September 13, 2011

Aaron Ordway and Susannah Johnson Ordway

Let’s keep going back in the family tree – (Fred, Lemuel, Richard, Harrison, and now Aaron) to my four greats grandfather, Aaron Ordway, born in Rumney, Grafton, New Hampshire, very close to the Vermont state line, on July 2, 1769.  He married Susannah Johnson, daughter of Willis Johnson and Jemima Smith Johnson, who was born in New Hampshire on May 11, 1774.  Just think… a few years before the Revolutionary War. 

When we visited in Strafford, Orange County, Vermont, we found quite a few of the birth records for the children of Aaron and Susannah, as this was where they settled after their marriage.  Many of these records are now online, but finding the records in the very old books was much more fun. 
So as far as I can determine, these are the children of Aaron and Susannah Ordway:
1.       William Ordway, born November 16, 1792 in Strafford
2.       Willis Johnson Ordway, born September 4, 1794
3.       Aaron Ordway born August 29, 1796
4.       Isaac Ordway born September 7, 1798
5.       Tamar Ordway (female) born April 18, 1800
6.       Abraham Ordway born April 11, 1803
7.       Mariah Ordway born August 13, 1805
8.       Lydia Ordway born October 7, 1807
9.       Harrison Ordway* born October 24, 1810
10.   Harvey S. Ordway born c 1819
11.   Benjamin, birthdate unknown
A sample page from a vital records book in Strafford.  This is really not original, but was copied from the original at some point a long time ago.  If you enlarge this, you will be able to spot some of the birth records for Aaron's children.

Most of the children of Aaron and Susannah were born in Vermont, except for perhaps the last three.  According to the censuses of 1800 and 1810 of Strafford, Vermont, the family resided there with their growing brood of children.  By 1820, the family had moved into New York, as the 1820 census for Genesee, Ontario County, New York showed Aaron there with wife and some of the children.
I have never been able to find Aaron in the 1830 census, but by 1840, the family was settled into Elk Township, Warren, Pennsylvania.  The census shows Aaron Ordiway as head of household, aged 70 – 80, with his wife,a ged 60-70 and one male, aged 20 – 25, probably Harvey.  Also some of the sons show up as neighbors as head of their own households: Harrison, Isaac, and Benjamin.  Up until 1850, only the head of household was named on the censuses, so we have to speculate, using the hash marks in various age groupings, which family members were living in the household at the time.

We visited Warren, Pennsylvania  on a research trip and, looking at  records in the archives there, we found the Ordways buying and selling land in Elk Township, sometimes as individuals and sometimes in partnership.


Some researchers have placed Aaron’s death in 1849.  I have found no record of his or Susannah’s deaths.  I’m sure that I just haven't looked in the right place yet.  Many of the children moved on to Lorain County, Ohio, but efforts to find the record there have not been successful.  Also no record of death was found in Warren, Pennsylvania.  In fact, I personally think Aaron might be listed in the 1850 census, living close to daughter, Mariah Ordway Ross and husband, Joel Ross.  If you have some proof of a burial place for Aaron and/or Susannah, I hope you will contact me.
We definitely had some New England determination and the quest for adventure in the Ordway family.  To leave Strafford, Vermont, Aaron’s childhood home, and travel with a large extended family around the Great Lakes from New York, to Pennsylvania, to Ohio and eventually, some went to Michigan and a few to Missouri, was quite a feat in those early days.  It was a poor, rough pioneer life for these folks.

1 comment:

  1. Diane, I am very interested in Jemima Ordway who married Joseph Smalley. Anything you can tell me will be very refreshing. After years of finding my Joseph Smalley, who died in 1800 and left two children, Samuel and John, ages 8 and 6 and my heritage comes from Samuel. Joseph married Miriam Barnes, daughter of Comfort Barnes. I am sure Joseph Smalley is the correct name . I am hoping that your interest in the Ordway family will show me where to look for my Smalley.