Winder Family History

The Winders are also an extensive family and our particular branch seems to be one of the more esoteric branches, as not much documentation exists for them.  My distant cousin, Joe Lutz, and I have shared information to piece together this family.  Joe and I realized that we were related when he described an old photograph he had in his collection that matched the one that I have.  He had been in contact with another equally related family member, who had provided some family bible records for our beginning research.  We cannot make a connection to the Quaker Winders from Bucks County at this time; this branch also has settled in Lycoming County.

The family bible states that John Winder b. 1799 and a woman named Phoebe were married and lived in the Trenton and Hamilton Township, New Jersey areas during the early part of the the 19th century.  They had a large family that ended with the birth of our great grandfather, Ambrose S. Winder in 1846.  The eldest son, John R. Winders  b. 1826 moved to Jordan Township of Lycoming County in the late 1850s to farm.  His younger brother, William b. 1834 also settled in the area and married a woman named Sarah Holdren.  Two other brothers, Warren (b. 1821) and Theodore Winder (b. 1829) stayed in New Jersey.  

The family evidently was strongly in support of the Union efforts in the Civil War as all of the above-mentioned men served in the Union Army.  Warren was killed serving his country.  This being the case, the family could not have been Quakers, since Quakers were known to be "conscientious objectors".  An old obituary of Eliza Vough Grange, grandmother of THE Red Grange of football fame, states that her grandfather, Warren Winder fought with in the Revolutionary War and was wounded.  Warren's father, John, was rumored to have fought in the German Regiment of the Maryland Continental Line, since he was from the York County area.

We have studied and followed census records for each of the Winder families and found that they have wandered as far west as Washington County, south of Pittsburgh, but mainly settled in Lycoming, Columbia and Luzerne Counties, as well as those who stayed behind in New Jersey.  The origins of this family appear to be from Scotland as one census record reveals that the elder Warren Winder's parents were born in Scotland and the naming patterns for the children follow the traditional Scottish naming patterns.

After the Civil War Ambrose, our great grandfather, ventured to Lycoming County to find work probably staying with his brother, John.  We speculate that Ambrose met his wife, Catherine Holdren, while here. Catherine is possibly a distant cousin, to the abovementioned Sarah Holdren who is married to William Winder, Ambrose's brother.  Ambrose and Catherine had a daughter, Catherine "Lucy" Winder in 1868.  Life was difficult for Ambrose and his family by 1880, he had moved back to Elizabeth, New Jersey, where Victoria, our great grandmother, was born in 1872 and followed by Roseanne in 1876.  

Only speculation can attempt to explain what happened to this family over the next 20 years since we have no census records to document or help us.  I can offer the idea of our great grandmother, Catherine Holdren Winder, had become ill after 1880 and returned to Lycoming County to her family for help where she ultimately died sometime prior to 1887.  The Holdren family was from the Penn Township area.  Other Holdrens are prolific in the Millville, Columbia Co., area.

It appears that Lucy was raising her sisters, Victoria and Roseanne, in Fairfield Township shortly after her marriage to Sebastian Lutz in 1884.  By 1900, the three sisters have families of their own.  Victoria is married to Frederick Washington Fry and Roseanne is married to C. Edward Fry, Fred's brother.  

By 1910, C. Edward Fry has died and Roseanne has move away, rumored to have moved to New York State.  Victoria and Lucy still live within a short walk of each other.  Also, in this year, our great grandmother, Ethel Fry, no longer lives with her parents and is not found in the census.  By 1912, she has met and married Kenneth Arthur Smithgall.  They had four children: Mary, Mabel, Fred and Esther, our grandmother.  By 1920, the family has split up, Arthur has left and Ethel lives with her parents in Williamsport.  By 1930, Arthur has started another family and died, Ethel and her family live on Meade Street in Williamsport.  761 Grace Street is the residence in 1944, then later they moved to Centre Street.

The Ambrose Winder line becomes extinct without a male legacy at this point. 

New August 2006 - William Milnor Winder b. 1834

I recently visited the Ceasetown Cemetery in Luzerne Co., PA on a rainy afternoon in search of more information on William Milnor Winder, elder brother of our great grandfather Ambrose.  I discovered the grave marker for William Winder, which was apparently placed by the G.A.R. stating only his affiliation with the Union Army, there were no dates.  The older sections of the cemetery are poorly maintained, many of the graves are sinking and overgrown.  

I found the graves of Josephine Morris and her family; she was a granddaughter of William Winder.  She married Nicholas Ottensman of West Nanticoke.  All graves were within the same family plot.