Friday, September 16, 2011

Margaret Mae "Maggie" Lorig, born 1861

Maggie Lorig, ca 1883

Margaret Mae “Maggie” was the fourth daughter in the family of Henry and Katie Lorig. She was born in Mt. Pleasant, Henry County, Iowa on 8 February 1861 just at the beginning of the Civil War. She lived her entire, rather short life (she died at age 39 May 1900) in Iowa marrying Thomas LeRoy Ford on 21 July 1883. Jim Ford, who remained in the Mt. Pleasant area and farmed there, wrote that a large framed copy of this photograph of Maggie was still hanging in the family home 80 plus years after she died.

Thomas LeRoy Ford, ca 1883
[photo courtesy of Helen Ford Fuqua]

LeRoy, as he was known, was born 1855 and lived in the neighboring town of Trenton, Iowa. Maggie and LeRoy had seven sons, however, the youngest son, Guy, born in 1900, died before he was one year old. Considering that Henry and Katie had six children it is interesting to note that Maggie is the only one of their children to have what we would think of today as a large family. Anna and Mary did not wed and had no children. Lizzie had only one daughter. Edd had three children. Mattie had two sons. That makes a total of 13 grandchildren at a time in history when many families had 10 or 12 children and they could have, in theory, expected to have approximately 60 grandchildren. Mind boggling, isn’t it?

LeRoy and Maggie Ford with four of their six surviving sons, Earl, LeRoy "Bert", Ralph and Ray.

Six of the seven sons of Maggie and LeRoy Ford, from the left standing: Ray, 1887, Ralph, 1884, LeRoy "Bert", 1889. Sitting from the left: Earl, 1892, Charles, 1896, and Ellis, 1894.

LeRoy was married three times, first to Ellen Crouch in 1878. She died without issue in 1879. Maggie Lorig was his second wife and after Maggie died he married Laura Moore in 1906. He and Laura did not have any children and were later divorced. Maggie died in 1900 and LeRoy in 1916.

Their oldest son, Ralph, was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) an organization for descendants of Civil War soldiers and since Henry Lorig did not serve it logically seemed as if his other grandfather, Lloyd Ford, must have served in the War even though he was born in 1818 and would have been in his 40s during the war years. It also turned out that there was a Quaker heritage on the Hunt side of the Ford family and that would make Lloyd more likely to be a dissenter rather than a soldier. Quakers were by and large abolitionists and therefore pro Union even though they were also pacifists and did not fight as soldiers. Helen Ford Gisser put together and self published an undated extensive genealogical record of the Foard, Forde, Ford families. The binding had disintegrated and the entire thing was in pieces; nevertheless, I did look carefully through her accounts to see if any mention was made of Civil War service by any of the Ford men. LeRoy would have been a child and clearly not old enough to serve at age 6 to 11 years of age. The only other relative I could think of was Maggie’s uncle Adolph Schloeder who did serve as a Union soldier and was severely wounded. I don’t know if an uncle would have been a close enough relative to justify membership so it remains a mystery as to how and why Ralph joined the GAR.

Helen Ford Fuqua shared these photographs that had been in Ralph’s collection (her father). They are not of very good quality but are interesting as historical pictorials of that era.

Ralph Ford in his GAR uniform.
[photo courtesy of Helen Ford Fuqua]

The Fords owned and lived in the old Lorig home on Locust Street in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa for at least three years. Later Ralph Ford purchased the old Lorig home and lived there for a while with his wife. LeRoy Ford also lived in the old Ford home in Tenton, Iowa, that was said to resemble the Lorig house.

Old Ford home in Trenton, Iowa.
[photo courtesy of Helen Ford Fuqua]

Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska as well as the Dakotas produce so much food, not only corn and wheat but also soybeans, tomatoes, spinach, and other vegetables. Wheat, corn, alfalfa, rye, and barley would been the major crops a hundred years or so ago. Today farmers have large air conditioned threshers but when the Lorigs and Fords were living in Iowa they were using mules, oxen, or the steam powered thresher shown here. It would have been the newest convenience that the farmers used and would have seemed an amazing labor saving device compared to reaping and threshing by hand. Even though our families lived in town they most likely hired out to help during the harvest times.

Old steam threshing machine.
[photo courtesy of Helen Ford Fuqua]

Ralph Ford as a small boy.
[photo courtesy of Helen Ford Fuqua]

LeRoy "Bert" Ford with horse and buggy.
[photo courtesy of Helen Ford Fuqua]

Ralph with the Fire Department water hose truck.
[photo courtesy of Helen Ford Fuqua]


  1. Hi, Thanks for sharing! It is wonderful and so interesting to get pieces of information about our histories that are otherwise lost. You mention that Helen Ford Gisser had an extensive family history... Can you tell me if she had any further information about Thomas Leroy's 1st wife - Ellen Crouch? Her sister Dora was my Great Grand Mother. She married David McBeth in Trenton and they moved west.

  2. Hi John,

    Here is all of what Helen Ford Gisser had in her book about Ellen M. Crouch. I hope it helps some.

    "Thomas LeRoy Ford born 5 June 1855, Trenton Township, Henry County, Iowa (a.k.a. Uncle Tall Ford) LeeRoy Ford married Miss Ellen M. Crouch, 12 December 1878, Henry County, Iowa, at the house of James Mitts, W.E. DeGarmo, M.G. (Mg. Rec. F, pg 546)
    "Her birth 1862. Children: no record
    "Her death 7 Novembeer 1879, aged 17years.
    "Her interment in "Old" Richwoods Cemetery, Trenton twp., Henry County, Iowa. ... A stone for Ellen M. Ford, wife of L. Ford in this cemetery, giving the date of death above shown."
    Found on p. 274, Foard, Forde, Ford
    If I find additional information I'll post it on the blog.

    So glad you found the blog.

    1. Thanks so much for this. Well we do continue to look for her father. She was born in Ohio and came with her mother and sister to Mt. Pleasant because her aunts were already there. They were Guytons. Dorcas married John Wesley Ford.