Charles Orba "Orbie" Mosher
In a certain sense, Grandpa Mosher inspired this web site. Certainly in his day, the Internet did not exist nor had it even been envisioned, but Grandpa told me many stories about his family, which inspired me to learn more and want to tell those same stories to others. And so, that desire led to me to want to publish this material so that others could enjoy it.
In the 93 years that Grandpa lived, he saw more than a book's worth of history pass before him. I talked to him some and learned many stories, but probably not nearly as many as he could have told me, and I've forgotten some that he did tell me. And, let that be a lesson to children with grandparents. You can learn more interesting history by asking your grandparents questions than you may learn from school.
Grandpa liked to talk about the past. He would say that he couldn't remember anything that happened yesterday, but that he could remember things that had happened years ago as if they had just happened to him. I know that when I found the newspaper article describing his uncle Teddy's death by lightning, I was astonished to see how accurately he had recounted the story to me. Of course I couldn't recall his exact words, but the article was very much like the story he had told me numerous times. The only thing that the newspaper article didn't mention was that his mother had commented on how beautiful his horse was, and that he replied, "When she goes, I'm going with her."
He frequently commented, "things ain't like they were seventy-five eighty years ago." He had a certain way of flinging his finger through the air as he said it. He would often recount that you used to be able to get "all the groceries you could carry" for a dollar, and then would add that, "if you made a dollar a day back then you made good money."
He knew the birthdays and wedding anniversaries of his mother and father and all his sisters and brothers. He didn't even have to think about them. He just knew them right off the top of his head.
He told about a job he had as a farm hand when he was a boy and he made ten cents a day. They did provide his meals, but they started work at sun up and went hard all day. But the meals that the women fixed were really something.
Grandpa worked on the street car in Columbus prior to being married. He said it was on the "Night Owl shift". He also worked for a brief time (Mom says one week) on the railroad and was injured when a chain hit him in the head. It is not known if that was why he quit or just why. His brother Ottis as well was a railroad man and lost his leg in a railroad accident.
In 1929, due the hard economic conditions, the family moved to Waldo to live with his mother and father. Eventually, Grandpa opened a meat market. Mom speculates that it was inheritance from his Aunt Anna that funded the venture.
During the depression he lost the market. Then he did various things - drive to Columbus to work with his Uncle, worked as a farm hand, and other various occupations.
Eventually, during the depression, he worked on the WPA. He helped to build the Harding Stadium, where Mom says she took him his lunch, and worked in Geencamp, walking from Marion each day to go to work, a distance of about 16 miles. He said that the WPA laid the stone curbs there in the court where he lived at 311 Linden Place in Marion. I'm not sure whether he helped do that or not or if he just knew about it and cited it as an example of what they did.
Later he was again a butcher and that occupation gave him a frequent opportunity to use turpentine in a medicinal fashion. He told me that turpentine would really make a cut heal quickly if poured directly into the new wound. Mom verifies that this is so. He often used turpentine for medicinal purposes. My mother always talks about this whenever the topic of old time remedies comes up. "He would pour it right into a cut on his hand," she will say. And he did have numerous cuts resulting from his job as a butcher.
He didn't really retire until he was 70 years old or more. Once retired, he walked nearly every day. He would walk downtown and sometimes stop and have a beer. Sometimes he would walk out to our house on Woodrow Avenue. I don't remember this, but Mom told me about it. He would baby-sit with the grandchildren while mom went on errands.
There was a story that he told about a boy in Morrow County that was coon hunting with his father and he was killed. They got a coon caught up in a tree and they couldn?t get a shot at it, so the father sent the boy up the tree to saw the limb off. The boy sat on the limb and sawed if off. Unfortunately, the boy fell to the ground when the limb was cut through, and he hit the ground and the sharp point of the limb impaled him, killing him. Grandpa said the boy?s father could be heard crying for miles.
Grandpa often got teary eyed while telling his stories and say that he was "soft hearted." He said that he could remember the first automobile to roll into Cardington Ohio, and how all the people in town turned out and lined the streets to see it. "The streets were dirt back then," he'd say.
Oh, the story about the boy being killed while he was coon hunting? Well, it seems that a man and his son were coon hunting, and it was the first time the man had let his son go because he had been too young. Now they had a coon treed, and the boy went up the tree with a hatchet to cut off the limb that the coon was on. When he cut the limb, he lost his balance and fell to the ground getting there before the limb. The sharply cut end of the limb hit him and impaled him to the ground killing him. Grandpa said that the father's cry was heard a distance of three miles away.
He also told me about the time he took Grandma back home to West Virginia. The roads weren't much back then and in fact in the parts of West Virginia that they were traveling, they often drove down the creek bed as it was the best option for a road. If it rained, you put your travels on hold until things dried up. On this trip, Grandpa drove the front wheel of the car over a cliff. It must have been quite a drop off because Grandpa was quite excited when he told me about this.
He burned up the clutches trying to cross a muddy creek. He got stuck and had to get a local farmer to pull him out with his horses. The farmer and his sons (Grandpa could remember their names but I can't) told him that they would repair his car for him. The next morning the farmer's wife got up and killed and cooked several chickens and fixed corn bread and gravy for breakfast. Grandpa was quite impressed by this. This was as unusual in Ohio back then as it is today. The farmer did fix his car and would only accept money for the parts that he had to buy and Grandpa and Grandma were on their way.
My remembrances of Grandpa are of him sitting in his upholstered rocking chair next to the window in the front of his house. He smoked cigars (tiparillos because tobacco coming in contact with his lip caused his lukeplakia to flare up) most of the time and drank a beer in the afternoon and one or two in the evening. He drank Scheonling Creme Ale when he could afford it. He pronounced it "Schenley's". He liked to keep a glass of wine on his night stand so that when he woke up, he would just take a swallow of wine and then he could go back to sleep.
He didn't have very good vision due to cataracts and he had trouble sometimes when he tried to light a match. He would strike with long strokes that would extend way beyond the book of matches. After several attempts, he would comment to me, "I can't light these damn things, and they say to keep them away from kids!"
He always crossed his legs back and forth, and actually wore out the knees of his pants just by crossing and uncrossing his legs. When he crossed his legs, the foot of the leg that was crossed over on top of the other one would nearly touch the floor. I would guess it came within a half an inch, although I would never be so daring as to measure it. I still remember the time when he swatted at me for wrestling with Cheryl there on the couch. He wasn't worried about Cheryl, but didn't like the commotion. He may have been trying to watch a baseball game.
He liked to watch baseball, although there wasn't much else for him to do. He did read Reader's Digest, but after he got to where he couldn't walk downtown, he complained to me about how there was nothing to do but just sit and watch baseball. He said he liked baseball but it got mighty old when that's all you could do.
Mom characterizes him as "not much of a family man" frequently spending hard earned income on partying rather than provisions for the family. Of course I did not see this side of him, as by the time I knew of Grandpa, he was an old man and not able to carouse. He did
tell me though that he had "shot craps with Jim
Thorpe." He pronounced his name "Thrope", which brings to mind another characteristic of Grandpa, his unique pronunciation of some words. He said atom boom for bomb, penjun for penguin, and others.
His story about shooting craps with Jim Thorpe would usually lead into the story about going to see his first football game, because he knew Thorpe when he was playing pro football. A friend took him to a professional football game, and after the game was over, he asked Grandpa what he thought. He said he reckoned it was OK except that all they did was fight. Having never seen a football game before, it just looked like one fight after another. I think this story and one other impressed me the most with the age of my grandfather. The other one was his teling me that he could remember the very first automobile that came into Mount Gilead. He said everyone lined the street and watched it come into town. To imagine that he had seen the very first automobile in Mount Gilead and had seen man land on the moon - what a life span.
Another time I was impressed by his years, was when I was starting my freshman year at Ohio State, I got a Texas Instruments scientific calculator that I was most impressed with. It would do logarithms and trigonometry. I thought if I was impressed, Grandpa would be stunned. I showed it to him, and gave him a quick demo. His only comment was "Yep, that's what lets them get my Social Security check out on time." He couldn't understand even enough about it to be impressed.
Grandpa Mosher as remembered by Mom, (Betty Mosher Boyd):Grandpa Mosher & family lived on a farm at W. Jackson, Ohio for a time during 1928. After that we moved to Waldo where he opened a meat market, which he lost during the depression. He then went to work for Uncle Bert in Delaware & Columbus, Ohio for several years. When we moved to Marion at the end of my second years in school he could not find work and that's when he started working on the WPA. As well as cutting streets back and building curbs, he also helped build the Harding High School stadium.
Before moving to West Jackson, Ohio, Mom & Dad lived in Marion, Ohio where I & my sisters were born. At that time Dad worked for Merchants' Delivery which was owned by his brother-in-law, Albert Jenings. I don't know why he decided to move to West Jackson & farm.
He sure didn't have much luck farming. I remember him telling about his old sow eating up all her baby pigs, which he was counting on raising so he could sell them to put food on the table. I guess he cried about that and that was what made him decide to give up farming.
After he worked on the WPA. he got a job with Geddis Meat Market, which he had for a good many years until Mr. Geddis returned and closed the market. He then had various meat cutting jobs with Ohio Market & others ending his career of meat cutting with Thompson's Market on Bellfontaine Avenue.
Grandpa and Grandma Mosher are buried in Chapel
Heights Memorial Gardens in Marion.