30 December 2010

Bite-sized Obituaries--Bullman, Mack, Smith, Carpenter, Dake, Carpenter, Rarick, Morrison

I am often touched (and I must admit frequently amused) by the brevity and bluntness of some death notices in the local papers.  They are often the only mention of a death.  Sometimes, in the case of two of the names given here, there is also another paragraph in another community column.  One even has a full size obituary.  But these bite-sized at least pay homage to a life lived and not forgotten. 
These are all from the community/gossip columns of the June 4 1914 and June 11 1914 Fremont TimesIndicator. 

First the June 4th notices:

1--John Bulman, of Woodville died last Saturday morning from a stroke of apoplexy.  The I. O. O. F. of this place attended the funeral which was held Tuesday.

2--The funeral of Amos Mack was held at the W. M. church Monday afternoon.

This was accompanied in another column by this notice:

Amos Mack died at Mercy hospital in Big Rapids last Saturday after an abdominal operation.  Mr. Mack had been in poor health of late and sought relief by means of an operation.  He was 45 years of age and was neer married.  The funeral services were held Monday afternoon from the Dayton Center Wesleyan Methodist church and were conducted by Rev. C. F. Grim, pastor of the church.  The body was buried in the Jewel cemetery.

3--Ed Smith passed away last Friday in the Muskegon hospital.  The funeral was held Tuesday at the Bridgeton schoolhouse.

Providing further information is this notice.

Ed Smith, for a number of years a resident of Bridgeton, passed away from this life Friday morning, after an unsuccessful operation at Hackley hospital in Muskegon.  He had been working in Muskegon until ill health overtook him when he went to the hospital for the operation from which he never recovered.  The funeral was held Tuesday from the Creek schoolhouse.  Interment in the Bridgeton cemetery.

4.--The funeral services of Gerald H. Strovenjans, infant son of Mr. and Mrs. Gert Strovenjans, were held Saturday afternoon at the home in Dayton.  Rev. W. Van Westenberg of Grand Rapids officiated.

5--The death of Beatrice Dake, infant daughter of Mr. and Mrs Almond Dake, occurred Saturday morning.  The funeral services were held from the home sunday afternoon and were in the charge of Rev. R. A. Thibos.

6--The infant child of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Carpenter died June 2nd.  Burial was in the Holton cemetery.

7--Geo. Morrison, formerly of Greenwood, died at Shingleton.  The body was brought to Holton.  Services were held at Holton Saturday afternoon and burial in the Holton Cemetery.

8--Mrs. Rarick, who has been in Holland taking treatments, was brought home dead Tuesday night.  The funeral services were held yesterday afternoon at 2 o'clock at the Tyndall school house.

It was this last one, with its stark bluntness that first brought a chuckle to me, and then made me pause.  It was a full week later that the following obituary appeared.  

Nancy J Van Scoder was born in Hancock county, Ohio, March 26, 1859.  At the age of 14 she moved with her parents to Michigan.
She was married to Simon Tharp July 19, 2874, and to this union eight children were born, three having preceded their mother.  On December 11, 1889, her husband passed away leaving her to care for her family.  March 31, 1907 she was united in marriage to John Rarick, since which time she has made her home in Brunswick.  About two weeks ago she was taken to Holland to the home of her daughter for special medical treatment.  On Monday, June 8, she passed away at the age of 55 years, three months and 13 days.
She leaves her husband, three daughters, namely, Mrs Ettie Keirstead, of Greenwood; Mrs Maggie Horn and Mrrs. Stella Dare, both of Holland, two sons, Fred, of Bangor, and Aaron, of Holland; two sisters, Mrs Margaret Millard, of Fremont, and Mrs. Emma Lemmon, of Illinois; and two brothers who reside in Oklahoma.
The remains were brought to Brunswick last week Tuesday evening and the funeral services were held at the Tyndall schoolhouse Wednesday, conducted by Rev. R. A. Thibos.  Burial took place in the Evans cemetery.

The first notice, as is the case with most give no dates, merely stating the day of the week death occurred.  This second definitely is richer in details.  The fact that so many of these early obituary and one line death notices only give a week day for the death date can be confusing.  Is the writer of the column stating the date when he or she wrote it?  Or are they considering the publication date of the paper when they write.  For example, I often wonder about when the notice says "died Saturday".  If the writer had a Sunday deadline to get the article to the paper, did they change their wording if it was turned in late?  Or if it says Tuesday, and the paper came out on Thursday, how up to date is the death information.  The lack of precise dates is so frustrating. 
Although, a leeway of a week or two is better than no death information at all I guess.

28 December 2010

Tombstone Tuesday--Alton Cemetery--More Family

I love going cemetery hopping with my crazy Aunt Glenna.  She and another cousin had pretty much researched my dad's side of the family back to colonial times.  We have visited my mothers family stones up north, and previously her and Dad's family cemeteries to the south.
Back in late summer of 2006, a few months before my dad died, he and his younger and older sisters and I went once more to make the rounds of his family cemeteries in Kent county.  By this time my dad was unable to get out of the car much, so he sat the car as his old sister, Aunt Glenna and I roamed and pointed out the stones.

One of my favorite family cemeteries was Alton Cemetery, in Vergennes township, Kent county, Michigan.  Many of the names that are sprinkled through the 1800's section of my family tree are found here: Aldrich, Barto, Allen, Condon, Ford.
An old church sits in one corner of the cemetery.  From near there is this view of the cemetery.  There is a great variety of stones here in Alton cemetery.  You can see the tall white marble, some more ornately carved stones, simple slabs, and on the left one of those wonderful white zinc stones that stand up so well to the elements.
This stone is for Edna Barto Ford on my grandfather's side of the family.  I believe her husband Warren Ford is also here.  This was the second connection in my family of the Ford family.  Earlier, the Ford family had married into the Cross line on my grandmother's side.  This is the source of my great family mystery that drives me crazy.  If, as a child, my grandmother remembers Gerald Ford at Ford family reunions, why can't I find a connection to his adopted family?  The fact that my grandmother's divorced mother later married my grandfather's widowed father only serve to complicate matters.  But isn't that what makes genealogy so much fun?
Also to be found here are the parents of Edna Barto.  This stone has faded since the first time Aunt Glenna remembers it, so I tried to capture the inscription.  This side is for Fanny (Frances) Clark Barto, and on the next side is her husband Barlo.  Of all the unusual names I have in my family, my favorite is Barlo Barto.
 Here is a picture of him in livelier times.
Finally are the stones of my great-grandparents, the stones Aunt Glenna was studying in the first picture. Grandpa's Dad, and
 Grandma's mother.
Resting peacefully together in Alton cemetery.

26 December 2010

Obituary--Mrs Grace Hoeker

While many of our old time residents were born in the Netherlands, this woman was born in Germany.  And unfortunately she had a difficult life, resulting in commitment to the state mental hospital.  This hospital was active for many years before being phased out.  It seems that she lived her last years in this hospital.
From the 26 February 1914 Fremont Times Indicator;


Mrs Grace Hoeker was born in Nordhorn, Germany, January 4, 1870 and died in the state hospital at Traverse City, February 13, 1914, after an illness extending over a period of about three weeks.
Mrs. Hoeker when quite young came to this country in 1882 with her parents, who settled on a farm a few miles southeast of this city, and lived with her parents most of the time until her marriage with Jacob Hoeker, which took place in Grand Rapids, October 3, 1901.  About four years ago symptoms of a nervous and mental breakdown began to appear and it was thought best to remove her to the state hospital.  However, her recovery, which was hopefully looked for, never occurred, and she passed away in Traverse City, Friday, Feb. 3.
The remains were brought to Fremont Monday, Feb 16, and the funeral held from the Reformed church Wednesday afternoon, Rev. Oosterhof officiating in a very impressive service.
Mrs. Hoeker is survived by her husband, who lives in Muskegon, her mother, Mrs. G. Sandschulten, one sister, Mrs Henry Burns, and one brother, Herman.  To the sorrowing ones the heart of the community goes out in sincerest sympathy.  The interment was in Oakwood cemetery, in Muskegon.

23 December 2010

Obituary--Mrs. John Engles

This obituary is an example of those I find so infuriating.  Great details: birth and death dates, marriage and family details.  But where is her name?  It drives me crazy when a woman's first name is omitted.
Anyway, from the 12 March 1914 Fremont TimesIndicator:

Death Came Suddenly at Her Home Last Thursday Before Medical Aid Could be Secured
The  death of Mrs. John Engles occurred very suddenly last Thursday night, at her home in the Donahue district, five miles north of this city.  The cause of death was heart failure.  The deceased would have been 49 years old the 16th of this month.
Mrs. Engles, though in poor health of late, was not in a serious condition.  Last thursday evening she visited her neighbors and retired about 10 o'clock.  Feeling ill she got up and sat in a chair, where she expired before medical aid could reach her.
She was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Sherman and was born in Watertown, Clinton county March 16, 1865.  She was married to John Engles in Wacausta, Mich., February 18, 1888, and to this union two sons were born, namely, Theron Engles, of Detroit, and Dan Engles, who lives on the Kimbell farm.  Mrrs. Engles lived on the farm where she died for the past 17 years.
Besides her husband and two sons she is survived by four brothers as follows: Alonzo Sherman, of Denver, Mich.; John Sherman, of Dayton; and Will and Colonel Sherman, who reside in California, and one sister, Mrs Nan Lewis of Seattle, Wash.
Mrs Engles was a woman of splendid qualities a good wife and mother and a good neibhbor.  She was always active in neighborhod social affairs and one who could be depended upon when real service was necessary.  She had a wide circle of friends to whom her passing will be a genuine loss.
The funeral services were held at the home Monday at 11 o'clock and were in charge of Rev. J. F. Bowerman of the Methodist church.  The body was laid at rest in Maple Grove cemetery.
Those attending the funeral from out-of-town were: Lella Grant, of Grand Rapids; Mrs. Merriman of Big Rapids; and Theron Engles, of Detroit.

See what I mean about the details?  It could almost have been written my old favorite--Mrs. Robertson.  Although this was on the extreme edge of the range she usually covered, many details are similar to her obituary writing style. 
If only we knew her name!

21 December 2010

Tombstone Tuesday--Anscomb Cemetery

One of the things I enjoy about doing these little posts is what I learn about the cemeteries as I research the background of each cemetery.  In this case, the I learned the the main name for the cemetery we call Anscomb is actually Chidester, after one of the families buried there.  The Anscombs are there too, justifying that name.  But it also has an alternate name of Indian cemetery.  Oldtimers however insist the Indian cemetery is nearby.  And although hard to find, with some dowsing/witching wands, as well as walking the area, the location of that cemetery was found.  Both grave depressions in the ground and the wands confirmed another location of the Indian cemetery a short ways away.  Anscomb is the name I have used in the past, and will use today.
Anscomb cemetery is a fairly decent sized  cemetery in Muskegon county, just a few miles south of Newaygo county.  EXTREMELY difficult to find, nonetheless, Sandy, another co-worker Lois, and myself set out to find it a few years ago. 
 A few years before we visited Anscomb, other local cemetery buffs had located the cemetery and found it covered with casings and shells.  The cemetery was located near a local hunt club shooting range.  Apparently these were from stray shots, or perhaps deliberate  shooting at the cemetery.  Those visitors, however, had spent some time raking them up, and when we arrived, the grass was trim, and some graves, as you can see here even had some silk flowers.   The stones were very difficult to read, although considering the treatment, the stone with its drapery is still in good condition.
 In the original of this shot of the same stone shown previously, you can make out that the stone was split into two pieces, just above the plaque portion above the base.  The two sections are pieced together, so someone has taken the time to repair them.  At this time, I cannot tell if the name is Abscomb on this stone, but the death date is 1895. 
 Another stone that is difficult to read.  I cannot read the name across the top, but it appears to say daughter of Allen & _________ Anscomb.  A small stone, with flowers still growing nearby.
 This was one of the newest stones found there.  I will take a wild guess that this may be the parents, or at least the father of the child resting near the previous stone.  Allen Anscomb 1861 to 1948 and Maggie Anscomb 1862 to 1936.
 The most glorious part of the cemetery, I have left for last.
 Such a beautiful bordered plot.  The wrought iron border is unlike any I have seen in any of our other local cemeteries.
 Sandy and Lois were fascinated by it as well.  But the latch was well rusted and the gate would not open at that time. No trimming or pruning here, Lois.
Inside the ferns and flowers flourish, as Aura and others rest secure behind the walls.

18 December 2010

Obituary--Henry C. Coy

This obituary is just a simple, and very typical one.  Nothing flowery, nothing gruesome.  But it is chock full of good information that any genealogist would want to find on their ancestor. 

From the 2 October 1913 Fremont TimesIndicator:

Old Resident Passes Away at the Home of His Daughter, Sunday, September 21st, Aged 88 years
Henry C. Coy, who was a resident of Fremont from 1867 until 1886, died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Levi W. Waterman, 2 Travis street, N.E., Grand Rapids, Sunday morning, September 21st.  He was 88 years of age.
Mr. Coy was born near Montpelier, Vt., May 7, 1825, and when a small boy moved with his parents to Indiana.  He came to Fremont from Hillsdale in 1867 and the following year married Ellen A. Tanner.  To them five children were born.  He build and with his family occupied the first frame house in Fremont.  In 1886 they moved to a farm 1 1/2 miles northwest of Hesperia where they lived until about three years ago when Mr. and Mrs. Coy went to Grand Rapids to make their home with their  children.
The funeral services were held last week Tuesday in Grand Rapids and were conducted by Rev. R. M. Scott, pastor of the Berean Baptist church.

Not often back then was an obituary so complete with birth date, and even marriage year.  A treasure indeed for anyone who may be researching this family. I only wish my ancestors were so detailed in their obituaries.

16 December 2010

Obituary--Mrs. H. W. (Luella) Crawford

This is another obituary of an area pioneer.  The obituary of her husband Holly W. Crawford was posted here this past June.  As I mentioned then, I was acquainted, as a child, with one of their sons.  And they lived quite near my present home.  Mrs. Crawford's passing was noted not only with a brief mention in the community column, but being the wife of a pioneer, she also was given a lengthy obituary.  Here are both of them.

From the 9 November 1916 Fremont TimesIndicator.

Mrs. Luella Crawford, widow of the late Holly Crawford passed away at the home of her daughter, Mrs Frank Nash, last Tuesday evening.  The funeral services were held at Sitka M. E. church and burial took place at the Holton cemetery Friday. Rev. A. R. Elliott officiated.

And the full obituary.

Mrs. H. W. Crawford
Luella Nelson was born in Houghton, Canada, February 16, 1852, and passed away at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Frank Nash, near Sitka, October 31, 1916.  She came into Michigan with her parents in 1855, settling in Claybanks township, Oceana county, removing from there with her widowed mother to Newaygo county in 1862, living one-half mile west of the Kempf schoolhouse. 
On April 1, 1869, whe was married to Holly W. Crawford and came to live on the farm which has since been her home.  coming as she did into the country when it was new, she gave freely of strength and purpose to the up-building of the community, always ready to help in time of sickness or sorrow she has been for many years one of the mainstays of the community.  For three years before the death of her husband she was his constant companion and nurse, never leaving him for even one day during that time.
Mr. Crawford passed away three years ago the 9th of this month.  Mrs. Crawford spent all of last year with her son, Reuben in California, returning in April, since which time she has visited most of the time with one of her daughters, making her home with her son, George, at the old homestead.  Mrs. Crawford's sudden death was a shock to her friends and especially to her family.  She was taken ill and died in a very short time, before the doctor or her sons could get to her bedside. 
she leaves of her immediate family five sons, Chester, Reuben, Perrin, Guy and George; two daughters, Mrs May Furgeson and Mrs. Lydia Nash; two brothers, Ben Nelson of Seattle Wash., J. E. Nelson, of Manistee and one sister, Mrs. Sarah Oleson, of Holton.  Except the son Reuben, and brother, Ben, these were all present at the funeral which was held at Sitka M.E. church, followed by burial at the side of her husband at Holton cemetery.  She also leaves 29 grandchildren and one great grandchild.
Mrs. Crawford embraced religion in early married life and has remained a consistent christian to the end of her days.  She will be greatly missed in the neighborhood where she has so long resided.

Quite a nice write up for a woman, back then.  This obit contains lots of her personal history, and very little of her husband's history, which is often the case. Lots of names, dates and places.  Hopefully some of her family will someday find it helpful when doing their genealogy.  

14 December 2010

Tombstone Tuesday--Homemade Stones

I have previously posted the picture of my paternal grandmother's fathers stone when I posted about Curtice cemetery.  I came across it here at the library, when a cemetery buff brought in files of pictures he had taken of many county cemeteries.  That is how we obtained the bulk of the pictures we have in our files.
As Sandy was going through the pictures and saving them, she called out to ask I knew a C J Cross, knowing that was a family name.  I mulled it over and was ready to say no when I remembered GGrandpa Jesse.  And, by golly, there was his stone.  I was thrilled.  And I think what I enjoyed most was the fact that it was a handmade stone. 
I love the stones that have been hand crafted. Maybe its the knitter/spinner/weaver in me. More modern monuments are often made of wood and iron.  But there is nothing like cement or stone for a memorial with staying power.  Maybe not as long as "store bought" granite, but they still have a nice permanence.  As I commented later on Curtice and another north county cemetery, many in the are had stones that appeared to be made of silver painted cement.  GGrandpa Jesse's was the only one with hand carved engraving.  I wonder if it was because, after divorcing my GGrandma Carrie, many of his children had little to do with him, and funds for a stone may have been tight.
That was the case for my Great Aunt Lyla's stone.  Survived only by a step-son who didn't bother putting a stone on her grave, my father crafted this one.  The  little aluminum plaque is there (left by the funeral home?  cemetery?) and is almost easier to read, but Dad made the cement slab and engraved it by embedding  little wooden letters into the cement.  You can see a bit of the wood still left in the 9 and second 1 of the death date of 1981.  Yeah, Dad didn't exactly get the lettering level, but at least its a memorial marker.
This next is not a marker, but rather a form of urn.  My maternal grandmother had one for years by the front door.  It is what I always called a stone basket. I just love them. The cement form is encrusted with stones around the body and over the handle of the basket.  I noticed several of these in the cemetery in Chase Michigan, where many of my mother's family are resting, as well as one or two in Copmish Michigan, where another branch of her mother's family is located.
Now I have no idea who Marilla Ives is.  I am not even sure where this picture was taken, although, judging by the surrounding pictures, I suspect it was taken the day my cousin and I went cemetery hopping to all the Gilbert family cemeteries.  I think this was from one of the Chester township, Ottawa county, Michigan cemeteries.  And, since Marilla is not a relative, I would guess that I just liked this stone and that was why I took the picture.  The construction puzzles me.  The plaque on top is part of the cement, and is very neatly and evenly engraved.  The surrounding stones on the top are more exposed, while the ones around the base look like they were pressed against a mold and the cement poured around them.  Is it solid stone/cement all the way through?  The top stones could have been added later with cement that formed the top engraving.  All in all, a lovely stone.
It really makes me grind my teeth to think that township officials for a local cemetery want to do away with such homemade monuments.  Looking at these and thinking of the current ones made from wrought iron, or marine-finished lumber, I feel sad to think that these more unique memorials may become a thing of the past.

11 December 2010

Obituaries--Bowman, Schaap, Schreur, and Noble children

I am often struck by the number of children and young adults whose deaths appear on a all too regular basis in the old papers.  In the same paper that first mentioned Grover's death that was in our previous posting, there also appeared the following four notices of deaths.  Thankfully it is now rare to see so many young people dying in a single week. 

From the 7 August 1913 Fremont TimesIndicator:

1--Mr. and Mrs. Orrie Wilkinson and sons were in Grand Haven lasw week for the funeral of Cornelius Bowman, aged 18, a nephew of Mrs Wilkinson, who was drowned in Grand River while bathing last week Tuesday.  the young man was in the river alone at the time of the drowning and his friends on the shore made every effort to save him, but without avail.

2--The nine year old daughter of Rev. J. C. Schaap, of Kalamazoo, who was confined to the hospital in that city because of hemorrhages, died Sunday evening.  The funeral services were held yesterday in Kalamazoo and burial took in Grand Rapids.

3--The infant child of Mr. and Mrs Martin Schreur died Tuesday evening.  The funeral services will be held Friday afternoon from the Christian Reformed church.

4--Harold Noble, aged 5 years, died Saturday afternoon, after a week's severe illness with scarlet fever.  the family are under quarantine, so the burial was private.  A few friends gathered in the shade of a tree and Alfred Amos conducted a very impressive service and spoke works of comfort to the sorrowing family.  The little body was tenderly laid to rest in the Clark cemetery.  The family have the cympathy of the community in their bereavement.

Five deaths, counting that of Grover Schufelt in the last post in one edition of this weekly paper.  The oldest (Grover) was 23, the youngest an infant.  Thankfully weeks like that are much more rare, even if our community has grown, the mortality rate has declined.  Especially for our younger citizens.
I found it exceptionally moving the final notice, with the service held, apparently under a tree, near the family's home.  The family was able to hear the service, with the few friends keeping their distance.  How sad to be unable to greet the loved ones who came, due to the quarantine.  It is hard to imagine today, what those situations must have been like.

09 December 2010

Obituary--Grover C. Shufelt

Grover's obituary is another "two-fer", appearing on week, with just a bit of information, and then the following week with much more information.  I came across his notices while updating the new database we have at the library for obituaries.  Unfortunately the database requires a birth date, or at least a year.  While these notices give age, they do not give the year he was born in, so Grover will not appear on our online database.  
If looking for obituaries, even if we don't have a name listed, we can still check our books and microfilm as long as we have a date of death to look under.  Don't be discouraged by not finding anything on the database.  Many years have not been gleaned from the microfilm yet either.  But armed with a death date and a name, we can at least try to look for you.
Anyway, after that plug for our local history room, here are the two death notices for Grover Shufelt.

First from the 7 August 1913 Fremont TimesIndicator:

Grover Shufelt, of Bridgeton township, was drowned in Muskegon river while bathing near Ed Whitman's farm last Sunday afternoon.  He swam across the river and attempted to swim back but became exhausted before he reached the shore.  He was about 23 years of age.

Just a brief notice, probably just getting in under the paper's deadline. This one is much lengthier version, published a week later.  From the 14 August 1913 Fremont TimesIndicator:

 Grover C. Shufelt, aged 26 years, was drowned Sunday afternoon, August 3rd, in the Muskegon river, near the farm of Wm. Haire.  He was a fine young man and one of Bridgeton's progressive young farmers.  Three months ago his father was buried.  Mrs. Shufelt has had her share of affliction.  He leaves to mourn his untimely death, a mother and two brothers, Alfred and Arthur.  the funeral services were held at the Sand Creek school house August 4, and were conducted by Rev. J. W. McLean.  the text was the thrid and fourth verses of the third chapter of Collosians.  The casket was covered with beautiful flowers, tokens of respect from friends and neighbors.  He was carried to his last resting place in the Bridgeton cemetery by six of his young companions.

A little longer, and much more detailed.  And changes in details from the first notice. Different age, different farm.  I would be more inclined to believe the version in the second, as there was more time to gather facts, but still, you never know and both versions should be checked before recording anything in ink.  My favorite part of the second notice was the extra note of sympathy for the mother.  Can't you just picture the writer, shaking their head as they wrote that?

07 December 2010

Database Update

I mentioned in the previous post that obituaries were not able to be added without a birth date, or year.  I was entering info into the database and discovered, that not only are we able to add years before 1800 (which was also unavailable), but we can also enter obituaries with with no birth information.  YEA!
I will try to put ages, when we have them, to help users calculate approximate years, but at least they will be in the database.
Uh, well...... they will be once we get them entered again.  There are four shelves, four foot long, bursting with black notebooks all full of information to re-enter.  Have some patience, please.

Tombstone Tuesday--Some Family Granite

A visit today to some of the family granite.  This time, it is the stones that drive me crazy.
In a lovely cemetery just north of Newaygo County, lie my Great-, and Great-great-grandparents.  The GGgrandpa was the first ancestor that I discovered when I began researching my mothers side of the family.  He was a Civil War veteran and according to my uncle, his son (my Great-grandpa) used to call him the Old Gent.
Quite distinguished, huh? 
 Anyway, the Gilbert stone shown above faces North and arranged behind them are the stones for the Old Gent and his wife, son and his wife, and a grandddaughter.  Almost all other large stones in the cemetery face East or West. 
Now, you would think that a stone that big would be easy to find, but for some reason, even though this is a fairly small cemetery, on many of my trips here, I search and search, and sometimes still do not find it.  Or the individual stones behind it.
These stones give a hint of while the individual stones are hard to find
 This picture of Roy's stone, and that of Ada below were taken in 2004.  I had come with my cousin and armed with a trowel, we had dug the sod away, exposing the pink granite that had been covered all five of the small stones. 

Those picture were taken just 14 months after the pictures shown below.  I had no trowel that day in 2003, and the stones were simply cleared as best as I could with no tools. 
The sod was encroaching, but the names were visible, if not the edges of the stones.
The stone of their daughter, Myrtle Schermerhorn I barely touched.  I knew that there were living descendants of hers, and while I cleaned, I didn't want to disturb too much. You can see here though, that the sod is covering nearly all of the pink polished border.
I would like to add that these stones are the most frustrating of my family.  Besides the simple act of trying to find them (and last time I stopped there, I could not find any of my Gilberts, even if close to other family). I hate the fact that they keep getting buried by sod.
And I want to add, my family have all been strictly warned, I want a stone that stands above the surface when I go,  Not one of these flush to the ground vanishing stones.
No vanishing stone for me!

04 December 2010

Obituary--Benjamin Meyers

This is one of those obituaries that have the rather explicit details you would never see today, but were oh so common back in the early 1900's.  After describing the death, however, the article goes on to give dates and other vital statistics about his life. 

From the 24 July 1913 Fremont TimesIndicator:

Benjamin Meyers Meets Instant Death While Laying Tile in Excavation--Was Forty-nine Years Old
This community was shocked last Thursday afternoon by the news of the sudden and untimely death of Benjamin Meyers.  Mr. Meyers was laying tile in a drain nine feet deep and two feet wide when the side gave way and literally buried its victim alive.  although vigorous efforts were made immediately to exhume the unfortunate man, life was extinct before the body was uncovered.
Harvey Vanderleest, who was assisting Mr. Meyers and working a few feet behind him in the excavation, noticed the impending danger and shouted a warning which Meyers did not have time to heed.  A long sharp gash on the head indicated that the victim of the accident attempted to protect himself by shielding himself with his shovel but the impact of the moving earth imbedded the implement in his skull and it is believed by some that this blow caused instant death.
Mr. Meyers had taken the contract to build the drain and was working at the time on the farm of Henry Bowman, five miles northeast of the city.
Mr. Meyers was born in Allegan county, Michigan, December 25, 1864.  He was one of a family of nine children, seven of whom survive him.  They are Aaron Meyers, of Seattle, Wash.; William and Henry Meyers and Mrs A. Baars, of Fremont; and John, Harm, and Gerrit Meyers, of Holland.  His parents and brother, Joe, preceded him.
As a boy Mr. Meyers assisted on his father's farm and remained there until he was 20 years of age.  He also worked two years in the bark woods.  He has been a resident of Fremont for about 27 years and was always a familiar figure around the DeHaas hotel where he boarded most of the time while in town.  He was never married.
Few men of the town will be more missed.  Mr. Meyers was always distinguished amont his friends for his rigid honesty and unstinted generosity.  No cause of charity ever failed of his support when circumstances permitted him to assist.  No friend was ever allowed to want when he could render aid.  He was eccentric in many ways but his shortcomings were subordinated to a temperament of generous impulses.
The funeral services were held Monday afternoon from the Christian Reformed church and were largely attended.  Rev. H. Keegstra, pastor of the church, who conducted the services, spoke in both Holland and English.  The body was taken to Holland Monday night for burial in the family lot.
Mr. and Mrs. Baars and son, George, Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Meyers and Mr. and Mrs. Henry Meyers and John and Harm Meyers accompanied the body to Holland.

Aside from the graphic description of the accident, this is a rather charming obituary.  The description of his life and character makes me think he is someone I would have liked to meet.  I love when an obituary gives you a taste of the personality, and not must bare facts.

02 December 2010

Obituary--Adrian VanZomeren

It is after reading obituaries like this that I wonder if our local newspapers colored by the heavy Dutch influence as reflected in the many Reformed and Christian Reformed church in the area.  Or were obituaries like this common in all papers in the early 20th century? 

From the 19 September 1912 Fremont TimesIndicator:

Adrian VanZomeren
After an illness of eight months, Mr. A. VanZomeren passed out of this world at 7:30 o'clock on Thursday evening, September 12, 1912, into the eternal rest that remaineth for the children of God.  The deceased had reached the age of 70 years, 4 months and 18 days.
He was born in the Netherlands and shortly after his marriage to Miss Gertrude Den Nyle, immigrated to Kalamazoo, Michigan.  From there the family moved to Martin, Allegan county, from where 32 years ago they came to Fremont where they have lived ever more.  At first they lived on a farm north of the city until 20 years ago when Mr. VanZomeren retired from active work and took up his residence in the city.  His life, both in the Netherlands and here, had been one of hard work and the rest which he never enjoyed was well deserved.
Early in life the departed confessed his faith in Jesus Christ as his Saviour, and became a member of the church.  This institution was always dear to his heart. For 29 years he served the reformed church as elder and always gladly gave time and talents to promote is welfare.  In the religious as well as in the physical, his life was a life of work.  With the Master he felt that "We must work the works of Him that sent me while it is day, ere the night cometh when no man can work."
The deceased is survived by four brothers, a widow and eight children, Diek, Henry, Herbert, Leonard, Mrs. Peter Oosting and Mrs. C. Rottier of Fremont' William of Grand Rapids, and Rev. John Van Zomerman, of Cleveland, Ohio, who all deeply mourn their loss.
The funeral, which was attended by a host of friends, was held Monday afternoon at one o'clock from the home and 2 o'clock from the Reformed church.  The services were in charge of Rev. A. Oosterhoff, who spoke in English and Holland.  The texts of the Scripture were Rom. 6, 8-10, Jno 9, 14.  Interment was in Maple Grove cemetery.

I have seen many obituaries from the Hesperia Union, the other old area newspaper that we often get copies donated to us.   While many of them, especially those written by Mrs Robertson, were flowery and talked about the character of the deceased, only in the TimesIndicator, (and with Fremont deaths), does there seem to have been such emphasis given to their faith and church life.

30 November 2010

Tombstone Tuesday--Clark's Pink Granite

Well, I warned you that I was going to be searching for a theme, since I had run out of Newaygo County cemeteries.  I will probably be having a jumble of assorted pictures from in and out of the county, some family, and some not.  But this week, the focus is some of the pink granite in Clark Cemetery.
Perhaps it is naive of  me, but I always think of granite, especially pink granite as being a more modern material for use in grave stones.  These stones all impressed me because, while being made of pink granite, for the most part, they also either are older stones, or replacements modeled after older stones.  The above picture is to far away to read the dates on the stone, or even names so I can look it up in our transcript of the cemetery.  However, it is rather tall, and massive, appearing to be a couple fee across and at least a foot thick.  I can make out there in addition to the decorative carving along the top, that there is also several lines of inscriptions.  Not a typical modern stone.  But as I mentioned, perhaps a replacement.
 This stone is for George O. Mena, son of Samuel and Jean Mena and died in 18 September 1889, at just over the age of 20 years.  I am unable to determine if his is the only name on the stone, but on the right side, you can just make out that it appears shiny and unblemished.   If this was erected my his parents, then it must be a older stone.  But the carving is so crisp and clean, it makes me wonder if this is just due to the durability of granite.
 Here is another heavy obelisk style.  Very thick, very massive.  Notice that the urn on top is still in good shape.  It also has the drapery over the back of the urn.  And again, the granite holds up well and the carving appears crisp, as near as you can tell from a distance.  Notice the other big stone, just a bit down the lane.  It is also pink granite, and you can barely make out from the edge that is is fashioned like a log on top, held up by a stump on this side, and presumably another on the far side.
 These three nearly identical sit under a large maple tree.  The grass is thin in these areas, and they are a bit stained.  But, pink granite all the same.  These do show their age a bit more, perhaps just from the discoloring though.  The middle stone, for Henry L Becker appears to show a death date of 1888, but our transcript says his reads 1870 to 1897.  The nearer stone for Isabelle M. Becker is dated 1867 to 1957 according to our transcript.  And the farthest stone for Isabelle (without an M.) is dated 1840 to 1936.  I wonder if these are all from the 1930's or 50's, since they are so much alike with the same scroll effect on the top. 
This last stone is the family monument for the Skeels family.  The road named for their family ends just across the nearby intersection, on the boundary between Muskegon and Oceana counties.  One of my family stones is shaped similarly to this one with its stacked logs, although, typical of my family, ours has nothing is engraved on the large flat area of the scroll.  This has very clear engraving, and even the palm fronds are crisp.  I am fairly sure that this is a later addition to the family plot.  This same area has individual stones for Flora daughter of R. W. and L. Skeels, who died 21 June 1968, as well as one for Myrtie M Skeels, whose stone is dated 6 October 1882 to 12 August 1883.  The military flag and only other stone visible in this picture is apparently for Rufus W Skeels (father of Flora?).  Our transcript has the dates of 9 August 1836 to 1 July 1907, with a handwritten addition of Co. H, 3rd Michigan Infantry. 
Pink granite was the stone of choice for my mother (who loved everything pink.) and was also used for my great- and great-great-grandparents.  Maybe I'll move on to those next week. 

27 November 2010

Obituary--George Wheeler Packard

Oops, I almost posted a repeat obit.  
So after scrambling around I found this one of an "aged pioneer" that hadn't yet been posted.

From the 23 January 1913 Fremont TimesIndicator

George W. Packard Died at the Age of 82 Years--Had Been a Resident of Newaygo COunty Since 1866

George Wheeler Packard, an old resident of this community, died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. E. E. Vannoy, in the northwest part of this city, Jan. 16 at the advanced age of 82 years.
Mr Packard was born in New York state, October 15, 1831.  When ten years old he moved with his parents to Ohio, then the far distance west, much of the way through virgin forests and thence to Wayne county in this state.  When 21 years of age he migrated to Hillsdale county, making the journey from Wayne county on foot.
In 1866 he came with his young wife to Newaygo county, having been advised to do so by physicians, by home he was thought to have contracted consumption.  He her purchased 160 acres of uncleared land, which he proceeded at once to turn into fields of growing grain, on which he built himself a home.
He was married in Litchfield, Hillsdale county to Mary Waldo, who died in the faith of the Christian 26 years ago, since which time Mr. Packard has found his richest companionships with his children, who loved him tenderly to the end, even more than men and women with families of their own are want to do with a parent, four of whom were present to minister to his comfort during his last illness, and three of whom were at his bedside when the end came.  Never being of robust health, he was the constant object of solicitude to his family, and they never wavered in their devotion to him.  He is survived by six daughters and one son: Carrie E. Woirrol, Ravenna; Dora A. Hardy, Holland; Lilie A. DeBow, Washington; Mertie E. Parker, Dayton;Anna A. Vannoy, Fremont; and Hubert E. pastor of the Free Methodist church at Woodville.  As also by two brothers, Otis, Toledo, Ohio; and Stary, Baldwin, Mich.
Mr Packard was converted when 18 years of age, and upon moving to Fremont, united with the Methodist church at this place, being at the time of his death the oldest member of the church.  A memorial window in the church bearing his name and that of his wife testifies the interest he maintained in the church of his choice.  He was a faithful and constant christian, loved by all who knew him, for he, like his Master, was "harmless and undefiled."  He early cultivated an even and loving temperment, which did not forsake him, when "feebleness extreme" incident to old age advanced.
In the enjoyment of consciousness to the last, supported by promises of the Scripture, which he quoted, and exhorting others to seek and find the same footsteps he had found, he closed his eyes to the world scenes to open them in glory.
The funeral took place from the Methodist church at 2 p.m., Saturday, Rev. W. J. Cross officiating.  The body was interred in Maple Grove cemetery.

As so typical of the time, much is made of his faith and church life.  One thing I find rather interesting is that his physicians would send him to what was then a forested, and rather swampy land of virgin timber and cold damp winters, to help cure his consumption.  But then, he did manage to survive 47 years after coming to this part of the state, so maybe hard work helped him.

24 November 2010

Obituary--George O. Baker

This obituary caught my eye as it demonstrates both the graphicness of reporting in earlier newspapers, as well as the attitude of invincibility that is still so present in young adults today.  (As the mother of 2 twenty-somethings, I feel I have the right to attest to that fact.)  While I checked my spreadsheet to make sure I hadn't posted this obituary before, I noticed the only other Baker noted had the same name as George's father.  Sure enough, on 4 January 2010, the obituary of David Baker was posted.  At that time it was of note as the fathers passing left only 12 members of the GAR still in the community.   This obituary is just an example of how quickly a friendly outing can turn tragic.

From the 15 October 1914 Fremont TimesIndicator:

Tragedy is Climax of Sunday Outing Near Grand Haven--Was Son of David Baker
 A tragedy, which cost the life of George O. Baker, 350 Pine avenue NW served as the shocking climax to a Sunday outing taken by a party of local young men to Grand Haven Sunday. Charles Nagel, 360 Grandville Avenue, SW, a long time friend of the victim, fired the fatal shot from a 22-calibre rifle.  Standing in a launch, he was shooting at a turtle, when Nagel shifted his position just enough to come within range and the bullet plowed its way through his neck, lodging in the brain.  Death was almost instantaneous.
John DeKruif, drug store proprieter, 855 Caulfield Avenue, SW; Albert C. Nagel, 219 Wealthy Street, SW; James De Loof, 1501 Lake Drive SE; and the two principals in the shooting comprised a party Sunday that left for Spring Lake to return with a launch by way of Grand River.  Albert C. Nagel had taken along his little rifle.  The men had expressed a desire to shoot turtles on the return trip and just previous to the accident Charles Nagel had killed one turtle and was shooting at a second.
Shot at Turtle
According to James De Loof the marksman had shot once at a turtle basking on a log and had missed.  For this he received the laughs of his comrades.  "I'll get him this time," Nagel said as he took careful aim.  The launch was proceeding up the river rapidly and this lengthened the distance between marksman and turtle every moment.  Every one in the launch craned his neck to see what success Nagel would have.  Maker, seated in the rear of the boat, apparently was in a cramped position and desired to shift about just as Nagel pulled the trigger, De Loof states.  Baker arose and his head came into range as Nagel fired.
The party steered to shore and notified a physician.  Baker was dead ten minutes after the shooting, however and the Grand Haven coroner was later notified.  The body was removed to the J.J. Boer morgue at Grand Haven.  The accident took place at a point near Robinson resort about ten miles from Grand Haven.
Were Lifelong Friends.
Baker was employed as an engineer for the Pere Maarquette railroad.  He was a member of the Elks and of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, holding membership in the local division, No. 286. He is survived by the widow and two daughters, who had accompanied him to Grand Haven Junction Sunday on their way to Muskegon.  It was there that they were told of Baker's death. 
Nagel feels the death of his friend very keenly and cannot be consoled.  Since boyhood he and Baker had chummed together and an extremely close bond of friendship exists between them.  Grand Rapids Press.
George Baker was the son of Mr. and Mrs David baker of this city and formerly resided here.  Mr and Mrs Baker went to Grand Rapids Monday to attend the funeral which will be held today in Grand Rapids.

I had suspected that the article had been reprinted from a Grand Rapids paper, since all of the addresses given were from Grand Rapids.  Such a sad story.  However one other thing about this article is that no age was given, nor date of birth.  This is one of the many obituaries that, as we update our new database of obituaries, we will not be able to include.  At least until we can make the birth date optional.  Hopefully this will be changed soon and we can have our online obituary database working again.

23 November 2010

Tombstone Tuesday--Woodville Cemetery

This week, our focus is the last remaining cemetery of Newaygo County, Woodville Cemetery.  Located, appropriately enough in the small community of Woodville, near the township line. 
One of our lovely rural cemeteries, it appears very roomy. with a mixture of both new and older stones.  The earliest grave listed in our transcript is from 1895--P. Johnson.  Many though are from the 1910's and through current times.  I found the above bench/urn combination rather unusual.  And from this view, I am unable to see if there is a regular memorial stone, of if the name and dates are carved onto the seat or somethings.  Very unique.
Woodville also has its share of smaller, more modest monuments.  I don't know if there is also a stone coming for Basil, or if these are the only markers for his grave.  Perhaps why that is why the cemetery looks so open, if others had wooden grave markers that may have since vanished.
I always remember riding through Woodville, when I was very young, that the rolling steep hills made me think they were buried dinosaurs, long ridges that made me think of a reclining brontosaurus.  Ok, so maybe my sense of size and natural history were flawed, at least back then, but you can see in the above picture a bit of the rolling land of the "dinosaur hills" found there.  also notice the variety stones, and the cement border, although it does appear to be more of a retaining wall in this circumstance.
This shot is apparently of the newer area of the cemetery.  Most of these stones, even in the background seem to be more modern granite with none of the carved limestone monuments visible.
 I mentioned that P. Johnson was the oldest grave in our transcript.  Here is the stone for this person.  It doesn't state if  "P" was male or female, but born on 4 July 1846 and died 16 September 1895.  The picture engraved on the top seems to be a flower of some kind, perhaps a rose.  I am not up to snuff on symbology, so I don't want to hazard a guess.
 This is an unusual marker,  the block in the background I mean.  A nice square chunk of marble or limestone with a large block B on it.  And nothing else.  Is that separate from the cross that is covered in flowers, or part of the same grave.  I'm confused and full of questions. 
Here is another shot across the cemetery.  It appears that this is looking at the back of many of the stones.  The upright one just past the drive in the foreground appears to have a military plaque visible from this side. 
One final wide angle view of the cemetery.  This appears to be the back section, since the driveway curves here.  But also I notice that all the graves around this area seem to be older ones.  So rather than older, perhaps this is just off to one side.  Hmmmmm. 
As I said, this is the last of our Newaygo county cemeteries.  Next Tuesday, I will have to start on a new topic for Tombstone Tuesday.  Maybe some of my family stones, some of which lay just outside the county.  Maybe just some other cemeteries.  Maybe some nifty stones I've seen here or there. 
I guess you and I will just have to wait and just see where the Diva's land.

19 November 2010

Obituary--Mrs, Cody (Etta) Maxson

I've mentioned before how sometimes a person will have a regular obituary, plus get mentioned in one or two different community gossip columns.  This is one such case.  It probably helped in this case that she apparently died over a week before the paper came out, probably just missing the deadline.  That way everyone had time to get the details and write it up for the next paper. 

All from the 7 May 1914 Fremont TimesIndicator:

First the regular obituary.
Mrs. Cody Maxson
Mrs. Cody Maxson died at her home five miles south of this city Tuesday, April 28, after a few days illness from pneumonia.  She was 32 years of age.
Mrs Maxson, whose maiden name was Etta Manning, was born in the state of New York April 9, 1882, and moved with her parents to Coldwater Mich., in early childhood.  She made that city her home until January 14, 1909, when she married Cody Maxson.  Since that time Mr. and Mrs. Maxson have made their home on their farm south of Fremont.
Four children were born to them, three of whom died in infancy.  The surviving child, Kenneth, three years old, has been taken to Coldwater to make his home with his grandmother, Mrs. Charles Maxson.
Besides the husband and son, Kenneth, the deceased is survived by one sister, Mrs. Emma Kent of Jackson, and two brothers, Wm. Manning, and Dorsey Manning, both of Detroit.
The funeral services were held last Thursday afternoon from the Schenck schoolhouse, conducted by Rev. R. W. Paul, pastor of the Congregational church.  Interment in Bridgeton cemetery.
Those attending the funeral from out of town were Mrs. Emma Kent, of Jackson; Wm. and Dorsey Manning of Detroit; and Mrs. Chas. Maxson of Coldwater.

So much for the official obituary.  Here is one of the community notices about her death. 

Mrs. Cody Maxson, who was ill for a short time with pneumonia, passed away at her home five miles south of Fremont Tuesday morning, April 29.  Her name before her marriage to Mr Maxson, was Etta Manning.  She was the mother of four children, three of whom died in infancy.  She is survived by her husband, a son three years old, two brothers and one sister.  she was a kind mother and a good neighbor.  The funeral services were held at the Schenck schoolhouse Thursday, conducted by Rev. Paul, of Fremont.  The body was laid to rest in the Bridgeton cemetery.

Pretty much the same information, except this one says that Tuesday was the 29th, and the first one says the 28th.  Here is the final notice.

The funeral of Mrs Cody Maxon who passed away at her home in South Sheridan, was held from the Schenck schoolhouse last Thursday, Rev. Paul officiating.  She was laid to rest in the Bridgeton cemetery beside her three babies.  She leaves to mourn a husband, little son, one sister, and two brothers.  Her casket was laden with beautiful flowers, a tribute from sorrowing friends and relatives.

I get the feeling that this last one was written by a sympathetic friend, even if they did misspell the name.  The flowers, the mention of her three babies, it all has a touch of someone close to her.  And it is just a little different angle.  Those community gossip columns can sometimes give extra flavor to a cut and dried death notice.

18 November 2010

Obituary--MIner Vanderheide

One of the rather explicit obituaries so common in the earlier years of the local papers.  It has plenty of details plus local color.  It not only gives the details of his death, but also included are hints of the size of the town, compared to today, and some of the businesses at this time.  What it doesn't give are many personal details of his life, like birth date, and where he was born.  

From the 29 April, Fremont Times Indicator:

Miner Vanderheide Meets Untimely End When Horses Become Frightened By Paper in Street
Miner Vanderheide, age 32 was thrown from his wagon and instantly killed, the result of a runaway accident which occurred in the west part of the city Monday afternoon.
Mr. Vanderheide was going to the warehouse of the Co-operative Produce Co. with several cases of eggs and had reached the P. M. tracks when his team became frightened by a piece of paper in the street.  As the horses plunged forward the tongue of the wagon dropped and the animals became uncontrollable and ran toward the building of the produce company, where the wagon struck the platform.  The team then turned toward the street, the wagon striking a telephone pole, throwing the driver headlong over the front of the wagon with terrific force and killing him instantly.  It was evident from the marks on the body that the wagon ran over the head and neck of the unfortunate man.
The body was removed to the undertaking rooms of Scott and Crandell and was taken to the home Monday evening.
Mr. Vanderheide was unmarried and lived with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Vanderheide, three miles south and a half mile west of the city.  He was the only child
The young man was one of the progressive farmers of this community and had a large number of friends who will mourn his untimely death.
The funeral services will be held this afternoon at 2 o'clock from the First Christian Reformed church.

The strange thing was that as I read this obituary, I could picture the exact location, and see the exact buildings.  The Co-op is still there--even the platform. 

And so are the tracks, busy today with box cars being loaded with shelled corn from the Co-op.  While they no longer handle eggs there, it is still a striving business.  So too is the now renamed Crandell Funeral Home, although that was moved west of town a few years ago.  Life in a small town, some things change a lot, and other things change very little.

16 November 2010

Tombstone Tuesday--White Cloud Cemetery--Up Close

This week we look closer at White Cloud Cemetery.   While it is active cemetery, with both old and new stones, as always, it is the older ones that draw my attention.
Here is the stone for Mary, wife of O. Plemon.  She died so young at age 22 years, 28 days on June 2, 1882, according to the inscription easily read from the stone.  However our transcriber must have been having an off day.  The transcript says 22 years, 5 months, 20 days.  Shows you must always double check the original source.
This is an impressive little monument.  Lennie T. Fox apparently died young.  Or so the stone implies to me, but the date is hard to read.  I would say this son of John & Emma Fox died on March 1, 1882, which is what our transcript says.  The transcript does not give any more of the inscription, which you can tell by looking was quite detailed.  I believe that it possibly says he was age 13 years plus.  I like the separate lamb on a separate little stone, that are both joined on the same base stone.  I don't believe I have seen a stone similar in construction to this one before.
I didn't realize when I was grabbing interesting pictures to post that so many of them were of such young people.  Here is the stone for John E. Bechtol, who died January 29, 1882 at the age of 12 years, 1 month, 2 days.  John's stone states he was the son of  H. S. & L. E. Bechtol.  There is much more inscribed on the bottom of this stone.  Apparently the transcriber here also did not want to be bothered with the fine details. I'm not sure how high this stone is.  To me it doesn't appear very tall, but perhaps there was also a top finial that is missing.  
This stone caught my eye with the picture.  I knew it was for a child, with the poignant engraved picture of a mother holding her child in her arms.  Ida Labeck was born April 20 1880 and died August 3. 1883.  Such a touching and unique stone.  I haven't seen one before with that picture.
Mabel L Charboneau has a obelisk type stone, with a finial that is clearly in a bit of trouble.  And once again, when checking the details on the stone to share, she is just a child.  She was the daughter of C. E. & G. G.  Charboneau and died June 15, 1880.  She was, as near as I can make out on the photo, just over 2 years of age at her death.
Again, clearly one whose life was cut short.  You can tell by the small stump that it was a child.  James H. Merrill died July 23, 1893, at the age of 14 years, 4 months and 3 days.  The stone is slightly worn, but it is clearly one of the wonderful tree stump style stones.  But can anyone guess what that is laying draped against the base of the tree, above the plaque with his name.  It just can't be a dead dove, can it?  That's what my eyes think they see.
And just to prove that indeed, older people do die and are buried in the White Cloud Cemetery, here are Norma and Harry.  The flowers hide the last name, but at least we can see that Harry survived to age 66, and apparently at the time the picture was taken, Norma was still going strong.  And isn't the depth of the carving of the picture great?

14 November 2010

Obituary--Lucy Utley (Mrs William)

This obituary has a much more formal tone than that of the previous Mrs. Utley.  While the previous one could almost have been written my old favorite Mrs Robertson, this is much more to the point.  Lots of details and official information is to be found here.  
But I still wonder how they were related--not siblings, perhaps cousins who married siblings or cousins.  There is that cryptic little note about Mrs L. H. Utley of Newaygo, but our previous Lucy has already been dead for several months at the time of this death, and besides, that one lived closer to Hesperia. 
Ah, the mysteries of old obituaries.  (Sandy just told me that every generation there were a couple of Lucy Utleys.  Just to make life confusing, no doubt.)

From Newaygo Republican, dated 14 Jan 1915:

Mrs. W. S. Utley Is Gone, After a Short Illness
The Death of Mrs. William S. Utley at five o'clodk the afternoon of January 6 came as a shock to her long time county friends. A week before the old lady had a stroke of paralysis, but rallied sufficiently to ally the immediate fears of her relatives.  Mrs. Utley would have been eighty years old had she but lived till April 27.
Perhaps no woman in the county enjoyed a more general acquaintance than did this pioneer.  Strangers who hear of her passing may be among those who stopped at the Utley homestead in big  Prairie, were entertained and then went on, without charge, often without question, for no house was ever more hospitable than this one.  Under the same roof Mrs. Utley lived fifty-five years, and only a year or so ago did she make her abiding -place wherever she chose among her ten living children--she lost two children several years ago.
Although Mrs. Utley, whose maiden was Lucy Gooch, was born in Northville, she was brought up in Grand Rapids by Webber Gooch, an elder brother, and there she went to school.  Her membership in the Universalist church was never transferred.  she was married to W. S. Utley in Dewitt, Clinton county, May 14, 1854, and her wedded life endured even past the silver anniversary, each succeding celebration bringing loads of friends from different parts of the country.
Amember of the W.C.T.U., it is recalled that Mrs. Utley invariable wore the white ribbon.  As a matter of habit she never used either tea or coffee.
Funeral services were held early Saturday afternoon from the Big Prairie church, the Rev. Daniel Truman officiating.  The interment was in Big Prairie cemetery, where the late husband of the departed and his first wife, own sister to Mrs. Utley are buried.
Ten children survive their mother, and these are: Mrs. Bert Douglass, at whose home the old lady died, and Mesdames Ralph Evans and John Dayton of Newaygo and V. F. Payne of Ramona; also Messrs. C. W., Irving S., Will and Glen W. Utley of White Cloud neighborhood, John Utley of Grand Rapids and Postmaster Chas. Utley of Stanton.  One brother, Luther Gooch is living.  Twenty grandchildren and one great-grandchild must be included.  Mesdames W. H. Eastman and C.W. Galer of Grand Rapids are nieces and Mrs. L. H. Utley of Newaygo is a cousin by marriage and connected also on her mother's side.
Genuine regret is felt generally for the loss of the kind and capable pioneer mother and neighbor, companionable and clear in mind and memory almost to the last.

I only have one comment.  What kind of paper today would get away calling the deceased, not once, but twice an old lady in the obituary?

12 November 2010

Obituary--Lucy Ellen Gooch Utley (Mrs Ephriam Utley)

Today's obituary and the next one to be posted took some studying.  Both are for Lucy Utley, both Lucy's had a maiden name of Gooch.   Not the same person obviously, the second is listed as coming to the funeral of today's Lucy and died about half year later. 
Such was the peril of reusing popular names among family members.  Do you think the size of families contributed to it?  Favorite names were shared by cousins, and even siblings, after the first child with a particular name dies. (We will ignore the example of George Foreman and his children.)  Anyway, here we go with the first of the Tale of Two Lucys

From the 30 July 1914 Fremont TimesIndicator:

Lucy Ellen Utley, daughter of Mary and Stephen Gooch, was born at Farmington, West Virginia, May 8th, 1848.  At the tender age of six years she was left motherless.
She came to Clinton county, Mich., in 1854, making the trip on horseback with an uncle with whom she made her home.
She was married in Newaygo county on August 26th, 1866, to Ephriam Utley, who departed this life on October 4th, 1913.
The greater part of their married life was spent on their farm in Dayton.
They came to Fremont in 1898, which has been her home until her death, which occurred July 23, 1914.
Three sons, Ralph, Clarence, and Otto, one granddaughter, Mable Utley, one sister and one brother, Mrs. Wm. Leonard, of Fremont, and Raymer Gooch of Texas, with scores of friends she leaves to mourn their loss.
The funeral services were held Saturday afternoon at her home on Elm street.  Rev. R. A. Thibos, pastor of the Church of christ, conducted the services.  Interment took place in Maple Grove  cemetery.
The following from out of town attended the funeral: Mrs. Henry Barton, of Big Rapids; Mrs Lucy Utley and Mr Abe Hemiley, of Newaygo; Mr. and Mrs Walter Winters, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Utley, Mr. and Mrs. James Caldwell, Mrs. Addie Scott and son, Walter; Mrs. G. Eldridge and Mrs. Nellie Carlisle, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Mills, all of Hesperia.

Not too flowery, with lots details.  I love obituaries with lots of names too.  Now if only it would have said how this other Lucy Utley is related. 

09 November 2010

Tombestone Tuesday--White Cloud Cemetery (AKA Prospect Hill Cemetery)

 I must admit that the first time I saw the name Prospect Hill Cemetery, my mind flashed back to to Old West and images of Boot Hill.  But if you look closely at the name over the door of the utility building, the alternate name for White Cloud Cemetery is indeed Prospect Hill Cemetery 
 White Cloud Cemetery is a large and well maintained cemetery on the western end of White Cloud, the county seat of Newaygo county.  It is near the high school and on the main road through and out of town if you area heading west.  Since it is a fairly large cemetery, (and since I only have one cemetery left in Newaygo County after this) I will do as I did with Maple Grove and split it into a couple weeks.  This week I will give more of an overview, with a look at specific stones next week.
White Cloud Cemetery is wide open, with a lovely rail fence and towering trees.  Oak mostly,
 The stones are also varied, both old and new, in neat rows: tall and short, massive and small.
 Some of the stones are very similar, as with these two above.  Nearly identical except for the names, both have a finger pointing to heaven.  They each have the same etching draped around the top of the symbol, but you can see the the longer name is in a curved section and the shorter one is in a small straight section.
You can see above the drive that separates the older section on the left with the large shady trees, from the newer section on the right.  Surprisingly though, there are still quite a few trees in the newer section.  And as you can see, not all the graves on the newer side are that new.  There is a fine obelisk shaped monument in the foreground, as well as some farther back.
Here is one more overview of the cemetery.  In the background by the sign and past the road, is St. Joseph's Catholic Cemetery that extends up the hill.
Next week, I promise we will look at individual stones, and then after that, our last stop in the list of Newaygo County Cemeteries.