My Grandfather Courtright, whose name was John Ezra, died in Columbus, Ohio, in 1896, 2 years before I was born, so I never knew him at all but after he died Grandma Courtright and her youngest daughter, Irene, had come to Paulding and were part of our family until Aunt Irene married late in life and moved to Grover Hill, a small town southeast of the county seat, and took grandma with her. Shortly before she married Reuben Gipe, however, Aunt Irene had moved with Grandma into a small house next door to us. We were living in what we called the Lowenthaw house on Cherry Street at the time. There were six of us children by that time and we were probably more than Grandma could stand. She finally became bedridden and the trip to Grover Hill had to be made by putting her in the baggage car of the south bound train, then transferring her to an east bound train at Haviland. I went to the depot to see her off, the last time I saw her, as she died shortly after. She is buried in Lithopolis, Ohio, in the same plot as my grandfather and Aunt Irene.
While Grandma Courtright lived with us she kept busy looking after the children, planting and tending the flowers around the house and knitting and darning socks for the whole family. Both boys and girls wore long stockings which were held up by rubber elastic bands just above the knee. She always used red yarn to fashion the heels and the toes and also added a red band at the top. We wore holes in our stockings almost as soon as we put them on and one of the pictures that remain in my mind is of my Grandmother sitting in the corner with a big basket of stockings and two balls of yarn, one black the other red, repairing the damage we had done during the day. Sometimes in the evening my mother or Aunt Irene would take over the darning job and my grandmother would read to us. She used the mispronunciations of the farmer folks of early Ohio which it took me some years to correct after I found out they were wrong. She called "nasturtiums" her "sturtions" for example. We liked to get into them and eat the seed pods.
Until she married, Aunt Irene worked as a teller and clerk in the Paulding National Bank on the south west corner of the courthouse square. I first remember her as a slim, gentle, white haired woman with a gold watch pinned to her blouse. There were no wrist watches yet. Both she and my grandmother were Methodists and attended the Methodist church while the rest of us went to the Church of Christ, a more fundamentalist sect that believed in complete immersion instead of sprinkling and communion for everyone every Sunday. My mother's sister Mable, also attended our church and she may have influenced my father to switch from the Methodists to the Church of Christ.
I remember very well when Aunt Irene went to Buffalo to attend the Pan American exposition as she brought me a cast iron buffalo coin bank. The date was 1901. It was there that President McKinley Was shot.
The man Aunt Irene married, Reuben Gipe, had owned the largest department store in Paulding but he must have lost a great deal of money as the store in Grover Hill Was much smaller. He had been married three times before and had several grown children besides his youngest son, Reuben, who was still living with him. He was an extremely fat man and after she married, Aunt Irene also became much over weight.
Aunt Irene was born on the 4th of July and died on Christmas. All of us children had gathered at sister Evalyn's for the holidays when we learned that she had died and would be brought to Lithopolis for burial. All of us, except the small fry drove down. It was a cold, blustery day with blowing snow so we didn't stand around and visit. It was not until 1978 that I was in Lithopolis again with all of my brothers and sisters who are still living. We also visited Greencastle where Abraham Van Courtright, his son John and grandson Jacob are buried. The old grave stones in the cemetary had been tipped over and broken by kids but we still could read the lettering on them.