Showing posts with label Lenahan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lenahan. Show all posts

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Lorena Estelle Eley Norsworthy Dews Harlow Lenahan Collins::116th COG

Copyright 2012, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

It is time for the 116th Carnival of Genealogy, graciously hosted by Jasia at Creative Gene. The challenge this month:

Picture/Story for Women's History Month. March is Women's History Month and we will once again honor a woman from our family tree by featuring her in the COG. This time we will do so by starting with a photograph and telling either the story of the photo and/or a biography of the woman pictured.

So, here is my photo:

This is Lorena Estelle Eley Norsworthy Dews Harlow Lenahan Collins, this photo reportedly was taken about 1918.  It is believed she is standing on the steps of her home/boarding home which was located at Money Point, in the Norfolk Virginia area.

Lorena was my great-grandmother via my dad's side of the family.   Lorena was born July 4, 1866 near Zuni, Isle of Wight County, Virginia.  Her parents were Solomon B. Eley and Sarah Anne Darden (who always seemed to go by Sallie).

By the time this photo was taken she had been married at least 3 times, and possibly was a honeymooning bride, on marriage # 4. In total she married 5 men, she outlived 3 of the 5, she divorced one and we just are not certain what happened to the fifth.  My dad always said, in a joking manner, that she fed them all poisoned mushrooms.

Lorena has been the subject of several posts here on Reflections, one such post is 4th of July Wishes of a Different Sort, which features a photo of Lorena holding me in her lap just months before she died.

Lorena married Mills L. Norsworthy Apr 1, 1883 in Nansemond County, Virginia.  Sometime before December of 1888 Mills had died and Lorena was a young widow with one child (there may have been other children by this union, but only one survived).

On Oct 27, 1887, in Norfolk County, Virginia, Lorena married hubby # 2, my direct ancestor, William Henry Dews.  Lorena and William had 6 children, 2 of whom died as infants.  William himself would die a tragic death around the 1st of January 1907 in Kempsville, Princess Anne County, Virginia after a falling off a wagon cart just before Christmas.  No death certificate or record for William has been found, however a very short news article was found mentioning the accident.  No burial record has been found either, as the church where he reportedly was buried lost all records to a fire.  William's death in early 1907 left Lorena with 1 son and 3 daughters from that union, the youngest being my grandmother, Florence, who was barely 3 years of age.

Lorena needed to find a way to support herself and her children.  She chose to run a boarding house and was doing so by the time the 1910 US census was enumerated.

Lorena next married Apr 4, 1911 in Norfolk County, Virginia to a James Harlow.  She divorced him in 1915.

Her next hubby is our MIA, according to an old index I found years ago, she married Robert Lenahan/Linehan on Aug 20, 1918 in Norfolk County Virginia.  While writing this post I discovered indexing  at, that Lorena and Robert married on the same day (August 20, 1918) in Elizabeth City, Pasquotank County, North Carolina. Robert appears on the 1920 census with Lorena, she was still running her boarding house.  No further record of Robert has been found after the 1920 census.  Family tradition has is that Lorena had him declared dead after 7 years.  No records have been found to support or deny that tradition.

And, last, at the young age of 70 years 9 months and 6 days (give or take), Lorena took as her 5th and last hubby, one John/Jehu/Gehew C. Collins.  John died in October of 1944 and is buried in the Riverside Memorial Park Cemetery, Norfolk, Virginia.

Lorena eventually moved to 815 Freeman Avenue, in Norfolk (now Chesapeake) Virginia.  This address is quite close to Money Point, she did not move far.  She died in late February of 1949 and was laid to rest at the Riverside Memorial Park Cemetery, Norfolk, Virginia.  Several of her children are buried nearby.

The boarding house provided a home and an income for Lorena allowing her to support her children.  Two of her daughters would meet their husbands in that boarding home.  One of those couples were my grandparents.  In the 1930 census my grandparents and their young son, my father, are living with Lorena in that boarding house at Money Point.

I have been very lucky to have a few of Lorena's possessions from her boarding house, one is the boudoir chair found on this Reflection's post,  Treasure Chest Thursday, Lorena's Boarding House Boudoir Chair.

By looking at Google Maps, it becomes quite evident that few homes are still standing in the area known as Money Point.  We have no exact address for the boarding home, the 1920 census seems to indicate it might have been 19 Money Point, and the 1930 census has no addresses shown at all.  The boarding house is most likely long gone, as are so many of its boarders and occupants.  We have several poor photos of what we believe to be the boarding house, and stories shared with us by those who remember it.  All in all, that is rather sad, considering the huge role that boarding house played in the lives of 3 generations of my ancestors.

Lorena standing on her boarding house stairs, a bride 5 times, a widow 3 times, a woman who raised children who, according to all stories that I heard, loved her and each other.  A woman that did what she had to do to survive and provide.  Thank you Lorena for your strength.


Saturday, July 4, 2009

4th of July Wishes of a Different Sort

This blog started out to be another chapter of Ancestor Birthday Celebrations, in remembrance of my great grandmother Lorena Estelle Eley Norsworthy Dews Harlow Lenahan Collins. As I was contemplating what I might write, my mind wandered off to points here and there, but, mostly to the Civil War Monument here in the Franklin Cemetery, Lenawee County. At some point, I realized that Lorena was born on the very day this monument was originally dedicated, July 4, 1866. Mind you, Lorena was born in Zuni, Isle of Wight County, Virginia, about 700 miles from Franklin.

Ever since we moved to Lenawee, in 1995, I have had an extremely strong but unexplained attachment to the Civil War Monument in the Franklin Cemetery. To my knowledge, I am not related to anyone in Lenawee County, now or in the past. I am a southern born gal who was raised and lived in the north for all but a few of her years here on this good earth. I have no Union soldiers in my heritage, Man does, I do not.

This monument is said to be the 1st or 2nd monument in Michigan, and maybe in the United States, dedicated after the conflict ended, paid for by popular subscription, dedicated July 4, 1866. That date always startles me, as it is 1 year, 2 months and 15 days after Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox on April 19, 1865, and 1 year 1 month and 30 days after the last meeting of the Confederate Cabinet (Washington, Georgia, May 5, 1865). That does not seem like a lot of time to bring the boys home, start a project to design, finance, produce and raise a monument. I believe the monument is over 30 foot tall, it is made of sandstone, original cost was $1,500.00.

Imagine my surprise when one day in 2005 I made a visit to the cemetery and found the monument MIA. All I could find was the base. I hoped that it was being repaired, but had heard nothing about it, no one I asked seemed to know much about it. (Must not have asked the right people! LOL)

By early summer 2006, the monument was BACK! I was delighted, it had been cleaned with Clorox and buffing stones, refurbished, the names re-inscribed. It was beautiful! On July 4, they had a re-dedication ceremony with local dignitaries, Civil War Reenactors, even Abe Lincoln attended.

July 4th really is a very special day, for me it means more than our Independence Day, it is Lorena’s birthday and the day we celebrate the dedication and re-dedication of the Franklin Civil War Monument. And, now that I have tied Lorena and the Monument’s dates together, I shall never drive past the cemetery without thinking of her.

*Photos: Top, Lorena and Moi, about 2 months before she died.
Middle: July 4, 2006, Re-dedication of the Franklin Civil War Monument
Bottom: New Tablet at the Monument.