July 26, 2011

Five Brothers/ Three Stories - Benjamin Franklin Ordway, A Michigan Soldier

Benjamin Franklin Ordway, the fourth son of Harrison and Philina Ordway, was born in Pennsylvania on July 17, 1842.   He lived with his parents in Grass Lake, Jackson County, Michigan, until his marriage at the age of twenty  He married Phoebe Elizabeth Holford on September 1, 1862.

According to the U.S. Veterans Schedule of 1890, Livingston Twp., Otsego County, Michigan, Benjamin F. Ordway enlisted in the Union Army two days after his wedding, on September 3, 1862.  This was twelve days after his oldest brother, Thomas, enlisted in Ohio, a month after his third child was born.  These men must have really heard the call to arms for the Union.  Benjamin joined the 5th Michigan Infantry, Company A, where he served until mustered out June 1, 1865, a total of 2 years, 9 months and 29 days.

1890 Veterans Schedule - Benjamin F. Ordway
The 5th Michigan was organized at Detroit in September 1861.  One company of the regiment was known as the “Livingston Volunteers.”  By the time Benjamin joined in September 1862, the regiment had suffered severe losses in May of 308 men and then later in June, its losses were heavy at Peach Orchard and Malvern Hill on July 1.  Many line officers were wounded or killed.  The regiment returned home and then went out to serve under General Pope at Manassas and in December 1862, at the disasterous Battle of Fredricksburg where 100 were wounded or killed, including the commander of the regiment.  In May 1863, the regiment took part in the battle of Chancellorsville where again their commander was killed.

On July 2nd, 1863, the regiment arrived at Gettysburg and by 4:00 p.m. that day, they went into action, losing about half the men in the regiment.  The 5th Michigan left Gettysburg, following the rebels, but eventually they were needed in New York City to help keep peace during the draft riots that were occuring there..  In September 1863, they were sent back into action to winter quarters in Virginia.  In December, it was time for reenlistments and for a return to Michigan on veterans furlough.

After furlough, they met again in Detroit and marched back to Virginia, arriving in February 1864 and stayed until May when they joined the Wilderness Campaign.  They were consistently under fire and the regiment again suffered many losses, eventually having to consolidate with the 3rd Regiment when both groups' numbers were depleted

On May 12, 1864, the 5th charged and captured the Confederate flag at Spotsylvania.  They were very active, fighting in the daylight and constructing works and marching at night, and it eventually wore out the men.  For nine months, they were rarely out of range of Confederate guns.  When the regiment captured Petersburg on April 3, 1865, they followed the departing rebels to Appomatox on the very morning that Lee surrendered to Grant.  Finally, the war was over, and it would seem that Ben F. Ordway was a very lucky man to survive.

On May 1, 1865, the regiment marched to Washington for the Grand Review of the Army of the Potomac, then left by way of Louisville and across the Ohio River, traveling towards home.  By July 8th, the men were back in Detroit, mustered out and paid.

Now Benjamin could return home to his bride of three years, Elizabeth. 

1872 Agricultural Census, Grass Lake, Jackson County, Michigan

By the 1880 census, my great-great-great uncle’s family now consisted of Benjamin, 35; Elizabeth, 35; Eugene, 14; James, 10; and Girtie, 1.    In 1890, the veterans census told us that he was still in Grass Lake, Jackson County, Michigan, but sometime between 1890 and 1900, the family moved to Livingston Township, Otsego, Michigan.  On June 23, 1900, the enumerator found Benjamin F. Ordway, 57, and married 38 years, owning a mortgaged farm there.  With him, were wife Elizabeth and one child, Harry S., 12, as well as his father, Harrison, aged 89 and widowed.  Perhaps that was the reason for the family’s move – to help his father and to take over a farm.
In the 1870 census for Grass Lake, Benjamin F., 26, a farmer with real estate valued at $1500 and pesonal goods worth $400, was living with his wife, Elizabeth, 26, and two children – Eugene E., 4, and James A., 1.   The 1872 agricultural census for that year gave a very detailed account of Benjamin’s holdings which included: 25 acres of farmable ground, 15 acres of woods, 40 acres of unimproved land, three horses, 3 milch cows, 4 swine, 75 bushels of winter wheat, 100 bushels of Indian corn and 15 bushels of oats.

The census in 1910 noted that Elizabeth had five children, four living.  Her children were: Eugene Everett,  James Almond, Gertrude Elizabeth, and Samuel Harrison (Harry).  I have not been able to find the other child, but would guess it was born between James and Gertrude as a nine year gap exists between their births.  In 1910 Elizabeth, 66, and Benjamin , 68, lived alone and he was still farming.

Sadly, in 1916, they lost another child, James Almond.  The Otsego County Herald & Times, June 16, 1916, p. 6, had this obituary:

“ ALLIE ORDWAY DIED LAST SATURDAY MORNING – Had been in poor health for several months.  Funeral Monday afternoon.
James Almond Ordway passed away at the home of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Benj. Ordway in this village at an early hour last Saturday morning following an illness which had extended over several months.  He had been a sufferer from Bright’s disease for a long time and last November was taken with a partial stroke.  Although he recovered so as to be about considerably, his condition gradually became more critical and he passed away as noted above.  He was downtown the day before his death and ate breakfast with the family Friday and was about the house until towards noon when he was again stricken.
The deceased was born at Napoleon, Jackson county, July 13, 1868, and would have been 48 years old the coming July.  He came to Otsego county with his parents 33 years ago and had remained a resident here ever since.
He is survived by his widow, by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Benj. F. Ordway, two brothers, Henry of Durand, Mich. and Eugene, of this place, and by one sister, Mrs. Gertie Clapper.
The funeral services were held from the home of his parents on Monday afternoon at 2 o’clock.  Captain Murdock of the Salvation Army and Rev. S. McDonald, pastor of the Methodist church, officiating.  The burial was in Fairview.  The family have the sympathy of many friends in their bereavement.”

Two years later, Benjamin F. Ordway died in 1918.  He was buried near James Almond.

Elizabeth soon went to live with her daughter and family, Gerty and Henry Clapper.  In 1920, still in Livingston, Otsego, County, Elizabeth Ordway, aged 76 and widowed, was in the household of Henry Clapper, 60, a laborer of all kinds of work, and wife Gerty, 41.  They had children, Lyle, 20, a mechanic in a machine shop; Everet, 9, and Edna E., 6.  It would seem that Lyle might have been from a previous marriage of either Gerty or Henry, but I have not researched yet that possibility.

Elizabeth died on January 13, 1926, an inhabitant of the city of Gaylord, Otsego County, Michigan.  At that time of her death, she owned real estate valued at $1000 and had personal goods worth $300.  I think it is always interesting to view the inventory of possessions, especially in the earlier wills.  For Elizabeth, her goods were:
-one 12 x 12 rug, 4 rocking chairs, and one Morris chair
-one stand, one bed and springs mattress, one rocker
-one bedroom carpet, six kitchen chairs
-one dresser and commode, 2 pillows
-one bedsprings, mattress, 5 lace curtains, 2 door curtains
-two pictures, one dining table, one kitchen table, 3 lamps
-two cupboards, one wash tub, one dishpan
-one looking glass, 2 box fruit cans, 12 plates
-two cake plates, 5 saucers, 2 pie plates, 2 butter dishes
-one sugar dish, 1 milk pitcher, 1 water pitcher
-one vinegar cruit, one coffee pot, one teapot
-three bread tins, potato masher, meat fork, one knife and fork
-one butter bowl and paddle, 1 bread board, 1 large platter
-two quilts, one frying pan, 6 pillows                                                                                      
 total value $432.50

It seems like a pretty trivial list compared to our homes today, doesn't it? 

Again, I would love to have photos of any of the family!

July 23, 2011

Five Brothers/ Three Stories - Thomas C. Ordway, Ohio Soldier

Thomas C. Ordway, the eldest son of Harrison and Philina, was born February 22, 1834/1835 in Pennsylvania.  He married first Sarah Hess in Henry County, Ohio in October 1858.

1860 Census – Monroe Twp, Henry County, OH
Thomas Ordway, 24, farmer
Sarah Ordway, 21
Catherine Ordway, 2

 In December 1859, their daughter, Catherine, was born,  followed by Mary Malissa in October 1860 (after the census had been taken).  On July 25, 1862, their first son, William Harrison, was born and only about a month later on August 21, 1862, Thomas enlisted in the 124th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Company D.   He was not forced to enlist.  Later in the 1863 draft, his name was drawn. But in the draft registration book, it was noted that he was already a member of the 124th.  It incorrectly lists him as unmarried.
1863 Draft Registration, Henry County, OH

The 124th Infantry was organized at Camp Cleveland, Ohio from August – September 1862 to serve three years.  It proceeded to Kentucky in January 1863 and then to Tennessee in February.  The regiment marched to Chattanooga and participated in the bloody battle of Chickamauga in September 1863 where it lost 140 men.  It was a part of the Mission Ridge battle and then it left for Knoxville in December of that year.  In the spring of 1864, the 124th joined Gen. Sherman’s march to Atlanta, participating in all its battles, from Resaca to Marietta and the Kenesaw Mountain and finally to Atlanta from July 22 – August 25, 1864.   The regiment made its way back up to Nashville in November and December and finally back to Huntsville, Alabama and duty there until March 1865. 

The Veterans Schedule for Henry County, Ohio of 1890 lists Thomas Ordway as serving from 21 August 1862 – 7 September 1863 in Company D, 124th and then he transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corp beginning 30 October 1863 to 24 July 1865.  The VRC was originally called the Invalid Corp until the name was changed in 1864 because it was thought the name affected soldier morale.  If a soldier was thought unfit for active service in the field because of wounds he had received or disease,he could be transferred into the VRC and put on light duty, such as being a guard, a cook or nurse, an orderly, an escort for prisoners or new recruits or other tasks not requiring great physical exertion.  VRC men would be guards at the prison camps for the Confederate captives, guard buildings or be a musician, if capable.  Their uniforms were sky-blue with dark blue trim, as shown here.

Thomas served a total of 2 years, 8 months and 24 days. 
The Veterans Schedule also indicates that he was rendered deaf because of his service, so when he was transferred to the VRC (Veteran Reserve Corp) in October 1863, he may or may not have take an active part in the battles after Chickamauga.
One list of soldiers in Henry County described Thomas this way:
“Ordway, Thomas.  Corporal, Co. F, 2nd Reg. Vet. Res. Corps, Vols.  Enrolled 21 Aug 1862 – discharged 5 July 1865.  Born: Chester Co., PA.  At discharge, age 28, 5’11”, light complexion, dark eyes, black hair.  Occupation before enrollment – farmer.  Lived Monroe Twp.  1866.

1890 Veterans Schedule for Henry County, Ohio.
Thomas returned to his bride and a home in Henry County, Ohio, after the war.    
1870 Census, Pleasant Twp., Henry County, Ohio
Thomas Ordway, 32, farming, real estate valued at $1200 and personal goods valued at $280
Sarah, 32, keeping house
Mary, 9
William H., 8
Elizabeth, 6
Benjamin, 4
John M., 2
(What happened to the first born daughter, Catherine, who would be about 12? I haven't been able to find her.)

Sadly, in January 1874, Sarah Ann Hess Ordway died, leaving Thomas with five small children.  By December of that same year, he married Sarah Mae Hill who was about ten years younger. 

1880 Census, Flat Rock, Henry County, Ohio
Thos. Ordway, 44, farmer
Sarah, 35
Melissa, 19 (Mary Melissa)
William H., 17
Benjamin F., 13
John M., 11
Charles L., 9
Harvey H., 3 (mother is Sarah Hill Ordway)
(Now, where is Elizabeth who would be about 16?)

Thomas and Sarah had one more son together, Richard H., born 4 January 1881.   Sometime between 1881 and 1900, the whole family moved to Putnam County.

1900 Census – Palmer Twp, Putnam, OH
Thomas C. Ordway, 66, married 16 years, born Feb 1834, farmer, owns his home, mortgaged
Sarah, 56, had two children and two are living, born May 1844
Richard, 19, b. January 1881, farm laborer.
(A few mistakes made in this reporting in the census.)

1910 Census- Palmer Twp, Putnam, OH
Thomas C. Ordway, 74, married twice, 36 years, does odd jobs, a Union Army veteran, owns home free
Sarah, 65, married once, 36 years.

Thomas’ health must have declined because by October 20, 1910, he was admitted to the National Home for Disabled Soliders in Dayton, Ohio.  According to the entry document filled out at admission, Thomas had defective vision (cataracts in both eyes), a double hernia, chronic rheumatism, cardiac hypertrophy,  (heart?) action rapid and unstable, moderate arterio-sclerosis and frequent ? debility of old age.  And we know he was deaf.

His domestic history reports him born in Pennsylvania, 74 years old, height 5’ 11”, dark complexion, dark eyes, gray hair, can read and write, Protestant, farmer, lived in North Creek, Ohio, married to Mrs. Sarah Ordway of same address.
Sarah, it says, was born in Kentucky, and was age 41 (really???), 5’ 5 ½ “ , dark complexion, blue eyes, brown hair, can read and write, Protestant, Occupation – Laborer.  Residence before he was discharged from the Army was Owensville, KY and single.  Nearest relative – Traverse Warner, Olympia, KY.
(Now I wonder – did he meet her while stationed in KY and remember her after his first wife died?  I’m sure there’s a story here, and if you know, I hope you’ll share.)

The report goes on to say that he gets $15.00 a month in pension money.  Thomas C. Ordway died in the National Home on January 7, 1911 and they notified Sarah by mail the next day.  He is buried in Section Q, Row 7, Grave 1 at the National Cemetery there.

The pension records show that the pension money then was given to Sarah, the widow of Thomas.  The amount changes as different laws are passed concerning veteran pensions. 

U.S. Pension Cards, Sarah Ordway, widow of Thomas

By 1920, Sarah had moved to live with her youngest son, Richard H., and his family in Poplar Bluff, Butler County, Missouri.
1920 Census-
Richard H. Ordway, 38, renting, laborer, general work
Bertha, 30, wife
Perry J., 13
Goldie M., 10
Harvey L., 8
Richard H., 7
Harrison S., 4
Sarah Ordway, 74, mother, widowed.

Sarah eventually moved back to Putnam County, Ohio , where she died on February 11, 1926.

If anyone has photos of Thomas or Sarah, I would love to add them to this story.

July 19, 2011

Five Brothers/ Three Stories - Middleton S. Ordway

Middleton Smith Ordway, the third son of Harrison and Philina Ordway, was born August 31, 1840 in Pennsylvania.  Middleton’s middle name, Smith, was probably bestowed to honor Harrison’s grandmother, born Jemima Smith. Middleton was one of the brothers who settled in Michigan after marrying Mary Jane Cleveland on March 15, 1863 when he was 22 and she was 19.  I could find no record of Middleton enlisting , being chosen in the draft, or serving in the War Between the States.

Middleton and Mary Jane settled down near Grass Lake, Jackson Township, Michigan.  The Agricultural Census for Grass Lake, dated June 1, 1872 indicated that Middleton owned 22 acres of improved land, 5 acres of woodland, and 13 acres of unimproved land, valued at $1000.  At that time also, he owned 1 horse, 2 mules or asses, 4 cattle, 13 sheep, and 2 swine, for a total value of $250.  He had no harvest to report.
Agriculture Census, Grass Lake, Michigan 1872

Three children were born to Mary Jane and Middleton: Bertha, born 1862; Hanson (Hauser) Burnham, born 1873, and Russell, born 1875.  Unfortunately, Middleton lived a short life, dying at the age of 37 years, 10 months and 21 days as a result of a fatal buggy accident, according to his death certificate.  This obituary from the Jackson Daily Citizen, Wednesday, July 10, 1878, described the accident and its aftermath well:

The Fatal Accident on the Page Road Yesterday Afternoon, Resulting in the Sudden Death of M. S. Ordway, of Grass Lake.

At half past three o’clock yesterday afternoon as Middleton S. Ordway, a well-to-do farmer of Grass Lake township, was driving eastward on the Page road, near the Air Line Junction, in company with Mr. James Fish, a neighbor, the horse, a very unreliable animal, became frightened at the whistles of the locomotives and started to run.  The horse was owned by Mr. Fish, but Mr. Ordway was driving, and pulling up on the reins suddenly, she became still more fractious, surged around, broke the shafts, and capsized the buggy. Mr. Ordway, a heavy man, struck on his head, and Mr. Fish fell on him, with the buggy binding them both to the earth, while the horse disengaged itself from the vehicle,and galloped away. 

Police constable George Mann and Mr. Benj. Weiger happened to be driving into town at the time, and were on the spot when the accident happened.  Assistance was at once summoned, the men extricated from the ruins of the buggy and taken into Railroad House, close by, kept by James Mills, where Mr. Ordway was laid on the floor and Dr. North immediately telegraphed for, but he died in about ten minutes before the doctor’s arrival.  Mr. Fish was badly bruised, and being an old man, suffered severely from the nervous shock, but he was sent home in the evening in a comfortable condition.

Coroner Finn was notified and instructed officer Mann to impanel a jury, which he did, consisting of A. D. Shearwood, Patrick Casey, M. W. Parish, S. E. Rogers, Christian Frey and Charles Myers.  They viewed the body which was brought to the city and prepared for burial by John Weeks, and the friends were notified, who arrived in the evening and took the remains to Grass Lake. 
The jury met again this morning at the Coroner’s office and after examining witnesses, rendered a verdict that ‘deceased came to his death by concussion of the brain by being thrown from a buggy, drawn by a runaway horse, who was frightened at the locomotives’ whistles, but no blame could be attached to the railroad company or any of its employees, as the horse was uncontrollable, and the engine at least a quarter mile distant from the scene of the accident.’

Mr. Ordway lived on his farm five miles south-east of Grass Lake, in Fishville, where he leaves a family of a wife and three children,in comfortable circumstances.  He was only 34 years of age.” (age incorrect)

Mary Jane, left with three young children, did marry again four years later to Thomas Knickerbocker.   Thomas and Mary Jane had one daughter together, Leta, born in 1884.  Mary Jane died at the age of 56 on March 18, 1900 of meningitis and she is buried with Middleton in Grass Lake, Michigan.

July 18, 2011

Five Brothers/ Three Stories

Harrison and Philina Ordway had five sons and three daughters.

One son, Richard Johnson Ordway, settled in Henry County, Ohio, married there, had children there, among them, my great-grandfather, Lemuel, and died there.

One son, Alonzo A., twin to sister Malissa, died as an infant.

One son, Middleton Smith, was a successful farmer in Jackson County, Michigan, but sadly a tragic accident took his life.

Two sons volunteered to serve the Union Army in the Civil War – one from Ohio and one from Michigan – witnessing some of the bloodiest battles of the war.  Thomas C. represented the 124th Ohio and Benjamin F. joined the 5th Michigan.

I’ve already told you about Alonzo and Richard, so the next three posts will be dedicated to the other brothers: Middleton, Thomas and Benjamin.

July 16, 2011

Lem Ordway's Grandpa, Harrison Ordway

Moving on to my great, great, great grandfather!  At last!  (Sorry about the delay while I caught up...or attempted to make progress... on other projects.)

My great-grandpa, Lemuel, and his dad, Richard, spent most of their lives in Henry County, but Richard's father, Harrison was another kind of cat.  He moved around quite a bit, as you will see.

Harrison Ordway was born in Strafford, Orange County, Vermont in 1810 to Aaron and Susannah Johnson Ordway.  It is thought that he married his wife, Philina (also referred to as Phila, Vilena, Philinda...) in Vermont around 1835.  (I have not discovered her maiden name, so if you know, I hope you'll share!The census does say she was born in Vermont)

In the very sketchy 1840 census, which just lists heads of households and has slash marks for members of the household and their ages, I found Harrison Ordway living in Elk Township, Warren County, Pennsylvania, which is near the New York/ Pennsylvania border.  In the household were one male and one female, each age 20 - 30 (Harrison and Philina) and two males under the age of 4 (their sons, Thomas, born 1836, and Richard, born 1839).  Another son, Middleton, would be born in August 1840. 

By 1850, the Harrison Ordway family (Ordeway on the census) was on the move west to Brighton Township, Lorain County, Ohio.  It would appear that they moved sometime between 1842, when their fourth child, Benjamin F. was born in Pennsylvania, and 1847, when their fifth child, Malissa Lydia, was born in Ohio.  So, in 1850, the Ordway family consisted of:
Harrison, 37, a farmer, b. VT
Philina, 34, b. VT
Thomas, 14, b. PA
Richard, 12, b. PA (my gg-grandfather)
Middleton, 10, b. PA
Benjamin, 7, b. PA
Malissa, 3, b. OH
Julia, 1, b. OH
Living with the family was a nine year old girl named Polly Peak.  No relationships are given, so I am not sure why she was with them.  Another son, Alonzo A., born June 3, 1847, died in May 1848 at the age of 11 months.  He was a twin to Malissa.

Ever traveling, the family was found in Grass Lake Village, Jackson County, Michigan in the 1860 census.  Harrison, now listed as 49, has real estate valued at $1400 and personal goods worth $100.  The children at home were Smith, age 20 (Middleton Smith Ordway), a farm laborer and Benjamin, 18, also a farm laborer.  The census claims VT as their birthplace, but PA is probably correct.  Also there were Malissa, 13; Julia H. 11; and Harriet, 7.
Where were the other children?  Well, Richard and Thomas were down in Henry County, Ohio, both married and in their own homes in Monroe Township.  They both married in 1858.

By 1870, Harrison must have decided that Henry County looked inviting because he was now listed as living in Napoleon Township at the age of 56 with his wife, Philena, 54.  With them lived their youngest daughter, Harriet, now 16.  Daughter Malissa had married in Henry County in 1866 and Harriet would marry there in 1876.

At some point, the wandering Harrison pulled up stakes again and was counted in the 1880 census of Ogden Township, Lenawee County, Michigan on June 18th of that year.  He was 68 years old, owned no real estate, and his personal worth was $355.  Philena (Vilena in this census) was 63.  All of their children were in Ohio, except for Middleton and Benjamin F. who were in Michigan. Julia and her husband eventually moved there, too.

Philena Ordway's death certificate notes that she died on November 28, 1884 in Edmore, Montcalm County, Michigan of consumption (tuberculosis).  So, apparently, there was another move made before her death.

The last census where Harrison appears is the 1900 census for Livingston Township, Otsego County, Michigan.  Harrison, at age 89 and widowed, was living with son Benjamin F. Ordway.  Benjamin was 57 and his wife, Phoebe E. was 57.  They had had five children, but four were living at this time and only one was still at home.  Son Harry S, born October 1887, was 12 years old.

My great-great-great grandfather, Harrison Ordway died in Michigan at the age of 89 years, 11 months and 28 days.  He was married 22 years and was the father of eight children, four living at the time of his death.  Cause of death: gangrene of the left foot and limb.  He died November 21, 1900 at 6 1/2 o'clock.  He was buried in Livingston Cemetery (now called Fairview Cemetery) near Gaylord, Michigan, Section J, Lot 148, Grave 4 near his son Benjamin and family.

Thanks to Joan Lamoureux for this photo.  The inscription was chalked in for better reading.
"Harrison Ordway, November 22, 1810 - November 22, 1900"
(Jim and I have traveled to both Warren, PA and Strafford, VT to research the Ordways.  Many discoveries were made, but also some questions left unanswered, too...like Philina's last name. More on those visits in another post.)