A Portrait of Jennie

I was searching through my ancestors’ names to get ideas for my blog and Jennie Ballein caught my eye. Now, Jennie Esther Ballein was my paternal grandmother, but the Jennie who captured my attention was her aunt. I haven’t done much research on Jennie Ballein, but I do know that she has a unique distinction in my family tree.

Jennie Ballein was born October 12, 1864 in Brown County, Ohio to Peter and Margaret Kincaid Ballein. At the time of her birth, Jennie’s father had just completed four months service in Company B of the 172nd Ohio Infantry during the Civil War.

Jennie grew up near Sardinia in Brown County, Ohio with her eight brothers and sisters. On September 7, 1887, she married John Rush Srofe of Green Township in Brown County. They had two children, a son, Clyde Leroy and a daughter, Berdetta. Jennie and John divorced sometime between 1910 and 1920 (obviously I need to do a little more research). John had remarried by 1921 and died in 1944.

Jennie, however, still had some living to do. At the age of 65 in 1930, she was living in Georgetown, Ohio with Berdetta and her husband, Harry Galliher. I’m really not sure what she was up to in the next 34 years. Yes, 34 years! I first became aware of Jennie when I found the newspaper clipping at the right in my grandmother’s Bible.

The caption below the photo reads, “CENTENARIAN – Mrs. Jennie Ballein Srofe, a native of the Sardinia community, who makes her home with her daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Harry Galliher, of 431 Kenwood Ave., Georgetown, will observe her 100th birthday on Monday, Oct. 12. Members of the Georgetown Presbyterian Church will honor Mrs. Srofe Sunday with a cottage prayer meeting followed by a visitation by members of the church and public from 3 to 4 p.m. Mrs. Srofe was born in 1864 and was married in 1888 to John R. Srofe . A son, Clyde L., died on August 18.”

Jennie died on May 7, 1969 at the age of 104, the longest-lived person in my family tree. Consider the history she lived through – from the Civil War to Vietnam War protests. Presidential assassinations, two world wars, the Great Depression. Automobiles, air travel, space travel. Imagine the stories she must have told!


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