Headington House Hotel x 3

Last week I wrote about the two local Headington House Hotels, one in Portland, Indiana, in the 1870s, the other in Celina, Ohio, in the mid-1900s.

Surprise! As I continued my research I learned about yet another Headington House Hotel in Portland in the early 1900s.

I have concluded that Headington House Hotels are a family tradition in this area. Nimrod Headington built the first one in Portland in 1870 and operated it for 12 years. Nimrod’s nephew, his brother Eli’s son James M. Headington (1857-1948), built and operated a Headington Hotel and Café in Portland from 1896-1912. [1] Celina’s Headington House Hotel was owned and operated by Ken Headington’s widow Elma from 1937-1970, and Ken was the nephew of James M. Headington, the brother of Ken’s father John Eli. Seems to be an uncle-nephew thing.

I can see why the name was so popular. Headington House Hotel has a nice ring to it and is a good example of alliteration.

After learning about Celina’s Headington House Hotel I wanted to know if and how I was related to the hotel’s namesake Ken Headington. I knew how I was related to the proprietor of Portland’s first Headington House Hotel and I suspected I was also distantly related to Celina’s, too.

Snyder home, later the Headington House, Celina, Ohio, 1882 sketch.

Widow Elma (Hartzell) Headington purchased the impressive Snyder home, located at 129 E. Market, Celina, in 1934, a year after the death of her husband Kenneth Glen “Ken” Headington. Ken Headington died in 1933 and had nothing to do with the operation of Celina’s Headington House. The hotel was likely the source of income for widow Elma. However, Ken undoubtedly knew his uncle James M. Headington and visited his Headington Hotel in Portland in the early 1900s.

Below I detail my ancestry to Ken Headington.

Starting back in time with ancestors Nicholas (1790-1856) and Ruth Frizzell (Phillips) (1794-1865) Headington, who were originally from Baltimore, Maryland. They moved to Knox County, Ohio, in the early 1820s and then to Jay County, Indiana, in the early 1850s. Nicholas and Ruth had 10 children and among them were sons William (1815-1879), Nimrod (1827-1913), and Eli (1836-1864). I descend from son William Headington and his wife Mary Ann Cottrell (1816-1903). Nimrod Headington established and operated the Headington House Hotel in Portland in the 1870s, after sailing to California for the gold rush in 1852 and serving in the Civil War. Ken Headington descends from William and Nimrod’s younger brother Eli Headington.

Eli Headington married Caroline/Cornelia Osborne (1837-1923) in Jay County on 27 August 1856. [2] One of their three children was John Eli Headington (1864-1926).

John Eli Headington married Lillie E. White (1864-1895) in Jay County on 21 October 1882. [3] Lillie White was the daughter of William M. and Martha J. (Darley) White. John Eli and Lillie Headington had at least 3 children, Kenneth Glen, born in Portland 1 November 1888; Lacey Dias Headington (1886-1942) [4]; and Madge Headington (1884-1920).

Ken Headington’s mother Lillie died 18 September 1895, when Ken was only 6 years old. Ken’s widowed father John Eli married widow Ruth (Broughman) White (1862-1951) on 31 May 1896. Ruth was the widow of John A. White (1858-1895). Interesting that Ken’s mother Lillie (White) and John White (husband of Ruth (Broughman) and were brother and sister. [5] Ken’s aunt by marriage became his stepmother. Ruth and John White had at least 2 children, Charles Irwin White (1880-1954) and Darwin Barnes Orville White (1888-1918).

In 1900 the John Eli Headington family lived in Bellefontaine, Ohio, where the father John Eli worked for Country Produce. The John Eli Headington family in 1900: John Eli Headington, 35, head; Ruth Headington, 37, wife; Madge Headington, 16, daughter; Lacey Headington, 13, son; Ken Headington, 10, son; and Darwin White, 10, stepson. [6]

By 1910 John Eli, Ruth, and Ken Headington had moved to Celina and were living at 440 Livingston Street. John Eli worked for a poultry company and Ken was a delivery clerk at a post office. [7]

In 1916 John Eli, Ruth, and Ken Headington lived at 304 E. Market Street in Celina, according to the 1916 Farm Journal Directory.

Ken Headington’s WWI Draft Registration, signed 5 June 1917, indicates he was single, lived on South Ash Street, and worked as a mail clerk at a post office. He was 5’ 6”, 148 pounds with black hair and blue eyes. [8]

Ken Headington married Elma Hartzell in Mercer County on 6 July 1917. Elma Hartzell was born in Fort Recovery, Ohio, on 24 March 1892, the daughter of George and Mary (Stoner) Hartzell.

Ken and Elma had a daughter, Jean (1918-1999), born 6 November 1918. In 1920 Ken Headington, 31, Elma, 27, wife, and daughter Jean, 1, lived in a home they rented at 219 South Ash Street in Celina. Ken worked as a clerk in a post office. Ken’s parents, John Eli and Ruth Headington lived nearby, at 231 South Ash and John Eli was a manager at Long E Produce. [9]    

In 1930 Ken, 41; Elma, 38; and Jean L, 11, lived at 502 Fulton and Ken was a postal clerk. They owned their home and they had a radio as well. [10]

Ken Glen Headington died in Celina on 1 August 1933. At the time of his death he resided at 505 E. Fulton. Ken is buried in Green Park Cemetery in Portland. He is likely buried near his parents, although I have not confirmed that.  

Ken’s widow Elma purchased the former Snyder home from widow Jennie S. Bedell in 1937 and opened the Headington House Hotel soon after. Elma resided there and continued to operate the hotel until a few days before her death on 6 May 1970. Elma is buried in North Grove Cemetery in Celina.  

The Standard Printing Company purchased the Headington House in 1972, the home originally built by A.P.J. Snyder in 1871. They eventually razed the home and expanded their printing operation.

To answer the original question, Ken Headington was my 2nd cousin four times removed. Another way of looking at it, he was the grand-nephew of my 4th great-grandfather William Headington.

And that’s going back a long way!

[1] Muncie Evening Press, Muncie, Indiana, 28 Dec 1948, p.1, J.M. Headington obituary; Newspapers.com, viewed 24 Feb 2022. 

[2] Index to Marriage Records 1850-1920, Jay County, Indiana, WPA Records, Book C-B, Eli Headington & Cornelia Osborn, 27 Aug 1856; database on-line, Ancestry.com, viewed 24 Feb 2022.  

[3] Index to Marriage Records 1850-1920, Jay County, Indiana, WPA Records, Book C-E, p.330, John Headington & Lillie E White, 21 Oct 1882; database on-line, Ancestry.com, viewed 24 Feb 2022.  

[4] Index to Birth Records 1880-1920, WPA, Indiana, Lacy Headington, 25 Nov 1886; database on-line, Ancestry.com, viewed 24 Feb 2022. 

[5] 1870 U.S. Census, Pike, Jay, Indiana, p.143B, dwelling 280, family 282, John A White; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com, viewed 24 Feb 2022. [William White household: John A White, 12 & Lillie E White, 6, among children listed; relationships not given, but ages and names agree.]

[6] 1900 U.S. Census, Bellefontaine Ward 2, Logan, Ohio, ED 111, p.3, dwelling & family 75, JE Headington; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com, viewed 24 Feb 2022.

[7] 1910 U.S. Census, Celina Ward 2, Mercer, Ohio, ED 117, p.8A, dwelling & family 1, John E Headington; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com, viewed 24 Feb 2022.

[8] U.S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, Mercer County, Ohio, Kenneth G Headington; database in-line, Ancestry.com, viewed 24 Feb 2022.

[9] 1920 U.S. Census, Celina, Mercer, Ohio, ED 137, p.10A, dwelling 230, house 233, Ken Headington; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com, viewed 31 Jan 2021).

[10] 1930 U.S. Census, Celina, Mercer, Ohio, ED 15, p.7B, dwelling 178, family 190, Kenneth G Headington; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com, viewed 24 Feb 2022).

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