March 27, 2015

Maud Meek Hood - Daughter of Hiram and Mary Meek

Maud Meek was one of the children who remained at home in Hicksville, Ohio to care for her family and her widowed father.  For a time, she also lived next door to her uncle, Solomon Meek, and aunt, Edna Cannon, and it would seem likely that she also helped them in their elderly years. 

Born on August 27, 1866, she married Thomas D. Hood on December 31, 1895 when she was twenty nine years old. Thomas worked at the handle factory in Hicksville as a stenographer.  The couple had three children: Mary C., born December 7, 1896; John H. (called Hiram), born February 5, 1898; and Thomas H. (called Howard), born March 24, 1904.

Maud died relatively young at 47 years old, a much beloved wife, mother and citizen as evidenced by her obituary:

There are times in the nation and in communities when we stand as one family.  It was so at the bier of Garfield and again at the bier of McKinley.

It is so in this community today.  Our little village is thrown into mourning by the sudden, untimely death of our beloved friend, Maud Meek Hood.  Maud, daughter of Hiram and Mary Meek, was born Aug. 27, 1866, died after brief illness Monday, Feb. 9, 1914, aged 47 years, 5 months and 12 days.  She was fifth of a family of eight children, five girls and three boys; all of whom are living, excepting one brother who died in 1876.

She was reared and grew to womanhood in the vicinity of Hicksville, beloved in her home and by all who knew her. Here her sweet girlhood ripened into noble and beautiful womanhood.

She was graduated from the Hicksville High School in 1888, about the time of the death of her mother, when she assumed charge of her father's home and cheerfully mothered the entire family.

1888 Hicksville High School Graduates
Supt. S. S. Lutz
Olive LaRue-Austen, Angola. Ind.
Della Maxwell-Hilbert, Hicksville. Ohio
Gertrude Miller-Ackley (deceased)
Charles B. Brown (deceased)
Maud Meek-Hood (deceased)
Mercy E. Coulter-Dorsey (deceased)

One of her great ambitions when a girl, was to acquire a higher education; but this privilege she sweetly sacrificed, in order that she might preserve a comfortable happy home for her lonely father and the several sisters and brothers.  She was married Dec.31, 1895, to Thomas D. Hood, to which union were born three children, Mary, Hiram and Howard,all of whom survive her.

The death of this good woman removes from our midst a woman of rare qualities of mind and heart, a woman of extraordinary judicial and executive ability.  A natural leader, she was sought by religious, educational, fraternal and civic organizations to exert her powers in the achievement of their various purposes.

When convinced that  a cause was good, she set forth with a courage and determination to succeed that was an inspiration to all who knew her.

At the time of her death, she was a member of almost a dozen local organizations, being president of two, namely: The Ladies Aid Society of the M. E. church, and the local branch of the Child's Welfare League of America, when she was called to her eternal home.

Thus, while she was sincerely interested in all humanity and gave much time to public work, the writer, who knew her most intimately, cannot recall a single time when she neglected her home duties or her beloved family to perform any outside work.

She was locally renowned for her genuine hospitality.  Her home, tho simple in its appointments, radiated with the light and warmth of the true Christian home.

In the death of Mrs. Hood, there comes to all an admonition as to the uncertainty of life; but happily for her she was well prepared for the Master's summons."
Maud Meek Hood is buried in the Forest Home Cemetery in Hicksville, Ohio.

March 16, 2015

Ulysses Sydney Grant Meek- son of Hiram and Mary Meek

Known as Grant Meek, this son of Hiram and Mary Batchelor Meek was born on August 9, 1871.  His father, a Civil War veteran, honored his Union leader, U. S. Grant, by naming this son after him.  Grant attended Eureka College in Eureka, Illinois, where his brother, Seth, was a professor at the time.

On December 2, 1896, Grant married Alda M. Fish, the daughter of Gabriel and Martha Fish, in Defiance, Ohio.  In the 1900 census, they were enumerated in Hicksville, Ohio with their son, Carl W. Meek, age 2, born July 1897. (Carl's actual name was Ulysses Carl.)  Around 1901, the family started their move west.  
The Hicksville Tribune reported on August 1, 1907:
"Mrs. M. G. Fish left for Harrisburg, Neb. Monday to visit her daughter and family, Mr. and Mrs. Grant Meek. She will remain about four weeks and then return with Mr. Fish, who is there now."

In the 1910 census of Long Springs, Banner County, Nebraska, Grant Meek, 38, a farmer, and Alda Meek, 32, and their child, Carl V. Meek,12, were listed. Living with them were a niece, Nellie Kincade, 6, and a hired man, Elmer R. Fletcher, 18.  The Hicksville newspaper again recorded this on September 8, 1910:
" Mrs. Martha Fish returned Wed. of last week from a three months visit with her daughter, Mrs. Grant Meek and husband in Nebrask.  She brought her little granddaughter, Nellie Kincade,home with her, she having been out there since early spring."

Alda Meek, however, was not well. In 1914, she came back to Ohio, according to the Hicksville paper, to "take treatments."  "She is in very poor health, but her relatives and friends are hopeful for a speedy recovery.  She stayed from January until March.

By 1920, Grant was elected a Commissioner for Banner County, Nebraska, and he was a successful farmer.  The Lincoln Star noted on October 23, 1927:
"Grant Meek, a heavy grower of Banner County, will realize $1800 from his bean crop. Two other heavy growers of he valley have received checks for $1700 each.  Mr. Meek had beans and grain side by side in the path of hail last summer.  He lost nearly all his grain by hail, while the beans remained intact."

Through the 1920 and 1930 censuses, Carl remained at home, single, and working with his father on the farm.  On August 24, 1918, he registered for the World War I draft as Ulysses Carl Meek, 21, born in Hicksville, Ohio, employed by Grant Meek.  His physical description included light blue eyes and dark hair.  In 1930, he was 32.

In 1932, a terrible tragedy happened when a murder - suicide occured.  The Kearney Daily Hub of June 6, 1932:
"Kimball, Neb. June 6.  
Grant Meek, Banner county pioneer, died in a hospital here early yesterday from gunshot wounds inflicted by his wife who afterwards killed herself.  Meek was shot at the family homestead near Harrisburg Saturday night. His wife fired as he entered the living room of the home, then reloaded the heavy gauge shotgun and turned the gun on herself.  Meek was conscious up until a few minutes before he died."

No one will ever know the motive, although some blamed it on a brain tumor for Alda.  Perhaps it was mental illness?  The bodies were discovered by son, Carl.

Carl eventually married Emma E. ? and moved to Oregon.  They had two daughters, Alda and Anna and Emma brought five children into the marriage.  The 1940 census of Wallowa, Oregon showed Carl Meek, 42, Emma Meek, 41, Alda A., 4 and Anna, 2, along with step-children, James H. Palmer 19, Frank C. Palmer, 18, Ronald R. Palmer, 17, Blanche H. Palmer, 14,and Ellen M. Palmer, 13.
Carl died at about 84 and is buried in Oregon. 

March 10, 2015

Seth Eugene Meek - son of Hiram and Mary Meek

Great-Grandfather Samuel Meek's brother, Hiram Meek, of Mark Township, Defiance County, must have really emphasized education in his family, as well as a sense of adventure.  Almost all of his children were either involved with teaching in some way and/or traveled to the West to better themselves or both.

One of the best known of Hiram's children was Seth, who was named after one of Hiram's brothers who died as a youth.  Seth was born near Hicksville, Ohio on 01 April 1850.  Still living with his parents at age 21, as evidenced by the 1880 census, he was a student. He went to Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.

As part of his education, he was sent to Washington DC in 1884.

 He married Ella Tourner on Christmas Day, 1886 and the couple settled first in Illinois.  
The 1900 census found the couple enumerated at 57th Street in the Hyde Park District of Chicago on June 12th.  Seth was 41 and working as a curator in a museum, while Ella, 38, ran the home which included four lodgers, all teachers.
In 1910, Seth's occupation becomes more distinct as the census stated he worked at the Field Museum of Natural History as a naturalist.  He and Ella owned their own home on Lafayette Avenue, Chicago.

Seth was, in fact, a prominent ichthyologist (a scientist who studies fish), and he traveled all over Mexico, Panama, and areas of the United States documenting his finds.  (See Wikipedia.)  Not only was he an author of books and articles on the subject, but he also discovered an previously unknown species of fish and had a fish named after him! Although he lectured all over the country, he didn't forget his Defiance County roots.  An article in the December 12, 1912, Hicksville Tribune announced one of his hometown lectures.

Sadly, Seth died relatively young from heart trouble that developed from a fever that he contracted on a trip to Mexico.  In August 1915, this obituary appeared:

Prof. S. E. Meek, Assistant Curator of Zoology at Field Museum, Chicago, Succumbs.

Prof. Seth Eugene Meek, author, assistant curator of zoology at the Field Museum of Natural History, and a zoologist of renown, died suddenly of heart disease at his home, 6733 Lafayette avenue, last night.  Prof. Meek had been in ill health since his recent trip to Mexico for the Field Museum.  He contracted a fever which affected his heart.

Prof. Meek was born at Hicksville, April 1, 1850.  He graduated from the Indiana university at Bloomington, with a B. S. degree, received an A. M. degree in 1884, and a Ph.D. degree in 1886.  He then attended Cornell university.

In 1886, he married Miss Ella Tourner of Bloomington, Ind. and accepted the chair of natural science at Eureka college, Eureka, Ill.  In 1887, he accepted the chair of natural science at Coe college, Cedar Rapids, Ia., and in 1892, became assistant professor of zoology and geology at the University of Arkansas. In 1896, he was appointed a member of the United States fish commission, and a few months later became associated with the Field Museum in Chicago.

Among many of the important books written by Prof. Meek are 'The Fishes of Mexico North of the Isthmus of Tehauntepec,' and one called 'Fish and Reptiles.'

Prof. Meek leaves a widow.  The burial will take place in Bloomington, and arrangements have been made to hold a short service at the Lafayette avenue home today."
Chicago Tribune 

The couple had no children, but Ella had siblings in Bloomington for support.  By 1920, she had her brother, Henry, 66, living with her.  He owned a jewelry store.
The same situation occurred in 1930 with Ella, now 65,the owner of a home valued at $10,000, as head of household, and her brother, Henry, was living with her. In addition, her sister, Anna B. Tourner, single and 50, a high school teacher, was also there.

Additional obituaries and information appear on www.findagrave here here.

March 6, 2015

O'Ella J. Meek Pile - Daughter of Hiram Meek

Hiram Meek, of Mark Township, Defiance County, Ohio was spoken of in an earlier post, but I've chosen to expand his history by adding some information on a few of his children, a few of whom became exceptionally successful in their careers.  Hiram was an uncle to grandmother, Emily Meek, so the children were her cousins.

First O'Ella Meek, who was known for her work in education. She and her cousin, Emily, were both teachers in Defiance County in their younger years.

Hiram's oldest daughter was O'Ella Josephine Meek, born on March 17, 1858, in Defiance County, Ohio.  In her early childhood years, her father was off, fighting for the Union in the Civil War.  Her mother, Mary Usk Batchelor Meek held the family together during those times.  When Ella was just a few days shy of 25, on March 15, 1883, she married another young educator, James Madison Pile. It is unknown how they met, as James was teaching Chicago, but it was probably through her brother, Seth..

The account of their wedding appeared in the Hicksville News-Tribune:
"From Six Corners - Married at the residence of the bride's parents on last Thursday evening at 7 o'clock, Mr. J. M. Pile and Miss O'Ella Meek.  The ceremony was performed by Rev. J. W. Lilly, in the presence of about fifty invited guests.  A short time after congratulations, lunch was served, which everybody present seemed to enjoy.  The following is a list of their presents:
Mr. Hiram Meek, father of the bride, gold watch and chain.
Mrs. Hiram Meek, mother of the bride, one hundred dollars in gold and a Domestic sewing machine.
Mr. R. F. Kerr and wife, E. W. Crook and wife, and Willard Jeffries, an upholstered easy chair.
Mr and Mrs. F. M. Thompson and I. E. Griffin,handsome tea set.
Mr. and Mrs. B. F. Willet, silver sugar bowl.
Mr. H. R. Bloomfield and Miss Nettie Bunnel, silver cake basket.
Miss Allie Taylor, of Bedford, Iowa, silver pie knife.
Mr. T. C. Batchelor, of Vernon, Indiana, set of silver knives and forks.
Mr. E. M. Bildelbrek, silver pickle castor.
Miss Almeda Platter, silver pie knife.
Mr. Will Cory, toilet set.
Miss Lida Olds(?), pair linen towels.
Miss Sadie Climo and Miss Kittie Meek, glass set
Mr. and Mrs. A. Goodin, shaving mug and candy apple
Miss Lillie Batchelor and Miss Carey Meek, bread plate.
Mr. J. M. Pile is a young man of excellent character.  He is at present Prof. of Mathematics in the Metropolitan College in Chicago, Ills.  The bride is well known in the county as one of our teachers.  The happy couple left on the night train for Bloomington, Indiana, to visit a few days with S. E. Meek, brother of the bride.  They will then go to Chicago, Ills. where they expect to reside in the future.  The best wishes of their numerous friends go with them."

In Illinois, O'Ella's first son was born, named Fred, in January 1884.  But as shown by the census in 1900, the next two children were born in Michigan in 1886 and 1889, and by 1900, they were in Nebraska.  The enumerator working in Wayne, Nebraska, found J. M. Pile, born Jan. 1858, born Kentucky, and married 18 years, with no occupation given.  O'Ella, his wife, had three children and all three survived: Fred, 16; Helen, 13; and James, 11.  Living with them were Anna Meek, O'Ella's sister, 28, single, and two cooks, Minnie Moran and Mary Ellison who perhaps worked at the school  connected with the Pile family.
James Madison Pile

In 1892, James Madison Pile, with the help of the citizens of Wayne, Nebraska, began the Wayne Normal School, with an eye to educating future teachers.  Later the college expanded its offerings to other fields.  Ella Meek Pile took an active role in educating the teachers and keeping up on current trends of the times in education.  In April 1895, she presented a lecture at the Northern Nebraska Teachers Association which met in Wayne, and in 1908, she was sent abroad with a group of teachers to study education in Europe.  

 Sadly, her husband's life was cut short on March 11, 1909.  The newspaper reports insinuated that his death was caused by his stress over borrowed funds for the college, however, they also said he suffered from jaundice.  In The Norfolk Weekly News-Journal, Norfolk, Nebraska on March 12, 1909, J. M. Pile's obituary appeared, which elaborated on the beginnings of the college:

Issuing 40,000 Worth of Bonds Two Years Ago, Prof. Pile Allowed the Debt to Weigh Heavily Upon HIm Until He Expired.

Wayne, Neb., March 11, Special to the News.
Professor J. M. Pile, professor and founder of the Wayne Normal College of this city, and one of the best known educators in the state, died at 11:00 o'clock this morning after a year's illness with yellow jaundice.

The news of the death was a great shock to the entire community and will be to all of northern Nebraska, where he was held in high esteem.  

Professor Pile came to Wayne in 1891 and started the normal school which grew into magnificient proportions.  The citizens of Wayne formed a company to back the school.  They bought eighty acres of land,platted it into town lots, sold the lots out at $25 each and with the proceeds, paid for the land and then turned the surplus over to Pile as a fund with which to start the college.  He agreed to maintain an educational institution and at the end of ten years, the property became his.

He has added mroe than $170,000 in improvements since that time, so that the institution is worth over $200,000 today.

Worried Himself to Death.
Two years ago Mr. Pile floated $40,000 of ten year 5 per cent bonds with which to add a new building.  He built a building costing $50,000.  Wayne citizens took these bonds. It is confidently believed that the weight of this new debt, which worried Mr. Pile very greatly, ultimately caused his death.

Among the pioneer citizens who formed the company years ago,making it possible for Mr. Pile to start the school here: A. L. Tucker, D. C. Main, John T. Bressler, Dan Harringto, R. Phileo, D. R. Theobold, A. J. Ferguson, A. A. Welch.  Recently, Mr. Pile started an agricultural school at the college. He dies leaving a splendid college, with fine buildings, four large dormitories, a residence that cost about $7000, thoroughbred stock and expansive grounds.  

The Wayne Normal College will stand for all time as a fitting monument to the constructive, persevering and unending efforts of a man of large mind and ability.  Mr. Pile was feeling well day before yesterday, though confined to his bed.  His friends hoped against hope for his recovery, though the physicians never really had any hope of his recovery, it is believed. 

School Offered To State.
The Nebraska state legislature is at this very moment considering the purchase of the Wayne normal college to make it into a state normal college.  Its fitness is recognized by those who know the school.  The offer to the state was prompted by the heavy weight of the last bonded indebtedness, which proved fatal today.  Mrs. Pile and the family are here.  Mr. PIle was over fifty years of age.  Twenty years ago, J. M. Pile came to Norfolk to build a normal college. Norfolk business men at that time declined to back his enterprise, and he went to Wayne where he has erected a lasting and permanent normal college of genuine worth."
College archives
 James was buried in the Greenwood Cemetery, Wayne County, Nebraska.  

The next year, Ella was still in Wayne, Nebraska, living on Twelfth Street.  Ellen (Ella) M. Pile, 52, a widow who had been married 27 years, had her own income.  She lived with her two sons, Fred M., 26, single and teaching, and James H., 22, also single and teaching.  Ella was the head of a boarding house or dormitory which housed twelve other young men, probably near or on the college campus.  Her daughter, Helen, had married George R. Newton and they were found in the Rochester, New York census, married ten months.  George was working for the railroad.

A newspaper article on August 27, 1920 in a North Platte, Nebraska, paper helped place Ella, still in Nebraska.  I could not locate her on the census.
"Mrs. Ella Pile, who resigned her position as superintendent of the state reformatory for girls at York, gave as her reasons for leaving that the institution was unsanitary and facilities for its operation were inadequate."
Son, Fred, was enumerated in Salt Lake City, Utah, age 35, single and working as a teacher.
He graduated from the University of Utah in Commerce and Finance in May, and immediately took a teaching job at the Weber School, in Ogden, Utah for that year.  In 1921, he and his mother moved to Rochester, New York.

By the 1925 New York State Census, Ella and Fred were in Rochester, New York, near daughter/sister, Helen Newton and her family.  Ella was 58 (68) and listed herself as retired.  At the time of the census, Fred had no occupation,

In the 1930 census, Ella and Fred were renting a home/apartment for $60 a month on Thurston Road, in Rochester.  Ella, at 72, was not working, while Fred, 44 and single, was a principal at a public school.  Fred had experience in school administration as he had taken over as president of the Wayne Normal College/Nebraska Normal College for awhile after his father died and he was noted as the youngest normal school president in the state.

Ella Josephine Meek Pile died on July 31, 1936, and a brief obituary appeared in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle on August 2:  
"PILE.  Mrs. Ella J. Pile, widow of James M. Pile, entered into rest Friday at her home, The Flanders Apartments, 440 Thurston Road.  She leaves two sons, Fred M. of Rochester, James H. Pile of Wayne, Nebraska, one daughter, Mrs. George R. Newton of Rochester, three sisters, Mrs. H. Hunton of Evanston, Ill., the Misses Anna and Kate Meek of Pasadena, California, also seven grandchildren.  The remains are resting at the Ashton Funeral Home...from where the funeral will be held Monday afternoon at 2 o'clock.  Burial at the convenience of the family."

Ella was taken back to Wayne, Nebraska, to be buried next to her husband, James.
 When her son, Fred, died in 1948 at the age of 64, he, too, was buried next to his parents.  Brief obituaries appeared in a number of upstate New York newspapers, and putting them together, we can piece together his life:

"Rochester.  Fred M. Pile, 64, school principal and former president of Nebraska Normal College of Wayne, Neb., died last night in Highland Hospital after an illness of three months."

"Pile joined the Rochester school system in 1921, heading several schools.  He was the principal of School 21 at the time of his death."

"Pile was born in Chicago. After graduation from the University of Utah, he became president of the Nebraska Normal College which his father had founded."

Son, James H. Pile (1888-1945) and his spouse, Mildred Rhea Cheney Pile (1895 - 1985) and their child, Cooper Eugene Pile (1935 - 1985) were also buried close by.