Mary Evelina Hemminger (1905-1994)

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Mary Evelina Hemminger
Mary E. Hemminger25%.JPG
Born: 7 May 1905 - Porter Township, Delaware, Ohio
Died: 5 April 1994 - Bellevue, Huron, Ohio
Father: Ovello H. Hemminger
Mother: Lenora Francis Wright
Spouse: Lloyd Aden Benson
Married: 14 February 1925 - Monroe, Michigan
Children: Leo Richard Benson
Paul Aden Benson
Dorothy Jean Benson
David Arthur Benson

Mary Evelina Hemminger was born in Porter Township, Delaware County, Ohio on May 7th, 1905. She was the only child of Ovello H. Hemminger and Lenora Francis Wright. She married Lloyd Aden Benson on Valentine's Day, February 14th, 1925. They traveled from Ohio to be married in Monroe, Monroe, Michigan. Lloyd Benson had previously been married and had been divorced since 1922. He was 43 at the time of the marriage, and she was 19.

From this union were born four children: Leo Richard Benson, Paul Aden Benson, Dorothy Jean and David Arthur. She sued for, and was granted, a divorce in Morrow County, Ohio in 1953. She married James Arthur McKibben at the Sunbury (Delaware County) Methodist Church on December 20th, 1954, by Richard L. Burns, pastor. The license was taken out in Morrow County and recorded there in Vol. 12, page 183. They were divorced on November 18th, 1960. She was known to all her grandchildren as "Grandma McKibben."

Mary worked as a night shift telephone operator in Mount Gilead, Ohio. In those days a person would pick up their phone receiver, whereupon an operator would ask, "number, please." Party lines and four digit phone numbers were common. Seven digit, rotary dial phones did not appear in Morrow County, Ohio until the mid-sixties.

Mary saved the downtown village of Mt. Gilead from destruction by fire, and was commended for her quick action. A fire started in a small restaurant that spread to the Western Auto store. She alerted the volunteer fire department and then phoned the owners of other village businesses. There remains to this day a gap in that block of the downtown buildings, a reminder of the Western Auto store fire. As a testament to her vigilance, there stands yet today all the adjacent 19th century buildings.

Mary owned a small farm south of Mt. Gilead on County Road 24, a few miles north of "Quakertown." Her home there burned to the ground, causing the loss of most of her family pictures and heirlooms. She rebuilt a two-bedroom home on the site of the old home, nicknamed "Mary Acres." This property was distinguished by two large pine trees in the front yard. During the oil boom of the early 1960's, a well was drilled on her farm but was considered a "dry hole." Grandchildren refered to this as "granny's dry hole," a term she did not appreciate. Neighboring farms up and down CR 24 struck oil and some are still producing to this day.

In the late 1960's Mary retired from the phone company, sold her farm, and relocated to the Marblehead peninsula, Ottawa County, Ohio where three of her four children then resided. She built a small two-bedroom home on a lot in the Townsend Beach subdivision that she obtained from her son David. This home had an unobstructed view of Lake Erie and the International Peace Memorial (formerly Perry's Monument) on Put-In-Bay, South Bass Island. She owned this property to the end of her life.

Mary died April 5th, 1994 in Bellevue, Huron County, Ohio. She had been in failing health, and had been staying with her daughter, Dorothy who then lived in that community. Her funeral was held in Port Clinton, Ohio. She was buried near her Lake Erie home in Danbury Township, Ottawa County, Ohio.

Sources

  • Paul Benson: family records