would select a large, muscular-looking man and challenge him to a fight. If the man refused to accept the challenge, John would just hit him.

His mark on that fatal day was one Isaac Pew, "A large, bony specimen of a man," After John heaped indignities upon Pew, John "hit him a terrible blow and without warning, leaped upon Pew and bit his ear off!" Pew was described in this account as "A man who kept his own secrets" and who felt amply able to defend himself against Driskel or anybody else "if he had a fair showing"

He bided his time! At the next muster in Lisbon, they were both present again and Isaac was heard to remark, "He has my ear, now I'll have his nose." As Pew approached Driskel, John's brother, William, tried to intervene. But Pew attacked, jumped on John and bit the tip of his nose off!

The account of this story stated that "this added to his naturally repulsive features, giving him a marred and hideous appearance."

A later Ogle County, Illinois history reports that his face "was the only repulsive feature about John Driskel, and this been occasioned by the loss of part of his nose, which had been bitten off some years before in a fight."

John was arrested around 1830 for stealing horses back in Columbiana County. He was tried, found guilty, and set to the Ohio pen. He ecaped and returned to Wayne County where he bragged loud and long about his escape. The authorities made every attempt to recapture him, but he escaped to Ashland COunty after more looting, theft and horse "borrowing"

Finally he was captured and, under guard, was taken down the road to Columbus. Never giving in, John escaped to Delaware and deaded to Lisbon, where he was finally captured for the last time in Ohio. You guessed it. He escaped and left Ohio for good.

John's son's son, Pierce married to Mary Brody, followed in this fathers footsteps. He was in the Ohio Pen for arson in 1833 after burning down the barn of a Black Cane Company leader. The Black Cane Company was formed in Richland County to deal with lawless people like the Driskels and Brodys. It was a vigilante group, it's true, but the law enforcement and the court systems of that time were inept in dealing with criminal activities.

It was a brutal time in Ohio and people like John Driskel and Stephen Brody were powerful men who dealt in a harsh way with anyone who opposed them. There were "ring fights" in the area whose "champions" were pitted against each other. Land records place both the Brodys and the Driskels up and down both sides of the Blackfork. Fighters from the Clearfork and Blackfork branches of the Mohican River were frequent adversaries and Stephen Brody was named Champion of the Blackforkers (See above store.. note: above story says Stephen was a Clearforker, the story above is from a history book, I am more inclined to believe the book then the article)

About 1835, the Driskels and the Brodys moved to Ogle County, Illinois. In fact, the land they lived on is still called "Broadies Grove" even today. However, by 1838, a local vigilante group known as the Regulators felt it was necessary to buy out Stephen Brody and the family moved on to Iowa.

According to Joe Brody, a descendant who supplied much of this information, the Brody's continued to "borrow" horses from neighbors well into the 1850s. Apparently when they left Illinois, the purchase price of their land was embellished with an "or else" clause.

Stephen Brody (sr) died in Iowa in 1863, and there is an annual Brody reunion at Urbana. He says they "never come to the reunion on horse back for obvious reasons!"

The Driskels came to a much more explosive end. They stayed on in Illinois nd in 1841, everything came to a head. The Regulator issued an order to John Driskel and all his family to leave the county -- "or else", but during a 20- day grace period they were given to gather all their belongings John and his gang plotted to murder the leader of the Regulators.

Two of his sons, David and Taylor, carried out the killing, but the murdered mans wife was an eyewitness. Immediate vigilante retaliation was taken, resulting in the arrest of John and both sons. David and Taylor escaped, having been taught well by their father! But John and son, William, were not so lucky.

The "trial" was held where 111 jurors sat in judgment! They quickly found John and William guilty of complicity in the murder. They were "sentenced" to be hanged, but they begged "to be shot like men and not hung like dogs." This seemed acceptable to the "jurors" and they formed two firing squads, one of 55 men and one of 56 men.

John Driskel was led out first, eyes blindfolded. He was made to kneel in front of the squads. At the signal, the guns from half of the firing squad were fired "as a single volley" William was led out and placed before theother squad to suffer the same fate. Pierce, it was said, was offered the bodies of his father and brother, but he declined, so they were buried in a shallow grave on the site. A few days later relatives of the executed men removed their bodies to suitable graves north of Lynnville where John had lived.

A footnote: On Sept 24 1841 a grand jury indicted 112 men for the murder of John and William Driskel. The defendants all pleaded "not guilty" and the trial proceeded, but some of the jurors names and some of the defendants names were the same and as "nodirect evidence was presented" and without leaving the jury box, they returned a verdict of not guility.

Around 1900 a large granite builder was placed along the bank of Grove Creek, Illinois. It was inscribed: John and William Driskell, executed here June 29, 1841.

The Death of Mrs. Jesse Brody

April 8 1857 Benton County Eagle Article (note Jesse remarries in 1861)

Sunday last, a most mlancly catastrophe occured at this place, Mr J.I. Pauley, who owns the ferry opposite of Vinton, while the wind was blowing to violently, passed the river with his large boat, too skift with the intention of bringing to this side, midway of Mr Jesse Brody, his wife, child, and one other person. When about the river, the little skift overturned. With the exception of Mrs Brody, all clung to the boat and were dragged to the shore. When the boat was overturned Mrs Brody lifeless body was found.

Urbana Iowa Firsts

Excerpts from the Urbana Bicentennial

Sam Brody was the first white baby in Urbana Born 1844

Worst Fire in Urbana Iowa History

Excerpts from the Urbana Bicentennial

On November 14, 1905, Urbana suffered a $25,000 fire. It was the most destuctive ever experienced in Urbana. There were 13 buildings consumed . The fire started in L.A. Kelty's implement store at 1:00p.m. and when discovered was beyond control. The flames were fanned by a strong south wind which fortunately, blew them away from the business part of town. The "bucket brigade" (invented by Joseph Jenks... a distant relative of George Jenks who marries Mary Ellen Brody, daughter of Stephen (jr) and Caroline Brody) saved the town from destuction.

In the business part of town three buildings owned by Cone Bros. of Minnesota were destroyed, two of them being occupied by L.A. Kelty's implement store. Adjoining on the east were the Post Office, S.W. Whiteis Buiding, Urbana Savings Bank, and Henry Van de Venter's barber shop nd residence. These buildings were also destroyed.

On the north Mr. Whiteis's blacksmith shop, occupied by P.E. Lane, and four private barns were burned. Two were owned by J. D. Burell. J.D. Burell also lost a residence occupied by Ed Brody.

Household goods, post office materials, and bank content were saved. Van de Venter's was saved for the greater part but little Mr. Kelty's stock was saved. Urbana called Shellsburg and Center Point fire companies, but before they could get to Urbana the fire was under control. From the ashes residence rebuilt Urbana.

The Regulators & The Banditti

Historical Markers of Illinois

County: Ogle

Location: Rest Area, east side of IL 2, about 6 miles north of Oregon, Illinois

Erected 8/24/1869 by Divison of Highways and The Illinois State Historical Society


In the 1830's and 40's an organized criminal gang known as the Banditti of the Praire was active on the midwestern frontier. In 1841 six members were arrested and held for trial in Oregon, Illinois. On March 21, the day before the trial, the new Oregon courthouse was burned. In retaliation, a group led by W. S. Wellington organized the Regulators and ordered several suspected Banditti to emigrate or be whipped. Some left but those remaining forced Wellington to resign as Regulator leader. He was replaced by John Campbell. John Driscoll, a Bandiitti leader, nd his four sons (Pierce, William, David, and Taylor) made a career of horse stealing and murder. When the Regulators gave the Driscolls 20 days to leave Illinois, the Banditti decided to kill Campbell and Phineas Chaney, another Regulator Leader. Chaney escaped but on June 27, 1841, Campbell was killed by David and TTaylor while John, William, and Pierce waited nearby. John was caught and jailed in Oregon. The Regulators apprehended William and Pierce and forcibly took John from Jail. The three were "tried" in Washington Grove on June 29 by a jury of 111 Regulators. Pierce was released but the other two were found guilty. John was shot by 56 men and William by 55. Although Banditti activity continued for several years, it was no longer centered in Ogle County. The Regulator judge and jury of (112 men) were tried for vigilante murder of the Driscolls and were acquitted.

The Driscoll Gang

John Pemberton Oregon High School, Oregon

In the early nineteeth century many gangs of outlaws prowled the northern Illinois area. Probably the most famous of these was the Driscoll Gang, which terrorized northern Illinois in the 1830's and 1840's/

The Ogle County area was a very lawless place in the early nineteenth century. Law enforcement was weak, and it was not until 1841 that Ogle County had it's first legal system. On March 22, 1841, the first, courthouse in Ogle County was scheduled to open in Oregon. However on the eve of the opening, members of the banditti (another name for oulaws) burned the courthouse to the ground (check out this original posted online with PHOTO

The Driscoll Gang committed the crime in an attempt to free several of the gang's imprisoned members. They also thought that by burning the courthouse they would destroy all of the legal records that had anything against the Driscolls. However, the clerk of the circuit court had taken all the evidence home with him that night. The gang members who were in jail were sentenced to a year in prison, but they soon escaped.

According to an article by one historian, the Driscoll Gang committed crimes from Texas all the way north to Wisconsin, east to Ohio, and west to Iowa. John Driscoll was the leader of the gang. Other members were Pierce Driscoll, John's two sons William and David Driscoll, John Brodie, his three sons, and many more. They controlled the area by terrorizing the people who lived there. Since the existing legal system could not control the outlaws, several of the local people created a group known as the Regulators. John Long, the first captain of the Regulators, wanted to bring law and order back to Ogle County and stop the Banditti The Regulators first caught some of the gang responsible for buring down John Long's sawmill. After feeling threatened for his life by the gang, Long quit the regulators. The next head was Phineas Cheney, who also quit because he received threatening letters from what he presumed to be the Banditti. The last leader was John Campbell. William Driscoll sent a letter to John Campbell challenging him to a fight. John Campbell then showed up at William's house in DeKalb County on June 22, 1841, with 196 Regulators. There was a short standoff until the sherriff of DeKalb County showed up with John Driscoll. When asked why 196 Ogle County Regulators were in DeKalb County, John Campbell told the sheriff about the letter. In the end, an agreement was reached, and the Driscoll's promised to leave the state in 20 days.

Soon after, sever of the gang members decided that the only way to stop the Regulators was to murder their leader. On June 27, 1841, three members of the banditti went to John Campbell's house and murdered him. Mrs. Campbell came running out the door yelling "Driscools, you have murdered John Campbell." A neighborr who supposedly saw three men on horses leaving the Campbell house, reported them to be David Driscoll, Taylor Driscoll, and Hugh Brodie.

On the following Mondy the Ogle County Sheriff arrested John Driscoll and also took William and Pierce into custody. William and Pierce were taken to John Campbell's home, where Campbell's wife identified them as not being there at the time of her husbands death.

On Tuesday morning a group of Regulators broke into Ogle County Jail and took John Driscoll out with the purpose of having a trial. They took him across the river to Daysville and finally to Washington Grove where William and Pierce were. A crowd of more then five hundred people, who had previously been drinking at a nearby grist mill, gathered to see the trial. The judge selected 120 people to be the jury for the trail, which many witnesses described as a "mob trial". People from all around testified against the Driscolls for all sorts of crimes, including horse theft, counterfeit money, and murder. John Driscoll admitted to stealing more then fifty horses. The jury decided that they did not want the members to get away, so they found the three men guilty. However, Pierce was freed because of his young age. John and William were then taken out before a firing squad of 111 men split into two groups, and the two men were executed at Washington Grove on June 29, 1841

The death of John and William Driscoll put an end to the banditti and all other outlaw gangs in the Ogle County Area. The historical marker of where the Driscolls were shot outside of Chana Illinois reads "Doctors and scholars, ministers and deacons regarde this terrible example of lynch law as a public necessity." (From the book Committee of the American Revolution of the bicentennial Commission of Ogle County., ed., The Bicentennial History of Olge COunty; The History of Ogle County;, The Story of Oregon.