LeValley Family History
At the annual reunion of Wilklow-LeValley families which was held in Titus Grove this year in the month of June, an interesting history of the LeValley family since its immigration to this country up to the present was read by Miss Edna LeValley, a daughter of Jon't [Jonathan] LeValley, near Ridgeway. The following is the history interestingly written concerning this family which is one of the oldest of the county:
Up until the present time, we of this younger generation have known little about the people of which we are descendants. Daily reading something about other people's ancestry and thinking our ancestors must have been equally as good, we have decided to find out as much as possible about them.
The first LeValleys are said to have originated in France. We know little or really nothing about them except there are still a few there who pronounce their name LaVolle, spelling it LeValle.1
The farthest back we can trace our ancestors is over 100 years ago, when Jake [Jacob] LeValley and Louis Leveck, French soldiers, but in the English navy were captured by Commodore Perry at Perry's victory on Lake Erie in 1813. They were placed in a stockade, as prisoners of war along the coast, later escaping and making their way through the woods to an American camp at Chillicothe, Ohio. They were afterward parolled and went to Virginia.2
Leveck being a much older man than LeValley, sent for his family, and to top it off in a most romantic way, Jake LeValley married one of Leveck's daughters. [Actually, Jacob died, and LeVeck married his sister Elizabeth.]3
We know little more about Jake, except his son [actually his brother] George LeValley was the father of James J. LeValley who was born in Green county, Ohio.4
When James J. LeValley was 18 years of age he moved to Logan county and settled where John and Joe now live. Later he married Emeline Wilklow. Miss Wilklow was the daughter of John Wilklow who emigrated from New York in 1826 and settled upon the estate of which is now Hannah Wilklow's.5
[A paragraph on the military exploits of Emeline's brothers is omitted here.]
After the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. James LeValley they built for themselves a little log cabin upon the farm which now belongs to John and Joe LeValley. The cabin was build [sic.] entirely of logs without a nail. The floor was spiked together with wooden spikes and the door swung upon wooden hinges. The fireplace, the mantel shelf, with the candles, the bureau with the old fashioned blue dishes, the hand-made table and chairs, also the bed with its tick of leaves, all were rudely constructed but they bore the marks of "Home Sweet Home." These with the spinning wheel completed the family mansion where our grandparents were born.
James J. LeValley participated in school teaching--the greater part of his life. He walked through the woods to the little old red brick school house which was some where on the farm of Mary LeValley. Never hesitating to pick a few nice presents such as maple, elm and birch switches which he used whenever in mordant estimation, the scholars were exceedingly good. Imagine those good old days when... [Five paragraphs of fantasizing about old times in general are omitted here because they contain no information specifically linked to this family.]
... But let us leave behind the old cabin and think of those who were born there. My grandfather and we of this younger generation, I shall name them to you and endeavor to tell you something about each one.
George, Jo, John, Clark, Jon't and Lavina, and three others who died in infancy were the children to be born here.
George, the oldest of these, when hardly 18 years of age assumed the air of a soldier and marched away in 1861 to make his father proud of him and to do to the best of his ability that our nation might not be divided. He fought with all the braveness and manliness which was in him. Forty days at Vicksburg, George partook in three different sieges and in a great number of other battles. He was disabled and left the field of battle in December, 1864, returning home not to end his career but to make it greater. Shortly after his return he was united in marriage to Miss Mary Millner. He took up the study of law, being later admitted to the bar and practiced until his death. George was what we might today call a self-made man and his children, Arthur, Annie, Burt, Guy, James and Cora are proud of their dear old dad, now deceased.
Jo, the younger of these two brothers joined the army in 1865. He was too late for selective service but did his duty as a man. He later returned home and married Miss Elizabeth Millner. He constructed a little cabin. Ten children were born to them. They were Clayton, Orville, Charley, Moses, Jennie, Florence, Joseph, Frank, Stella, and Edith. The other four are dead. [On my copy, someone has crossed out the word "other" and penciled in the word "last."] Jo spent the greater part of his life threshing grain. He is still engaged in this work.
The patriotism of which we are so proud was again aroused when Orville, enlisting, went to the Philippines to help Uncle Sam retain his rights. He was wounded and sent home. The rest of the family, I think it would be useless to mention, for I am sure you are already well acquainted with them.
Another son [of James J. LeValley], whom I think we all know and love, one who is generally called "Uncle John," has been satisfied to spend the greater part of his life around Ridgeway, making the country better by the many pikes [highways] he has built. He has held several small offices. His motto must have been "honore et labore."
John had a second taste of cabin life. He was happily married to Miss Sarah E. Lambert and in their cabin home was to be found the following items of furniture: cookstove, chairs, table, two bedsteads, a bureau and one of those good, old-fashioned fireplaces where his children could pass away the happy hours. They were the parents of six children, Alice, Jon't, Sam, Will and Blanche, living, and one dead. John was again to see preparations for war the same as he saw his brothers when he was a mere boy. His eldest son, Jon't enlisted in 1898 and was ready for Uncle Sam's service but did not have the opportunity to fight. He returned home and here you now meet him every day. [This Jonathan was the author's father.] The other children are married and are living near.
Clark LeValley after his marriage to Susan Predmore went to Enterprise, now Ohio City. He took up the study of law and was admitted to the bar in Indiana but practiced in Ohio. Clark was mayor of Ohio City for some time and at the present time is Justice of Peace in the same city. Shortly after the death of his wife he married Ettie Flager.
Jon't LeValley, another son [of James J. LeValley, and thus a great uncle of the author--not to be confused with her father], who was not fond of the country life which his ancestors had enjoyed, left Ridgeway and is now a member of the Board of Trade of Chicago and is second of the oldest of the members. He married Nettie Jones and they were the parents of five children, Irene, Howard, George, Norman and John, who fought in the world's war.
Lavina, the only living daughter of James LeValley, has traveled abroad and visited the homes of our ancestors in France. [She probably saw public buildings open to tourists.] She is the wife of Captain O'Brien, a member of the secret and civil service and the owner of a large gymnasium on Fourth avenue, New York. Mrs. O'Brien had two children by her first husband, Goldie Predmore, of Akron, also Walter Predmore of the same place. Mr. and Mrs. O'Brien at present reside in New York City.
Before I close this history, there is one thing which I wish to review and that is concerning our boys who saw service in the World War, Waldo, Paul, Francis, Lester, Merrie and John of whom I have already spoken. They have fought as only true Americans should. Let us show them that they have returned after partaking in all bloody battles overseas withstanding all hardships, how proud we really are of them. Let us not cast one stain upon our ancestry but to the best of our abilities better it, so in years to come when our history shall be read, we shall not be ashamed for in the eyes of God and man, we will have made ourselves a family of which to be proud.
Footnotes by Marc LaValley:
1-Believe to be true but arrived from England, a lot of LeVally/LeValleys migrated to England and the spelling of the name has appeared in some of the records, especially the 1820 Ohio Census.
2-True-Jake (Jacob) son of Joseph fought in the War of 1812 on the American side and was killed 15 Jul 1813. Brother John Jean enlisted after his brother's death and served from Jul 16 to Aug 15, 1813. During that time he befriended John Louis LeVeck who also was serving in the War of 1812. The story of Commodore Perry's battle connection is very possible because they were later discharged in Upper Sandusky, Ohio on Lake Erie. The rest of the story I believe is folklore.
3-True, Louis was an older man than the brothers, but Louis married their sister Elizabeth and had a very large family.
4-George was the son of Joseph, not Jake, and he was the father of James Jefferson.
5-The remaining written paragraphs
are accurate and true.
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