Bio: Lawrence, Jesse McIntire & Aleda Benedict
Contact: Loyal Public Library

----Source: Excerpt from "The Centennial History of the York Center United Methodist Church, 1880 - 1980..


by Della Chase

Jesse McIntire Lawrence was born December 5, 1813 in Lowville, NY. He married Aleda Benedict, who was born October 5,1818 in Richland, NY, on July 2, 1836 in Brownville, NY. They had seven children. They were Horace, Sarah, Delina, Louise, Mary, Zelina, and Irvin. Delina, Louise and Mary died within four years of their birth.

Horace was born May 25,1838 and married Lorinda Windsor. They had five children. Ida married William Turner, but was accidentally killed and was the first person buried in the York Center Cemetery. The others were George, William, Bert and Melvin. George Lawrence was the father of Ida (Mrs. Wayne Babbitt) and Cleta (Mrs. Jim Baker).

Lillian married John VandeBerg and was the mother of Alvin, Manley, Horace, Ida (Mrs. Ed Voight) and Ruth (Mrs. Chas. Maegdefessel).

Burton was the father of Irvin, Carrie (Mrs. Ellis Martin) and Harold. Melvin was the father of Beulah and Louie. Lorinda their mother, died on May 8, 1875 and Horace married Edna Smithers on September 26, 1876 at Alto (near Waupun) Wis. They, together with Ella Smithers, drove by team and buggy to Clark County, settling at York Center. They had ten children:

William (father of Naomi Lawrence Davis).

Lois (Mrs. Abram VandeBerg) whose children were Irvin, Lawrence, Clarence and Merril.

Orin, whose children were Ina (Mrs. Milford Williams), Fannie (Mrs. Walter Jacobi), and Olive (Mrs. Louie Finder).

Twins Floy and Roy. Floy (Mrs. Harmon Huntley was the mother of Irene (Mrs. Elmer Filitz), and Carol (Mrs. Merle Bushnell). Roy's children were Agnes (Mrs. Herman G. Karien), Leta (Mrs. Francis Jacobson), Della (Mrs. Roy Chase), Vivian (Mrs. Lawrence VandeBerg).

Twins Ethel and Earl. Ethel married Clyde Wiggin and their children were Hollis, Ivan, Helen (Mrs. Ervin Galland), and Gladys (Mrs. Harvey GaUand). Earl's children were Clarice June Mrs. Ralph Piceinini) and Gail.

Olive (Mrs. Charles Campbell) is the mother of Spencer and Amv (Mrs. Dow Rylsma).

Carrie lived less than two years.

Horace, Jr. was the youngest child and father of Gilbert, Velda (Mrs. Walter Richardson), Byrl, and Vera (Mrs. Leland Buddenhagen).

Father Horace died when the youngest son was only two months old and the oldest was not yet 12 years old, so Edna had to raise her large family alone. She had the farm, a widow's pension of $10 per month and $1 for each child until the age of 16 was reached. She let the farm out on shares to various neighbors, kept two or three cows, a horse, some pigs and chickens. She managed thus until the boys became big enough to take a hand on the farm. She also took in her oldest son's daughter, Naomi, when her mother died. She raised her and put her through school.

Mrs. Lawrence's care of her family was accomplish- ed under difficulties, with no doctor or nurse when the babies were born. When the twins, Roy and Floy came, followed by another set of twins, Ethel and Earl, when the first set were only 14 months old, she cared for the little babies in the bed with herself and had the two older twins suspended in a hammock over the bed where she could attend to them. She did three washings a week with a tub and washboard and a stout back. She never complained but took the hard times in her stride, giving her family what she could with plenty of love mixed in. Even though she was kept busy with raising her family, she always found time for church and the activities there, at York Center of course.

Naomi Lawrence Davis, her granddaughter writes, "I recall some of the stories that my grandmother Lawrence used to tell me as we sat many evenings before lighting a light. She loved to reminisce about her life when she was a young girl and about her family. She (Edna Smithers) was married on her 29th birthday. They drove by horse and buggy to her new home less than a mile from where, in time, the Methodist Episcopal Church was built.

I believe the families who lived in the surrounding area worshipped in a. building just around the corner on the road going to Loyal from where the church now stands.

Grandma used to tell that after the children came she and Grandpa took turns going to church. He enjoyed walking up the aisle and shaking hands and inviting friends to come home to dinner. I wonder if Grandma was always prepared for that.

The story I want to tell is about some of the famfly. After Will, Lois and Orin came, there was a pair of twins, Roy and Floy, born January 6, 1883. Sometime during that summer the church had some special celebration. Grandma wanted to go but Grandpa thought she would have her hands too full with three little ones plus the twins. However, Grandma won out and took her five babies to the celebration. After arriving she hardly saw the twins. Two young men (I am sorry that I do not recall their names) picked up the twins in the clothesbasket and carried them around most of the day so Grandma was able to really enjoy herself.

I am sure many who read this will recall the names I have mentioned. Lois, Orin, Roy and Floy are now resting in the church yard close to many other family members and friends.

*Note: When I return to York Center I especially enjoy worshipping in the church where I grew up and spending some time in the cemetery visiting the graves of friends and loved ones."

From, Naomi Lawrence Davis, daughter of Will and Edna Dean Lawrence.

Floy and Roy, twin sister and brother, married Sadie and Harmon Huntly in a double wedding ceremony on Feb. 16, 1905, and both families continued to live near the York Center Church for most of their lifetimes, all attending the church and were active in community activities.

Roy and Sadie's children, Agnes, Leta, Dell and Vivian all remember walking to Sunday School on Sunday afternoon with Grandma (Edna) Lawrence and Naomi. Since there was no electricity, Sunday School and the church services were held in the afternoon. On occasion there might be a night service. Then about 12 lamps hung from the ceiling in A circle in the middle of the church and a few lamps with reflectors also were placed around the church but at best there was little light to see to sing the hymns. The various classes of the Sunday School were grouped around the church with the one for the smallest children being behind the organ against the south wall where the children sat during church services while Mrs. Sadie Rowe played the organ. The highlights for the children were the special programs at Christmas and on Children's Day in June.

Some of the older folks walked to church while others drove a team hitched to a buggy in the summer and to a sleigh in winter. In the winter they brought horse blankets to keep the horses warmwhile housed in the sheds which were just west of the churchyard.

Below is a photo of the Family of Horace and Edna Lawrence:

left to right: Roy, Floy, (Huntley) Ethel (Wiggin), Earl, Will, Horace Jr., Edna (mother) Orin, Olive (Campbell), Lois (VandeBerg).



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