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The Moellendicks

One of the very important forces in the life of Clara Noe Sullivan, her daughter, Lorene, and her mother, Eva, were the Moellendicks. Clara had an older sister, Ella Nella Noe, who had married William Jacob Moellendick. In fact, this was Clara's only surviving sibling, for Ella's twin sister, Nella, had died when Ella was only four.

Eva had married Louis Noe late in 1881 and moved to Hopewell, WV, to live there on a dilapidated farm, where they raised their children. First Ella and Nella arrived in late summer of 1883 (August 22) and then Clara on June 20 of 1890.

According to my mom, a rift had developed between Ella and her father early in 1903. She was a teacher, but also helped on the farm. Lou had lost his temper and thrown a singletree at her for not managing the oxen properly. She left home soon after, and since she had been seeing Bill Moellendick, they got married on Apr 22, 1903.

They settled in Washington Bottom, WV, which is 7 miles south of Parkersburg on the Ohio River. One hundred years before, Aaron Burr had plotted to take over the United States of America from Blennerhesset Island, just a stone's throw from what would become the Moellendick Farm. (There is a text file documenting the history of Washington Bottom on the usgenweb project; the document contains no indication of authorship, however.)

My mother remembers that Bill Moellendick's father had a very large acreage, and when he died, he divided it up between Bill and his brothers Fred and Philip. Two other brothers were given a start in the grocery business. Fred and Bill had farms across the road from each other, and Phil was down the road about half a mile. Thanks to the website of Tim Moellendick, we have the picture on the right of the Moellendick home which was inherited by William and Ella.

According to the genealogical research of Tim Max Moellendick, Bill Moelleck's father was Philipp Jacob Möllendick, born May 12, 1852 in Oldenbach in the German Pfalz. Philipp Jacob and wife, Philippine, were to begat nine children, 7 boys and 2 girls. They did have sons as my mother remembers, Philip George, b. 16 Dec 1876, Frederick Martin, 1 Mar 1886, Harry, 7 Oct 1893. All three boys are listed as being born at Trail Run, in Monroe Co., Ohio. Harry is the grandfather of Tim.

The Bill and Ella Moellendick children began to arrive with Ina Claire Moellendick, who was born on June 23, 1904. Ina was followed by William Carl on October 2, 1908.

When Ella's father, Louis, died early in 1904, her sister, Clara and mother, Eva, went back to the homestead of Eva's parents on Pleasant Ridge in Washington County, Ohio. Mom remembers that Eva stayed at Ella and Bill's farm for about 2 weeks before moving to Pleasant Ridge. Eva had a sale and got rid of most of her possessions, keeping a few things and a couple of horses.

Mom also remembered the story that when Ina was born in the summer of 1904, Eva drove her wagon down to help Ella and see the child while Clara stayed with Uncle Dan Fickeisen, Eva's younger brother, back on the homestead on Pleasant Ridge. Eva told mom that the Ohio River was so low that summer that she drove the horse and wagon across it there near Lock 19, even though there was no bridge. She said that when she went back a few weeks later, the water had risen, and they had to wait for a boat.

After Eva and Clara moved to Pleasant Ridge in 1904 and then to Marietta in 1909, the family stayed in touch by mail and by occasional visits.

My mother told me the story of little Lowell, and I have since discovered that he was born on March 31, 1912. According to Lorene, he was a sickly child, and Eva had come to stay with Ella and help. They had to go across the river for the doctor, and Eva held the boy on her lap, trying to keep him alive. But it was no use, and the boy died before help could arrive. The date was August 12, 1912.

Their fourth child, Arthur Orten, was born on November 12, 1914, a year after my mom, Lorene was born.

Mom recalls that Frank Sullivan and Clara were living in a cabin at Dodds Run, Washington County when she was 18 months old. in addition to Eva's wagon, they had a buggy for short trips. Mom can remember riding in the buggy while Clara was driving.

My mother recalls that when she was four and a half (1918), Clara and Eva decided to go to visit Ella, while Frank stayed with his friends Tom and Rose Hawkins. They walked to the old Norwood Hotel down on the corner of 2nd and Green St., where there was a street car stop. They took the streetcar across the bridge through Williamstown to Parkersburg. (Incidentally, mom tells me that one of my first words was "teetcaw.") The fee for adults was 25 cents, and mom rode for free. They took the train from Parkersburg to Washington Bottom and walked to the farm. The fee was 50 cents. Mom says she remembers that she ran away and went around the block at the train station in Parkersburg. She says, "But I was smart and I knew how to get back. Boy, did I get a spanking for that, though!"

It occurs to me that this visit may very well have been timed close to the birth of Ella and Bill's last children on May 29, 1918, twins Elvin Mayon and Evelyn May. Lorene says she remembers the twins as babies.

The Moellendick FamilyThere is a very good photograph of the Moellendick family in one of mom's albums. It is marked "1923;" mom would have been 10 years old. The names of the family are written on the back. Apparently, Ella Noe Moellendick was taking the picture. The site may have been Lock 19 on the Ohio River.

Her husband, Bill, is the man on the left, and he is about 42, being born Jul 21, 1881. To the right of Bill is Eva Noe's brother, Jacob Fickeisen and his wife, Mary. Eva is partially hidden behind Ella and Bill's oldest daughter, Ina.

My grandmother, Clara, is in the center of the picture. She is 33 years old.

In front, from left to right are Arthur (9), Ella and Bill's oldest surviving son, my mom, Lorene (10) , and Ella and Bill's twins, Evelyn and Elvin (5).

I can remember going down to the Moellendick farm when I was a boy. It was quite a treat, and I always looked forward to it. Bill Moellendick's son, Arthur, had married Christine V. Stephens, born on Valentine's Day in 1917. They had a girl, Joan Loraine, born on February 1, 1941, and a boy, Charles Arthur, born on the 25th of April, 1944. I was fascinated by the idea that Charles Arthur had important chores. They had a dairy farm, and he was always feeding or milking the cows it seemed. It was fun for me to play in the barn, and see the many animals that I was for the most part quite unfamiliar with. Mealtime was just fantastic. I remember how I loved the sausage made from their own pigs. Ella canned the sausage and served it in the winter time.

Here are three other pictures that say a lot about the closeness of Eva and her two daughters, Ella and Clara.

Three Loves
Ella, Eva, and Clara. The caption reads "Three Loves."
Caption reads, "Ella and Clara and the dog."
Lorene and Arthur in back, Evelyn and Elvin in front.