February 22, 2012

Alice Newcomer Doty

My great-grandmother, Alice S. Doty, was born on August 12, 1857 in Elmore, Ohio, just southeast of Toledo.  Her parents, Jacob Newcomer and Susan Overmyer Newcomer, left Ohio when Alice and her brother were young, about 1865, and moved near the Doty family along the River Raisin in Monroe County, Michigan. 

It would seem logical that Alice's middle name was Susan, named after her mother.  However, one source connected with her youngest son, George Lewis, gave her middle name as Sophronsia!  I don't have an official document to prove either way.  Often she gave her name as Alice N. Doty, recognizing her Newcomer roots. 

Alice was only seventeen when she married George W Doty who was 26.  Family lore has it as an elopement carried out in 1874 and the marriage record shows no family member was an official witness who signed for the marriage.

It must have been a bit overwhelming for the teenaged Alice to take on a farming household and her elderly father-in-law, too, as he lived with them the first four years of their marriage.  Six years after her wedding and following the death of her father-in-law, she gave birth to her first child, named Susan after her grandmother.

Susan was followed by Ada three years later.  Then an almost seven year gap exists before Guy was born in 1890.  Cousin Don noted that after Guy was born, Alice, who was 33 at the time, fell into a deep depression and tried to drown herself in the river.  No record exists of this, of course, but one has to wonder if she did suffer from what we now know is the legitimate illness, post-partum depression.  Maybe they thought the cure for that was another child, because just a little over a year later, little Harry was born.

Then almost four years pass before George L was born and another four before Dorothy came along. Several census records indicated that she bore six children and all six lived, so we know there were no miscarriages or still births along the way.
This photo was probably taken a couple years before George W. died, perhaps 1907-1908.  Back row: Guy, Harry, Ada, William Kemmerling, husband to Susie.  Front row: George L., George W., Dorothy, Alice, the little children of the Kemmerlings, Dorothy and Donald, held by Susie.

When her husband, George W., died in 1910, he left her with six chldren and a farm to manage.  The two oldest sons, Guy, 19, and Harry, 18, labored on the farm.  By the time of George's death, Susie was already married, and Alice was a grandmother, but she still had two younger children of her own to raise.

In the 1920 census, Alice, 62, was still managing the farm with the help of Guy, who was still single and at home at 29.  Dorothy, 20, and single was also at home.  But now, Alice took into her home also her widowed father, Jacob Newcomer, 86.  A hired man, Vern Miller, 27, rounded out the household.
Taken at Ada Lohr's home, from left to right: Alice Doty, Dorothy Kemmerling, Donna Ordway (mom, born 1925), Dorothy Doty Ordway (grandmother) and Ada Lohr.

Alice outlived her husband, George, by twenty-two years.  In that time, she successfully raised six children who became responsible citizens, cared for her father-in-law until his death, and participated in church and social organizations in her community.  The only paper I have with Alice's handwriting is this interesting recipe for cancer salve, used to cure skin cancer, I would assume.

At some point between 1920 and 1930, Guy took over the homestead farm and Alice moved in with her daughter Ada and husband.  In the 1930 census, at age 72, she is listed with Ada and Henry Lohr at London, Monroe County, Michigan.  Her oldest daughter, Susie, had died four years earlier. 
In 1932, tragedy struck the family doubly when Ada died of a heart attack in August and Alice died a few months later in November. 

Alice Doty's obituary, dated November 9, 1932:
Lived In Raisinville Many Years; Funeral Not Yet Arranged
Mrs. Alice Newcomer Doty, aged 75 years, died suddenly at the home of her son-in-law, Henry Lohr, one mile east of Azalia at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday.  Although Mrs. Doty had not been feeling well for some time, her death was unexpected.
She was very active in church work, being a member of the East Raisinville Evangelical Church.  She was a member of the Ladies' Aid Society of that church and a charter member of the Raisinville Grange and for many years took an active part in the organizations.
Mrs. Doty was born at Elmore, Ohio, August 12, 1857.  At the age of
-?- years, she moved to Raisinville township with her parents.  She lived for many years in the Newcomer homestead on the North Custer Road.  On November 5, 1874, she was married to George Doty, one of the best known farmers in Raisinville township.  Mr. Doty died in 1910.
She leaves three sons, Guy of Raisinville, Harry of Monroe, and George of Los Angeles; one daughter, Mrs. Dorothy Ordway of Malinta, Ohio; and one brother, L. W. Newcomer of Monroe.  Another daughter, Mrs. Lohr, died three months ago.  She is also survived by eight grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements have not been completed."

and later...
"Funeral of Mrs. Doty
Funeral services for Mrs. Alice Newcomer Doty, who died suddenly Tuesday night, will be held at the home of Henry Lohr, near Azalia, at 1:30 p.m. Friday and at the First Evangelical Church here at 2:30 o'clock.  The Rev. Cletus A. Parker of Ida will officiate and burial will be in Woodland cemetery here.  Mrs. Doty had two daughters who preceded her in death.  They were Mrs. Henry Lohr and Mrs. Susie Kemmerling."

My mother was about seven when she lost her grandmother, yet she remembered her fondly and respected her through the years by displaying the photo shown at the beginning of this post in her home.

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