One of the things I wanted to do while in Cleveland was to do some research on Jeptha Wade, the founder of the Western Union Telegraph Company.
Although I’m not descended from Jeptha, he was a major figure in our family tree. His second wife was Susannah Fleming Wade, the sister of my great-great-grandmother, Abigail Fleming Huggins.
Here is a photo of Jeptha’s wife, Susannah Fleming Wade:
This couple lovingly took several orphans into their home (most of them left behind by deceased family members) including my great-grandmother, Myra Huggins. Here is a photo of Myra as a child.
Another photo was taken about the time she was orphaned, and she looks so sad. She had lost her mother when she was two, and now her father, Rev. Morrison Huggins, had also died suddenly.
But it was nice that she had a home with Jeptha and Susannah Wade. When I walked into the Western Reserve Historical Society and asked for information on Jeptha Wade, they were surprised. I told them I was descended from one of the orphans that the Wades had raised, and the researcher told me that they were just now doing a project on the Wade family and needed information on the orphans, which I was able to give. I have written previously about this family here.
My great-grandparents, Myra Huggins and Edward O. Chaney, were married in the Wade mansion in Cleveland, and I was pleased to see a print of the home in the private office area of the historical center.
Jeptha Wade was an industrialist and philanthropist of the highest order in Cleveland, along with his friends John D. Rockefeller and former President James A. Garfield. Jeptha gave his land for the city parks, cultural district, Lake View Cemetery, and other major institutions. I was disappointed not to be able to see the mansion itself, since it had been razed.
But the researchers had another pleasant surprise in store for me. The Wade parlor has been preserved right there in the museum connected with the library. I was able to stand inside the original parlor itself!
I could imagine this piano being used for the wedding of my great-grandparents — Edward and Myra Chaney — in 1870! Here is what they looked like at the time of their wedding.
Sadly, Myra had been orphaned at the age of eight and would also die early as a young mother. My grandfather was three years old when his mother died. But the tradition of caring for orphaned children has carried down through the family nearly every generation. I continue to support orphans and needy children around the world through Compassion International. This is a great legacy to be a part of.