Mary Angeline Werts Amore
Mary Angeline Werts was born to William Washington Werts and Louisa Bookless on February 16, 1855 in Linton Township, Coshocton County, Ohio. Her father died when she was two years old leaving Lousia to raise Mary and her older brother, George. In the 1860 Census both children are living with others. In 1961 Louisa married John Simon and three years later they had a daughter, Sarah Ellen. On December 14, 1872, Mary married William Henry Amore. In 1881 Mary lost her brother, George.
Mary – known as “Annie” and “Henry” had seven children – a daughter first, followed by six sons (“Clemmie”, “Zade”, Roy, Lloyd, Rollo, Bert, and Clarence). The family was very involved with the Salvation Army. I just didn’t realize how involved Annie was until I ran across an article from the Coshocton Tribune dated December 14, 1941 (nine days after Annie passed away).
In the “Fife and Drum” column written by Al Cline, he stated, “Back a quarter century ago, at the Christmas times even before the first World war, you might have seen a tiny, birdlike woman, her face rosy with cold, standing on one of Coshocton’s snow-swept street corners, ringing a Salvation Army bell.” He went on to state that before many people knew what the Salvation Army was is when she joined as one of its first members. She was called “Mother” Amore, and as Cline reported, “very few people knew her first name was Mary. And there is no record how many derelicts she took into her little house, gave a bed and breakfast and sent on their way, because the true spirit of Christmas was with Mother Amore the year round.”
There were many Sundays she walked from her home in Roscoe to the Salvation Army home so she wouldn’t miss a service. My great-grandmother (her son Lloyd was my grandfather) saw the new citadel finished in 1929 when she was in her 70s. Unfortunately that was about the time she fell and was hurt pretty bad. The columnist reported that for more than ten years after her fall, Mother Amore was “an uncomplaining invalid, tied to her bed and crutch.” Salvation Army Captain Douglas Bethune told Al Cline that he always had a strange feeling in her house; one that felt as if she was comforting him instead of the other way around when he came to call on her weekly after her fall.
Cline summed up his story by writing, “I guess this is a story of faith. Mother Amore had faith, like an imperishable little . . . flame, burning inside her and shining thru her eyes. It took faith and vision to help build the snug Salvation Army citadel, and it took faith to lie calmly in bed, at 86, and wait for the quiet touch of death.”
As I read that article, tears sprung from my eyes. No, I didn’t know my great-grandmother in the traditional sense (I also did not know my grandfather as he died six years before I was born). I didn’t even really know her through memories of others. The only thing my dad has said is that she was in bed all the time. He was an adult by the time she died – so perhaps I can find out more about this woman from him.
However, I did learn a lot about this woman, just from this article. It told me that she didn’t complain about any hardship that she encountered. Whether she learned this at a young age from losing her father and then her brother and being “farmed out” from her mother, I don’t know. I have a sense that she seemed to always have a sense of purpose – helping people, nurturing them, giving hope to others, and bringing the word of God into the lives of those who didn’t know Him.
I have three pictures of Annie – the picture above is one that my cousin, Sharon Amore Brittigan, uploaded to Ancestry. The picture below is one that my family has also shared with me of Henry and Annie and their children. One other photo I have shows the couple surrounded by loving family members on the occasion of the first Amore reunion held at their home.
Annie died on December 5, 1941 seven years after losing her husband, Henry. Her funeral was held in the Salvation Army citadel and she was buried in Roscoe Cemetery.
R.I.P. Great-grandmother (“Mother”) Amore.