Delaware County connections
My grandmother was born in Ostrander to Elizabeth Maugans and George Webster Case. She and her twin sister were put in shoe boxes and then into the warming part of an old cook stove. This “incubator” worked well; they both — Erdeen (my grandmother) and Aliene — grew into substantial women whom their youngest brother Gerald would call The Beef Trust!
The twins were the second to the youngest having one older sister Effie; another sister, Margaret, died at three when she got too close to the open fireplace and burned to death. The oldest brother Burr spent his entire adult life as a line-a-typist with The Delaware Gazette. Their mother was the sister to Joe Maugans who owned the local mill and was president of Ostrander’s bank.
An Aunt Victoria figured in there somewhere. She lived in a big farmhouse just outside Ostrander and kept a bird that flew freely throughout the living room coming to rest on her shoulder. Because everyone in the family marched to orders, Victoria’s free spirit enchanted my mother. Victoria’s house was nearly a mess, but she would sit down in the middle of it and make a pin cushion! As long as I can remember, a day when nothing got done or what was planned went awry, my mother would succumb to “making a pin cushion” and call it an Aunt Victoria day.
George Webster Case’s mother was Charlotte Webster Case reportedly from Virginia and related to Noah Webster who said when her son was born, “That’s the first chapter and the end of the book!” I gave my son the middle name Webster in hopes it would enhance his vocabulary. Though he didn’t walk until he was 13 months, he spoke full sentences at 9 months.
George was a conductor on the Interurban, a great rural invention that connected all the small villages in central Ohio to the major cities in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. George could walk to his job as the train stopped in Ostrander. When the Interurban ceased running, he took his family to Columbus’ west side, bought a lot on Hague Avenue, a block from Broad Street, built a home and again walked to work. This time it was to the trolly that stopped just north of Hague.
The girls had all married, Uncle Gerald went to War, and Uncle Burr stayed in Delaware at The Gazette. I remember family reunions in Ostrander but never at Aunt Victoria’s. I wanted to see the freed bird fly around the cluttered house.
Sylvia Zimmerman is the owner of Fulton Creek Jersey Cheese in Richwood. She holds two graduate degrees and, when not working on her farm or pursuing her interest in sustainable agriculture, writes her own blog.