The Ransfords

William and Nettie (Campbell) Ransford

Though both were born in New York, William (1821-1902) and Nettie (1838-1928) met and married in Nebraska where Nettie was a teacher and where William’s business had taken him. They had a daughter named Louise (1859-1861) who died just shy of her 2nd birthday. They later moved to LaPorte, Indiana where their second child, Ida (1864-1879), was born, and then to Indianapolis in 1870.

Shortly after this last move, Nettie joined the women’s auxilliary of the Masons, the Order of the Eastern Star (OES) which would become her life’s work. Throughout her many years of service, she ascended through the ranks and held many leadership positions including the elected statewide role of grand chapter secretary which she held from 1894 until her death. She did a great deal of charity work including helping establish and sitting on the board of the Masonic Home where she herself spent her last days. She was such a force in the Indiana OES that her birthday was celebrated in chapters all across the state, and her reputation was nation-wide as she’d helped install chapters in many other states. She also found time to be involved in many other social and service organizations.

Nettie outlived her husband by 26 years and sadly had no surviving children nor near relatives, but her life was extremely full of those who loved and admired her. There are humble markers for each member of the Ransford family on the lot but there is also this stunning family monument. It’s likely that this is something Nettie herself had put in place but if not, I can see her OES sisters planning a memorial that would honor those things that were dearest to Nettie. The front has a gorgeous clock face and William’s inscription, and on the back, an enormous OES symbol dominates the design, honoring Nettie’s long and dedicated service.

RIP Ransfords

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