31 October 2010

Obituary--Kornelius Mulder

And one more of our "born in the Netherlands" series.  Mr Mulder came earlier than the others seem to have, and instead of being a farmer, as were our previous people, he was a lumber man, working in mills and later owning his own business.
From the 18 March 1915 Fremont TimesIndicator:


Former Business Man of Fremont Passed Away at Home of His Niece Last Thursday. 
The death of Kornelius Mulder, a former resident of Fremont, occurred at the home of his niece in Coopersville last Thursday morning.  The body was brought here Saturday and interment took place in Maple Grove cemetery Monday morning.
Mr. Mulder was born in the Netherlands July 30, 1926 and came to America at the age of 21 years in company with an elder brother.  They went immediately to Grand Haven Mich., and spent the first winter at Perrysburg. (Editor's note, probably Ferrysburg--village across river from Grand Haven.)  For several years he lived at Mill Point, now known as Spring Lake where he was employed in a saw mill.
In 1856 he went to Muskegon and helped to build L. G. Mason's first saw mill.  He remained in Muskegon until 1873 and was engaged in the mercantile business there from 1862 until 1872.
In 1873 he moved his family to Fremont where he had prviously erected a saw mill.  This he operated until 1881 when the mill was destroyed by fire.  He at once rebuilt the mill and resumed operations.  He was also engaged in the grocery business here. 
Mr. Mulder was first married in Muskegon to Fannie C. Langley who died in 1871.  To them one child was born.  This child died in infancy, a few days after the death of hits mother.  In 1873 Mr. Mulder was married to Jane SImpson, a native of Indiana, who died about 5 1/2 years ago.
Since the death of his wife Mr. Mulder has made his home with relatives in Coopersville.
Those attending the funeral here Monday were Mr. and Mrs. Peter Mulder, of Muskegon, Luther Mulder of Coopersville; Mrs. Otto Powers of Traverse City and Wm. Hardy and daughter Mrs. Bochs, of Holland.

Again, the Holland connection among the mourners.  I searched out business index for his name, but apparently his business was thriving before we have papers available on microfilm.  I did find a Jake Mulder, possibly a nephew, who about five years after this, was opening a new general store.  

29 October 2010

Obituary--Wyan Arendsen

Another "born in the Netherlands" obituary.  And again, mourners coming from Holland.  As the name implies, that city was gateway to many of the settlers who came to Michigan from the Netherlands. 

From the 9 March 1916, Fremont TimesIndicator:

Wyan Arendsen was born in the Netherlands, May 17, 1840 and emigrated to this country about 50 years ago. He was married to Libbie Hopp in 1865 and to this union were born seven children, five sons and two daughters.
He who knows best called him to a land of rest Wednesday evening, Feb. 23rd, at 8:15 o'clock, being 76 years, nine months and six days of age. Mr. Arendsen leaves to mourn their loss, an aged wife, three sons, Henry, Albert and John, all of Fremont; and two daughters, Mrs. Alice Scott of McCord, Mich., and Mrs. Mary Dunning, of Fremont, sixteen grand-children and twelve great grand-children.
About 31 years ago, Mr. Arendsen purchased a farm northwest of Fremont in Dayton township, where he lived until about seven years ago when old age made the care of the farm too hard for him and his wife and they moved to Fremont and they lived happy and contented until his work was done.  Last November he was stricken with heart trouble which caused his death.
Those from a distance who attended the funeral were Mr. and Mrs. John Scott, of McCord; Andrew Scott, of Muskegon; Miss Dora Scott, Mrs. Winnie Dysker, Alice Scott, Mrs. Soll, of Grand Rapids; Wm. TImmer and Wm. Hopp, of Holland; Mr. and Mrs. John Hopp and Mrs. Wm. Hopp, of Beaverdam, Mich., and Brad Odell of Big Rapids.
The funeral services were held at the First Christian Reformed church of which he was an active member, Rev. H. Keegstra officiated.  He was laid to rest in Maple Grove cemetery.

Another member of the farming community, apparently coming around the time of the Civil War.  Family man and one who helped to grow this area into what it is today.    

27 October 2010

Obituary--Mrs. Henry Derks and Mrs. Jacob Tanis

I am starting another theme week with my obituaries.  This time the theme is "born in the Netherlands."  In randomly searching through some of the obituaries I have copied off for posting, the same phrase kept popping up.  While this area was originally settled by other pioneers and lumbermen, we had several waves of settlers from the Netherlands who had a great influence on the culture of the region. You probably have noticed many previously obituaries with that phrase already, and this week will be no exception. 
The first posting is actually a two-fer.  The death of these two ladies both were mentioned in the same community column for Reeman.  Their obituaries were in the same paper, they were born in the Netherlands and both died in the same small community.  I decided it was fitting their obituaries be posted together. 

From the 25 May 1916 Fremont TimesIndicator:

This community was shocked and saddened by the death of two of its number during the space of one week.  Mrs. Derks, who has made her home with her soon, Joe Frens, passed away Wednesday May 17.  Early on the morning of May 19 came the death of Mrs. Jake Tanis, who has been ill at her home here for the past three months.

Next, the actual obituary for Mrs. Derks:

Mrs. Henry Deks died Wednesday noon, May 17 at her home near Reeman, at the age of 72 years.  The deceased was born in the Netherlands November 7, 1843.  She is survived by her children, namely, John Frens, Mrs. B. Rynberg, Joe Frens, Harry Frens, Mrs F. Buteau and Mrs G. Dake, besides several step-children.
Those from away who attended the funeral are Mrs. Frank buteau, Mr and Mrs. Harry Frens, and Mrs. F. Dake, from Muskegon, Mrs Henry Teusink, from Holland, Mrs. E Comissaris and Mrs. L Lanting from Jamestown.

I am fairly certain that the Holland referred above and again below to was the city in the Michigan county of Ottawa, which is about 50 miles or so away.   
Anyway, on to Mrs. Jacob Tanis's obituary.

Lizzie Drost was born in the Netherlands March 19, 1878.  Her parents came to America in 1885, settling first in Brookside and later moving to their present home near Reeman.
She was married May 12, 1897 to Jacob Tanis and to this union three children were born, Willie aged 18, Libbie, 16 and Cora 14.
Mr.s Tanis died Friday, May 19, aged 38 years, two months.  She was a loving and devoted wive and mother and a sincere christian, having been a member of the Christian Reformed church since age 16. Besides the grief-stricken husband and children, an aged father and mother, three brothers and three sisters are left to mourn.
Funeral services were held Monday, May 22, at the church which was filled to overflowing by the hosts of friends who gathered to pay their last tribute to one who by her sunny christian character had endeared herself to all.
Those attending from a distance were John Newald and wife, Mr. and Mrs Maring, John Drost and Ed Neiboer of Muskegon, Martin Tanis and wife, Lane Tanis and wife of Holland, Will Drost, of Racine, Wis., and Mrs Josephine bush, of Grand Rapids.

I find particularly interesting in Mrs Tanis's obituary the line about her parents settled first in Brookside and then moving to a home near Reeman.  What were then two very small communities are only a three miles apart, and even closer going cross country.

26 October 2010

Tombstone Tuesday--Volney Cemetery

 Volney Cemetery is near the Beaver township hall, in western Newaygo county.  Burials appear to start in the 1870 and 1880s and continue to the current time.
 Much of the cemetery, especially the older sections have the cement boundaries.  The bordered plot above is typical.  Unfortunately, the day most of our pictures of Volney cemetery were taken was a bright sunny day, and many of our pictures have highly contrasting light and shadows, making some of the names hard to read.
 Here however is a clearly visible military stone with the flag in place.  The word "Artificer" apparently refers to his rank or job in the army, as it was skilled workman or mechanic in the armed services. Jesse E Walker served in Company 1 of the 18 US Infantry during the Spanish American War.   Living from 17 March 1871 to 18 February 1936, I am unable to make out the words inscribed on the bottom of the stone.  Although the stone is mottled with lichen, it is very sharp and free from weathering in this picture. 
 This stone for Sarah Painter Redding (1846-1880) was surprising to me also.  It appears to be composed of red granite, a material that I always thought of as of usage much later.  While it could have been placed much later than her time of death, the stone itself is of a shape and design similar to older stones.
 This stone for John Painter (died 13 November, 1887, age 69 years, 11 months 3 days) is also in a remarkable state of repair. While it is missing a top finial of some kind, the fleur de lis pattern around the bottom is wonderfully sharp and clear.   The same stone can be seen in the picture below, although the border from the plot in back cannot.

Here is another large Painter family stone, with a large Bettys family stone in the background.
Here is another old stone in a great state of repair. The base with the crosshatching pattern is clearn and in one piece.  The obelisk above is also tall and has the little urn shaped finial still in place.  It memorializes the Loehr family.  Only the name of Edna Clair Loehr, daughter of J & J Loehr, who died in 1908 is easily readable from this side.
Many family stones are visible in this picture: McDonald, and Charles & Charlotte Gleason.  but I was most intrigued by the double stone with the carving in the right foreground.  I cannot make out the name but the carved middle stone seems to connect the stones of two separate couples.
Another family plot for the Conleys.  Newer stone, but still a bordered plot behind it.
One of the most intriguing stones, listed in the transcript, but not seen in our pictures, has this inscription:  James Gorwin, son of J.W and H.M.  Was murdered by Daniel McDonald June 2, 1881.  12 years, 10 m's, 3 d'y.  Dearest child, rest with your mother's love and care and God will deal justly with the murderer that took your young life.   1869-1881.
Whew!  Interesting enough, of the McDonalds in our transcript, there is no Daniel.

23 October 2010

Obituary--Mrs Zwaantje Rozema

This obituary caught my eye because of her name.  So indicative of our extensive Dutch heritage here, (the local phone book for our small community has 8 columns of names beginning with Van, from Vanaartsen to Van Zyll, not to mention the other "old country" surnames), her name invokes the spirit of many of those who came to this area of Michigan.

From the 10 February 1916 Fremont TimesIndicator:


Zwaantje Rozema, nee Nyenhuis, was born March 24, 1837, at Benneveld, Province of Drenthe, Netherlands.  In 1847 she came to America with her parents.  They were of those pioneers to whose efforts so much of the development of this and other states is due.  They settled in Ottowa county.  she was united in marriage to Hendrick Rozema in 1858.    Ten children blessed this union, siz of whom are now living, namely: Jacob, at Ludington Mich., John H at Spirit Lake, Iowa, Martin at Seattle, Wash., Joe, Henry and Mrs Jennie VanZomeren, at Fremont.  Since the death of her husband in 1900, Mrs. Rozema made her home with her daughter, Mrs. VanZomeren.
She died on Feb 2, at the age of 78 years, 10 months and 8 days. 
Funeral services were held from the Reformed church, of which she was a member, on Saturday, Feb. 5.  Interment took place in Maple Grove cemetery.

I always hope, when I post an obituary like this, that some one searching for the connection to to the old country will find this and get the breakthrough they need.  It is great when not only the country, but the province and city are given in these old obituaries. 

21 October 2010

Obituary--Libbie Drost

This obituary is one of those where we get two for one.  There is the regular obituary, giving names and facts, and then the more personal notice that appears in the community gossip column.  Both give different views of the same individual. 

From the 24 August 1922 Fremont TimesIndicator, the obituary:

Libbie Van Baak was born in The Netherlands, march 9, 2853.  On April 27, 1875 she was married to Garret Drost.  In 1885 they came to America and soon after that settled near Reeman where they have since lived.  Nine children were born to them of which six survive, John Drost and Mrs. J. Newald of Muskegon, Mrs Will Tanis, Mrs Ed Neiboer and Garret and Will Drost of Reeman.
Mrs. Drost was a life long member of the Christian Reformed church and it was her sorrow that during her nearly eight months of invalidism she had to miss the church servicees.  funeral services were held last Wednesday afternoon, Rev. J H Mokema of Fremont taking Charge.  Burial was made in Maple Grove cemetery.

And this clipping was in the same issue of the paper, from the Reeman community news.

This community was saddened Monday morning to hear of the death of Mrs. Drost who passed away while asleep early that morning.  The deceased had been an invalid since her serious illness with pneumonia last January, yet her death, though not entirely unexpected, was a shock to relatives and friends because of the suddenness and quietness of her passing.  Mrs. Drost had lived many years in this community and was a loved friend of all.  The deepest sympathy of everyone who knew her is extended to the mourning relatives.

See what I mean?  The obituary tells where she was born and married, when she came to America, the names of surviving children. (Although no mention is made of the husband, if alive or not.) But the second tells more of the effect on the community of her life and of her loss.  I am glad we have them both.

19 October 2010

Tombstone Tuesday--Troy Cemetery

 Troy Cemetery is, surprisingly enough, located in Troy Township, in the northwest corner of Newaygo county.  It is near the southern edge of the township, on a fairly well traveled, paved road in rural central Michigan.  It is near a portion of Manistee National Forest, as is a good share of the county.  Over half of Troy township is part of the national forest.
A fairly good sized cemetery, with a variety of new and old style stones.  If you look close, you can see modern granite stones as well as the obelisk shaped stones.  Our transcript has a hand-drawn map, showing that the drive is a semicircular one, through the cemetery and back out onto 13 Mile road
 An impressive large stone for the Basford family.  Only two names listed here, although we have another sone for the Basfords.  This one lists Lorissa J, March 8 1898 to 1900, and Minnie Myrtle October 25 1895 to 1916.  We also have a picure of a stone for Lourissa Basford, daughter of L & J, with the dates 1899 to 1900.  The same child listed on two stones?  Perhaps cousins, since their lives overlapped enough to (hopefully) prevent them from being sisters.
 I love this old stone.  Apparently handmade from cement framed neatly into a rectangle, Henry L. carved, slightly off center.  I am unable to find a last name for him.  Our transcript shows him in an 8 grave plot with two other families, Ammerman and Wilkinson.  He is the only one listed with no first name.

Several areas in the cemetery show a cement bordered plot.  The above picture shows a plot, with the corners marked by the small obelisk shaped stones.  Three of them appear to have holes for ropes or  chains.  The fourth one would have the holes on the sides hidden from the camera.  I haven't seen this kind of border for family plots in many of our county cemetery pictures. That I can recall at least.
I was intrigued by this simple wooden cross for George W Wolgomott.  I was even more impressed when I saw the reverse side of the cross.  It says Civil war vet.  Obvoiusly someone has been making sure his grave is marked by more that the flag holder.
My pet peeve again.  Lilacs grow up!!!  Don't plant them tight to the stones.  Our pictures show several different stones buried in lilac bushes.  This one shows a base in the bush and it appears the top of the stone is leaning against another nearby.
A large monument for the Yates family, flanked by the stones for Alonzo (1842-1915) and Louise (1852-1929).  Here the more typical cement border is clearly shown outlining the plot.

This old weathered building stands outside one boundary of the cemetery.  A couple older stones, and an obelisk monument stand quietly in this slightly overgrown corner.  It almost reminds me, with the nearby shed, of an old family cemetery on some family homestead.
How many of those old graves were there at one time, that are now forgotten all together?  At least here in Troy Cemetery, they are remembered and maintained.

16 October 2010

Obituary--Tucker S. Dragoo

This poor obituary has been in my pile of obituaries for so long, that I was beginning to wonder if I had already posted it and forgot to add to my spreadsheet.  ( I do try to avoid duplicates, but can't make any promises.)

This obituary is sort of a three-fer.  There was two brief mentions in a community column one week, as well as  a full obituary..  The obituaries of pioneers to the area are always so interesting when they give a glimpse of the journey made to get here to Newaygo county. 

From the 3 February 1916 Fremont TimesIndicator:

Mr. Tucker Dragoo passed on from this life last Sunday.  He was an old and respected pioneer.  He leaves a wife and three children, who were with him constantly for the past four weeks.  Mrs Dragoo is still very sick.

In another column was this item:

Tucker Dragoo, an old and highly respected citizen of this vicinity, died at his home one-half mile east and one mile north of the Tyndell schoolhouse Sunday morning.  Funeral services were held at the house Wednesday afternoon at two o'clock.  The bereaved family have the sympathy of the community.

And of course, the full obituary:


Tucker S. Dragoo, a resident of Dayton township for about 47 years, died at his home Sunday after an illness of several years.  Mr. Dragoo had been suffering from the grippe.  He was 73 years of age.
The deceased was a son of Uel and Jane Dragoo, natives of Virginia and was born in that state July 9, 1842.  He came with his parents to Berrien county, Mich., when three years of age and lived there 24 years, engaged in farming.  In the spring of 1869 he came to Newaygo county and bought 80 acres of wild land in Dayton township, where he has since resided.
He was married in Buchanan Mich., January 22, 1865, to Sarah Kirkendall, a native of Ohio, who still survives him.  He is also survived by two sons, Lawrence, of Dayton, A. J. Dragoo of Traverse City, and Myrtle who is at home.
Mr. Dragoo saw all the hardships of the pioneer and helped to make this community one of the best sections in the state.
The funeral services were held yesterday afternoon at 2 o'clock from the home and the burial took place in Maple Grove cemetery.

I enjoy the way this obituary is full of all the necessary details: dates, family, places. so compete!  Another plus is that it, along with the two smaller blurbs, gives a hint of his life, even without going into all the flowery language.  A simple, clean, complete, and satisfying obituary.

15 October 2010

Belated Blogiversary to Us!!

Wow!  Has it really only been a year since Sandy and I started this little endeavor?  Its been so much fun, and I really have learned a lot more about our local history in the process.

Thanks to the loyal readers that we have gained in the last year and I hope that we can occasionally post something here that helps in your genealogical journey.

Thanks for going on the journey with us.
(As always, picture is from the collection of the Fremont Area District Library Local History room.)

14 October 2010

Obituary--Marion June Schoolmaster

One of the drawbacks of working in the Local History Room, and of reading all of these old obituaries, is that after a while, so many of the names are so familiar.  I feel like I know them, and know all about them, and it is only when I stop to think that they died years before I was born, and I am in no way related, that I am almost shocked to realize they are complete strangers to me.

From the 7 June 1917, Fremont Times Indicator:


Marion June Schoolmaster, daughter of Mr and Mrs. Lewis Schoolmaster, passed away at the home of her parents on the afternoon of May 31st, 1917, at the age of 13 years, 5 months and two days.
Marion was born on the County farm one and one half miles east of Fremont, Dec. 29, 1903 and was always a bright and shining light in the home and circles in which she moved, one knew her but to love her.  She attended the public schools of Fremont and would have passed the sixth grade this semester.
She was also very apt in music and took much pride and pleasure in her musical studies.  She has been a pupil of Miss Gladys Edwards for three years, doing seventh grade work.
Her life was full of activity and she was a constant companion of her parents on the farm which has been their home for the past six years.  She was happy with her many pets, and her hands were so gentle and ways so pleasing that the dogs, cats, chickens and stock all came at the sound of her voice.  She loved the church and attended the bible schools of the Congregational and Christian churches whenever she could do so, and her life is a benediction to all who knew her.
Her illness, of three weeks duration, was borne with patience and cheerfulness and she passed away with a smile on her lips with mother, father, brother and her Aunt May at her bedside.
Besides her immediate family, she leaves many relatives and friends to mourn her departure.  But our loss is her gain, and Jesus has bid her come up higher, saying, "Suffer the children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven."
The funeral services were held at the Congregational church Sunday at 2:00 p. m., conducted by Rev. F. W. Magdanz and the body was laid to rest in Maple Grove cemetery, amidst a profusion of beautuful flowers.

Hmmmmm.  "Contributed."  I wonder if Mrs Robertson was a friend of the family?  This does have her style. 
It is funny, how many people got mere a blip of an obituary, and others, only children, got a lengthy article like this one.  
This name sounds so familiar but it must be just from reading old newspapers.  Or perhaps its from the family name in the hospital.
They do have a very impressive family plot.

12 October 2010

Tombstone Tuesday--Surrerrar Cemetery

 Yes this really is a cemetery. Surrerrar is a very old cemetery that is no longer actively used. 
Located along eastern Newaygo county, this ancient cemetery is one that predates even our earliest white settlers.  Surrerrar Cemetery is one that was used by Indians long ago.  It was located near the crossways of several Indian trails and while probably not ever a location of a village, it was an area where they gathered and had meetings.
At one time, Indian mounds were discovered in the area.  Some of these old mounds were ones that were very unique in that the bodies were buried vertically, feet down/head up.  Very few of these style mounds were found in Michigan, other than the ones that were found here in Surrerrar.
A couple of our favorite local cemetery buffs helped in the rescue and preservation of Surrerrar Cemetery.  Andy Whitlock, shown above in the green tee, is the originator of http://theoctoberproject.com/, a website that has quite a bit of information on Newaygo County history, including information on Surrerrar and all of the cemeteries.  Most of our pictures are from his collection.  The woman is a descendant of pioneers who were buried here.  And the gentleman in the foreground on the right is Terry Wantz, our favorite local historian.  If you look closely, you will see in his hands the "dowsing rods"  or "witching sticks" that he has used to help determine the boundaries and numbers of bodies buried here.  People may scoff at these tactics but many of his finds have been verified by sonar and x-rays.  Behind Andy, there are some small flowers in a line that marks one side of the cemetery.  In the distance, the hayfield in front of the trees marks the farthest border.
Recent research, much done by Andy, Terry and co-blogger Sandy has determined that the cemetery was larger than originally thought.  Evidence of a homestead in the area has been spotted in the area.
In the past Surrerrar has been neglected and vandalized.  We hope that through the efforts of Andy, Terry and others to protect and preserve sites like this.

10 October 2010

Obituary--Clifton Barton

Another person who died way too young.  Modern medicine probably would not have helped him.  (We still don't have a cure for carelessness!)  Anyway.....
From the 2 August 1917 Fremont TimesIndicator:

Clifton Barton victim of Accident at Fremont Lake Last Thursday Afternoon
While  trying to learn to swim, Clifton Barton, age 17 years and nine montys, was drowned in Fremont lake late last Thursday afternoon.
The young man was desirous of learning to swim and was assured by friends that they would teach him.  Impatient to wait, however, he got into a row boat, rowed to a depth of eight or nine feet and plunged into the water, drowning almost immediately.
The body was recovered by Cornelius Gerber and Markle Stanger and Drs. C. B. Long and C. A. Mateer were called.  Although methods of resuscitation were immediately applied, they proved of no avail.
The strange action of Barton in plunging into deep water when unable to swim can only be accounted for upon the supposition that he had been told that this was the best method of learning how to swim. 
Barton had been making his home with his grandparents in Big Prairie township, but recently had been employed in the canning factory here.
His mother, Mrs Nellie Barton, his sisters, Lois and Nellie, and brothers Willis and Harry, came from Battle Creek Friday to take charge of the body which was taken to Big Prairie Saturday for burial.  The funeral services were held in the union church of Big Prairie, conducted by Rev. Daniel Truman, of Newaygo.

Ok, so may he didn't die of carelessness, it may have been gullibility, or just because he was a teenage boy. Sad, but so avoidable.  They never realize until its too late that perhaps they are not as invincible as they think. 
I know, I've raised a couple of my own.
And marvel that they've survived their teen years.

07 October 2010

Obituary--Ben Karnemaat

Yet another young man who died too soon.  This time Ben was still a high school student, and he is again remembered with a flowery tribute from his teacher.  His family still lives in the area.  And again I wonder, if modern medicine could have saved him. 

From the 12 April 1917, Fremont TimesIndicator.

Ben Karnemaat Passed Away at City Hospital After Three Weeks Illness

Ben Karnemaat, one of the most beloved and most respected students of the Fremont high school, passed away at the City hospital Friday night after an ilness of exactly three weeks.  He was taken with hemorrhages three weeks ago and his condition became so serious that he was removed immediately to the City hospital where the best of care and medical treatment proved of no avail.  His last illness was aggravated by a tubercular condition of the lungs which doubtless lessened his physical power to resist his last affliction.
Mr Karnemaat was the son of Mr. and Mrs. John Karnemaat who life on a farm near Brookside.  The young man spent his entire life in this community and after completing his rural school work came to Fremont to attend the high school.  His manly characteristics and good nature soon won him the confidence and respect of his fellow students and the faculty and he soon attained a popularity seldom enjoyed by any student.
Words fail to measure the true worth of Ben Karnemaat.  In character he was absolutely clean, in mind he was unusually able, in motive he was animated only by fairest means, his life was exemplary in its every phase.  His popularity was not confined to the younger element.  During his spare time he clerked in the Pioneer Drug store and there his radiant smile, good humor and affability won him a host of friends.  He was never affected and enjoyed an unconscious popularity.
One of the high school teachers pays him the following beautiful tribute.
"With the passing of Ben Karnemaat, Fremont High School loses a well-loved friend.
"Never, perhaps in the history of Fremont, has there been a student who entered so whole-heartedly into all the activities of high school life.  As speaker of the Student House of Representatives and as president of the Athletic Association, he conducted himself with a quite unassuming dignity which never failed to win the co-operation of the student body.  As a member of the editorial staff of the Mogul, he did everything in his power to assure the success of the annual. In athletics he won the respect and admiration of all by his fairmindedness and clean play.  In the class room, he proved himself an able scholar, interested in this work, conscientious, absolutely worthy of trust.
"If we loved him less, we might be able to discuss his characteristics with more eloquence.  As it is, we can only remember that his smile, as he came and went among us, made gloomy faces brighten.  We can only remember that he was loyal without partisanship, ambitious without egotism and gentle without weakness.
This is the second time this year that death has invaded the ranks of the senior class of 1917, Gerald Cooley having passed away February 26th of this year.
Besides his parents, he is survived by one Brother, Koss Karnemaat. (Editor's note--Koos is the correct spelling of the brother's name.) 
The funeral services were held yesterday afternoon from the First Christian Reformed church, the big edifice being filled to its capacity with sorrowing friends.  Rev. H. Keegstra, pastor of the church, spoke in Holland, and Rev. J L Heeres, pastor of the Reeman Christian Reformed church spoke in English.  The body was laid at rest in Maple Grove cemetery.

I found it interesting that the home pastor spoke the language of their homeland, Dutch, while the visiting pastor spoke English.  It doesn't state if he was born in the Netherlands or locally.  Many churches kept their services in the language from home.   The tradition continues of course in the area Amish communities with their own language.  A funeral several years ago following a tragic fire saw services conducted in one location in their traditional language, and in the Amish schoolhouse in English, for others in the community.

05 October 2010

Tombestone Tuesday--Stearns Prairie Cemetery

 The Stearns Prairie Cemetery is a very old cemetery in Newaygo County.  Located in Croton township, just a couple miles from the Muskegon River, our transcript shows burials dating back to 1850's.  Although this was once logging country, the deaths listed show many women as well as men, civil war veterans and children. 
 As you can see behind the sign, Stearns Prairie is well maintained.  The grass is closely clipped, the weeds cleared.  Then fence appears sturdy and in good repair.  Yet Stearns Prairie Cemetery has feeling of sadness that can hit you as you look over it.
 There are not many recent burials.  The pictures show many flowers left on graves, but few modern markers.  The most recent burial I can find in our admittedly old transcript is for Lloyd B. Davison, who died in 1977.  It appears he died at the age of 49 and was buried next to John L and Ruth A Davison. who died in 1955 and 1962.  A single man perhaps, buried alongside his parents?  It seems likely. 

 Most of the rest of the burials in the transcript are dated from the 1850's to 1880's.  Some probably have no markers at all any longer.  See the above curious remnant.  It appears to be made of cement.  but with a lower center, that is now filled with debris and weeds. It is hard to tell if it is a deteriorated monument, or what.  I am leaning to the idea of a handmade urn, from cement that has perhaps been sunk into the ground, or partially collapsed.

 This row of graves along one edge show that whoever is lying there has not been forgotten.  Flowers on nearly every marker.  And from the overgrown background, you can see that the cemetery has kept been mowed regularly.
 This stone has no apparent markings.  It appears to be marking a grave.  With all of the early burials here, it is very possible that a simple yet distinctive field stone was used to mark the grave of a loved one.
 Here is the marker for Julia, wife of Nathan Bogardus.  It appears to be made of marble with a hand chiseled engraving: Born February 14 1847, Died Aug 13 1886.  As is true of many of the earlier stones, she died fairly young. 
 This is a lovely, well cared for stone, and well preserved as well.  It marks the resting place of Phebe Ann, wife of Cyrus P. Deming.  She died 29 August 1953, at the age of 22.  The stone is in remarkable condition, considering many of those located here have been broken, weathered, and just plain worn. 
 This stone of the Allen family is standing strong and clear.  Obviously it has been sheltered by the lilac bush that nearly surrounds it. The inscription: James Allen--Father   29Y 3 M 22 D. He died 17 Sept 1859.  And also on the same stone: Margaret Harris, wife of James Allen--27Y 3 M 19 D.  She died a little over a year later on 30 August 1960.  They both died so young.  Since the inscription Father is on James's section, I wonder what happened to their child.
Above is an example of one of the broken stones.  It appears to have been wrapped with a piece of wire?   I am unable to find a name in the transcript that fits what bits of inscription I can make out. 
And finally this monument: Sacred to the memory f Merlin Hunter.  Died Aug 25, 1855.  Aged 73 Yrs. 3 mos. 28dys.
Obviously he lived longer than many that are buried here.  The condition of the stone is remarkable, if it was erected near the time of his death.    I do like that this, as well as several other stones in this cemetery have been supported in some manner.  Perhaps that was what the wire on the previous stone was for.

01 October 2010

Obituary--Everett Wilbur

This is another obituary of a child.  Brief, yet except for the date of birth, fairly complete.

From the 15 April 1915 Fremont TimesIndicator;

Everett, the seven year old son of Mr. and Mrs. Geo. Wilbur of North Denver, died at his home last Wednesday, April 7.  He had been an invalid all his life.  The funeral was held at the home Friday afternoon, Rev. M. Oldt, of the M. E. church officiating.  The interment was made in the East cemetery.

This is one of the brief obits that only appear in the community gossip columns of the newspaper. The East cemetery, is apparently the East Hesperia cemetery, as that is in Denver township, and would be probably the closest.  So young, yet, what a hard life he must have had, being an invalid all his life.  I always wonder what life would have been for these children who die so young, if they had been born in this century.   Would they still be alive?