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Henry Lowell Ashworth
|Click here for the family tree||“So
how exactly do you get from Grandma
recollecting a visit with her cousin
to writing to that man’s children?”
Left: Henry as a baby, with his father, Henry Ashworth, and his mother, Marie (Wilder) Ashworth
Right: Henry's yearbook photo, 1945
Front center: Margot and Henry
|Above: Henry visited Los Angeles when he was stationed in San Diego while in the Navy. This photo is from that visit. From left: Cubby, Henry, Wade|
Left: Aaron Shipley (in dark blue shirt) and his "crew." Austin Michalik is immediately to Aaron's right.
Right: Meghann Shipley shows off her alligator-wrangling skiils.
Close right: Dan Bennecke and Cindy Michalik (not yet married)
Center right: Katelyn Michalik (Cindy assures me this is not her normal mode of dress) Graduated from University of Iowa with a degree in psychology with a minor in social work, May, 2006.
Far right: Austin Michalik
When I was still researching the family, and didn't know who was who, I found a census listing that listed Henry and Marie Ashworth, along with a six-year old named Eleanor Ortoleva. I asked who Eleanor was, and got this story:
[sister to Henry Ashworth the elder] married Nick Ortoleva and they had
four children: Eleanor, Salvador (who went by Sally for years and then
Henry), Harold - he died in World War II and is buried in the
Philippines - and then Marie. Grace died when the children were young.
Some say suicide, some say accidental. She used to have severe earaches
and she would often put chairs in front of the open oven, have the oven
on low, and lay with her head toward the heat to relieve the pain. She
was found in that position but the oven wasn't lit and she was overcome
by gas. Who knows if when on low the gas blew out from a downdraft or
what? Anyway the children remained with Nick for awhile. Then Nick's
brother was released from prison, came to live with Nick and within a
short period Nick asked if the two girls could come live with Henry and
Marie. They agreed and both Eleanor and Marie lived with my Grandparents
and their three sons for several years. Eleanor and Marie still live in
the Chicago area and we see them whenever possible. We call them Aunts
because they took that relationship since they lived with my father and
his brothers. Eleanor never married or had children. She has always
lived with Marie. Marie [Ortoleva] married, had four children. Then her
husband disappeared (only to reappear years later as an alcoholic and no
one wanted a relationship with him), she never remarried. She had three
boys and one girl. The two older boys never married and have no
children. The younger one married twice but only had step children.
Nancy was close to our family. She is Cindy's age and would spend time
with our family. She married and has stepchildren and had one child of
I have the letter from [Harold's] commander that was sent to his family - it was with my father's Navy mementos and I don't know why he had it. It explains how Harold was buried and gives the cemetery. But Mom says no, he's buried over in Stickney, there's even movies that show the funeral procession. I can only guess that perhaps they decided to have his body transferred back here.
Grandfather Henry Ashworth immigrated from England-Blackpool. His father
took off when he was a child (rumor has it he left with two sisters from
the choir and they immigrated to Canada) and his mother died shortly
after. He and his sister Grace were the only two children to live to
adulthood, and were placed with family members-my grandfather with his
father's parents and Grace with her mother's parents. The mother's
parents were poor (her mother had given birth to (as told to us) 22
children, most who lived!) and drank a lot. Grace was placed in a Girl's
Home. Henry had only a few years of school but was smart. He worked and
also earned money on the side by being a feather weight boxer. He
decided to immigrate to Australia. He came to America to work his way
across to the west coast. In Chicago he got a good job at Western
Electric and decided to stay and earn enough money to make the final leg
all at once. But then he met Marie. My Grandmother was not a great
beauty and all her life she battled her weight but she was very popular.
Her personality was so great that everyone loved her and she never
lacked for young men in her life. Henry fell in love with her and wooed
her over and he never left Chicago.
He eventually went to work for the railroad and made his career there. He sponsored Grace and she arrived in Chicago with TB. She was in some sort of hospital or sanitarium for awhile.