Norwood Family Records
A Short History
Ralph and Mae Norwood in 1933
On November 14, 1923, Mae Kramer Huffman married Ralph Spray Norwood, of Indianapolis, the second marriage for each of them.
Ralph's first wife, Hazel Raper Norwood, born March 25, 1889, had died nearly one year previously.
Hazel and Ralph had been married on June 19, 1918 in Owen County, Indiana where there had been Raper family members since the 1830s.
Hazel was the daughter of James Raper, a school teacher in Owen County, just as his father Jesse had been before him. Hazel's mother was Dora Raper, and Hazel grew up in the small town of Spencer in Owen County, Indiana, which is about 25 miles east of Terre Haute.
Following their marriage, Ralph and Hazel lived at 4353 Park Avenue in Indianapolis. At that time, he was the senior accountant at L. Strauss & Company, a leading Indianapolis department store.
Hazel R. Norwood died on January 17, 1923.
January 1923 Obituary Announcement for Ralph Norwood's first wife, Hazel R. Norwood
Regarding Hazel, it was said in the family that she had been institutionalized for several years previously. Ralph could not marry during Hazel's illness, so his marriage to Mae in November, 1923 marked the beginning of a new phase in his life.
Ralph Norwood was born in Indianapolis on October 20, 1881. He was the son of John L. Norwood (July, 1847 - after 1930) and Lydia Spray Norwood (March, 1850 - before 1930), both born in Indiana.
John and Lydia had been married on Christmas eve, 1874 in Marion County, perhaps at the Spray home in suburban Indianapolis.
John Norwood was the son of Newton Nicholas Norwood, born February 8, 1817 in Blount County, Tennessee, who married Margaret Ohr in Indiana in 1840. Margaret was born in 1812. Newton and Margaret Norwood had five children: Anne E., Theodore, Sarah E., John and Mariah J. Newton. Newton Norwood died young in Indianapolis at age of 33 in July 3, 1850, when his son John was only aged 3. In fact, Newton's father, George Norwood outlived Newton by thirty years, dying in Indianapolis in 1880 at age 91.
John Norwood was a motorman in the Indianapolis surface transit system who lived with Lydia first at 124 Hosbrook Street and by 1889, at 335 North East Street Street in Indianapolis. As children, we remember the photograph of John Norwood in his motorman uniform on a table in the Norwood home on Wildwood Avenue in Indianapolis.
John and Lydia Norwood had three children:
1. Grace Norwood (October, 1873 - ) who was a teacher
2. Newton S. Norwood (July, 1878 - ), a grocer.
3. Ralph Spray Norwood (October 20, 1881 - November, 1971).
Newton Norwood was named after his grandfather (John Norwood's father), Newton Nicholas Norwood, mentioned above.
Ralph was named after his mother's father, Ralph Spray, born in Ohio in 1820, and who lived in Decatur Township, which is now a suburb of Indianapolis.
Aunt Grace, as she was known in the family never married but was a grade school teacher for more than 30 years. In the 1930 Census, Grace is listed as living with her 82 year old father, John, perhaps caring for him, her mother Lydia already having passed away.
Newton Norwood married Nora Broadwell (born March, 1873) in Indianapolis on August 3, 1901. This was Nora Broadwell's second marriage, and she had a daughter, Edna Broadwell from her first marriage.
By the 1910 Census, Newton must have been died, since Nora Norwood is again listed as a widow, living with her 19 year old daughter, Edna Broadwell. Newton Norwood is said to have suffered from tuberculosis and to have died in Arizona, since dry head was a traditional treatment for tuberculosis. A record of his death has not yet been located.
In 1911, Edna's marriage to Harry Koepper was announced.
By age 19, in 1900, Ralph had been to a business college and was employed as an accountant. Later at age 29, in 1910, he was a bank teller, and still living at home with his parents and teacher sister Aunt Grace.
By 1915, Ralph, as well as working at L. Strauss and Company as a treasurer. He also had invested in a machinist company. In 1915 he invested in the Circle Theater, a silent movie theater, in which A.L. Block, president of L. Strauss & Company also invested. Ralph later bought a glove factory.
As can be seen his entrepreneurial activity prospered, ultimately leading him to purchased the L. Strauss and Company department store itself, the department store.
L. Strauss & Company department store owned by Ralph Norwood in late 1920s
After this time, he and L. Strauss & Company expanded and built a new, larger department store in central Indianapolis.
Children's Barber Shop - Second Floor L. Strauss & Company, Indianapolis
In 1956, L. Strauss opened a branch store in an Indianapolis suburb (Broad Ripple). This recognized the growth growth of the suburbs and the slow decline in center city retail stores. There were eventually three store locations before Ralph sold the department store chain in the 1960s.
Ralph and Mae lived first at 3617 Carrolton Avenue in Indianapolis, a nice location. Then, in the 1950s they moved to 5737 Wildwood Avenue in Indianapolis, yet nicer, and a good home for entertaining.
Norwood home on Wildwood Avenue, Indianapolis in the 1950s
Ralph and Mae moved from Indianapolis to Fort Lauderdale, Florida into a high rise apartment overlooking the bay in the 1960s.
Later, Ralph and Mae moved to Swarthmore, Pennsylvania to be closer to their son Walter as they grew old. Ralph died in Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia in November, 1971, at age 90. Mae died in Riddle Memorial Hospital in Delaware County in September, 1974.
Mae and Ralph Norwood visit Ruth, Jim and Larry Huffman in Drexel Hill - 1948
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