Thursday, November 26, 2009

Guy Vernon Newcomer Remembered

My Grandfather, Guy Vernon Newcomer, died about nine years before I was born. My mother’s father had died from complications while recovering from a farm accident when my mom was only seven years old. Thus it was in God’s providence I never got to know either of my Grandfathers. Back in 1988 I asked my Aunt Florence (Newcomer) Ruffer to write about what she remembered of her father, my Grandfather. The following is what she wrote in December 1988:

Guy Newcomer 1880 - 1940

“No one can tell me much about our father so what I write is my remembrances of Guy Vernon Newcomer.

Our mother was the dominant figure in our home so I remember Dad as a quite, gentle man. He had many friends and was a good neighbor. Dad did not attend church. Would he have if Mother would have gone to the Methodist church? We’ll never know.

I can see Dad, at 6 P.M., sitting beside the Atwatter Kent (radio) listening to Lowell Thomas’ newscast. He never failed to listen to his favorite newsman. I also can picture him with the cigar in his mouth as he drove the horses or car. Also, driving the horses attached to the bobsled as he picked us up from school on snowy days. Often he took all the kids home around the square mile. No, he didn’t smoke the cigar at that time.

He loved his Masonic lodge and was a loyal member of the Waldron lodge. He had a wry sense of humor for instance; mother’s W.C.T.U. (Women’s Christian Temperance Union) was, to him, the “Women’s Continual Talking Union” and lodge members who only came for the “eats” were the “belly members”.

Ruth Merrifield Suffel (his grand-daughter), says he always took them with him to the mill and he always bought them candy. I recall the ice cream cones he always bought us on the Saturday night town trip.

Dad always rested his horses at noon - he also rested on the couch on the back porch. He always fed milk to many barn cats. that feeding always came first.

Dad graduated from the eighth grade and I believe he should have gone to college but destiny said “he a farmer”. He could have been a surveyor or some trade similar.

Dad was a good man, as I recall him. I remember going to the Fulton County fair with him and the many friends he also had in Wauseon.”

[Florence (Newcomer) Ruffer, December 1988]

The school Aunt Florence mentioned was the old White School on Hartley Road just west of Tuttle Road. A house now sits where the school building once was. My grandparents moved to Waldron, Michigan about 1911 from the Wauseon, Ohio area.

My father says that in the late 1920’s Grandpa had to take off-farm work to make ends meet. He got a job in Toledo, Ohio. Toledo is about 50 miles east of Waldron. He would stay in Toledo during the week, then come home for the weekend. At that time one could catch the train in Fayette and ride in to Toledo and back.


  1. I enjoyed reading this, Bill. My mother (Ethel Green) has fond memories of her Grandfather Guy Newcomer as well. He enjoyed teasing the grandkids and squirting cows milk at them while milking. Here is a paragraph from her childhood recollections:

    "Grandpa Newcomer was always a tease. He would hide our dessert at mealtime and say we didn’t get any. When he was milking cows we would go to the barn with a tin cup for some nice warm milk, fresh from the cow. You wouldn’t do that today. If he would see us coming he would turn that cow’s teat around and squirt us with milk. We got to play in the hay lofts and the animal watering tank, corn crib and granary. They had an apple orchard in back where we would pick apples and eat. We made mud pies and helped Grandma gather eggs. One time when we gathered eggs I had climbed up to a high nest and when I jumped down I landed right in the bucket of eggs I had gathered."

  2. Here is another of my mother, Ethel Green's memories of life on Grandma and Grandpa Newcomer's farm:

    "When my Grandmother cooked for thrashers the neighbor ladies baked pies, etc. and came to help her; and when it was at their houses, she would do the same for them. There were 12 or 15 men to cook for. The men washed outdoors. They had a big tub of water sitting in the sun to warm and we would take out a bar of homemade soap and a towel or two for them. They all used the same water and towel. Drinking water was in a pail with a dipper and everybody drank out of the same dipper. I think if there was any water left in the dipper it quite often went back in the pail. There was always a tin cup out at the pump where anyone could get a drink."