RESEARCH: The following account is essentially like Hamp Hunter Robert Ward (H4a411) wrote it. Eli Hamp (H4a) was his great grandfather. We greatly appreciate Bob sharing this with us.
ELI HAMP was born 14 Mar 1862 in Fulton County, OH. Eli was a popular name among the Hamp menfolk back then and he was probably named after his uncle Eli (H5).
Eli was the first born of John Hamp's second brood. His mother was Elizabeth Warren, daughter of Nathaniel Warren, Irish immigrant and his wife Julia , born in Pennsylvania.
Information about Eli's youth is very meager. He probably went to school in Fulton township and it is likely he worked on area farms as he became older. In 1870 he was living with siblings and parents in Ai, across from the church and cemetery as indicated by the 1870 Fulton County, Ohio census.
Ai is located about 23 miles west of Toledo. Before the turn of the century Ai was a typical small Midwestern town with a population of a couple thousand people. It was a bustling center of commerce with a gristmill, cider mill, sawmill, wagon factory, two black smith shops, Post Office, drug store, cheese factory, general store, a millinery shop, undertaking establishment and several saloons, one owned by uncle Eli Hamp.
The decline of Ai started with the decision of Southern Michigan and Northern Indiana Railroad to go through Swanton rather than Ai. The lack of rail service effectively stunted growth of the town.
In the 1880's Ai voted to go dry. Back then the neighboring town of Swanton was able to vote in Ai's elections. The saloon interests of Swanton packed the polls with their men and voted Ai dry. The hub of commerce slowly but surely shifted from Ai to Swanton and Ai continued to decline.
It is likely that Eli knew his future wife, Ada GRIESINGER from childhood. Her family was one of the early families of Fulton County. She was born 26 Sep 1886 near Ai. She was a daughter of George and Mary (McQUILLING) Griesinger. George Griesinger was a prosperous farmer in Fulton township. He fought in many battles in the Civil War and was thrice wounded. He was discharged from the service because of his injuries and received a pension from the Government for his disability.
When Ada was about eighteen months old, her mother died shortly after giving birth to twins, John and Mary. George remarried, and he and his new wife Lydia SIEGEL had several more children. Lydia raised Ada as her own and did a fine job of guiding her early years.
Eli Hamp was 21 years of age when he and Ada Griesinger were married the day before Christmas, 24 Dec 1883. The marriage isn't recorded in Fulton County records, however it took place at the home of Ada's father and step-mother.
The first years of their marriage were spent in Fulton County, but it isn't known just where. They may have rented, but Eli probably worked on a farm in return for housing.
Their first child, a daughter Mary Etta, was born 12 Jun 1884, but she was taken from them by whooping cough on August 4th of the same year. She was buried at Dutch Ridge cemetery in the Griesinger lot.
Next came the two boys, George and Will. Will was born 14 Mar 1886 and George the next year on 23 May 1887.
Now that they had started a family, Eli and Ada wanted a house of their own. The opportunity came along with Elils dad John and Ada's dad George each helping in their own way.
Eli's mother Elizabeth had died 11 Jun 1889 and she was buried across the road in the Ai cemetery. Eli's brothers and sisters were coming of age and leaving home one by one now and Old John was courting Mary Elizabeth Kellogg in Williams county some 25 miles west of Ai. On 13 Jun 1892 John took Mary Kellogg as his third wife. They planned to live in Williams County, so John was glad to sell the extra house. Eli and Ada bought the old home place for $250 on 14 Mar 1892.Ada's dad likely furnished the money, and the deed to the house and property was in Ada's name. The fact that Eli couldn't sell the house was no doubt the reason that they stayed in Fulton County long as they did, for Eli had the Hamp wanderlust and would have pulled up stakes and headed for greener pastures with his family years before if he had had his way.
Two more girls were born to the Hamps while they lived in Ai. Lida was born 25 May 1893 and Frances was born 15 Sep 1899.
Eli worked in Toledo as a string butcher and also farmed for a living. Maybe it was the hope of a lot of low priced farmland in Michigan or perhaps the recommendation of old friends Clark and Elizabeth SMITH that persuaded Ada to make the move to Mid-land County, MI.
With mixed feelings the house and land in Ai was sold for $350 on 23 Sep 1901. Some belongings that couldn't be transported were sold or given away. The Hamp family left for Michigan in the fall of 1901. All their possessions were loaded into a one horse covered wagon. Ada had the proceeds from the sale of the house on her person and the long trip was started. The several day trip was made but another horse had to be bought along the way, as the one they started with got balky from the heavy load
The boys, Will and George were left back in Ohio apprenticed to a cheese maker. , This was a hard blow to the boys, being so young, it changed the relationship between them and Eli forever.
Coleman, Michigan must have been a letdown to Ada, as it was an undeveloped area with poor roads and land yet to be cleared of stumps. However the farming operations were started with the building of a barn and preparations made for crop planting in the spring.
About a year later a son named Carmon Eldon was born to Eli and Ada on 10 Sep 1902.
To earn extra money, Eli took up the life of a Michigan lumber-jack through the winter. The logging era was coming to an end in The Coleman area but work could still be found in the camps further north. Eli worked through the winters and would return in the spring in time for planting, leaving Ada and the girls the hard work of caring for the animals through the winter.
At one time while they lived in the Coleman area, Eli did some work for an auctioneer. He picked up on this and became an auctioneer himself for a while, conducting several sales in Mid-land County.
Late in 1903 Eli's cousin Eli (H5) with wife and family visited Eli and Ada. They were on their way up north to Gladwin County and stopped in for a few days. The family traveled in a large wagon which was more like a small cabin on wheels. The wagon was equipped with most of the comforts of home. It had beds, a stove, water, lanterns, and a rug. Ada's Eli killed a Plymouth rooster and they had chicken and dumplings for Sunday dinner. Rebecca was amazed at the size of Ada's house with so many big rooms, and Ada had always thought it was too small. Eli and Rebecca stayed a few days and then traveled on northward. The next news Eli and Ada heard of cousin Eli was the death of him and his son-in-law who were in town drinking and Christmas shop-ping on Christmas Eve. It was getting dark and both men headed home in a crude horse drawn sleigh. on the way' home, there was a railroad to cross, but they never made it. They were struck by a train and both of them were killed instantly.
Perhaps the farming wasn't paying off as hoped, or maybe it was too much work for Ada and the girls, but whatever the reasons the decision was made to give it up and move into Mt. Pleasant, the County seat of Isabella County, the next one south of Midland. The family lived there for several years before continuing on southward to Alma in Gratiot County.
A house was purchased on the south side of Alma and the Hamps lived there for some years and were there at the time of the event that took Ada's life.
Daughter Frances had married Ike MARTIN on 30 Jul 1916 in Isabella County, but they made the move to Alma, living near the folks, but on the east side of town. Lida had worked in the Detroit area but now was living at home. Eli and Lida both got jobs at Republic Truck in Alma and within easy walking distance of home, at least in the summer.
At this time Republic was the largest truck manufacturer in the world. They made the famous Liberty trucks during World War I that were sent all over the world. Eli was a foreman at Republic and Lida worked on the line and later worked her way up to the road test crew. Unfortunately Republic wasn't managed very well and fell into a general decline after the war.
During this time Eli dabbled in Real Estate. He sold Alma lots for a Mt. Pleasant company. Sales were good as Alma was booming at this time, and there just weren't enough lots to sell.
Eli liked working with growing things and always had a garden. He also sold fruit trees for the Monroe Nursery as a part time job. He did pretty good with the fruit trees, selling quite a few, his only downfall was in collecting the money owed on them.
Life went on in Alma until Ada left for a family reunion held back in Ohio. Son Carmon was driving the family car with Ada. They were near the Michigan-Ohio border close to Morenci just a few miles from their destination when Carmon came upon a section of road that was under repair. The road crew had put a coat of hot tar on the road, then apparently knocked off for a break or lunch without putting out any warning signs. Carmon hit the hot tar and the car skidded out of control off the road and rolled over. Ada was hurt and shortly succumbed to the injuries. Eli and Ada had been married over 45 years when she lost her life on 14 Aug 1929 there near Morenci, MI. She was buried in the Griesinger lot at the Dutch Ridge Cemetery in Fulton County, OH next to her infant daughter Mary Etta.
The children were all gone now and Eli was by himself. He didn't like to live alone so arrangements were made to live with one daughter, then the other. Eli and whoever he might be living with at the time, didn't always see eye to eye and he might decide to take off and visit his brother in Indiana or his sister in Ohio or any of the numerous other relatives.
Lida lost her second husband, Charles Sandel in 1933. As part of her inheritance she received what was known as the Tubb's farm, 160 acres and buildings at the northwest corner of Lincoln and Warner roads in Seville township in Gratiot County. She also received several valuable diamonds, the most valuable was a flawed Canary diamond that had been appraised at $5,000. Charlie Sandel had bought it for five hundred dollars from a jeweler who had need to raise some cash. This was during the great depression and not many people had that kind of money.
Lida had the habit of leaving valuables lying around the house and Eli had the habit of telling Lida she should take better care of them. One day the pouch with the diamonds came up missing. A thorough search was made but they were not to be found anywhere. It was a very serious situation as the proceeds from the intended sale of the diamonds had been counted on to buy needed modern equipment and meet start up expenses on the farm.
One thought was that the pouch with the diamonds was placed on the fender of the car and fell off. Lida had done this with a purse once before. But the general thought was that Eli had hidden the pouch to teach Lida a lesson. Why he didn't come forth, if he had taken them, is unknown. Perhaps he planned to do so in the future, but then was afraid of getting in serious trouble.
Across the section lived an old man who had suffered a head injury in the past. The injury had left his mind not quite on plumb but also left him with some apparent psychic powers. He had helped locate missing people and items in the past. While the old man wasn't infallible, he had helped other folks and it was decided to consult him. He predicted the pouch with the diamonds would be found wrapped in burlap and buried in a fence row across the road east of the farm. A search of the area was made and sure enough a freshly dug shallow hole and some remnants of burlap was found, but alas, no pouch or diamonds. If ever there, they had been removed earlier. Lida believed that Eli might have taken them to Indiana when he left later. They may still be on the old Tubb farm which has since been all torn down. Lida said they might even be in some balls of old carpet rags that were her mother's. Lida would never throw them away and I wouldn't either.
After the diamond episode, Eli left for Indiana. He worked for the White Cross mission in Elkhart. He helped the down and outers and cooked and even played the drum in the mission band at one time.
While in Elkhart, Eli rented a safety deposit box at a local bank and paid rent on it for some time, but the rent expired on the box in the early 1940's (after Eli's death) and a notice was sent to Lida to claim the contents. For reasons mostly unknown the trip to Elkhart was never made and now we can only speculate as to what was in the box, possibly the diamonds were. It has also been said that old John Hamp's handcuffs he used as constable back in Ai were in the box as well as some old coins and obsolete legal papers, but no one will ever know.
Eli returned to Michigan and lived with Lida and her son Robert and daughter-in-law Hazel. Both Eli and Lida enjoyed visiting with their Hamp kinfolk, so it was decided to have the 34th annual reunion at Lida's farm in 1938. It was held on August 14. It was well attended with 112 of the Hamp clan showing up. A barbeque dinner was served at noon with the rest of the day devoted to visiting and reminiscing.
Eli still had the habit of walking where he wanted to go and he would walk to the nearby towns of Elwell or Riverdale, a distance of 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 miles. He was seventy six years old and had been told not to walk at night, but he felt he was old enough to do what he wanted. He had walked to Marley's General Store in Elwell and was returning home at about eight o'clock in the evening. He had made several small purchases including a pair of stockings for Lida's daughter-in-law Hazel. He was about a mile from home when he was struck and killed by an automobile. The death was instant. The police investigated the acident and the driver was ruled blameless. The accident took place on 19 Nov 1938 and Eli was buried in the Riverside Cemetery, Alma, MI on 22 Nov 1938.
RESIDENCE: Gratiot County Herald....1/12/1928Eli Hamp has sold his home on Grove Street to parties from Canada.
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