Ord Boorem


Robert Ord Boorem was the fourth child of John and his second wife Emma Bond, and grew up on his father's farm in Mountainhome. He married Irish immigrant Frances McEvory and had two children, Robert Thomas and June. Ord spent a lot of time traveling in his youth by being a "boomer boilermaker" for the railroad. He became a machinist when a long railroad strike failed to end, and eventually became a master machinist for the Chicago fire department. He worked in the machine shop there until he was 80 years old!

In the 1920s Ord and his brother Sedgwick purchased 250 acres of farmland on Long Lake in Fremont Michigan. Older brother Alex Boorem (aka John Anderson) and family were put in charge of running and maintaining the farm in addition to the three houses on the lake Ord and Sedgwick built to rent to vacationers during the summer. Unfortunately Alex abandoned the farm less than two years later. Ord sent his wife and children to see what they could salvage and to care for the animals. His wife and children remained on the farm for about a year. Ord and Sedgwick still had jobs in Chicago and would drive up to the farm once a month to do the heavy work and maintenance. The family tried to make their lake farm a success but the task proved to be too difficult. According to Ord, "the cows couldn't fit their heads between the rocks to eat the grass." Neither Ord nor Sedgwick could afford to give up their full-time jobs in Chicago, and they finally sold the property at a substantial loss.

Although Ord and his family remained in Chicago, he always found time to return to Mountainhome to visit his mother and sisters, and to Scranton to visit his half-brothers and sisters from his father's first wife Jane. Ord's son Robert remembers staying on the farm of his Aunt Mabel Price during the summer, helping out with the family's thriving dairy business.

Ord Boorem remained active well into his 80s and was always a respected and admired member of the community. He died 19 August 1973 in his 88th year and is buried at Cedar Park cemetery near Chicago. He was the last of John Boorem's children to pass away - the last of two generations spanning some 141 years between his father's birth in 1832, and his death in 1973.

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Text and photographs copyright 2003 by Jeffrey L. Thomas, with all rights reserved
e-mail: jltbalt1@verizon.net