Sunday, October 25, 2009


"We have a relative named Lulu? Sweet!" These were the words of my niece when I mentioned that my blog post would be on my great-great-grandmother, Lulu Dunn Wardlow.

I first learned of Lulu when I found her obituary in my grandmother's Bible. I asked my dad if he knew her. He said he did and that "she was a nice old lady." He couldn't tell me much more, except that he remembered his grandmother's family discussing Lulu's walking a half mile across a field to her daughter's home . . . at the age of 90.

Lulu Dunn was born to Robert and Elmina Shaw Dunn on August 20, 1854 in Sardinia, Ohio. She married John Reese Wardlow on August 3, 1873. They had nine children, the second of whom was my great-grandmother, Dora Elma Wardlow. John Wardlow was a farmer.

The first picture I saw of Lulu was the one below, of a family gathering, probably in the early to mid-1930s. Lulu is second from the left in the back row. I had a hard time picturing this unassuming elderly lady hiking a half mile to visit her daughter.

Then a distant relative was kind enough to share a picture of a younger Lulu. Now, this lady could walk half a mile across a field and harvest a crop and wrestle a bear on her way. She is neat as a pin and has a look of quiet determination. She looks kind and reliable. And I bet her children didn't have to wait until their father came in from the fields to be disciplined.

The saying goes that a picture is worth a thousand words. Perhaps I'm reading too much into this picture of Lulu. However, I'm sure the same words could be used to describe any number of other women of her generation. They weren't famous and aren't mentioned in history books. All they did was raise children and work until their hands were raw and nurse sick children (who sometimes didn't survive) and send their sons off to war. As my niece would say, "Sweet!"

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Cemetery Scare

In honor of Halloween, in this post I will share a frightening experience I had at Troutwine Cemetery in Lynchburg, Ohio.

Several of my Dudley family members are buried at Troutwine. My great-grandparents, Jesse (1847-1925) and Mary Shaper Dudley (1861-1947) are buried there. Jesse's sister, Jane Dudley Setty (1845-1901) is buried at Troutwine. Two of Jesse's and Mary's sons, Lewis (1880-1906) and Thomas (1890-1940), are buried there was well. My uncles Everett (1918-1924) and Mitchell Donaldson (1922-1923) are also buried at Troutwine Cemetery.

The day we visited, the cemetery was sun-drenched. It was a bright day and there weren't any trees in the cemetery to obstruct the sunlight. There were some wooded areas surrounding the cemetery. The grounds were well-maintained, not overgrown and neglected. As cemeteries go, this was a pleasant place.

Or so I thought. I was exploring the cemetery and walked toward a section that bordered a slightly wooded area. I was reading the headstones when I heard it. "Ooooooooh . . . oooooooh." I gasped! My heart was pounding! A ghost! As I began to come to my senses I heard it again. "Oooooooh . . . ." I carefully turned toward the sound. And there in the wooded area bordering the cemetery I saw it . . . a cow.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Quaker Lambs

A couple of years after beginning my family history research, I decided it was time to compile my findings. At that point, I was somewhat perplexed over the Lamb family. Other than the basic information I found on censuses, I didn't know much about them.

My grandfather, Eddie Earl Donaldson, was the son of Mary Cordelia (Molly) Lamb. Molly was the daughter of Nathan and Anna Lamb. When I first compiled my research, I didn't know Nathan and Anna's parents' names, Anna's maiden name, or when they died.

One day I was perusing Wabash County, Indiana cemetery records when I found an entry for a Nathan Lamb at the Friends Cemetery. Initially, I thought it might have been a different Nathan Lamb or that he might have been buried in a Quaker cemetery even though he hadn't been Quaker. After all, my mom had never heard anything about Quakers in the family.

I decided to pursue the possibility that the Lambs were Quakers, first looking in William Wade Hinshaw's Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy. The floodgates opened. I was able to find information which confirmed that the Lambs were Friends. I was able to find information on generations of Lambs and other ancestors of whom I had previously been unaware.

One of my favorite characters in the Lamb family is my 3X great-grandfather, Jonathan Lamb. The peace-loving Quakers disciplined him on more than one occasion for his temper. In 1834, he was reported for "getting angry with one of his fellow creatures and using profane language." I like to think that Jonathan's anger was righteous - he was trying to right a wrong or taking a stand for an unpopular, but morally correct, position. On the other hand, he might have just been the black sheep (or in this case, the black Lamb) of the family.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wardlow Cemetery

On Memorial Day weekend 2003, my family travelled to Washington Township, Brown County, Ohio to visit the Wardlow Cemetery. My dad was quite weak by that time, due to the disease that would take his life less than three months later. We brought a lawn chair for him to sit in because he was so weak and standing was painful for him. However, he struggled to his feet and managed to walk around the cemetery with my eight-year-old niece and me to visit the grave sites of five generations of our family.

We walked to the rear of the cemetery to the oldest gravestone, which belongs to Samuel Wardlaw. Samuel and his wife, Elizabeth Nesbitt Wardlaw, moved from Virginia to Ohio with his parents Robert and Janet Wardlaw, and his brothers and sisters and their spouses. They were among the first settlers in this area and once owned the land where the cemetery is located. Samuel died in 1848. A foot stone marked EW was the only marker of Elizabeth's grave.

Samuel and Elizabeth's son, Levi, and his wife Abby Hall Wardlow are also buried in the cemetery. Some time in Samuel's and Levi's lifetime, the spelling of the family name changed from "Wardlaw" to "Wardlow." Unlike his parents and grandparents who travelled from Virginia to Kentucky and on to Ohio, Levi reportedly never strayed far from the homestead. He is quoted as saying that he had never seen the Ohio River, which was only around 25 miles away. Levi died in 1890 and Abby in 1891.

John Reese Wardlow was Levi and Abby's son. He and his wife, Lulu Dunn Wardlow, are buried near their daughter, Dora Elma Wardlow Ballein and her husband, Noah Hite Ballein. The Wardlow branch of my family were farmers through Elma and Hite's generation. Elma and Hite are buried next to their daughter, Jennie Esther Ballein Davis and her husband, James Quincy Davis. Esther and Quincy Davis were my dad's parents.

Under the canopy of trees covering the cemetery, we visited the graves of aunts, uncles, and cousins, some my dad had known and others he had not. We stood beneath the ancient oak tree that met our ancestors when they came to this burying ground to mourn and honor their loved ones. This was my dad's last visit to the Wardlow Cemetery and I will always remember the effort he made to honor his past.