Pioneers and Their Stories

Welford Kendall was born on December 12, 1809, in Stafford County, Virginia.  Welford was the son of Alexander Kendall who, when Welford was just nine years old, disappeared from his flotilla of boats bound for New Orleans.  No one knows what ever happened to Alexander on that trip in 1818.  The family did own slaves;  however, little mention is made of them.

After his father’s disappearance, Welford, about sixteen at the time, provided for his mother by working for a grocer.  He would often go up to Cincinnati to buy the grocery supplies in a cart-wagon and hauling them back to Greenville.  In those early days, whiskey was sold in grocery stores and the constant daily contact introduced the youthful boy, Welford, to a taste.  He had a powerful mind and knew much.  If he took a notion to do something, he was determined to do it.  He was not a heavy drinker nor mean, but foolish, silly, and jolly.

On September 13, 1832, in Greenville, Ohio, Darke County, Welford married Jeannette Benton Turpen.  Jeanette was born on May10, 1811 in New York City.  As a young husband, he owned a city lot and had a grocery store in Greenville.  Welford is described as a big boned, raw fellow, with great big fists, tall, erect, and square shouldered.  A very great worker.  Welford and Jeannette had five children:  Ann Eliza, Phineas Ross, John Henry, William, and Nancy Jane.

He was a great family man and also called on his brothers and cousins, especially when drinking.  At such times, he occasionally used foul language and was so silly that his visits were not welcomed.  But on such visits he proudly wore a white starched shirt, a tie, and always a good suit of clothes.  His winter job was that of a cobbler.  He would make shoes by going to house to house.

Daughter Nancy Jane married William Rank on March 20, 1875, and moved to Iowa in September.  Welford and Jeannette followed but soon returned to Florida Station, Indiana.  Nancy Jane and William returned in the fall of 1878.  On his birthday, December 13, 1878, Welford and William Rank were cutting wood.  A slight skiff of snow was on the ground.  Welford looked up at the sun at noon, mentioned his birthday, and said, “If I thought I would not live any longer than that, I’d want to die right now.”

After the children had married, Welford became jealous and inconsiderate of Jeanette.  He would cause her to leave home in the night.  At daybreak she would return from neighbors or her children.  When he would come home, he would drive to the wood-pile and wait for her to help unhitch the horses.

Granddaughter Adelia Thompson Teeple Cox would go to their home and do their washings and ironings for them.  Both were poorly all winter.  Emma Bodkin McCord would help too.

The following year, February 5, 1888, Jeanette died in her home at Florida Station of pneumonia;  she was worn down and weak for years.  On her death, her brothers William and Thomas H. Turpen came to her funeral.  They were bankers and hotel owners, and were dressed to their professions–long tailed coats, high hats, and long watch chains.

Shortly after the funeral,  Welford took the train to Stuart, Iowa to visit his son John Henry.  Dressed well and retaining his same pride, he socialized there even among a few widows.  In a jaunty mood, he walked to town of Stuart to have his picture taken.  His grandchildren loved his talkative, friendly, humoring mannerisms.  He left Stuart, Iowa on the train on December 2, 1889.  He lived two more years, dying October 18, 1891, at the home of his son Phineas Ross of Florida Station.

He was known and remembered as “Old Wulf Kendall”, a shoe cobbler, drank heavily or steady, made much money but never saved any.

Published on February 5, 2013 at 4:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

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