I have been thinking all week about which will to write about... There was the hotly contested will of John Russell, my 3x great-grandfather, which I recently discovered. Or perhaps the will of someone I was studying for a class, which magically solved my research question? But then I saw the prompt from Amy Johnson Crow, the originator of 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, about how my post could also be about someone named "Will," and I knew that was the direction to go.
Many people called my great-grandfather, William George Ogilvie, by the name "Honest Will." I always love reading that about him. I never met him - he died four years before I was born. I knew his wife, Ida Jorgensen Ogilvie, and heard her stories many times, but I didn't know as much about him, figuring he was a quiet, stable person who preferred to stay out of the limelight.
He is pictured above with his three sisters (l-r), Julia Reina (seated), Edna Eliza, and Grace Amelia. Will was the oldest of seven children, and his family was raised in Richfield, a small Central Utah town, which his grandfather, George Ogilvie, helped settle. Below, on the left, Will is pictured with his brothers, Oliver Fay (left), and Orin Author (right). His sisters are in the photo to its right, with Edna Eliza (top), Julia Reina (left), Grace Amelia (right), and Delora (bottom).
Like most families in this time and place, they were not wealthy, and everyone pitched in with household labor, growing food, and taking jobs where and when they could. They are pictured below in about 1913, prior to the loss of many family members. Will's youngest brother, Oliver, died in 1914, his father in 1917, his sister, Edna, in 1918, and his mother in 1919. Listed left to right: Oliver, Grace, Will, Julia, Orin, Edna, George William, Delora, and Cosmelia "Melia" Ogilvie.
I recently read my great-grandpa's autobiography, and honestly, I wish I could just post the whole thing here, because his words tell the story better than I could. Unless noted otherwise, all following information comes from this document. He summed it up this way, "My entire life consisted of hard working conditions." His early adult years consisted of traveling away from home for menial jobs. Just a few examples:
Will worked as a missionary for his church from 1907 to 1910, travelling throughout South Carolina and parts of North Carolina. He worked at harvesting and thrashing grain after his return. He attempted to work at the mine again, but became ill after several months and returned home. He worked at the Elsinore Sugar Factory, processing sugar beets, when he met and married Ida Jorgensen, in 1913. Unfortunately, the sugar mill was only open seasonally, so he had to look for work in the winter/early Spring, such as working for a plaster company.
It went on this way for a few years, along with the arrival of his first two sons (photo above is of Will, Ida, and my grandpa, Kendal Morris Ogilvie ). In October 1918, Will contracted the Spanish Flu, which led to pneumonia and pleural empyema. He was hospitalized for two months, and did not work for nine months. His household was supported by a network of family, friends and neighbors. During this period his mother died, and his third son was born. He went back to work crushing gypsum for the Jumbo Plaster Company, and spinning sugar for the Elsinore Sugar Company, but his health was never the same after this experience.
1923 brought a big change to the family, when Will started work with American Smelting & Refining Company in Garfield, Utah (a company town that no longer exists), at the Southern end of the Great Salt Lake. He started as a clean up man, eventually working with the electrical generators. By the time he retired in 1950, he was back to sweeping and clean up, and he took on other janitorial jobs here and there after his retirement from the smelter. He and Ida were the parents of nine children (including one adopted son), and hosted several foster children along the way. They sent four sons off to fight in World War II at the same time - all returned home safely.
Will wrote that he never learned how to drive, and never owned a car. One story that has really stuck with me was something his wife, Ida, shared in a recording. She said that he once walked all the way over a mountain range, from Richfield to Delta, Utah, to meet her. At some point he wore off the soles of his shoes, so he completed his journey barefoot.
Photos above are of Will and with his wife, Ida. Will battled ill health throughout his adult life. In addition to his respiratory problems, he suffered several heart attacks - one that knocked him down in the middle of crossing a busy street! He had cataracts, and was nearly blind by the end of his life. He experienced the loss of several family members early on. Despite all this, surrounded by those who loved him, he continued to work hard, holding tight to his faith and his family throughout all of his trials. His children all lived good lives - guided by strong morals. His grandchildren remember him as a gentle, loving person. He died on 26 February 1971 - just two days shy of his 86th birthday - I started writing this post on his 133rd birthday. So Happy Birthday, Great-Grandpa Ogilvie! What a perfect example of "When there's a Will, there's a way."
1. William George Ogilvie, "Autobiography of William George Ogilvie," page 1, digital image at FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/48335817: accessed 28 February 2018); scanned from B. Eileen Ogilvie Ipson and Grant J. Ipson, ed., My Links to Heaven: Courageous Ancestors Stories and Testimonies, self-published, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1993.
2. B. Eileen Ogilvie Ipson, "Biographical Sketch of George William Ogilvie," digital image at FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/37687372 : accessed 28 February 2018); included in B. Eileen Ogilvie Ipson and Grant J. Ipson, ed., My Links to Heaven: Courageous Ancestors Stories and Testimonies, self-published, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1993.
3. "Not Guilty: The Glenwood Alleged Murder," (Provo, Utah) Territorial Enquirer, 26 March 1886, page 3; Utah Digital Newspapers (https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu : accessed 28 February 2018), search term "Charles Ogilvie."
4. Photo of Ogilvie children, circa 1893, digital image, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/4994307 : accessed 28 February 2018).
5. Photo of Ogilvie boys, circa 1903, digital image, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/8908604 : accessed 28 February 2018).
6. Photo of Ogilvie girls, circa 1903, digital image, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/8908604 : accessed 28 February 2018).
7. George William Ogilvie Family Photo, circa 1913, digital image, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/4994481: accessed 28 February 2018).
8. William George Ogilvie, "Autobiography...," FamilySearch.
9. William George Ogilvie, Ida Jorgensen Ogilvie, and Kendal Morris Ogilvie photo, circa 1915, digital image, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/1591771 : accessed 28 Feburary 2018).
10. Ida Jorgensen Ogilvie, audio recording of memories of her son, Kendal Morris Ogilvie, circa 1980-1990 (date unknown), digitized copy obtained from Rachel Ogilvie Robison privately held by author in personal collection, 2018, East Lansing, Michigan.
11.William George Ogilvie photo, circa 1945, digital image, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/8908605 : accessed 28 Feburary 2018).
12. William George Ogilvie and Ida Jorgensen Ogilvie photo, circa 1960, digital image, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/1871286 : accessed 28 Feburary 2018).