Saturday, January 14, 2017

LeRoy Vorhies (brother of my great grandmother, Estella)

As previously explained Ginevra and John Mac Vorhies moved to Greene County, Iowa in 1876 as a young married couple. Ginevra gave birth to their first child, Estella, in March after the family arrived in February. The following year on 8 October 1877, they added to their family with a son, Eugene H. Vorhies. Their youngest child, LeRoy, was born in 1879.

I never knew Uncle Roy as I did my great grandmother, Estella, and her brother, Uncle Gene. Uncle Roy died the year before I was born. However, growing up I heard a few stories.  Before research, I knew that Uncle Roy inherited the original Greene County land purchased by Joseph Withrow and then had sold to his son-in-law John Mac Vorhies. Upon the death of John Mac Vorhies in 1939, each of his three children  inherited a farm. ( I grew up on the one we called The Sixty that was left to Estella). I knew this information from the stories my mother told me. However, I plan to do some land ownership records research and see exactly how this original family land evolved.

I knew that Uncle Roy had lived in Colorado. I knew that his wife was not mentally well and in an institution. (this sort of frightened me as a kid) ( I also mentioned her in the Rosemary Kennedy post) I knew Uncle Roy had lived across the road from my parents after he moved back to Iowa in 1940.

Many members of the family called it Uncle Roy's Place, but it was always Miller's Place to me. The Miller family lived there while I was growing up. They were very special like a wonderful aunt and uncle.

So, I knew I needed to write about LeRoy Vorhies to complete the story of  Ginevra and John Mac's three children.  I found numerous articles about visits to Iowa in the Jefferson Advantage Preservation site, I had a few old photos from my mom and grandmother's photo album. I have also come across an old picture postcard from about 1910-1913 sent from Yoder, Colorado where he lived.

Postcard is addressed to Leroy's brother, Eugene, and his bride, Carrie, sending congratulations on their marriage which took place in December 1909. The card is dated February 8, 1910 and apparently accompanied a wedding present.

 Then, I had the opportunity to interview my mother's last living sibling in the summer of 2015. He lives in another state so it is rare when I have a chance to pick his brain. And he has a great brain, full of family knowledge.

Some of the things I did not know but learned in conversation:

1. Uncle Roy was an inventor. I have found several articles written about this and will write about this separately another time.

2. When he moved back to the home place in 1940, he raised sheep. I had seen pictures of a large herd of sheep in my grandmother's photo album that had absolutely no meaning to me. Bill remembers that he had 149 head of sheep. He doesn't know why he remembers that number, but it is very clear to him.  Roy experimented by feeding , but I know I have cousins who will find sheep farming in the family surprising. I mean sheep farming long ago.

3. I did not know that while Uncle Roy lived across the road from my parents, his niece and family lived with him. This is my grandmother, Nina, and her family that still lived at home.  I guess all but my mother.

So, as a little review for those who get lost in the generations.  Estella Vorhies Smith, our direct line ancestor, had two brothers, Eugene and LeRoy. Both had descendants. I knew a few. I will research the rest.

I hope your New Year is going well.
Thanks for reading.

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