August 4, 2011

The Daughters of Harrison and Philena Ordway – Malissa, Julia, and Harriet

My great-great-great grandparents had five sons (Thomas, Richard, Middleton, Benjamin F, and Alonzo A.),  but also there were three daughters to complete the family.  Searching for the women in a family is always more difficult because of marriages and name changes and this family was spread across two states.  

The oldest daughter was Malissa Lydia Ordway, born June 3, 1847.  Malissa married David Herring Gunter on November 28, 1866 after David came back from serving in the Union Army.  Their story is told well in the History of Henry County, Ohio, Volume 1, page 220:

“David Herring Gunter was born in Richland County, Ohio, on December 22, 1842, to Martin Gunter and Mary Jones.  As a small boy, he came to Henry County with his mother and sisters in 1849, after his father was drowned in the Blanchard River while working as a logger.  They settled in what is now Malinta, Ohio, and he lived in that vicinity until his death on January 8, 1919.  As a young man, he enlisted in the Union Army and served from 1861 to 1865 in Company I, 125 Regiment of Ohio Infantry.  After being mustered out of service, he engaged in farming as his occupation.
His first marriage was to Malissa Lydia Ordway, who died a few years later, leaving an only son, David M. Gunter, who married Rosie Hitts and had the following children: Glenava, Arthur, Lester, Bertha, Zelma, Dayton and twin Clayton, Burl, Marjorie and Jessie.  Many of descendants are still living in the vicinity”

So Malissa Ordway died quite young, in March of 1870, at the age of 25.  She is buried in Hoy Cemetery near Malinta.  After her death, it appeared that David H. and his young son, David, moved in with his mother who had remarried.
The 1870 census for Monroe Twp, Henry County, taken on June 30th showed
Hill, Michael, age 69, a farm laborer and his wife, Lidie, 58 with two girls, Louisa, 16, and Libbie, 13 and David H. Gunter, 27, a farm laborer and son, David, aged 2.

The Henry County History goes on to say that David Herring Gunter married a second time around 1880 to Jennie Maria Carey and they went on to have eight children: Clara, Lillie May, Ada, Robert, Walter, Ruth, Ammasa and Maude.  Does the name Ammasa Gunter look familiar?  Later, my great aunt Fay Ordway would marry him. 

Malissa’s sister, Julia Ann Ordway, born July 7, 1849, married Rufus Norton and after starting out life in Henry County, they moved to Lenawee County, Michigan.  Together they had two daughters, Minnie and Cora Belle.  When the 1880 census was taken in Ogden Township, Lenawee County, Michigan, Rufus was reported as sick with lung fever (pneumonia).  Rufus was 35 and living with Julia, 31, his wife, and daughters, Minnie, aged 9, and Cora Belle, aged 8.  Rufus died in 1886. 

Although  I can not find her in the 1900 census, I did find a death record for Julia who died at Baldwin, Lake County, Michigan on March 13, 1908, at age 58. 
I have been on the trail of daughter, Minnie, who married Arthur Carr, but she is elusive.  Her sister, Cora Belle, married Charles C. Carroll in Baldwin, Michigan on February 1, 1890.  She died young, at the age of 25, on May 11, 1898, preceding her mother’s death.

The youngest  daughter of Harrison and Philena was Harriet R. Ordway, commonly known as “Hattie”.  I have found very little on her except that she was born March 4, 1854 and married George Webben on June 1, 1876 in Henry County, Ohio.  After that, the trail has been cold.

If anyone has knowledge of these sisters, I would love to learn more about them.


  1. My grandfather, Russell Harrison Carroll, was the youngest son of Cora Belle Norton and Charles E Carroll. I will try to connect with you again! So happy to see this connection. I have some information for you--but I have not been able to track down Charles E Carroll, who left the children with Julia, apparently, after Cora Belle died.

  2. I did get your email, but have no way other than this to contact you. Email me at the address on my profile with info - would love to connect and compare notes!

  3. I found Julia in the 1900 census, in Baldwin Michigan. She was married to Joseph Cobb. The two young sons of Cora belle and Charles carroll were living with them. The daughter was living with Charles mother, who had married Ralph Bogart's after her husband Patrick died soon after the civil war ended. This grandmother is named keziah it sometimes Liza!anyway, in 1908 Julia died and is buried with Rufus. In the 1910 census the children are living in Mason mi, but not with any relatives.

    1. Thank you for the info! What a help that is!

  4. Also, a 'filinia grower' is listed on Julia ordway Norton death record on family search as mother with Harrison as father

  5. Haven't Found Harriet after marriage to George Webben, However George Herman Webben Married 3 short years later to Anna Katherine Puss in April 24 1879, Anna Died in 1894 and is Buried in Oak Grove Cemetery, bowling Green. George Remarried around 1898 to Palmela. George Died Feb 16 1933 in Toledo, Ohio and is Buried in Calvary Cemetery toledo, Ohio