SUMMARY:  Memoirs of the Thomas Rogers Wickenden Family

Edited by Homer E. Wickenden and published by Arthur C. Wickenden at Cullen Printing Company, Oxford, Ohio.

The Wickendens of Toledo, Ohio

The city of Toledo, Ohio, was founded in 1833 on the west bank of the Maumee River, and originally incorporated as part of Monroe County, Michigan Territory. It was re-founded in 1837, after the conclusion of the Toledo War, when it was incorporated in Ohio.  After the 1845 completion of the Miami and Erie Canal, Toledo grew quickly; it also benefited from its position on the railway line between New York City and Chicago.  

East Toledo extending into Oregon Township, was known for its swampy soil.  As Lottie wrote: "From Grandmother Consaul's notebook it was learned that the East Toledo was known as the Black Swamp and the people were called Swamp Angels.  Everyone was said to have had ague.  Another item of interest dating from this time was the fact that a license was issued to William Consaul to operate a ferry on the Maumee River" (Lottie, p. 8).  The Maumee River can be seen in the postcard below from the perspective of East Toledo, with the City of Toledo on the far (western) side.  The postcard picture is dated 1876, just six years after Thomas Rogers emigrated to join his Uncle Robert and older brother James.  Charlotte and the youngest brother, Robert John joined them in 1874, so this is what Toledo looked like when the Wickenden family lived there.   The Cherry Street Bridge, for which Thomas Rogers was the chief designer, is in the center, and the railroad bridge mentioned in Thomas Howard's story about his sailboat, to the left (north) where the River widens out to the bay and finally to  Lake Michigan.

Key Dates - 

1839 - William and Priscilla Consaul arrive with family around 1839.  They live on a farm off Consaul Road. 

1855 - Ida Consaul born to William's second wife (Priscilla's sister Lillis) in log cabin on the outskirts of town

1869 - James Wickenden emigrates to live with Robert Quaife, Charlotte's brother, who is a Congregational minister in Toledo. He organized the Adams Street Mission, a prominent social agency.

1870 - Thomas Wickenden arrives to join his brother and uncle.

1874 - James and Thomas send for their mother, Charlotte, and brother Robert to come join them.

1874 - Thomas and James had two small houses, one on Greenwood Ave. and the other facing Starr Ave.

1879 - Thomas and Ida Consaul marry on December 17th.

1883 - Thomas moves the family to a house on Fourth and Bridge (Main) streets.

1886 - Thomas has new house built at 602 Starr Avenue, where the family lives for several decades.

The Memoir book - In 1962, Homer E. Wickenden gathered chapters of family history as remembered by each of the eight children of Thomas Rogers and Ida Consaul Wickenden.  He must have repeatedly urged each sibling to draft and revise their chapters, and he arranged for Marion Lamb Wickenden to write a chapter for her husband, William Elgin Wickenden, who had recently passed away.  In addition to his own chapter, he wrote a paper on "Family History," asked Lottie Wickenden Ogden, the oldest of the siblings, to write one on "Charlotte Quaife Wickenden and her Family," and he co-authored a paper with Lottie on "The Consauls."  He turned the project over to Arthur C. Wickenden, who worked with the authors to finalize their chapters, wrote an introduction, solicited funding (provided primarily by Thomas H. Wickenden) and worked with  the publishers to produce the Memoir book.  Here is a digital copy that was scanned and posted by Ken Watson (Thank you, Ken!):  Thomas Rogers Family History.pdf

Extending the book - In 2019,  Ruth Wickenden Abel, younger daughter of Homer E. and Mira B. Wickenden, inquired as to which of her cousins might still be alive and kicking, with the intention of stirring up interest in writing additional chapters to bring the Memoir book up to date.  In discussions with Thomas H. Wickenden II, grandson of one of her uncles, they decided to utilize the internet in order to create a website based on and extending the Memoir book that would be of interest to the younger generations.  In this website, each chapter of the book is included in one of the relevant chapters, and pictures, text and additional memoirs, stories and reminiscences have been added to pages for each of the eight children of Thomas Rogers and Ida Consaul and to pages for the parents and various  grandparents.

Additional Materials - The website has outgrown the original concept of additional chapters for each of the eight families.  Their chapters are now included in a section of the website entitled Thomas Rogers Wickenden Families.  Since both Thomas Rogers and Ida Consaul had relatives residing in other countries and in order to include information about other Wickenden families wherever they reside , a section was added for Wickendens Around the World. Finally, since research into the history of the Wickenden family has turned up fascinating and voluminous material going back in time even before the establishment of the Wicken den in the Weald of Kent, a third section was added for Wickenden History.  Auxiliary materials have also been added on topics that include:  About Us, FAQs, Historical Timeline, Research Forum, Planning Events, and Updates.  Group emails have also been sent out and a page about the website is available on Facebook.

Books about the History of East Toledo - A number of excellent historical books about the history of East Toledo, including pictures of the area around the TRW home at 602 Starr Avenue, can be found here:

Family Reunions - The brothers and sisters got together occasionally for reunions.  Most of these were at Denison University in Granville, OH, and many of these were on the occasion of an event held at the University in honor of one or another family member. William, Thomas and Homer each received citations from the Alumni Association in honor of their work. Some also received honorary degrees. In addition to pictures of the family on the home page and on the parent's pages taken while Thomas Rogers and Ida Consaul were alive, there are a number of pictures taken at these reunions. Ruth Wickenden and Tommy Winans were students at Denison, helped to arrange some of these reunions, and are the two youngest participants in the pictures below.

A Summary of the Memoir book - While the book as a whole is attached above, and each chapter is also available separately on the page of its respective family member, there is a wealth of stories and information in the book that is hard to capture when reading it through chapter by chapter.  It was felt that a summary might be useful to give readers an overview of the main topics: the memorable events, the major themes, values and priorities, and how the historical context of the 20th Century is reflected in stories of the day-to-day life of the family.  The summary, drafted by Thomas Wickenden,  is provided below.

MEMOIRS OF THE THOMAS ROGERS WICKENDEN, Copyright, Arthur C. Wickenden, 1962, Printed by Cullen Printing Company, Oxford, Ohio



  1. The House at 602 Starr Avenue
  2. Home Life
  3. Vacations at Lakeside
  4. Historical Context
  5. Priorities
  6. Other Interests

This summary focuses upon major topics that are common to all of the eight separate memoirs included in the Memoirs.  It is intended as an introduction to the book itself and includes both the general elements found in most or all of the individual memoirs as well as a few highlights captured in quotes from one or another of the chapters.  


Google Maps image, taken from 6th StreetGoogle Maps image, taken from Starr Avenue

Lottie and William were born in a cottage on French Street, now Greenwood Avenue, one block south of Starr Avenue.  Ida was born in a house on Fourth and Bridge Street (now Main Street, two blocks to the east and in the center of the map below).  The other five children were born in this house at 602 Starr Avenue, and many of the memories recorded in the Memoir book are of the life of the family that occupied this house.  According to Lottie, Thomas Rogers had the house build in 1886.  There was a barn in back and fields (with a few cows grazing in them) which  extended, unobstructed, to Oak Street to the West.  Uncle Jim had a small house directly in line with Thomas Roger's house facing on Starr Avenue.  The two lots backed up to each other.  Main Street leads to the Cherry Avenue bridge over the Maumee River, which was engineered by Thomas Rogers in 1884 after part of the old bridge was carried away by a flood.   It was in 1886 that Lottie remembers the new house being built at the corner of Starr Avenue and Sixth Street, perhaps right next to, or replacing, Uncle Jim's little house.  

The Zillow advertisement for the home at 602 Starr Avenue says that it was built in 1882, which may have been the date of Uncle Jim's small house.  Neither Starr Avenue nor Sixth Street were paved, and Tom remembers, probably around 1891 or 92, the family "getting stuck in the sea of mud called Sixth Street and being rescued by the old colored ex-slave Uncle Sam Jackson" (Tom, p. 37).  Lottie also notes that "there were no houses or streets between our house and Oak Street.  There were only a few shanties occupied by Irish immigrants between Oak Street and the river.  We could see down the river toward the Cherry Street bridge.  All this territory between our house and Oak was 'the commons' and every day a one-armed woman, whom we always called 'the cow lady' came with a herd of cows to graze on these commons. ...Mr. and Mrs. John Moon lived next to us on Starr Avenue and between their home and Cherry Street (now Euclid Avenue) was the Maddox peach orchard.  Garfield Place later was cut through the orchard.  We moved into our new house in September 1886.  Mr. Samuel Jarrett had been the builder, a brother of Uncle Robert Quaife's wife, Aunt Sarah.  The house had no bathroom at that time, but we did have a barn, and a horse and buggy" (Lottie, p. 12).

East Toledo in the 1880's was just being developed, so it is not surprising that the civil engineering challenges (and opportunities) faced by Thomas Rogers often had to do with designing and constructing bridges across the Maumee River.  First, the Pennsylvania Railroad Bridge, then the Cherry Street bridge, Ironwood Bridge, etc.  Transportation included infrastructure projects for the city when Thomas Rogers was elected Chief City Engineer, the park system when he worked there, and the train system, for which he designed the Toledo to Lakeside Interurban rail line.

Exterior - As Lottie mentions, the house did have a barn in the back. When Thomas Rogers engineering business floundered for a bit, he stored his equipment in the barn, and Tom remembers playing on it with family and friends.  In front of the house were some ornamental trees, Norway maples on Starr avenue, a big mulberry bush near the front sidewalk, and a lovely white birch near the front entrance.  But it was in the back of the house that Thomas Rogers and Ida revealed their love of fruit trees and plants.  An apricot tree drew much attention when it was in bloom, a quince bush which was fun to climb in.  Lottie does not mention eating the fruit, but when it came to the white grapes, she noted "I can smell and taste them yet."  There were also purple grapes, and apple, cherry and plum trees too!  A veritable Garden of Eden.

It is also not surprising that Ida Consaul's grandparents lived on a farm outside of town.  So did her parents, and she herself was born in a log cabin that was still standing on her parents farm.  The children of Thomas Rogers and Ida Consaul enjoyed visits to these farms on special occasions and family holidays like Thanksgiving.  

Services - Toledo had gas available by 1886, so the house was build with a gas stove, a "do-it-yourself" furnace that Thomas Rogers constructed, and gas lamps.  It had no indoor plumbing, no electricity or clean water.  Milk was delivered each day and was dipped out of a five gallon can with a quart dipper (Tom, p. 37).  Lottie remembers "the old center table with the hanging lamp over it, oil at first, later gas, then electricity" (Lottie, p. 23). Sometime around the winter of 1887, "natural gas was piped into Toledo and I heard Father and Mother discussing having it put into the house.  I was terrified because all I knew about natural gas was that I had seen it flare up in a huge flame from some exhaust pipe.  But one day I came home from school and saw a meek, little, blue flame in our kitchen stove in which previously we had burned wood.  It was a great novelty in the neighborhood as we were the first family to have it installed and I brought all my school friends to see it" (Lottie, p. 12).

Water - Tom writes that "the muddy river water was pumped raw through the pipes, later it was filtered and treated, but for years, morning noon and night, we went to an artesian well at the corner of Sixth and Euclid and carried home a bucket of clear cool water.  In looking up some data, I found the artesian water in that area contained 1.0 to 1.5 parts per million of fluorides, and perhaps in the light of present day knowledge, some of the family's good teeth can be attributed to this source" (Tom, p. 38).

Bathroom - Lottie mentions that "the house had no bathroom at that time [when they first moved in, but but we did have a barn, and a horse and buggy" (Lottie, p. 12).  According to Ida, Saturday night baths were taken by the children in a wash tub by the kitchen stove before the bathroom was put in.  "When the bathroom was installed, Mother remarked sarcastically that she had survived an outdoor toilet, but her weakling children had to have the comfort of one indoors.  The winter Grandma Wickenden and Lottie were both so ill, we used the outdoor one to avoid the noise the indoor one made" (Ida, p. 30).

Interior - While a number of the men and women remember the Norway maples (a few of which appear to have survived) as well as other trees, bushes, fruit trees and grape vines planted by Thomas Rogers in the back of the lot, it is the women who remember the interior and furnishings of the home.  Ruth writes that "some vivid memories are shared by all of us as to the inside of the house.  Uncle Rob's many paintings hung on the neutral colored tan walls. Mother's little Steinway piano, the golden oak bookcase desk and center table, Father's straight back office type chair with smooth turned wooden arms, Father's organ and the duck picture handing over it.  I can see the rather crowded dining room, where eleven sat down for three meals a day, with long white tablecloths and napkins with individual rings, the old silver sugar bowl and spoon holder and the pass-through cupboard for dishes.  The kitchen and pantry were adequate but poorly arranged and somehow in them Father and Mother managed enough food to keep the big brood growing and well nourished.  There were the screened cellar shelves where extras and leftover foods were stored, the vegetable cellar with dirt floor, the bins for potatoes and vegetables, stone crocks with pickles and rows of canned food" (Ruth, p. 73) She goes on to describe the different rooms and their special significance for the children. 

Washing machine - "This [the cellar] eventually was made into a room to use as a laundry, and I recall a washing machine run by water pressure which was a great innovation over the hand cranked ones" (Ruth, p. 73).

Ice Box - Then there was the shed back of the kitchen also used as a laundry room in summer.  I remember so well the first ice refrigerator we bought and put out there and what a wonderful help it was to Mother" (Ruth, p. 73).


Feeding the family - Lottie writes that "in looking back over the years of our family life so many memories come to mind of our growing up in the home at 602 Staff Avenue.  An ever present fact for all of us was the ringing of the bell in the Catholic Church across the way [on the north side of Sixth Street].  We got up by it, ate by it, and went to school by it for many, many years.  At home there was always a houseful of us, eleven when Grandmother was with us, and preparing meals for that number was a problem.  We all remember the huge pans of dough for the bread baking and Father kneading the dough for Mother with his large hands.  I remember the hot days in summer when the winter supply of canned fruits and jellies was prepared.  There were the Saturday night suppers of baked beans and brown bread, and the Sunday night suppers when the English blue china was used and we all sang Grace together" (p. 22).  

Ruth also tells of baking:  At this time I helped with the enormous amount of Saturday morning baking and house cleaning.  Speaking of baking, do you all remember that Father used to put on a huge white apron and help Mother mix a batch of bread in a huge dishpan before he left for his office?  I recall Mother baked eleven loaves at a time twice a week, and the heels were always gone from all the loaves before she could get them cooled and wrapped to pack in the big stone break crocks.  As much as we loved her bread, we always thought that the sour bakers' bread we got one day a week was a wonderful treat" (p. 76).  And on the subject of food, Ida had to take over at Lakeside when she was sixteen and Mother stayed home.  "Baker's bread was not fit to eat at that time so I made bread, struggling with the old gasoline stove, and often despaired of keeping up with the appetites for break and "Lakeside Applesauce" (p. 30).

Telephone - Tom remembers that "the installation of the first telephone in our home was a point of neighborhood pride, but there were so few around, we children had to go to the grocery store across the street and call home to use it" (p. 39).

Pranks and Scrapes - The story of a family this large, especially one with four boys, would not by complete without telling of the scrapes, stunts and pranks pulled by the youngsters, both individually and in groups.  Stories about such events abound, such as Tom's building a center-board sailboat at the house, steaming the wooden ribs in an eight-foot long box situated over the gas stove in the kitchen on Saturday afternoons, launching it with his brothers down by the Cherry Street bridge, tipping over, bailing it out, and then surviving a squall while his parents watched unknowingly during a picnic in the park next to the river.  Another water-related scrape involved Lottie, whom Tom remembers "trying to swim in her ten-pound bathing suit, heavy material, a blouse with a sailor collar, a skirt below the knees, bloomers and stockings.  I remember feeling badly when a policeman threatened to arrest her for removing her stockings while bathing at the shore [in Lakeside]" (Tom, p.39).

Bed Bugs - Tom remembers one time when "strange bedfellows appeared in the house.  Mother was frantic.  No D.D.T. or exterminators.  The beds were taken apart every Saturday, all crevices were scalded with boiling water and painted with kerosene by using a chicken feather.  This was repeated for a month."     

Cousins - Ruth tells how "when I was about ten years old, Rollin Wickenden's wife, Choice [Choyce], died when Martha Jane was born.  To help Rollin solve his immediate problem James, about five then, came to live with us for a year" (Ruth, p.76). Dorothy recounts that later when she was working at Waite High School, it was because of her cousin that she made football fans out of her mother and father.  "Jimmy Wickenden, who seemed like a brother, having lived with us for several years after his mother's death, was the quarterback of the team and interest was high" (Dorothy, p. 83). Of course these relationships reoccur through the generations.  Much later, when he was headmaster of Tabor Academy in Brewster, Massachusetts, Jim would invite my grandfather, Tom, for a extended sail each summer on board the Tabor Boy, a large two-master schooner.  And as a youngster, I spent a summer at Tabor Academy Summer Camp learning to sail, during which time Jim used to invite me over to his home each weekend for a cookout with his family.   Lottie recalls another time that when Aunt Ada was pregnant and living in New York with Uncle Rob, Thomas Rogers "brought her home to live with us until the baby came.  Mother was also pregnant and Grandmother Wickenden was not too pleased over Uncle Robert's marriage, so the situation was complicated.  I have pleasant memories of Aunt Ada, however, since she brought me a French doll and made such cute little French dresses for it" (p. 11). All the daughters looked up to their Aunts Jennie and Jessie, the twin sisters of Ida, as well as to her brother, Uncle Frank, and his wife Aunt Cora and to Bess Quaife and her cousin Ida Jarrett (Lottie, p. 14).

Church and School - All the children accompanied their parents to the Second Baptist Church.  Tom was interested in religion, and although raised in a Presbyterian church, he attended the local Baptist church when he arrived in Toledo.  While singing in the choir, he met Ida, who played the organ for the church.  She also had an organ and a piano at the house, and would play while Tom would sing his favorite hymns.  Many family weddings and baptisms were held at the church on the corner of 4th and Victor. Tom also participated in the Toledo Baptist Association, giving an occasional sermon and helping with the Ironville Sunday School on Sunday afternoons.  He also was a member of the East Side Research Club.  

All the children attended Franklin School before secondary school and then college.  Franklin, the local grammar school, was across the street from the Second Baptist Church.  The children also attended the East Side Central School and the old Central High School.  


All the children remembered summer trips to Lakeside with great joy, although getting there was not always easy.  Tom writes that "the yearly pilgrimage to Lakeside was something we looked forward to with much youthful anticipation and joy.  We rode on the Oak Street trolley to the Fassett Street Station, where we got a local train to Port Clinton or Marblehead Junction.  There we transferred to a freight train with one passenger car attached on the Port Clinton and Marblehead Railroad for the ride to Lakeside.  The drayman picked up the trunks and some of the handbags and delivered them to the house while we walked" (p. 39).  Lakeside could also be reached by other routes, and Arthur tells the story of one "thrilling and memorable journey" by boat during an northeaster (Arthur, p. 62).

Lottie notes that after renting a small cottage in 1988, "we returned to Lakeside the next summer to the new house which Father had built on Jasmine Avenue, two rooms downstairs and two up, quite a mansion for those days.  Poor little Tom was eaten alive with chiggers the first summer we lived in the new cottage.  From then on Lakeside was our chief joy in life, and we counted the months from one summer to the next.  As I look back now I realize that our parents were wiser than they know is taking us children away from or neighborhood environment in Toledo each summer to a place were unconsciously we were exposed to influences which gave us higher ideals than those of most of our playmates" (p. 13).

Ruth remarks that "The annual trips to the Lakeside cottage were the subject of our plans and dreams from New Years until school was out in June.  I believe there was no influence in our childhood experiences quite as great at that vacation experience.  We were always eager and ready to go as soon as someone could take us.  Mother would get her vacation by staying at home with the baby.  Grandmother Consaul, Lottie and Ida seemed to take command at the lake.  Father came once in a while but never seemed content to stay.  His building of the interurban railroad that took us directly to the lake must have been a great satisfaction to him as it was a matter of pride and convenience to all of us." (p. 75).

Of course the children all loved the swimming and some the sailing.  Tom remembers that "nightly band concerts in the part were followed by the Chautauqua Programs at the Auditorium, where the Bell ringers, the Performing Dogs, and the Magicians were tops for the youngsters" (Tom, p. 40).   


Columbian Exhibition in Chicago - Lottie recalls that "in July of 1893 Will and I had the thrill of our young lives when Father took us to the Columbian Exhibition in Chicago.  We had talked about it for weeks beforehand.  I was twelve and Will ten.  We were there a week and saw everything.  I remember especially the electric lighting, the July 4th fireworks, and the day when the replicas of Christopher Columbus' caravels arrived.  Father took us to all the exhibits and to some of the places on the Midway.  Uncle Robert had a painting on exhibit.  His family had come from France and lived in Chicago for several months, but Aunt Ada was so unhappy in that crude (to her) American city that they had already returned to France.  They had stopped at our house on the way back some months before the Fair opened" (p. 13)

Spanish-American War - Only Lottie was old enough to remember this event, but for her "it was in the spring of 1898 that the Spanish-American War excitement came on.  Some of the young men in our church were enlisting and one day (and I did not tell Mother about this) another girl and I went to the Armory where the men were being mobilized, to see if we could find any of our friends...For us girls of seventeen it was very romantic and thrilling.  A day or so after that the regiment marched to the train and was sent off to some camp, not Puerto Rico, among them Lloyd Whitcomb who later married Aunt Jessie.  But the man we girls saw at the Armory never did get back as he died of some disease contracted at the camp at Chickamauga where sanitary conditions  were so bad."

Presidential Elections - The only reference I find in the Memoir book is in Lottie's chapter.  "1884 seems to carry many memories for in the fall there was a presidential election when Blaine and Logan were running against Grover Cleveland.  Father belonged to the Republican Club and marches in torchlight processions wearing a plumed helmut.  Blaine was called the Plumed Knight.  When he was defeated by Cleveland Father was very disappointed.  For a long time afterward, Willie and I played with the helmet" (Lottie, p. 11).

Hard Times - Several of the memoirs include brief comments about the Family fortunes suffering a fall, but they include little if any details.  As Tom remarks "children are keen observers, even of the smallest detail, regarding anything that effects their personal and immediate interests, but are woefully lacking in observing or comprehending how their actions or outside changes affect the lives of those about them, especially their elders.  It wasn't until years later that I appreciated the family difficulties" (Tom, p. 40).  So when a financial panic swept the country and the railroad went broke  just as his father invested in starting up the Engineering Construction Business,  Tom didn't appreciate the reason for this change in life, as he noticed one day that their old barn was filled up with all kinds of construction gear and camp equipment that offered interesting possibilities that were wonderful for a rainy day.  Homer notes that "among my first recollections was the depression of 1896-97, during which Father lost all his business and the family had very meager resources.  I recall that when I needed a new pair of shoes I asked Father for them and he put me off.  I remarked to him, 'We are very poor, aren't we Dad.'  His reply was very characteristic of him.  'No, my boy, any man with eight children isn't poor.'  Apparently the family fortune improved, for I recall in the second grade going before the teacher's desk and announcing to her proudly that this was the first "boughten" suit I had even had"(Homer, p. 53). Ida, a year or two older than the boys also remarks in her memoir that "when hard times caught up with us I wonder how Mother ever managed.  She told me once long afterwaard that she had fed a family of ten on a dollar a day during that period and always had ile for the children.  She added with triuph in her voice, "And we always had pie for Sunday dinner" Suddenly I saw hot the pie that I had taken for granted had meant to her a standard lived up to and that it really was an achievement" (Ida, page 30).

Tom also tells the story of Mr. Gross, the Grocer, who he learned later was carrying the family "on the cuff."  Once, when he had a fire in his store, "not much was saved except the canned goods, but the labels were burned off.  At the fire sale, Mother bought several packing cases of these cans.  I remember putting them in rows on the cellar shelves.  Well for a long time we never had such surprising meals.  Mother never knew until the can was open whether we would have peas, beans, corn, soup or spaghetti" (Tom, p. 42).  Lottie notes that "the winter of 1895-96 was especially cold and there was widespread unemployment with soup and bread lines in all the cities.  Ida remembers that "when hard times caught up with us I wonder how Mother ever managed.  She told me once long afterward that she had fed a family of ten on a dollar a day during that period and always had milk for the children.  She added with triumph in her voice, 'and we always had pie for Sunday dinner.'  Suddenly I saw how the pie that I had taken for granted had meant to her a standard lived up to and that it really was an achievement" (Ida, p. 30).  Ida also remembers that she "felt the financial pinch in the matter of clothes.  For years mine were all handed down from Lottie or made over from Aunt Jennie's of Aunt Jessie's.  Things must have been looking up when I graduated from high school because I had two new dresses made by a dressmaker for class day and commencement.  They served as my party dresses through three years of college" (Ida, p. 31).

World War I - The differences in experience of the brothers is relayed by Ruth, who writes that "during this time Homer's and Arthur's army experiences were of great interest to all.  Our great joy when the Armistice was signed was changed to dismay when we heard some time after ... that Arthur had been wounded some days before the fighting ceased. ...I went to see him in New York City a few days after he landed, just after he had been fitted with an adequate leg brace.  He walked with crutches.  I remember his laughing about Fifth Avenue traffic stopping so he could walk across the street."  In contract, after trying unsuccessfully to enlist in a training program, Homer was assigned to duty as a reporter and, of course, was" disgusted that all his battles were fought with a typewriter" (Ruth, p. 80).

The Great Depression - Dorothy relates the long-lasting financial impact of the Stock Market Crash.  "On August 8, 1929, Frederick William Klag, Jr. came to live with us and all was going well until one Saturday in October when Fred rushed to get our pay check into the bank.  In fact, he was the last one in.  The crash came and our bank never opened again.  Things went from bad to worse, taxes did not come in, our salary went down and down, and what  we did get was paid in script which the merchants would not accept.  We had previously purchased a lot in Ottawa Hills, but had t give it up.  We really hit bottom.  Somehow we survived, but never recovered" (Dorothy, p. 84).

World War II - One event that stands out was Mira Wickenden's work as a nurse.  As Homer tells it, "The most outstanding event of our married life was the presentation to Mira of the Medal for Merit, she being the third woman in the history of the United States to receive it" (Homer, p. 60).  It was awarded by President Truman for the work she did in World War II, when she established the Cadet Nurse Corps in order to get nurses trained quickly so they could be assigned to military duty.  She also served as director of the National Nursing Council for War Service, the clearing house and coordinating agency for all nursing interests, military and civilian in the country.

Pandemics - We will undoubtedly remember the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the world in 2020.  However, there are few if any mentions in the Memoirs of the impact of any of the major pandemics that occurred from time to time in the last century.  For example, there is only one sentence in Ruth's chapter where she notes that "then a serious polio epidemic was a terrifying experience with one death in our group" (Ruth, p. 79).


Education - Lottie notes that "The ideal of an education at all costs was help up to us always, and both Father and Mother took much pride in the fact that the other seven of you went to Denison University.  As for me, it was always a major disappointment that I could not go there also" (Lottie, p. 23).  The value of education is illustrated first of all, however, by Charlotte, who, when her husband Thomas died at sea, took a job in Rochester so that her sons could continue their education at Sir Williamson's Mathematical School before emigrating to Toledo, Ohio.  The three boys had been sent to Sir Joseph Williamson's Mathematical School to which they were admissible, free of charge. This school is mentioned in "The Great Schools of England," by Howard Stainton, (1869): "Mathematical School (Semi-classical) Founded by Sir Jos. Williamson, 1701, as a free school for education of sons of freemen of Rochester towards the mathematics and other things to fit them for sea service, etc. Instructs now sixty boys, sons of freemen of the town, free, in Latin, French, Mathematics and English." There, each son continued his education.  In the case of Thomas Rogers, this was self-education, for he had left England after 12th grade and had to study trigonometry texts and teach himself engineering before pursuing a career in that field, serving, as Chief Designer for the Smith Bridge Company and later as the City Engineer for Toledo and somewhat later as Park Engineer, also for the city of Toledo, and finally as Maintenance Engineer for the Miami and Erie Canal.   

Much of the eight chapters of the Memoir book is taken up with descriptions of each sibling's schools, lessons, and years at Denison College in Granville, Ohio.  Of course Tom and Homer both pursued education at the graduate level and both William and Arthur earned doctorate degrees and went on to illustrious careers in higher education, Arthur as Department Chair at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and Will teaching for 9 years at MIT and serving later for 18 years as President of Case Institute of Technology, know today as Case Western Reserve.   They subsequently received honorary degrees, awards and official recognition by academic and governmental institutions and associations. It is surely a testament to the value placed on education by this family that twenty or more members of the Wickenden clan followed in William's footsteps to graduate from Denison College! 

Romance - All of the Wickenden children married, and nearly all seem to have met their future husbands or wives during their years at Denison.  Lottie did not attend the university, but on March 9th, 1916, she attended Tom and Dee's wedding in Covington, Ohio, "that was the day that changed my life completely," for the first person she met in Covington was a cousin of Dee's, a Mr. Stephen Ogden of Ashland, Kentucky.  That fall, they were married, "a little less than six months after we first met, having seen each other only three times" (Lottie, p. 22)!  Needless to say, the weddings of their siblings were memorable occasions recounted in each memoir, especially for the youngsters.

Occupations - The memoirs each contain descriptions of the careers and occupations pursued by the eight children.  They all were very successful in their own fields, which is a testament to both the inspiration of their parents and the positive influence of their education and their spouses.  Along the way, each sibling realized the need for a sense of direction or, as Lottie was to say, "an aim in life."  To some like Will, Tom, and Arthur, their aim emerged quite early while for others it took some exploration before finding their way.  Homer, for example, had a number of jobs and was working at the Heinz plant in Pittsburgh packing bottles of ketchup, labeling cans of baked beans, and filling jars with pickles.  The job was not leading anywhere, however, and a friend advised him that if he was more interested in people than in machinery, he should take a position with a training program of the Associated Charities of Cleveland.  Homer followed that advice and writes that 'I found myself very happy in the new job and deeply interested in the people and the social problems that confronted me...The publicity man for the Associated Charities, in announcing my appointment, said that I had given up the job of getting pickles into people and taken up the job of getting people out of pickles' (Homer, p. 56).

It should be noted that among the four brothers, William was a national leader in Engineering Education as well as in Higher Education Administration as the President of Case Institute of Technology. Thomas was a leader in the chemical engineering of steel, chrome and other alloys utilized in the growth of the automobile industry, first for Studebaker and then for the International Nickel Company, as well as being a founding director of Associates Investments, a firm that pioneered the financing of car loans.  Arthur was also a leader in education, especially in the field of Religious Studies at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and Homer was a leader in the field of health insurance, remembered as the "father" of what we know today as Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

Homes - Each of the children enjoys describing the succession of homes and vacation cottages that they build or bought.  One notable example, is the home that William, Marion and their family occupied in West Roxbury near MIT.  As Marion describes it, feeling the need of larger quarters, William set about the designing and building of a house to meet the requirements of his particular family.  Among the unique features of the house was a children's room across the entry hall from the living room.  "One side of the children's room was lined with low bookcases, shelves and drawers.  The tables and the chairs were low, as were the hoods of the coats and caps.  Adjoining was the children's lavatory.  Proper lighting was planned.  The children decided what pictures were to hand on the walls and when they were to be changed" (Marion, p 26).

He also decided that "a wife's height should be considered in building a house for her.  William followed me around day and night with a measuring stick to make sure that in the future I could dispense with the daily use of the step-ladder.  He threw himself with great enthusiasm into the planning of the kitchen.  The sink, the working space and the shelves were exactly the right height.  All hooks were within each reach.  He even planned the windows so that the crossbars would not be on a line with my eyes, thus obstructing my view of the garden as I kneaded the bread and rolled out the pies!"  As Marion recounts, "there was much shaking of heads over the decision of a husband that a wife's height should be considered in building a house for her" (Marion, p. 26).


Music - This was a theme that sounds throughout the Memoir book.  Thomas Rogers meets Ida when he attends the church to sing in the choir while she was playing the organ.  She later has a piano in their home and he bought a reed organ.  Lottie remembers that "the old organ and mother's piano were always a part of the family background and pleasure.  Father loved to sing with Mother playing for him.  'Rocked in the Cradle of the Deep', 'A Sailor's Wife' and 'O Rest in the Lord' were among his favorites" (p. 23).  Ruth writes that James... was taking music from Alicia Quaife and would come home to ask me to play his new pieces.  I was proud of my 'superior ability' and readily obliged.  In a few weeks, however, Alicia asked if any of us played James' music for him and I spoke up proudly that I did every week.  She then requested that none of us do this as James was playing entirely by ear and not learning to read music at all.  Homer, of course, was taking his music seriously those days and he tried to keep me encouraged with mine.  Later, when he learned to sing, he tried with great patience to have me play the accompaniments but alas, I was pretty poor at it. Tom used to like to sing too, and brought home some of the first popular music we even had around the house.  

I believe Tom was also responsible sometime for buying and setting us our first radio (played off of batteries in those days), but what a source of enjoyment as well as a matter of pride it was!  Somewhere about this time someone bought a cheap Victrola and Homer brought home a few classical records.  I remember especially that Andante Cantabile was my favorite" (p. 76-77).  Homer was perhaps the most musical of the siblings, he learned to play the organ well enough to substitute at church and play at Will and Marion's wedding.  After taking vocal lessons, he earned some extra income singing as soloist in the Unitarian and later an Episcopal church.

Travel - It is interesting to read how important extended travel was to each of the eight children.  Some traveled before marriage and others traveled in retirement, but each sibling seemed felt a need to see the world.  The longest was the period of six years that Ida spent in China. It was quite an adventure to leave Ohio as a twenty-one year old to teach English at a small school in Hangchow, and then teach all the subjects covering eight grades in a small primary and secondary school.  She lived at first under the old Empress Dowager and her 'Little "Emperor', the last of the Manchus; then experienced the overthrow of the Manchu dynasty, the establishment of the Republic under Sun Yat Sen and the making of the Provisional President.'  Her letters home to Toledo were so interesting and newsworthy that they were carried by the local papers and are now in the rare book library at U.C.L.A.   It reminds one of the beautiful film, Doctor Zhivago, to read about Ida's ten-day trip across Siberia in a wood burning train.  Lottie spent many interesting months living with relatives on a farm in rural Oklahoma where she was sent to recover from childhood bouts with pneumonia and pleurisy. While there she witnessed prairie fires and dust storms. Later, when her father had to cancel plans to travel to England, Lottie got to go instead.   

Each of the others also spent time traveling the world or at least to Europe, often with a stop to visit family in Rochester, England.  Homer's trip is but one example, when he read an advertisement on the back of a magazine of a trip around the world for $1,200 and up (mostly up!) aboard the steamship Empress of France.  Some of the members of the family thought this would be a foolish expenditure of money.  However, I sailed on January 22, 1923, from New York and went through the Panama Canal and up the West Coast, then to Honolulu, Japan, Canton, China, the Philippines, Java, Singapore,Burma, and thence to Calcutta."  On and on he went to Egypt, Italy, Switzerland, England (including Rochester) and back to Montreal.  "The trip proved to be one of the greatest educational experiences of my life, and I have concluded that the money was very well spent" (Homer, p. 58). 

Church - The church was an important institution in the lives of the Thomas Rogers Wickenden family in terms of worship, social activity and community service.  Of course, Thomas Rogers was interested and involved in church activities from the time he first immigrated to Toledo,  and it was as a member of the choir at the old Baptist Church that he met his wife, Ida Consaul, who was serving as organist for the church. Among the other many connections to the church that are described in the Memoirs are those of Ida.  "During my high school period my social life was centered in the church and our home.  An occasional church social and Thursday evening prayer meeting were the extent of my diversions" (Ida, p. 31)   Later, through her work as President of the YWCA at Denison, she joined the Student Volunteer Band and developed an aspiration to do missionary work.  This led to her serving as a teacher and school leader for 6 years in China.  

Ruth also was active in the YWCA, going "as a delegate to a national college YWCA meeting at Eaglesmere, PA.  The speakers were of broader vision than any I had ever heard before.  The mingling with students from all over the world and the great inspiration of Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick who was the leader of the day-to-day discussions were a great experience" (Ruth, p. 79).  An even deeper connection, of course, is illustrated by the career of Arthur, who completed a Bachelor of Divinity degree at the University of Chicago and served as a minister at two churches  before going on to earn a Ph.D. and serve as Professor of Religion and Director of Religious Activities at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. 

In conclusion, the Summary provided above is meant as an introduction to the Memoirs book itself. Each of the chapters in the book  includes far more detail in terms of both information and stories than has even been suggested here.  These chapters collectively provide a portrait of the experience of one family who came to America in the mid-nineteenth century and through hard work lived out the American dream of education, progress and joyful lives.