Posts Tagged With: New Philadelphia

In Memoriam: Nellie Irene (Johnson) Fitzgerald


Johnson Leonard Virginia Nellie

A pic of the oldest Johnson kids — Leonard, Nellie and Virginia — about 1916.

 

Prayers and hugs for the family of Great Aunt Nellie (Johnson) Fitzgerald, who passed away on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015.

Her house was always a site for extended family gatherings, full of stories and hugs and ample quantities of comfort food. She was the last surviving sibling in a family that numbered ten: seven brothers, three sisters. They knew hard times, hopping from house to house in the interval between wars. They knew personal tragedy in the loss of wives, brothers, daughters. They served their country and communities. They knit tightly with family and helped each other through.

I know Nellie was particularly proud of making it to 99. I know we all wish she had made it a lot longer than that. And we’re proudest of knowing her.

Below is a slide show of collected images from a life well-lived. And a copy of her obituary. Rest in peace, Aunt Nellie.

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NELLIE IRENE FITZGERALD

Nellie Irene Fitzgerald, age 99, of Uhrichsville, O., passed away on Thursday, November 19, 2015, at Hennis Care Centre, following a lengthy illness.

Born September 4, 1916, at New Philadelphia, Nellie was the daughter of the late Charles and Viola (Palmer) Johnson.

Nellie was a homemaker and a member of the Uhrichsville First Presbyterian Church.  She was a 4-H advisor for 20 years, a Girl Scout Leader, volunteer at the Food Bank, Deacon of the First Presbyterian Church and a member of Homemaker of Union Township.

In addition to her parents, Nellie was preceded in death by her husband DeLoyce P. Fitzgerald, who passed away on June 28, 1985; a daughter Rosann Fitzgerald Kohler; two sisters and 7 brothers.

Nellie is survived by her son Jerry (Rose) Fitzgerald of Uhrichsville and daughter Sara Fitzgerald of Ocala, Florida; 4 grandchildren Pauline Kohler, Parrish (Sharon) Kohler, Katy Fitzgerald and Megan (Jason) McElory; 5 great grandchildren Amanda (Dustin) Martyn, Zachary Kohler, Josh Kohler, Emmitt McElory and Isaac McElroy; 2 great great grandchildren Harley Kohler and Bear Martyn.

Funeral services for Nellie will be held at 1 p.m., on Monday, November 23, 2015 at Uhrich-Hostettler English Funeral Home, Inc. in Uhrichsville with the Rev. Mark Unrue officiating. Burial will follow at Evergreen Burial Park in New Philadelphia.

Calling hours will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., (two hours prior to services) on Monday, November 23, 2015 at the funeral home.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Uhrichsville First Presbyterian Church, 633 N. Main St., Uhrichsville, O., 44683.

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Categories: Foutz, Johnson, Milestones | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Visit with Great Aunt Nellie | Repost


Colt Foutz Nellie Johnson Fitzgerald

Colt and his great aunt Nellie (Johnson) Fitzgerald at her home in March 2011.

Hugs & Hospitality in the Home of Nellie (Johnson) Fitzgerald

Great Aunt Nellie (Johnson) Fitzgerald passed away Nov. 19 at age 99. This post, from March 2011, recounts a visit.

I was once a quite enterprising reporter, so I should have known better.

Presented with the chance to spend an afternoon chatting with my Great Aunt Nellie, 94 years young as of last September, I fumbled around with my laptop, spent a good half hour busying my hands consuming trail bologna and deviled eggs and macaroni salad and the like, and utterly failed to pop open a notebook and record our winding conversation with anything more reliable than my own noggin.

Which will have to suffice.

We spent the day chatting in her home, site in the summertime of many a family gathering, afternoons filled with sunshine and pickup softball games and plenty of food and lemonade. There was snow on the ground this time, and a chill in the air. But the atmosphere inside was cozy.

Nellie still lives at home, with some assistance throughout the day, and frequent visits from her son, who lives just up the road a piece. She was also kept company, during our visit, by a former daughter-in-law (I think?) and a great-grandson. So the house was filled with conversation, and I found Nellie to be as delightfully frank, and sweet, and feisty, and fun as I remembered.

Johnson Leona Miller

My great-grandfather Charles Johnson’s first wife, Leona Miller, died shortly after they were married.

The Tragic Tale of Leona Miller Johnson

Nellie has some trouble getting around these days. She greeted us from her easy chair, and moved about the house with the aid of her “horse” — her walker.

We began our visit by flipping through old photos — everything I had stored up in my Family History Master folder on my computer. She confirmed some of the old relatives I was wondering about, including some beauties of my grandma Erma (Johnson) Foutz as a young teenager (see below), and chuckled at ones of herself shortly after her wedding to DeLoyce Fitzgerald and especially at one of her as a baby, posed with older sibs Leonard and Virginia.

“Oh,” she said (of the photo at the bottom of this post), “I forgot to wear my socks that day!”

Nellie’s house is decorated with scores of old photos and mementos. She was kind enough to have copies made for me of a portrait of my grandmother as a baby, and of my great-great grandparents Palmer (which I featured in yesterday’s post).

In her current bedroom hangs a very unique portrait — that of my great-grandfather (her father) Charles Johnson’s first wife.

Leona Miller and Charles married shortly after Valentine’s Day, 1907. She was 23; he was 20.

According to family lore, and retold by Nellie during our visit, Charles, a coal miner, came home one day, perhaps as early as the week they were married, and found Leona on her hands and knees, scarlet-faced, scrubbing the floor.

As he knelt down to tend to her, Leona collapsed. She died shortly after.

Charles returned to the home of his parents (as noted in the 1910 census), and wouldn’t remarry until 1911, when he wed a girl from nearby Dennison, my great-grandmother, Viola Palmer.

“When you think about it,” I knelt down to murmur in Nellie ear, “it’s a sad story, but without Leona dying, none of us would be here.”

“Oh,” Nellie said, the whisper of a grin on her face, “I don’t know.”

There’s not a lot we know about Leona beyond her fate and the image preserved above. According to the New Philadelphia cemeteries department, she is buried in the same plot as my great-great grandparents Clement and Anna Johnson, but I found no marker to indicate such during my stop at East Avenue/Evergreen the next day.

Erma Johnson Foutz

This picture of my grandma as a very young teenager was taken in 1933, when she was not yet 13. Scribbled on the back: “Camp Birch Creek, F-60, Dillon, Montana. C. 15-1 C.R.R.,” which we’ve determined was a WPA-era camp at which her brother Joe was spending the summer. Joe’s name was also written on this picture.

A Big Sister’s Take on a Boy’s Grandma

The part of me that deeply misses my grandma Erma since she passed away in 2000, and yearns to be able to visit her again, really felt fulfilled by seeing Aunt Nellie again.

I remember the time I’d seen her before, after the funeral of my grandma’s second husband, Max, hugging Nellie felt a lot like hugging grandma. And yeah, I miss that.

This time around, I was full of questions. Things I wished I had asked Grandma, growing up. Or had paid more attention to her answers.

Nellie confirmed the many addresses in New Phila her family called home over a period of 25 years. These moves were logged in war records, censuses, and the certificates recording three of her brothers’ untimely deaths.

I also wanted to hear about how my grandmother and grandfather met, if she could fill me in. I’d read in the article detailing their marriage announcement that grandma was a secretary in the offices of the steel mill, where my great-grandfather Foutz and two of his sons worked from way back. But my grandpa only joined the mill later on, after he’d spent years as a sales agent for the local Ford dealership.

So, how, I wondered, did a girl from New Phila end up mixing with a boy from crosstown Dover, and one some seven years her senior at that?

“Oh, your grandma got around pretty good in those days,” Nellie quipped.

“Oh, your grandma was beautiful,” one of her visitors gushed. “And a very nice lady.”

How can an enterprising reporter hold up, in the face of comments both sly and complimentary?

Palmer homestead Scio Ohio

Another view of the old Palmer homestead in Scio, Ohio as it appeared in March 2011.

Tracing the Tree Back — Johnson & Palmer Roots

Nellie was keenly interested in some of the stops on my genealogy tour, asking about the state of the Palmer homestead, where her mother grew up and generations of the family farmed before that.

She was more interested, though, in how my parents were doing, and my wife and kids. “They should come and see me,” she said. And who could argue?

The visit ended much too soon. And I felt, not for the first time, that I’d already crammed way too much into three short days. And felt the weight, in leaving, of not knowing how soon my path would wind back her way again.

But in the work of honoring our ancestors, there are still volumes rich with information to mine.

Nellie had shared with her daughter, Sara (who in turn helps spread the word and get the family tree in order on Geni.com and Ancestry.com), the tale of her grandfather, Thomas Johnson, a Civil War mule skinner who died on a march through Mississippi in 1864. And there is limited info to go on past that, but a definite location to dig into — Guernsey County, where the Johnsons seemed to have first set up shop in Ohio.

Other connections of the family to the great conflict between the states include that of Anna (Burkey) Johnson’s father, Joseph Burkey, a soldier in Company B of the 126th regiment of the Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Military records indicate he served from May 1864 through June 1865. I’ve visited his grave and snapped a picture there, but I’d love to hunt down a photo, and more info on his time in the war.

Meanwhile, Sara has traced the Palmer connection back through Harrison County farmfields and beyond, to the Balmers of 16th century Germany. A good, yawning gap of time to gape at, and wonder at all the ancestors — and their stories — in between.

Erma Foutz Miller Nellie Johnson Fitzgerald

Colt’s Grandma Erma and her older sister Nellie at his high school graduation, in 1994.

Johnson Leonard Virginia Nellie

A pic of the oldest Johnson kids — Leonard, Nellie and Virginia — about 1916.

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Vance Foutz – Drunken Car Crash


Vance Cleveland Foutz

Great-Grandfather Vance Cleveland Foutz, 1887-1968

Tusc Ave. Crash Lands Vance Foutz in Hot Water

It’s Memorial Day weekend, family and friendlies, occasion for cookouts and Indy 500 watching and — in Dover Foutz tradition, Indy 500 cookouts. As the commercials say: drink responsibly.

A maxim Great-Grandpa Vance Foutz might have followed a bit more closely on a late May weekend some 76 (!!!) years ago. The (typically traitorous) New Philadelphia Daily Times made Vance an unwitting subject of its front page that Saturday, May 19, 1939, chronicling his misadventures of the night before, as he piloted a car and two female occupants into a parked vehicle along Tuscarawas Avenue.

Complicating matters — a fire plug suffered in the collision, flooding the scene. Other damage? Blackened eyes, cut lips and a fine of $100 plus costs.

Read the full report — and stay out of the police log, kiddos.

 

 

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Birthday Soiree for 6-year-old Donn Foutz


Waddington Joy Foutz Don 1950

Joy Waddington and cousin Donn Foutz, about 1950.

Donn Foutz’s Sixth Gets Times Write-up

Yes, it was common for the local paper in 1950’s Ohio to lend precious ink to even the most everyday occurrences. Such as a six-year-old’s birthday party.

Albeit, this March 1950 shindig was for the illustrious Uncle Donn Foutz.

Hey, Happy 71st, Uncle Donn!

From the Tuesday, March 14 edition of the New Philadelphia Daily Times:

Six-year-old Donn Foutz was a happy boy Saturday when his mother, Mrs. Don Foutz, entertained at a birthday party at the Foutz home, 323 E. Front St., Dover.

Tom Schupbach, Donald Maughan, Jack Colley and Rolly Varner won prizes.

Others attending were: Bobby and Carl Foutz, Susan Hardesty, Carol and Jim Edwards, Katy Andreas, Dick Williams, Jim Lanzer and Matt Fisher.

 

Categories: Foutz, Milestones | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Charles Ley Appoints Election Foe


Charles Henry Ley

Great-great Grandfather Charles Henry Ley

 

Ley Allows Opponent to Keep County Post

“Sure, politics ain’t bean-bag. ‘Tis a man’s game, an’ women, childer, cripples an’ prohybitionists ‘d do well to keep out iv it.”

Finley Peter Dunne, newspaper columnist, in the guise of character Mr. Dooley, 1895

In this age of fierce partisan tussles in American politics, a 120-year-old saying probably rings truer than ever.

Well, save for the part about it being solely a man’s game.

Or, for that matter, the exclusive domain of any one party, from the highest to the most local of levels. (Though, for an entertaining account of the intrepid Mitt Romney’s marring of the phrase, check out this NY Mag recap.)

Still, in even the most rough-and-tumble professions resembling politics — football coaching, say; or the PTA — it’s not unheard of for the new regime to retain a bit of the old, particularly when the would-be incumbents boast experience or qualifications helpful to the new order.

I am sure the practice never has anything to do with needing a handy scapegoat, or a grunt to the dirty work.

Wink-wink.

No great stretch, then, to imagine this act of generosity — whether in earnest or calculation — predates “politics ain’t beanbag” by centuries, and likely millennia. I seem to recall a certain Brutus bringing a sharp object past the Roman Senate’s metal detectors and toga friskers, and Mark Antony having a few words to say about that.

So today’s post transports us a mere 104 years, or 26 four-year political cycles, back to Tuscarawas County, Ohio. Great-great Grandfather Charles Henry Ley has just won election as county treasurer, and instead of cleaning house, he opts to retain his opponent, the incumbent deputy treasurer John Lineberger. Ley had bested Lineberger in the primary election that spring.

No word on how much calculation or generosity was involved in the gesture. But I like to think the two got along as they saw to the county coffers. In 1915, when Charles Ley’s tenure ended, Lineberger would step in.

Here’s how the New Philadelphia, Ohio Daily Times wrote up the appointment, Jan. 30, 1911:

LINEBERGER TO RETAIN HIS OFFICE

Treasurer-elect C. Ley Re-appoints Him

MANY AFTER JOB

Deputyship, however, to be retained by present incumbent.

Deputy County Treasurer John A. Linbeberger, of Dennison, has been reappointed to that office by Country Treasurer-elect Charles Ley of Port Washington, who defeated Mr. Lineberger for the nomination at the primary election last spring. The appointment was officially announced Monday morning by Mr. Ley, and is being received with favor on all sides.

Mr. Lineberger has been deputy county treasurer under W.A. Wagner for five years. He is a courteous official and during his term of office has made many friends, who will be glad to hear of his re-appointment.

There were nearly twenty applicants for the position, it is understood, notwithstanding this Mr. Ley made an almost unprecedented move by appointing  a man, was was not an applicant for the position and who was also his opponent for the nomination. This is said to be without parallel in Tuscarawas County.

Treasurer-elect Ley will take office the first Monday in September, when the present incumbent, W.A. Wagner will step out after five years of most efficient service. Mr. Ley’s term of office, under the present law, is two years.

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