October 17, 2014

Hiram W. Meek, Emily's Adventurous Brother

Hiram Meek was about four years older than his little sister, Emily.  He was born to Samuel and Eliza (Fuller) Meek on March 23, 1867, their fourth son.  He was enumerated with his parents in both the 1870 and 1880 census in Hicksville Township, Defiance County, Ohio.  But it seemed that Hiram was an adventurous soul, and when he reached the age of about twenty-four, he ventured west to seek his fortune. 

One biography stated that Hiram moved first to Kansas and Colorado and then to the Willamette Valley in Oregon and on to Wallowa County in about 1891 where he settled around the town of Leap.  Whether anyone else traveled west with him is unknown, as is his method of travel, but there is no doubt that Hiram went as a homesteader where land was cheap and he acquired a nice farm there.  

His neighbor to the north was a land owner herself, Susan Jane Roberts.  Her parents and many siblings lived in the area, too.  On March 4, 1892, Susan, 25, and Hiram, just shy of 25, married in the town of Wallowa, Oregon.  Susan had had a son out of wedlock who lived with her parents - Everett Ray Roberts.  Hiram and Susan combined their land into one farm that later was described as about 200 acres.

Susan Roberts Meek and Hiram W. Meek and their sons, Samuel and Grover Cleveland Meek

By the 1900 census, Hiram and Susan were enumerated in the Lostine precinct of Wallowa County on the 25th of June.  They had been married eight years and they had two sons: Grover Cleveland Meek, born February 1893, and Samuel Meek, born February, 1895.  (No source yet discovered has listed a middle name for this Samuel Meek.)  

In 1910, Hiram's son, Grover had a terrible accident "when he ran his horse between two trees and caught his knee on one tree, causing severe pain in his legs and back.  He neglected to get immediate medical attention and continued on with his daily work.  After returning home for supper, he sat down at the dinner table and was never able to stand again, as both his legs became paralyzed.  He did, however, learn to live with his disability."  (www.findagrave.com)
In the Wallowa County Chieftain, dated July 7, 1910, a small article appeared naming Hiram Meek:
"Hiram Meek and son of near Wallowa transacted business in Enterprise Friday.  Mr. Meek paid this office a genial visit and helped talk over 'old times' in Ohio.  Mr. Meek has 200 acres of land near Wallowa where he has lived for 19 years."


In the 1920 census for Leap, Oregon, H. W. Meek, 52, and Susie Meek, 51, were enumerated and it was noted that Grover C., 26, had no occupation.  Samuel, 24, worked on the home farm for wages.

According to his death certificate, Hiram became ill and began treatment with a physician in March 1923.  He died on July 18, 1924, at the age of 56, with the cause listed as nephritis on the death certificate.  His son, Samuel, was the informant on the certificate as his obituary stated that Susie was a patient in the hospital fighting her own illness.  
Hiram's obituary:
"Leap, Wallowa County, Oregon.
Hiram W. Meek, a resident of the Leap section since 1891, died at the Wallowa hospital last Friday, July 18, 1924.  He had been ill for a few months but his condition did not become serious until a week before he passed away.  Bladder cancer was the cause of death.
The funeral was held at the Wallowa Methodist Church, with two pastors assisting, Rev. G. H. Feese and Rev. W. F. Shields.  Burial was in the Wallowa Cemetery.  The Grange had charge of the services, this being the first funeral conducted by that society in the county.
Mr. Meek was born in Defiance county, Ohio, March 23, 1867, and moved to Kansas and later to Colorado when a young man.  He came on west a few years later and located on a farm six miles east of Wallowa, in Leap, which was his home to the last.  He was married March 4, 1892, to Susan Roberts.  His widow survives.  She has been ill for some weeks and is still at the Wallowa hospital, but has been improving of late and is on the road to recovery.  Two sons also survive, Grover C. and Samuel Meek, who live on the home place, and a stepson, Everett Roberts of Enterprise."

So, one wonders if Susie was even able to attend her husband's funeral.  She did live about six more years, passing away in 1930. Her death certificate, with information again provided by Samuel, indicated that cervical cancer was the cause of death.  She was 61 years old.  
Susie's obituary:
"Leap, Wallowa, Oregon.
Mrs. Hiram W. Meek passed away at the family home in Leap last Thursday, March 13, 1930.
Death was caused by cancer from which she had suffered for a year.  She had been a resident of the county since 1884, living most of the time in Leap.  Funeral services were held Friday afternoon at the Methodist church in Wallowa, conducted by the pastor, Rev. C. E. Calone, and burial was in the Wallowa cemetery.  
She was born in Union county, July 29, 1868, and came to Wallowa county when 16 years old.  She was married to Hiram W. Meek at Enterprise, March 4, 1892, and in 1900, they settled on a homestead which has remained the family home.
Mr. Meek passed away July 18, 1924, and since then Mrs. Meek has lived with two sons, Samuel and Grover Meek, on the home place.
She was survived by another son, also, Everett R. Roberts of Enterprise, and by the following brothers and sisters:  Mrs. Eva Parker of LaGrande, Mrs. Lillie Hall of LaGrande, Mrs. Dora Baker of Seattle, Wash., Frank Roberts and John A. Roberts of Harrah, Wash. All of these except Mrs. Baker and John Roberts were present at the funeral."

Samuel and Grover Cleveland Meek - photo from www.findagrave.com
 According to the submission made on the above link, Samuel had a friend named Azra Grove. Azra was listed in the 1940 census as a "dairy man."  Born in Colorado, Azra was in Arizona in 1935 and in Sacramento, California in 1940.  Apparently, the couple moved quite frequently.  After Azra's death in 1952, the account stated, "Lucy moved back to California.  Samuel decided he would call Lucy and propose to her over the telephone and she accepted.  Samuel traveled to California where he married Lucy on July 25, 1959, in Sacramento."  The couple returned to the Meek homestead and farmed it until their elderly years when they moved into Wallowa.  Samuel was 64 at the time of the marriage.
Grover, on the other hand, made an occupation for himself in the tax and insurance business and eventually made a home for himself in the back of his office.  Both sons were buried with their parents in the Wallowa cemetery.

 So many questions remain.  Did Hiram stay in contact with his family back in Ohio?  Were their letters back and forth?  Did they ever visit?  All will remain unanswered, I'm afraid.

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