31 August 2010

Tombstone Tuesday--St. Bartholomew Cemetery

St. Bartholomew Cemetery, (or St. Barts, as it is commonly referred to,) is located in south central Newaygo county. The Catholic church associated with this cemetery is located Newaygo Michigan. This area is farther removed from the Dutch influence of Fremont, and has a sizable Hispanic population.
These pictures of St. Bartholomew Cemetery were obviously taken in winter. The sign is of similar construction of many of the county cemeteries. This one has the addition of "He is risen" attached to the top of the sign, indicative of their faith.
The photos reveal a well used and well loved cemetery, with plenty of shrubs and trees. Even in fall, there are clear signs of flowers, flags and statues.
I was struck by the number of stones reflecting the heart shapes. This picture alone has two in the foreground and another two in the background. Also prominent are at least two large wooden crosses erected here. Clearly St. Barts has not taken the stand of another county cemetery and banning these family made memorials.
I find this stone particularly touching. I love the rugged uncut stone with the simple brass plaque. And the mementos on top....fishing lures, an I Heart Basketball key chain....clearly signs that over 10 years later, Aaron has not been forgotten. I included this shot of the side of the utility building because I thought the artwork was striking, turning a plain pole building into a benediction on all who rest here.
While much of the focus here has been on the newer stones, this large Gardner monument signifies an earlier history to the cemetery. A faint outline of engraving along the top which may have given further details on the family, has been lost to time.
And in closing today, this large monument--an old rugged cross. Wonderfully carved, massive and ornate. But, alas, no family information can be seen on this beautiful memorial.

29 August 2010

Bonus on George Phillips

I was so intrigued by the obituary of George Phillips that posted yesterday, I had to do a little more research.
I dove into our cemetery transcript for East Hesperia Cemetery. There they were--on page 7. The entire Phillips family. Or at least mother, father and three sons, all on the same plot, with a large family monument. With dates, or least years of death for all of them. And the wife/mother's name.
I thought I would skim through the picture we had for East Hesperia as well. Not very likely, but worth a look. And there in the pictures I took last spring, there was the whole Phillips family plot. I could not believe it!
So, on the outside chance a relative may view this, and for the curious, may I present the Phillips family.
From left to right:
Marjorie Phillips--inscription: Mother Born 1834, Died 1885
George Phillips--inscription: Father Born 1835, Died 1917
James Phillips--inscription: Son Born 1855, Died 1918
Thomas Phillips--inscription: Son Born 1874, Died 1938
George Phillips--inscription: Son Born 1866, Died 1938

So apparently, referring back to yesterdays obituary, sons James and George were about 30 and 19 when their mother died. Probably two of the daughters at least were between them. That explains to me why he only had to bring up one son and two daughters alone as noted in the obituary. That point was had puzzled me.

Then I went back to the Obituary book for 1917. I thought perhaps there may have been a brief paragraph in the Fremont column stating Mrs Bird was called to her fathers funeral, and perhaps more details. And look what I found on the page after George's obituary. Another paragraph alright, but it was the rest of George's obituary. And here it is, completing the previous posting, from the 30 May 1917 Fremont TimesIndicator.

George Phillips was born in the Parish of Lintrachin, Scotland, April 2nd, 1835. He was the third son of William and Jane Phillips. Sixty four years ago he was married to Miss Marjorie Spence in Montrose, Scotland, and twelve children were born to them, seven of whom are living.

Oh, how I hope a descendant IS following this blog.

28 August 2010

Obituary--George Phillips

Until I started going through these obituaries, I never realized how many residents from my home town area of Hesperia were from Scotland. I knew the McCallum family and that the Robertsons were from there originally, but while I knew that Fremont was a Dutch stronghold, never realized my home area was predominately Scottish. It does make sense now too that Hesperia had no Reformed churches, while Fremont many. And that Fremont had no Presbyterian church, which Hesperia boasted. Goes to show, you never stop learning.

From the 30 May 1917 Fremont TimesIndicator:

George Phillips

Mr Phillips was a farmer in Scotland and came with his family to Denver, Newaygo county, Michigan, in 1881, taking up a piece of land, on which he has resided ever since. His wife died shortly after coming to this country and he brought up his two younger daughters and son, Tom, and after his daughters married and left him he and Tom lived together, keeping house themselves and were inseparable companions, and it was wonderful how they enjoyed life. Mr Phillips was a thrifty farmer, a hard worker and every stroke counted, and in his old age he was able to enjoy the fruits of his labors, having all the comforts and many of the luxuries of life, and when he rode out with his son, tom, in his automobile, he has said he "wadna change places wi' the king." Mr. Phillips talked gude broad Scotch and was proud of it. He was a great reader and deep thinker and was alive to the issues of the day and you had to be pretty well posted when you entered into an argument with him. A life-long Presbyterian, he was posted on the bible and knew it thoroughly. Witty and keen, he was like a strong bulwark in his community. He was seldom applied to in vain for help or the latest news or the gist of a political speech and his keen memory and originality of speech made him one of the most conspicuous figures of his community.
He bore his sufferings with a fortitude borne of the Scottish Martyrs, from which he sprung, and said no one need fear death, and he was ready and willing to go.
The funeral was held at the house Tuesday afternoon at two o'clock, the Rev. George VanWyngerden officiating. He was laid to rest by the side of his wife in the East cemetery. Those who are left to morn are his three sons and four daughters: James, George and Tom and Mrs. John Bird, and Mrs. Betsey Maynard, all of Hesperia; Mrs Belle Kennedy, of Hammond, Ind., and Mrs Fred Bird, of Fremont. Also two sisters in St. Minnons, Sterling, Scotland; twelve grand-children and five great-grand-children.

You just have to love it. The only date in the article is the year them came to Michigan. No age, date of birth or death. Yet there is such detail about the man himself. If this was my ancestor, I wouldn't know whether to rejoice or cry over this obituary.

26 August 2010

Obituary--Mrs Julia Dowdan

Another of the "two-fer" obituaries, that appeared in two community columns. These appear to be from the Hesperia column as well as one of the Fremont columns.

From the 7 June 1917, Fremont Times-Indicator:

Mrs. Julia Dowdan died at her home in Hesperia Thursday morning, May 31, aged 76 years. Mrs. Dowdan has lived in Hesperia over 40 years. She came from Montague with her husband, who was a lumberman. She had two children--a son, Fred Bede, and a daughter, who died many years ago. Mrs. Dowdall was a member of the Presbyterian church and a great worker in the Ladies' Aid society. She was a Lady Maccabee, a Granger, and belonged to Eureka Chapter O. E. S. Her good works will be missed in all these orders. The funeral was held in the Presbyterian church last Friday at 2o'clock, Rev. M. Klerekoper officiating, he Lady Maccabees and Eureka chapter attending in a body. Interment was made in East cemetery beside her husband, son and daughter. Mrs. Dowdall leaves to mourn his loss one grandson, Aleck Beede of Fremont, and many friends.

This, as I said was from the Fremont point of view:

Mr. and Mrs. Alex Beede went to Hesperia last Wednesday, where they were called by the death of the former's grandmother, Mrs. Julia Doudell, who passed away at her home there Tuesday evening. Mrs. Doudell spent last winter at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Beede.

It always amazes me that the spelling changes from one column to another. Not only is the last name of the grandson spelled differently for the son in the first article, but the second notice has the grandson's first name and and the last name of the deceased both spelled differently from the first article. You always need a grain of salt with name spellings in these old publications as everyone went their own way with spelling.
Either that or the editor was sloppy about spelling. Or both.

24 August 2010

Tombstone Tuesday--Sitka-Wilde Cemetery

Sitka-Wilde is not a formal or active cemetery any longer. It is located about a couple miles from my home and during the summer leafy months is not even visible, except as a patch of sumac in the middle of a hay field.
However in winter, something emerges.
Sitka-Wilde was never any thing more than a family burial ground, located in the south west portion of Newaygo County, near the crossroads known as Sitka. Once a thriving small community with store, church and post office, now only the little Methodist church is in use. But while so many other family burial plots are lost, Sitka-Wilde remains.
This stone is for Henry Wilde. His name rang a bell with me, and I found that we had used his obituary on our blog this past April. The name is spelled differently but the location, and this stone, and our 1880 and 1900 plat books put his name and family in this area. Those books show quite a bit of property in this area still in his name.
This second stone is hard to read from this angle. Our transcript of the stones list 6 Wildes, and one Miller. Only one listing: Wilde, Baby would seem to fit the writing we can see.
The transcript does have a different year for Henry however. Our obit for Henry came from the 1878 paper. The transcript lists 1877. Possible reasons for this: These stones all seem to be the same size and shape. They appear handmade of cement, with the names etched in with a nail. The one for Baby has lines etched in to write on. Perhaps there was an error made when Henry's stone was made. Perhaps there is an error on the transcription. I am fairly confident that the Henry of the obituary is in this cemetery, if that is not his stone.
I noticed from these pictures, taken from a closer angle than you can see from the nearby road, that in addition to the nearly identically shaped stones, there appears to be fairly tall cement corner posts. If you look close, you may be able to see two dark spots on the left back post, probably a signal of some rails of some kind that were once present.
So why did Sitka-Wilde remain when other family plots are lost in history? I dare say the lovingly made cement markers and the cement posts marking the corners of the plot. While untended and unmown, it survives intact, surrounded by hay field. The owner today carefully leaving the Wilde family at peace as his equipment farms around this little family plot.

21 August 2010

Obituary---Frank Rupar, Jr.

This obituary is of a young teen, and such a tragic life he lead. Another reminder of how life was before antibiotics and emergency rooms.
The Greenwood in the heading of the article indicated that it was in the Greenwood township community column. Greenwood is across the county line and this south east corner of the county was often included in the local Fremont newspaper.

From the 7 June 1917 Fremont TimesIndicator:

Frank Rupar, Jr. son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Rupar, died Wednesday night at Lansing after a short illness of paralysis of the heart. He was thirteen years and six months of age and was born in Ely, Minn., having come here with his parents to the farm on which they live near White River, about eight years ago. When he was a small child he was playing with his brother on the chip pile in Ely and a dynamite cartridge exploded, killing his brother and he losing the sight of both his eyes. He was attending the state institution for the blind, at Lansing, and had intended returning home in about a week to spend his summer vacation. He leaves, besides, his parents, four brothers and sisters, besides a host of friends to mourn their loss. The father accompanied the body home Friday night and burial took place Saturday afternoon at the Catholic cemetery at Brunswick.

I had to look up just where Ely Minnesota was after this news bite of such a dangerous play area. Sure enough, Ely was apparently a mining, the lake closest to Ely was named Miners Lake. The town is located north of Duluth, near the Canada border, in the part of Minnesota that wraps around the west end of Lake Superior. Apparently chips were the mining debris and in this case at least, live dynamite as well.

19 August 2010

Obituary--Elizabeth L Hevel

Mrs Hevel is another person whose death was recorded a couple times in the local paper. The first is from an area near Hesperia, and I was not "shocked" to recognize what I believe to be the style of Mrs. Robertson, my favorite obituary writer of this time. The later one appears a week later, over a week and a half after the funeral. Apparently the paper wanted more detail, which is provided in the second obituary.

Anyway, first from the 5 April 1917 Fremont TimesIndicator:

The people of Aetna and vicinity were shocked last Wednesday afternoon when Mrs Will Hevel passed away. SHe had been sick for some time but no one realized the end was so near. She leaves a husband, two daughters and a father, brothers and sister besides a host of friends to mourn their loss. she was a link and loving wife, mother and friend, was never heard to murmur or complain through all her suffering and she will be greatly missed. The funeral was held Saturday afternoon at the Aetna schoolhouse at 1:00 o'clock. Interment in Bull cemetery.

And then, with more pertinent detail is this, from the 12 April 1917, Fremont Times Indicator:

Elizabeth L Deater was born in Oceana county, Michigan, June 21, 1885 and died March 28, 1917 at her home north of town, aged 31 years, nine months and seven days. She was married to J. W. Hevel March 18, 1903. She is survived by her husband, two daughters Dora Amanda and Ethel Ida, a father, five brothers and one sisters and many friends.
The remains were laid to rest in Bull cemetery.

Two very different death notices. The second with the details loved and needed by genealogists, but the first, while bare of details, is rich in the flavor of her life. I think sometimes that is what I like learning most about my ancestors--the flavor of their lives.

17 August 2010

Tombstone Tuesday--Shippy Cemetery

This week's focus cemetery is Shippy Cemetery. Located only a mile from the southern boundary of the county, it is another cemetery that I haven't yet visited. But these pictures make me want to schedule a trip soon.
Shippy Cemetery has the rural feeling of so many of our cemeteries. It appears to be well cared for despite the tall grass you see in the foreground. That is only the weeds from the roadside ditch. You can see the flowers and well cut lawn on the rolling hill. And did you notice the stones behind the sign? One side of the base high above the surface, and the other a bit buried, as the stones, and presumably the bodies, lie across the slope, and not up or down it.
Here you can see the sloping drive as well as the wide deep ditches in front of the cemetery. With Michigan's past as a state covered in either pine trees, prairies or marshes, it is not uncommon to find these deep ditches along Michigan roads.
This picture is one I find so fascinating. The bordered plot with several different types of stones. The massive carved stone of the McInnis family is inserted into the border of this plot. Left of that, the smaller stone with a front that looks like a unfurled scroll. Other than the large family name on the large stone, the rest of the names are to blurry to read on the picture. I see a break in the border in front of the scrolled stone. I wonder if that was once on the border, or if that is a marker for the McInnis's infant son, whose name I see next to theirs in our transcript.
The stone on the border, that of the Carpenter family, is rather unusual as well. A sturdy though short obelisk style, it clearly is missing something. There should be more on the top of the stone. Perhaps an urn, or some other embellishment.
As you can see from this section in the Wright family plot, the cemetery is visited and decorated currently. I like the trees, but I can see in the distant future that the stone may not be so easily seen.
This beautiful obelisk stands tall and although any writing is faded, the evidence remains of carvings on the edges.
I find this an interesting stone, listing both the Tollman and Clough names. I am full of questions about why they are on the same stone. Cost? Neighbors? Or, more likely, related somehow?
As this wider view shows, Shippy Cemetery is a peaceful, pastoral place. Surrounded by fields, this rural cemetery is a place I must visit soon.

15 August 2010

Obituary--Mrs. Cynthia Dobe

Today's obituary is of a woman that typifies many of those who came to Michigan to settle when there was mostly pines and prairies. The names mentioned are names still found in the area today.
From the 1 March 1917 Fremont TimesIndicator:

Cynthia Isabelle Cain was born May 16, 1940, in Oakland county, New York. On November 26, 1859, she was maried to Joseph dobe, and on December 1, 1859, Mr. and Mrs. Dobe moved to Michigan and settled on the farm where they lived until their death. This place, now in Holton, Muskegon county, was all a wilderness and they saw all the hardships of pioneer life. Their nearest market was Muskegon. Mrs Dobe was the last of the early settlers.
To them were born eight children who lived to adult life. Six of them are now living, namely, Wm. Dobe, and Mrs. Elmer Huntoon, of Holton; Linnie Dobe, who lives at home; Mrs. C. J. McKee, of Twin Lakes; Mrs. J. S. Brown,of Gary Ind., and Mrs Otto McGee, of Fremont. She is also survived by 12 grandchildren, and 1 great grandchild. Mr. Dobe passed away seven years ago.
Funeral services were held Monday, Feb. 19, from the home, Rev. A. R. Elliott, pastor of the Holton M. E. church officiating. Interment in Holton cemetery.

A simple and short obituary, yet hardly missed an item of value to genealogists. Birth date and place, death date and place, survivors, spouse, marriage date, and even a maiden name. For this time frame, obituaries rarely are more complete.

13 August 2010

Reach Us Now

I have recently had some followers try to reach Sandy and I through the comments. Often though we are unable to e-mail them back.
To make it easier for people to reach us directly --I have added some Contact Me information below the picture of Diva # 2.
Hopes this makes it easier to reach us for more information.
We can also be reached through the Fremont Area Local History Room, whose link is also shown on the sidebar.

12 August 2010

Obituary--Dake, infant son

There are times, when the community (gossip) columnists reigned supreme, when a person's death would not just be reported once, but several times in the same paper. Three mentions of the death, but never once is the name of the year old child mentioned.

From the 5 April 1917 Fremont Times Indicator:

The infant son of Mr. and Mrs. Julius Dake died with pneumonia last Friday. Funeral services were at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Dake's parents, Mr. and Mrs. McGowan, near Wooster. Rev George Vanwingerden conducted the funeral services and the little one was interred in the Bull cemetery last Sunday. A little bird of promise was thus cut down, but it will bloom again the the garden of paradise.

Almost sounds like Mrs Robertson near the end of that one. Then came this small mention.

The funeral of the year old child of Mr. and Mrs. Julius Dake was held Sunday at the home of Mrs. Dake's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Frank McGowen. Interment was made in Bull cemetery.

More details in this next one on the cause of death, and the rest of the facts seem to match what was told before.

The infant son of Mr and Mrs Julius Dake died last Friday, of pneumonia. He was thought to be better and typhoid fever was contracted. The funeral was held Sunday at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Frank McGowan, and interment made in the Bull cemetery. They have much sympathy in their sadness.

Where was that typhoid in the previous articles? A point to remember when browsing in old newspapers for genealogical tidbits. Don't stop at the first bit of news, dig through the entire paper. You may find more items about the same death or other event. And each with a different point of view.

10 August 2010

Tombstone Tuesday--Sherman Township Cemetery

This week our focus is on Sherman Township Cemetery.
Unfortunately, we have no closeups of any of the individual stones there. But the pictures we have do reflect the cemetery overall.
As you can see it is a wide open, neat cemetery. There are few trees within the cemetery itself. Part of the reason the large stately trees so common in other county cemeteries are missing is the age of Sherman Cemetery. In our cemetery records we have an article from 10 November 1960 that appeared in the Fremont Times Indicator. It is about the first burial in the new cemetery, a Mr. Louis Rupp. And not only was he the first burial there, he was also one of the men on the cemetery board who helped to establish this new cemetery.
According to the article, 10 acres were donated by Larry and Gloria Hansen for the new cemetery, in memory to his parents. This plaque is near the entrance to commemorate that gift.
The article further stated that 3 acres of the 10 acres were cleared and fenced. At that time there were 170 plots. You can see here that there still is plenty of room. I am no judge of acreage. I think this is larger though than the 3 acre hay field on our farm......maybe.
The land here is flat, the grass well maintained and all nicely lined up. Nothing haphazard, as can be the case in older cemeteries with jumbled rows.
From the back looking to the road, you can see that all the different sizes and shapes of stones are modern styles. On some, you can also see the military plaque fastened to the back of the stone.
All in all, a peaceful place.

05 August 2010

They Turn Up Everywhere--With Obit--James Quigley

After reading a posting by Eastman Online about a woman who was remodeling and found a gravestone behind her shower wall, I had to write about this story.
One of my jobs in the Local History room involves going through old donated newspapers before the mustiness drives us crazy. I recently found an item in the 26 January 1983 Fremont TimesIndicator. It was written by (then editor) Doug Hostetler:

The Sheriff's Department called us this week with an unusual lost and found item. It seems that Deps. Johnson and Sutton have found a tombstone.
The two were dispatched to an accident to an accident on M-37 south of Newaygo near Derk's Marine. A car struck a grave marker that was lying in the middle of the road.
They picked up the stone, which was inscribed James J. Quigley 1895-1952 and took it back to White Cloud.
Max Jordan, county clerk was contacted to see if he had a record of this man. He doesn't. They contacted the Michigan Department of Health to see if they have a record of this man. They don't.
Finally the Times-Indicator was contacted, and he's not on our subscribers list.
Does anyone know anything about this man?

Sandy and I were quite intrigued by this. Not enough to look through the microfilm for all of 1945, searching for an obituary, but intrigued none the less.
Since the obituary index we had is still searchable on our computer, while we wait for our new one, I looked for the name of Quigley. Bingo! There he was.
While we still don't know if the stone was returned, at least we do have some info on him.
And if we find out the Sheriff's Department still has it, we will be sure to let them, and you know.
In the mean time, here is the obituary from the 12 March 1942, Fremont Times Indicator.

James Quigley, 46, Resident of Holton Eleven Years, Dies

James Quigley, resident of Holton for about 11 years, died early Monday at his farm a mile west of Holton after an illness of three years. he was 46 years of age.
Mr Quigley was born at Tipperary, Ireland, May, 1895, and came to Holton fom Chicago. He was a member of the American Legion and the Moose and Elks organizations.
Surviving are his widow; a brother Chris Quigley of Colorado; a sister, Mrs Richard Walsh of Chicago and his mother, three sisters and three brothers, all in Ireland.
Funeral services will be held this morning at ten o'clock at the St. Michael's Catholic church at Brunswick with Rev. Julian Moleski officiating. Burial will be at the Brunswick cemetery.

This obituary does clear up some items. If he died west of Holton, he was in Muskegon County, not Newaygo. Brunswick Cemetery is next to the church, right on the county line.
But why would the editor think he would still be on the subscriber roles, 41 years after he died?

03 August 2010

Tombstone Tuesday--Reeman Cemetery

Reeman is one of my favorite local cemeteries. Fairly small, and rural, it is only a few miles from my home. Neatly fenced in with a prominent sign, it is one that is not on the way to anywhere. Located in Sheridan Township, on a road that turns to gravel right after the driveway, it is actually several miles from the small community of Reeman and the Christian Reformed Church located there.
When the main road home was being "improved" I often took the road passing this cemetery, rather than the regular detour. I love the peaceful atmosphere.
The drive through Reeman Cemetery is a large U. In one side and out the other. The most striking feature is that the drive is lined with large cedar trees. You can see some of them above.
Other than that, Reeman Cemetery does not have a lot of trees within the cemetery, but is surrounded by tall trees. As you can see here, it is still in active use as a cemetery. Other than first name of Ralph E, I cannot make out the last name. It does say US Army. Perhaps this is too recent a stone for our transcript.

Here again you can see more modern granite stones, mingled with the older obelisk type of stones. And while the bushes are close to the Tanis family stone, they are not overpowering it.
That is one thing I have noticed about the cemetery. The shrubs, although large as shown here with the stone for Garrit Wesselink, are all neatly trimmed.
Here is one of the many Sneller family stones, a stately obelisk style. You can tell that this area of Newaygo county, near both Reeman and Fremont was heavily settled with Dutch families. The transcript of graves is rife with the names of neighbors with the old Dutch spellings: Van Eeuwen, Teusink, Terlaan, Boes, Freriks, Blaauw, Zandvliet, and Hoekert. This last family modernized their family name to Hooker and now some in the younger generation have changed back to the original spelling.
I close with a great overall view of the cemetery. You can see that all the evergreen shrubs are neatly trimmed. And at this opening to the cemetery, you can see the beautiful cedars on either side of the drive.
A beautiful cemetery, full of names of the families who still live in the area, all around me.