February 2, 2011

Henry Lemuel Ordway, My Great-Grandfather

Lem Ordway and his horse

Always known as “Lem,” my maternal great-grandfather was born on 4 March 1877 to Richard and Sarah Hill Ordway.   In the 1880 census, Henry Ordiway, age 3,  lived with his parents, Richard, 41, and Sarah, 40, in Monroe Township, Henry County, Ohio.  His siblings were listed as Almeda, 20; Lizzie, 18; Mary, 15; Abba, 9; Bertie, 6. With the family lived Edward Murphy, a servant, whose work was listed as Laborer.  With no older sons, the best guess is that Edward helped out on the farm.

Lemuel married Elizabeth Delph on 2 January 1898 in Milton Center, Ohio, just over the Henry-Wood County Line in Wood County.  Milton Center was discussed in the book, Ohio Ghost Towns, No. 12, Wood County, published in 1990.  The town was described then as a semi-ghost town; however, in the 1890’s, there were many shops there, a hotel and even an opera house.  The young couple may have started housekeeping on a farm west of Malinta, maybe with his parents. 

By the 1900 census, Lemuel, age 22, and his wife of two years, Elizabeth, 21, had two children: Fay, born in March 1898, age 2,  and Richard F., born November 1899, age 6 months.  (I wonder what was going on in those days when Lem and Lizzie married in January 1898 and had a child in March 1898.  I would love to know the whole story.)  Lemuel was renting and farming at that time.

In the 1910 census, the family had moved into Malinta Village.  Lemuel, age 38, and Lizzie, 32, had been married twelve years and she had borne four children, all of whom survived: Fae, 12; Filuck, 10; Fredrich, 8; and Maree, 5.  Our enumerator had a bit of trouble with spelling, but the spelling of Philip’s name provides questions later on, too, as you shall see.

The Ordway and Delph families were mentioned frequently in the little town news columns that appeared in the Northwest News, Napoleon.  For example, these excerpts are from the March 13, 1913 paper under Malinta News:
“Jacob Babcock, Lem Ordway, and Cecil Delph drove to Swanton Thursday and returned Friday.”
“Mrs. Lem Ordway entertained the ladies of the Helping Hand Thursday afternoon with 5 members and five guests present.  The work was laid aside and the hostess assisted by Mrs. Geo. Delph, served luncheon, consisting of coffee, sandwiches, pickles, whipped cream and cake, which were enjoyed by all.”

The 1916 Henry County Farmers Directory lists
Ordway, Lemuel (Elizabeth), 4 ch, farmer, O, 13 ½ ac, 2 H & L & store bldg, Malinta, Ind tel.” 
Now that entry leads to lots of questions.  Does H stand for Houses and L for Land and what store building?  A search of land records is in order, I think, and will be put on the to-do list.  My mother told me that my grandparents owned the land where their home was and farmed some land behind the ball diamond and school in Malinta, so that would account for the acreage mentioned.  That wasn’t much land to support a family of six.  What other house did they own?  Was it the house I lived in as a young child which was right around the corner from them?   My mother also told me that Grandpa Lem built the house they lived in and it was moved from a farm west of Malinta into the village.  The house has since been demolished.

On September 12, 1919, Henry Lemuel Ordway registered at the third and last draft registration for World War I for men between 18 and 45.  His registration states that he is 41 and self-employed as a farmer.  Much of it is unreadable, but he does report that he has black hair and black eyes!

By 1920, the census indicated that Fay had moved away from home and was staying with her Grandmother Delph on Henry Street.  My great-great grandmother, Elizabeth C. Delph, at 70 and widowed, owned her home and with her lived her grand-daughter, Fay E., who at 21, was single and not working, and a boarder, D. Bernice Lyons, 21, single and a school teacher at the grade school.
Nearby, Lemuel, 42, and Lizzie, 41, lived with sons Philrich, 19 and Frederick, 17, and daughter, Marie, 15, on Delph Street.  I am guessing this street has been renamed a few times as in the 1930 census, it has a name beginning with G, but it’s unreadable.  Currently, I think it is Frease Street…only a guess not yet checked out.  Note Phil’s name…is it a combo of Philip and Richard? 

The last census that we have access to at this point is in 1930 where Lemual, 53, and Lizzie, 51, lived with their youngest daughter, Marie J., an assistant cashier at the bank.

In 1959, I believe that Lemuel had a stroke.  He was placed in the Ward Nursing Home in Weston, Wood County, and after a few weeks,  he died there at the age of 82 on 11 December 1959.   I was in junior high and I have no memory of going to the funeral, but I’m sure my mom would have been there.  She often said that she spent more time at her grandparents’ home than she did at home. 

I have not been able to find an obituary for Lemuel as yet.  He is buried at Hoy Cemetery, Henry County, Ohio.

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