Roger C. Dugan, Editor, 344 Sweetgum Dr, Knoxville, TN 37922
Welcome to the first Offord Roots newsletter! We have made some recent advances in the research into the descendants of Alexander and Hannah Offord, and I thought this might be a good way to let everyone know. We have discovered some new cousins from the Fouts line in Minnesota and this is also a good way to get everyone acquainted. I don't know how often I'll be able to get this out, given my present schedule I shouldn't be doing this now with my daughter's wedding coming up in less than two weeks, but the Memorial Day weekend has allowed me the opportunity. I was about to make a mailing to the older generation anyway so they might get acquainted.
Eventually, I would like to write a book (maybe a digital one on CD ROM) on the history of those folks who have roots going back to the farm in Morgan Co., OH that Alexander and Hannah settled sometime between 1850 and 1863. To do so, I would need your cooperation with family histories and photos of family members.
For those of you just now hearing about this, and not knowing you had any roots in Ohio, the farm is still in the family. I was raised on the farm and my father, Frank Dugan, 82, still resides there. My brother, Tom, and his family live just down the road on what used to be known as the Roberts place. You may find references to the Roberts family in old family documents and they appear in many old family photos. The house and barn that Alexander built in 1881 are still standing and in good condition. The location of the farm is about 2.5 miles north of McConnelsville on what is now called Dugan Rd.
I hope you enjoy this newsletter and I'm also hoping you will send me some articles to put in it. E-mail is the best way, although I still accept "snail mail". Copy this and send it to family members. If you will send me their addresses, I will put them on the list.
Alexander and Hannah
You might be asking: Who are these people? Here is a photo of Hannah and Alexander dating to about 1905 - 1910.
Alexander and Hannah Callaghan married in 1850 in McConnelsville, OH. In 1863, Alexander acquired the first portion of the farm, 110 acres, on a quit-claim deed from a Julia Scott for $40! However, his obituary indicates he may have been living on the farm prior to 1860. We don't know the full story on this and, perhaps, we never will. By 1881, the Offords had purchased the rest of the 160-acre quarter square and added the 80-acre Townsend place to the North. That is where the present house sits. We've pieced together some of this and will put it in later newsletters.
We don't know about Hannah's family. She was apparently born in VA in a part that is now WV. Her nickname may have been "Blake." Alexander was born in PA. His father, Samuel, was born in MD in 1800. There are still a few Offords there who think they may be related to us, but we haven't made the connection. (Note: African-Americans with an Offord surname generally trace their heritage to MD.) After Samuel's death in 1837, the family shows up in Zanesville, OH in 1840, where Alexander's brothers John and Samuel lived most of their lives. For some reason, Alex went one county south, married Hannah, and the rest is history.
How did I Get Into This?
In 1995, I was attending an engineering conference in Salt Lake City. I couldn't get in the main hotel and was placed in the Howard Johnson's across the alley from the Mormon's Family History Center. One evening, I strolled in there and some lady asked if she could help me. We did not know for sure the name of my great-grandfather on the Dugan side, so I posed that challenge to her. Within 20 minutes we had found a likely candidate! Needless to say, I got hooked and have found myself deeply involved in one of the most addictive hobbies the world has ever known. It is the third most common reason people use the Internet and I have gotten involved in that, too. While in Salt Lake, I also researched the Census records on the Offords and found the names of all the children of Alex and Hannah. There were 9: Martha (named after her grandmother Offord), Ida, Ella, Jeannie, Edward, Frank, Anna, Hattie, and Emma. At first, I was dismayed that so many were females. It is hard to trace the female side unless you know the married names. I knew about Frank, because I am descended from him and remembered "Aunt Emmy" because she was a "cheek-pincher" and can recall keeping my distance from her.
Later in 1995, I sat down with my father and asked him if he could tell me about the Offords. Other than Frank, Edward, and Emma, he couldn't come up with any of the names. Amazingly, when I read the first names of the children I had found, he immediately recalled the married names! He only missed one - confusing Pearson and Peairs (we have Pearsons on the Smith side). Then I set out to find these folks. The ones who stayed around McConnelsville for another generation were pretty well known.
The Infamous Barn Photo
The most interesting story in this search led to the recent connection to the MN branch of the family. These are the descendants of Richard and Ella Offord Fouts who married about 1875, left OH for IL and MO, and settled in MN about 1881. Among the photos of my grandmother, Mabel Offord Dugan, was a postcard of a barn, shown below
On the back was the note:
[Addressed to] Uncle Frank Offord From your niece Mrs. Hazel Remington. "This picture was taken in haying time and shows our crew. Earl and myself are standing by the team and colts. Earl's brother and little girl are on the rack in the center of the picture and our hired man on the other rack. The first and last teams and the little colts are the horses we own. I had a few of these cards left so I thot I would send one to you. The picture of the house I am sending Mabel was taken immediately after this picture."
In October 1998, we found reference to Villard, MN, in Frank Offord's obituary. Since the terrain in the photo looked like MN to us (too flat for anywhere else we knew relatives had gone), I posted the photo and text on the MN Genweb page. Within 3 days, someone from CA (not related) sent me the family history from the Villard Centennial book. Shortly, thereafter, someone from MD (also, not related) suggested I ask to have the photo published in the Pope County Tribune weekly newspaper. It appeared two or three weeks later. I received several calls over the next two weeks from people who had information. A follow-up article appeared and also generated calls. I still receive e-mails from people with more information. In some, the barn is standing and in others, it's not. I'll have to get up there some day to check it out for myself I guess.
The day the photo was published I spoke at length with Hazel Remington Abraham, granddaughter of the Hazel who wrote the note. She is in my generation and is my full 3rd cousin. Two weeks later, I received a call from Dorothy Lee Lee in Garfield, MN. She is in the previous generation.
I have traded several e-mails with Hazel and sent her several photos.
I have over 100 old photos copied and scanned to digital form. I encourage each of you to do likewise. Particularly, I need photos from the Peairs line (we have none) and the Gregg line (we have a few up to WW I). We don't think Edward had any children. He was apparently a minister who spent some time in Lenexa, KS, so there may be some photo evidence of him there. Apparently, the MN branch stayed in touch with the OH branch up until about 1940. But there are several gaps. Mostly, there are photos of the Fouts children until they married. We only have one photo of Richard Fouts and one of Ella in her old age.
If you scan them in, please e-mail the jpegs or put them on a disk and send them to me. (Include a key so I know what is what.)
The "Greatest Generation," as Tom Brokaw appropriately calls it, is quickly passing. With it goes our connection to the past. While I doubt if there are any alive who remember Alex and Hannah, since they died in 1910 and 1912, there are several still living who remember their children. They would be the grandparents of the older generation still living. Now is the time to write down all family remembrances before it is too late. We got Mom and Dad on video and that's another good way to do it. Also, look through your attics for any old letters, wills, and other documents. There is a listing of the descendants of Alex and Hannah through the 4th generation attached. Those in that generation who don't know each other might want to contact each other. Contact me for phone numbers, etc.
Dale & Linda McCormick, 2252 Edsel Dr., Milpitas, CA, 95035, is helping me with the descendants of Frank Offord and Adda Smith. We have quite a bit of information on this side of the family, since most stayed around McConnelsville until this generation.
As we pointed out, we have just made contact with the descendants of Richard Fouts and Ella Offord. Right now, most of my correspondence is with Hazel Abraham of Villard, MN, since she has e-mail. On that side of the family we have the following surnames: Remington, Lee, and Schmalek, at least. We are waiting to hear more.
The Peairs (sounds like Pierce) line continues to be a mystery to us. We finally got the spelling right and got them distinguished from the Pearsons last Fall. In April, Peggy and I visited friends in Fort Wayne, IN. Allen County has one of the most extensive genealogy libraries in the nation after the LDS church, so you know where I spent my time. I was able to track Wm and Martha "Mattie" Peairs from OH to near Carthage, IL and, finally, to Cameron, MO. I discovered they had 4 children and at least one married and had at least one child. In 1920, Lilly, 44, was living with her parents in Cameron with a son, Clyde Eggleston, 22.
One of the daughters was named "Ella C." according to the Census. Of course, Ella was used in the family and, since this Ella was born in OH before the family went to IL, I suspect she was named for her Aunt Ella (Fouts). I also suspect that Richard and Ella Fouts lived with, or near, Wm and Mattie when they left OH and went first to IL before going on to MO and MN. I wonder if the "C" stands for Carney. This appears several times in the Offord line and refers to Martha Carney, mother of Alexander.
We believe James Richardson (b. 1925, OH), son of Offord Richardson, is still living in California. Anyone who knows how to contact him, please let me know.
We may be mistaken, but we believe this line has died out. Anybody know for sure?
Sharon Clay, 7400 Highland Oaks Dr, Pleasanton, CA 94588, E-Mail:email@example.com, is helping with the Devol/Roberts descendants. Sharon is not a descendant, but was married to Jackie Eugene Clay, who was killed in an accident about 10 years ago. We met recently in Fremont while I was there for an engineering project for PG&E.
We have no record of contact since WW I and do not know of descendants of Orville and Fred.
The Offord name is gone (almost) from Morgan Co. Frank had no male offspring and we don't think Edward had any either. In recognition of that fact, some used "Offord" as first or middle names, e.g., Offord Richardson. Gene Offord McCormick is still living in McConnelsville. Obviously, there was some pride in the name.
Another name commonly used for a middle name was Carney. You'll find it particularly among the descendants of John Carney Offord, Alexander's brother.
Lena and Hazel was used frequently in the MN and OH branches. In fact, the Hazel in OH was Lena Hazel. Martha also is repeated, stemming from the grand matriarch of the family, and who knows how far back that might go if we could find our Carney roots.
There was more than one Frank Offord. Our Frank was a 1st cousin of another Frank in Zanesville. There were also at least two named Charles.
Samuel and Edward also appear to be old family names. There is an Offord line in Eastern Ohio that still uses these names extensively. We suspect we are related, but cannot yet prove it.
I do a lot of my research on the Internet. If you are connected, refer to my website:
and follow the link to Genealogy. Then follow links to the Surname or Persons index. That will take you to Pedigree charts. Check out the Interesting Photos link, too.
I do not post anything but names for living persons. However, for the previous generations, I have my complete notes on line. Just scroll down past the pedigree chart to see them. Let me know what is in error and I will correct it (eventually).
The Web pages are generally about 6 months behind, so don't panic if you don't see the information you just sent me. I've got a big stack of stuff here on the desk to get caught up on.
I'll send a GEDCOM of my most recent database to family members who are doing research. If you don't know what a GEDCOM is, you probably don't want one. However, if you're into computers, go buy a genealogy program and let's get connected! There are also several freeware and shareware programs you can download, such as Brother's Keeper, which I use most of the time.