30 July 2010

Obituary--Mrs Wm Sidler

This obituary is in keeping with my smaller obits theme. Not extremely small, but compared to some that have appeared recently, a much more manageable size. And apparently, a belated obituary besides.

From the pages of the 1 March 1917 Fremont TimesIndicator:

Too late for last week.

Mrs. Wm. Sidler died at her home last Wednesday morning after a lingering illness with tuberculosis. Her brother, J. Judson of Vicksburg and a sister from Schoolcraft were with here when the end came. Mrs Sidler has been a resident here upwards of thirty-five years and was a woman who was much loved and held in the highest esteem. Never strong at any time she could take no active part in anything but devoted her time to her home and family. A great grief came into her life seven years ago when Joanna, her only child, a beautiful girl of twenty, died with the same fatal disease. Two other children also died and Mr. and Mrs. Sidler were left alone. Mrs Sidler was a member of the W. L. C. who deeply regret her demise. The funeral was held at the home last Saturday afternoon and the interment was made in the East cemetery. Rev. Klerekoper officiated. Much sympathy is felt for Mr. Sidler who was devoted to his wife, giving her the best of care, and the hearts of neighbors and friends go out to him in his loneliness. Mrs. Sidler's brother, A. B. Judson of Ionia got as far as Muskegon and could get no further, as the trains did not run.

Huh? At the top it says her brother J. Judson, not A. B. And that he was from Vicksburg. Those two towns are nowhere close to each. And I can only assume he went home to wherever and was trying to return for the funeral. Early March in Michigan can have some big storms, sometimes the biggest of the winter, so that may be why trains did not run from Muskegon to here.
And notice that it says East Cemetery, since this is after the opening of Maple Grove, I will simply assume that this is the East Hesperia Cemetery. After discovering that Pioneer Cemetery, on the east side of Fremont was once called East Cemetery, I will have to watch closely. However, I remember seeing the good reverend, Rev. Klerekoper, as officiating at many of the Hesperia funerals, so will also use him as an indicator that this is Hesperia area.

28 July 2010

Obituaries--R.J Sweezey, James Morton, John Weiler, and Gerrit DeKoning

Today, I am giving a taste of strictly community column death notices. Probably they technically are not really obituaries, but still they may be the only public notice given of these deaths. All are from the same issue of the paper, and one individual was mentioned in two different columns, with of course, different "facts". All are lean on details, but at least there is something.

From the 10 February 1916, Fremont TimesIndicator:

R. J. Sweezey died at his home one mile east of Tyndall school house Sunday evening after a long ilness. He leaves a wife, two sons and one daughter to mourn their loss. The bereaved family have the sympathy of the entire community.

And again:

Robert Sweezy died at his home on Dayton township Sunday at the age of 59 years. The funeral services will be held tomorrow afternoon at 2 o'clock at the Tindall schoolhouse conducted by Rev. R. A. Thibos. Interment in Evans cemetery.

James Morton, aged 55 years, died early Monday morning at the home of his daughter, Mrs Mose Harding on Sheridan street. The funeral will be held at the home of Mrs Harding this morning conducted by Rev. C. E. Brenneman of the United Brethern church. The body will be taken to Hesperia for interment.

The body of Gerrit DeKoning, former resident of this place, who died at his home in big Rapids the first part of last week, was brought here Friday for burial. The funeral services were held in the Reformed church, Rev. J. D. Dykstra officiating.

John Weiler passed away at the home of Mr. and Mrs. John Thill, near Sitka last Saturday at the age of 75 years. The funeral was held at the Brunswick Catholic church yesterday morning and interment took place at Holton.

Short and to the point, and usually too late if you wanted to attend the service, these community columns still did a good job of keeping their neighborhood informed of not only who was motoring to another town, or who had company for a Saturday evening, but also of vital community news.

27 July 2010

Tombstone Tuesday--Pioneer Cemetery

Pioneer Cemetery is the original cemetery for the Fremont area. The stone memorial in the background of the sign reads:
Pioneer Memorial Cemetery
For nineteen years, from 1860 to 1879, this sacred acre, the only cemetery in the Fremont region, formed the burial place of many of the pioneers of the area--those who hewed out homes from the wilderness and laid the foundation for the beautiful and fruitful neighborhood of today. "Priceless the heritage they gave, and we these many years, indifferent to our forbears' graves, now bring our tardy tears."
This monument, dedicated in 1960 as a permanent memorial to these pioneers both known and unknown, by Harry L. Spooner, son and grandson of pioneers.
The quote in the middle of the plaque was well deserved. After the "new" cemetery of Maple Grove was established, this cemetery which was then called the east cemetery was abandoned. Many were moved from here to Maple Grove.
When local historian Harry Spooner began his quest to restore the cemetery, he found old stones piled up in the back of the cemetery. A old fence was found amidst the ruins.
Harry did much research, contacting people far and near to learn the names of relatives buried here and to see if the remains had been transferred. A township officer went through the old records for Harry and found records of dates when Sheridan township had authorized the money for building the fence.
Finally in 1960, after having the grounds restored, this stone memorial was dedicated, thanks to Harry's diligent efforts.
Lately, one of our local citizens and lover of cemeteries, Terry Wantz, has again made the effort to keep Pioneer Cemetery beautiful. Before this past Memorial Day, Terry pushed the city to make sure it was mowed. Then he, with some family members made bunches of flowers and laid on the forgotten graves of these early citizens.
Stones have been reset. Terry watches to make sure the grass stays a respectable length.
Once again these early pioneers are honored.

25 July 2010

Obituary--John W. Ball

I have been quite surprised at the number of deaths caused by "traffic accidents" back before automobiles were common. This obituary is another when someone fell from a wagon and died.

From the 28 October 1915, Fremont TimesIndicator:


John W. Ball, a resident of Garfield township, living about six miles from this city, fell from his wagon Monday and was instantly killed. Mr Ball was hauling beans to his barn. It is thought that the wagon struck a post, throwing him headlong to the ground, breaking his neck and causing instant death. He was 65 years of age.
Mr. Ball, who was familiarly know as Harry, was born in Wayne county, Pennsylvania, March 21, 1850. and came to Michigan when about 19 years of age to work in the lumber camps. He was married December 24, 1879 to Mary S. McElfish, at Evart, Mich. No children were born to them, but one boy, Floyd Ball, was adopted and was living at home.
The funeral services were held yesterday morning from the home and interment took place in White cloud. Rev. J. F. Bowerman, of the Methodist church officiated.

Did you catch that? His name is John W. and he was known as Harry? How did that happen? I always get so many off the wall questions when I read these type of things.

24 July 2010

Obituary--Mayne Town

While looking through our obituary book for the late 19-teens, I came across this name that seemed to ring a bell. This is the father of the twins whose obituary I posted yesterday. Less than two years later, the family suffered another loss.

From the 23 August Fremont Times Indicator comes these two brief articles:

Mayne Towne died last night in the City hospital in Fremont


Mayne Town died Tuesday morning at the City hospital following an operation for appendicitis. He was 54 years of age. The funeral services will be held this afternoon at 2 o'clock from the M. E. church.

And yes, they each spelled the last name differently.

23 July 2010

Obituaries--Ethlyn Alice & Evalyn May Town

A sad obituary of the death of a set of twins, in the day before 911 and Poison Control Centers.

From the 21 October 1915 Fremont Times Indicator:


Daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Wayne Town Pass Away.

Ethlyn Alice and Evalyn May, the infant twin daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Mayne Town, who live northeast of the city, died of poisoning at their home last Thursday. The children were left alone in a room for a sort time and during the absence of the mother got possession of a box of cathartic tablets from a drawer and ate several of the tablets. Both died inside of two hours. Medical aid was summoned immediately and everything done that could be, but it was too late. One passed away before the doctor arrived, and the other soon after. Father, mother, two sisters, three brothers and other relatives are left to mourn the untimely death of these two babies who had won the way to all of their hearts.
The twins were born on April 21, 1914 and were one year, five months and 13 days old at the time of their death.
The funeral services were held at the Graham school house Saturday afternoon, Rev. R. A. Thibos, pastor of the Church of Christ, officiating.

Such a sad story. Yet perhaps one that should be shared, reminding people to lock up medications and poisons.

21 July 2010

Obituary--Carl Harden

Since I have been posting some rather lengthy obituaries lately, I decided to start a new theme of smaller obituaries. Many are about children or young adults. Apparently the shorter lives gave less history to be flowery about in the obituary. Many short obits are simply articles that appear in the community (gossip) columns. Either way, the shorter obituaries make no less compelling reading.

From the 5 August 1915 Fremont TimesIndicator:

Newaygo--Carl harden, son of Mr and Mrs. D.L. Harden, died in Butterworth hospital Grand Rapids, yesterday morning (July 26), from blood poisoning. The young man, who has been in the employ of the Henry Rowe Manufacturing company in this village for some time, was struck in the left cheek by a sliver of weed from the buzz saw which he was operating one day last week. At the time no attention was paid to the wound, which appeared trivial, but a few days later his face began to swell and symptoms of blood poisoning developed. Medical aid was summoned, but his condition grew rapidly worse and Monday evening he was taken to the hospital in Grand Rapids.--Register.

It seems so hard to believe in this day and age of antibiotics and antiseptics that someone could die of a sliver, but it is obituaries like this that help bring the conditions of the past to life.

20 July 2010

Tombstone Tuesday--Parkview Cemetery

My featured cemetery this week is Parkview Cemetery. As seen in the background of this and some of the other pictures, it is located next to Grant High School, on the east side of Grant, Newaygo county, Michigan.
As near as I can tell this is a fairly recent cemetery. I don't see any of the older obelisk type stones in the pictures. The transcript we have here in the library is apparently a sexton's register, as the entries are all hand lettered. Rather than each page being alphabetical, they are by date. A quick look through the transcript shows the earliest dates see to be from the early 1930's. And this cemetery is still used for burials to this date.
No wiggle room here for "I didn't know that!" Cemetery rules are clearly posted. Urns dumped by first of October, winter decorations removed April 1st. No glass jars or wire baskets. No planting of shrubs without permission. And if urns aren't used by June 10, they will be removed. And a 10 mile per hour speed limit.
This hand crafted cross for Mom and Dad is located by, and apparently part of the Morrison memorial. Notice in the background that almost all the stones are of a modern granite style. Obviously these pictures were taken in the fall, but before October 1st. There is at least one urn here that hasn't been tipped over.
With the high school in the background, you can again see that the stones are mostly modern looking. Two are shaped into scallops or hearts. Another couple shown here have the laser etched pictures. Note too that there still seems to be a lot of space left here in Parkview.
Not all are modern granite. This wonderful stone simple says McCormick. Note date given. on the smoother section near the base area however is engraved Rock of Ages. A very impressive job. While the cement looks a little weathered, I see no sign of stones that have fallen out.
Another overall view of the cemetery. Again, full and empty urns and none of the older style of memorials.
But at least one of my old favorite memorials: The good old tree stump stone. I am unable to make out the name on it---_illey. Possible first letters are R or H, but I don't show anything similar in the transcript. I do love the are where the name is engraved. It looks like a section of bark was peeled from the stone and left to hang down. Beautiful.

16 July 2010

The End of Peter Nelson

One last bit about Peter Nelson. Or as this article calls him, Peter Nielsen. This article was taken from a locally printed history book entitled "Grant Area, Yesterday & Today" written by a local history buff, Art Nelson, who we suspect was a relative. (Lest you think there was incest going on, there was a fairly large Danish settlement and many names were repeated, thus Sena's father and Peter's father had the same name.) This article on the Hans Nielsen family gives yet another perspective. You can see how the details given here may have been embellished over the years, but the story is still essentially the same.

January 1, 1913, was to be a happy day in the life of the Nielsen family. Niels Peter, the eldest son, was to be married to Sena Nielsen, daughter of Hans Neilsen from south of Bailey. Pete was working as farm foreman for J.E. Roberts across the road from his parents home. Anne. his sister, was keeping house for him and teaching school at Ashland Station. She recalled later having heard her brother leave the house for the barn in the pre-dawn hours. Almost as soon as he reached the barn the whole thing was engulfed in flames, lightening up the sky. Along with Pete, six horses and over thirty head of cattle were consumed in the flames. When the embers cooled, the investigators found an almost unrecognizable human form at the base of the silo with what appeared to be an unburned piece of rope beneath the chin. Foul play was suspected but William Branstrom, the prosecuting attorney, said not enough evidence was present to have an investigation. Two thirds of a century after the fire, Pete's brother Marinus still insists it was murder.

The story is so sad. There was a picture of him in the second article that I reproduced yesterday. He appears to be a handsome guy, with his high stiff collar and even in the article I had copied from newsprint, piercing eyes. Justice may or may not have been done. I can see though how he could have been hung, by someone else or his own hand, by a rope tied on a high rung of the silo ladder, with the rest of the rope disappearing in the fire. Who knows how it happened.

On a side note, I found an article in the same book of another Nelson family. In the article it tells of a daughter named Sena Freeman. Hopefully the prostrate bride was able to find love again.

Obituary of Sorts--Etta Seymour

I call this an obituary of sorts, because it is more of a tribute to her, with a little bit of personal info about her at the very end. I have seen this before is some of our older papers, especially back in the 1920's when fraternal orders and societies were so much in vogue.
This is taken from a copy of The Hesperia Union dated 13 February 1925. I also wonder if it could have been written by my favorite obituary writer, Mrs Robertson. It is from the right area, and around the right time. And the style is certainly similar.


Like as a bolt out of a clear sky, the angel of Death struck one of our faithful daughters of the family Hesperia. And like the one family we mourn for Etta Seymour, the faithful life companion of our Manley, who yet in the prime of her life was snatched from us. And we mourn not without reason, for we are bereaved of a woman with a singular spirit of fellowship and love for us all in that way which was so dear to us, and which expressed in the various circles in which the family of Hesperia moves, both religious and social.

A woman of taste and refinement, yet so simple hearted and loyal to the littlest of God's creatures. A true daughter of the parsonage, she put heart and soul in the institution when her Reverend Father and Mother ministered to the Church of the Living God, and broke for the little lambs of Christ's and her father's flock the Bread of Life that nurtured them into growth, at the same time being big-souled enough as to find opportunity and enjoyment in those circles of adults where hearty comradship is so highly priced.

Etta was everywhere where cheer was both wanted and needed, and her sunny smile and her quick-witted mind, together with a fine sense conquered many a gloom and removed much discouragement. Music she loved and music she brought not only in the seven notes, but in rich worlds and benign smiles, that livened up those to whom they were given.

All this was taken away from us in the twinkling of an eye, and we mourn deeply and our hearts are breaking, but we mourn not like those that are without hope: We believe in the Everlasting life of those that trusting in Him that made the promise, that they that believe on Him, shall never die, shed that everlasting life in the hearts of their fellows.

Etta is not dead, Etta sleepeth, the same as her Christ said of His other friend Lazarus, and He will come and arouse her out of her sleep, when he shall come for His own, to the restored joy of her many brothers and sisters. such souls like hers never die: They have sown too much good seed to die: seeds of loving kindness, seeds of fellowship and friendship, seeds of life and happy, healthy laughter, and though these are cast into the ground with her, must first die, yet they live in the stem, the bud, the flower and the fruitage.

Though a grand chapter is closed so quickly that one wonders why the end has already come, yet the continuation of its tail is found in the living, never-dying remembrance in the heats and lives of those small and greater ones who have had the touch of her sweet life.

Etta Seymour is unforgettable. She remains a living remembrance till our own life ebbs out, for she has been part of our very selves, and when one member suffers, we all suffer, and when one member departs, we depart in part with it. we are too inseparably united.

We believe no better comfort can be given to our sorrowing friend and brother, Manley, and to her only brother, Ed, than that they realize that we are truly broken with them and are smitten with the same stroke of that bolt that so suddenly took their beloved one from their side, and that she lives, never to die again.

We commit them as ourselves to the care of the Heavenly Father in whose Bosom we depisited their and our Beloved one.

Sarah Esther Seymour, the daughter of Rev. Orrin and Mrs Rhoda Johnson, was born at Westville, Mich. March 24, 1887. In September of the year 1899 she came with her parents to Hesperia where the Rev. Mr. Johnson was assigned a Pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Here she made the acquaintance of Mr. Manley Seymour to whom she was married June 22, 1904, at Alamo Mich.

Besides yer husband she leaves one brother, Mr. Edward Johnson and her nephew Walter, also Evelyn June Seymour, an adopted daughter.
Sister, sleep peacefully, till the Morning Star awakens you!

Can you see why I thought this may have been the words of Mrs. Robertson? And can you imagine seeing something like this, with a triple black border above the fold the next time you pick up your local paper. Times sure have changed.

15 July 2010

More on Peter Nelson

The death of Peter Nelson sounded rather straightforward in the previous obituary. Then we came across 2 more articles from a different point of view. These were from the Grand Rapids Evening Press (later the Grand Rapids Press, GR MI) in January of 1913. Unfortunately the clippings we received were missing the ends of the story. But still a fascinating read.


Hans Nelson (another misspelling of his name) of Newaygo is Found Dead in Embers of Building.


(Special to The Evening Press)
Grant, Jan. 2--Peter Nelson, 26 years old was burned to death yesterday in a barn on the farm of Rev. J. E. Roberts several hours before he was to have married Miss Sena Nelson of Mailey, daughter of Mr. and Mrs Hans Nelson.
Today the girl who was to have been a bride is prostrated with grief at her home. The man who was to have been her husband lies in a casket at the home of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Hans Nelson, three miles southeast of here.
Nelson was the manager of the Roberts farm, which is across the road from the home of his parents. At dawn yesterday morning his mother, standing near her house, saw a curl of smoke issue from one end of the barn. At the same time she saw her son enter the doors of the structor in a mannor so careless that she is certain that he did not know the building was on fire. He carried a milk pail on one arm and his lantern on the other.
Nelson Is Forgotten.
The mother gave the alarm. Neighbors flocked to the scene to find the structure doomed. Amid the excitement of saving other buildings no one though of young Nelson.
When the barn was nothing more than a pile of blackened ruins the first questions as to the groom were asked. First they were put in whispers, but as soon as it was realized that he was nowhere around a search was instituted about the neighborhood.
Worry changed to fright. After an hour or two the bolder of the farmer friends of the young man, with tense, set faces started to search through the ruins.
It was 2 o'clock in the afternoon before the corpse was found in a sitting position at the foot of a ladder leading to the top of a silo tank. The lantern was beside the body.
The word was broken to the bride. who with her friends had spent several days in making her home pretty for her wedding. The girl went into hysterics.
Damage Is Heavy.
The property loss in the fire was heavy. The building itself was a new structure which cost about $26,000. Six hourses, a like number of blooded cows, several head of young stock and .........amount of grain and beans..............

And there that article ends. But the story doesn't end yet. Here is this from the next day:


Officers Go to Grant to Solve Mystery of Noose Found on Neck of Corpse.


Coroner's Inquest Returns Strangulation Verdict in Case of Peter Nelson.

(Special to The Evening Press.)
Grant, Mich., Jan 3.--As the body of Peter Nelson, twenty-six years old, whose charred body was found in the ruins of a barn on the farm of Rev. J. E. Roberts near here New Year's day, was lowered into the grave in the Danish cemetery this afternoon, Sheriff John Rasey of White Cloud was following up a theory that the young man was murdered.
The sheriff arrived here this morning after a coroner's jury had come to the conclusion that Nelson had died from either strangulation or a blow on the heard, rather than from fire.
This verdict was reached at 9'clock last night after the jury had deliberated for five hours.
It was reached after a witness testified that a small rope was found around the neck of the blackened corpse and........................

And there ends the second article. Frustrating? Tomorrow I have a followup.

14 July 2010

Obituary Plus--Peter Nelson

Peter Nelson (or Reter, as one headline named him.) was a young man whose life was ended very tragically. The notice of his death was given just a brief paragraph in the 9 January 1913 Newaygo Republican:

GRANT--With the announced time of his wedding only a few hours away, all arrangements having been completed for the event, Petr Nelson, living south of Grant, met death in a tragic form, dashing into a burning barn to save the livestock and being burned to death before he could escape.

Brief and to the point. Then there is this article. A straight obituary, with lots of details. We do not have the name or date of this paper noted. Nothing was found in the Fremont Times Indicator, so this is possibly from a Grand Rapids MI paper.

RETER NELSON (See, I told you one paper misspelled his name.)

Lost His Life by Fire on Wedding Day.

The citizens of this vicinity were very much aroused Wednesday morning when the sad news spread that Peter Nelson had lost life by being burned to death in J. E. Roberts' barn which was burned with contents. Early in the morning he left the house and went to the barn to do his chores and that was the last seen of him alive. His father and neighbors were attracted to the scene by the flaming building but any attempt to reach the young man was impossible, also to save any of the barns contents. they then began a fight to save the other buildings, and succeeded in confining the fire to the barn and part of a large silo.
Peter was a son of Hans Nelson and wife living three and one-half miles south of this village and was one of the prominent young men of Grant township. He was to have been married that evening to Miss Sena Nelson, of Bailey, one of the most popular young ladies in this vicinity, and the sad news brought much grief to the bride-to-be and their relatives and friends.
The barn was an especially large structure, and contained a large amount of fine stock, farm machinery, hay, grain, etc, and the loss is estimated as nearly $6000 (remember this is 1913 dollars). Mr. Roberts carried $3500 insurance on the barn and contents. How the fire started is unknown.
Peter Nelson is survived by his parents, four sisters and three brothers and was 26 years of age. The funeral services will be held at the Danish church Friday afternoon at 2 o'clock.

While a sad story, it sounds like a simple burn victim. But there is more.....

13 July 2010

Tombstone Tuesday--Oak Grove Cemetery

Oak Grove cemetery is located in the south east quadrant of Newaygo County. It is only a couple miles from Muskegon River, which was early beacon for loggers. According to our transcript from Oak Grove, the earliest grave is for Lydia Boon, who died in July 1968. The transcript also states that that the fact that she was the first burial was confirmed by G. E. G. Wonch's diary. Overall the cemetery has a very restful appearance, even it if may show signs in these pictures of needing a mowing and weeding.
Obviously this is grave is for a much more recent burial. A close up taken of the stone behind the owl says the grave is for daughter Frances L. Tallman, August 2 1921, to June 22 1994.
This picture below caught my eye for several reasons. First off all is the stone in the background with the figure of a mourning woman on the top. the stone is massive and yet so poignant. A closeup of the stone from the other side says only Dufort. The next thing that caught my eye about the picture were the two stone baskets, as I call them. My great-grands, buried north of Newaygo county, in a very rocky part of the state also have them and I think they are so unique. These are of different construction. It appears that the cement was first molded and there is much more than on others I have seen. There also seems to be a separate stone studded base for each of them. I marvel at the great condition. Perhaps someone removes them during the winter months, to prevent cracking. The other item of mention in this picture is the pink granite obelisk type stone. You seldom see these stones made of that material.
In this picture you can easily see the five individual stones. Not so easy to see however is the large family stone. I think a little brush cutting is in order here, as the stone seems to be in the middle of its little forest.
As you can see in this picture, the cemetery is in a rural setting in Croton township. The types of stones, as well as the huge trees all attest to the age of the cemetery.
This poor old stone has clearly seen better days. Not only is the writing nearly impossible to read, but it has apparently broken off and been reset behind the original base. I am not sure what the brown chunks are. Perhaps other broken bits from the base? But the base looks fairly intact, so I don't know.
You can see here that this is a fairly large cemetery. And again, the large trees and varied stones that are here.
This shows the stone of Elmira, wife of A. Bills. Broken, but even so, what a marvelous stone. The hand pointing to heaven and the beautiful scroll work on the sides. Perhaps the stone it is leaning on is the bottom of the stone. I wonder about the post next to the Elmira's stone. Fluted corners make it appear to be a monument of some kind, perhaps a broken obelisk type. but its such a small diameter.
Did I mention that perhaps some weeding was in order? This look like brush that needs to trimmed. The stone for the Crow family is almost lost.
Last of all, a glimpse of the beautiful setting for the cemetery. And clearly seen also are the cement borders for some of the plots. Such wonderful spot for the final rest.

On the Sidewalks of New York

Did any of you see this article that recently appeared? Someone found a tombstone while walking around in New York. The article describes the efforts that went into finding the intended recipient and grave.
Fascinating. Thanks Katie for letting us know about it in the comments.

08 July 2010

Obituary--Peter M. Miller

This is the last of the "Prominent County Residents" whose obituaries were profiled in what Sandy and I call the Black Camel of Death issue of the Fremont Times Indicator--16 February 1922. The headline proclaimed: Death Takes Heavy Toll of Life, Prominent County Residents Die. A heavily bordered box between the obituary of Mr Miller and the "popular under-sheriff" Thomas Ish read as follows. The Black Camel of Death has knelt at the gates of prominent and much loved Newaygo county folk during the last week, signifying a toll somewhat unparalleled. A Newaygo county physician said Sunday: "In the 38 years of my practice in this community, I have never know so many sudden deaths as have occurred during the past year." Despite the vigorous and comparatively even temperatured winter, there is much sickness. Physicians magazines are quite agreed that the "colds" this winter are especially apt to effect the stomach and bowels of the efflicted, causing general weakness. In the old, this is always dangerous. In the cities, especially in New York city, there are many fatalities from pneumonia and recurrent "Flu". Local deaths for the week are: Thomas Deroy Iss, Peter M. Miller, Mrs Lucinda Tibbetts, John Merrill. Here is the last of those visited that week by the Black Camel.

Peter M. Miller, prominent Newaygo county farmer and popular friend of many, died Sunday, February 12, at his home in Brookside.
Mr. Miller had been receiving medical attention for a considerable period, recently returning from Grand Rapids where he had been undergoing treatment. Though not confined to his bed he still suffered. Sunday he went into the basement to fix the furnace fire. there he was found by a member of the family shortly afterward. Death had taken him quickly and painlessly.
Peter Miller was born August 11, 1861, hear Stockholm, Sweden. He came to this country with his parents when about three years old and lived in Illinois. He then moved to Muskegon where he lived until the fall of 1877 when they moved to the farm on which he spent the remainder of his life.
On December 25, 1883, he was united in marriage with Fannie Erminnie Palmer and to this union were born six children, four sons and two daughters, all whome survive him, Leon A. and Milo A. of Lansing, Mrs M. H. Beisel of Grand Rapids, Orla, Glen and Mrs Cecil Hollowell at home. Besides the wife and children he also leaves two brothers, Charles A of Windsor, Calif., and Otto A. of Detroit, Mich., and Mrs G. A. Johnson, Miss Emily Miller of Chicago Heights, and Hylma of Chicago.
The funeral was held Wednesday afternoon in the Methodist church, interment in Maple Grove cemetery.

Even though this area was heavily populated with families who are from the Netherlands, as this shows we do have a healthy dose of other nationalities as well.

07 July 2010

Newaygo Cemetery

Newaygo Cemetery is one of the oldest in the counties and one of my favorites. It has many stones that are as unique as the people that settled there. Charles H. Robertson was buried there on 5 July 1854. Newaygo Cemetery also has many stones in an older section you no longer can read.

As far as to say it is the oldest I cannot say we have many small cemeteries around the county that has started out as burial plots for the family. Stearns Prarie also known as Culp Cemetery has two burials we know of that is older a Phebe Ann Deming 29 Aug 1853 and a David Syran Culp in 1853.

North Ensley, Dayton Center, Volney, Oakgrove and Bull Cemeteries all have burial records starting in 1860's, 1870's many in the 1880's and our records were very poorly kept in this county for many years so we really don't know. I do know there are many Native American burial grounds in the county so they are the oldest.

06 July 2010

Tombstone Tuesday--Newaygo Cemetery--Up Close

As I did with Maple Grove Cemetery, I promised to spend an extra week on Newaygo Cemetery. I mentioned I have never stopped in it, although these pictures are making me ready to drop everything and wander around in it.
Since my co-blogger Sandy is a Newaygo native and more familiar with the cemetery, I will try to twist her arm later today when she comes in and have her post some comments on the cemetery as well. But in the mean time, here is what I can share.
Newaygo was the location of the first permanent settlement in Newaygo County area in 1836. Other than the Native Americans of course. Because if this early settlement, I will make the rather rash leap of faith and say that I believe this may possibly the oldest cemetery. Its location on the Muskegon River aided its growth when lumbering reigned supreme in Michigan. John Brooks, whose stone is shown above was the first permanent resident of Newaygo in 1841. He owned a mill, was prominent in politics, and was a quartermaster for the Union Army in the Civil War. He died in May of 1966, of a disease he contracted during the war. This massive stone for Mr Brooks and his wife Lucina is indicative of his influence on the county during his life time.
This weathered stone is somewhat of a landmark in the Newaygo Cemetery. I have had several people talk about the Shell stone. This fine home-made stone was encrusted with the sea shell collected by this woman. I cannot make out her name, but the slab on the side states the shells were from her collection.
I love the bulk of this stone as well. It marks the resting place of Wm. J. Mead (born Nov. 4, 1825, died Nov. 1, 1873) and his wife Mary A. (born May 28, 1844 and died Aug. 11, 1873). So young when they both died-48 and 29--and just a few months apart. Did she die in child birth and he pined away? Was there an epidemic? Oh, the mysteries these stones hold. Inquiring minds want to know.
Of course Newaygo Cemetery has one of those wonderful tree stump stones. I am unable to read the name on the cross branch in front, but do love the twin trees. And did you notice the two little logs on either side, on the ground? All in all a beautiful remembrance.
This military marker for Henry L. Wallace who served in the 44th Indiana infantry. No dates are on the stone. The unusual thing about this stone though is the color. I have never seen a military marker of that color. I don't know if it was painted, or stained with something. I have never seen lichens that shade, mostly they are silvery gray. And usually the pines leave black stains. Not sure on this one.
There is also a mausoleum here in Newaygo Cemetery. Very nicely made, the stone blends very well with other stones at the cemetery.
Not all the monuments at Newaygo Cemetery are big and massive. This simple slab, set into the ground for Wadsworth is simple and stark. Although it is suffering the same danger that some of my family stones are, in that the sod and moss are threatening to cover it before long.
Over all though, while there are many new, sleek stones, because of the age of the cemetery, and of the city of Newaygo, there are many large stones, from the early pioneers and lumbermen who helped to bring our county to life.

05 July 2010

Obituary--Minnie Hopkins

I found this obituary interesting on several levels. But the most puzzling to me is why she was buried in Fremont? I can find nothing in the obituary that ties her to Fremont in any respect. Even her parents home is in another county. And her home of Bellaire is in the north-west portion of the lower peninsular. Why here?

From the 1 May 1913 Fremont Times Indicator:


Mrs. Ellsworth Hopkins Dies of Cancer in Edmore. Burial Here.

The death of Mrs Minnie Hopkins, of Bellaire, Mich., occurred at the home of her parents, Mr and Mrs. Frank Briggs, in Edmore, Mich., on Thursday , April 24, 1913, after a year of intense suffering from cancer.
Minnie Briggs was born in Lynn, St. Claire county, Mich., February 26 1867. She was married to Ellsworth Hopkins July 31, 1887.
She was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church in Bellaire, also past-noble grand in Eoline Rebekah lodge, a member of the L. O. T. M. M. and of the Woman's Relief Corps. In all these capacities she was a faithful worker and was never so happy as when busy helping some one who needed her sympatny or services. For four years she served as matron of the Odd Fellows home in Jackson, Mich., where she won all hearts by her kindness.
She is survived by a devoted husband, parents and a brother, and family, of Grand Ledge, who were with her to the end.
The funeral services were held Sunday afternoon at the Methodist church and were in charge of the pastor, Rev. W. J. Cross, and the Rebekah lodge. Interment took place in Maple Grove cemetery.

See, nothing about Fremont at all. I always have so many questions after reading obituaries like this. Drives me crazy.

04 July 2010

Obituary--Thomas Jefferson and John Adams

I couldn't resist this one for today. It can also be found here.

From the Albany Argus and City Gazette
Monday morning July 10 (1826):

No common event has clothed our columns in the habiliments of mourning. Two of the great and gifted of our country men, the venerated fathers of our Republic, THOMAS JEFFERSON AND JOHN ADAMS, are no more! It is not amongst the least of the events so wisely ordered in the progress of this country, that the Author of the Declaration of its Liberties , and his eminent associate in that duty, should be permitted not only to live, and to witness the prosperous experiment of half a century, but that on that day fifty years on which they signed and issued their Declaration to the world, they should be called, both together, from amongst a people so signally blessed by their labours. They were glorious in their lives, and in their deaths they were not divided. They have enjoyed in their life-time equal and the highest honours within the gift of a grateful country. In their deaths, the measure of their fame is full. Their memories are hallowed.
Mr. Adams was in the 92d year of his age. Mr. Jefferson was aged 83 years, 3 months and 2 days.
(From the NY Statesman.)
The venerable JOHN ADAMS, late President of the United States, one of the ablest and most efficient advocates and supporters of the Revolution, an original signer of the Declaration of Independence, a patriot and statesman, whose career was full of honor, whose life, services, talents and virtues, were the pride and glory of the nation, expired at his residence in Quincey Mass. on the 4th day of July at the advanced age of 92. His death on the Jubilee Anniversary of that Independence, which, FIFTY YEARS before, nearly at the same moment of time that his spirit left its earthly tenement, he pledged is fortune, honor and life to support, is one of the remarkable coincidences in the history of man.
Had he been permitted by the Being to whom he owed his existence, who endowed him with great talents, and kept him in that course of irreproachable virtue and honor which has rendered his memory immortal, to select the time when his disembodied spirit should take its flight, would probably have chosen the very moment when a whole nation were employed in celebrating the glorious result of patriotism, when his name, and those of his compatriots, was upon the lips of ten millions of people, and the voice of gratitude and joy was resounding throughout the whole of the American Republic...
Boston Courier Office
Wednesday, July 5--one o'clock.
DIED, at his residence in Quincey, 6 o'clock in the afternoon of the 4th of July, the Hon. JOHN ADAMS, in the 92d year of his age.
Annexed will be found the proceedings adopted by the authorities of Massachusett on learning the death of John Adams. The few particulars that marked his last scene are given in the Boston Ppers: the most remarkable one is, that having been for some days failing,--"On the Jubilee of Independence, his declining faculties were roused by the rejoicings in the metropolis. He inquired the cause of the salutes, and was told it was the fourth of July. He answered, "it is a great and glorious day." He never spake more. thus his last thoughts and his latest words wre like those of his whole life, thoughts and words which evinced a soul replete with love of country and interest in her welfare.

What more can I say?

03 July 2010

Obituary--Clyd Warwick

This obituary is for a young farmboy. It touches my heart, as my sons also are each a "lover of machinery". Life was rough then as now.

From the 1 May 1913 Fremont Times-Indicator:

Clyde Warwick died suddenly at the home of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Warwick, of Huber, with tuberculosis of the bowels. he was in Hesperia that day and was as well as common. In the night he awoke his parents saying that he felt very badly and wished he might have a doctor. The doctor was immediately called, but he was just breathing his last when the doctor arrived. Clyde was 15 years old and went to school in Denver and Huber, but being a lover of machinery, as soon as he was old enough to go with his father on the threshing machine, he was his constant helper. About a year ago his health began to fail. He was taken to Ann Arbor but nothing could be done for him. The funeral was held last Monday st Huber. We extend our sympathy to the parents in their bereavement.

Short but so sad. I notice that his health began to fail a year ago. That makes me wonder at the phrase he was as well as common. If he was frequently in pain or ill or what. Again so many unanswered questions. I also wonder what age his father considered him old enough to go on the threshing machine. Mine would have had to be much older than 15.

01 July 2010

Obituary--William Steven Hillman

One of our older obituaries, it is from 1900. From an area not as often covered by the local Fremont paper, this obituary again amazes me with the mobility of people and the way they moved around. Reading about it in history books doesn't bring it to life the way these obituaries do. Even if I never knew the individual, reading about the live of one individual in the history of our land makes it more real.

From the 27 December 1900 Newaygo County Republican:

William Steven Hillman.

At one o'clock a.m., December 22, William S. Hillman of Ensley, one of the oldest and most respected citizens of Newaygo county, passed to the beyond. Mr. Hillman was born in Vermont, Feb. 27, 1825. In 21827 his parents moved to Canada, where they resided until he was 17 years old, when they moved to Jackson county in this State, residing there about eight years, when they came to Kent county. Mr. Hillman was married when about 24 years of age and for a time lived near Greenville, where two of his sons were born. In May, 1855 he came to Newaygo county and bought of the Government the tract of land which he afterward transformed into a fruitful and beautiful farm and upon which he lived until the day of his death. For some years past, he has been the oldest living settler of Ensley. He was married three times during his life, the fruit of the first two being four sons and two daughters, two of the sons, Charles M of Arkansas and Frank S. of Ensley being the only ones living at the present time. His wife survives him. His health has been very poor for more than a year past, his son Charles having come from Arkansas three times to see him. The last time was about ten days before his death. A sister and her daughter, of Jackson county, were at his bedside when the end came, and another sister from Gratiot county arrived the day after the funeral. In all his long life, Mr. Hillman was known as an upright, honest citizen and his death is almost a personal bereavement to the citizens of Ensley, among whom he had lived so long.

Whew. This writer loved commas much more than periods!. What long sentences. But what a rich life is condensed into those sentences. But the details left out--Who were his wives? Did the first ones die? What about the poor widow? You would think they could at least come up with her name. And after that sister from Jackson county made it here to the other side of the state, they could have mentioned her name. And did you notice that his land was bought directly from the government? I would like to know if this still had the tall white pines standing, or if when he bought it, it was lumbered off.
A story so rich, but still so empty.