Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Voting for Lincoln

I never met my father's grandparents on his mother's side. My father never met his grandparents on his mother's side either. Both had died several years before my father was born in 1914. In searching for information on my great-grandparents, I was fortunate enough to run across a few newspaper articles that gave a slight glimpse of who they were.

My great-grandfather, Thomas Wallington, was born in Northamptonshire, England in 1825. He married his first wife, Sarah Ann Archer, in England. About 1850, or shortly thereafter, Thomas and his family, including twin daughters, sailed for America. I still marvel at the fortitude our ancestors had to make a voyage to the unknown.

One of his obituaries states that he arrived in the United States with only a shilling in his pocket. Doing odd jobs, he worked his way from New York City to Elyria, Ohio. One of his first jobs was mowing the grass on the public square with a scythe. He went on to other jobs and earned enough money to buy his own farm. Thomas and his family lived in a log cabin not far from downtown.

The log cabin that this family lived in was less than a mile from where I grew up and went to school. The particular street that this cabin was on always seemed to have a "pull" on my feelings. It wasn't until just a few years ago that I found out why - this is where my great-grandfather had lived!

Thomas' first wife died. His children were all adults when she passed away. Thomas met and married my great-grandmother Elizabeth Celia Halliwill and they had 3 children, including my grandmother. They lived in Elyria, Ohio for awhile before moving to Spencer, Ohio. The farm they lived on is exactly one mile south of where my youngest daughter now lives.

Another news article states that he liked to challenge others to walk to Elyria from Spencer quicker than he could. It was a distance of about 12 miles.

There were two obituaries for Thomas - one for each of his families. The obituary shown here had the most information on him.

On this election day in 2012, I thought it appropriate to share that my great-grandfather, Thomas Wallington was the first at the polls in 1860 to cast his vote for Abraham Lincoln. He appreciated the fact that he could be a part of something so special.

I was voter 139 in my precinct this morning - not the first one...

From The Elyria Republican, Elyria, Ohio - 29 October 1908, Page 1

Thomas Wallington 1825-1908


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