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Centennial birthday, proud heritage

Julie Sherwood
jsherwood@messengerpostmedia.com
Jeanne Hough, of Hopewell, celebrates her 100th birthday June 9. This year also marks the bicentennial of Granger township, Ohio, named for Gideon Granger and is where she was raised. The painting behind her shows the house where she grew up.

HOPEWELL — As Jeanne Hough celebrates her 100th birthday on Tuesday at her home near Canandaigua, her native Granger township in Ohio marks a milestone as well. The township named for her ancestor, Gideon Granger, celebrates its 200th year.

“There’s a lot going on,” Hough said.

You could say this lady born June 9, 1920, in Granger township has come full circle with her roots. An avid genealogist, she learned some time ago about her Granger lineage and her family ties to both Granger township and Canandaigua. Gideon Granger, postmaster general under President Thomas Jefferson, owned land in Ohio. In 1820, the township was named after him. Generations of the Granger family lived in Ohio and Canandaigua, where Gideon Granger had built the magnificent Granger Homestead — its earliest rendition in 1816 — and where he became influential in local affairs.

Hough traced her ancestry to Launcelot Granger, making her a distant cousin of the renowned Gideon Granger.

“The Granger name and the families associated with it are very historic, date back to England/ Scotland and the genealogy has many lines,” said Ed Varno, executive director of the Ontario County Historical Society. “Individuals such as Mrs. Hough who have the Grangers in their genealogy have every reason to be proud of their heritage.”

Launcelot was a man of great resolution, so it is written, and many stories were told about him. The Grangers were strong people who were able to accumulate wealth. Certainly Gideon Granger, the postmaster general who built the historic Granger Homestead, was of this ilk.

“We want to congratulate Mrs. Hough as she marks a significant milestone in her life, 100 years,” Varno said. “Best to her for many more fruitful years.”

Like the Granger township bicentennial, plans for Mrs. Hough’s 100th birthday celebration had to be changed because of COVID-19. Granger township postponed its celebratory events to 2021. Hough had planned to celebrate her birthday at Granger Homestead, after folks at the historic site last Christmas got wind of her ancestry. While visiting Granger Homestead during its holiday festivities, they enthusiastically suggested she have her birthday party there, Hough said.

Then the homestead had to temporarily close due to the pandemic.

Hough’s birthday party will be an intimate family gathering on Tuesday at her home in Hopewell with her son and daughter-in-law, Jim and Milly Hough.

“We’ll have ice cream and a big cake,” Hough said.

Born Jeanne Graff on June 9, 1920, she described Granger township where she grew up as “good farmland.” During high school she was editor of her school’s newspaper and after graduating, attended University of Akron to study newspaper writing. She met her husband, James Hough, and “that was the end of my career,” she said. They were married in 1940.

James went to war, serving in the Army Air Force as a navigator of the B-24 Liberator Bomber out of England. He performed 35 missions. Their daughter, Cynthia, was born in 1944, while James was away at war.

“He came home safely,” Jeanne said. Their son James was born in 1947.

In 1952, the family moved from Ohio to Nashua, New Hampshire, where they ran Hough Florist — son Jim later carried on the family tradition and has worked for Rockcastle Florist in Canandaigua for many years. Jeanne was bookkeeper for their family-owned flower shop. She and James retired in 1971 and moved to Florida. She moved to Canandaigua in 1997, living at the Eighty Parrish Street apartments before more recently living in Hopewell with Jim and Milly.

“I am so glad to live here,” Hough said.

She has four grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. She has been back to Granger township many times, and still has family there.

What does she think about the world today?

“I lived through the Depression. I lived through World War II. This is the next bad thing,” Hough said.

Does she have a secret to longevity? Crossword puzzles, red wine, pushups perhaps?

No secrets.

“It’s in my genes,” she said.

Jeanne Hough, an avid genealogist and descendant of Gideon Granger, is seen here at her home in Hopewell with volumes of records detailing her ancestry.