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Josephine Ingmire, born 1854

Josephine Ingmire, born 1854

Josephine Ingmire (O'Ryan)
Posted on 27 Mar 2009 by Beverly Loomis
Josephine Ingmire, 1854-1949

Josephine Ingmire was born in Ohio on February 25, 1854, to Snowden Ingmire (born 1827) and Rachel Mitchell (born about 1833). Family members said that as a young girl, Josephine once heard President Abraham Lincoln speak.

On April 25, 1878, at the age of 24, she married Edmund P. O'Ryan in Pickaway County, Ohio. Edmund had been born in New York to parents, names unknown, who had come to America from Ireland. He was about 17 years her senior. Shortly after their marriage, Josephine and Edmund left Ohio in a covered wagon to settle in Neodesha, Kansas. Josephine's parents had moved to Neodesha about the same time to homestead.

Josephine and Edmund had the following children:

  • Jessie May O'Ryan, born in Ohio March 5, 1879, married, died in young adulthood of tuberculosis
  • Mary Ettie O'Ryan, born July 29, 1880
  • Gilbert B. "Bert" O'Ryan, born in Kansas April 7, 1882, died May 1966
  • Infant son, born April 1884, did not survive
  • Myrtle Dot O'Ryan, born in Kansas April 15, 1885, died February 24, 1963 in California

Josephine was not happy in her marriage. When her children were grown, she separated from Edmund. The family claimed she got a divorce, although it was unusual in that time period for a woman to iniatiate a divorce. Josephine turned a deaf ear on Edmund's pleas to reunite. Family members recalled that he used to come pray loudly in front of the house and beg that the Lord return his wife to him. This ceased after she chased him away with a 2 x 4 post.

One of the reasons for the separation was that Josephine considered Edmund undependable. He did not work regularly, due to what he claimed was a bad back. Family members called him "shiftless." They also told the story of how Edmund had hit his son Gilbert (Bert) over the head with a heavy frying pan, thus rendering him "simple-minded" for life. Whether Bert was simple-minded to begin with and had somehow annoyed his father, or whether he suffered brain damage from the blow is not known.

Josephine at one time ran a boarding house. One of her boarders was William Walter Love, who met and married Josephine's youngest daughter, Myrtle Dot, in January 1904.

The 1900 census in Neodesha, Kansas shows Josephine still living with Edmund, who was by that time 61 years old. The 1910 census shows her living with her married daughter, Myrtle Dot Love, in Neodesha.

In the late 1920s, several members of the Love, Ingmire and O'Ryan families, including Josephine, left Kansas and moved to southern California. In the 1930 census, Josephine is shown living in Los Angeles with Sheridan Ingmire, her brother, and his wife May. The census incorrectly records her relationship to Sheridan as sister-in-law. Sometime after Sheridan's death in 1934, she returned to the home of daughter Myrtle Dot Love in Bell, California.

Josephine was a member of the Seventh-day Adventist church. She died on October 28, 1949, at the age of 95.

Josephine's great-grandson, Robert Milton Loomis, has a few memories of Josephine, whom he called Grandma O'Ryan, from her days of living with Myrtle Dot in Bell, California in the 1940s. Josephine was quite elderly by then. Bob and his mother Ruth, daughter of Myrtle Dot, lived in the same household from about 1944 until Josephine's death in 1949.

Bob recalls a trip to Seal Beach for a barbecue. There is a photo from that day showing Josephine fully dressed with her hat on, standing on the sand, unsmiling. Bob remembers her as quiet, and said she did not participate in conversations, probably because of age-related hearing loss. She had a hearing aid but did not like wearing it. Bob's remembers Josephine in her 90s, sitting in her rocking chair, reading either the Bible or Bob's Donald Duck comic books.

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