31 January 2010

Obituary-- Mrs. Charles Kempf

This is an obituary of a woman who has intrigued me since I got married. We live on a smallish farm in Newaygo County. My husband had told me of the tale of a woman who lived there and was 8 months pregnant and died after being kicked by a cow. Yeah, great tale to be telling a newly wed who farm girl who wants babies. Anyway, hubby Had not idea of the name of the woman, or when it happened. Years later, while working here at the library I was entering the date from an obituary when it sounded familiar. I looked closer, and it was her. Only know as Mrs. Charles Kempf, literally from my home, here is her story.

From the pages of the 5 October 1922 Fremont Times Indicator.


Mrs. Charles Kempf, who lives two miles north of Sitka, died early Monday morning at her home as the result of an accident which occurred Sunday night. Mrs. Kempf was engaged in milking on of the cows on the Kempf farm Sunday evening when the animal kicked her violently in the abdomen, the effects of which caused her death a few hours later. Mrs. Kempf was in a delicate condition at the time of the accident and was to have become a mother within a few weeks. Besides her husband, she is survived by seven children, the oldest of which is twelve years.
The funeral services will be held at the home this afternoon at 1 o’clock and from the Holton Methodist Episcopal church at 2 o’clock. Interment will be in Holton cemetery.

And from the local community column:
The Community was greatly shocked to hear of the death of Mrs. Charles Kempf who was kicked by a cow Sunday evening and died before morning. She leaves a large family of children and a host of friends to mourn her loss.

OK, first of all, let me get this off my chest. WHAT is her NAME? That has bugged me forever, and I still didn’t have her first name after reading this. More on that tomorrow.
Second of all, don’t you just love that she was “in a delicate condition” and was to “become a mother in a few weeks.” Come on, she already had seven children!
More to follow tomorrow.

30 January 2010

Obituary John B Gibb

This is one of our favorite death notices. I suppose it isn’t really an obituary in the classic sense, but you sure get a taste of what Mr. Gibb must have been like.

From the Fremont Times Indicator dated 18 December 1879, a reprint, it says, from the Times of Grand Rapids, Michigan.
The Grand Rapids Times says John B Gibb, of Sheridan, died of starvation. Well if he did it was his own fault. He had plenty of property and could have lived in comfort had he not been so miserly. He lived in a wretched hovel on unwholesome food while accumulating for his heirs. The lesson is most sad.

I wonder if his heirs appreciated their inheritance.

29 January 2010

Tombstone Repair

There are many ways to repair tombstones. People have been disputing it for years and never agreeing. Should you use a cement mix yourself. Hire a specialist or what. Then we found this simple solution on the Internet. You can find anything there. While we do not recommend this style of repair it is interesting.

28 January 2010

Obituary--Dena Van Arendonk

This old obituary is for of one of our 1900 century housewives. This obituary is indicative of the heavily Dutch heritage for the area.

6 August 1879 Fremont Times Indicator

Died, July 30th, Dena, wife of Art A. Van Arendonk, aged 45 years. The deceased was a very estimable woman, and was greatly beloved by her neighbors. She leaves a husband and five children to mourn her loss. She was consistent member of the Dutch Reformed church and met death with calmness and fortitude. Rev. Mr. Vander Mulen, of Muskegon, preached an impressive sermon in the Holland language supplemented by appropriate remarks in English. We join the many friends in sympathizing with Mr. Van Arendonk in his affliction.

Very nice that the minister was able to give some appropriate remarks in English! Many of the residents of this area at that time were from the Netherlands and would have appreciated the “impressive sermon in the Holland language.” The tradition still holds in the area. A few years ago when an Amish wife and mother died when her house exploded, there was a large turnout for the funeral. Services were held in several area locations, only one of which was conducted partly in English while the rest were strictly in their own Germanic dialect.

26 January 2010

Tombstone Tuesday--Croton Township Cemetery

This week the alphabet takes us to Croton Township Cemetery. As you can see from the trees in the background, it is an older well established cemetery. Again this is one I haven't visited personally, but the pictures we have on file here at the library show a great feeling of the types of markers found in this area.
Unfortunately the pictures of Croton Cemetery are of a lower resolution than some of the pictures taken elsewhere. I am unable to make up the names on the stones, even when I view it at 200%. but they are great examples of "slab" type stones. Each has a different engraving on top, and while weathered, appear to still be readable, at least when these pictures were taken.
I love the ornateness of the borders in this plot. Lilac or Spirea bushes, perhaps, in the corners. Both are often found in local cemeteries. I find it interesting that with all the care that went into building the border for this plot, only 2 stones are visible. One at least appears to be a more recent granite type stone.
I love this pink stone shown above! Is it just balanced, or cemented together or what. Either way the Babcocks showed some individuality as well as creativity. And since the letters appear engraved, rather than an attached plaque as I thought at first, it should last a long time.
This family plot above shows a more typical bordered area. The simple border can easily be mowed over and there are several stones. They are of different styles and make an unusual juxtaposition
The above pictures shows the variety of stones in this cemetery. The massive old towering stone, next to a smaller slab style. In the background are first a lighter granite, with the slanted face that stands above ground. Next to it, by the presumably cement urn is a much more modern black polished stone that appears to have the lasar etching that is becoming popular.
Below the break on this one you can barely make out that it was for a Peters family member who died in the 1870's. Clearly it was broken from the base shown there, and then lay carefully together.
But finally, not all the old stones are forgotten. This clearly old slab style stone is still tended to. Not only are there still flowers placed there, but someone has made the effort to try to keep it upright.
May all of us be given such care after we pass.

24 January 2010

Obituary Amos E Forbes

A shorter post this time. One of the more blatant obituaries. It is from the 19 February 1879 Fremont Times Indicator and reflects the lumbering heritage of the area. This did happen on the home farm, but was a story all too common in early Michigan.

Last Thursday, Amos E Forbes, a son of Mrs. F. Forbes, of Dayton, while cutting timber on their farm, was struck on the head by a falling limb, and instantly killed. His skull was crushed, his right shoulder blade and arm broken and he was otherwise badly bruised. He was buried on Sunday, the funeral sermon being preached by Rev. Mr. Randolph of Denver. All agreed that he was a fine young man, and his widowed mother has the sympathy of her neighbors.

22 January 2010

Obituary--Clement Henry Abbott

From a 1901 Hesperia newspaper. We do not have the exact date, but it has to be after July 15. We just received the clipping with the year, and no name from the paper.

Clement Henry Abbott who was ill for two years with chronic nephritis and whose death occurred in Newfield, Oceana county on July 15, was 60 years of age, he having been born in Huron county, Ohio, June 12, 1841.
His forefathers inhabited New England in colonial days and resisted the British in the Revolution. An uncle, Chauncey Abbott was a member of the New York State Senate in the fifties. His mother, Ann Moore, was a teacher in the Empire State 75 years ago and her father, the Rev. Nathanial Lucus Moore, a Baptist, probably gave his grandson that inate predilection towards reli9gious thought which characterized his life.
Clement was a farmer and stone mason by occupation, in religion a Free Methodist, in politics a prohibitionist. He was trustee of his church in Walkerville, Mich.; at the time of death. He was possessed of a fund of ready humor and was a man of quick sympathy. These made him many friends. His was of the native type of mind, never happier than was producing something new and slightly different from all others of the kind within his experience, one that Emerson would class as a radical,--noble distinction—but above all he was a righteous man.
Clement was married three times; in 1865 to Sarah Peters; in 1873 to Emma Cornelia Hoyt, and in 1888 to Mrs. Celinda Jane Buck, widow of Robt. Buck. His children are Ethelyn T Abbott of Muskegon, Mrs. Geo. McGrath, and Edward Milton Abbott of Newfield. He has two stepchildren, Mrs. Harrison Jones and John buck, both of Newfield. He leaves besides, two brothers, Ira and John M Abbot, both of Hillsdale, Mich.

What sign of the times, when besides family names, and vital statistics, the death articles also contained mentions of political stance and religious bent!

19 January 2010

Tombstone Tuesday--Crandall Cemetery

Crandall Cemetery is located on the south county line road, on the eastern side of the county. As you can see below, it is a well maintained cemetery and in current use.Even those two family plots, which appear to have rather old family stones seem to be well kept up. The one in the foreground does no weeds and the plot in the background also seems to have fresh limestone chips and looks very clean as well.
I found at least one of the zinc tombstones in the cemetery files. I love these "stones" and the way they keep the crispness of their design. Even though Mr Heath died in 1876, the letters area easy to read, as well as the drapery embellishment is clear. What weathering there is, appears to only be a little discoloration. It is wonderful to see how well they hold up.
Alas, not all is well at the cemetery. As in many old cemeteries, there are the broken and missing stones. This appears to be the foundation for a missing headstone. There is no sign here that stone is nearby, although it could be propped up nearby.
Another sign of the age of some of the stones here in Crandall. While this Boyd family stone itself appears sturdy, the base ins crumbling. Notice the marble slap type stone leaning against the base. Perhaps something like that happened to the missing stone above.
Where I have heard the sound of complaining about bushes and trees being planted too near a grave stone? Oh wait, I think it was here!. I can barely read the name on the family stone of Crossley. And the smaller stones on either side are nearly hidden. It would be a brave genealogist who braved the pokes and prickles of the evergreen to attempt to read them closer.
I leave with this poignant photo. Our files do not say if this was a tombstone, or perhaps a boarder build around a family plot, such as those shown earlier. It appears to be a child. Was it a farewell to a beloved grandparent? So long to a newborn sibling?
A handprint of a loving family member, preserved in love for those who rest.

17 January 2010

Obituary--Charles Rowland

Just as a warning. This is one of those “leave nothing to the imagination” obituaries and is not for the faint of heart. It does not have a "G" rating.

15 February 1911

Blew top of Head Off With Shot Gun
Charles Rowland, Well Known Citizen, in Fit of Despondency, Commits Suicide

During a fit of despondency caused by ill health, Charles Rowland, an Everett township farmer, Thursday killed himself with a shot gun.
He placed the muzzle of the weapon against his forehead and discharged it, the charge tearing away the entire upper part of the head.
The dead man had been ill for months, having been afflicted with typhoid fever. His prolonged illness had a depressing effect, and his reason became dethroned.
The only person present in the house at the time of the shooting was Mrs. Rowland. She had just given her husband a drink of water and stepped into another room when the gun was fired. She rushed back and found her husband lying on the floor in a pool of blood. The ceiling was bespattered with the victim’s blood and the room presented a grewsome spectacle.
The deceased was 65 years old and had been a resident of Everett township for many years. A widow and one son survive him.
The funeral was held Friday at 11 o’clock.

As I said, this was not for those with a weak stomach. Probably should be rated PG-13 at least.

14 January 2010

Obituary—Mrs. Albert Beckman

This notice, probably from the neighborhood column had the poem directly below it. Signed as from the husband, I am not sure if he wrote and contributed it, or perhaps just picked it out.

4 January 1911 Fremont Times Indicator

Anna Helander was born April 29, 1882, in Sweden and died Friday morning, December 22.
She came to this country in August 1900 and resided in Chicago Ill., until August 1903, when she came to Michigan and became a resident of Newaygo county, where she married Mr. Albert Beckman, of Reeman, March 8 1905. This union was blessed with three children, John age 6, Harvey, born December 3 1911, and a baby girl who passed away a year ago last June.
She is mourned by a loving husband, a father and two brothers in Sweden, a brother in Waukegon Ill. , a brother in Los Angeles, California, relatives and many friends.
Burial took place last Tuesday in the Clark Cemetery.

I cannot think of you as dead
Who woak with me no more
Along the path of life I tread;
You have but gone before.
The Father’s house is mansioned fair,
Beyond my vision dim
All souls are His and here or there
Are living unto Him.
Our knowledge of that life is small,
The eyes of faith are dim.
But I’m content, that Christ knows all
And we will be with Him.
From loving Husband,
Albert Beckman.

I am struck with a few things: First--a baby daughter, unnamed who died about 18 months previously, and an apparently surviving son born less than 3 weeks before her death. I am going to hazard a guess that death was due to child birth complications. Second--so many of our pioneers in this area, particularly in Fremont, were immigrants, although mostly from the Netherlands. And Third—I have been amazed to find how mobile people were around the turn of the 19th to 20th centuries. Families scattered not only between Michigan and the “mother country”, but also across the country. And while not exhibited here, I was astounded to find family members who went cross country, then turned around and moved back! I never realized how mobile people were, above and beyond mere migration.

12 January 2010

Thank you for the award

We are so excited that we received another award. It is so cool to realize that people really do read what we write. We do enjoy doing them and love the comments and letters we get in return.
Now the hard part to do 10 things that make me happy and 5 favorite blogs. This is hard.

Things That Make Me Happy

1. My husband, it is kinda scary I actually married a man who can keep up with me and keep me on my toes. We match perfectly. It took me two tries but I found the perfect man for me. Spoiling me is also a big plus for him. His kids have become part of my life and I love them all.

2. My family, they make me crazy. I come from a family of 5 kids, 2 brothers and 2 sisters and then me the baby. My Mother did a good job raising us but created free thinkers and opinionated people who are all set in their ways. But we have great humor, love and respect for one another.

3. My furry babies. Sheba and Sophie are the center point of my life. Sheba is the perfect poodle and more of a child than dog (she is my sun, moon and the stars). I never wanted a Pomeranian they were the bottom of my want list but Sophie has won me over those little worried brown eyes that can melt a iceberg.

4. Sunsets, my husband and I escape often to go to Lake Michigan just to sit and walk and enjoy the sunsets. It is time for us just to relax and be at peace and refocus. Put things in perspective a mini vacation.

5. Traveling and experiencing new adventures, new people and places. We enjoy traveling and looking for the out of way places that shows what the place really is about. We stay away from resorts and tourist places. Always looking for sun rises, sunsets and nature.

6. Friends What is life without them? I have some great friends who are like family. They make life worth living. What is the saying someone to laugh with and cry with and know they still will be your friend even if you tell them your secrets.

7. A good book there is nothing like snuggling up with a good book. In this age of digital books you appreciate them more. The smell, feel its like curling up with a old friend on a cold winters night and a hot cup of tea.

8. I love the snow but not the cold. Seeing the fresh snow on the pine trees coming home the other night was so beautiful. So many people head south for the winter but they miss such beauty.

9. Good Music especially the blues and jazz. The best therapy out there. It can transport you to another place and time or just smooth your soul.

10. laughter from a child full of innocence and full of hope for tomorrow.

Five Favorite Blogs:

This is very difficult there are so many.

1. A Spectacular Mess is a wonderful blog very artistic with new and wonderful ideas. Always something new and fun on it.

2. The Cemetery Club This is a wonderful site keeping you informed of news about cemeteries and information on preservation. Interesting tidbits about the world of cemeteries. Always enjoyable to read.

3. Isle Royal by Captain Ben Kilpela always is fun to read bringing back wonderful memories. I love Isle Royale it is a little piece of heaven that has fallen to earth. I only wish he posted more often. I have hiked it many times and even though it wasn't always easy it was always worth it. Captain Ben has been taking people to the Island for many years and knows the island in all her moods.

4. The Digital Cemetery A informative site and a fun read. I am always interested in what is new one the site. Very well done. Unusual photos and information keeping things fresh.

5. Personal Past meditations - A Genealogical Blog This is a great site well thought out and very interesting. I always enjoy seeing what new posts have been added.

There are so many great sites out there it is hard to pick just 5. I enjoy so many. Thank you again for the award and comments.

Tombstone Tuesday--County Farm Cemetery

Well, sort of a Tombstone Tuesday anyway. That may look like a barren hill, but it is the cemetery where the county poor who had been residing at the county farm, or poor house were buried. Not far out of town, it does have stones. Where, you ask?
That's the story.
This cemetery lies behind the county nursing home. Above you can see the back of the facility. When the nursing home was being constructed, the local thought was that the older citizens living in the facility would find the hill full of graves depressing.
As a result of this thinking. All the stones were lifted and laid flat. They were, I believe buried with a few inches of soil. They are reportedly still lying there.
I never heard the story, until I first started working here in the local history room. My partner in crime, Sandy has been out there. We also have the transcripts of at least some of the names.
These pictures seem to take in a larger area then the names we have listed would account for.

The transcript show burials beginning in 1902. The last, recorded after a gap of 15 years was in 1933. The causes of death range from drowning, senility, cancer, even a suicide.

Its so sad that these stones were hidden. In my indignation when I heard the story, I felt it would have been more encouraging to those living in the nursing home to know others may be gone, but were not forgotten.

Apparently it is a feeling that was not shared at the time the current nursing home was built. Maybe my genealogy was showing

Another Award

I was so surprised to find a comment from a reader, Cindy Bergeron Scherwinski, who awarded Sandy and I with the Happy 101 award. Even though I know we have several followers, and possibly who read our blog, I am always surprised when I get some tangible proof of that. And that they not only read it, but like it!

As she states in her blog, the award comes with "some accountability" as well. We are to name 10 things that make us happy. And then pass on the award to 10 blogs that make us happy.

I will share the 10 web sites with my co-blogger--Dive #1, but I will list 10 things that make me happy.
  1. Snow. Always have loved it, growing up in rural Michigan. Was frequently thrown in snowbanks during my college years from the "unenlightened." Still love it as a semi-old, gray haired lady.
  2. Knitting. I learned in my childhood and set it down. I have rediscovered knitting about 6 years ago and usually have some needles and yarn somewhere close by. (Right now I am wearing hand-knit socks and a shawlette and look rather knitterly.)
  3. Spinning yarn. I have 3 wheels of my own and several drop spindles. I have made several items from my homespun, and have enough to start a sweater soon.
  4. Finding out story's about my ancestors. My favorite was about my 5th great-grandmother, Mary Sitts who was kidnapped and raised by Indians during the Revolutionary War period. Great story.
  5. My family. Granted, they can occasionally drive me crazy. (Ok, most of the time.) But Hubby and Older Son and Younger Son can also make me smile.
  6. Extended family. Up until last week when I started another part time job, I had weekly lunches with my last two remaining aunts, a cousin and other friends. "Dinner with the Aunts" was always fun, and I also learned a lot about Dad's family during these meals.
  7. Gilbert the wonder dog. This overweight red mini-poodle is exasperating as he begs (and gets) food from Hubby, but he is definitely a joy. Something that this confirmed cat lover never thought she would say. Of course he "protects" me from the cats now.
  8. Blogging. I often tried to keep a journal and always fell away. Taking pen to paper got so tedious. But I love to blog, as my fingers can type almost as fast as I compose. Much faster than the might pen. In addition to this blog, I have my original--Farm Mom Musings, as well as the Newaygo County Cemetery Ladies, also co-blogged with Sandy.
  9. Country living. I have almost always lived in rural areas, always in Michigan. When in college, I often yearned for "country air". I like the roominess. I like the stars you can see at night, and the plants and animals. Geese overhead, and crunching through new snow. Ahh. Can't beat it.
  10. Church hymns. I love belting out an oldie but goodie. I may not be the best singer, but I find that the words of a beloved old hymn will often soothe the soul. Current standby is "How Firm a Foundation." Great words. Great message.
Now, for my 5 blogs that make me happy. I follow quite a few, but here is a selection of blogs from different fields that always bring a smile to my heart.
  1. Bill's Blog--Bill Steffen is a local icon and meteorologist. I remember when I was first out of college he started broadcasting on a local television channel. His blog is full of weather related trivia and a vast knowlege of the local area.
  2. A Year of Slow Cooking--I have been following her after her vow to crockpot everyday for a year had ended. But she is always entertaining and I have learned so much. Also purchased 2 new crockpots in different sizes since discovering her.
  3. Sault Boat Watcher. I discovered her through a comment on my blog. We both love NASCAR. The pictures she posts of boats passing by her summer home in northernmost Michigan are wonderful.
  4. The Counting Sheep Farm is a blog written by a friend, fellow knitter, spinner and fiber fanatic. She home-schools, milk her one cow, and makes all sorts of crafty, farmy things.
  5. The Genealogue proclaims itself the be the site with genealogy news you can't possibly use. Maybe so, but it is frequently funny. Often thought provoking.

And there you have it. My five faves. I will refer to my other half for her 10 happiest things and 5 happiest sites.

10 January 2010

Obituary—Mrs Jane Wa_hter

The blank in the deceased’s name was blank in the article, found in the community gossip column. Not sure if it was actually spelled that way, or a typo (most likely case.)

From 4 January 1911 Fremont Times Indicator

West Dayton

Mrs. E. F. Howe, Correspondent

Just as the old year was drawing to a close, our faithful friend and neighbor, Mrs. Jane Wa hter, breathed her last. Surrounded by all her children and some friends, she bade adieu to all on this earth. She leaves four sons, Ira, Will, Bert, and Dick, and two daughters, Mrs. Jasper Sweet of Aetna, and Mrs Forton of Traverse City. She was a good, kind neighbor and many is the sick room made brighter by her cheerful presence. She was well known, and truly loved by all who knew her. We wish to extend our sympathy to the bereaved family.

This was succinct, as most notices were when in the community section of the paper. But the writer, while not giving many vital statistics like birth and death dates, or husband’s name, does give a glimpse of how her neighbors viewed her. And sometimes that picture of a person is as valuable as the straight facts.

07 January 2010

Obituary—Henry Bode

A rather graphic story, with out a single “alleged” or “suspected” mentioned in the entire story. The early 20th century press didn’t sugar coat what happened.

2 November 1911 Fremont Times Indicator.


Henry Bode, seventy-six years old, sets fire to barn and is consumed in flames.

Last Saturday, Henry Bode, aged seventy-six years set fire to the barn of his son, John, living southwest of the city, and was consumed in the raging flames of the structure. Mr. Bode was unbalanced mentally and the thought is that he committed suicide. When his charred body was found in the debris, the neck of a bottle was discovered near the arm and it is believed that the old gentleman took poison after setting fire to the barn.

Mr. Bode seemed to have a mania for burning buildings. About five years ago his son’s dwelling house was burned and the old man admitted that he was the incendiary. Suspicion, also rested upon him as the person who set fire to two other buildings, but this was never proved.

Last Friday a petition was filed in the Probate Court of this county seeking for an examination into the mental condition of the man and the necessary order was issued. It was decided to have him brought to White Cloud, Saturday, with the view to sending to the hospital for the insane at Traverse City.

Saturday morning the two sons went into a field near the house to dig potatoes. About five minutes before the fire was discovered, the boys saw their father going from the barn to the house, but did not see him again.

Mr. Bode leaves a widow, two sons, John and Garrett, and two daughters, Mrs. Jake DeKuiper and Mrs. Ed Zagers.

Funeral services were held at the home Tuesday, Rev. Henry Keegstra, pastor of the Christian Reformed church officiating.

A tragic story, from the days before Prozac and other medications. His birth date would have been around 1835, making him mid-twenties during the Civil War. Maybe this was a story of post traumatic stress syndrome? Who can say now?

Heritage and Culture

We have a new temporary display in the history room about Vietnam and the refugees experiences coming to Michigan. It is based on The Great Michigan Read book chosen this year "Stealing Buddha's Dinner" by Bich Minh Nguyen. The book is a memoir that tells of Bich Minh Nguyen's migration from Vietnam in 1975 to Grand Rapids Michigan in the 1980's.

After hearing the author speak I was reminded that each ethnic group has brought to America a part of their heritage through customs, foods, attitudes and beliefs. We are a melting pot of many cultures and we need to remember this. Just because someone has a different culture than we do this does not make them wrong or us right.

I also have been reminded how important to hold on to our heritage as genealogists we are always seeking information on our heritage but how many of us actually try to keep a little part of that culture or traditions alive? I would like to encourage everyone to think of a tradition and pass it down to your children and grandchildren make them aware of why we do this and where it came from. Give them a heritage they are proud of may be they too will write a book about their experiences and culture.

If you are looking for a good book to read pick up a copy of "Stealing Buddha's Dinner" and snuggle in for a good read.

05 January 2010

Tombstone Tuesday--Community Cemetery (AKA Big Prairie-Everett)

The rustic sign over the entrance is a signal that this is a rural cemetery. There are at least 3 little buildings in this cemetery. Two are plain jane white clapboard structures, quite small. The third is this substantial stone building.
The date of 1936 makes me wonder if it was a work project during the depression. The fact that it and the others have no windows brought up the fact that in this northern climate the ground is frozen for most of the winter. Most if not all of the area cemeteries have a "No digging" policy during the winter months. Some cemeteries do not dig graves after December 1, others play it by ear. During mild winters, graves can be dug longer, but there almost always comes a time when the bodies are stored at the cemetery for spring burials. That was the case for my father who died on December 26, as well as my mother-in-law who died in January with sub-zero temperatures. Very likely at least one of these buildings are not caretaker sheds but storage facilities used during the winter.
Above is a beautifully carved stone for Lulu Utley. The date is very difficult to read, but appears to be September 1880. The scroll work around the sides and the floral details and arch at top makes me suspect her family was a fairly well to do one.

Below, the stone for Felix Matthews is a plain rectangle, as opposed to the shaping of the above stone. The weeping willow is featured on his stone. His death in 1860 came at the age of 20. I am intrigued by the jagged line across the bottom, over his age. I am undecided from the picture if this was broken, or perhaps buried to that level at one time, The bottom has a cleaner look, bu is less covered with lichens, and better preserved.
Next is the rather unusual stone of Wesley Hawley. On the front, above his name are 5 circles with different engravings. The middle one has the initial H, the others are harder to decipher. I am not sure if they are organization symbols or not. He died around age 42, in 1905 so he certainly could have been a member of one or more society.
These last two pictures are a more over all view of the cemetery. The broken drapery covered marble stone in the foreground leans against its base. But in the background are many of the older, tall stones as well as lower, more modern granite stones.

Again in this last view, you can see how large the cemetery is. You can see the cemetery is still in current use, with a modern granite stone, as well as a wood and metal one near the front.

04 January 2010

Obituary--David Wilson Baker

This obituary is interesting due to the historical nature. Here was one of those border state citizens who had a hard time getting to where he could fight on the side he favored. And even though I know my Civil War ancestor died in 1933, it is hard to believe there were actual Civil War Veterans alive less than 25 years before I was born. (no counting, please.)

5 August 1926 Fremont Times Indicator


The ranks of the Civil War veterans living in Fremont were thinned this week by the passing of David Wilson Baker. This leaves but 12 members of the Grand Army of the Republic in this vicinity.

Mr. Baker was just past his 86th year. During his residence here of over 50 years, he was in the employ of the Pere Marquette railroad for most of that time. He was born in W. Virginia on April 14, 1840. Spending his boyhood and young manhood there he felt the call of the north against slavery when the war broke out, and was forced to walk for three days and two nights through the enemies territory to enlist in the northern army. He served the entire length of the war. When the war was over he came to Douglas, Michigan and there married Mary Jane Rhodes. They had two children, George and Florence. Mrs. Baker passed away nine years ago and his son died 11 years ago. He is survived by his daughter, Mrs. Charles Dickinson and two granddaughters, Marguerite and Mary Baker of Grand Rapids.

Mr. Baker and his family moved to Fremont in 1873, 53 years ago and has resided in this city since that time.

We had many Civil War veterans who settled in the area. There was a large GAR group in this county who had a camp where they met on Fremont Lake.

02 January 2010

Obituary--Vera Luella Traviss

One of the characteristics of obituaries during this time was the flowery language. Here the writer chose a poem to express the sadness of the occasion. Probably, with such a young child, it was easier to use poetry, with no personal history to draw on.

9 January 1913 Fremont Times Indicator

Vera Luella, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Thompson Traviss was born at Grant October 1912, and died January 1st, 1913, being two months and 18 days old.

This lovely bud so young and fair,
Called hence by early doom,
Just came to show how sweet a flower
In Paradise would bloom.
E’re sin could harm or sorrow face,
Death came with friendly care,
The opening bud to Heaven conveyed
And bade it blossom there.

The funeral services were held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Dan Fitzsimmons, in this city, at 2 o’clock Saturday afternoon. Rev. R. A. Thibos of the Church of Christ, officiated.

At this time most obituaries, were in the neighborhood news columns. Here are a few more examples from the same issue of the Fremont Times Indicator:

Nealy Tanis, son of C Tanis of Reeman, died at a hospital in Chicago, where he went for an operation. The funeral will be held Friday at the Reeman church.

Andrew T Squier, one of Newaygo county’s best know citizens, died at the home of his daughter Mrs. R. E. Kincaid, at Grant last Thursday evening, at the age of 81 years. Mr. Squier came to Newaygo county 45 years ago and started a saw mill at Grant. He has been a holder of large timber interests for a number of years. He leaves two sons and a daughter. The funeral services were held last Saturday from the home.

The entire community was shocked Sunday morning to learn of the sudden death of Nelson Noble, a highly respected citizen of Greenwood township.

Often we find that the names or facts in the “gossip column” entries may be jumbled or misspelled. I have seen the same person mentioned in 2 or three notices, with different details, and sometimes different spellings of their name. But each may give a different look at the individual not seen in the others. That’s why I love those notices the best.