Death of Harriet Josephine (Powell) Ley | September 4, 1915
As related in Saturday’s post, when Great-Great-Grandfather Charles Henry Ley stepped down as Tuscarawas County treasurer, The Daily Reporter in Dover, Ohio ran two bulletins conveying the news — of Ley’s successor as treasurer, and of his plans to resume his career as traveling dry good salesman.
Quite a busy day for any family in the newspaper, especially back in 1915. But there was still more ink to be expended on momentous events for the Leys — and their in-laws by marriage, the Weibles.
Though the next dispatch wouldn’t be published for another three days — no such thing as a 24-hour news cycle a century ago — later that Saturday, September 4, 1915, family matriarch Harriet J. (Powell) Ley would pass away.
Her death, at 70, probably did not come as too much of a shock for her loved ones. According to her death certificate, Great-great-great Grandma “Hattie” had been suffering from colon cancer for nearly a year by then. Though perhaps the bustling circumstances of Charles Ley’s departure from elected office, and its accompanying coverage, caused either the news staff or the family to delay the announcement of Harriet’s passing until the day of her services and burial.
Or — and here you’ll have to forgive me my fevered sprint through the microfilm records on the last day of my latest visit home — in 1915, “daily” publication of the Reporter actually meant semi-daily, and the next issue wasn’t until that Tuesday, September 7.
You can read that news here:
More About Great-Great-Great Grandma Harriet (Powell) Ley
At the time of her death, Hattie had been living with her only daughter, Minnie Mae, about 10 years.
Minnie Mae and her husband, Edwin Frederick Weible, had beckoned their dear mother to move from Port Washington and join them in Dover following their marriage in 1904. By then, Hattie had been widowed four years. In 1900, Great-great-great-grandfather Augustus Ley had dropped dead of apoplexy in his Port Washington general store. He was just past 60.
Hattie received generous coverage in the Powell Family History by W.D. Shirk. Of her childhood on the Ohio frontier and young adulthood, Shirk wrote:
Harriet J. (Powell) Ley was born in a little log cabin, her father’s home, near Bakersville, in 1845, Feb. 22. She writes, she well remembers the log house with its great wide fire place, and seeing her father roll in the big back logs for it, and well recollects when she was seven years old and they moved into the new brick house.
She experienced the privations, before described in this book, of a frontier life and though school privileges were not good, she so advanced that she passed a county examination of teachers, but never used her certificate, for she shortly got married and now (1914) she writes me, “My grand children often want me to tell them about when I was a little girl, tell them of the old log cabin, and how we used to play under the old chestnut tree, and gather chestnuts, and hazel nuts, and how we used to fish in the little runs and creeks; and how we used to wander over the woods, hills and meadows gathering wild flowers.”
One has to assume that Great-Grandfather Robert Earl Ley was among those kiddos begging grandma for a story of frontier times.
Shirk was still assembling his 1918 history of the descendants of Thomas J. and Henrietta Howells Powell (Hattie’s grandparents, mother and father to my fourth great-grandfather Henry Charles Powell) when he received word from Hattie’s niece, Harriet Loveless, of her death and burial. Shirk shares his affection and respect for his relative as he writes:
Harriet Ley was a woman of more than ordinary brightness and cheerfulness, and from the tone of her letters I can well say, Oh, how she loved her husband and children, and what an example of truly a christian life she set them.
After her husband’s death she wrote me: “The children wouldn’t listen to me staying alone,” so she sold out and moved to Canal Dover to be near them, and made her home with her daughter, Minnie, where she had every care a loving daughter could give.
That home, located at 1028 N. Walnut St. in Dover, was just a block away from the house where I grew up until age 12. It’s now for sale, and you can see some of the preserved interior in its listing at Zillow.com. But we have a more immediate connection to the last home of my third great-grandmother Ley in our own living room in the Chicago suburbs.
Turns out, the wonderful old sofa on which I spent many an afternoon slumbering as a boy and since my parents carted the piece to my Sandusky apartment at age 24, was bought at a 1980s auction at 1028 N. Walnut. Back then, it was a rich burgundy. After a subsequent refinishing, it is gray, and staging ground not only for my weekend afternoon naps but pillow fights and gymnastic romps of Hattie’s fourth great-grandsons, Jonah and Ben. (And probably cause for another refinishing.)
We can’t say for sure if the Weibles ever owned the piece. But a couch that has spanned seven generations? That’s quite the home furnishing feat.