Yesterday was Mother’s Day and I would like to celebrate the McCormack women below and others who are not shown and talked about here. I must add that other than my grandmother, Alta McCormack Ford, I have not met any of these women. I was inspired to write this post because of a friend of mine, Michelle Ganus Taggart over at her blog, A Southern Sleuth, and her post, Mothers and Grandmothers. Thank you, Michelle!
The first McCormack woman that I would like to celebrate is the matriarch of the McCormack clan, Catherine (Paine/Payne) McCormack. Briefly, I know that she was born in Ireland. There is a “suggestion” out there that she was born in either County Cork, Ireland or Cork the city. She was married before marrying Michael McCormack but as far as I know, her first husband died leaving her young widow. In 1853, she married Michael and gave birth to her first child, my great-grandfather, William E. McCormack. What really stands out to me is that soon after he was born, he and his parents left Ireland to the United States via Liverpool, England. When they left Ireland, William was maybe 4 or 5 months old. At that time, the trans-Atlantic trip took about six weeks. Even now, traveling with an infant is not easy. Also, they made the trip around October/November of 1853. The weather couldn’t have been the greatest! The next thing that really impresses me about her is that she followed and gave Michael 10 more children of which 9 lived to adulthood. She moved from Kentucky – the “rumor” is that her brother lived in Harrodsburg, Kentucky – to Ypsilanti, Michigan to London, Ontario then back to Ypsilanti then up to northern Michigan and finally living in the same village as her first son, William.
The second woman that I would like to celebrate is my great-grandmother, Lavina Jane (Hemingway) McCormack. As I have mentioned before, she is my connection to the famed Hemingway name. What stands out to me about her is that the circumstances in which she came into the McCormack clan. She and William lived in the same village, Otter Lake, prior to the marriage. So, she must have known William’s first wife, Lura before she died unexpectedly and William and Lura’s daughter, Grace. It seemed that she handled things with grace. She and William had three beautiful children of which my grandmother, Alta McCormack was one of.
Lavina Jane McCormack
The next woman that I would like to remember here is my grandmother, Alta Lyleth (McCormack) Ford. She was born in Otter Lake, Michigan in 1902 and was the middle child of William and Lavina. One of the things that I remember about her is when I was a little kid is that me and my family would visit her at her house. She had a corner house in Garden City, Michigan. I would run around the house and my parents or grandmother would “time” me. Little did I know at the time is that none of them timed me. I am crushed! (haha!) I would also stay a few days with her every summer as a young kid. I remember helping her do some work on her garden that she had in her backyard. There were a few stories about her childhood but sadly I really don’t remember any of them. I am working on a post about her trip to Europe in 1925 with her younger sister, Ruth. Sadly, she died while I was in the service (Army) in California in 1986 and a few years before I really got into my McCormack family history. She could have been a real treasure trove of knowledge.
A young Alta McCormack
The next woman that I would like to talk about is Ethel Davis McCormack. She was the wife of Henry Peacock McCormack, the only child of John Michael and Gertrude (Peacock) McCormack. The biggest thing that impresses me about Ethel, besides being a rather small woman in stature, is that she like her grandmother-in-law, Catherine, she had 10 children of which one is still alive! Anytime, a woman has 10 children, that is simply amazing! When her youngest child was born, her oldest was 21 years old!
Ethel Davis McCormack
The final woman that I would like to tell you about is Elizabeth Jane (Rohr/Dimmick) McCormack. I have written about her before – Celebrating Women’s History Month – Elizabeth J. (Rohr) Dimmick McCormack – but I will try to briefly tell you about her. Her story is very impressive. Very. She had married Edward J. McCormack, son of Michael and Catherine in 1886. In 1898, he died. At the time, they had four children. Here’s the kicker. She was pregnant with their last child. Northern lower Michigan in the winter is not a nice place. For a young woman with four children and another one on the way, it can be brutal. Well, she bought a general store in Mio, Michigan and raised her kids. She never remarried either. To top everything off, when she was 69, she “adopted” her two of her granddaughters. They were 7 years old and younger. Something else, huh? I thought so too.
Elizabeth McCormack behind the counter of her general store
I don’t want to have “favorites” here, but Catherine McCormack and her daughter-in-law, Elizabeth Rohr McCormack are two very impressive women. I am very proud that they were a part of the McCormack legacy.
I would like to mention two additional women. My mother and sister. My mother is something special. My sister is something else too. She and her husband had four kids of their own. About 5 or 6 years ago, they adopted three sisters.
Happy Mother’s Day to the women that I talked about here and to the rest of the McCormack mothers that I couldn’t mention due primarily to time and space!
I would like to thank you and everyone else for stopping by! I hope you learned something new and special.