February 26, 2012

Book Review - Heart Echoes by Sally John

Heart Echoes by Sally John

The third book in the Side Roads Series
(Ransomed Dream, Desert Gift)

Teal Morgan-Adams' life was on cruise control with a job she loved, a handsome husband, River, and a lovely teenage daughter, Maiya. Then several events happened that set her world ajar. First, she was witness to an earthquake which caused an overpass to collapse on a busy freeway. People were hurt and she was traumatized herself. In trying to find her daughter, she learned that Maiya was not where she said she would be. Enter an older boyfriend with a delinquent past and a daughter's lie that can not be excused. Then, the nagging question which was also pulling at the bond with her daughter - answering her pleas to know the identity of her biological father.

Teal decided that she needed to take Maiya back to Teal's hometown to finally meet her grandparents and aunt and to have time to reconnect. But Teal also has some demons to face there - namely, an abusive stepfather and alcoholic mother, her sister's illness, meeting her own biological father and coming to terms with Maiya's desire to know her birth father.

Teal was a woman under so much stress because of the secrets she guards and the memories she can not release. Her own feelings of unworthiness from her childhood, her guilt, and lack of trust undermined her efforts to be real with the people she loves the most. Can she overcome her own mental hurdles to bring her issues to some closure and keep her own family strong?

Only at the end did I feel that some events in the plot were a bit too contrived, especially regarding pregnancy and adoption and how the real father enters the story. All in all, this was a good read with an especially realistic relationship portrayed between mother and teenage daughter.

This book was provided to me by Tyndale House Publishing for my honest review.

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.

February 16, 2012

George Washington Doty

This photo hung in my parents' home for as long as I can remember.  Its last place of honor was in my mother's bedroom.  Even though she never knew her grandfather, she had great respect for him and her grandmother.  George Washington Doty, father of Dorothy Doty Ordway, was born in a log home that was on the homestead of his parents in Raisinville Township, Monroe County, Michigan.  George made his appearance in the midst of a Michigan winter, on January 15, 1848.
For George's parents, Joseph and Sarah True Doty, it was their fifth child and third son.  George would live his entire life on this farm as one of the more well-known farmers of the area.  He would also become a stalwart worker in the church and his community.

In the 1850 census of Raisinville, Monroe County, Michigan, little George W., at 2 years old, was surrounded by his family: father Joseph, 45; mother Sally, 36; and siblings, Emeline, 10; Sarah, 7; William T., 5; and Charles 3.  With them, lived an Irish farm hand, John McGuire, who was 29. 
The 1860 census showed the addition of sister, Hellen, who would be the last child in the family.

In 1864, brother Charles was old enough to join up with the Union Army and that's what he did.  He was young and ready to fight, and soon was sent south.  He did not return.  It must have been heartbreaking for the family to lose this young boy who was only 17 or 18 at his enlistment.  George W. was approximately a year younger than Charles, so it would have been an especially hard blow for him.  This photo shows George at around 16 years old circa 1864.

George continued to work on the family farm as the 1870 census indicates.  In that census, only George and Hellen are left at home and both are referred to as "servants," - in this case, it just means they were laborers on the home place.  On the June 1874 list of teachers in Monroe County, George was listed as a teacher at the Raisinville School.  One source said he taught several terms, and I'm sure he was needed more and more on the farm as his parents aged.

On November 5, 1874, George W. Doty married Alice S. Newcomer.   Alice was a neighborhood girl, growing up right down the road from George.  Mom's cousin, Don, wrote once in a letter that the family lore said George and Alice eloped, ladder to the window and all.  According to the marriage record, George was 26 and Alice only 17.

George's mother died in July 1874, and so it is thought the couple moved in with George's father, Joseph.  According to cousin Don, this was hard on young Alice, as Joseph was difficult to handle and sometimes he hit the spirits, making him harder to control.  About a year later, George and his brother, William, acquired the farm from their father.

Joseph died in 1878, and by 1880 George and Alice welcomed their first child, Susan Bertia.  Three years later, a sister arrived - Ada A. (Alice?)  This photo, probably taken circa 1886, shows George and Alice, with Susan in the back and little Ada in front.
Seven years later, in 1890, Guy J. joined the family, followed quickly by Harry Russel, thirteen months later.
This photo is nicely labeled, showing Guy on the left, Ada in back, Susie on the right and little Harry in front.  I would estimate this photo as taken 1893-1894.
When Alice was 37, her youngest son, George Lewis, was born in 1895, followed by her youngest daughter, Dorothy Elizabeth in 1899 when she was 42.
In this photo, taken around 1905 or 1906, I would guess, the whole family gathered.  Back Row, L to R: Harry, Susie, Guy, Ada and Front Row, L to R: George Jr, George W., Dorothy, Alice

Unfortunately, George's health began to decline and he died on March 4, 1910, leaving all of the children at home except for Susie who had married by that time.  The official cause of death was Bright's disease which was an all-purpose term at the time for anything related to kidney failure, usually accompanied by edema and high blood pressure.  It could have been related to the heart or diabetes, but that was not determined.  In those days, the only treatments available were laxatives and diuretics and diagnoses were not very specific.
George was well thought of in his community as evidenced by the obituaries that followed in the local papers.
The first appeared on March 17, 1910 in the Record-Commercial, Monroe, Michigan:
"George Washington Doty, 62 years old, a prominent farmer and Sunday school worker of Raisinville township, died Monday afternoon at 3 o'clock at his home, death being due to a complication of troubles.  A widow and six children survive him.  Funeral services will be held Thursday afternoon at 1:00 from the house, thence at the Evangelical church at Raisinville; interment at Lasalle."

The Monroe Democrat followed the next day, March 18, 1910, with this notice:
"Mr. George Washington Doty, a well known and well liked man throughout the county, died at his home up the river at three o'clock on Monday afternoon.  He had been ailing for eight years and had reached the age of 62 years, 8 months and 2 days.  Born in Raisinville township, January 15, 1848, on the farm where he has resided and died.  Mr. Doty took a prominent part in civic and church affairs of his community, was a member of the Evangelical church for 26 years and in that society, having been Sunday school superintendent for 12 years, president of the County Sunday School Association for the same length of time, also class leader for several years and a trustee of the church at the time of his death.  Mr. Doty proved himself a noble Christian character the whole of his life and showed remarkable fortitude in the suffering accompanying his last illness.  His wife, who was Miss Alice Newcomer and to who he was married on November 5th, 1874, mourns him with their six children, Mrs. William Kemmerling, of Monroe; Misses Ada A. and Dorothy E., and sons Harry R., Guy, George.  There are also two grandchildren, a brother, Mr. T. Doty of Raisinville, and a sister, Mrs. W. H. McIntire, of Eldorado, Kan.  The funeral was held on Thursday afternoon at 2 o'clock from the East Raisinville church attended by a large number of followers."

The next week, the Record-Commercial printed a lengthy obituary, dated March 24, 1910, accompanied by the first photo shown in this post:
"Death has again laid claim to another prominent Monroe County man in the person of  George Washington Doty who was born in Raisinville township, Jan. 15, 1848 and died at 3:00 o'clock in the afternoon, Monday, March 14, 1910, sixty-two years old.  Mr. Doty has resided on the same farm all his life.  His parents, Joseph and Sarah Doty, came to Raisinville township from Albany Co., N.Y., in 1839, he having purchased the farm of 133 acres Jan. 18, 1837, which comprised all of P.C. 533, the original farm being over 4 miles long and for which he paid $900.  Part of this claim has remained in the Doty family for over 73 years. 

The Doty line extends back to the good old Puritan stock.  George Doty had inherited many of the sturdy traits of these early pioneers and up to about eight years ago scarcely knew a sick day.  Since that time, however, his health has gradually given way and what relief could be given was only temporary.  In his younger days he taught school for several terms till his whole time was required on the farm. 

He was a man of excellent habits, an exemplary Christian and citizen.  He united with the East Raisinville Ev. church over 26 years ago and during that time has held almost every office that the church could bestow.  He was superintendent of the Sunday school for six years and his deep interest and success in S.S. work brought him before the county to such an extent that he was elected President of the Monroe County Sunday School Association, which office he faithfully discharged for twelve years.  He was urged to continue when the last convention was held in Monroe last fall, but owing to the condition of his health, was compelled to decline. 

He was united in marriage Nov. 5, 1874, to Alice Newcomer, who survives him with their six children: Mrs. W. L. Kemmerling of Monroe; Ada A., Guy J., Harry R., George L. and Dorothy E., at home.  Also two grandchildren, one brother, Wm. T. Doty of Raisinville, and one sister, Mrs. W. H. McIntyre, of ElDorado, Kas.  One brother and two sisters have preceded him.  The funeral was held Thursday, March 17, at 2 p.m. at the East Raisinville Ev. church and conducted by his pastor, Rev. G. Knechtel, of Ida.  The large concourse of people which attended the last sad rites testified of his far-reaching friendship.  Interment in the Woodland cemetery, Monroe."

And, finally, the Evangelical-Messenger, which was a weekly newspaper published by the Evangelical Association, published this obituary on April 13, 1910:
"George Washington Doty was born in Monroe Co., Mich., Jan. 15, 1848, and died March 14, 1910.  He was united in marraige with Alice Newcomer, in 1874, who with their six children, survives him.  As a convert, he united with our church at East Raisinville over 26 years ago.  He held various offices, being especially prominent in Sunday school work.  He was president of Monroe County Sunday School Association.  He was an earnest Christian.  G. Knechtel."

G. Knechtel, who submitted this article, was George's pastor.  The Ev. Church eventually merged with the United Brethern in Christ and was known as the E.U.B.  The E.U.B. eventually merged with the Methodist church and became the United Methodist denomination. 

From these, I can surmise that grandmother Dorothy Doty was brought up in the church and during her youth, her father experienced poor health.  The trauma of losing her father at the age of ten would have been difficult to endure. 

February 11, 2012

Dorothy E. Doty Ordway

Have you ever looked at a photo of an ancestor and seen yourself?  In my grandmother's photo on the right, especially the top picture, I very much see my mother and myself.  It's time to take a little walk back in the Doty family history, beginning with my grandmother whom I never knew. 
Dorothy Elizabeth Doty was born in Monroe, Michigan at the Doty homestead - the home of her parents, George Washington Doty and Alice Newcomer Doty.  The place was really outside of Monroe and was known as Raisinville. Dorothy was the last of six chldren, three boys and three girls.  She saw the world turn into the 20th century when she was but four months old.  By the accounts of both my mother and her cousin, it was implied that Dorothy was a pampered, youngest daughter.  Her father was 51 when she was born and her mother 42. 
Dorothy is in the back, on the right.  The young man with her is not my grandfather, so this photo was taken before 1922.
My mother's cousin stated that the family was most disappointed in her choice of husbands...my grandfather.  Maybe they thought she married beneath herself, as after all, he was just a silo man from Ohio when they met.  I've written about my grandfather, Fritz Ordway and their wedding here. Then he whisked her away from her family and friends to live in Malinta, Ohio, just down the street from his parents.  They married when she was 21 and a few years later, she had her one and only child, my mother.  She chose to go home to her own mother to wait for the baby's birth, so my mother was born in the Doty home in Michigan.

Note the fancy fox fur!
My mother was only 20 years old when her mother died.  Dorothy did live long enough to see her only daughter married in 1944, but she did not see any grandchildren.  She died at the age of 46 in Malinta, Ohio, but she is buried in Monroe, Michigan with the rest of her family.

Monroe Evening News - May 4, 1946
Mrs. Fred Ordway, the former Dorothy Doty, died suddenly yesterday in her home in Malinta, Ohio, of a heart attack.  The daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. George W. Doty, and the last of a family of six children, she was born August 23, 1899, in the Doty home on North Custer road.  Her marriage to Fred Ordway, who survives, was June 10, 1922, and they went immediately to Malinta to make their home.
Surviving besides her husband is a daughter, Mrs. Donna Elling of Toledo.  Services will be Monday at 1 p.m. in Malinta and burial will be in Woodland Cemetery, Monroe, Monday at 4 p.m."

February 4, 2012


Recently, I attended a program about towns that once were in Defiance County but now no longer exist - ghost towns.  I began to think about those in Henry County and really, I could only think of a couple. 
One was Ratsville- love the name, don't you?  So appealing.  I remember it from my childhood because once in awhile my family would go there to the one (and only) store to pick up something we needed.  It could have been that a house was across from the store, but that's about it for the town of Ratsville.

Shunk was once a ghost town, but really all I know of it now is the cemetery there.  Once called Shunk Cemetery, it is now known as Hoy Cemetery and many of the Delphs, Ordways and related families are buried there.  Shunk is located in Harrison Township on Turkeyfoot Creek at the corner of State Route 109 and Road N-2.

Quite a few years ago, a group at Northwest State Community College did a research project on ghost towns in the area, led by Mr. Helwig.  Eventually, they produced a series of books, telling the historical background of each town...very interesting, no longer for sale, but probably can be found in local libraries.

Here's what was said about Shunk (p.59-60):
"The exact origin of Shunk is shrouded in mystery; however, it has been said that an Indian village was located near the site,a nd thus the legend of the Indian Ghost of Shunk.  In the late 1830's, the Indians of Northwestern Ohio were asked to leave their ancestral homes in the Maumee Valley and move to reservations in Kansas. 

The Indians knew that the journey west would be hard and long, and that they would be able to take with them only a few personal belongings and/or tribal treasures.  Because of the treacherousness of the trip, many valuable items were left behind with white settlers who had befriended the Indians...

As legend has it, the Indians near Shunk decided to bury their treasures and perhaps, someday, they could return...to reclaim their tribal riches.  It has also been said that this buried treasure at Shunk, in fact, contained gold sheets used to make coins for paying General Wayne's soldiers.  This gold was probably, if it did indeed exist, enroute to Fort Defiance and was stolen from an army courier by the Indians.

The legend says that these Indians left the ghost of a dead warrior to guard their buried treasure at Shunk.  This ghost warrior was said to be dressed in full armor and sitting on a horse.  In the years that followed the Indians departure to the West, numerous treasure hunters have tried to find the buried riches at Shunk, but none have succeeded.
At least two of these treasure seekers, a young boy and a stranger, have looked up from their diggings and seen the "Ghost of Shunk" astride a horse, armed with weaponry and riding down on them."

Well, the truth is that no treasure has ever been discovered at Shunk!

Shunk was named after John Shunk who ran a trading post there and a post office in the late 1830's.  No one knows too much about him.  In 1840, David Hoy bought a large tract of land in the Black Swamp and on a high spot, built the first residence in Shunk.

On January 4, 1849, Shunk opened its first official post office under Alonzo Packard, postmaster, and it ran until March 1857.  But by May 1857, another post office opened with William Match as postmaster.  This office was in existence for seven years until closing its doors in 1864.  In 1870, A. S. Stuckey built a water powered sawmill on the banks of the Turkeyfoot and it ran until 1914 or 1915.

Sometime in the late 1800's, the residents of Shunk discovered that their clay soil would be ideal for making tile, so two tile mills were soon erected in Shunk - one operated by the Bliss family and the other by the Fishers.  Tile produced here was used to drain the Black Swamp.

It was noted that the town limit signs of Shunk were only .2 miles apart!

Henry County, Ohio, Vol. 2.  The Henry County Historical Society, Taylor Publishing Company, Dallas TX, 1976.  Shunk was researched by Joanne Westhoven and James Nartker.