Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Ostranders Settle Along Audubon Road

In 1921, local Irvingtonian Joseph Ostrander married Guinevere Ham of Shirley, Indiana at the Irvington Presbyterian Church. The couple took up housekeeping at the Audubon Court Apartments. Mr. Ostrander worked as printer and publisher of the Marion County Mail along with another Irvington resident, Howard Caldwell, Sr. The business partners had been friends since their days at Butler University. Mr. Ostrander, a veteran of World War I, was one of millions of people who fell victim to the Great Influenza Epidemic sweeping the planet in 1918. He survived but his health was never good after that. He died in 1926. He left behind a wife and his six-month-old daughter, Nancy.

Mrs. Ostrander was the daughter of George Washington and Adelaide Titus Ham of Hancock County. The Hams operated a successful farm. Mr. Ham named many of his ten children after great literary characters or locales.  One of his sons, for instance, received the name Walter Scott while another was called Montezuma. When it came time to name their youngest daughter, Mr. Ham was determined that the child would be named George no matter whether it was a girl or boy. Mrs. Ham quietly ignored her husband's demand and placed "Georgia Guinevere Ham" on the birth certificate. She became known as "Gwin." 

After the death of her husband, Guinevere Ostrander and her infant daughter, Nancy, moved into the beautiful house at 323 North Audubon Road in 1927. She had purchased the home from the Newton family. Two years earlier, Mrs. Ostrander had received news from her brother, Thaddeus Cooper Ham, who resided on a coffee plantation in Cuba, that his wife had died. He asked Guinevere to raise their newly born child, Eva Ruth Ham. Baby Eva arrived in August of 1927 along with her Cuban nanny, Esperanza Rodriguez, to stay permanently at her Audubon Road address. Mrs. Ostrander’s mother, Adelaide Titus Ham, of Shirley, Indiana joined her daughter at the home shortly thereafter. Other people would also call upon Mrs. Ostrander’s generosity over the years and the house remained a lively and exciting place.

Guinevere Ostrander watched over Nancy Ostrander, her daughter, (left) and Eva Ruth Ham (right), her niece and adopted daughter. The photo was taken in 1929 in the living room at 323 North Audubon Road.  

Employees of the Marion County Mail gathered for this photograph c1919 in front of their office at 105 North Alabama Street. Pictured from left to right:  Joseph Ostrander, Paul Cornelius, Howard Caldwell, Sr., and Miss Peterson. 

Nancy Ostrander and her cousin, Eva Ham, were raised as sisters. This photo was likely taken in 1927.

Mother and Daughter: Guinevere Ham Ostrander posed with her daughter, Nancy in 1929.

323 North Audubon Road in the autumn of 2015.  
The historic images are courtesy of Nancy Ostrander.  

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