Footville & Westfield Visit

I finally made my way up to Footville to visit Dad for a couple of days. I had originally intended to go up the previous weekend but I had some oral surgery late in the week and I didn’t think it would be prudent to make the drive while taking pain killers. When I called Dad last week to let him know I was coming, he told me that he was going to visit Ruth but I was welcome to stay anyway. Since I planned to go up on Friday and return Monday, I’d get to spend some time with him. Since part of the trip was to do some research and just relax, it worked out pretty well. I had considered postponing the trip another week but I’m needed for the big move this weekend.

On the way up I paid a visit to the Genealogy and Local History Room at the Morley Library in Painesville. Armed with my list of obituaries, I began looking them up in the Telegraph and News-Herald archives. I managed to locate all but one of the obituaries on my list. I couldn’t get Mabel (Warren) Pettit’s because there was apparently an error when that edition of the paper was filmed and the obituary page was not filmed. Now I should have nearly all of my grandaunts and granduncles in the Warren and Webster lines. In the next few days, I’ll be working to get them on the web page.

On Saturday, I drove up to Westfield to see if I could find the graves of Aunt Pat and my cousins, Jeff and Vicki Ossman. I located the church but, apparently the cemetery next to the church was not the correct cemetery. It’s the St. James Cemetery and, as far as I know, they were all buried in the Westfield Cemetery, located around the corner on Academy Street. It turned out that the cemetery is much larger than I had anticipated. I began walking up and down rows of graves and stumbled upon an Ossman family plot but it the John and Minnie Ossman family plot. I wander through a few sections and realized that finding the graves would be a stroke of luck and I could easily spend the entire day looking. I had forgotten to write down Uncle Paul’s number before I left the house. I did find a sign which had an address for the Westfield Cemetery Association. I’ll write and see if they can provide me with some information. I’ll try again next summer.

The trip to Westfield has a secondary objective, Skinny-Dip Falls in Chautauqua Gorge. I headed in the general direction based on what I thought I remembered from the directions I’d received. Unfortunately, I did not remember them correctly, nor did I remember to print them and bring them with me from Dayton. It turns out I had passed by the side road which would have led me to it. Another reason to make a trip next summer.

I spent the time alone at the house relaxing, doing some yoga, and reading. During the day, I spent as much time outdoors as I could as it was warmer outside than it was inside the house. The house is very well insulated, to say the least. Whenever I was in the house, I found it necessary to don a sweatshirt.

The book I was reading was Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick. It’s a factual account of Plymouth Colony in the 55-years between the voyage of the Mayflower and King Phillip’s War. He tells the real stories behind the myths and the stories the myths either don’t mention or they gloss over them. Fascinating reading and several direct ancestors are pivotal characters. It certainly gave me a new appreciation for the hardships they faced in coming to New England. The book also gave me a greater understanding of the differences between the Puritans and the Pilgrims. Though they had similar religous views, the Pilgrims were generally much more tolerant than the Puritans.

The time with my father was well-spent. I always come away with some new knowledge and practical lessons in farmer-engineering and self-sufficiency.

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One Response

  1. Mason Funeral Home in Westfield responded to my email and described where the graves are located in the cemetery on Academy Street. I think I was close but didn’t go far enough. I’ll try to make another trip up there in the spring.

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