Pike Family

1761 - 1948

Pike is mostly an English name with various meanings, however, there is evidence that the name may have originally been McPike, an anglicized variant of the Northern Irish McPeak derived from the gaelic Mac Peice, a patronymic name of the personal name Peic. Since the Irish were heavily discriminated against, it was common for them to drop the “Mc” from their name in order to appear less Irish. Being Northern Irish suggests a Scots-Irish origin.

Our Pike family tree starts with Hugh Lee Pike (originally may have been McPike) who was born in Ireland, possibly in the county of Donegal in 1761. He immigrated to America sometime around 1796 and initially settled in Washington County, Pennsylvania where he worked as a weaver. In 1804, he moved to Elk Run Township in Columbiana County, Ohio where he became a farmer and married Mary Ann Crawford, who was born in Ohio in 1786. They had three known children in Columbiana County, Ohio:

  1. John Crawford (b. 1810)
  2. Lewis F. (b. abt. 1820)
  3. Matilda  (b. abt. 1826)

John was said to be the third in a family of ten children, six boys and four girls, though their names are unknown at this time.

On February 13, 1834 when he was 24 years old, John married Maria Frederick who was born in 1811, also in Columbiana County. They settled in Center Township where John was a sheep farmer and owned 390 acres of land on the western border of the township, near Guilford in the neighboring township (the east side of what is now Depot Road). He and Maria had five children:

  1. Delorma Frederick (b. July 17, 1835)
  2. Mary A. (b. abt. 1839)
  3. Sophia (b. abt. 1842)
  4. Robert Thomas (b. March 9, 1843)
  5. Irene Hannah (b. October 27, 1847)

Sadly, Hugh did not live to see any of his grandchildren by his son John since he died on May 23, 1835. He is buried in Church Hill Cemetery in Columbiana County, Ohio. John and Maria had a sixth child who may have died as an infant since her name remains unknown but her remains are buried in the Frederick Family Cemetery in Columbiana County, Ohio.

John was originally a member of the Whig political party but joined the Republicans upon the party’s creation, which likely meant that he had abolitionist leanings. He was a member of the Methodist church.

On March 18, 1864, Robert married Mary Louise Springer when he was twenty-one and she was only fifteen. They also settled in Center Township as well, having six children:

  1. Linda May (b. February 19, 1871)
  2. Jenny Rolland Springer (b. January 1, 1873)
  3. Mary Louise (b. June 12, 1874)
  4. John Thomas (b. October 25, 1875)
  5. Olive Sylvia (b. April 6, 1877)
  6. Ralph Springer (b. June 10, 1880)

By 1870, John was sixty years old and had sold off 95 acres and given a remaining 120 acres to his son Robert and another 85 to his other son, Delorma, leaving himself with 90 acres. This is somewhat unusual given that Delorma was the elder brother yet received less inheritance. In 1860, John’s real estate had valued at $9,600 but dropped down to $6,100 in 1870, reflecting the reduction of his land. Robert owned an additional lot of 147 acres further south, totally 276 acres.

Robert joined the Union army on August 11, 1862 and was enlisted into Company K of the 104th Ohio Infantry Regiment on August 30. He served as a private for the remaining duration of the war until he was mustered out on June 17, 1865. The war officially ended May 19 but the last shots were fired June 22. His regiment had played an important role in the Battle of Franklin, a decisive victory for the Union.

On December 14, 1882, John C. Pike died at 72 years of age. His wife Maria survived him until November 30, 1896 when she passed away at age 85. They are both buried in Lisbon Cemetery. In John’s will, he left his farm of about 95 to 100 acres and all the household goods, kitchen furniture, and cooking utensils to his beloved wife, Maria for the duration of her lifetime. He instructed that after her death it be sold and the profits divided equally among his children, with the shares of any deceased children going to his or her children. He also left his wife $500 in lieu of her dower and allowed her to keep any of his farming implements, stock, and all other personal property if she wanted. Anything she did not wish to keep was to be sold off and the profits again divided equally among his children, with the shares of any deceased children going to his or her children. He lastly appointed his son Robert Thomas Pike and son-in-law Jesse B Frost as his executors. The fact that he essentially left everything to his wife without any kind of trustee suggests that he cared for and respected her very much, and possibly even trusted her to maintain their farm. Though it is worth noting that regarding the farming equipment, stocks, and personal property, he seemed to be assuming Maria would not want much of it, if anything at all. He first instructs that it all be sold off and then adds “except such as my wife may desire to take at the appraisement”. Meanwhile the farm itself and everything in their house he merely left to her without any instruction on what to do with it if she didn’t want it. By the time John died, all his children were married and probably prospering so he may not have felt a need to leave them with anything except that which his wife didn’t want. In the inventory and appraisement lists, a number of items are mentioned as Maria have retained. Some of the more interesting items included family pictures (a shame they haven’t survived), all of the books in the family library (which did not exceed $100 in value), one cow selected by Maria worth $40, yarn and cloth manufactured by the family themselves, a side saddle, and one “looking glass” (mirror). Strange that she kept a side saddle but not a horse; in fact, there were no horses listed in the inventory at all, especially strange since they had a buggy and sleigh. However, they did have 25 bee hives valued at $2 per 5 of them and sold for $6.25 in total, ten to Aaron Arter (John’s son-in-law) for $2.50, five to Delorma Pike for $1.25, and ten to A. Aldridge for $2.50. There was also listed a number of items which were deemed to be Maria’s personal property as having been hers before her marriage. They included a beam, hoe, sand shovel, churn, butter bowl, copper kettle, iron kettle, lap robe (like a throw blanket), 6 grain sacks, and 34 chickens.

By 1902 when Robert was 59, he had acquired another 67 acres from an S.S.M. Kown, which had been the land immediately to the west of John’s before he died. Robert had not lost any of his other lands which brought his total to 343 acres. Delorma had taken half of his father’s property making his total 127 acres. Today, the land that Robert and John owned is still very rural and hasn’t changed much, if at all. The roads are very similar and you can even still make out the vague natural lines of their property on a satellite image. Delorma’s property, however, is now half taken up by a trailer park.

By 1910, Robert had retired to Smith Township in Mahoning County, which suggests he had been a prosperous farmer. He died here of “apoplexy” (a stroke) on February 21, 1911 but he is buried back in the Lisbon area.

Robert’s wife Mary Louise survived him by 12 years, passing away on November 29, 1923 at the age of 74 of diabetes. By the time of her death, she had moved back to Lisbon and lived on her own.

On January 12, 1904, Robert’s son Ralph married Bertha May Ramsey in Lisbon, Center Township when he was 23 and she was 29. Ralph owned a dairy farm in Center Township where he and Bertha had three girls:

  1. Jennie Lucile (b. May 28, 1905)
  2. Thelma Elizabeth (b. April 1, 1907)
  3. Bertha Louise (b. September 1, 1913)

Jennie changed her middle name to Lee later in life as she’d always hated the name Lucile. She and Thelma apparently had a very close relationship all their lives.

Bertha had been married and widowed before she married Ralph which means she came with five girls of her own from her previous marriage to George Benton Philips. It’s unusual for a man to marry for the first time to an older widow with five girls, it was a lot of mouths to feed. However, Bertha was still young enough to have more children and perhaps the lack of any boys to compete with his own potential heirs seemed a better deal to Ralph. But it must have been quite a feminine household when Ralph and Bertha then had an three more girls.

When he registered for the WWI draft, Ralph was reported as 5’10” and weighing 170 lbs. He also wore glasses.

Unfortunately, the curse of premature deaths continued when Bertha died at the age of only 40 on August 18, 1914. She is buried in Mount Zion Lutheran Cemetery. After her death, the Philips girls from her previous marriage were now orphans and may have lived in an orphanage, which were still in use at the time. The decline of orphanages began shortly after WWII so this is very much a possibility but they also could have been living with others relatives, or perhaps their stepfather Ralph even allowed them to stay with him until they reached the age of majority. Lela had moved out of the house before Bertha died, though she didn’t marry until the year after when she was 22 years old to Robert Stock. They settled in Columbiana County, Ohio and had five children. Eva had actually already married the year before her mother died to Bert Dixon in West Virginia when she was only 17 years old, though she claimed on the marriage license that she was 18. They also settled in Columbiana County and had three children together. So Lela and Eva’s living circumstances probably didn’t change after Bertha’s death, it would have only been Ester, Ruby, and Alice who may have lived in an orphanage. In the same month she turned 18 which was two years after her mother’s death, Esther married Earl Dixon, probably a brother of Bert. They had four children together, the first of whom was named after Ester’s mother, Bertha May. On the very day she turned 18, five years after her mother’s death, Alice married Raymond Porter Shivers and later moved to California where they had one daughter. Ruby’s fate was much different. She was about 20 years old in 1920 when she was living in a Salvation Army Home in Bellevue, Pennsylvania which at the time appears to have been a home for unmarried pregnant women or unwed mothers and their children. Ruby had given birth out of wedlock to a boy named Clarence Phillips on May 22, 1919. The fact that Esther and Alice married as soon as they turned 18 suggests that wherever they had been living after their mother died was turning them out once they reached an age of majority. Ruby, the only one not to marry immediately, apparently wound up homeless and pregnant by the time she was 20. This really illustrates how limited the options were for women at the time. It looks as though Ruby intended to raise Clarence herself but sadly, he died February 25, 1920 after contracting the flu and developing pneumonia. There was no father listed on his death certificate. Afterwards Ruby became a nurse, perhaps inspired by those who helped her at the Salvation Army Home. Later, when she was 37 years old, she married Thomas C. Russell, the half brother of her half sister’s husband’s mother. They didn’t have any children together.

Ralph was only 34 with no sons to carry on the family name and so it’s not surprising he remarried sometime between 1914 and 1917 to Edna R. Zearley who was about 26 or 27. They had another three children together, one of which was (finally) a boy in 1921 named after his father but he died as an infant. The other two children were Irma Virginia (b. 1917) and Ruth Springer (b. 1921), Ralph Jr.’s twin. Irma may have also died sometime between 1930 and 1940 since there is no marriage record for her. Ruth grew up to marry Harold John. According to Jennie, who was about 11 or 12 when her father remarried, Edna always resented the girls from Ralph’s previous marriage to Bertha, the “evil” stepmother stereotype playing itself out here. It may have even been the reason why Jennie, according to her son, moved out as a teenager and lived with her aunt. However, Jennie’s son believes the reason for this was because her father Ralph may have been abusing her. Since she can be found living with her father in 1920 when she was 15 and she married when she was 18, it must have been sometime between 1920 and 1923 that she lived with her aunt (which aunt is unknown).  

Jennie’s sister Thelma married Clifford Crowell and had seven surviving children in Center Township, Columbiana, Ohio. Bertha Louise, obviously named after her mother, married Robert Frances Strabala in 1933 but only had one known child who died a day after he was born in 1934. Robert and Bertha later divorced.

Jennie had spent her life in Center Township, Columbiana County, Ohio but somehow, her marriage to 21 year old James Edward Bauer took place in New Cumberland, Hancock County, West Virginia on November 19, 1923. This is especially puzzling because James was from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. To read more on Jennie’s life after her marriage to James, see the Bauer Family Chapter.

On January 30, 1948, Ralph died of coronary thrombosis (heart disease) at the age of 67. His wife Edna survived him but for how long is unknown.

© Robin Bauer 2010-2013


Pike Photos and Documents

An image of John C. Pike, not a very good reproduction from History of Columbiana County, Ohio: with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers.

Residence of John C. Pike in Centre Township, Columbiana County, Ohio, from History of Columbiana County, Ohio: with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers.

Ralph Springer Pike

Jennie Lee Pike

An 1860 map of Centre Township, Columbiana County, Ohio showing John C. Pike’s property outlined in red.

An 1870 land ownership map showing Pike properties in Ohio overlaid onto Google maps.

A satellite image with Pike an outline of Pike properties in 1870. Red = John C. Pike, Blue = Delorma Pike, Purple = Robert Thomas Pike.