Thomas C. Ordway, the eldest son of Harrison and Philina, was born February 22, 1834/1835 in Pennsylvania. He married first Sarah Hess in Henry County, Ohio in October 1858.
1860 Census – Monroe Twp, Henry County, OH
Thomas Ordway, 24, farmer
Sarah Ordway, 21
Catherine Ordway, 2
In December 1859, their daughter, Catherine, was born, followed by Mary Malissa in October 1860 (after the census had been taken). On July 25, 1862, their first son, William Harrison, was born and only about a month later on August 21, 1862, Thomas enlisted in the 124th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Company D. He was not forced to enlist. Later in the 1863 draft, his name was drawn. But in the draft registration book, it was noted that he was already a member of the 124th. It incorrectly lists him as unmarried.
|1863 Draft Registration, Henry County, OH|
The 124th Infantry was organized at Camp Cleveland, Ohio from August – September 1862 to serve three years. It proceeded to Kentucky in January 1863 and then to Tennessee in February. The regiment marched to Chattanooga and participated in the bloody battle of Chickamauga in September 1863 where it lost 140 men. It was a part of the Mission Ridge battle and then it left for Knoxville in December of that year. In the spring of 1864, the 124th joined Gen. Sherman’s march to Atlanta, participating in all its battles, from Resaca to Marietta and the Kenesaw Mountain and finally to Atlanta from July 22 – August 25, 1864. The regiment made its way back up to Nashville in November and December and finally back to Huntsville, Alabama and duty there until March 1865.
The Veterans Schedule for Henry County, Ohio of 1890 lists Thomas Ordway as serving from 21 August 1862 – 7 September 1863 in Company D, 124th and then he transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corp beginning 30 October 1863 to 24 July 1865. The VRC was originally called the Invalid Corp until the name was changed in 1864 because it was thought the name affected soldier morale. If a soldier was thought unfit for active service in the field because of wounds he had received or disease,he could be transferred into the VRC and put on light duty, such as being a guard, a cook or nurse, an orderly, an escort for prisoners or new recruits or other tasks not requiring great physical exertion. VRC men would be guards at the prison camps for the Confederate captives, guard buildings or be a musician, if capable. Their uniforms were sky-blue with dark blue trim, as shown here.
Thomas served a total of 2 years, 8 months and 24 days.
The Veterans Schedule also indicates that he was rendered deaf because of his service, so when he was transferred to the VRC (Veteran Reserve Corp) in October 1863, he may or may not have take an active part in the battles after Chickamauga.
One list of soldiers in Henry County described Thomas this way:
“Ordway, Thomas. Corporal, Co. F, 2nd Reg. Vet. Res. Corps, Vols. Enrolled 21 Aug 1862 – discharged 5 July 1865. Born: Chester Co., PA. At discharge, age 28, 5’11”, light complexion, dark eyes, black hair. Occupation before enrollment – farmer. Lived Monroe Twp. 1866.
|1890 Veterans Schedule for Henry County, Ohio.|
Thomas returned to his bride and a home in Henry County, Ohio, after the war.
1870 Census, Pleasant Twp., Henry County, Ohio
Thomas Ordway, 32, farming, real estate valued at $1200 and personal goods valued at $280
Sarah, 32, keeping house
William H., 8
John M., 2
(What happened to the first born daughter, Catherine, who would be about 12? I haven't been able to find her.)
1900 Census – Palmer Twp, Putnam, OH
Sadly, in January 1874, Sarah Ann Hess Ordway died, leaving Thomas with five small children. By December of that same year, he married Sarah Mae Hill who was about ten years younger.
1880 Census, Flat Rock, Henry County, Ohio
Thos. Ordway, 44, farmer
Melissa, 19 (Mary Melissa)
William H., 17
Benjamin F., 13
John M., 11
Charles L., 9
Harvey H., 3 (mother is Sarah Hill Ordway)
(Now, where is Elizabeth who would be about 16?)
Thomas and Sarah had one more son together, Richard H., born 4 January 1881. Sometime between 1881 and 1900, the whole family moved to Putnam County.
1900 Census – Palmer Twp, Putnam, OH
Thomas C. Ordway, 66, married 16 years, born Feb 1834, farmer, owns his home, mortgaged
Sarah, 56, had two children and two are living, born May 1844
Richard, 19, b. January 1881, farm laborer.
(A few mistakes made in this reporting in the census.)
1910 Census- Palmer Twp, Putnam, OH
Thomas C. Ordway, 74, married twice, 36 years, does odd jobs, a Union Army veteran, owns home free
Sarah, 65, married once, 36 years.
Thomas’ health must have declined because by October 20, 1910, he was admitted to the National Home for Disabled Soliders in Dayton, Ohio. According to the entry document filled out at admission, Thomas had defective vision (cataracts in both eyes), a double hernia, chronic rheumatism, cardiac hypertrophy, (heart?) action rapid and unstable, moderate arterio-sclerosis and frequent ? debility of old age. And we know he was deaf.
His domestic history reports him born in Pennsylvania, 74 years old, height 5’ 11”, dark complexion, dark eyes, gray hair, can read and write, Protestant, farmer, lived in North Creek, Ohio, married to Mrs. Sarah Ordway of same address.
Sarah, it says, was born in Kentucky, and was age 41 (really???), 5’ 5 ½ “ , dark complexion, blue eyes, brown hair, can read and write, Protestant, Occupation – Laborer. Residence before he was discharged from the Army was Owensville, KY and single. Nearest relative – Traverse Warner, Olympia, KY.
(Now I wonder – did he meet her while stationed in KY and remember her after his first wife died? I’m sure there’s a story here, and if you know, I hope you’ll share.)
The report goes on to say that he gets $15.00 a month in pension money. Thomas C. Ordway died in the National Home on January 7, 1911 and they notified Sarah by mail the next day. He is buried in Section Q, Row 7, Grave 1 at the National Cemetery there.
The pension records show that the pension money then was given to Sarah, the widow of Thomas. The amount changes as different laws are passed concerning veteran pensions.
|U.S. Pension Cards, Sarah Ordway, widow of Thomas|
By 1920, Sarah had moved to live with her youngest son, Richard H., and his family in Poplar Bluff, Butler County, Missouri.
Richard H. Ordway, 38, renting, laborer, general work
Bertha, 30, wife
Perry J., 13
Goldie M., 10
Harvey L., 8
Richard H., 7
Harrison S., 4
Sarah Ordway, 74, mother, widowed.
Sarah eventually moved back to Putnam County, Ohio , where she died on February 11, 1926.
If anyone has photos of Thomas or Sarah, I would love to add them to this story.