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.