Friday, February 10, 2017

A Doctor and a Saddler

Of the three youngest children of William H. Callin, only one survived to leave a family of his own behind. The eldest of them, Hugh, was born in 1848, and died too young; Zimri was born in 1850; and the baby of the family, Milton, was born and died in 1852 at 5 months.

Hugh H. Callin, born on 16 May 1848, was the last of the Callin children born on the farm in Ashland. The following year, William moved the family to Peru, Huron county, and cleared a new farm there. Hugh would have been 13 years old in 1861, and watched his older brothers - first James and John, then George - enlist to fight for the Union.

Hugh took to school, as his brothers did, and taught in Bowling Green while studying medicine. He finally took his degree from the Cincinnati Surgical and Medical College in 1878, and he must have felt that this was the real beginning of his life.

He married Sarah A. Leonard (1849-1900) on 20 April 1879, and began his practice - only to take sick and die on 12 September 1880. As you can see from his obituary:
Dr. H. H. Callin, of Portage, who has been, for several weeks prostrated, breathed his last, Sunday about noon.  There has been a slight difference of opinion among the doctors as to his ailment, but after a post mortem examination, on Monday, by Drs. Tuller and Lincoln, of this place, they pronounced his ailment sick stomach, as they had done at the beginning of his sickness.  Deceased was a man about 32 years of age, a graduate of the Cincinnati Surgical and Medical College, who had established quite a large practice already, and gave promise of a life of usefulness, both in his profession and as a citizen.  The body of deceased was brought to the cemetery in this place for burial Tuesday forenoon.

Wood County Sentinel; 1880, Sept. 16, page 3
In his Callin Family History, Hugh's older brother George wrote:
By profession he followed teaching school several years and studying medicine.

Finally graduating at the Cincinnati Medical College in 1878. He had a large practice in and around Jerry City and Portage, Ohio, where he contracted Milk Sickness or Sick Stomach which resulted in his death. He lived a beautiful life, was just to all men, and liked by all who knew him.

Hugh's widow, Sarah, married Oziah Culver on 6 September 1888 in Wood County. They had no children, and she died twenty years after Hugh, on 17 November 1900.

Zimri G. Callin was born in December of 1850, and when he was two years old, his little brother, Milton, died at only 5 months of age. This tragedy at the beginning of his life seemed to follow Zimri in a way that his brothers did not seem to feel in the same way.

Young Zimri had a lot to live up to. His father was the quintessential frontiersman - a big, strong man who had cleared land for at least three farms by the time Zimri came along. When Zimri was nine, his sister married into the Sly family, and started bringing little Sly cousins into his world - and when he was 11, the Confederacy turned the always-divisive slavery issue from a political battlefield into the more literal kind.

His older brothers each went off to join the Union - first James, then John, and George a year later. At least Hugh, who was only 17 when the war ended, was also too young to go; but when they returned from war, John and George as teachers and James a wounded veteran, Hugh went off to school and started on his path to become a doctor. That's a lot for a kid brother to live up to.

When it came time to seek his fortune, Zimri began working as a saddler in a blacksmith shop. He worked hard and did well for himself. In 1874 he married Ella Franklin (1855–1875), and they set out to begin a family of their own. Sadly, Ella died the day of the birth of their son, Edward Milton, on 10 July 1875. The newspaper attributed her death to a "brain fever brought on by childbirth."

Zimri must have been heartbroken, and if he chose that middle name for his son - the name of his own, long dead baby brother - it could be a sign that his sadness ran deeper than our evidence can show. But after his month of mourning, Zimri re-established his business on Wooster Street, and set about raising his son.

Zimri's second marriage was to Minnie E. Parker (1864–1939) in 1881. Eddie was about seven years old - and his new step-mother was only about ten years older than he was. Minnie Parker was young, and had what would be described as a delightful personality; it's a safe guess that she brought much needed sunshine into Zimri and Eddie's lives. That year or so was a hard one, considering that Zimri's brother Hugh died in October at only 32 years of age, and his father, William, died that December.

Zimri and Minnie had four children; three daughters separated by two years each, and then a little son in 1892. Zimri died in 1907, just five years after the death of his beloved oldest son. Minnie carried on, raising the remaining children, and eventually moved to Toledo, where she went to work as a matron in a juvenile home. She tended her charges for 20 years, and died in 1939. She was buried with Zimri in Oak Grove Cemetery, Bowling Green.

     I. Edward Milton Callin (1875–1902) grew up and served in the Spanish-American War. I wrote a more detailed biography of Eddie in Remembering the Maine; though at the time he was the only member of the family I had found who had served in that war, it turns out his cousin, Clement Carl Callin, George Callin's son, also served.

Eddie had a very public breakdown after returning from the war, and died after being arrested for disturbing the peace. (I don't mean to imply that there is reason to believe that he died in jail, just that the events happened in that order.) The articles in the newspaper from the time imply some substance abuse and a form of Post-Traumatic Stress that seems sadly familiar, now.

     II. Della B. Callin (1882–1950) was thirty years old when she married Arthur Garfield Shroyer (1880–1947) on 13 July 1912. He worked in a grain elevator, and later as a janitor in the public schools, but mainly worked as a carpenter. They lived in Portage township, and raised their only son there.

       A. Arthur B Shroyer (1918–1989) married Ruth Anna Wilson (1917–2000) on 24 October 1942. Arthur's records don't tell us much about him, but he was listed as a factory worker in 1940; Ruth worked as a secretary for Miller Dairy and Cain's Potato Chips, both of Bowling Green, retiring in 1967. Arthur died September 26, 1989, and Ruth survived him by 21 years. She also was a member of the Grace United Methodist Church, Perrysburg. They did not have any children.
Nellie May,
dau of Z.G. and M.E. Callin

     III. Nellie May Callin (1884–1887) was born in Henry county, Ohio, on 1 January 1884, and died 1887. She is buried in Knipp Cemetery, in Henry county.

     IV. Naoma B. "Oma" Callin (1886–1951) married Clyde O Meeks (1886–1952) in November 1906. They had a son, Harold V. Meeks, who died in infancy about 1908. They farmed near Toledo.

     V. Harry Valus Callin (1892–1959) married Pearl G. Kosman (1892–1967) on 28 October 1916. He worked as a brick layer, and except for a brief time around 1920 when they lived in Detroit, he and Pearl remained in Sandusky. They had two sons who died in infancy - Charles Valus in 1924, and Valus H. in 1925 - but their third son survived and grew to adulthood.

       A. Norman Robert Callin (1926–1983) was born 14 September 1926 in Sandusky, Ohio. He served in the U.S. Army from January 1945 through November 1946. He married Catharine L. "Katie" Hoffman (1923–2014) they have two sons, still living.

Katie was born Feb. 15, 1923, in Sandusky, daughter of the late Jacob and Catherine(McNamara) Hoffman. Katie graduated from Sandusky High School in 1941 and worked for Philco, Ohio Bell, and Sandusky Memorial Hospital, where she served as switchboard operator until retirement.

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This post was a difficult one to write, in part because a lot of sad things happened to the people in this branch of the family, and partly because they were quiet people and did not leave many records. Hugh's promise made his loss something to write about; Eddie's demise was both scandalous and uncomfortable; and while it seems like I had to write about a lot of infants dying in today's record, the reality is that this was rather normal for the time.

But remember that between the recorded moments with documents, there were - and are! - bright spots. When we deal mainly in birth/marriage/death records, those times in between are when people are living "happily ever after." Zimri's children all grew up during an exciting period of American history, when scientific and economic advancements seemed to promise an exciting new world of convenience and plenty - our world, for all its faults.

And while today's family seems to have been stopped short, it's worth remembering that Harry Valus's two grandsons are still with us - and their children and grandchildren are still writing their own stories.

If you're related to these, or any other descendants of James Callin, I hope you'll reach out and let me know you're there. I'd love to hear your stories. I'd especially love it if you would let me know about the inevitable mistakes I've made in putting these posts together. You can comment below, email my Gmail address, callintad at, or drop by the Callin Family History Facebook group. It's a private group for relatives only, so please be ready to tell me where you are in the family tree.

That's it for the family of William H. Callin; next week, we move on to his next youngest sibling. Do you know who that is? You will!

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