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Monday, June 25, 2012

THE FAMILY OF ELMER MERRILL ELLINGWOOD

In the previous post I mentioned I'd made another Ellingwood connection. K., the
sister of the young lady who'd found the Blanchard family letters told me that
her husband's grandmother had once been married to Elmer Ellingwood and
there had been a son, Elmer Jr. who had died at seven years old. So after checking
my data base I realized this was Elmer Merrill Ellingwood, my third cousin 1x
removed.

Elmer was another descendant of John Wesley Ellingwood, my great great
grandfather  Asa's older brother.  I've written about this branch of the family.
Its members moved around a lot and had more than its share of tragedy. When
K. sent me some images of newspaper clippings, I realized Elmer had continued
the family misfortunes. His first wife was Florence(Flossie) Riff who he'd wed
13Dec  1933. Elmer Jr. was born in 1933 and was then killed in 1943 in an accident
of some sort(I haven't found a record of it but K. tells me it was an accidental
death). By that time Elmer Sr and Flossie had divorced because he'd married
his second wife Lilian Wirtanen on 19Oct 1939.  By 1950 they had five children.


The following is a clipping K sent me. It's a wire service story from the
Youngstown Ohio Vindicator of June 28, 1950:



" 3 of 5 Children Die on Healthful Farm

East Windsor, Conn., June 28 (UP)
Elmer Ellingwood moved his family here from a Whitingham, Vt
lumber camp so his children would have a healthier and happier
life on a Connecticut farm.


Less than 24 hours after they arrived,  three of his five children
died in a small pond they were exploring on the tobacco farm
where Ellingwood was to begin work Monday.


Drowned were were Rollin, aged 10, Larry, 8 and six-year-old
Marsha."


This is the worst tragedy in a family all too well familiar with heartbreak.
Elmer had lost four children. Not only that, both his father Wesley
and brother Charles had died by self inflicted gunshots  six years
apart(1932 and 1938 respectively) in Vermont. Another brother, Edward,
had died after being hit by a truck. And It wasn't the last of it,
because twenty-eight years later daughter Jacklyn was a suicide by
drowning in Springfield, Ma. By that time there were five more children,
all daughters, in Elmer's family. Despite their losses, the family carried on.

Elmer passed away on 17May 1983 in Springfield, Ma.     

3 comments:

Michael Davies said...

Every time I read more about what you post on this family I am so saddened by what they've all been through. It's difficult to know if anything worse could have happened. Thank you for at least honoring their memories with what you post!

Heather Rojo said...

How tragic! And it wasn't even that long ago. I'll bet that people in town still remember that incident.

plc718 said...

It is a reminder that hard times and bad luck are not limited to one generation or historical era. Still, this family seems to have suffered more tragedy than any one family should have to bear.