Generations Past

There is no king who has not had a slave among his ancestors and no slave who has not had a king among his.
 ----Helen Keller

Reuben Elis Donohue

Click for photo album of Reuben and Della Donohue and their family.

My grandfather, Reuben Elis DONAHUE, was born 10 Nov 1880 in Millwood, JacksReuben Ellis Donohueon County, West Virginia. He married my grandmother, Della Mae SHIELDS on 11 Jun 1905. I never knew Reuben Ellis. He apparently left the family when my mother was about 16 years old. He and Della applied for a divorce in 1927, but it was dismissed and there is no evidence of another application. I have read that he died before 1940 in Canada, but I have been unable to find any proof of this.

Ellis was tall, according to my mother, over six feet. From the pictures I have of him, he was a handsome man with blond hair and very blue eyes. He had been married before he married Della to Bertha Francis KING. They were married in 1902 in Jackson County, WV and divorced before 1905 when he married Della.

He must have had a good sense of humor. Della named their girls, Lena, Ruth, and Thelma so they could not be nick-named. Reuben got around that by calling them, Dink, Toots, and Boudalah.


I remember my grandmother, Della Mae, coming to our house in Ashland, Ohio, and my mother cleaning the house before she arrived so that everything was extra clean. After Reuben’s death, she married Walter WOODS in 1940. He was a kind man. I spent Della Shields Donohuetime with them as a young child. They lived in a house on the outskirts of Alliance, Ohio. When I visited them they had no electricity or indoor plumbing. This was quite a novelty to a city girl. The only milk they had was canned which fascinated me. I remember her making home-made noodles and lemon meringue pie. We had fun riding the trolley cars to town and shopping. I always think of her when I see pansies. She must have loved them. They were planted in all her flower beds. She later sold that house to her youngest daughter and son-in-law, Thelma and Carmen BRIENZA. Walter died about 1944 and she married John Babington about 1945. She died in 1954.

She and Reuben had six living children:

  1. Perlie Sheridan DONOHUE (1905-1940) married Kathryn CONNOLLY (1908-1948). Kathryn drowned in the Mahoning River in Alliance, Stark County, Ohio. They had four boys and a girl.

  2. Lena Louisa DONOHUE (1908-1968) married Dr. Gordon T. CASTOR

  3. Eddie DONAHUE (1910-1968) married Shirley Odoro Medessa WELSHANS on 13 Jul 1929 in Brooke County, West Virginia. The marriage was not a happy one and they divorced. This marriage produced one son, Ralph Harold DONOHUE, born 2 Oct 1930. Eddie married Edith MARCONI. (1913-1940) in 1938. She died when the car she was riding in was hit by a train. It also killed her son, three year old, George STANCIU. Her six year old daughter, Louise, survived.  Eddie never remarried. He was a soldier during World War II stationed in Italy.

  4. Ruth Ernestine DONOHUE (1914-2002). married Otha William Aeling known as Jack (1910-1978) in 1930. He was a pleasant man who always had a kind word. We loved to visit them because Aunt Ruth made delicious home made peach ice cream and Uncle Jack had mules to ride. They had six children.

  5. Harvey M. DONOHUE ( 1919-1940) married Clara SALSBURY in 1938. He was driving the car that was hit by a train and killed him along with his  sister-in-law, Edith and her son George. He was only twenty-one years old when he died. His wife and son, Larry were in the car when the accident happened but they survived.

  6. Thelma Virginia DONOHUE (1921-1957) married Carmen BRIENZA (1915-1985) in 1942. They had three boys and a girl. Thelma died during an Asian flu epidemic leaving four young children.

  7. Jessie Leo Donohue (1923-1923) both milk poisoning and choera are listed on his death certificate.


For more information on Reuben's family or other Donohues please go to
the Castor Directory.  You will find more information and many more names.


I am interested in sharing any family history information and in correcting any misinformation. Please send corrections or additions to my email box.