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Posts Tagged ‘House’

Back in the mid 1960′s during a reunion trip to Coshocton, my parents had discussed finding a house that my dad’s mother had grown up in (or was born in).  I don’t remember which one.  So we headed toward the country and rural areas and started looking for said house.  Apparently my dad had been there before when he was a boy.

We came across the dilipadated white house that to me seemed in the middle of nowhere.  There were lots of trees around it and the drive was rock and grass covered.  Sitting in the white Pontiac looking upon it, the house seemed rather sad.  Obviously empty and forgotten about, some of the windows were cracked and caked with dust and dirt.  Vines had found their way up onto the porch and the sides of the house.  Seemed that it had been empty for quite a few years. 

Mom mentioned that there might be things left inside.  I think she wanted my dad to take a look to see if it really had been the house he was searching for.  No dice.  I remember she and I starting up onto the porch when my dad told her not to go any further.  He was afraid that the porch wouldn’t hold us and cave in.  I think that’s when I started being a little frightened of front porches not built on a slab.  I always thought that as soon as I took that last step up on that porch that it would collapse and I would find myself underneath with all the rats and vermin.  That was another thing my dad cautioned about.  He was sure there were rats, snakes and who knows what else living in the house and amongst the grown up yard and vegetation.  So we never got to see the inside of that house. 

I was left to wonder all these years many things:  Was it my grandmother’s childhood home?  What did the inside look like?  Were there ancestral treasures to be found in there?  Who had been the last occupants and why did they leave?  How long had it sat empty when we came upon it?  What’s become of it since that time – at least forty years ago?  Unfortunately, I’ll never know unless by some serendipitous chance I come across it again which is very doubtful.

I was able to see the home my mother was born in and spent the first year of her life living in – located in Anderson, Madison County, Indiana.  When I was fifteen, my mom, sister, niece and I spent a week on “vacation”.  We traveled from Southwest Ohio to Indiana and toured the Connor Prairie Living Homestead Museum in Fishers, Indiana.  From there we went to Madison County and Mom pointed out the house as we drove by.  Again – we didn’t take pictures – although I have some of my mom as an infant showing parts of the house.   I do have a picture of the home my mom grew up in located in Greene County, Ohio.  Originally the home had been in Osborn (before it and Fairfield merged to form Fairborn).  Then as she explained, it was put on these big rollers and moved to Fairfield.  My aunt had thrown toys from the second story window.  Here’s a picture of that house with my aunt and my mom sitting in front.  I also have pictures of my maternal grandfather’s childhood home in Anderson. 

Departing Advice: Photograph and map out ancestral homes and land.  Take photos of the home you live in now and those that follow.  Check old city directories for information that might assist you in locating these homes or businesses.   Plot the locations of places lived on a map to see where your ancestors lived and migrated. 

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Stories have filtered down through the family that my great-grandmother, Frances, was left on a doorstep as a baby. Her maiden name has been reported as Ogan – according to her husband’s, James House’s, application for invalid pension and her obituary – and Ogelvey – according to my dad and her son, (Alva) Lester House. Where did Frances come from? Obviously she wasn’t dropped to earth by the proverbial aliens! Was she left on a doorstep? Or did she get “farmed” out as so many children did back in the mid to late 1800′s due to financial reasons? Another theory leans to the fact that one of her parents died (or both) and she was brought up by relatives, god-parents, or neighbors.
Born on November 29, 1846, her obituary states that Frances was born in Guernsey, Ohio so that is where the census search began. She was found in the 1850 Census in Richhill Township, Muskingum County, Ohio living in the Evan & Susannah Ogan household at age 3 – her name is listed as Francis Foster. In the 1860 Guernsey census, Frances Foster (female), age 13, was living in the home of Evan and Susannah Ogan – both in their 70′s. In 1870, Frances Ogan, age 23, was living at a local hotel as a cook. After that she is found living in the House home. It is still unknown if the Frances in either of the 1850 or 1860 censuses is the woman being searched for – although her age matches with what is known. Evan and Susannah Ogan may have been related to Frances or another thought is she married their son or grandson before 1870 and he either died or the marriage ended. It has also been reported that she went by “Frankie” and her middle name was Virginia. Except for the census reports, most of these theories are conjecture and not to be taken as documented proof.

Frances daughter, Ella (my paternal grandmother), had auburn hair and since her father, James E. House, had dark hair and a dark complexion, it is possible that Frances had either auburn hair or was brunette with auburn undertones.  Ella is the only one documented to have auburn hair until her great-granddaughter (my niece) came along.

Frances’ son, Lester House, wrote a letter to my aunt detailing what he could about his mother’s mysterious origins.  It reads in part, “My mother was born some place near Cambridge, Ohio, her name was Frances Oglevey. As to her parents I don’t know much about. She was raised all around the County. She had to go out and work when she was only a child. The last place she worked over there was with people by the name of Blackson.”

In her adult years, there is more that is known.  When my grandfather’s first wife, Barbara Shyrock, died leaving him with three little ones under the age of six, he employed Frances as his housekeeper and possible nanny to the children while he worked.  Nine months after Barbara died, Frances and James had their first son.  One month later, they were married.  I often wonder what their explanation for that could have been!  I also wonder how long James had known Frances before Barbara died.  It isn’t known how Barbara died – whether she’d been ill for awhile or if it was sudden.  Possibly if she had been unable to tend the home, James may have employed Frances prior to his wife’s death. 

The couple went on to have seven more children.  One son, Elmer, died at the age of four.  Another son, Charles, died at age 12 in a farm accident.  One daughter, Julia, died during childbirth at age 27.  Frances had to endure so many losses – not only those of her children, but of her foster parents, Evan and Susannah.  She had to sit by while her oldest son, Florus (named after James’ father), had symptoms of “lung fever” at age 15, was hurt in a mining accident a few years later, and was sent to serve during the Spanish-American War in 1898.

Did she ever wonder about her parents or did she accept the life she had been given?

Her obituary claims that she was a well known woman throughout the city of Coshocton and that her death brought much sorrow to many hearts.

Perhaps my great-grandmother’s origins will never be solved but then again, she may be just waiting to be found.  It’s just a matter of time.

(Left: Gravestone of James E. and Frances V. House, Prairie Chapel Cemetery, Coshocton County, Ohio)

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Many of my family members have served in the Armed Forces at one time in their lives.  Most of them volunteered to serve their country while at least one that I know personally – was drafted at a time when big swooping changes were occurring throughout the nation.

My great-grandfather, James Emory House, was a member of Company “H” of the 80th Regiment of Ohio Volunteers during the War between the States.  He enlisted the day after Christmas in 1861 and was honorable discharged on May 27, 1865.  Three and a half years of his 82 years were spent marching through the South.  He was engaged in the famous Battle of Vicksburg and Sherman’s March to the Sea.  At some point in his life, he shook hands with the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln.  During his time at Vicksburghe incurred a stomach illness that disabled him later in life.  It is unknown what battle scars he suffered that weren’t visible on the outside but ones he possibly lived with in his nightmares for the rest of his life.  To read his pension application papers, please go to Civil War Papers on my genealogy website.

Glen R. JohnsonMy grandfather, Glen Roy Johnson, enlisted in 1918 – just a couple months after his first son was born.  He went to Omaha, Nebraska for training as part of the Army Signal Corps.  In July 1918, he sailed for France during World War I and the troops were inspected by Gen. John J. Pershing.  Glen (or Granddad as we all knew him) was part of the 14th Balloon Squadron where observation balloons were taken 1-3 miles from the front lines to scout for army artillery.  The men in the observation basket would telegraph information down the cables to the sentinel on the ground.  It was extremely dangerous for an enemy shell could hit the balloon and cause the 38,000 cubic feet of hydrogen to become a raging inferno in an instant.  He survived France and was discharged in 1932 as a Private but he won a reserve commission to Quartermaster Corps eight years earlier in 1924 due to his Civilian work at what used to be called Wilbur Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio (now Wright Patterson Air Force Base).  When WWII began, he again went into active service with the Army Air Corps which later became the United States Air Force.  He served through the Korean War and was released from active duty in the fall of 1953.  He retired from the Air Force in 1958 as a Colonel.  During his tenure, he spent three years in Weisbaden, Germany as a supply chief. (Photo above left is my grandfather, Glen R. Johnson.)

Dad in UniformMy father enlisted in the Army Air Corps in November 1939, a mere 5 months after graduating from high school.  In August 1942 he was assigned to  Reykjavik, Iceland for 15 months as an airplane mechanic for the air transport command.  It was in Reykjavik when he first heard the news that Pearl Harbor had been attacked.  He returned to his hometown of Coshocton, Ohio on December 1, 1943 as a Staff Sergeant.  Between that time and 1953, he was stationed in Milwaukee and Great Falls, Montana.  Then he was assigned to Japan for three years and after two years back in the states in Columbus, Ohio as a recruiter, he went back to Tachikawa AFB in Japan for another three years.  While in Japan he was assigned to the 6400th Transportation Squadron.  Upon returning to the states after the last tour, he was stationed at Tyndall AFB outside of Panama City, Florida where he retired from the Air Force after 20 years of military service. (Photo at left is my Dad in uniform.)

 

Norman Amore receiving Bronze StarMy uncle, Norman Amore, entered the Army in December 1942 and was shipped overseas in March 1944.  In Germany his platoon leader was mortally wounded by enemy artillery fire, and Norman, calmly removed his wounded crew member to a station to be treated.  For that brave act, he received the Bronze Star. (Photo at left is my Uncle Norman Amore receiving the Bronze Star.)

 

 

 

Gail and Lloyd AmoreMy father’s two oldest brothers, Gail and Paul Amore, also served in the military. (Photo at left is my Uncle Gail and my Grandfather, Lloyd Amore.)

Three of my first cousins and a brother-in-law served in the Vietnam War.  Luckily, all four men returned home.  What they saw, I do not know. 

I am thankful that my relatives all came back from Wars and military service alive and in one piece.  These men served their nation honorably and bravely – never knowing what the next set of orders would send them.  They are heroes by being ready to defend our freedoms.  Freedoms that so many take for granted and so many in other countries struggle to attain.  These brave men and women who put on a military uniform, a police uniform or a firefighter’s suit each and every day to keep us safe – whether it’s from evil half a world away, down the block or that out of control fire in our garage – they are heroes and if not for them, we may not know the freedoms and happiness we have today.

As Memorial Day approaches, please stop and thank every hero you see.  Stop in at your local police or fire station to thank them.  Send cards and letters to the men and women around the world stationed far away from loved ones to say thank you.  Write a moving tribute about your hero.  Place flowers and flags on the graves of those who served.  Attend a parade, stand when the flag goes by and place your hand over your heart in honor of those who’ve helped keep us free.  And never, ever forget  

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