1905 Ollie B. Abbott

Grave marker at Ferncliff Cemetery, Springfield, OH. Photo: D. Brooks Hedstrom

Grave marker at Ferncliff Cemetery, Springfield, OH. Photo: D. Brooks Hedstrom

Who was Ollie B. Abbott and what was her connection to Wittenberg?

Read the Deed to Ollie B. Abbott in 1905.

In 1867, Emnel Garver of Ohio and Mary E. Garver of Pennsylvania, welcomed the birth of a baby girl they named Ollie Garver in Defiance, Ohio. The couple also had four other children: two boys and two girls. Ollie like the rest of her siblings went to school and continued on into college. In 1891, she married Elmer D. Abbott in Toledo, Ohio, on May 13th.

Abbott Elmer ObitSNS

Elmer Abbott. Photo that ran with his obituary in 1941.
Source: Springfield Daily News 1/3/1941 page 6.

Elmer was a storekeeper in Toledo. Originally born in 1863 in Pennsylvania, like his parents, Elmer elected to relocate further south in Ohio, in Dayton. There they witnessed the birth of their first child, Charles Garver Abbott in 1893. Elmer worked as a local manager in the Dayton area in 1894. The family then proceeded to make some changes yet again and moved to Springfield, Ohio, where Elmer would then work as a superintendent for the Springfield Gas Company.

(Image to add: E. D. Abbott at his desk at Springfield Gas Company in 1926, Springfield Daily News Special Feature “Springfield Businessmen at Their Desks.” Source: Courtesy of the Clark County Heritage Center.)

They lived at 117 Stanton Ave. Although this family just settled in Springfield this wouldn’t be the end of their migration pattern. The following year they moved onto 307 Woodlawn Ave. It is on Woodlawn Avenue where they would reside for the next four years. Family life for the Abbott’s remained consistent as well since Elmer had a good middle income job at Springfield Gas Company. He would spend his life working with gas for over 58 years, with 44 of those years in Springfield, Ohio. While Elmer worked Ollie stayed at home with Charles.

Not only was this power couple in the mist of creating one of Springfield’s most valuable resources, but they were also very active in the Springfield’s real estate market as well. The couple began their immense collection and selling of homes in 1900. They purchased their first piece of real estate from Samuel Getz, plot 3557 off of McCrieght, for six hundred and fifty dollars. The couple sold the property four years later, in 1904, to Carl Ultes Jr. for four thousand four hundred dollars, the couple seemed to have made the homes value rise exponentially. The family was still residing in their Stanton Avenue home during the time of the purchase. Even though the Abbott’s had just settled in Springfield this wouldn’t be the end of their migration pattern. By 1906 the family had moved four times; they lived at 195 Woodlawn Ave in 1901, 370 Woodlawn Ave in 1902, and 372 Woodlawn Ave in 1905, and 332 North Limestone. They would reside on North Limestone for the next two years.

The Abbott’s then opted for more change when they purchased the land and house on lot 3777  from Ella I. McMillen for $5,100. Located on North Wittenberg Avenue, also known as 529 N. Wittenberg Avenue (at that time still 219 Ferncliff Ave) in December 1905 it could have been a late Christmas present to themselves. Although the Abbott’s purchased the property they did not reside at the house until 1908 and 1909 with their son Charles.  Elmer and Ollie continued to maintain their property at 323 N. Limestone. But after less than three years, the Abbotts sold their property to Clara Hamma for $6,800.

609 North Fountain Avenue, Springfield, Ohio, on Wittenberg University's campus. It was in this duplex that Elmer Abbott died in 1941. Photo: D. Brooks Hedstrom 2013

609 North Fountain Avenue, Springfield, Ohio, on Wittenberg University’s campus. It was in this duplex that Elmer Abbott died in 1941.
Photo: D. Brooks Hedstrom 2013

By 1926 Elmer was promoted as District Manager for the Springfield Gas Company and moved to 607 North Fountain Ave. Ollie was so proud of both leading men in her lives even if they were so busy with work. Greater success came when Elmer was promoted to district manager in 1928, this was a great honor to Elmer in receiving this position for all his efforts and dedication to the Springfield Gas Co. Elmer would be more than satisfied with this position for six more years. After working in the gas and oil business for 58 years, 44 years in Springfield, Elmer decided to retire on August 15, 1933 Elmer to spend more time with his wife Ollie.

The Abbott’s continued to move around Springfield until 1940. Together the couple purchased six properties between 1900 an 1915 and they would sell ten properties from 1904 to 1922. Although the couple had purchased and sold more properties in their lifetime these are the transactions accounted for in this document. These properties were all within the city of Springfield. The Abbott’s last home together was on 609 North Fountain. Elmer Abbott passed away January 3, 1941 at the age of 78 due to a 16-week illness that could not be cured. Elmer was a superintendent, district manager, and vice president of the Springfield Gas Co., but not only was he those things he was also caring brother, adoring husband, and a loving father. After 1941, Ollie B Abbott did not appear in the city directories. Ollie Abbott then passed away in 1956.

In the Springfield Daily News’s obituary for Elmer Abbott, they included a short excerpt from Abbott’s own reflection on his contributions to Springfield: “We have 175.22 miles of gas main in Springfield now, whereas in 1889 we had but 35 miles. Gas is being used now for baking, enameling, steel heat treating and metallurgy, annealing, house heating, hot water heating, and even for refrigeration, in the Servel refrigerators, as well as for a number of other purposes. In 1889 gas was chiefly used by factories for general purposes and by residents for illuminating purposes and by residents for illuminating purposes. Gas is still being used for illumination in 1,500 Springfield homes.”

Although the Abbott’s story ended, their memory lives on, not only through thought, but also through the deeds in which we had uncovered for the purchasing and selling of properties. The first home they had purchased was on August 21, 1900 for lot 3557 from a Mr. Samuel Getz for six hundred and fifty dollars. The couple would then sell the property four years later on July 27, 1904 to Mr. Carl Ultes Jr. for four thousand four hundred dollars. The home they purchased was from I. Ward Frey for a fifteen hundred dollar property located around Woodlawn Ave on July 21, 1904. The following year the couple then consulted with Ella McMillen to purchase plot 3777, which lies on 219 Ferncliff (529 North Wittenberg) Ave. After discussing the terms they settled with and agreement to pay one thousand one hundred dollars for the home on December 29, 1905. The couple later sold the home to Claire Hama for six thousand eight hundred dollars, an icon for Wittenberg University, on October 17, 1908. The couple continued to make transactions as they purchased their fourth estate, which was previously owned by Leroy C. Shepard. As we will discover later, the transactions between these partnerships are found to be frequent and generous. On September 6, 1911 the Abbot’s purchased lot 3680 for a unfathomable cost of one dollar. This can be explained through their partnership and or relations to the couple. After a few years of saving up the family purchased lot 3677 from Lydia M. Witmeyer for five thousand dollars on August 12, 1919. Ollie and Elmer Abbott’s final purchase was on March 2, 1915 on lot 5514 from Mr. William McCulluch for a total of one dollar. The couple later sold this same property to a Mrs. Maude M. Buchwaltz for one dollar on June 6, 1919.

The purchases in which the Abbott’s made was substantially high, and may have even been more properties purchased, although they had also sold many properties as well. They had sold a plot of land to Theresa Sullivan which was located west of Woodlawn Ave and near Ward St was sold for seventeen hundred dollars on November 11, 1904. Once they sold this property they continued on their way by selling a property to the Centeral Contract Finance Company for $550 on September 19, 1907. Leroy C. Shepard came back to the Abbott’s for some more business and created two transactions that both took place on the same day; these properties could be either two homes or they could be a home and a shed. One of the properties had no plot number, indicating a possible shed or just an unnumbered plot for and unlisted amount of money, this was done through agreement. The second property was listed as lot 3677, which was purchased for one hundred dollars; this would conclude their transactions. By November 3, 1913 lot 3677 was sold yet again to Mr. Lawrence E. Sayborne for on dollar. John A. Soyl obtained one of the Abbott’s properties in the early 1920’s for an amount of one dollar. Augusta Y. Bell was also fortunate enough to get the same bargain from the Abbott’s, paying only one dollar for the same property on September 19, 1922. These were just some of the transactions of Real Estate the Abbott’s had acquired and bargained in Springfield in their lifetime.

Finally, the story of Elmer and Ollie’s son is worth tracing. In 1910, when Charles was still in high school at the age of 17 he had registered to attend some classes at Wittenberg University, and he did so for an additional year as a freshman. After Charles’s freshman year at Wittenberg he did not return to Wittenberg University. He then moved around Springfield with his parents and worked as a storekeeper and bookkeeper. From 1911 to 1914 the family resided at 705 Woodlawn Ave. The family then moved again from 830 to 814 in 1915 and 1916 on Woodlawn Ave.

In 1917- 1918 Charles was drafted as a civilian soldier for WWI. After the war, Charles wed Anne Ruth Harrison on November 25, 1927. Ruth H. Abbott was born in Ohio, in about 1903. Her father was from Indiana and her mother was from Ohio. Ruth and Charles lived in Columbus, Ohio, for a few years moving from apartment to apartment; it is unclear as to Charles’s occupation. In 1930 they lived in Perry, Ohio and Charles had a managerial position. When Elmer Abbott died, Charles and his wife were living in Cleveland, Ohio.

Although there is a lack of evidence pertaining to the couple in the records at Wittenberg, a letter was addressed to the Alumni Association of Wittenberg College on July 7, 1957 regarding the whereabouts of the couple. Charles had passed away on March 26,1957 and his wife Ruth was present for the proceedings. Prior to Charles’s death the couple was residing on 1356 Kingsland, St. Louis, Missouri; although this information is provided we are still unaware of how long they lived their, their purpose for being their, and how much longer Ruth resided their. Although it was difficult to continue finding information about Charles and Ruth, we were slightly more successful with finding more information about his parents.

Profile by Deanna Iwanyckyj, class 2015, and D. Brooks Hedstrom, History.

Sources 

N.A. , . “DEATH CLAIMS ELMER ABBOTT AT AGE OF 78.” Springfield Daily News [Springfield Ohio ] 1 03 1941, Early Edtion p.6. Print.

N.A. , . Directory of Springfield . 1889. Cincinnati: Williams Directory , 1889. Print.

N.A. , . Directory of Springfield . 1896-1899. Cincinnati: Williams Directory , 1896-1899. Print.

N.A. , . Directory of Springfield . 1900-1933. Cincinnati: Williams Directory , 1900-1933. Print.

N.A. , . Directory of Springfield . 1935-1944. Cincinnati: Williams Directory , 1935-1944. Print.

N.A. , . Wittenberg Catalogue . 1904-1912. Wittenberg Registerar : N.A. , N.A.. Print.

Source Citation: Year: 1930; Census Place: Springfield, Clark,Ohio; Roll: 1757; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 32; Image: 260.0; FHL microfilm: 2341491.

Source Information:Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002.

Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626, 2,667 rolls.

Source Citation: Year: 1910; Census Place: Springfield Ward 1, Clark,Ohio; Roll: T624_1159; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 0021; FHL microfilm: 1375172.

Source Information:Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.

Original data: Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910 (NARA microfilm publication T624, 1,178 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C. For details on the contents of the film numbers, visit the following NARA web page: NARA

Source Citation: Year: 1910; Census Place: Springfield Ward 1, Clark,Ohio; Roll: T624_1159; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 0021; FHL microfilm: 1375172.

Source Information: Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.

Original data: Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910 (NARA microfilm publication T624, 1,178 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C. For details on the contents of the film numbers, visit the following NARA web page: NARA

Source Citation: Year: 1930; Census Place: Perry, Franklin,Ohio; Roll: 1802; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 206; Image: 626.0; FHL microfilm: 2341536.

Source Information:Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002.

Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626, 2,667 rolls.

Source Citation: Registration State: Ohio; Registration County: Clark; Roll: 1851185.

Source Information:Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005.

Original data: United States, Selective Service System. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. M1509, 4,582 rolls. Imaged from Family History Library microfilm.

 Acknowledgements:

Wittenberg University Alumni Association Office for the aid of Charles Abbott’s obituary.

Records Office of Springfield, Ohio in aid to access to the numerous deeds that are included in this document.

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