January 27, 2013

Who was "Aunt Blanche?"

I found the will among my mother's things. 
 In the summer of 1956, Blanche Hilgeneck left my parents $1000.00 in her will - a goodly sum for the times and especially for my mom and dad, who  had just purchased a farm and had four young children to raise.  I can remember my mother talking about Aunt Blanche and maybe I even met her in my childhood, but after I discovered her will in my mother's papers, I became even more curious about her relationship to us. 

I have seen a photograph of Aunt Blanche, but I couldn't find it, so I'm leaving a space for posting that when it is found.  Blanche turned out to be Blanche Newcomer Hilgeneck who lived in Elmore, Ohio in Ottawa County. So the conclusion had to be that she was somehow connected to the Michigan Newcomers, specifically Alice Newcomer Doty, my mother's grandmother.

According to the 1900 census, Blanch Newcomer was born in March 1880, so I went back to the 1880 census to find her there.  Blanch (as it was spelled in the census) was 2/12 or 2 months old and unnamed on that census, designated only as Baby daughter born in March.  Her parents were Simon Newcomer, 29 (born circa 1850), a farmer, and Ellen, 27, his wife.  She had two older siblings in 1880: Charles, 7, and Nettie (Jeanette), 4.

The family lived next to Emma Burket, 40, a widow, and her daugther, Stephanna, 15, in Ottawa County, Ohio.  Living with them was Anna Wilson, also a widow.  I would discover that Emma was Ellen Newcomer's sister and Anna Wilson was Ellen's mother  (not mother-in-law, as the census states.)
So Blanche's parents were Simon Newcomer and Ellen Wilson of Ottawa County, Ohio.

With no 1890 census, I had to skip to 1900 where I found Blanche's family still living in Harris Township, Ottawa County, Ohio.  By this time, however, Simon was deceased and Ellen, the widow, had three children at home with her: Charles (born 1873), 26, single and a farm laborer; Blanch (born 1880), 20, single and a servant (probably helping out in a neighbor's home); and Fred (born Dec. 1882), 17, single and attending school.  So when did Simon die?  I found a record of his gravestone which gives the dates 1850 - 1887, so he was quite young when he passed away.  Ellen reported on this census that she had given birth to six children, but only 4 were living.  It would seem then that Nettie or Jeanette was working somewhere as a live-in domestic perhaps or at least was living elsewhere at the time.  I learned later that she never married.

In 1901, Blanche Newcomer, 21, married Emmett Hilgeneck, the son of Harman and Minnie.  Emmett was 29 and it was his second marriage.  Blanche and Emmett lived most, if not all of their married lives, in Elmore, Ohio in Ottawa County.  They never had any children. 

His obituary from September 24, 1934:
A severe shock was felt in this vicinity Monday afternoon when it became known that Emmett A. Hilgeneck had died suddenly in his home on Augusta Street, following an illness since Friday of intestinal flu, with complications.  Last rites are being held this (Thursday) afternoon at 2 o'clock in the home, with Rev. K. W. Scheufler of Trinity Methodist church officiating and interment in Union cemetery.
Mr. Hilgeneck, aged 64 years and 6 months, was a lifelong resident of Elmore, having been born in the parental Hilgeneck home on Toledo street, occupied now for many years by Henry Hilgeneck and family.  For many years, Mr. Hilgeneck has engaged in the florist business here and had become well known in a business way throughout this section, many gorgeous floral tributes attesting the friendships he enjoyed.
He is survived by his wife, Blanche Newcomer Hilgeneck, and his only brother, Henry Hilgeneck.
Mr. Hilgeneck was born in Elmore and has always resided here. Before going into the floral business 20 years ago, he followed the trade of carpenter and painter, and with his father and brother, Henry, built many of the homes in Elmore and vicinity.  He was of a jovial, good natured disposition and he always dealt fair with all whom he had business transactions, and his sudden passing came as a shock to all."

Blanche continued to live out her life in Elmore, about fifty miles from my parents' home.  According to her siblings' death certificates and obituaries, some of them lived their last days with Blanche in her home where I'm sure she cared for them.  None of her siblings married. Charles, the oldest and a cement worker, died in 1940; Jeanette died in 1947, and Fred died in 1951.  Blanche lived until 1955.  Her obituary was no help in establishing the Newcomer relationship:

Ottawa County Exponent, September 2, 1955: 
Mrs. Blanche Hilgeneck died early Sunday morning at her home on Toledo St. in Elmore.  Mrs. Hilgeneck had suffered a stroke in June and had been in ill health since that time.  She was born at Elmore, Ohio, March 19, 1880, the widow of the late E. A. Hilgeneck.  Mr. and Mrs. Hilgeneck were the former owners of the Elmore Greenhouse.  Mrs. Hilgeneck was a member of St. Paul's Trinity M.E. Church, Elmore and the Ladies Aid Society, and also a member of the W. R.C.   Friends called at her late residence, 32 Toledo Street, where services were held Tuesday, August 30th at 2 p.m.  Rev. L.L. Young officiating, assisted by Rev. G. C. Diberts, former pastor of the M.E. Church."

My mother and father were named first in her will.  At the time, they had four children, which would have included a 6 month old baby and a set of twins just about to turn 4.  It would have been quite a feat for them to have visited her or to have attended the funeral.

So how was "Aunt Blanche" related?  I had to find out how Simon Newcomer, Blanche's father, fit into the family.  Born in 1880, Blanche fell in age between my grandmother, born in 1890, and my great-grandmother, born in 1858.  
I went back to the 1870 census, then, to try to find Simon at home with his parents.  There I found in Harris Township, Ottawa County:
Newcomer, Jacob, 58, laborer, born Maryland
Newcomer, Susan, 54, born Ohio
and their children: Simon, 19; Margaret, 21; and Lucinda, 12

I couldn't find him in the 1860 census, so I am still not sure if this Jacob is the same Jacob who is related to Alice Newcomer's grandfather.  More research is needed.

So, it's still a family mystery to be solved.  Maybe someone out there has an answer for me!


January 20, 2013

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Ordway of Bowling Green, OH

While doing Ordway research, I sent for a few obituaries that turned out not to be those I wanted.  I think that these two individuals are related to the Amherst Ordway clan who settled in Huron County and then Wood County, Ohio.  (I have never found the connection with my Ordway ancestors, although there probably is one.)  So I am posting these in the hopes they may help someone else in researching.

Daily Sentinel Tribune, 29 September 1928  (Bowling Green, Ohio), p. 1, columns 7 and 8.
Reclining on the steps of the needle work building at the fair grounds, Thomas Ordway, 79, was found dead at five o'clock Friday night by John Maas, who was shortly joined by Milo D. Wilson. In his right temple was a bullet hole and by his side was his 32 calibre revolver which he had purchased about two weeks ago.  He had chosen for his demise the scene of his great activity and pleasure in the days of his strength.
Chief of Police Carl Galliher was summoned and the body was taken to Deck's mortuary.  There Coroner J. C. Weatherhill of Weston, summoned by the chief, held an inquest and pronounced him self slain.
Mr. Ordway had not been in good health for the past several years and in recent mnths had been quite miserable.  His eye sight, too, had been failing and he had remarked to a friend upon the uselessness of his life without vision.  A letter sent to his niece, Mrs. C. B. Eberly, but addressed to her in her maiden name of Jessie Whitaker, informed her that when she received the letter, he would be no more.  He explained to her that he realized it would be but a brief time till he became blind.  Against enduring  such an affliction, his always self-reliant character rebelled.  He had had his landlady address the envelope in order to make sure of its legibility, not trusting to his failing eyes.
Thomas Ordway was born near Milan, Huron county, February 5, 1849, the son of Amherst Ordway, a native of Vermont.  With is parents he went to the present Scotch Ridge (then Householder's Corners) in 1854, and in 1859, they moved to Bowling Green.  The father was a builder and contractor and built the first sawmill and gristmill in Bowling Green.  Thomas and his brother James followed in his footsteps and prior to 1900, two-thirds of the stores in Bowling Green were erected by his father and his sons.  The old Central high school, the Ridge street and the South Main street school buildings represented their handicraft.  The "Ordway boys" as James and Thomas were spoken of, erected practically all the buildings which grace the fairgrounds.  James was long a director of the fair; and Thomas, a lover of fast horses, was always interested in the racing at the fair. For a number of years, he contracted at Independence, Kan. and Tulsa, Okla.
He was himself too young to enter the Union service in the Civil War, but four of his older brothers did; and Andrew and Hiram lost their lives in it.  James and Nehemiah, the other two veterans, and his sister, Mrs. Emma Whitker, and his brother, Sylvester, preceded him in death.
He is survived by his brother Fred of Paulding, and his sister, Mrs. Alice Fox, of Toledo besides numerous other relatives.
He was married to Eloria Mountz (?) of Sycamore and to them three children were born.  The wife and mother and one son, Donald, died some years ago.  Amherst, a _?_ shooter of Tulsa, Okla. and Esta (?), wife of Charles Kirkwood of ...wata, Okla., survive him.
Announcement of funeral services await further word from his children."

Daily Sentinel Tribune, 10 November 1914, p. 1, column 5
Mrs. Thomas Ordway Died on Monday Afternoon Following an Illness of Two Months - Leaves Husband and Three Children.
Findlay, Nov. 10 - Mrs. Thomas Ordway, 55 years old, died at her home, 413 Cherry street, at 5:30 o'clock Monday afternoon, following an illness of two months from a cancerous tumor.
Mrs. Ordway was born June 23, 1859.  Besides her husband, three children survive as follows: Amherst Ordway and Donald Ordway, Cushing, Okla. and Mrs. Catherine Kirkwood of Nowha, Okla.  Mrs. Ordway returned from an extended stay in Oklahoma last June.
Funeral services will be held at the Arcadia M. E. church at 2 o'clock Wednesday afternoon.  Rev. G. A. Whitlock will have charge.  Burial will be made in the Arcadia cemetery.
The body of Mrs. Ordway was removed from her home to the home of Mrs. George Dillery, 435 Center st. last evening.
Mr. and Mrs. Ordway were former residents of Bowling Green and were well known in this vicinity.  They moved away from this city a number of years ago."


January 16, 2013

A Not-So Secret Admirer?

 Among Dorothy Doty's papers was this poem, dedicated to her by Edward K. Chase.

When Dorothy received this poem in 1914, she was about 15 years old, and so my first thought was that this was from a young man, smitten with the teenage girl.

Here's the poem, exactly as it was written:

"Lines to Dorthy Doty, by her freind E. K. Chase.

There came thro the mail not long ago
The picture of a girl I used to know
She was standing her back against the tree
I easily reconized the face of Dorothy D.

And just to show one how the time had flown
I had only to look at you, Dorothy, to see how you had grown.
Since I had lived down on the Rodgers place
And you used to call out "Hello, Fat Chase"

Since then the years have gone swiftly by
As I cast a glance backward sometimes, I heave a sigh
As I think of the days when I wrote poetry for the boys
For the little Dotys who made so much noise.

And who wrote on my fence and played tick-tack
with me every time I turned my back
And they running as hard as they could down the road
As I chased them with stick and goad.

Since then I never had as much fun
As when I chased them down the road on the run
And (in imagination) I can hear their laugh still 
As I ride along over, many a street and hill.

And now, Dorothy, I hope as the summer has come
That you will visit us in our Ypsilanti home
Come out Dorothy and we will treat you right
With candy and go to the movies every night

And that we may have a lot of fun, a good time each day
I hope you will bring along little Dorothy K. (her cousin, D Kemmerer)
You and she can go with me and drive old Jim
He is a steady colt, I know you will like him.

And we will drive all around the old town
Ride around all the time, go up hill and down
See all the streets and colleges by the hour
See all the parks, the cannon and the big water tower. 

Watch the big Michigan Central engine purr
Take rides on the trolley on the D. U. R.
Watch the big Autos kick up the dust
We will go all the time don't think we will rust.

See the old Huron river, the Indian's treacherers stream
That has been the ending of many a life's dream
That river has caused many sorrows and joys
And has been the death scene of many girls and boys.

To the north of the river and high above its bed,
You can see the city of our dead
In the distance the head stones glisten among trees
But we won't stop long among things like these.

You can see the soldiers monument from afar
The gift of a lady, in honor of the soldiers of the war
On the top of the base stands a soldier all alone
And underneath (on the base) his deeds are engraved in everlasting stone.

But we won't linger too long with the dead
We will take to the parks and the streets instead
And we will enjoy every minute of the time
If you will come up in response to this rhyme

Give my regards to your Mother, Ada, and the boys
Tell them the 4th of July promises much noise
For there is a celebration here to beat the band
That will give Ypsilanti a name in the land.

To be no longer the butt of Ann Arbor jokes
We will prove to them this will be no hoax
And we want every girl and boy
To come out and with us the day enjoy

Come out, Dorothy, come when you can any day
And don't forget to bring Dorothy K.
Until then adieu but do not laugh
When you see this scribbled autograph."

So, apparently the Chase family was a neighbor to the Doty family in Monroe County, and at some point, the Chase family moved to Ypsilanti.  Edward K. (Kelsy) Chase was actually about 58 years old when he wrote this, was married and the father to three daughters.  Obviously, he had always had a liking for the Doty kids and the families had remained close because they sent Edward a photo of the young Dorothy.  

So ...secret admirer, no...just a former neighbor offering Dorothy a good time if she will visit in Ypsilanti.  Dorothy must have thought a lot of Mr. Chase as she kept this poem among her things.

I wonder if she ever visited.  Mr. Chase died in 1918.