52 Ancestors,
in 52 Weeks
Week 10:
Strong Woman
Family Finds Charter Oak

Strong Woman: Ella Rumple

My great grandmother, Ella Anne Rumple, experienced many hard times, she was a woman who drew on her experience to keep her family together, a strong woman. She was born and raised on a small family farm in Van Wert County, Ohio. Her father was a veteran of the Civil War, a farmer and a devout member of the local United Brethren Church. Ella’s mother was from a farm family and had her own experience with hard times and loss. (I wrote about Ella’s maternal grandparents, Samuel and Sarah Gilbert, last year for the Challenge prompt.) I think my great grandmother came by her strength as a combination of her genetics and her own character, the result being a strong woman.

Ella Anne Rumple 1867 – 1962

Ella Anne was the second child born to William T. and Hannah [Gilbert] Rumple on October 8, 1867. [1] The Rumple’s were a farming family. Their farm in Van Wert County, Ohio could be described as subsistence farming. They cultivated hay, corn and oats for their chickens, hogs, dairy cow and horse. Their life was simple, even primitive, compared to modern life.

Ella’s first experience with loss was in 1874 at age 5 when her mother, Hannah, died. [2] This tragic event left Ella’s father, William T. Rumple, a widower with four very young children, including an infant. His father, Daniel Rumple, died that same year. [3] William was fortunate to have his mother, Mary Elizabeth McBride Rumple, and two sisters, Mary Jane and Sarah Anne, close at hand to help with his children while he worked the family farm with his brother Conrad. (I wrote about Conrad for the Bachelor Uncle prompt last year.)

Ella Anne Rumple King, 1867 - 1962

Ella Anne Rumple

A Memory...

Ella was very young when her mother died, but she did recount how her mother would slice thin pieces of turnip for her to nibble when she felt sick. (They grew turnips for themselves and their livestock.)

Ella’s father remarried in 1877 [4], and established a farm away from his siblings, but near by so he could continue to work the family farm. Ella’s father and step-mother, Mary Ann Shock, lost their first child, Ida, at just 22 days old in 1879, but went on to have another 5 children who all survived to adulthood. Ella attended school and church, and helped her parents with household and farm chores, she acquired the sort of skills and attributes that would help her throughout her long life and make her a strong woman.

Life and Loss

Ella married Homer King in 1890. [5] He was a neighboring farmer who lost his father and two siblings while still a boy. Life was hard for farmers, Ella and Homer had that in common. The couple had 8 children between 1890 and 1908, and they all worked on the family farm in Mercer County, Ohio.

Their eldest daughter, Elsie, married in 1909 [6] and had children in 1911 and 1912. These happy events were followed by sad events. Ella and Homer lost their teenage daughter Roxanne in 1911 to complications of diphtheria. [7] Then, at the end of 1912, Ella’s father William T. Rumple passed away at 73 years of age. [8]

The King Family, 1910
l-r, back: Ray, Roxanne, Charles, Elsie, and Oscar
front: Edith, Homer, Warren, Ella, and Lee

Roxie King, 1910

Roxie King 1910.

In 1916, Ella and Homer, and their children, moved to Allen County, Indiana where they farmed land they owned in St. Joseph Township, northeast of Ft. Wayne. During the First World War, two sons were in the service and Ella proudly displayed two stars. [9, 10]  Fortunately, both Chas and Oscar survived the war, although they did not return to the farm. Both chose to pursue work in the relatively young auto industry in Detroit.

Oscar King 1918.


For reasons never explained, Homer sells the farm in 1919 just as the crop was ready for harvest. Perhaps because his two older sons were not home to help, and one of his younger sons, Lee age 17, was in poor health. This would have left the hard work of harvesting to their 20 year old son, Ray, and himself, now 55 years old, and Ella, age 50. Their youngest children, Edith and Warren, were 16 and 11, respectively. The family relocated to a rented farm near Spencerville in DeKalb County, Indiana. Then, on January 28, 1920, Homer walked away and did not return for eight months. Note the last comment on the handbill, “Has not fully recovered from an attack of influenza.”

In the midst of the family turmoil in 1920, two sons married. Oscar, living in Michigan, quietly married in March and Ray had a more formal affair in June when he married in Fort Wayne to Minnie Henschen. [11, 12]  Homer returned home in the fall of 1920, in time for Ella’s 51st birthday.

More Loss, More Life, More Loss

In June 1922, Ella’s 20-year-old son Lee succumbed to tuberculosis, and her beloved step-mother, Mary Anne Shock Rumple, passed at the age of 76. [13, 14]  By September, Ella’s oldest son Chas had married, [15] and Ella and Homer leave the farming life and move to a home in Grabill, Indiana, northeast of Ft. Wayne. Their two youngest children found jobs working in factories in Ft. Wayne, Edith as a packer at Wayne Knitting Mills and Warren learned the plating trade at Rose Plating Works. Many farm children were moving to cities at this time to take jobs in factories. The guaranteed income and improved living conditions must have been a strong pull for many of these young people in the 1920’s. Edith married in May 1924 [16] to a man she met while working in the mill, he was a machine operator.

Elizabeth Hammond King Springer Kuhns – 1925

Circumstances changed for Ella and her extended family by 1928. Four of her five married children divorced, perhaps due to the looming economic downturn which was more evident for factory workers. Manufacturing capability had increased during the 1920’s but consumerism had not. A factory worker that built washing machines earned $100 per month, but the washing machine cost on average $100. [17] Then, in February 1928, Homer’s 83 years old mother, Elizabeth Hammond King Springer Kuhns, dies. (She lived in Ft. Wayne with Homer’s sister Netta Cavender.) [18]

Be Strong and Carry On

Ella and Homer soon moved to South Bend, Indiana with their daughters Elsie and Edith and their children. While Ella and Homer managed the boarding house where they lived, Edith worked as a machine operator at Studebaker, and Elsie in a canning factory. [19] Ella’s oldest grandchild married in 1928 and delivered Ella’s first great-grandchild in August 1929. [20] Then, in 1930, three of Ella’s children marry or re-marry, and four grandchildren are born.

In 1931, Ella, Homer and their young granddaughter Betty, relocated to Tyner, Indiana in Marshall County. While they work as farm labor (both are over 60), Betty attends 1st grade at the nearby Tyner Elementary. Then, in mid-April 1932, tragedy strikes when Homer falls from a hay wagon and suffers a head injury that would prove fatal. Homer Milton King was 67 years old when he died April 16, 1932. [21] My great grandmother now started an entirely new chapter to her life, no longer a farmer’s wife, now a widow with no home and no assets. She had to be practical and strong, now more than ever.

Life After Loss

After Homer’s death, Ella became a bit of a gypsy. She had a summer suitcase and a winter suitcase. She stayed with various family members or rented a room for months at a time. For a few years, she had a travel companion in her granddaughter Betty. Ella and Betty would stay long enough for Betty to go to school, then move on come summer. In this manner the two spent time lodging in Ft. Wayne, or staying with Ella’s sister Sarah Rumple Stetler in Willshire, Ohio or back in South Bend with Elsie. Eventually, Ella’s granddaughter went to live, on a semi-permanent basis, with her own mother and step-father, but still traveled with Ella during the summers. Ella lived in this manner for nearly 30 years. At times she stayed with one of her children, at others with a sibling, she was always welcome and pitched in to help care for children or do chores. Some of the people she stayed with were only loosely related. For example, she stayed with the widow of her step-brother, Mrs. James McBride, near Rockford, Ohio. During several years in the 1940’s she stayed with the family of Homer’s nephew, and namesake, Homer W. King, in Ft. Wayne. By the way, Ella did not drive. She relied on her family and public transportation to get from place to place.

Ella Rumple King and Elsie King Boroff, 1945

Ella Rumple King and sons Oscar, Ray, and Warren, plus grandson Jimmy King, 1950

Ella Rumple King with granddaughter Betty and great-granddaughter Dorothy, 1956


My great grandmother, Ella Anne Rumple King, passed away on June 16, 1962, she was 92 years old. [22]  Ella was survived by 4 half-siblings, 4 sons, 2 daughters, 14 grandchildren, 24 great grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren. Through all the ups and downs, Ella remained an optimist and a woman of personal strength ready to face the next challenge. My great grandmother was a strong woman and a resilient woman.


Although my great grandmother stayed with my family, too, I was very young and I do not have any clear memories of her. But, my mother, aunts, uncle and grandmother spoke about her regularly, and their stories made her real for me.

Ella Rumple 1940


  1. Profile for Ella Anne Rumple on Ancestry.com
  2. Entry for Hannah Rumple, Ancestry.com, Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012. Original data: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/33304774
  3. Entry for Daniel Rumple, Probate record, Probate Records and Index, 1839-1933; Author: Ohio. Probate Court (Van Wert County); Probate Place: Van Wert, Ohio
  4. Entry for William Rumple, From obit, Ancestry.com, Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012. Original data: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/70155919
  5. Entry for Ella Rumple, Marriage record, Ancestry.com. Ohio, County Marriage Records, 1774-1993 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016. Original data: Marriage Records. Ohio Marriages. Various Ohio County Courthouses. Family History Library Film: 000914957
  6. Entry for Elsie King, Marriage record, Marriage record Ancestry.com. Ohio, County Marriage Records, 1774-1993 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT,  Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016. Original data: Marriage Records. Ohio Marriages. Various Ohio County Courthouses. Family History Library Film: 000914958
  7. Entry for Roxanne King, Death record, Ohio Department of Health; Columbus, Ohio; Ohio Deaths, 1908-1932, 1938-1944, and 1958-2007, page 565 for 1911.
  8. Entry for William Rumple, Death record, Ohio Department of Health; Columbus, Ohio; Ohio Deaths, 1908-1932, 1938-1944, and 1958-2007, page 943 for 1912.
  9. Entry for Charles King, Service record,
  10. Entry for Oscar King, Service record, Ancestry.com, Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: Beneficiary Identification Records Locator Subsystem (BIRLS) Death File. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
  11. Entry for Oscar King, Marriage record, Ancestry.com. Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867–1952. Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics. Record# 202
  12. Entry for Raymond King, Marriage record, Allen County, Indiana; Index to Marriage Record 1824 – 1920 Inclusive Vol, W. P. A. Original Record Located: County Clerk’s O; Book: 50; Page: 547, FHL film: 2130029
  13. Entry for Lee King, Death notice, Newspapers.com, The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette, 28 Jun 1922, Page 2, 3rd column.
  14. Entry for Mary Ann Rumple, Death record, Ohio Department of Health; Columbus, Ohio; Ohio Deaths, 1908-1932, 1938-1944, and 1958-2007, page 7373 of “R”.
  15. Entry for Charles King, Marriage record, Michigan Department of Community Health, Division of Vital Records and Health Statistics; Lansing, MI; Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952; Film: 161; Film Description: 1921 Wayne-1922 Genesee, Record 1045.
  16. Entry for Edith King, Marriage record, Allen County, Indiana; Marriage Records 1921-1925 Vol. II G – K, Original Record Located: Allen County Fort Wayne, Page: 509, FHL film: 002130181
  17. Blog post: http://www.fsmitha.com/h2/ch15wall.htm
  18. Entry for Elizabeth Kuhns, Death record, Ancestry.com. Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: Indiana State Board of Health. Death Certificates, 1900–2011. Microfilm. Indiana Archives and Records Administration, Indianapolis, Indiana. Certificate: 3185.
  19. Entries for Elsie Boroff, Edith V Dyer, Homer (Ella) King, and Earl (Zue) Rhodes, South Bend, Indiana, City Directory, 1929, pages: 148, 244, 403, and 591.
  20. Entry for Dorothy Mae Rhodes, Birth record, Ancestry.com. Indiana, Birth Certificates, 1907-1940 [database on-line]. Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016. Original data: Indiana State Board of Health. Birth Certificates, 1907-1940. Microfilm. Indiana Archives and Records Administration, Indianapolis, Indiana. Certificate: 38438
  21. Homer Milton King, Online memorial, FindAGrave.com, https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/17892981
  22. Entry for Ella A King, Death Record, Ohio. Division of Vital Statistics. Death Certificates and Index, December 20, 1908-December 31, 1953. State Archives Series 3094. Ohio Historical Society, Ohio. Certificate: 46259


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