Saturday, January 27, 2018

The Homemaker

The fourth ancestor in my 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks project is my paternal grandmother, Ruth Pauline (Haley) LeMaster (1911-1990).

uth was born 11 April 1911 in Noble Township, Jay County, Indiana.  Her parents were Eli Weldon & Cora Belle (Metzner) Haley.  She was the sixth daughter of seven children in the family.

Ruth was raised on the family farm in Noble Township where she was enumerated in the 1920 & 1930 census.  Ruth was very close to her older surviving sisters.  I particularly remember aunt Vera and Carrie.

Ruth completed the eighth grade and graduated from the common schools of Noble Township.

On February 21, 1932, Ruth married Ord Wehrly LeMaster at the Mt. Zion Evangelical Church.  The ceremony was performed by her brother-in-law, Rev. Eugene C. Kunce.

Ord and Ruth began raising a family in rural Jay County and encountered some hard times.  According to newspaper reports, they lost their home and all of their possessions to a fire in February 1939, the second fire in three years.  The family had to move in with Ruth's parents for a time.

By the 1940 census, Ruth had three children: Paul, Idola and Juanita.  The family was living in the town of Portland, Indiana, renting a home at 507 E. Main Street.  Ruth had no occupation listed and her husband Ord was listed as a laborer at the Sheller Manufacturing Company.  The 1941 directory for Portland shows the family living at 507 E. Walnut.

1107 W. Water Street in 1947
By the time my dad was born in 1944 they had moved to 1107 W. Water Street in Portland, where they lived the rest of their lives.  Two more children came along as well, completing the family of six children born to Ord and Ruth.

Because I grew up about an hour away from Portland, most of my memories of grandma involve holidays and family gatherings such as Easter or Christmas.  I remember a lot of cousins packed into a tiny house but a lot of good food cooking.  I particularly remember the noodles she made, more like dumplings.  Food was always a big part of any holiday visit.

I remember that grandma sold Avon, and at least once when I was staying there I remember going with her to make deliveries.

When I was a senior in high school, a group of my friends and I decided to drive up to the Jay County fair.  I talked the group into stopping at grandma's on the way.  She was surprised to see us, but fed us all before we visited the fair.

1107 W. Water in the 1980s - how I remember the house

I was at college at Ball State when grandma really became sick with cancer.  I remember visiting her at the hospital a few times and I remember her being in a lot of pain and begging Jesus to come take her home.

Ruth died 1 February 1990 at Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie, Delaware County, Indiana.  The cause of death was listed as respiratory failure.  She was buried at the Mt. Zion Cemetery in Noble Township, Jay County, Indiana.

I never talked about family history with grandma, I wonder what she would think of some of the history I've found out about her ancestors.

The 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge was created by Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small blog.  The premise is to write once a week about a specific ancestor - whether it be a story, a biography, a photograph or a research problem.

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