Celebrating Women’s History Month – Elizabeth J. (Rohr) Dimmick McCormack

Behind the counter of her general store

Behind the counter of her general store

This woman is Elizabeth Jane Rohr/Dimmick McCormack. In Dec 1886, at home of her (adoptive?) parents in Ypsilanti, Michigan, she married my great grand uncle, Edward J. McCormack. He was the younger brother of my great grandfather, William E. McCormack. Sometime prior to her marriage, her future husband, Edward, and father-in-law, Michael, each bought 160 acres in northern Michigan. Shortly after her marriage, she and Edward moved up north to Montmorency County, Michigan. There she would live the rest of her life dying in Mar 1956. In Apr 1888, her first daughter, Mae Ethel, was born. Five more children, two boys, two girls and one unknown child would follow until the summer of 1898 when the last of five children that would survive into adulthood was born. That last child was Edna Ruth McCormack Hebestreit.

However, five months earlier, Elizabeth’s or “Lizzie” greatest journey began. On 15 Feb 1898, her husband died.[1] 115 years ago, life in northern Michigan was not easy. Even now, life isn’t easy up there. At the time of Edward’s death, Lizzie was the mother of 4 children, the oldest being Mae who was only eight years old. Adding to her difficulty, Lizzie was almost six months pregnant with Edna. She wasn’t quite 31 years old at this time. Just imagine, it is the middle of a northern Michigan winter, your husband dies, you have 4 children under the age of eight and you are six months pregnant. You are 185 miles from your parents and 125 miles from your in-laws.

For a number of years, she and her growing family stayed around the Lewiston area of Montmorency County, Michigan. After her son, Donald James, graduated the twelfth grade, Elizabeth and her young family moved to Otter Lake, Michigan for a while. Then her brother-in-law, Dr. Leon R. Ingleright (he was married to Edward’s youngest sister, Katherine), asked her to come to Rose City, Michigan and help him with his medical practice. Then, after spending sometime there, she moved her family to Luzerne and then finally, Mio.[2]

In 1936, her daughter, Lura Maude McCormack Palmer, unfortunately died.[3] Lura was the mother of two young girls. Due to circumstances, it was decided the Elizabeth, a grandmother of 69 years, would adopt or raise the two girls. Elizabeth, who had already raised two boys and three girls by herself in the wilds of northern Michigan, would become the “mother” of two little girls. She would raise those two girls and continue to run her general store in Mio.

Stationary used in the McCormack General Store

Stationary used in the McCormack General Store

I am sure that I have left out some more interesting details, but I hope I have described, however briefly, Elizabeth McCormack’s life and why someone like her should be celebrated and remembered. In my opinion, she was a very remarkable woman and I am glad that she is a part of the McCormack family.

– – – – – –

[1] Montmorency County, Michigan, death certificate no. Bk. 1 Pg. 10, Edward McCormack, Circuit Court Clerk’s Office, Mio.

[2] Foley Jr., Bill, “AuSable river Pioneer Genealogy,” Wilderness Chronicle, Issue 13, Comins, MI: Fall 1987, p. 3

[3] Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records, death certificate no. 65-1293, (1936), Lura Maude (McCormack) Palmer, Division for Vital Records, Lansing.



7 thoughts on “Celebrating Women’s History Month – Elizabeth J. (Rohr) Dimmick McCormack

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