Did You Know That?

Almost a centenarian at the time of his death, William Rorick passed away in 1898. He was widely known as Seneca’s pioneer and Morenci’s oldest citizen.

Mr. Rorick was remarkably long-lived and especially so considering for a period of almost 40 years he had been more or less of an invalid. But he possessed a naturally powerful physique which carried him through to the advanced age of nearly 93 years.

He had a kindly, generous nature and cheerily greeted passerby’s as he sat on the porch of his residence in the summer or the visitors who came to his room in the colder seasons. Everyone liked “Uncle Billy” as he was universally called. He took pride in the family he had reared.

William Rorick was born in Sussex County, N.J., March 30, 1805. He made the journey to what was then called the “Lake Country” in the state of New York, a distance of 500 miles on foot. Before leaving N.J., he took the precaution to buy a pair of half soles for his boots, but carried them only as far as Horseheads in his pocket where he paid 23 cents to have them put on.

This trip was made in 1828, during the Presidential campaign. He used to relate every detail of a barbecue that was held on the route, where a whole ox was roasted for the occasion. He was a Democrat, but he had a companion who was a Whig. They agreed that they would both hurrah for Jackson and get a slice of ox. When it came to a test, his associate weakened and was chased out of camp. Mr. Rorick hurrahed for Jackson and ate ox and then joined his hungry companion and tramped on.

He worked the first winter for his board for a widow, getting the entire timber for a large barn. After that he worked by the day until May 22, 1830, when he married Phebe Ann Breese and bought a piece of land near Elmira, New York, and cleared a farm which he sold in 1836. He then started with his family for Michigan, driving the whole distance in a covered wagon and crossing the river at Detroit on ice. He arrived on December 31.

He worked for H.S. Russell and then bought the first 40 acres of the “old farm” in Seneca and commenced the pioneer’s struggle for material advancement, having a one room log cabin in a four acre clearing with a brush fence.

His wife passed away September 1, 1858 and May 25, 1859 he married Elmira Wintermute of New Jersey, who passed away in Morenci, January 21, 1888. His brothers Estell and Cosper came to Michigan soon after he did. These three brothers married three sisters, the Breese sisters, Phebe, Hannah and Nancy.

Source: Lundahl, Helen Rorick. (n.d.) The Rorick Family in America. (NB: This manuscript is held in the Toledo-Lucas County Library and contains a number of transcriptions of undated newspaper clippings.)

 

 

Well Known Morenci Resident Passes Away

Mark C. Rorick, older son of Cosper and Nancy A. Breese Rorick, was born on a farm in Seneca township, Michigan Dec. 7, 1845 and died Feb. 6, 1922. His brother Leroy W. was born Sept. 14, 1847. He lived with his parents in a log house until the brick house was built in ’68. Cosper Rorick, father of M.C. Rorick, had a small clearing 3-4 mile north of what is now Seneca village, woods being on all sides. Canandaigua was the nearest post office and trading point combined and traveling was accomplished entirely by ox team or by horse back. The nearest church was at Medina, seven miles distant, and this they attended every Sunday morning. It was necessary to make an early start as they drove an ox team and wagon with a board across the wagon box for the little boys.

When about five years of age “Mark” commenced school in the home district 2 1/2 miles way in the Rorick district today. He walked back and forth to school. When the Tufts school house was being built he attended school in a part of the James Lord home, temporarily.

A part of the home farm was deeded for school purposes and the new building was considered adequate for that time. One feature differing from today was the interior arrangement by which the boys and girls sat facing one another. Then he attended school in Canandaigua and later at Medina Academy for one year, where he and his brother boarded themselves.

Adrian was the center of trade for the county at that time and they planned to make the return trip in a day to that point when taking produce, which made a long hard day.

About this time he met the girl of his choice, Mary S. Porter, who was attending Medina Academy. They were married at the parsonage in Medina by Rev. Boyington, Aug. 9, 1868, which was a surprise to their near relatives, as a triple wedding had been under consideration to include Estell H. Rorick and S.K. Porter, who were married the 20th of the same month.

Mr. and Mrs. Rorick lived for one year with his parents in the brick house when they bought 40 acres adjoining on the south and moved into a log house, where they spent one winter and two summers. While the log house was a shelter it would not seem livable to the young folks of today, being of one room with a loft overhead. The windows were stationary and of six small panes.

With great resourcefulness the lack of a clock was overcome by the ingenious device of drawing a line at a certain angle on the doorstep so on a sunny day the young housewife cold tell when to start preparations for dinner. On account of the discomforts of winter the young couple moved back with the parents into the commodious brick house. They sold their forty acres, bought forty of Mr. Rorick’s father and added more to it until there were the 185 acres now owned by John P. Rorick. They remained here until they came to Morenci twenty-seven years ago.

In 1870 the Wabash railroad was built through Seneca and a little village sprang up, including a post office and church. Soon they felt the need of a new church and Mr. Rorick was, with others, successful in soliciting funds for a new building.

Their home was always open to traveling ministers, school masters, singing teachers, or whoever came to the little church for special occasions. It was always a great satisfaction to Mr. Rorick to be able to entertain his friends in his home and to act as host at his bountiful table. His hospitality was unquestioned. Later this church burned to the ground and Mr. Rorick contributed liberally toward a new one, and before this was completed it was struck by lightning and again burned down, to all of which he helped materially.

For many years he was school director and was always interested in anything pertaining to the public good. He was ambitious and unusually strong. He cleared a large amount of land with the ox team. A singular coincidence may be mentioned in that M.C. Rorick and his brother Leroy married sisters, lived in close relationship on adjoining farms and each had a son born on the same day.

The father, Cosper Rorick, died in 1874. To Mr. and Mrs. Rorick were born three children, John Porter, Myrtie, wife of E.N. Baldwin of Fayette, O., and Maude, who died at the age of fourteen.

Mr. Rorick was one of the first dairy farmers in the county, sending his milk to the Horton cheese factory. He took great interest in the county fair, acting as judge for several years, also in the three town Pioneer picnic, which was held annually in a grove near Seneca.

His heart was always with the farmer and his problems, which he solved by himself by hard work, good business judgment and strictest economy. All through his life in Morenci his love remained for the old home on the farm, which though the early years were full of hardship was sacred with the memories of home life.

After coming to Morenci Mr. Rorick entered the retail grocery and meat business, also wool and stock buying. Her purchased at different times more farms which he improved and cultivated.

He joined the Knights of Pythias order as charter member, and has been one of the most loyal, active members to the time of his death.

He had a gift of being able to rise and represent the order, whether at home or in the lodge room of a neighboring town, in a very pleasing manner. His mother’s death occurred in 1912 and the brother Leroy in 1917. The brothers loved each other with a deep loyalty, in fact love of family was a strong characteristic of the deceased.

For many years the Rorick family reunion was an annual event of importance and his home was always ready for the gathering if needed. Mr. and Mrs. Rorick celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary some three years ago. One of the greatest problems before the American people today would be solved if the example of their home life could be more closely imitated. The question comes to one’s mind, with their advantages of education and means, the younger men and women of today will take up the work of the passing generation and apply to it the same amount of ambition and courage. If so what wonderful things may be accomplished.

There remain thirteen grandchildren who have a splendid heritage of honesty, thrift, integrity, loyalty and ambition. Mr. Rorick was strong in the principles he believed to be right, a strong advocate of temperance, staunch member of the Democratic party, always interested in matters of public interest with careful, prompt attention to detail of the management of his farms, which would mean success in any business enterprise. He possessed an unusually social nature and many friends will miss his face at the window, as he would wave a friendly hand to passersby and welcome calls from his physician and friends.

The grandchildren even to the youngest, will never forget the welcome always awaiting them at grandfather’s home.

In the passing of Mr. Rorick the last of the double cousins to bear the Rorick name, descendants of the three Rorick brothers who married three Breese sisters, has gone. But the closing of a well ordered and well spent life bears out the prophecy of Job,

Thou shalt come to thy grave in a full age,
like a shock of corn cometh in his season.

The funeral service was held at 2 o’clock, Wednesday, at the home on Main Street and was conducted by Rev. H.A. Manahn and Judge B.L. Hart. The remains were laid to rest in Oak Grove Cemetery. The pall bearers were John Poucher, C.F. Buck, Oliver Onweller, A.A. Kennedy, Ed. Gallup and Tom Snow.

Those from out of town who were in attendance at the funeral were E.N. Baldwin of Fayette, Mrs. W.D. Murphy of Columbus, John Cole of Weston, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Crane, John Rorick and F.T. Sullivan of Fayette, A.V. Foster of Toledo, Mr. and Mrs. George Horton of Fruit Ridge, E.B. Root of Adrian, Judge and Mrs. B.L. Hart of Adrian, Melvin McCloe of Detroit, Mr. and Mrs. James Scott and Mrs. Carl Guss of Medina, Mr. and Mrs. Bert Porter of Weston and Mr. and Mrs. Ed. Moore of Canandaigua.

Source:  Lundahl, Helen Rorick.  (n.d.) The Rorick Family in America.  (NB: This manuscript is held in the Toledo-Lucas County Library and contains a number of transcriptions of undated newspaper clippings.)

A Well Known Citizen Gone

Death of Leroy W. Rorick at his Home in Morenci Last Saturday Morning

Leroy W. Rorick, a well known citizen of Morenci, died at his home here last Saturday morning, March 10, 1917, after an illness of several months. The funeral service was held Monday under the direction of the K. of P. Lodge of which he was a member.

Judge B.L. Hart of Adrian and Hon. B.D. Chandler of Hudson, who represented the order, gave words of sympathy and helpfulness to the bereaved family.

Miss Virginia Wilson sang a solo. The out of town relatives who attended the funeral were: Mrs. William Rorick of Buffalo, N.Y., Mrs. Spencer Sloan, Mrs. Della McCloe, H.C. Rorick and wife, A.V. Foster and wife of Toledo, J.C. Rorick of Wauseon, Dr. and Mrs. E.H. Rorick, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Sullivan, P.F. Cawley and daughter, Helen, Earl Baldwin and wife, John Rorick and Mrs. G.H. Crane of Fayette, Hon. G.B. Horton and John Cole of Weston.

Leroy W. Rorick was born in Seneca township, Sept. 14, 1847. His father, Cosper Rorick, a native of New Jersey, came to Michigan in 1840 and commenced with the pioneers in the work of changing a wilderness to a domain of elegant homes and productive farms. His father was married to Nancy A. Breese, Jan. 15, 1845, and they settled on a farm one mile north of Seneca in a log house with primitive surroundings, where Leroy was born. He grew up on the farm laboring with his father in the fields as boys in those days did and walking two and a half miles to a district school house for his education which was completed at the Medina Academy.

He was married Feb. 10, 1870 to Harriet L. Porter to whom were born one daughter, Nellie R., wife of Dr. Murphy of Columbus, OH and Cosper M., cashier of the First National Bank of Morenci. He commenced the work of an active life on the farm where he resided until 1888, when he moved to Morenci where he lived a retired life for one year, then going to Fayette where he purchased a livery business which he successfully followed for nine years. Disposing of the same, he followed the business of harness making for about six years in Morenci, after he which he purchased a farm two miles west of Weston where he resided about three years. He then purchased a small country home near Seneca where he lived until the spring of 1916 when he built a home and moved to Morenci.

His life has been a full demonstration of industry, kindness and business integrity and his faithful friends are numerous wherever he is known. His departure is mourned by all who knew him. He is survived by one brother, Mark C. Rorick of Morenci.

Source:  Lundahl, Helen Rorick.  (n.d.) The Rorick Family in America.  (NB: This manuscript is held in the Toledo-Lucas County Library and contains a number of transcriptions of undated newspaper clippings.)

Did You Know That?

John C. Rorick was born near Elmira, N.Y. in 1834. He came to Seneca Township with his parents, William Rorick and wife, Phebe (Breese) Rorick in 1836. In 1867 he was owner of a spoke factory at Canandaigua and also dealt in real estate.

In 1864 he purchased the Sherman Hotel in Wauseon. He soon sold this hotel and he and his brother, Jacob M. Rorick, bought the Morenci Exchange Hotel. At the time he was in the butter business and patented the Rorick system for working store butter which added millions of dollars to the value of butter purchased from the producers in the general market. Mr. Rorick was educated in the Medina Academy and began teaching at the age of 18 years. He soon went to Wauseon and lived there.

Source:  Lundahl, Helen Rorick.  (n.d.) The Rorick Family in America.  (NB: This manuscript is held in the Toledo-Lucas County Library and contains a number of transcriptions of undated newspaper clippings.)

The Hon. John C. Rorick, Native Elmiran, Died in the West

The Republican of Wauseon, O., under the date of December 10, contains an account of the death and a brief sketch of the life of John C. Rorick, who was born near Horseheads. He was a lineal descendant of the early Breese settlers of this valley and until recent years always came to Horseheads to attend the annual reunions of the family and enjoyed an extensive acquaintance in his native county as well as in adopted state. The Republican says:

“Hon. John C. Rorick died at his home on East Elm street, Wednesday afternoon after an illness extending over several months. Mr. Rorick was one of the foremost citizens of the county, a wealth and successful businessman and was identified with several of the banks, business houses and in [sic] institutions.

“He first came to this place in 1865 and purchased the Sherwood House. The next year he removed to Michigan where he remained till 1872 when he again came to Wauseon where he has since resided.

“Mr. Rorick enjoyed the confidences of his fellow man. He served them faithfully and they gave him places of high honor. Twice he was elected to the state board of equalization of property for taxation and in these positions, he won the reputation of being the friend of the average man. His work was marked by ability, fearlessness and honesty.

“Governor Harris appointed Mr. Rorick a member of the state board of Ohio penitentiary managers where he demonstrated his ability as a financier of the first rank. Here he gave the people an efficient, economical administration. In 1911 he was elected a member of the state constitutional convention.

“In all public service Mr. Rorick has proven faithful to every trust reposed in him and he leaves a record and a name untarnished. He kept the faith of he served and made his word as good as his bond.

“John C. Rorick was born near Elmira, N.Y., February 13, 1834 and moved with his parents to Lenawee county, Mich., in 1836. Here he grew to manhood and endured all the hardships of pioneer life. His education he secured mostly by home study. He taught school for a short time and then completed a commercial course, graduating from the Gregory Commercial college, of Detroit.

“For some months Mr. Rorick had been in failing health and in the afternoon of December 8, this active, useful life was ended. He was survived by his wife, a foster daughter, Mrs. W.C. McConnell, of Adrian; a brother, Dr. E.H. Rorick, of Fayette.

“He was commander of the associated G.A.R. organization and a member of Wauseon lodge, Knights of Pythias.”

Source: Elmira Telegram, December 26, 1920.

Hannah Breese Rorick

One by one the pioneers who prepared the way for the religious and material prosperity of our state are passing from our midst. We do well to pause in our rapid life and look back upon the times and conditions out of which they brought law, order, and prosperity from the primitive forest and savage conditions.

Mrs. Hannah Rorick, born in 1819 in Chemung County, N.Y., was married to Deacon Estell Rorick in 1836. They came to Lenawee County in 1837 and settled in the wild unbroken country and worked out for themselves and their children character and material prosperity worthy of all founders of our state. Early in her married life, joining the visible Church of God, she was for nearly 60 years a member of the Baptist Church. First in all good work for Church and State, earnest, careful for essential things of both religion and government, but liberal to all the differing views.

Their home was open for other denominations as well as their own. Their open hand was ready for the cause of Christ by whomsoever represented. In the fullness of years, God has called her to himself and to the husband who preceded her 16 years ago.

At her funeral, which was conducted by her pastor, Rev. J. McLean, from the home of her daughter, Mrs. S.K. Porter of Seneca, were gathered her children, Cosper Rorick, Mrs. P.H. Spear, Mrs. Rorick Bennett and Mrs. Porter with their children and grandchildren, a goodly number of strong earnest men and women of two generations who will honor her memory and in her life find an example worthy of their emulation and inspiration to higher living and a check to the temptations which assail them in the battle of life.

Mrs. G.H. Crane and Mrs. A.V. Foster of Toledo are granddaughters of Mrs. Rorick. The Estell Rorick farm is where Herbert Rorick, a great-grandson lives.

Source: The Christian Herald, November 19, 1897.

Cosper M. Rorick

Cosper M. Rorick, who is one of the representative business men of the younger generation in the village of Morenci, where he is manager of the W.A. Mace real estate and loan business, is a native son of Lenawee county and a scion of one of the old and honored families of this section of the state. He was born in Seneca township, this county, Dec. 31, 1874, and is a son of Leroy W. and Harriet L. (Porter) Rorick, both of whom were likewise born in Seneca township, where their respective parents located in the early pioneer period. Casper Rorick, paternal grandfather of of the subject of this review, was a native of New Jersey, and he came to Lenawee County, Michigan, as one of the early settlers of Seneca township, where he eventually became the owner of a landed estate of 400 acres, a very considerable portion of which he reclaimed to cultivation prior to this death, which occurred Nov. 27, 1874. His venerable widow, whose maiden name was Nancy A. Breese, now maintains her home in the village of Morenci, where she is held in reverent affection as one of the noble pioneer women of the county. Leroy Rorick was reared to manhood on the old home-stead farm, and after duly availing himself of the advantages of the common schools of Seneca township he continued his studies for some time in Medina Academy. He continued to be actively identified with agricultural pursuits for many years after initiating his independent career, but in the late 80’s he removed from his farm in Fayette, Fulton County, Ohio, which lies contiguous to Lenawee County, Mich., and was there engaged in a livery business for a period of nine years. He then disposed of his various interests in Fayette and took up his residence in the village of Morenci. A few months later he returned to his farm in Seneca township, where he has since lived virtually retired and where is enjoying the reward of former years of toil and endeavor. He is well known and highly esteemed in this country and while he has never been an aspirant for public office he has given a zealous support to the cause of the Democrat party.

He is affiliated with Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Knights of Pythias.

Of the two children, the subject of this sketch is the younger, and the older child, Nellie, is now the wife of Dr. William D. Murphy, who is engaged in the practice of his profession in the city of Columbus, Ohio, and who is recognized as a physician and surgeon of marked ability. He was graduated from Starling Medical College, Columbus, Ohio, and after his graduation began the practice of his profession in Fayette, that state, where he remained until the spring of 1908, when he returned to the capital city of the state, where he has secured a representative clientage. He is a Republican in politics and was a member of the board of pension examiners in Fulton County, Ohio, as well as a member of the village council of Fayette.

He is affiliated with the Masonic fraternity, in which he has attained to the thirty-second degree of the Scottish Rite, and also is affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Knights of Pythias. He and his wife have three children — Leroy, William and John. Dr. and Mrs. Murphy are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Cosper M. Rorick, the immediate subject of this review, secured his preliminary educational training in the public schools of Seneca, and after completing the curriculum of the high school he was for some time a student in the Normal School in Fayette, Ohio. After leaving school he was associated with his father in the livery business in Fayette, and about 1898 he came to Morenci, where he purchased the harness and saddlery business of Leroy S. Brener. He continued the enterprise until 1900, when he sold the business to his father, who later sold it to William Sears. Since retiring from this enterprise the subject of this review has held the responsible position of manager of the real-estate and loan business of W.A. Mace, in which connection the farm lands controlled aggregate fully 800 acres.

In his political allegiance Mr. Rorick is found arrayed as a loyal supporter of the cause of the Democratic party, and he served four years as township treasurer of Seneca township, as township supervisor for one year. He is affiliated with the Masonic fraternity and the Knights of Pythias.

On Nov. 30, 1897, Mr. Rorick was united in marriage with Miss Georgia L. Mace, daughter of George A. and Jennie (Starkweather) Mace, the former of whom died in 1875 and the latter is now a resident of the city of Lansing, Mich., though both were reared and educated in Lenawee County. Mr. and Mrs. Rorick have four children: Amanda, W. Kirk, Leroy Max, and George M.

Source: Bonner, Richard Illenden. 1909. Memoirs of Lenawee County. Volume 2. Madison, WI: Western Historical Association.

Elias B. Rorick

Elias B. Rorick was born in Horse Heads, Chemung County, N.Y., December 9, 1831, and came to Michigan with his parents in December, 1836. His father, William Rorick, was born in Deckertown, Sussex County, N.J., March 30, 1805, and was the son of Jacob and Elizabeth (Wilson) Rorick, who were natives of Sussex County. The ancestor of the Rorick family was a German, who settled in Sussex County, N.J., early in the 18th century. The ancestors of the Wilson family were Irish. William Rorick lived in Sussex County until 1826, when he went “West,” and settled in the “Lake Country” near Horse Heads, and lived there until the fall of 1836. In December, that year, he started for Michigan with a team of horses, coming through Canada, and crossed the Detroit River from Windsor on the ice. From Detroit he came to Adrian, and finally settled on Section 18, in Seneca Township, in this county. Here he was successful and continued to purchase land until he owned some 200 acres. He resided on this farm for about 35 years. He was a thrifty, successful businessman, and was held in high esteem by all who came in contact with him.

He became a victim of ill health, and about 1875 removed to the village of Morenci, where he died, January 15, 1898. May 22, 1830, William Rorick married Miss Phoebe Ann Breese, daughter of Elias and Deborah (Bennett) Breese, Horse Heads, N.Y., and they had five children, as follows: Elias B., John C., Jacob M., Estell H., and Lussetta. Mrs. Phoebe (Breese) Rorick was born in Horse Heads, N.Y., October 27, 1811, and died in Seneca, this county, September 1, 1858.

Elias B. Rorick was reared a farmer, and was educated in the primitive country school house, supplemented by a three months’ course in the Medina Academy, J.M. Barrows, principal. At the age of seventeen years he went to Adrian, and for two years was engaged as clerk in the then large and prosperous hardware store of George L. Bidwell. In 1852, he went to Corning, N.Y., and for two years acted as clerk in a dry goods store. In the winter of 1854-5 he went to Cleveland, Ohio, and spent three months in Fulsom’s Commercial School. In the spring of 1855 he went to Green Bay, Wis., where he was engaged for six months in the fish business with a Cleveland, Ohio firm. The next two years he spent at Ontonagon, as manager of the Evergreen Bluff copper mine. He returned home in the spring of 1856, making the trip from Ontonagon to Green Bay with dogs and Indians. In April 1856, he went to Kansas in the height of the “Border Ruffian” troubles and witnessed many thrilling scenes. He soon found employment in the government corps of topographical engineers who were selecting a route for a future railroad to San Francisco. He remained in this service for about six months, and returned home in December. In the year 1857 he went back to agriculture, which he followed for about three years, when he went to Aurora, Illinois, and farmed it for about seven years.

In 1867 he went to Chillicothe, Mo., purchased a small farm, and remained there until 1869, when he returned and went on his father’s farm. In April 1873, he removed to the village of Morenci and went into the employ of J.P. Cawley & Co. in the general mercantile business. That fall he went to work for Rothrock, Cawley & Green, in the hardware business, and has been engaged in that trade ever since. In April, 1876, he purchased a half interest in the store, in company with Henry E. Green. He was for 27 years express agent and six years postmaster in Morenci. In 1896 he was made cashier of the Bank of Morenci. In 1900 a national bank was organized, and Mr. Rorick was elected president, which position he now holds. He has acted as Town Clerk for six years, and has served on the public school board for 25 years.

He is a member of the Congregational Church, and affiliates with the Republican party. August 25, 1857, Elias B. Rorick married Miss Mary A. Corwin, daughter of George E. Corwin, of Batavia, Ill., and they had three children, as follows: Luella, born in Seneca, this county, June 9, 1858, married Pearly [sic] Cawley, of Morenci, was the mother of three children, and died in Fayette, Ohio, November 27, 1899; William B., born in Aurora, Ill., August 12, 1861, resides in Morenci, and is engaged in the hardware business; George C., born same place, November 29, 1863, died July 11, 1889.

Mrs. Mary A. (Corwin) Rorick was born in Watkins Glen, N.Y., March 14, 1835, and died in Morenci, March 23, 1895. September 21, 1899, Mr. Rorick married Miss Amelia Shepherd, of Morenci. She was born in Monroeville, Ohio, March 16, 1850. Her parents were English, and were early settlers in Huron County, Ohio. They afterwards removed to Fulton County, where they resided for many years. Her mother died in Morenci, June 9th, 1898.

Source: Knapp, John I. and R.I. Bonner. 1903. Illustrated History and Biographical Record of Lenawee County, Michigan. Adrian, MI: The Times Printing Company.