Two Farm-Home Thanksgivings

By Bertha E. Rorick

Very pretty and simple was the Thanksgiving at our home on the farm last year. Sometime before the day the children shelled a quantity of bright yellow field corn. About a half this we colored with prepared red dye. This was quickly done by scalding the corn in a part of the package of dye dissolved in hot water. Then we strung the corn with a darning needle and strong cord, making six inches of yellow, then the same of red. Four strands of equal length were made long enough to reach from a point in the ceiling above the center of the long dining table. Each strand was finished at the end with a tassel, made by fastening to a piece of cob three strings of yellow corn ten inches long, putting the needle thru, then back, and tying in a double knot at the top.

The corn strings easily by putting the needle through the soft heart of the kernel. We then put a nail firmly into the ceiling at the center point over the table, tying the strands thereon and bringing them down, one to each corner of the table.

Having some corn left we strung it in different lengths; one to hang from the nail in the center to suspend over the table a huge cornucopia filled with popcorn; one to drape over the curtain poles. This looked very pretty over the white curtains. The others we laid on the tablecloth with lengths of green vine. These vines formed outlines for the centerpiece and, at either end of the table, a place for plates of molded cranberry jelly.

Our centerpiece was a chop-plate of oranges, bananas and bunches of raisins. On the sideboard was a bunch of bittersweet. If one wished the added bit of color, a part of the corn might be colored green.

Our place cards were also made at home, from folded leaflets of drawing paper cut in the shape of a pompous turkey, which I tinted with water colors. Inside were written the date and menu, which was as follows:

Roast Turkey with Oyster Dressing
Mashed potatoes          Brown gravy          Turnips
Cranberry mold          Cabbage salad
Parker House rolls          Boston brown bread
Celery          Jelly          Pickles
Waldorf salad with whipped cream
Aunt Frankie’s cake          Pumpkin pie

Would you like to hear about a Thanksgiving dinner enjoyed in an old homestead by a family of New England descendants? An old-fashioned farm home, full of genuine hospitality, a home which does one good to visit, was the scene of this family party. The decorations were entirely confined to the low-ceilinged dining room, and were very dainty. The table was covered with a white cloth, which contrasted with the yellow decorations nicely. From the chandelier above the center of the table were festooned strings of white popcorn to the four corners of the table. There were also brought down to each plate from the same point dainty lengths of half-inch orange-colored satin ribbon, each fastened to an orange. By each plate, on the folded napkin, were a white place card and an after-dinner mint wrapped in a yellow motto paper with an appropriate conundrum. The centerpiece was composed of three glass dishes, heirlooms, of different sizes, set one in the other in pyramid shape. The topmost held white and red grapes, the larger one fruit—rosy apples and bananas. The walnut sideboard was brightened by decorations of orange crepe paper and ears of yellow corn hung by the dried husks.

A large roasted turkey was seated on the table when the guests were seated, which was deftly carved while the conundrums formed the merry diversion for the waiting guests. The following menu was served:

Roast Turkey and Cranberry Jelly
Mashed potato           Hubbard squash
Mashed turnip
Celery           Peach pickles
Fruit salad           Raised biscuit
Plum pudding
Mince pie           Pumpkin pie

Source: The Ohio Farmer, November 12, 1910.


Small Town News

Mr. and Mrs. Zelora Armstrong, Mr. and Mrs. Pepper of Des Moines, Mrs. Neal Nelson [sic] of Spencer spent Sunday at the James Armstrong home.  Mrs. Armstrong is ill with lumbago.  (The Algona Upper Des Moines, May 3, 1933)

Mr. and Mrs. Zelora Armstrong, Des Moines, and Mrs. Neil Nielsen, Spencer, spent Sunday night with Mrs. Dora Armstrong.  On Monday they all attended the funeral of Mrs. Charles Armstrong, who was killed in an automobile crash Saturday.  She was a daughter-in-law of Mrs. Dora Armstrong.  (The Algona Upper Des Moines, November 11, 1937)

Mrs. Wickham Bross, of Honesdale, is visiting her sister, Mrs. John Knaub, and her brother. A.P. Altemeier in Port Jervis.  (The Citizen (Honesdale, PA), April 28, 1909)

Oxford Junction—Mrs. Anna Rorick Clegg of St. Paul is visiting her mother, Mrs. M.J. Rorick.  (Davenport Daily Times, August 1, 1913)

Mrs. A.P. Drumm was called to Zanesville Saturday by the illness of her little granddaughter, Juanita Drumm.  (Zanesville Times Recorder, May 15, 1909)

Homer A. Drumm, of Hopewell R.F.D., No. 1, was pleasantly surprised Monday, September 23 by a post card shower.  They young man has been critically ill for some months and his friends thought it would cheer him up by surprising him in this manner.  He received cards to the number of one hundred and over.  He is very grateful to his many friends who thus kindly remembered him.  (Zanesville Times Recorder, September 25, 1907)

Mrs. W.V. Hutchinson and daughters, Cornelia and Myra-Dell, from White Salmon, are visiting Mrs. A.O. Adams.  Mr. Hutchinson spent a few days here during the week with his family.  (Hood River Glacier, July 29, 1915).

Mrs. Caroline Rhodimer of Elmira is visiting her daughter, Mrs. Fred Grover.  (Elmira Star-Gazette, August 24, 1909)

Mrs. Carrie Rhodimer of Corning is here caring for her daughter, Mrs. Frank Daniels, who is suffering from the grip.  (Elmira Star-Gazette, February 17, 1910)

The many friends of Clifford Rochelle, of Fifth and Heaton streets, will be sorry to learn that he is confined to Ft. Hamilton hospital for treatment.  Mr. Rochelle has recently returned from the Good Samaritan hospital, Cincinnati, where he also underwent treatment.  (Hamilton Evening Journal, August 21, 1931)

Mabelle Rochelle, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Rochelle, of 206 North Millwood avenue, will represent the Carpenters’ union No. 201, in the civic parade this morning.  Mabelle is a pretty miss of ten summer and will make a representative of whom the carpenters may be justly proud.  Her father is first vice-president of the State Federation of Labor of Kansas.  (Wichita Daily Eagle, September 23, 1909)

Mrs. Dr. M.S. Rochelle and her granddaughter, Mabel Rochelle, left for Kanas City last evening over the Rock Island to make a week’s visit with her son and nephew, H.L. Rochelle and Ralph Ware.  (Wichita Eagle, November 25, 1904)

Mr. and Mrs. Martin Rochelle and daughter returned Saturday to their home in Wichita after completing the new elevator at Beaver.  (Hoisington Dispatch, April 17, 1919)

William Rochelle, the Fifth ward grocer, fell down cellar at noon and bruised himself very severely.  He was unconscious for some time.  No bones were broken.  (Hamilton Daily Democrat, June 17, 1890)

Oxford Junction—Miss J. Anna Rorick departed for Chicago Tuesday, where she will resume her musical studies, she expects to graduate in June.  (Davenport Daily Times, January 10, 1908)

Dalas [sic] Rorick was in Anamosa for a few days on official business.  (Davenport Daily times, March 6, 1909)

Dave Rorick, vice-president of the American Central Insurance Company, is at the Lankershim from St. Louis.  (Los Angeles Times, June 6, 1910).

Mr. and Mrs. H.C. Rorick of Toledo are at the Fairmont.  Mr. Rorick is a prominent banker of Ohio.  (San Francisco Chronicle, November 9, 1909)

The little child of Mr. J.T. Rorick at North Dalles is quite sick with typhoid fever.  (The Dalles Daily Chronicle, August 2, 1895)

Sylvester Search is on the sick list.  (Zanesville Times Recorder, February 9, 1898)

Cars Sever Right Foot

Waverly, Sept. 11.—While waiting for peach cars to be opened, a string of cars was backed down the Erie switch in front of the Erie station, striking Rufus Shipman and injuring him probably fatally, at 1:45 o’clock this afternoon.

Shipman’s right foot was cut off and he was dragged and mangled.  Drs. Harnden and Betowski are attending him.  He will be taken to Parker Hospital in Sayre.

Mr. Shipman is about sixty-eight years old and lives in Glencairn, N.Y. He is an uncle of Night Policeman Walter Shipman.

Source:  Elmira Star-Gazette, September 11, 1909.


Slate Hill Girl A Graduate Nurse

Unionville—Mrs. Seely Sutton went to New York last week to attend the graduation exercises of the Class of 1933 of nurses at the Presbyterian hospital.  There were seventy-five in the class of which Miss Evelyn Sutton of Slate Hill was a member.  A number of Slate Hill relatives also attended.

Source:  Middletown Times Herald, June 6, 1933.


Armstrong, Who Died Suddenly at Home in Burt of Stroke Buried

BURT—James A. Armstrong died suddenly at his home here Monday afternoon, following an illness of only an hour or two, a stroke being the cause of his death.

He was born May 3, 1862 at Irvington and lived in Kossuth county all this life with the exception of three years spent in Kansas.  He as married Dec. 14 1889, to Dora Sharp.  Five children were born, four of whom survive, Mrs. Merle Nielson of Spencer, Charles of Livermore, and Zelora and James of Des Moines.  He is also survived by his wife and two sisters.

Funeral services were held at the home Wednesday afternoon, the Rev. C.B. Mitchell, past of the M.E. church, conducting the service.  Burial was in the Irvington cemetery.

Source:  Mason City Globe-Gazette, April 22, 1936.


Former Irvington Woman Loses Foot

Irvington, June 1.—Mrs. Dora Armstrong, Burt, who has had diabetes several years, had a leg amputated just below the knee at Iowa City late last week.  Charles Armstrong, Livermore, and Mrs. Neil Neilson, Spencer, son and daughter, drove to Iowa City to be with her Sunday.  Other sons are James and Delora, both of Des Moines.  A daughter Mildred died a few years ago is buried at Irvington.  Mrs. Armstrong’s husband, James, died of a heart attack.  The Armstrongs once owned and lived on the farm now occupied by Jacob Maasdam.  Mrs. Armstrong is 75.

Source:  Kossuth County Advance, June 2, 1938.

Oldtimer is Recent Guest at Irvington

Irvington, Oct. 17—Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Brown, Los Angeles, who, en route to Minneapolis, recently visited the H.E. Rists at Algona, also drove through this vicinity.  Clarence is a son of Mr. and Mrs. Zelora Brown, who lived here many years ago.  The browns lived in a house which then stood, with many other buildings, east of the tracks in a field now farmed by Richard Leigh.  Zelora, now a resident of Minneapolis, also ran a store here.  Mrs. Zelora Brown was a sister of the late Dr. J.R. Armstrong, who is so well remembered and often recalled by the older residents here.  Doctor Armstrong, besides being the sole physician here at that time, also taught school was superintendent of the Sunday school.  The late J.B. Robison was one of his pupils.  Doctor Armstrong built and lived in the house now occupied by the Richard Leighs.  Later they moved to the property now owned by the U.B. Frankel’s, where the doctor died.  Mr. Brown said things did not look familiar here; so many buildings have either been moved, torn down, or remodeled.

Source:  Kossuth County Advance, October 19, 1933.

Isabel Scott Rorick

Owing to a number of things, the anticipated interview with Isabel Scott (Mrs. Ceilan Herbert) Rorick didn’t take place until many weeks and she and her husband bought Dooley Leaman’s former house and she settled down in it . . . for one thing, as she explained it, she thought she was going to have so much leisure, but everyone assumed she’d be lonesome when her husband had to go to Toledo and she was out virtually every night . . . A day or so before they (he came back for the weekend) closed the house, she took time for a chat in the patio . . . it doesn’t take long (when they’re seen together) to figure how she got her inspiration for her famous creations “Mr. and Mrs. Cugat” . . . a fictional couple that landed her a law suit with the conductor by that name (long since satisfactorily settled) . . . two highly successful books about them . . . a movie and a radio serial . . . The second book was “Outside Eden” . . . The movie “Are Husbands Necessary?” . . . the serial, which she does not write, “My Favorite Husband” . . . Explaining, “I don’t want to squeeze the turnip dry,” Mrs. Rorick says there are no Cugats in the one short story she managed to find time for this winter nor in the new novel that is hazily in the making . . . The Cugats came into being just because she was named Junior League correspondent from Toledo and couldn’t find anyone else to contribute to the League’s magazine . . .

Source: Palm Beach Post, May 8, 1949.

Some Short Social News Items

J.T. Rorick, of Grand Dallas [sic], Wash., is stopping at the Huron House.  Mr. Rorick was formerly publisher of the Bad Axe Democrat.  (Port Huron Times Herald, April 26, 1893)

E.M. Clark and wife and daughters, Misses Jennie and Harriet, went to Detroit today to attend the wedding of Willis Sherman Clark and Miss Georgia Rorick Bennet [sic], both of Detroit.  The wedding will take place at the home of the bride’s parents at 38 Winder street at 6:30 this evening.  The ceremony will be performed by Rev. S.B. Meeser, D.D., of Woodward avenue, Baptist church.  Mr. Clark is a son of Mr. and Mrs. E.M. Clark, of this city.  (Port Huron Daily Times, February 26, 1902)

Bad Axe.  Mr. Rorick and daughter Claribel of Detroit are spending Xmas with her sister, Mrs. James Baldwin, West Sand Beach avenue.  (Detroit Free Press, December 25, 1913)

Billy Mueller, the little son of Mr. and Mrs. Lucien W. Mueller, who underwent an operation for appendicitis in the Decatur and Macon county hospital, Tuesday, is getting along nicely.  (Decatur Daily Review, March 26, 1927)

Mr. and Mrs. Maurice Spear and daughter, Ruth, of Albuquerque, N.M., formerly of Morenci, are visiting his brother and wife, Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Spear.  Their son, Howell, a medical student at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, also is spending his vacation here.  His brother, Pheletus [sic] Spear, who after a year of active duty overseers in the U.S. Navy, is attending a preparatory school in Maryland for entering the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis.  (Adrian Daily Telegram, December 31, 1943)

Eldridge Family Items

One of my great-grandmothers was Carrie Eldridge Rorick. This page houses information I’ve collected relating to the descendants of Samuel Eldridge and Susanna Casey.

Laurien E. Blunt, a pioneer resident of Wilmette, died yesterday at his home at 1008 Oakwood avenue, in the suburb. He was 89 years old. Mr. Blunt founded Blunt’s bookstore in Evanston in 1876. Two sons, George L. and Laurien E., Jr., survive. The funeral will be held tomorrow in the chapel at 1118 Greenleaf avenue, Wilmette. (Chicago Daily Tribune, August 7, 1942)

Grinnell – Ann Boget, 80, died Thursday, Sept. 22, 1994, in St. Francis Manor, of Alzheimer’s disease. Services: 10 a.m. Saturday, St. John’s Lutheran Church. Burial: Union Cemetery, Pomeroy. Friends may call from noon to 9 p.m. today at Smith Funeral Home, where the family will be present from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Survivors include her husband, Carl; a daughter, Beverly Schoon, of Rockwell City; a brother, Donald Sage of West Bend; and a sister, Deloris Shimon of Havelock. (Cedar Rapids Gazette, September 23, 1994)

Fairfax – Miss Bertha Boget is visiting at her uncle’s, J. Boget of this place. (Inter-Iowa Record, August 11, 1887)

Colonel Ellis J. Boget, a pioneer of Cedar Rapids, died in that city after a brief illness, aged 71 years. Colonel Ellis was born in New York, but came to Cedar Rapids when that place was in rather a crude state. He served through the civil war, having won a colonel’s commission before its close, and was justly proud of the record he gained in that memorable conflict. (Waterloo Semi-Weekly Reporter, March 9, 1906)

Chapin – Mrs. and Mrs. James Livsey of Montezuma, Mrs. Liza Boget and son Carl, of Grinnell, and Mrs. Katherine Watson of Searsboro visited in the George Pitser home. (Mason City Globe-Gazette, September 28, 1950)

Mrs. Zella Boget returned to her home at Searsboro, Ia., Saturday after a visit with her mother, Mrs. James Clendenen, and other relatives here. (Burlington Hawk Eye, August 9, 1913)

Lois Idell Lincoln, 84, of Winterset, formerly of Grinnell, died Friday, Oct. 2, 1998, in Winterset Care Center, Winterset, of Alzheimer’s disease. Services: 1:30 p.m. Monday, Smith Funeral Home. Burial: Westfield Cemetery, rural Grinnell. Friends may call from noon to 9 p.m. today at the funeral home. Survivors include two sons, Glen of Fort Dodge and Charles of Winterset; and a brother, Carl Boget of Grinnell. (Cedar Rapids Gazette, October 4, 1998)