JOHN P.  BREST, farmer, post office Mercer, was born August 14, 1840, son of David and Catherine (Remley) Brest, of Lawrence County. Andrew Brest, the grandfather of John P., was one of the pioneers of Mercer County. He was a native of Washington County, Penn., of German descent, and came to Mercer County in about 1797. He was a soldier in the War of 1812, under Capt. Denniston, having served on two separate occasions, about six months in all. He married Mary,  daughter of Nathaniel Rodgers, of Lawrence County. Among the children was David, the father of our subject. At manhood he married and settled on a portion of his father’s farm in Springfield Township, this county. He remained here until 1840, when he purchased a farm in Delaware Township, where he remained until 1850. He returned to Springfield Township, where he lived one year, then went to French Creek Township and remained two years, then to Plain Grove Township, Lawrence County, where he resided nine years. In 1808 he came from Lawrence County and settled in Jefferson Township, Mercer County. There were twelve children born to this union: John P., Lewis F., Elizabeth A., David W., Martha J. (wife of John Soliday, of Sharon), William H., Mary E.  (wife of William Richel, of Jefferson Township), Catherine E. (wife of Martin Coxson, of Stoneboro), Flora K. (wife of Andrew Craig) and Alexander W. His wife died September 2, 1885. He was again married, to Nancy A. Brest, widow of Washington Brest,  who was killed at the battle of Gettysburg. There were six children born to them:  Lilly, Burton, Zeddie E., Lotie, Clara and Floyd. David  held the office of justice of the peace and some of the local offices. They were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the father being noted for his proficiency in Bible teachings. In politics he was a Whig and Republican. He died October 12, 1879. 

John P. was married March 4, 1884, to Ruth A.,  daughter of Thomas and Eva (Wise) Rodgers, of Plain Grove Township, Lawrence County. He enlisted in the War of the Rebellion August 28, 1861, under Capt. Bentley, in Company E, One Hundredth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, for three years. At the expiration of the time he again enlisted as a veteran under Capt. Book, of the same company and regiment, where he served until June 2, 1864, when he was wounded at the battle of Cold Harbor, La., by a minieball in the left leg, just below the knee. About twenty-four hours afterward his leg was amputated in the field hospital. The night of the 3d he was hauled eighteen miles, to the White House landing on the James River, and, remaining ten days, was sent to Harwood Hospital, Washington, D. C. He was honorably discharged from the service May 3, 1865. He lived in various places in the county, and in 1883 located on the Swoggar  property, in East Lackawannock Township. There were nine children born to them: Elden E., Harvey T., Clarence O., Elmira E., Perry N., Scott S., Johnnie, Maggie and Blaney.  The oldest and the youngest are deceased. He was constable in Jefferson Township for three years, and held various township offices. He is a member of the G.A.R. and of the I.O.O.F. While in the army he was promoted to corporal.

Source: (History of Mercer County, 1888, pages 891 - 892)

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