History of the Rorick Family

This history was written by Hon. Horton C.  Rorick and delivered at the Rorick Reunion July 28, 1940 held at the summer home of Leila Estell (Rorick) Foster and her husband, Albert V. Foster, at Wamplers Lake, MI.  It was circulated in manuscript form to family members who were unable to attend the reunion.  This version was taken from the copy sent to my grandfather, Mark D. Rorick.  Some punctuation has been corrected to make it more readable.

The last reunion of the Rorick family was held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Horton C. Rorick at 2263 Collingswood Ave., Toledo, Ohio, on Wednesday, June 30, 1920. For many years prior to that it had been the custom of the Rorick family in Lenawee County, Michigan to hold family reunions at least once a year. For many years, the largest reunions were held on the 4th of July, but, for some time prior to 1920, it had been held on the last Wednesday in June. After a lapse of 20 years, it has recently been decided to hold another Rorick Reunion at Wamplers Lake, Michigan on Sunday, July 28, 1940, at the summer home of my sister, Leila Estell, and her husband, Albert V. Foster.

For the information of younger members of the Rorick family, I have prepared this memorandum of the early history of the Rorick family, a large part of which has been taken from an address delivered by Senator John C. Rorick of Wauseon on July 5, 1880, as the 4th fell on Sunday that year. I still have the original address as written by John in longhand and dated “July 1879.”  This address states that, at the family reunion held in July 4, 1879 on the premises of my father, Cosper Rorick, now owned by my nephew, Curtis Rorick, that a committee had been appointed, composed of John C. Rorick and John Moore, to prepare a history of the Rorick family. In 1916, I had copies of the above address made and furnished to John C. Rorick of Wauseon, Jacob T. Rorick of The Dalles, Oregon, and probably to others. For several years afterwards, I tried to persuade John C. Rorick to bring this record down to date and agreed to pay the expense of having it printed among the various members of the family, if he would do it. However, it had never been done. Of course, in 1880 and even in 1916, most of the members of the family had personal knowledge of the different descendants, especially those residing in Lenawee County, Michigan. I suggest that the different branches of the family collect and preserve the necessary data to bring the record of their branch of the family from July 5, 1880, down to date, for the information and benefit of their descendants, especially those residing in Lenawee County, Michigan.

According to the above address of John C. Rorick on July 5, 1880, and to my conversations with my father, Cosper Rorick, and others of his generation, the first Rorick who came to America and who is our common ancestor, was Gosper Rorick, who came to this country with a wealthy old German miner, who settled in New Jersey and opened the Schlottenbergh mine. It is a familiar tradition that he wore gold buttons on his clothes, and, no doubt, his name was Schlottenbergh and the mine took his name. Gosper was what was termed a “bound boy” in those days, and the natural supposition is that he was friendless and penniless. The date of his arrival cannot be ascertained, but it was probably between 1730 and 1740.

Gasper married and had two sons (Gasper, Jr., born 1748, and Michael, born 1749), and died at an early age, leaving a widow, who is said to have been a woman of large stature, having the muscular strength of two ordinary men. It is unfortunate that we do not have her maiden name and more information as to her branch of the family as her sons and her descendants probably derived some of their characteristics as to large stature and muscular strength from her. After Gosper’s death, she married a man by the name of Scott and had two more sons. One of them, Stephen Scott, was a giant, 7 foot high and able to carry 1,000 lbs. of bar iron on his shoulder.

We have no definite information as the nationality of Gosper or the country from which he emigrated to the United States, but our impression has been that he was born in Germany. Upon my trips to Europe(eight in number), I always made some inquiry as to the family name, RORICK. I was told by some that there were many people of this name living in England. Some stated they thought that the family probably originated in Holland and by others that it originated in Germany, but I was never able to find in Europe any person who spelled his name exactly as we spell ours. However, I found similar names spelled R-o-h-r-i-c-h, R-o-e-r-i-c-h, and R-o-h-r-i-g and similar names in Germany and in Switzerland. In 1909, a scholar in Vienna, Austria told me that the name was undoubtedly of German origin, and that a large number of “Rohrichs” lived at Wiesbaden near Frankfort a/Main [sic] in Germany. He pointed out that the word R-o-h-r is the German word for a reed, pipe, or rush, and that the ending i-c-h meant much or a large amount, and that the name of “Rohrich” probably applied originally to a dealer in reeds or rushes or that he lived along the shore of some lake where they grew in abundance. For the purpose of investigating this matter, on August 1st, 1914 I purchased tickets for myself and family in Venice, Italy to Wiesbaden, German. However, as war was declared on that date, we didn’t get much further than Munich, where we were marooned during mobilization. As I have never been in Wiesbaden since, I expect to leave this matter to some younger Rorick to investigate at some future time. As the matter stands, none of us know from what country Gosper Rorick emigrated, but personally I believe that he came from Germany. This was also the belief of John C. Rorick in December 1919 when he wrote to me.

As stated above, Gosper Rorick and his wife had two sons, Gosper, Jr., and Michael, from who our branch of the Rorick family has descended. The name of the older son, “Gosper” has since been changed as a family name to “Cosper.” John C. Rorick in his above address stated that “Gosper’s tomb stands in Paper Cotton burying ground  in New Jersey, bearing this inscription:  “In memory of Gosper Rorick who died May 24, 1843, age 95 years.”  We have no record of Gosper’s descendants.

The second son of Gosper Rorick, Sr. was named Michael Rorick, from whom we have descended.  Michael was born April 10, 1749 and married Lucretia Hardin, July 13, 1774. He lived to be 83 years old. We have no particulars about his wife, Lucretia Hardin, except the date of her birth and death. She died September 12, 1834, age 82 years.

Michael Rorick was a man of huge proportions and great physical strength. All who have any traditions regarding him speak of these particulars, but regarding the peculiarity of his character or business habits, we have been able to learn nothing of moment. Michael Rorick and his wife, Lucretia, had 8 girls and 5 boys.

The oldest child of Michael was named Jacob. He was the father of the Roricks who settled here in Michigan and was born March 30, 1775. He was my great-grandfather, and grandfather of John C. Rorick of Wauseon and of my father, Cosper Rorick, so that they and others of their generation must have had considerable personal knowledge of their grandfather. John C. Rorick, in his above address, delivered in July 1880, stated:

Jacob Rorick, our grandfather, was a farmer who, by the hardest toil and most rigid economy, acquired and improved a large farm on the banks of the Walkill, a stream which winds among the rugged hills of New Jersey. He seems to have been a man of puritanic integrity, whose austerity is remembered by his children as paramount to sympathy and kindness in the family circle. Recreation he never took himself, and being a man of iron will, his carefully cultivated farm was his kingdom, and his family his obedient subjects, over which he ruled, a single and supreme dictator.

His education was limited to reading, writing, and a slight knowledge of figures. His knowledge of figures was used only in matters of careful calculations in his everyday business and his reading confined to the family Bible, in which he was a firm and unwavering believer. He never seemed to be ready to yield his authority over his children and, with his accustomed energy, he attempted to dictate their matrimonial selections and actually refused his house to some of them who married contrary to his judgment.

He never seemed to be willing to spare the time and expense to give his children an education and, in consequence, they all, except some of the younger ones, grew up to their majority unable to read or write, and what education they had, they acquired under the severest difficulties after they grew up to be men and women. This is a lamentable fact, inasmuch as the family as a whole possessed rare judgment and mental ability, which under proper training and educational advantages would have made them prominent in literary, scientific, or other attainments. Perhaps I am wrong in speaking of these things and do so only for the purpose of bringing before the minds of the younger members of this family the contrast which stands out so boldly against the opportunities which they have given us.

And again, in apology for the man who no doubt acted from sincere promptings, it might be said that a different education and surroundings would have enabled him to see the necessity of mingling joy and intelligence with his dollars and his labors.

Jacob married Elizabeth Wilson in 1800. Elizabeth Wilson’s father’s name was Samuel Wilson. The Wilson family came from England, of Scotch descent, and settled at Perth Amboy, New Jersey. Elizabeth’s mother’s maiden name was Susanna Estell, which accounts for the name “Estell” as a given name in our family. She was truly a good woman who lived and toiled only for the happiness of her children, who speak in tenderness of her charities and kindness. She died March 13, 1858 at the ripe age of 78 years, 2 months, and 4 days. Jacob Rorick died the 13th of the next November at the age of 83 years, 7 months, and 14 days.

The foregoing quotation from the address of John C. Rorick in 1880 will give the present generation some idea of the hardships endured by the 8 sons and 6 daughters of Jacob and his wife, Elizabeth, on their farm in New Jersey in their younger days. It may have been because of these hardships that 3 of the sons,  William, Estell, and Cosper, decided to brave the hardships of going west in the 1830s to Lenawee County, Michigan to carve out of the primeval forest homes and farms of their own. As most of the Roricks who will attend the family reunion on July 28, 1940 are descendants of these three men, who married three Breese sisters of Horseheads, N.Y., I will give a brief record of these three men.

Willliam was born March 30, 1805. He went to Horseheads, N.Y. in 1828 where he married Phebe Ann Breese, May 22, 1829. They started with a two-horse team in December 1836 and drove throughCanada, crossing the Detroit River on the ice and stopping in Fairfield. He worked Hart. Russell’s farm one year and then came to Seneca and, by pieces, bought the old homestead and clearing it all himself. They had five children:  Elias B. of Morenci, John C. of Wauseon, Jacob M. of Seneca, Dr. Estell H. of Fayette, and Lusetta of Morenci. All were living at the time of John C.’s address in July 1880. William died January 15, 1898. None of his children are now living.

Estell Rorick, my grandfather, was born September 21, 1809. He was married to Hannah Breese (sister of Phebe Ann) at Horseheads, N.Y., February 7, 1836. In May 1837, they in company with Elias Breese, Hannah’s father, and his family came to Michigan. Estell had one team of horses and Elias Breese, two teams. They drove to Fairfield and turned out on the banks of Sand Creek about a mile and a half north of Hart Russell’s. Estell bought the land in Section 7, south and east of Canandaigua, known as the Wanzer Breese farm, cut the first tree July 3, 1837. He put up a log house and moved into it July 20 and lived in it until January 1st without windows, chinking or chimney.

He later sold this farm and purchased another, north of Canandaigua in Rome township, where he lived for a few years, and then he purchased and moved to the farm, later owned by my father, Cosper Rorick, and now owned by his grandson, Curtis Rorick. Estell Rorick died in 1880, leaving four children:  Cosper Rorick, my father, Deb. Ann Spear, Lovina Rorick Bennett, and Melissa Rorick Porter. My father, the above Cosper Rorick, was born October 8, 1838 and died April 23, 1910. On June 30, 1861, he married Alice M. Horton, who was born March 26, 1842 and who died May 18, 1891. None of Estell Rorick’s children are now living, but some of his grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren are expected to be present at the Reunion on July 28, 1940.

A third son of Jacob and Elizabeth Rorick, who was born in new Jersey, September 11, 1817, and later moved to Michigan, was Cosper Rorick, a younger brother of William and Estell, who was always known to me as Uncle “Cop.”  He was married to Nancy Breese, a sister to Phebe and Hannah, at Horseheads, N.Y. and then came to Michigan in 1840, where he drove a team for Allen and Daniels atMedina for some time. He afterwards worked for Smith in the distillery at Canandaigua. He and his wife settled on the old farm just north of Seneca, which was owned by his sons, Mark and Leroy, in 1880, and which I understand is now owned by Mark’s son, John P. of Adrian, Michigan. Cosper Rorick died December 28, 1874, and I well remember of attending the funeral in a cutter with Mother and Father. The snow was very deep and drifted high. Cosper and Nancy left two sons, Mark and Leroy, who married two Porter sisters, Mary and Harriet, who were also sisters of Sylvester K. Porter, known to me as “Uncle Vet.”  He married my father’s sister, Melissa Rorick, known to me as “Aunt Litt.”

The foregoing is only a brief sketch of William, Estell, and Cosper, three of the children of my great-grandfather, Jacob, who married Elizabeth Wilson in 1800 and who had 8 sons and six daughters, or 14 children. If there is present today any descendant of any of the other 11 children, I will be glad to give a brief sketch of their ancestor, who was also a child of Jacob and Elizabeth.

I have given the names of all the children born to Willian, Estell, and Cosper, sons of Jacob and Elizabeth. I have not undertaken to enumerate their grandchildren, many of whom are present to day and belong to my generation, which is now known as the “old Roricks.”  If the majority present desire, I will attempt, with their help, to name the grandchildren of William, Estell, and Cosper, or the great-grandchildren of Jacob and Elizabeth.

This may have been an addition added after the reunion took place.

At the reunion (Rorick) today, I was requested to furnish additional information as to my branch of the Rorick family and furnished the following:

My father, Cosper Rorick, and his wife, Alice M. Horton, had the following children:  George Herbert (Bert) Rorick, Horton C., Eva Rorick Crane, and Leila Rorick Foster. Bert was married September 17, 1885 to Edith Kennedy and had two children:  Cosper and Curtis. Bert died February 2, 1934.

Horton Clifford Rorick, born December 18, 1866, was married September 17, 1891 to Marie Edna Packard, who graduated in music at Adrian College, Adrian, Mich., in June 1888. Horton C. graduated atAdrian College in June 1890 and graduated in the Law Department at the University of Michigan in June 1892. They have three children, all living:  Alice Marie, born January 7, 1894, Marvin Horton, born July 1, 1897, and Ceilan Herbert, born August 21, 1899. Alice Marie married Peter Paul Prudden, September 16, 1916. They have a fine estate of 200 acres along the south side of the Maumee River about 13 miles from Toledo and 3 miles from Perrysburg; they also have a beautiful home at 171 Clark Ave., Palm Beach, which they built in 1924. They have four children:  Peter, Jr., born July 4, 1917, who has about finished at Lehigh University; Horton Rorick, born February 12, 1919, who is now a junior at Yale; Marilyn, born February 26, 1922, who is a sophomore at Vassar; and Gloria, born Christmas Eve, 1929.

Marvin Horton Rorick attended the U. of M. then took a course in aviation at Boston Tech. in 1918 and was flying in Key West at the time of the Armistice, November 11, 1918. He then returned to the U. ofM. until 1920. He married June 22, 1922, to Genevieve B. Baker. They have four children:  Marvin, Jr., born May 9, 1923; Robert Baker, born May 23, 1925; Richard Packard, born Nov. 1, 1927; and Sheila Marie, born January 26, 1931. Marvin, Jr. attends school at Kent, Conn., and Robert starts this fall. Marvin and his wife on June 22, 1936 moved into their beautiful new home at Perrysburg, overlooking the Maumee River and directly across from Maumee. Marvin became a member of the of the investment banking firm of Spitzer-Rorick & Co. on February 1, 1921, and that time became a director in the Spitzer-Rorick Trust & Savings Bank, of which he has been a vice president for many years.

Ceilan Herbert attended the U. of M. before the war, entered the Navy in 1918, and after the war he also returned to the U. of M. until June 1922, when he became a partner in the above firm and a director in the above bank, of which he is now the secretary and trust officer.

Ceilan married  Isabel Doyle Scott, October 8, 1922. They have two children:  Horton Clifford II, born October 4, 1923, who has attended Hotchkiss for three years, and Elizabeth, born June 12, 1925, who expects to enter Miss Master’s School at Dobbs Ferry this fall. Ceilan and his wife have recently purchased a beautiful new home in Ottawa Hills, a residential suburb of Toledo.

My sister, Eva, was born 67 years ago today on July 28, 1873. On September 16, 1897, she married George Henry Crane, who died September 3, 1938. They had two children:  George Henry Crane, Jr. and Amy Rorick, now the wife of William Armstrong of Sharon, PA.

My sister, Leila Estell Rorick, was born on June 5, 1880. She married Albert V. Foster, September 16, 1903. They have three children:  Cordelia Foster Baither, Oscar Foster, and Robert Foster, all three of whom are here at the Reunion today.