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Orlie Weaver Papers - MS 1056

Introduction | Biographical Sketch | Scope and Content | Series Description | Inventory


The papers of Orlie Weaver consist of .5 linear ft. of photographs, drawings, newspaper clippings, award certificates, and correspondence. The donation and transfer of these records to the Center for Archival Collections was arranged on March 6, 2007 through the cooperation of Cella U. Weaver, with additional material transferred on April 6, 2007.

No restrictions exist on the use of this collection. Duplication is permitted for the purposes of preservation and research. The register was compiled by Marilyn Levinson, Curator of Manuscripts in March 2007, with revisions in April 2007.

Biographical Sketch

Orlie Weaver was born March 9, 1910 in Grand Rapids, Ohio, one of six sons (Sherman, Floyd, Carl, Orlie, Ora, and John), and one daughter, Blanche, born to William Franklin and Martha Jane (Brown) Weaver. Raised on a farm in Damascus Township on the Wood/Henry County lines, he operated the Weaver Seed Company in Grand Rapids for 39 years before selling it to Pioneer Seed Company in 1976.

Having a strong interest in the environment and a love for waterfowl Orlie established the Winged Feet Game Farm to perpetuate endangered species, including geese, swans, and ducks on a 16 acre farm that included 7 ponds and numerous pens for nesting areas. Some of the endangered species that he propagated included trumpeter swans, Australian Shell ducks, Cape Barren geese, black-neck swans, and Nene geese. His efforts earned him numerous awards as a breeder from such organizations as the American Pheasant & Waterfowl Society and the Canadian Ornamental Pheasant and Game Bird Association. Birds raised by Weaver were sold to private collectors, other breeders, and to wildlife restoration projects, such as the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary in Michigan, and the Fort Whyte Center for Environmental Education in Manitoba.

He was married on May 19, 1934 to Winifred M. Bortel (who died on March 17, 1974), with whom he had two sons, Nick and Phil. Later in life he was married to Brucilla Usha Page on October 7, 1994. Orlie Weaver died on March 16, 2006 at the age of 96.

Scope and Content

Although having some other family material included, the bulk of the material in the collection relates directly to Orlie Weaver and specifically his activities at the Winged Feet Game Farm, with photographs, some minor correspondence, news-clippings, and award certificates, spanning the years from 1974 until about 2000. The collection also includes the eulogy read at Orlie's funeral in 2006 by his wife Cella.

The majority of the photographs are unidentified snapshots, but a few do identify the date or the bird in the photo. Even those without any captions clearly show the extent of the breeding operation Weaver had over the years. A few large format photographs that were framed are located in oversize flat box.

The correspondence in the collection is little more than a sampling, giving a hint of the business and bureaucratic aspects with requests for application forms and permits for dealing with endangered species, with some purchase orders/invoices to indicate the monetary value. On the verso of the blank stationery Weaver used for his business is a listing of the variety of pheasants, ducks, geese and swans he had for sale.

Clippings of newspaper articles ranging from 1974 through 1985 provide a general overview of Orlie's activities, highlighting such things as the export of two trumpeter swans to Manitoba, awards, and general nature articles with photos about raising waterfowl.

The collection also includes a selection of some minor family papers associated with his father, William F. Weaver and the family farm in Damascus Township, Lucas County, Ohio. Although scattered in nature, some items of note in this section include material related to participation in Mutual Insurance organizations, such as the Henry County Farmers' Mutual Insurance Co. and the Patrons' Buckeye Mutual Insurance Co., some of which show the payments made for various agricultural claims, a draft of a will written around 1930 and a few printed items, including catalogs, postcards, and a handbill for the McClain & Weaver Cider-Mill.

Series Description


Scattered correspondence to members of the Weaver family (including J.D. Weaver (Napoleon), W.J. Weaver (Columbus), William F. & Jennie Weaver (McClure & Grand Rapids), and Harley Weaver (Denver)

Scattered correspondence of a business nature, including inquiries about purchases and delivery of equipment, the state of the poultry and produce market, and general farm-related correspondence

1974-1997, 2006
Correspondence related to permits and regulations associated with aspects of Winged Feet Game Farm operation; including invoices for sale of trumpeter swans sold in 1988 and instructions from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the disposition of the farm inventory after the death of Orlie Weaver

Note in celebration of Father's Day, written by Phil Weaver, Orlie's son, outlining the influence his father had on his life


Annual financial reports for WEGRO, Inc., a corporation established by Orlie Weaver and his son, Phil, manufacturing liquid and dry-blended chemical fertilizers


Eulogy delivered by Brucilla Usha Page Weaver at the funeral of her husband, Orlie Weaver; includes a copy of the funeral card from the service


Selected legal papers including draft will, ditch notice, affidavit, summons and mortgage papers


Blank stationery stock for the earlier Weaver's Field Seeds, Inc. and Orlie Weaver's later business, Winged Feet Game Farm, including letterhead that includes listings of available birds for sale

1975-1985, n.d.
Orlie's activities, highlighting such things as the export of two trumpeter swans to Manitoba, awards, and general nature articles

1973-1975, 1985
Award certificates from the American Game Bird Breeders' Cooperative Federation and the American Pheasant and Waterfowl Society honoring Orlie Weaver as Master Breeder in both ducks and swans

Various catalogs and price lists for farm related machinery and products used by William F. Weaver

1912, n.d.
Scenic picture postcards and promotional cards

Handbill advertising the McClain-Weaver Cider Mill

Printed reports from mutual insurance associations given annual statistics and information on agricultural claims made


1972-1987, n.d.
Personal snapshots, and an album, a few with identification of the date or the bird in the photo, showing the extent of the breeding operation Weaver had over the years. Some oversized items located in flat box or in MS flat drawer


Homemade implement consisting of a nail through a cork, hanging on a cord, used to determine the sex of an unhatched chick; includes copy of a photo showing Orlie using the item


Box 1


  1. Correspondence - Weaver Family, 1905-1952
  2. Correspondence - Weaver Business, 1887-1952
  3. Correspondence - Winged Feet Game Farm, 1974-1997
  4. Correspondence - Phil Weaver re Father's Day, 1987
  5. Annual Reports WEGRO, Inc., 1971, 1972
  6. Eulogy delivered at the funeral of Orlie Weaver, 2006
  7. Miscellaneous legal papers, 1895-1948
  8. Weavers' Field Seeds, Inc. booklet, 1966
  9. Blank stationery and forms, n.d.
  10. News clippings, 1975-1985, n.d.
  11. Certificates, 1985
  12. Catalogs, 1886-1920
  13. Postcards, 1912, n.d.
  14. McClain & Weaver Cider Mill handbill, 1900
  15. Insurance summaries, 1899-1951

Box 2


  1. W.F. Weaver family photographs, 1930, n.d.
  2. Photographs with identification, 1972-1987
  3. Photographs without identification, n.d.
  4. Photo album pages (some identified), 1975-1981, n.d.

Box 3 (oversize flat)

  1. Weaver Seed Co. aerial photograph (11 x 14 in.)
  2. Weaver Seed Co. drawing (15 x 13 in.)
  3. Weaver Seed Co. yard and buildings (14 x 11 in.)
  4. Winged Feet Game Farm aerial view (11 x 9 in.)
  5. Swan pair - heart in matt (5 x 7 in.)
  6. Swan pair - side by side (8 x 10 in.)
  7. Homemade cork/nail implement

Located in oversize manuscript flat drawer

  1. Weaver Seed Co. colorized aerial photograph (20 x 30 in.)

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