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Stanford E. Oberdorf


Margaret & Stanford Oberdorf

Stanford E. Oberdorf was born on July 15, 1851 in Wood County, OH, the son of Samuel Stanwood Finley and Catherine (Van Horn) Oberdorf.

At the age of 24, on Jan. 27, 1876, he was united in marriage with 19-year-old Margaret Louise "Maggie" Hopkins (1857-1938). The ceremony took place in Henry County, OH, with Rev. J.W.H. Morrison officiating. Maggie was the daughter of Phoenix and Johanna (Hoffman) Hopkins and a native of Damascus Township, Henry County, OH.

They were farmers and in 1880, when the federal census was taken, lived on a farm in Damascus Township, Henry County, OH, near Liberty Center. They remained in the township for the rest of their lives although apparently moved to and fro from time to time. 

In January 1892, reported the Napoleon (OH) Democratic Northwest, he sold 19 acres in Damascus Township to Joanna Hopkins for $1,100 and the same day bought from Jonah Hopkins a 33-acre tract, also in Damascus, for $1,800.

Their two known children were Noel Ellsworth Oberdorf and Abigail M. "Abbie" Sheely.

In 1925, when his uncle Austin C. Van Horn died in nearby Deshler, Henry County, Stanford attended the funeral, and was mentioned in a related news article in the Deshler Flag

He was afflicted with a stroke in December 1929 and died less than a month later, at the age of 79, on Jan. 9, 1930. Burial was in Young's Cemetery.

Maggie outlived her husband by eight years, and resided with her son Noel on a farm in Damascus, Henry County.

Stricken with liver cancer, she passed away in Liberty Center on Aug. 1, 1938. Interment was in Youngs Cemetery. Son Noel Oberdorf of Liberty Center provided information for her death certificate.


~ Daughter Abigail M. "Abbie" (Oberdorf) Sheely ~

Daughter Abigail M. "Abbie" Oberdorf (1896- ? ) was born on May 23, 1896 in Damascus Township, Henry County, OH. 

When she was age 19, on Sept. 2, 1915, she was united in marriage with 22-year-old farmer Homer Alton Sheely (Nov. 7, 1890-1934), son of John and Emma (Patterson) Sheely of Liberty, Henry County. The wedding was held in Henry County, officiated by Rev. W.R. Shester of Napoleon, OH. 

Homer was a resident of Liberty Center, Henry County, where they began raising their family.

Together, the pair bore at least four sons, Richard Alton "Bing" Sheely, Gerald A. "Curly" Sheely, Ralph Robert Sheely and James N. Sheely. 

In 1930, when the federal census was taken, Abbie and her four sons lived with her unmarried brother Noel Oberdorf and their widowed mother Maggie in Damascus. She is listed as "married" but her husband's whereabouts are not known.

On the heartbreaking day of May 6, 1934, the 43-year-old Homer was at work in Henry County, driving a team of horses. When they bolted, he was thrown to the road and landed on his head, fracturing his skull. He was rushed to Memorial Hospital in Wauseon, Fulton County, and lingered until the next day. He surrendered to death on May 7, 1934. His remains were laid to rest in Young Cemetery.

Abbie outlived her spouse by 37 years. In 1949, she was plunged into mourning when her son Ralph was killed in a housefire, and his wife Jean badly burned, although the grandchildren fortunately had been visiting at her home at the time.

She spent her final years in a home along Big Prairie Route 1 near Millersburg, Holmes County, OH. There, at the age of 74, she was swept away by the angel of death  on Dec. 18, 1970. An obituary was published in the Coshocton (OH) Tribune, which said she was survived by 10 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Rev. Neil Wilds led her funeral service. Interment was in Killbuck Cemetery.

Son Richard Alton "Bing" Sheely (1916-1978) was born on May 20, 1016 in Napoleon, Henry County. His home in 1970 was in Big Prairie near Millersburg, Holmes County, OH. Sadly, at the age of 61, he passed into eternity in Holmes County on Feb. 5, 1978. He was buried in the sacred soil of Killbuck Cemetery.

Son Gerald A. "Curly" Sheely (1921-2006) was born on Aug. 5, 1920 in Henry County, OH. He served as a captain and fighter pilot in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II. On March 3, 1943, when he was 21 years of age, he was joined in wedlock with Marceil Wiemer (Jan. 2, 1923-2002). She also was a veteran of the Navy during the war. Together, the pair produced a brood of four -- Patricia Sheely, Terry Sheely, Sandra Gindlesberger and Gerald "Chug" Sheely. After the war, they dwelled in Killbuck, Holmes County, OH. Gerald earned a living with Republic Steel in Massillon, OH and Flxible Company in Millersbuirg and Loudonville, OH. Gerald at one time was a trustee of Killbuck Township and held memberships in the Killbuck Methodist Church, the Killbuck post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Air National Guard. Sadly, Marceil succumbed to death in Holmes County at the age of 79 on Jan. 22, 2002. Gerald outlived his wife by more than four years. The angel of death spirited him away at the age of 85, in Millersburg's Pomerene Hospital, on March 14, 2006. The remains are in repose in Killbuck Cemetery, with Rev. Jim Cooper having led the funeral service and the Veterans of Foreign Wars providing military rites.

  • Granddaughter Patricia Sheely migrated to New Mexico and in 2006 was in Gallup, NM.
  • Grandchild Terry Sheely made a home in Killbuck, OH.
  • Granddaughter Sandra Sheely wedded John Gindlesberger. Their residence circa 2006 was in Pemberville, OH.
  • Grandson Gerald "Chug" Sheely married Barb. The pair put down roots in Killbuck.

Son Ralph Robert Sheely (1926-1949) was born on April 3, 1926 in Damascus, Liberty Center. He was married and resided in Millersburg, Holmes County, OH, working there as a truck driver. He served in the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II. He was joined in the bonds of wedlock with Jean ( ? - ? ). Two sons born in this family were Ralph Robert Sheely Jr. and Curtiss Sheely. They lived in a six-room house in Welcome near Millersburg, Holmes County, OH. Tragedy struck on Oct. 16, 1949 when the Sheelys' home caught fire. The 23-year-old Ralph was overcome by the flames, and Jean badly burned. He was rushed to Pomerene Hospital, and then sent to the Veterans Administration Hospital in Parma, where he died. No cause of death was spelled out in his Ohio death certificate, other than the word "Deferred." Reported the Mansfield (OH) News-Journal, "Gordon Barton, chief of the Millersburg Fire Department, estimated damage to the Sheely house at $1,500. He said fireman saved all but three rooms of the structure. The fire started at noon Sunday, when the Sheely's attempted to light a fire, and a five gallon can of kerosene ignited and exploded, he said. The living room, kitchen and small room adjoining the living room were gutted by flames." Jean was treated in the Pomerene facility. Fortunately the children had been away visiting Ralph's mother. Funeral services were held in the Killbuck Methodist Church, presided over by Rev. Russell Lee.

  • Grandson Ralph Robert Sheely Jr.
  • Grandson Curtiss Sheely

Son James Sheely Sr. (1928-2002) was born on Sept. 2, 1928 in Henry County. At the age of 23, on March 1, 1952, he married 21-year-old stenographer Catherine C. "Katy" Elliott (Dec. 30, 1930-2013), daughter of Glenn and Catherine (Walter) Elliott. He was a truck driver at the time of marriage, residing in Holmes County, OH. The four children borne by the couple were Lynn Sheely, Diane Schonauer, Peggy Conn and James N. Sheely II. In 1970, the family maintained a residence in Killbuck, OH. Catherine earned a living with Shreiner Sole Company of Killbuck and retired in 1995. She was active with the Killbuck United Methodist Church as a member of the United Methodist Women and a choir singer. She also liked to play bridge and read. James died on Nov. 18, 2002. Catherine lived for another 11 years in widowhood. She passed into the arms of the angels on June 17, 2013. Pastor Kenneth Smailes preached the funeral sermon in Killbuck United Methodist Church.

  • Grandson Lynn Sheely was a companion of Gale Robison and lived in Killbuck in 2008-2013.
  • Granddaughter Diane Sheely entered into marriage with Gerald "Jerry" Schonauer. They planted themselves in Millersburg, OH.
  • Granddaughter Peggy Sheely wedded Brad Conn. Circa 2013, they were in Millersburg.
  • Grandson James N. Sheely II (1953-2008) was born on July 31, 1953 in Killbuck, Holmes County. On Jan. 29, 1977, at the age of 23, he was united in wedlock with Peg Brown ( ? - ? ). Their union endured for 31 years until cleaved apart by death. Their two daughters were Katie Sheely and Kelli Jones. James was employed for 25 years by the Timken Company and for two years with Roland Industries. In his free time, he liked to work in his yard and with wood, restore classic cars and take his 1971 El Camino automobile to car shows. He was a fan of Cleveland's sports teams. Sadly, having suffered a lengthy illness at the age of 55, he died in Millersburg on Nov. 11, 2008.


~ Son Noel Ellsworth Oberdorf ~

Son Noel Ellsworth Oberdorf (1880- ? ) was born on Sept. 6, 1800 in Henry County, OH. As a young man, he lived in Napoleon, Henry County and labored as a farmer. 

On June 24, 1906, when he was age 25, Noel wed Myrtle 23-year-old Margaret Nischwitz (1883-1917), daughter of John and America Ellen (Sapp) Nischwitz of Florida, Henry County. Rev. J.S. Aultman officiated. 

They resided in the village of Napoleon, Henry County and had at least one child, Alfred John Oberdorf. 

Heartache rocked the family after a decade of marriage. Myrtle, age 33, was afflicted with "basilar meningitis" -- an infection at the base of the brain, caused by tuberculosis, or possibly syphilis. Suffering from exhaustion caused by convulsions, she died on July 1, 1917. Burial was in the Cole Cemetery in or near Napoleon. 

Noel eventually relocated to Middletown, Butler County, OH, working there for employer Charles Martz. His address was 200 Currier Road. 

Son Alfred John Oberdorf (1909- ? ) was born on July 14, 1909, in Damascus Township, Henry County. In adulthood, he moved to Fremont, OH and was employed as a truck driver. His address in Fremont was 5011 East State Street. At the age of 27, in Medina, OH, he wed 20-year-old beautician Norma Ruth Mader (1916- ? ), daughter of John and Ruth (Johnson) Mader, of Medina. Rev. Henry K. Shaw led the nuptials on Nov. 25, 1936. The couple produced at least two children, Frances Morgan and Marjory Churchill. They resided in Sandusky County, OH.

  • Granddaughter Frances Oberdorf (1944- ? ) married 22-year-old factory worker Kenneth W. Morgan (1941- ? ), a native of Tryon, NC on Aug. 31, 1963 in Sandusky, OH.
  • Granddaughter Marjory Oberdorf (1940- ? ) was born i n1940. At age 20, she was employed as a bank bookkeeper and resided in Green Creek, Sandusky County, OH. She married 22-year-old Thomas E. Churchill (1938- ? ) on April 23, 1960 in Sandusky. He was the son of Arthur J. and Edith (Buck) Churchill of Erie County, OH.


Copyright 2015, 2021 Mark A. Miner

Photo courtesy of Karl Oberdorf