30 December 2010

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

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

First the June 4th notices:

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

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

This was accompanied in another column by this notice:

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

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

Providing further information is this notice.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

28 December 2010

Tombstone Tuesday--Alton Cemetery--More Family

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

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

26 December 2010

Obituary--Mrs Grace Hoeker

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


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

23 December 2010

Obituary--Mrs. John Engles

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

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

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

21 December 2010

Tombstone Tuesday--Anscomb Cemetery

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

18 December 2010

Obituary--Henry C. Coy

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

From the 2 October 1913 Fremont TimesIndicator:

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

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

16 December 2010

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

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

From the 9 November 1916 Fremont TimesIndicator.

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

And the full obituary.

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

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

14 December 2010

Tombstone Tuesday--Homemade Stones

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

11 December 2010

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

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

From the 7 August 1913 Fremont TimesIndicator:

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

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

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

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

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

09 December 2010

Obituary--Grover C. Shufelt

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

First from the 7 August 1913 Fremont TimesIndicator:

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

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

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

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

07 December 2010

Database Update

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

Tombstone Tuesday--Some Family Granite

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

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

04 December 2010

Obituary--Benjamin Meyers

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

From the 24 July 1913 Fremont TimesIndicator:

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

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

02 December 2010

Obituary--Adrian VanZomeren

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

From the 19 September 1912 Fremont TimesIndicator:

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

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