FOUR: there's lots of good smiths in the sea
"SFA" stands for the Smith Family Archives, assembled and transcribed over many years by Leanna Lois Claudia Smith, daughter of Alonzo; her great-nieces Mellie Morris Smith (daughter of Herbert Gustavus) and Gertrude Fairchild Smith (daughter of Maurice Leigh); and great-great-niece Mildred Aileen Nash (neé Mellie Agnes Smith: daughter of Francis See).
"ALLS" stands for Ada Louise Ludeke Smith: Ada Ick in childhood, Ick at college, Icky to her husband, Mom to her daughters, Louise to her in-laws, Momine or Grandma or Goppy to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and Smitty as a senior citizen. Her informal memoirs were written 1983-96.
"DCB" stands for correspondence with David Coulon Burns, webmaster of the RootsWeb megasite ~burns/dcb.
Internet sources are indicated by tildes (e.g. ~internet). A complete list can be found on the Sources page. Due to the transient nature of Internet entries, only a few hyperlinks will be provided to outside webpages; such as ~a (www.ancestry.com), ~f (www.familysearch.org), ~g (www.findagrave.com), and ~w (www.worldvitalrecords.com). The United States Federal Census records for 1850 through 1940 cited below are available at ~a (except for 1890's, which was badly damaged in a 1921 fire and later quietly destroyed).
S-4 Herbert Gustavus and His Wives
● Gus and Debbie
Herbert Gustavus "Gus" Smith was born Apr. 22, 1860 in Paintersville, Ohio, the eldest child of Alonzo C. Smith and Ellen Margaret Wikel. In 1878 Gus accompanied his family north from Caesar's Creek Township in Greene County to Salem Township in Champaign County. His occupation in the 1880 census, like that of his next three brothers, was "works on farm"; but Gus had taught school in Paintersville and would do so again in Urbana, the seat of Champaign County. One of Gus's students there would be his little sister Leanna, sixteen years his junior.
On June 12, 1884 Gus and Deborah Ellen Hedges were married by Rev. Thomas H. Pearne at the bride's home in Urbana OH. She was the seventh child and fourth daughter of Alexander Robinson Hedges and Ellen Morris (of whom see more in Chapter B-5).
For decades Deborah's birthdate was uncertain, even to the year. Not included in the June 1860 census, she is listed as nine years old in 1870's and nineteen in 1880's—where she appears as "Debbie" in a Hedges household headed by "Lizzie" (her eldest sister, Elizabeth Ann). ~hedges/aqwg11 deduced she was born in 1861; ~champaign/d0033 opted for 1860; the SFA stated she was "aged 27 years and 11 months" in September 1887, while at the same time the DAR Library called her 26. The exact birthdate was finally confirmed in 2009 (thanks to ~g contributor Candy) as Oct. 27, 1860. On her marriage certificate, her name is entered three times as "Debbie E." and only once as "Deborah Ellen."
Soon after Gus married Debbie, they moved west to Kansas; and the state census taken in Mar. 1885 found them in Shawnee County's Monmouth Township, just southeast of Topeka. Two families shared one "dwelling house": one was H. G. Smith aged 25, Deborah Smith aged 24, and "Baby Smith" (of whom more shortly) aged 1 month. The other family, all Ohio-born, was D. M. Evans aged 36, Callie Evans aged 32, and Emma Evans aged 3. D.M. and H.G. were both listed as farmers. Callie Evans was in fact Debbie's older sister Rebecca Caroline Hedges (1853-1927) who married Daniel Mordecai Evans (1849-1920); Emma Alice Evans was the only one of their first four children to survive infancy.
Gus and Debbie's child Mellie Morris Smith was born in Topeka on Mar. 6, 1885—an event announced two days later to the Smiths back home, who responded via Gus's brother Maurice (M.L.) Smith on Mar. 17th:
Father brought out your letter of the 8th last night. Mother & Leanna have been at Grandpa [Samuel Wikel]'s since last Sunday & I don't know what pretty names the[y] have selected for your little girl. Father said he felt several years older & we boys all felt an inch or two taller. Father can't think of any name he says. I suppose he meant he could not think of any good enough. Sam think[s] you should name the baby after him. Clarence thinks it should have been a boy & George Washington Bonaparte or something like that would then do. He is now hunting a spelling book to find a name. I think the name you suggested [Mellie Morris] would do since it brings me in... Clarence has looked through the dictionary & thinks Laura is the best. Sam says Mary Ellen would take in three or four of each family...
We received your letter on the "Advantages & Disadvantages" of Kansas. We also sent for & rec'd a circular from that place. Our great objection is the want of timber. I would like to know when I said anything against Kansas girls. Don't you remember how I used to brag of the Lynn Creek girls & that Ed & I fell in love with Miss H. of your church?...
This would seem to indicate that the entire Smith family contemplated relocating to the Sunflower State; and indeed M.L. spent the 1885-86 school year teaching in Shawnee County. In his letters it’s hinted that M.L. first visited the Smiths there before Feb. 1885; Lynn Creek (of the bragworthy girls) was in Gus and Debbie’s neighborhood. According to ~g, Lynn Creek Cemetery (founded in 1880) is all that remains today; but close by was a Lynn Creek Methodist Episcopal Church, to which the Smiths would certainly have gravitated.
In May 1886 M.L. wrote kid brother Clarence to "Tell Mother that the best way of being sure of a talk with me is to come out to Kansas this Summer and then she can talk with Gus, Deborah & Mellie also. She ought to come out and see her only grand-child anyhow... Kan[sas] will be very pleasant now until Fall. So come one, come all." Two weeks later M.L. wrote his mother suggesting that "Father can come to Topeka and look at Shawnee Co. and then I will go with him to Wilson [County] and look at that. Then he can have a pretty good idea of Kansas, of the rough part anyway. People say that this section of the state [i.e. Wilson County] is the roughest in Kansas."
Gus had received an offer to teach school in Fredonia, the seat of Wilson County in southeastern Kansas: about 90 miles east of Wichita, 110 or so north of Tulsa, and 120 south of Topeka. We might guess that with a baby daughter as well as a wife to support, Gus looked “afield” for a teaching position that could bring in more income than he was making near Topeka. Unfortunately, Fredonia did not pan out happily. It had been platted only a few years earlier, in 1868; not till 1888 would Fredonia High School graduate its first class (as per ~fredoniaks). One of its early claims to fame was that residents "caught a blue-black snake with yellow spots that measured 37 ft, 9 in" back in 1871. (Recalled as late as 2009 in Michael Newton's Hidden Animals: A Field Guide to Batsquatch, Chupacabra, and Other Elusive Creatures: previewable at Google Books.)
By July 4, 1886, Gus was still going through the motions of boosting Fredonia to the family back in Ohio, but sounded fed up with all the "roughness":
Dear Bro. [either Hal, Sam, or Clarence]:
This has been such a warm sultry day—in fact too warm for comfort... I would liked to have been in Urbana & seen the grand [Independence Day] parade, expect it was simply immense. Suppose everyone went. How are you getting along with your crops by this summer[?]... We need rain very badly just now... I have some pretty good sized watermelons but to-day I noticed some of the vines wilting for want of moisture. Out west of here 100 miles or so to the western part of the state it is just burning hot...
Fredonia has one railroad. Two more building though & three or four more talking of building, it has a population of about two thousand (2000) three hardware stores, seven groceries, six drug stores, two banks[,] about twelve lawyers, six or eight doctors, two 1st class hotels, the Gold Dust & Commercial, three newspapers, a fine court-house being built & blacksmith shops & wagon shops etc. Also five or six churches...
Debbie says she will not stay here under any considerations. She gets so homesick sometimes she does not know what to do with herself. Sunday instead of being the shortest day as it used to seem at Urbana is the longest here. It seems impossible to go to church, it is so far so hot & dusty in the summertime & so cold & windy in the winter. We are glad when Monday comes so we can work & stir around. I do not believe you would like it out here & especially in such a neighborhood as we live in. After enjoying all the advantages you do it seems to me at your age you would not be satisfied in a new country. Of course you might like it. Do well & get into a better neighborhood than this one. Berry Creek is far superior in fact as good as you would wish to find anyplace. Don't [illegible] this to [illegible] because it would all come back to Kansas & do not believe one can appreciate the advantages Champaign Co. afford & especially Urbana in the way of church & school privileges mode & manner of living & other things... You ought to see what a thriftless, trifling, lazy set of boys [the] Laffertys are bringing up & also others in this neighborhood. They have no education, culture, [illegible] or anything else that a good parent should desire for in his children...
Debbie says Mellie looks like Leanna, calls her "Aunt Leanna" all the time...
A search of Kansas and federal censuses for 1875-80 turns up a Lafferty household in Wilson County's Fall River Township, headed by farmer William Lafferty (born c.1840 in Louisiana to Mississippian parents); he and wife Nancy (born c.1844-45 in Indiana to Kentuckian parents) had a daughter Rachael (born c.1870) and three sons, William (born c.1873), Isaac (born c.1874-75) and Joseph (born c.1879). The boys may have been pupils in Gus's classroom; and though no connection can be made between them and Gus's grandmother's clan in Chapter S-1, Gus might have felt there was one and the Kansans were disgracing the family name. Even forty years later (as recalled by his granddaughter) the memory of "those Laffertys" made Gus shake his head with distaste.
After July 1886 we find no more mention of the Smiths relocating to Kansas. Young Clarence Smith died less than two months later; and the following year tragedy struck Fredonia.
In her photograph above, the lovely young Mrs. Smith looks like a decorous Deborah—hair severely parted, collar strictly pinned—yet marriage and motherhood didn't prevent her from more Debbieish activities, such as tree-climbing. With lethal consequences: "Debbie had fallen from a tree and injured a leg that never healed properly," said ALLS; "later diagnosed as serious (another mystery unsolved in our records: cancer of bone—tubercular condition or what??)" She was brought back to Urbana and died there on Sep. 22, 1887, a month before her 27th birthday. ~g cites the Sep. 23, 1887 Urbana Daily Citizen: "Mrs. Deborah E. Smith died at the home of her sisters, Misses Hedges, on S. Main St. Thursday of consumption. She was 26 years of age." Her funeral was held at "the Misses Hedges' house" where her wedding had taken place only three years earlier, and Deborah was buried in Oak Dale Cemetery.
The bereaved Gus and his baby daughter stayed on with the Hedgeses. Mellie would be raised by her Aunts Mamie and Alice; Gus remained a widower for the next six years. When he did remarry, it was to one of Debbie's friends—and distant cousins.
● Mila Kathryn (Not "Hilda Maria")
According to ~a, 26 females named "Mila" were living in Ohio in June 1860. They ranged from Mila T. Griswold (aged 61) of Worthington in Franklin County, to two-month-old Mila Wiles of Stover Town in Muskingum County. Almost one-third of these Milas were born after 1855.
Nowadays the name tends to have Slavic origins: interpreted as "dear one," pronounced Mee-la rather than My-la, sometimes used as a diminutive of L(y)udmila. But Ohio in 1860 had not yet experienced vast immigration from eastern Europe, and the families of the 26 Milas all have English, Scottish, Irish, or Germanic surnames. So where did their first name come from? Possibly it was derived from Emily or Amelia—or simply as a feminine form of Milo, the Latinzation of Miles. (388 males named Milo were counted in Ohio's 1860 census.)
Excluded from the 26 Milas was the third daughter of Jacob G. Burns and Margaret J. Dixon (of whom see more in Chapter B-6). She was born May 21, 1859 near Medway in Bethel Township, Clark County OH, and is consistently recorded by the SFA as Mila Kathryn Burns. Medway's 1860 census shows her as "Maria [age] 1 [sex] F" in a clear unambiguous entry. By 1870 she has become "Hilda [age] 11 [sex] F [race] W [occupation] Attends School." (The initial H might be debatable, given its curlicued inscription, but the d can't be argued away.) Not till 1880 do we arrive at "Mila [race] W [sex] F [age] 21 [occupation] Keeping House." And Mila she would appear thereafter. (See below for an 1877 appearance.)
Several webgens persist in calling her "Hilda Maria ('Mila') Burns," as though Mila were a nickname. But how seriously should we take these census entries, given that her mother appears as "Margrett" in 1870 and sister Clara abruptly becomes "Catharine" in 1880? Not to mention other censuses where we find "Ellen" spelled with one L and "Alice" with two, or Gus Smith's father represented as "Alonza" and his Wikel grandmother transformed from Leah to "Lidia"? Then as now, bureaucratic muddle can wreak havoc with the simplest entries, and census takers may have botched Mila's first name twice in a row.
Could Jacob and Margaret have named their third daughter Maria—or Hilda—or Maria Hilda, or Hilda Maria—and called her "Mila"? Could she have chosen to call herself "Mila," as her eldest granddaughter would one day switch from "Mellie Agnes" to "Mildred Aileen"? Other than the two census entries above, all other evidence indicates that Mila Kathryn was her name from christening onward; and that "Hilda Maria ('Mila')" is an incorrect derivation from the two censuses. The quickest way to NOT find an answer is by contacting the Clark County OH Probate Court, which immediately returned the present author's search-fee check with a letter saying, "We have made a thorough search of our records and do not find the records that you requested." Reasonable enough regarding Mila's birth, since county records are only indexed back to 1867; but what of Mila's 1870s marriage and the birth of her first son?
● The Gilded Age
~burns/dcb states that "Hilda Maria 'Mila' Burns" married David Franklin Callison in Clark County OH on Aug. 30, 1877—and that their son Earl Elliott Callison was born in New Carlisle OH on Mar. 17, 1877. Which would have made him almost six months old when his parents got hitched: a situation not unheard-of today, but decidedly unspoken-of at the time. Yet are either of these dates accurate?
DCB took the wedding date from ~clarkmarriages/9, the ninth volume of Clark County's Marriage Records, which covers May 21, 1875 to Nov. 9, 1878. There the Aug. 30, 1877 marriage of "Callisson [sic], David F." and "Burns, Mila K." is recorded on page 376—which definitely seems to fix the event in 1877, since 1876's weddings conclude on page 280. However, ~markfreeman (a Callison genealogy site) says the marriage did take place in 1876; and so do ~shumate/david and ~clarkchampaign. None of these sites, though, include a month or day.
In 2011 the original Clark County OH marriage certificate was found at ~f. This document—on which the groom's name appears twice as "David F. Collisson," once as "David S. Collisson," and once as "David F. Collinson"—nails down Aug. 30, 1877 as the wedding date. It also required the following marginal addendum: "I hereby consent to the marriage of David S. Collisson (my son) with Mila K. Burns." (The addendum's scrawled signature might be "Mr. [or Mrs.] Callison"; likewise, the groom's middle initial might be a G. instead of an S., but in no way resembles an F.) David needed parental consent because he, like Mila, was aged only 18; and while brides could marry freely at that age, grooms were expected to be at least 21. On David's section of the marriage certificate, the preprinted "twenty-one" is scored through and "eighteen" written above it.
What about Earl's birth? With no info coming from the Clark County Probate
Court, we turn to the SFA and Internet and find:
* the Smith Family Archives has only "1877" (no month or day)
* ~champaign/d0058 and /d0075 concur with ~burns/dcb on Mar. 17, 1877; as does Earl's 1901 marriage certificate (of which more below)
* Earl's obituary in the Springfield (OH) Daily News (~clarkobit/earl) reports he was 72 years old when he died on Nov. 11, 1949
* yet ~shumate/earl lists his birth as Mar. 17, 1878; and Earl's own cemetery marker (as per ~lawrenceville) displays "1878-1950"
* ~champaign/d0025 uses the Mar. 17, 1877 birth and Nov. 11, 1949 death dates, but mentions Earl's "1878-1950" gravemarker
* the June 1880 census reports "Collisson, Earl" is aged 2 (so born in 1878); ~markfreeman/census says Earl's age here is "3," but the original record clearly shows "2"
* Earl's birthdate is "Mar. 1878" in the 1900 census; similarly, he's recorded as being 32 in 1910
* whereas his age in the 1920 census is 41 (so born in 1879?) but in 1930 becomes 52 (so back to 1878); in 1940 it was 62
* finally, on Earl's draft registration cards in 1917 and 1942, "March 17, 1878" is entered (typed out explicitly on the 1942 card)
We must jump ahead to shed further light on this discreet "gilding" of ages and dates (with posthumous apologies to all the participants). Earl got married on Oct. 24, 1901 to a lady five or six years his senior. On their original marriage certificate (also found at ~f) the groom's birthdate is entered as "the 17th day of March 1877"—with the final digit heavily overwritten. The bride's birthdate is given as "the 27th day of November 1873"—though we have evidence (presented below) that it was actually 1872 if not 1871. Did Earl alter his birthyear to reduce their age difference?
Reason to believe so is provided by the aforementioned 1942 draft registration card, intended for "men born on or after April 28, 1877 and on or before February 16, 1897." This was the so-called "Old Man's Draft" registration of men between the ages of 42 and 64—and if Earl had been born on Mar. 17, 1877, he would not have needed to register.
Thus we may conclude that Earl was in fact born on Mar. 17, 1878: six and a half months after his parents's wedding. We are left to wonder whether Jacob Burns attended the ceremony with Mila on one arm and a shotgun over the other. Certainly it would account for the bride and groom marrying so young, and the resulting wedlock's lasting only a few years before separation and/or divorce. Possibly also for the Burnses and Callisons moving to Dayton by 1880—perhaps to escape unkind "talk" back in Medway?
● D. F. Callison: Travelling Agent
can we say about Earl's father? ~markfreeman
tells us David Franklin Callison was born Dec. 10, 1858 in Pike Township,
Clark County OH. He was the son of:
* Robert Callison (born Dec. 21, 1823 in Pike Township, son of Arthur Callison [1793-1855] and Mary Margaret Leffel [1801-1849]; died Feb. 13, 1909 in Clark Couny OH)
* Alice Gore North (born Apr. 17, 1825 in Maryland, daughter of Michael North and Mary Tracy; married Robert on Nov. 7, 1850; died Sep. 17, 1901 in Pike Township)
Minibiographies of Earl's father and grandfather are included in a 1908 profile of Earl himself, on pp. 693-94 of William M. Rockel's 20th Century History of Springfield and Clark County (Chicago: Biographical Publishing), viewable at ~earl/1908. This profile is firmly committed to the David-and-Mila-were-married-in-1876, Earl-was-born-in-1878 timeline, and makes no mention of Mila's being another man's wife when she died in 1907:
Robert Callison, who now lives retired at the home of his grandson [Earl Elliott Callison], owns a farm of thirty acres in Pike Township, in which he has spent the greater part of his life, following farming. He was born December 21, 1823, in Pike Township, Clark county, Ohio, a son of Arthur Callison, a native of Virginia, who came to Ohio at a very early day and settled in the woods in Pike Township, where he died, aged sixty years. Robert Callison married Alice G. North, who died November 7 [sic], 1901, aged seventy-six years, and to them were born five children two of whom died infants. Those reared were as follows: William A., David F., and Verlem O.; David F. being the only survivor. He was born on his father's farm in Pike Township, December 10, 1858, and remained at home until the age of twenty-one, when he went to Columbus and engaged in the sewing machine business, and later moved to Philadelphia, where he continued in the same line, thence to New York City for a time, and at present is engaged in the real estate business at Brooklyn, New York. David Callison was married in 1876 [sic] to Mila Burns, who was born at Medway, Clark County, Ohio and died May, 1907 aged forty-seven years. She was a daughter of Jacob Burns, who was one of the early settlers of that locality. Two children were born to David and Mila Callison: Earl E. and Ora C., the latter of whom is a resident of Dayton, Ohio where she [sic] is assistant cashier in the Pan Handle Freight Office...
A whitebearded photo of Robert Callison can be viewed at ~robertcallison.
Alice Callison's other two sons were:
* William Arthur Callison: born Sep. 1856 in Clark County OH; on July 30, 1878 married Sarah Ellen "Ella" Wallace (Aug. 25, 1855—July 4, 1935); had eight children±; died May 2, 1903 in North Hampton, Clark County OH
* Verlem O. Callison aka Verlin Callison: born c.1863 in Ohio; married Carrie B. Flook [1862-1912] in 1882 and had a daughter Lola Callison (born 1883); died before 1900
The federal census taken June 9, 1880 finds the following household in Dayton at 125 McDonough St.:
Collisson [sic], David (age 21) occupation travelling agt.
Mila (age 21) occupation keeping house
Earl (age 2)
Witchgar, Stellia [sic] (age 69) occupation keeping house
John (age 24) house painter
Collisson [sic], William (age 26) occupation w[orks in?] rake factory
Ella (age 25) occupation keeping house
Grace (age 5 months)
("Stellia" was Rosalia/Rosalie Witchgar aka Witchger, widow of Raymond Witchgar/Witchger. Besides son John, she may also have been the mother of Augustus W. Witchgar/Witchger, who was a "dealer in moist goods" at a saloon called The Corner. In 1889 he purchased a "high Victorian Italianate brick residence" at 135 Jackson St. in what is now Dayton's Oregon Historic District. After Augustus's death, "the house became the parsonage of the Raper Methodist Church"—as per ~dayton/oregon.)
While the 1880 census called David Callison was a "travelling agt.," the 1880 Proudfoot and Urquhart's Directory of Dayton and Montgomery County (available at ~a) lists "Collison, David F." [sic] as a machine hand. Of the two, the census was more likely correct, since David never again appeared in a Dayton directory. His wife Mila, however, remained in town for the next fourteen years.
"Does anyone have any idea if David Franklin Callison and Mila Burns got a divorce[?]" asks ~clarkchampaign. "They were married in 1876 Clark Co. but by the 1890 city directory [it] looks like she was in Dayton and he was in Columbus... [Then] in 1900, one of David's children was living with grandparents but David, Mila and the other child, Ora, have not been found." Actually Mila was in Dayton all along; and by using city directories we can trace her whereabouts year by year. In 1881 she "res Robert P. Mercer's"—i.e. living with her sister Laura, wife of teacher Robert Perry Mercer, on the "n[orth] s[ide of] 3rd b[etween] Findlay and Hartford." Then from 1882 through 1893, Mila was back with her parents (click here for a complete list of Burns address changes) as her name varied from Mila Callisson in 1881 to Mila K. Collison in 1884, '85, '88, and '89; Mrs. Mila K. Collison in 1882, '86, and '90; Miss Mila K. Collison in 1891; Mila K. Collisson in 1883; Mila K. Collins in 1892; and, rather starkly, Mila Collison laundress in 1887. Finally in 1893, the year before she remarried and left Dayton, she made two directory appearances: as "Calison Mila" on page 182, and as "Burns Mila K." on page 177.
Earl's circumspect biographical profile (continued below) says only that "his parents moved to Medway, where they remained several years, and then located at Dayton for a short time" before Earl went to live with his grandfather—no reason given as to why. Given that Earl's brother Ora was born Sep. 30, 1880, we might speculate how closely juxtaposed was that happy event with David Callison's departure.
The SFA refers to David as "Franklin Callison," briefly and one-sidedly. Earl's sister-in-law ALLS said: "[Franklin] was a shiftless type—liked the ladies—not kind to Mila (as was told to me)—don't know if she got rid of him by divorce or death." So things stood till the present author started Googling around, and David Franklin Callison's post-Mila life gradually came to light.
At the age of 21 (i.e. in 1880) he "went to Columbus and engaged in the sewing machine business." David doesn't actually turn up in a Columbus city directory till 1883; from that year through 1890 (except for 1888) we find "Callisson Frank," "Callison D F" or "Callison D Frank," boarding each time at a different address. He is listed variously as an agent, salesman, collector, or canvasser for the White or Household Sewing Machine Companies. After 1890, he doesn't debut in the Brooklyn directories till 1894-95 (as "Callison David F sup't 100 Jef Av"); but ~nykings says he was living on Brooklyn's Bridge Street by 1889. On June 21st of that year—according to both ~nykings and ~markfreeman—he married Sarah Jeanette aka Sara Jeannette Turguand (born 1861, previously married to a Mr. Thayer from Wisconsin). However, the 1900 census shows them as having been married "0" years:
Callison, David F. (age 42, born Dec. 1857 in Ohio) head-of-household; occupation "mgr suit dept"
Callison, Sarah J. (age 38, born July 1861 in New Jersey) wife; three children, one living
Thayer, Arthur (age 22, born Aug. 1877 in New York) stepson; occupation wholesale grocer
Brooklyn's 1905 census shows this household at 631 McDonough Street:
Callison, David F. (age 44) head-of-household; occupation "real estate"
Callison, Sarah J. (age 40) wife
Thayer, Charles A. (age 25) stepson; occupation "buyer (spices)"
David Franklin Callison died in Brooklyn on either Feb. 26, 1908 (as per ~champaign /d0033-f) or June 26, 1908 (as per ~markfreeman)—aged 49 either way. A heavily-mustachio'd photo of the Travelling Agent can be viewed at ~dfcallison.
● The Grass Widow and the Attorney at Law
The confirmation that Mila was a divorcée—or "grass widow," as they phrased it in the 19th Century—was a surprise to her granddaughters in Missouri. Their longstanding assumption had been that David predeceased Mila, since her obituary (given in full below) declared "Mr. Callison... dying several years ago."
Whether or not she wore "weeds," Mila could turn for help not only to her parents and siblings, but many other relatives in Dayton and Springfield. Also Urbana, home of Mila's beloved Aunt Frances (till her death in 1891) and Uncle Benjamin Dixon (younger brother of Mila's mother Margaret), plus their four children (of whom see more in Chapter B-6). The Dixon home in Urbana was at 422 South Main, a few doors up from the Hedgeses at number 436.
According to the SFA, Mila Burns had been friends with the late Debbie Hedges before the latter left for Kansas in 1884. (Perhaps Mila attended Debbie's wedding, with rueful reflections about her own marital status.) Their friendship may have begun in childhood: Urbana is only twenty miles or so from Medway, and it's reasonable to expect some visiting took place between the Burnses and Dixons. As a child Mila might have gravitated more toward the Hedges girls, who were closer to her age than her Dixon cousins. Then too Jacob Burns and the Hedges family both hailed from the Eastern Panhandle of [West] Virginia, and (given that region's consanguinary past) it's not unlikely the families acknowledged each other as possible kin—though probably not to the point of realizing they were related, through the Powelson sisters Rebecca and Agnes†.
Living with the Hedgeses in the early 1890s was their motherless niece Mellie and her father, Deborah's widower Gus. He had resumed teaching school in rural Champaign County, but he also "read law" in the office of Urbana lawyer Grant Frommer, and was eventually admitted to the bar. By 1907 his stationery would read "Herbert G. Smith, Attorney at Law: Southwest Angle Public Square, Urbana, Ohio." DCB found a 1907 newspaper advertisement for "H.G. Smith / Attorney and Notary Public / Office Southwest Angle Square / over Wagner's Grocery" (which must have been handy for midday snacks).
Mila and H.G.'s wedding may have been kept quiet so as to keep the bride's grass-widowhood hushed-up. For decades the SFA only knew it happened in or around 1894. Not till 2011 was the original marriage certificate found at ~f: verifying that Edmund Burdsall M.G. "solemnized the marriage of Mr. Herbert G. Smith and Miss Mila Burns Collison" [sic] in Montgomery County OH on Nov. 30, 1893.
The 1900 census claims "Herbert B." and Mila K. Smith had been married for four years, although they were living with a four-year old son (of whom more momentarily) at 215 West Market St., a few doors down from H.G.'s mother Ellen. In the 1904 Urbana directory, Herbert G. and Mila K. are at 207 W. Market; Herbert's office is at 23½ Monument Square, while brother Hal's is at 30½ and brother Maurice's at 31½. in 1906 the Smiths are listed twice: as "H.D." and Mila K. at 718 S. Main, and "Herbert G. (Mila K.) attorney and notary" at 728 S. Main. Either address would be three blocks south of the Hedgeses and Dixons.; both note a "new phone."
● A Record in Memoriam
On Apr. 17, 1896 a son was born to Herbert Gustavus Smith and Mila Kathryn Burns Callison: Francis See Smith. His first name was in memory of Mila's Aunt Frances Dixon; the middle name was taken from H.G.'s great-grandmother Mary See (of whom see more in Chapter S-1). F.S.'s father and sister always called him Francis, but to his mother he was "Taddy" and that remained his pet name to the end of his life. Whenever possible, though, F.S. would call himself "Frank." (His brother Ora Callison would respond: "You be Frank and I'll be Ernest.")
As quite a little boy F.S. needed a hernia operation, but Mila called it off just before the procedure began; she couldn't bear to let her Taddy undergo it. So Taddy lived with trusses for the next seventy years, finally having the surgery in early 1973. (And privately remarking that while his mother's early death had been tragic and grievous, if she'd lived he might have ended up a complete mollycoddle.)
Mila was ill for six months with valvular heart trouble before dying on May 6, 1907, just shy of her 48th birthday. Her undated (and slightly torn) obituary in the SFA reads:
[SOL]ACE FOLLOWS LONG SUFFERING — Death Hovering Over a Home Took the Mother — MRS. H.G. SMITH SUCCUMBED TO HEART TROUBLE AFTER A LONG AND BRAVE STRUGGLE WITH DISEASE — She Was a Valued Member of Grace M.E. Church. Her Bright, Willing Disposition Making Her Ever Helpful.
Mrs. Mila Smith, the beloved wife of Attorney Herbert G. Smith, passed away at the family home in South Main Street Monday morning a few moments before ten o'clock. Her death was not unexpected as she had been ill for the past six months and during that time she has [sic] hovered between life and eath [sic]. There were times when the last spark of life had seemed to have died but she would rally only to suffer a repeated attack. Her death was caused by angina pectoris.
Husband and Sons Survive. — Mrs. Smith was born near Medway on the 21st of May, 1859, and would have been 48 years of age had she lived until two weeks from Tuesday. She was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Burns, her mother surviving her. She was twice married, her first husband, Mr. Callison, dying several years ago [sic]. After her [second] marriage she came to this city and has [sic] since made Urbana her home. She is survived by her husband and three chil[dren... ...]Earl E. Callison of New Ca[rlisle... ...Fra]ncis Smith. Three brothers and three sisters also survive. They are E.S. Burns, of Cincinnati; William Burns of Fort Wayne, Ind.; Phineas Burns, of Chicago; and the Mesdames S.F. Hart, Perry Mercer and Frank Gustin, all of Dayton.
Methodist in Belief. — Mrs. Smith united with the Grace M.E. church upon her arrival here and continued active in the worship of her Maker and in His Service with that organization until poor health brought her days of activity to a close.
Services were held at 720 South Main, conducted by the Reverends C.M. Van Pelt and E.H. Cherington (father of Maynard Cherington, F.S.'s closest childhood friend). "A Record in Memoriam" was provided by Humphreys & Son, the Urbana funeral home; from it we learn that "Some Sweet Day" and "Nearer My God to Thee" were sung, and that Mila's pallbearers were her sons Earl and Ora, H.G.'s brothers Hal and M.L. Smith, and Mila's brothers-in-law Sam Hart and Frank Gustin. The funeral procession's "Order of Carriages" was as follows:
Carriage No. 1:
Herbert Gustavus and Francis See with Mila's
brother Phineas Burns and mother Margaret Burns
Carriage No. 2: H.G.'s daughter Mellie Smith; Earl Callison with wife Hettie; Ora Callison with wife Mame
Carriage No. 3: Mila's sister Clara with husband Sam Hart and their son Laurence; Mila's sister Lenna with husband Frank Gustin
Carriage No. 4: H.G.'s brother Hal Smith and sister Leanna Smith with their mother Ellen Smith; friend Hannah Dolson
Carriage No. 5: H.G.'s brother M.L. Smith with wife Carrie; friend Cora Kirchwehm and her father Julius F. Kirchwehm
Carriage No. 6: H.G.'s cousin Irene Yeazell; friends Mildred Penrod, Isabelle Penrod, and Minnie Graham
Carriage No. 7: Mila's cousins Florence and Elbert Burns (children of brother Elliott) and Robert and Maud Mercer (children of sister Laura)
Carriage No. 8: Orpha Hughes, "Mrs. Trout," and "Miss Houty"
The Dixon family was expected to be there too—cousins Flo and Nette in Carriage #6, and uncles Benjamin and James in Carriage #7—but all four were scored through in "A Record of Memoriam." (Another unexplained no-show was Mila's eldest brother, Willie Burns.)
Mila Burns Smith was buried in Urbana's Oak Dale Cemetery, twenty years after her friend Debbie Hedges Smith had been laid to rest there. Less than three months later, Herbert Gustavus had to pen a condolence note to Mila's brother-in-law Frank Gustin, whose father Philip O. Gustin died on July 21, 1907. DCB provided a copy of this note, written July 24th on H.G.'s "Attorney at Law" stationery:
Dear Brother: Your card received this date. I am very sorry I did not get the news earlier as I had intended coming down. You and yours including [Frank Gustin's] Mother and Mrs. Trisset have my deepest sympathy in your sad bereavement. Francis came home Sunday from Earl's. Remember me to all. Sincerely yours, Herbert G. Smith
● Earl and Hettie
EARL ELLIOTT CALLISON, a general merchant in the village of Northampton, who owns a farm of forty acres in Pike Township, and also rents a tract of 112 acres, was born March 17, 1878, at New Carlisle, Clark County, Ohio and is a son of David F. and Mila (Burns) Callison and a grandson of Robert Callison... Earl Elliott Callison was an infant when his parents moved to Medway, where they remained several years, and then located at Dayton for a short time. Earl E. then came to Pike Township and made his home with his grandfather, spending most of his boyhood days on the farm. His educational training was received in the common schools of Columbus, Ohio and Philadelphia. In 1894 he entered a dry goods store at Brooklyn, New York, where he continued for three years, and then returned to the farm, where he remained until September, 1907, when he purchased the A.W. Ryman general store at Northampton. Mr. Callison carries a complete line of dry goods, notions, hardware and groceries and conducts his business enterprises along modern lines. On October 24, 1901, Mr. Callison was united in Marriage with Hetty B. Stephenson, a daughter of H.G. and Anna E. (Dillahunt) Stephenson, and to them have been born two children; Robert and Harold. In politics, Mr. Callison is a Republican, and his fraternal connection is with the Knights of Pythias, the Junior order of American Mechanics.
This aforementioned 1908 profile of Earl Elliott Callison appears on pp. 693-94 of Rockel's 20th Century History of Springfield and Clark County (viewable at ~earl/1908). The mention of Columbus, Philadelphia and Brooklyn suggests that Earl rejoined his father David during the 1880s and '90s. (According to the 1940 census, Earl left school after fifth grade: so c.1889.)
The 1900 census locates Earl back in Pike Township, Clark County OH with his grandparents Robert and "Allis G." Callison, plus cousin Jesse B. Callison. At this time Earl worked as a farmer or "dairyman," as his wedding record called him. On Oct. 24, 1901 he married Hettie Bell Stephenson, daughter of Harvey Gillet Stephenson (1848-1919) and Anna Elizabeth "Annie" Dillahunt (1850-1927) of Rural Route No. 2 in Clark County. The ceremony was performed by J.L. Dalby MG.
Hettie's birthdate is another unfixed point:
* ~champaign/d0058 says Nov. 13, 1871
* as does Hettie's death certificate (according to ~f's database of Ohio Deaths: original image unavailable)
* but Hettie's marriage certificate (as noted above) says Nov. 27, 1873
* her grave marker (as per ~lawrenceville) shows a birth year of 1872
* the June 1880 census says Hettie (transcribed as "Hattie") B. Stephenson is aged 7—implying an 1872 birthyear
* the 1900 census says "Nov. 1872," and 1910's shows an age of 37
* ~hansen/callison agrees with "Nov. 1872"
* ~cochran (a Dillahunt genealogy site) says Nov. 13, 1872—but then dives overboard by listing the same birthday for Earl
Whatever her age might have been, a fine Gibson Girlish photo of Hettie can be viewed at ~hettieprofile. She and Earl had seven children, all in Clark County OH:
Robert Stephenson Callison Sr.: born Dec. 10, 1902; married
first Laura Catherine "Katie" Shobe
aka Laura Katherine Shoub (died Mar. 30, 1930), then
Hazel L. Ross; had one child by each wife; worked as a toolmaker and
stationary engineer in Springfield OH; died there Feb. 9, 1987 and was buried in Southlawn Cemetery, Coshocton OH
* Harvey Wayne Callison: born May 29, 1904; died June 7, 1904
* Harold Franklin Callison: born Oct. 7, 1905; c.1922 married Frances R. Cartee (Jul. 15, 1905—Nov. 1, 1973) and had one child; worked as a commercial traveler for a cigar company in 1930; died Feb. 5/9, 1970 in Springfield OH
* Beulah Elizabeth Callison: born Jan. 23, 1909 in North Hampton OH; was living with brother Robert in 1930; in 1933 married Marion Erwin Coy (Nov. 8, 1907—Oct. 15, 1992) and had two children; member of the United Church of Christ and the North Hampton Lioness club; died in Springfield on Dec. 11, 2000 and was buried in Lawrenceville Cemetery; several photos can be viewed at ~beulahcallison
* Fred Burns Callison: born Aug. 6, 1912 in North Hampton OH; married first Mildred McCullough and had one child, then married Mary Evelyn Circle (Dec. 10, 1920—Oct. 13, 1995) in 1972; worked as a shipping clerk for a tobacco wholesaler in 1930, then as an inspector for the city of Springfield and "self-employed as an excavator"; member of the Lawrenceville Church of God and the St. Andrews Masonic Lodge; died Apr. 18, 1993 in Springfield and was buried in Ferncliff Cemetery
* Walter Earl Callison: born Oct. 20, 1916 in Springfield; married Dorothy Lucille Hinkle (June 5, 1919—Feb. 21, 2002); died in Springfield on Mar. 19, 2003 and was buried beside his wife in New Carlisle Cemetery (D-063-1 and D-063-2, according to ~newcarlisle)
* [Infant] Callison: stillborn Jan. 6, 1919; buried in Donnelsville Cemetery
The 1910 census lists Earl as a "retail merchant, general store" in Pike Township; the 1920 census calls him a "commercial traveler, confectionery," living in Springfield Township. The SFA said he was the "grocery business—owning stores in small towns near Dayton," and his niece Mellie Smith Nash described Earl as:
A wonderfully warm, extroverted man. Had many personal tragedies in his life—but his kind and warm disposition never changed... [He] had black hair and eyes, was [a] tall man, and large but not fat. In my Springfield years [1926-30], he lived there also with his children. His wife Heddy [sic] died, leaving him with this brood. In time he remarried... but it was a miserable failure. About 1928 Herbert Gus had a stroke and was in the hospital for some time. I was sent to live with Earl and the kids (poor, dear man took me in and goodness knows how he could do it). It was a new experience for me living with a house full of rough and tumble boys—full of practical jokers. At first I had a difficult time adjusting, but with Beaulah's [sic] help (a real honey) and Uncle Earl's love, I made it, and in time came to love them all. Missed them when I finally went back to Grandma and Grandpa. At that time, Uncle Earl had a spot in the huge old world type building that was the city market. He must have had a small farm at the edge of Springfield (New Carlisle) for later he lived there and had a store in front. But the market was a wonderful place inside—full of all kinds of meat, cheese, baked goods, etc. And I always tried to make it up to his stand after school for a visit, a kiss and a handout of cheese or something good... In later years Earl married a third time to a very nice lady and the children loved her, and their home was a happy place to visit at New Carlisle.
Hettie Bell Stephenson Callison died Jan. 2, 1922, and her obituary appeared in the next day's Springfield Daily News (as per ~hettieobit):
Funeral services for Mrs. Earl Callison, 49, who died Monday at their home, 121 South Western Avenue, will be held at the residence Wednesday afternoon at 1:30 o'clock. Burial will be made in the Lawrenceville cemetery. Mrs. Callison was born in Clark County. She had lived in Springfield for a number of years. She was a member of the Grace Methodist Episcopal church. Five children are left. They are: Robert, Harold, Beulah, Fred and Walter, all of this city, and her husband, Earl Callison. Her mother, Mrs. Anna Stephenson of North Hampton and a sister, Miss Emma Stephenson, also of that place; besides a brother, J.A. Stephenson, also survive.
On June 18, 1924 Rev. C.D. Munsey of Springfield married Earl to the widow Elizabeth E. Ward: she was born Nov. 7, 1873 in Lafayette IN, the daughter of James H. Swanton and Mary Enfield. (On this marriage certificate, Earl's birthdate is unambiguously Mar. 17, 1878.) Elizabeth had been widowed as early as 1920, when she and son James D. Ward (born c.1915) were living with her parents in Springfield. According to ~earlsthirdmarriage, Elizabeth "had been working as a housekeeper for Earl and children after Hettie Bell's death in 1922. They divorced." Earl then married Hettie's first cousin Ada F. Reynolds: born Oct. 31 1881 in Clark County, the daughter of I. A. "Elbert" Cook (1847-1882) and Nancy Ann Stephenson (1855-1922), the younger sister of Hettie's father Harvey G. Stephenson. Ada had previously married Edgar Lamar Reynolds (1878-1920) and had two children, Elbert L. Reynolds (1910-1990) and Nancy J. Reynolds (born c.1918). In the 1930 census Earl was living in German Township and worked as a "salesman, fire extinguishers." Youngest son Walter lived with him and Ada, as did Elbert and Nancy Reynolds (listed as "lodgers," replacing the crossed-out "foster-son" and "foster-daughter"). In the 1940 census, 62-year-old Earl is shown as working a 70-hour workweek as "proprietor, own filling station"; he and 58-year-old Ada occupied an empty nest.
Earl Elliott Callison died of myocardial infarction on Nov. 11, 1949, aged 71, at his home in Lawrenceville OH. (His death certificate struck a final Gilded blow by giving 1877 as Earl's birthyear.) His Nov. 14th funeral was conducted by the Rev. H.P. Shoepfle, pastor of the Lawrenceville Reformed Church; and Earl was buried with Hettie in Lawrenceville Cemetery. An undated photo of Earl can be viewed at ~earlcallison.
● Ora and Mame
Earl's younger brother, the younger son of Mila Burns and David Franklin Callison, was Ora Colgan "Orrie" Callison. He too has a roving birthdate: the SFA lists it as 1880 (no month or day) while ~burns/dcb displays Sep. 30, 1879 (taken from Ora's marriage license)—even though Ora is missing from the "Collisson" household in the June 1880 census. In the 1900 census he's a 19-year-old office clerk, born Sep. 1880; and a definitive-looking "Sep. 30, 1880" appears on his 1917 draft registration card. But just as Earl (evidently) adjusted his birthyear to minimize the age difference between himself and Hattie, Ora might have tacked a year onto his own age to be closer to his slightly older bride.
Other speculations: can we presume that baby Ora stayed with Mila after David left Dayton and Earl went to be raised by his Callison grandparents? Did Ora accompany Mila and Herbert Gustavus to Urbana in 1894? Or did he remain with his Burns grandparents in Dayton?—which is where we find him in 1897, his first appearance in a Dayton city directory: "Callison Orie C. machine hand," living at 24 S. Van Lear—which was Jacob and Margaret's address from 1896 till Jacob died two years later.
The 1898 and '99 directories show Ora at 512 W. Albany, becoming a freight clerk for the "P.,C.,C.,&St.L." (Pittsburgh Cincinnati Chicago & St. Louis Railway, aka "the Pan Handle Route"). In the 1900 census Ora boarded with Harriet F. Harbine at 35 Linden Ave; his directory address was 60 S. Huffman Ave, where he remained for the next five years.
On Aug. 8, 1905, Methodist minister S.M. Carry married Ora to the splendidly named Mary Belle Bloodgood. Usually called Mame, she was born Sep. 9, 1878 in Springboro, Warren County OH: daughter of Frank L. Bloodgood (Mar. 5, 1856—Nov. 22, 1942) and Clara Ella Barnes (Aug. 5, 1858—Jul. 20, 1936). When Mame was born, her father was a farm laborer in Warren County's Clear Creek Township; but by 1900 Frank Bloodgood had become a lawyer and "Mamie" (age 21) worked as a stenographer, which is listed as her occupation in Dayton city directories from 1897 through 1901.
The 1905 directory finds Ora at 220 W. Lexington Ave; by 1907 he and Mame moved to "flat 7 sec 6th and Brown", and in 1908 to "Covington Pike n of Corp Line." The 1910 census lists the "Cullisons"—Ora C. (age 29) and Mary A. [sic] (age 31)—living on the Dayton-Covington Pike toll road. Ora is a "cashier, freight office," matching the reference in Earl's 1908 biography to his being "assistant cashier in the Pan Handle Freight Office." The directories for 1912 through 1917 call Ora the Pan Handle's "chief clerk." His kid brother Francis lived with the Callisons from spring 1911 to the Great Flood two years later, when F.S. relocated to Kansas City MO. By 1914 Ora and Mame had a home at 807 N. Old Orchard Avenue, remaining there till 1918, when they moved to 1507 N. Viola Ave. He and Mame have resisted all efforts to locate them in the 1920 federal census, though they remained on North Viola in 1919 and 1921, moving to 102 E. Elmwood Avenue in 1922.
Meanwhile Ora left the Pan Handle to join a company that introduced the world's first self-contained electric refrigerator. As per ~frigidaire:
In 1915, Alfred Mellowes, working in a backyard wash house in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, engineered and made an electric refrigerating unit. It differed from other contemporary models because it was self-contained with the compressor located in the bottom of the cabinet. In 1916, the Guardian Refrigerator Company was organized to manufacture and sell Mellowes's refrigerator. The company began operations in Detroit on a modest scale... produc[ing] a quality product but in no great quantity—less than 40 refrigerators in two years.
In 1918, W.C. Durant, then president of General Motors, privately purchased the company and a new name, Frigidaire, was coined... In 1919, the company became the Frigidaire Corporation... Durant applied the mass production techniques of the automobile industry to the building of refrigerators. Production facilities were improved and additional sales offices opened... Production continued in Detroit until 1921, when the business was moved to Dayton, Ohio and turned over to Delco-Light Company, a General Motors subsidiary...
By 1926 Frigidaire became a separate GM subsidiary. (When Durant was asked why GM had gotten into the refrigerator business, he replied that fridges and automobiles were both boxes with motors.) Though "Frigidaire" isn't named in Ora's directory entries, he's "mgr order dept sec 1st and Canal" in 1918, followed by "mgr Order & Traffic Depts 330 N Taylor" in 1919-21, then "purch agt and traffic mgr 334 N Taylor" in 1922. Tom Dunham's Dayton in the 20th Century (AuthorHouse, 2005: viewable at Google Books) confirms the Frigidaire facility was located at Monument and Taylor, just east of downtown Dayton.
In the SFA, Ora's future sister-in-law ALLS would say:
When F.S. Smith's first wife Katherine became hopelessly ill in 1926, daughters Mellie and Connie were sent to live in Ohio: Mellie with Grandfather Herbert Gustavus, and Connie with Uncle Ora/Orrie/Eo. The 1930 census shows "Orrie C. Callison" as a "supervisor, Frigidaire" with wife Mary B. and five-year-old niece "Corrine" [Corinne, aka Connie] living at 1344 Harvard Boulevard, a house valued at $18,000—not a meager sum in 1930. Later that year Mellie and Connie returned to Kansas City MO, their father having married Ada Louise Ludeke [ALLS]; but each summer Connie would come back to Dayton, where Mame "was 'well heeled' [but] living alone in the large house" after Ora died of cancer on Sep. 2, 1932, a few weeks short of his 52nd birthday. (Connie herself "was always sorry I never could remember 'Eo' hardly. Was just too young.")
After Connie turned sixteen in 1940, Mame Callison "asked permission for Connie to live with her... and after a family conference, permission was granted." Connie would stay with Mame till she married Carl Frisby in 1943; and after Mame's death on Jan. 14, 1959 she "fell heir to the lovely, big home... and the Frisby family moved into it." Mame left $1,000 legacies to Connie's sisters Mellie (which paid for her daughter Marcia's college tuition) and Jeanie (which was a windfall when it came through in the empty-pocket year of 1959; of which see more in To Be Honest).
● Cora and Kansas City MO
On Aug. 1, 1908, Herbert Gustavus Smith married his third wife—who, like his first, had been a good friend of his second. Cora Mathilda Kirchwehm was born Feb. 1875 in Springfield OH: daughter of Julius F. Kirchwehm (Sep. 1851—Jan. 29, 1927) and Lizzie Hammer (Jul. 1855—Nov. 15, 1931). The 1889-90 Springfield city directory (excerpted at ~kirchwehm/grocery) has an entry for "KIRCHWEHM JULIUS F., Dealer in Staple and Fancy Groceries, Provisions, Canned Goods, &c., 163 W. Main." In 1900 the Kirchwehms lived down the street at 157 West Main; moving to 117 N. Lowery Ave. by 1910, and settling at 306 W. Columbia by 1920.
"How gentle Cora every got up the courage to run off with Herbert I'll never know," F. S. Smith's daughter Mellie would say. "Cora's mother absolutely forbade the whole idea, and also the idea of any of the girls marrying. But Cora was devoted to H.G. all through the years. She often said her happiest years were shortly after their marriage, when they moved to Kansas City. It seems her life was spent always caring for others..." Cora's marriage certificate includes the handwritten addendum, "Please don't Publish till Tuesday"—so the wedding may have been presented to Lizzie Kirchwehm as a fait accompli. This surmise is reinforced by the ceremony's having been performed by Rev. J. Elbert Thomas of the Winton Place Methodist church in Cincinnati.
In 1910 H.G., Cora, and young teen Francis See Smith were still living at 710 South Main in Urbana; but by 1911 (according to ALLS) "F.S.S. became disenchanted living at home, so he moved to Dayton and lived with his brother Ora." A year later Herbert and Cora also left Urbana, after H.G. "was an innocent victim caught up in some sort of a political MESS and lost his license to practice law. He decided to move away and start a new life, and chose K.C. (wonder why that particular city)?"
Kansas City, Missouri is about 120 miles from Fredonia, Kansas; perhaps an old acquaintance from Gus's teaching days helped pave his way there. H.G. and Cora found "a little stone house" at 1632 Poplar Avenue, just south of Elmwood Cemetery and west of Van Brunt Park; the photo at left was taken there in 1916. H.G. "worked in the grocery department of Jones Store—Cora at John Taylor's Department Store," which later became Macy's. Son Francis joined them after Dayton was devastated by the Great Flood of March 1913, and lived with his father and stepmother for the next four years.
About the time F.S. married his first wife in 1917, H.G. and Cora returned to Ohio—rather to F.S.'s disgruntlement. ("They kept wanting me to join them in Kansas City, and then when I did and got settled there and married—they went back to Ohio!") But Cora had been called home to Springfield to care for her ailing mother; so she and the very reluctant H.G. moved down the street from the Kirchwehms at 232 W. Columbia, and later next door at number 308—actually the other half of the Kirchwehms's house at number 306. Herbert was employed as a binder for "the Crowell Publishing Company ('Collier' etc. magazines)... until 1928—when a stroke prevented his working any longer." (He would still be listed as a "binder, publishing house" in the 1930 census.)
F.S.'s daughter Mellie lived with her grandparents at 308 W. Columbia from 1926 to 1930. About "Grandma Cora" Mellie would add:
This dear lady I would nominate for sainthood. In all the years I lived with her she never raised her voice, never seemed to lose patience with me, Grandpa, her aged parents on the other side of the big double house, nor her sisters who [also] lived there... She came from an early Springfield German family. Julius Kirchwehm was a successful grocer—the store a short block from our house. Also a German butcher shop next to the grocery. The girls worked in the grocery except for Grandma [Cora] whose job it had always been to do all the family cooking. Her Mother many years before had become an invalid and was bound to her wheelchair. That is not to say she was docile—on the contrary, she ruled with an iron hand, but she and I always got along famously.
Mellie on her grandfather:
Herbert was a very good man—[though] extremely stern and I don't ever remember his smiling or laughing. He was a learned man and I wish I had been able to really feel close to him. I imagine now the main reason he hardly felt like smiling was having an eight-year-old kid dumped on him at age 66...
The first school year (fall 1926) I lived there, I was very lonely and mixed up. One lovely morning I decided I had had enough of school there and life in Springfield. I started out for school in plenty of time (H.G. was a stickler on always being on time!) but went to Snyder Park and was having a lovely time on the swings etc. The problem—the man who drove the Kirchwehm grocery truck saw me, and returned me to H.G. For several days I was escorted to and from school, then kept in my room with instructions for no supper. Somehow, later in the evening, Grandma managed to bring me something to eat. But needless to say, I made no further sojourns to Snyder Park during school hours... On several occasions Connie was left with us while Aunt Mame and Uncle Ora went on trips, and Grandpa would walk her up to my school at recess time so she could visit me, and swing and be with children... [Grandpa] was a man who was never demonstrative—for it just wasn't his nature. But he had many personal tragedies which I'm sure left their mark. Nevertheless, he had a great feeling of duty to family, and took me in at a time when he and Cora could have enjoyed a peaceful old age...
He loved astronomy and in summers we often sat on the porch swing and he would tell me of the wonders of planets, stars, etc. Also, he was an avid gardener, and I have always been grateful to him, for he taught me a love of this that I carry to this day. He allowed me to have a small portion of the yard for my own garden, and [showed me] how to plant and care for vegetables and flowers. His garden was the envy of the neighborhood—he used methods and had ideas that are used today.
(H.G. always tried to get son Francis similarly interested, but F.S.'s idea of gardening was to pick and eat the strawberries.)
[Cora] loved to entertain, and her special holiday dinners are a highlight I shall never forget. At Christmas, she had ice cream Santa Clauses brought in for dessert. Her father managed to get an old horsedrawn sleigh from someone when we had heavy snows. It was great fun to be wrapped in robes with some hot bricks placed at our feet to keep us warm, and go around town, stopping to call on friends who sometimes offered hot drinks (chocolate, that is!).
The Fourth of July was my favorite holiday. The back yard was filled with long wooden tables and decorated patriotically. The food seemed endless—and so did all of the neighbors and Kirchwehm relatives. Late in the evening, freezers of home-made ice cream were ready. After that, we kids had evening fireworks...
Memorial Day (or as they always called it, Decoration Day) was another big holiday. The family raised hundreds of flowers, especially prize peonies and roses. Several days prior to the big day, we started cutting buds and placing them in many tubs of water, in buckets and vases. On the morning of Decoration Day, we carried them to the cemetery in the grocery truck and the old Ford auto. During the afternoon there was always a parade and speeches by the local political hopefuls. The evening was again an outdoor picnic in the back yard. So life there, after many adjustments, had many good times and wonderful, unselfish people I shall always remember with deep affection.
After suffering a stroke in 1928, H.G. "was most often bedfast in his upstairs bedroom... After years of that, he was able to be brought downstairs at times, but never again able to speak and be understood well or do for himself. This was terribly frustrating to him, as he was a very proud man." But on May 14, 1932, to mark the arrival two days earlier of his third and youngest granddaughter—Mila Jean Smith—he wrote a note with his left hand (the right having been rendered useless):
My dear little granddaughter: congratulations on your safe arrival after such a stormy passage. I trust you will be yourself again after a short rest. Don't fail to let your parents know you are here. Let your mother hear from you quite often—let me know when you can come as I am very anxious to see you—now be a good little girl. You certainly chose a delightful time of year for your debut. Tell your mother you did the best you could to arrive on time. Be good and write soon. Love lots of it. Grandfather
Dear Ick—[Mila Jean's mother: ALLS]—now I want you to be kind to your little daughter. Treat her nice even if weather is warm. I trust you had a pleasant time and experienced much pleasure meeting your daughter. I congratulate you both on the happy denouement. Convey to Francis my [many? very?] best wishes for the happy event ending so well. Well, Cora will add a few lines. Tell the girls [Mellie and Connie] they must be good and set a good example for little Roberta [i.e. Mila Jean]. Sincere best wishes. Dad
Dear Ick[:] congratulations, was so glad to hear that everything was over, and all were doing fine. I will write more later. I am hustling to go to the market. We will be anxious now to see your little daughter. Lots of love. Lovingly, Cora
And when F.S. and ALLS brought the three girls to Springfield for a visit that August, H.G. insisted on holding the baby for photographs; even essaying a smile in one snapshot.
On Dec. 29, 1933, Herbert Gustavus conveyed his Christmas wishes—in an increasingly slanted hand, yet anticipating his youngest granddaughter's behavior for decades to come:
Dear Francis—Ick—Mellie—Corinne—Mila Jean
Here's wishing you a very merry Xmas & also a happy New Year. Hope you will be happy & prosperous through the entire twelve months of 1934. Just listened to the Seth Parker program also the Fire Chief Ed Wynn—We sent your box this afternoon—Hope it arrives O.K. Take good care of Mila Jean during during [sic] the Xmas Jollification as she will be hustling & on the move every minute you must be alert & know what she is doing. See the Sunday paper in the box for the News. Best wishes for the holidays. I see I can't write a straight line. Lots of love. Dad & Cora
Herbert Gustavus Smith died of a cerebral hemorrhage on Nov. 1, 1934, aged 74, and was buried beside Mila at Urbana's Oak Dale Cemetery (Section 66, Lot 70) on Nov. 3rd. Cora never remarried; by 1940 she was a patient at the State Hospital in Dayton, where she died on Dec. 11, 1963, aged 88; she was buried in the same Oak Dale lot as her husband.
± The eight children of William Arthur Callison and Sarah Ellen Wallace were: Grace Pearl Callison (born c.Jan. 1880; married Albert A. Black [born c.1871] and lived in Springfield, had two sons, died Nov. 25, 1970); Allie Gertrude Callison (born Aug. 27, 1881 in Donnelsville, Clark County OH, died Jan. 31, 1980); Calvin Floyd Callison (born Feb. 1884, died Sep. 3, 1920); Jesse Byron Callison (born Aug 29, 1886, died Nov. 30, 1934); Mary E. Callison (born Feb. 23, 1888, died Nov. 30, 1970); Eva Lodema Callison (born Jan. 31, 1890, died Oct. 1958); Ruby V. Callison (born Apr. 29, 1891, died Jan. 26, 1917); and Hazel M. Callison (born May 19, 1896, died Dec. 10, 1976): as per ~black/ulmstead.
† Rebecca Powelson/Poulson married Johannes Van Metre [Sr.]; their daughter Joanna married William Burns [Sr.] and so was Jacob G. Burns's great-grandmother. Rebecca's sister Agnes "Angelitje" Powelson/Poulson married Jonas Hedges and so was Alexander R. Hedges's great-grandmother. Jacob's and Alexander's children—the generation born between 1846 and 1866—were thus fourth cousins once removed. (See Fine Lineage Part Two: "Burns[es] and Hedges[es]" for more.)
Debbie and Mila
● Thomas Hall Pearne DD (1819/20-1910), a prominent and pioneering Methodist clergyman,
also married Gus's aunt Josephine Wikel
to William A. Yeazell in Dec. 1882. The Rev. Dr. Pearne had been editor of the Pacific Christian Advocate
1851-64, candidate for the U.S. Senate in Oregon in 1862, presiding
elder of Knoxville TN 1865-70, U.S. Consul to Jamaica 1870-73—and then was stationed in
Dayton OH by 1877. See ~salemhistory for a photo; also William
Reddy's First Fifty Years of Cazenovia Seminary, 1825-1875 (Cazenovia:
Nelson & Phillips, 1877) p. 114; and the Rev. Dr. Hearne's self-published Sixty-One
Years of Itinerant Christian Life in Church and State (Cincinnati, 1898).
On pp. 383-84 of the latter volume he wrote: "In 1882, Bishop Thomas Bowman
appointed me to Grace Church, Urbana. Here were spent three happy, useful
years. I have never had a more pleasant, appreciative, and well-ordered
officiary and membership than I served in Urbana. Here, too, were formed
friendships of enduring value. It is one of the best charges in the
Cincinnati Conference, for its complete record in all lines of members, Church
support, Sunday-school, and benevolent collections. Urbana is a most
delightful city of six or seven thousand persons. The people are
intelligent, refined, prosperous, hospitable. Urbana has a college under the
care of the Swedenborgians. From Urbana, I was sent in 1885 to Wesley
● Debbie's original death certificate is not available at ~f, leaving us in the dark as to the official cause of death.
● The best-known Mila of the early 21st Century—actress/hottie Mila Kunis of That '70s Show—was born in Kiev as Milena Markovna Kunis in 1983.
● Mila and David's wedding was performed by "A. Murphy, Minister M.E. Church."
● "Callison" does not appear in The Penguin Dictionary of
Dictionary of American Family Names defines it as Scottish or Irish, a reduced form
of McAlison (i.e. the son of Allan's son).
● ~markfreeman traces the Callison family back to David Franklin's great-great-great-grandfather James Callison (c.1722-1789) of County Armagh in Ireland, who came to Virginia with his wife Isabella [surname?] in 1749. Their son John Callison [Sr.] (one of eleven children) was born c.1746 in Ireland; by an unknown wife he had a son John Callison [Jr.] born Aug. 5, 1769, probably in Augusta County VA. In 1789 John Jr. married Jane McClure (born Dec. 18, 1765) in Greenbrier County VA; they relocated to Ohio circa 1810, settling in Clark County where Jane died Dec. 5, 1830 and John followed on Aug. 19, 1844. John and Jane had nine children, including Arthur Callison born Feb. 21, 1793, probably in Greenbrier County VA. In 1812 Arthur married his first wife (and first cousin) Catherine "Caty" Morris, in Champaign County OH; then in Clark County on Sep. 3, 1818 he married his second wife, Margaret Leffel (born June 18, 1801, daughter of John Leffel and Anna Obenchain). Margaret died in Clark County on Sep. 23, 1849 and Arthur followed on Jan. 1, 1855. They had nine children, including Robert Callison (of whom see more above) the father of David Franklin Callison (ditto).
● Callison family photos and other information were found on the ~coy-callison-barger-evilsizor Family Tree at ~a.
● ~black/ulmstead provides details about David's brother William's family. Eldest child Grace's birthdate is there shown as Sep. 14, 1880; but Grace was already "5/12" years old in the June 1880 census. By 1881 William and Ella had left Dayton for Donnelsville OH, where their second child Allie Gertrude was born on Aug. 27th.
● As late as 1890 Rosalia Witchgar/Witchger was still living at 135 S. McDonough, so perhaps she was landlady to the Callison brothers in 1880 rather than a fellow tenant.
● ~nykings remarks that on David's second marriage record, wife Sara(h)'s "mother was Sarah J. Blew and there was no father listed (must be a story there)." The 1900 census shows both of Sarah Callison's parents as coming from New Jersey.
● Curiously, between 1880 and 1900 David Callison moved from McDonough Street in Dayton to McDonough Street in Brooklyn.
Mila and H.G.
● "Grass widow" originally meant a grace widow—i.e. a woman
who became a widow by grace, favor, or courtesy rather than death (viduca de
gratia in Latin, veuve de grace in French). Implied by this
title was a temporary marital separation, with the lady "put out to grass" (like
an unneeded horse) while her husband went to sea or roved abroad.
● In a ~champaign/d0057 link-note, Beulah Callison Coy's grandson Jeff Coy says "Mila married later to Herb Smith and had a daughter Francis."
● Edmund Burdsall Jr., Minister of the Gospel in the Methodist Episcopal Church, was born on June 14, 1846 and died in Batavia OH on June 2, 1931.
● In the 1900 census, four-year-old Francis S. Smith is marked as not yet able to read or write, but capable of speaking English.
Earl and Hettie
● Hettie's parents Harvey and Annie Stephenson had a farm in German
Township, Clark County OH. Their other children included William C.
Stephenson (born c.1870), James A. Stephenson (born c.1874), and Emma L./S.
Stephenson (born Feb. 1876).
● Details about Earl's children came from ~burns/dcb, ~cochran, ~champaign/d0025 and ~champaign/d0058. The first two sites lack the seventh, stillborn child; the second two sites are missing younger sons Fred and Walter. They also date Beulah's birth as 1908, despite censuses and her Springfield News-Sun obituary all pointing to 1909. Fred's obituary appears at ~clarkobit/fred. The SFA spelled Beulah "Beaulah" and said she was born c.1911; it listed her brothers as Robert, Harold, and Walter, but left out Fred. Only ~coy-callison-barger-evilsizor included the short-lived second-born child Harvey.
● Lawrenceville OH, besides being just northwest of Springfield, is almost exactly midway between Medway and Urbana.
● ~hansen/callison indicates that Ada F. Cook Reynolds was Earl's second wife, and Elizabeth Ward was his third; however, the marriage to Elizabeth Ward was circa June 18, 1924, while Ada (who was Earl's wife in the 1930 census) died Mar. 4, 1965. Elizabeth died June 29, 1939.
● Other Callisons in Lawrenceville Cemetery include Cora (1869-1947), Jacob (1870-1944), Minnie (1880-1966), and Samuel E. (1865-1917); as per ~lawrenceville. According to ~cochran, Hettie's parents Harvey Stephenson and Annie Dillahunt were also buried there.
● Other Callisons in New Carlisle Cemetery include Beatrice (J-223-2: no other info) and Robert Lee (J-223-1: born 1924, died 1984); as per ~newcarlisle.
● Earl's death certificate listed his occupation as "owner & operator, service station."
● The 1940 census noted that Ada F. Callison left school after tenth grade. She died in Springfield on Mar. 4, 1965, aged 83.
● In the address book F.S. Smith kept from late 1923, brother Earl is entered at "RFD #7" [or #2?] in Springfield and brother Ora in Dayton at "1344 Howard Blvd" (rather than Harvard).
Ora and Mame
● Ora's middle name—always restricted to its initial C.—was finally revealed
to be "Colgan" on his World War I draft registration
card. Two Colgans (aka Colgins) had intermarried with the Burnses and
Marshalls; one of William Burns [Sr.]'s grandsons was named Daniel Colgan Burns;
and Mila had a cousin (son of Jacob Burns's brother David) named Colgan W.
Burns, who lived in Dayton in 1882.
● DCB says: "My late aunt Dorothy Jane Burns Freeman remembered Orrie Callison, who lived near my two spinster great aunts on my grandmother's side on Harvard Blvd. in Dayton. Orrie worked for GM. Jane said he was a 'sweetheart.'"
● Ora's marriage certificate also stated he was born in Medway. If true, and presuming that Ora's birthyear was in fact 1880, his mother would have had to return to Medway from Dayton (where she was living with husband David in June) and then come back to Dayton by 1881 to live with the Mercers. However, this same marriage certificate shows Mame's birthplace as Hillsboro (the seat of Highland County OH) rather than Springboro in Warren County.
● At the time of their 1905 marriage, Ora's address in Dayton was 60 Huffman Avenue and Mame's was 1706 W. 1st Street.
● ~burns/dcb provided vitals for Frank and Clara Bloodgood. Their other children included Grace E. Bloodgood (born c.1878, died by 1900), Sarah W. Bloodgood (born Mar. 1886), and Harriet A. Bloodgood (born Oct. 1888).
● The Dayton-Covington Pike toll road is today Ohio Route 48; its southern terminus is near Goshen in Clermont County.
● In 1923 Ora and "Mamie" Callison were members of Montgomery County's Shiloh Christian Church (as per ~shiloh). Mame frowned on alcoholic beverages; if brother-in-law F.S. Smith forgot this and indulged in a beer before visiting her, he'd have to ask his wife for a last-minute mint or gum to disguise his breath before kissing Mame hello.
● Ora Callison suffered from carcinoma in his legs and feet, and died following amputation of the left femur; he was buried in Dayton's Memorial Park Cemetery. (As per his death certificate and ~burns/dcb.)
● In the 1940 census, Mame had a lodger: 29-year-old Mildred Campbell, bookkeeper at an automobile company. Mame is noted as having left school after eleventh grade.
Cora and the Kirchwehms
● Julius F. Kirchwehm was born in Germany, and Lizzie Hammer in Ohio
to German parents. They were married in Clark County OH on Mar. 17, 1874
Cora, had four more children: Trace M.
Kirchwehm (Aug. 3, 1878—Oct. 28, 1938),
John August "Jack" Kirchwehm (Aug. 3, 1880—Oct. 13, 1959; married
Pearl Desoormoux in 1907),
Clara L. Kirchwehm (Oct. 30, 1884—Apr. 2, 1962), and Harry Julius Kirchwehm (Nov.
12, 1886—Aug. 14, 1963; married Sarah Baker Bevitt in 1909). Their second daughter appears as "Mary Tracey" in the 1880
census and "Theresa" in 1900, but consistently as "Trace M." thereafter.
● After their parents's deaths, Trace and Clara inherited the Kirchwehm house and grocery, running the latter together till Trace's death; Clara kept the grocery going till c.1941. Earlier Trace had been employed in a publishing house and a laundry; Clara had worked for a soft drink company, and in 1945 was a clerk at Patterson Field. Jack (J.A.) Kirchwehm was secretary-treasurer and manager of the Perfection Laundry Company in Springfield; his wife Pearl[e] ran the local YWCA and Union Settlement House. Harry Kirchwehm served as president and general manager of the Springfield Plating & Mirror Corporation. Firstborn Cora was the last Kirchwehm to go, on Dec. 11, 1963. (Most Kirchwehm vitals were derived from ~a's Ohio Death Index and draft registration cards; addresses were found in federal censuses and Springfield city directories.)
● According to the 1940 census, Cora left school after fifth grade.
● In 2009 the present author found a vintage tape measure offered for sale, but no longer available, on the Internet: shown at right.
● The grounds for Herbert Gustavus's disbarment have not been discovered. The Ohio State Bar Association referred the present author's inquiry to the Ohio Supreme Court, which has yet to respond.
● In 1930 H.G., Cora, and granddaughter Mellie had a lodger at 308 W. Columbia in Springfield: Edward Stauble (age 30), proprietor of a bakery. (H.G.'s death certificate gave the Kirchwehm address, 306 W. Columbia. It also gave "Ellen ?" as his mother's maiden name.)
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