11 May 2011

Why we are taking a break from the blog

It is sad times for libraries all over and we have been hit with some major budget cuts.

Unfortunately as of 1st of June 2011 Linda and I will be cut back in hours and will not have time to do updates as regular on the blog as we have. After that date we may take on the blog again as private citizens and continue.

Linda does such a great job with her blogging and does most of it on her own time anyway so stay tuned, someday soon we will be back. Genealogy is in our blood we can't go all these years and just walk away from it.

Meanwhile we are enjoying some new adventures and trying to keep working as many hours as we can.

Thank you to everyone who followed us we love hearing from you. We will be back hopefully soon.

Spring is finally here

Spring finally has arrived and it is time for genealogist and history buffs to start visiting their favorite cemeteries and discovering new ones.
A lot of people ask why should you visit the cemetery if you already have the dates of the birth and death of your ancestor. It is because you never know what you might find.
You may uncover the grave of a child that passed on as an infant that left no records behind. You may find other family members buried in the area that you may not known of or have forgotten.
By looking at the stones in the area you may discover a symbol showing membership to a fraternal organization or religious membership. You may also find that your family member was in the military.
Once you visit the cemetery you often will find it a peaceful, relaxing place to visit in today's hectic world.
If you decide to do a rubbing it is best to practice at home first. If you do a rubbing or photograph of the stone please remember only wet the stone with clean water. By using anything else you are introducing a foreign element that will hasten the decay of the stone. Because of this not always being done, many cemeteries are now asking you not to do rubbings. Always check with the cemetery for their rules and regulations and abide by them.

31 March 2011


The Cemetery Diva's unfortunately will be unable to update our blog for a while a least.  Hopefully this will be just a temporary suspension and we will be back at a later time.
If you have followed our blog, please check back occasionally.  If we are able to continue, we hope you will join us again then.
Until then, please keep this blog in your memory.  Just like a treasured grave stone.

29 March 2011

Tombstone Tuesday

Will be unavailable today. 
Sorry to all our faithful readers. 

26 March 2011

Obituary--Fred Hoad

Just a week from the first announcement of an area soldier dying in battle, is this one.  Very different circumstances, as he was serving with the British forces, but sad nonetheless to come so close to the end of combat. 
From the 17 October 1918 Fremont TimesIndicator:

Son of Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Hoad Killed in Active Service in France Sept. 4
Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Hoad of this city received a letter from England October 12 conveying the sad news of the death of their son, Fred, who died September 4 in France while in the service of the British government.  Fred served with the British forces in Palestine and while there wrote the interesting letter which appeared in the TimesIndicator last April.  After serving in the Holy Lands he was sent to France for army service.  He leaves a wife and six children.  In his last letter to Mr. and Mrs. Hoad he wrote:
Dear Mother and Father:--I received your letter while I was holding the firing line but the thought of your prayers on my behalf and for the sake of my loved ones and being in the position I was in at the time when readint it, brought tears to my eyes. But thank God He has spared me once more and I am having a little rest at the back of the line, but I still put my trust in God as I thank Him every day not only for my safety but for my mates and I often try and show them their sins they are living in, to bring them out of darkness into light.  No goodbye and may God bless and help you all for many years to come.   Fred

While I realized that in World War II many Americans went to England to join the RAF, I didn't realize that we also contributed directly to the forces in World War I.  I don't know how common it was, but here at least was one instance.  And as I said last time, it is so sad that these deaths only start appearing one month before the Armistice.

24 March 2011

Obituary--Paul Ellis Steffe

As I have been entering information into our obituary index for 1918, I have been touched by the history of World War I.  I know that while the war started for Europe in 1914,  the US didn't declare war until 1917, and it was later that troops began heading over there.  These facts are born out in the obituaries we have.  I am currently entering obituaries for October 1918.  Prior to this I have had men in service dying of influenza.  Even a couple family members who died after visiting their brother in Camp Custer, near Battle Creek Michigan.  But today, I finally entered my first obituary from one who died in conflict.

From the 10 October 1918 Fremont TimesIndicator:

Son of Rev. and Mrs. J. W. Steffe Was Killed in Action in France August 30
Corporal Paul Ellis Steffe of Co. F, 126 Inf., 32d Div. F. F., son of Rev. Jacob W. and Julia A. Steffe died in France, August 30, 1918, from the effects of wounds received in action.
The first of July, 1917, he enlisted in Jackson, Mich., and was a member of Co. L, 31st Michigan, until the National Guard was disbanded and merged into Co. F, 126 Inf.  From Jackson he went to Grayling, from there to Waco, Texas.  The middle of January they were sent to Camp Merritt, N. J., where they remained in barracks until February 16, at which time they sailed for France, arriving at a port of France march 4, 1918.  Their first training was received at Champlette, and from there they were sent to Alsace, and then moved farther north to Lorraine.
When he came out of action after the battle of Chateau Thierry, which was his third offensive, his captain had been killed in action and only 28 out of his company were left.  The 32d Division was known as the "Iron Jaw Division" and was used as shock troops.  Paul wor his sharp-shooter's medal which he had received for accuracy.
After the battle at Chauteau Thierry the 126th went back into the woods for a much needed and well deserved rest, but they soon received their orders to move on to St. Mihiel, his fourth offensive, where he was wounded so severely that he died August 30th.
Paul was of a very bright and cheerful disposition and never during the past year has there been a complaint of any kind in any of his letters home, nothing but hope and cheer and always the word that he wanted to stay by it until the end.
Paul's death is the first death in a family of ten, and while it is a crushing blow to them all, it is with pride they can know and feel that never was there a cleaner, better or braver life ever given for its country and humanity than his.  It can be truthfully said of him, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."  John 15:13--Newaygo Republican.

Even though this article was in the Fremont TimesIndicator, it was reprinted from the Newaygo paper as indicated above.  What I find especially touching is the fact that the first Newaygo county death from combat, appears just over a month from the end of the war.

22 March 2011

Tombstone Tuesday--The Local Touch

One thing I find fascinating about our area cemeteries is how the various cemeteries reflect the local landscape. 
I have mentioned before how Curtice cemetery has so many of the cement markers.  Is it just coincidence that there is a nearby ghost town (Marlborough)  that was home to a cement plant?  There are so many of these cement markers that range from ones with professional looking engravings...
to the ones like my Great-grandfather's stone here.  It clearly was hand crafted. 
In the less affluent parts of the county, it is not uncommon to find more temporary markers. 
These wooden ones may not last long but while there they are there, they stand in memory of the departed.
This may not be as temporary as the wooden crosses, but it probably does have a limited shelf-life compared to granite.  But in this part of the country where lumbering and wood cutting was so prevalent, it is not rare to see these large saw blades.  I have a couple in my garage.  So it is a case of using what was at hand as a marker, together with the talents of those left behind.
But the real local touch comes from the stone markers.  Some parts of the county, like much of Michigan are low, flat, and sandy or marshy.  Other areas, thanks to the receded glaciers of the Ice Age, are full of stones and gravel.  These rolling hills and rocky areas are where you find piles of fieldstones, as well as the cemeteries that have monuments like the ones here.
Clearly using what was at hand, this stone from Ashland Cemetery is studded with field stones.
This stone basket style urn is from just north of Newaygo in Lake county.  Hawkins Road Cemetery is surrounded by fields with piles of stones, houses with stone exteriors, and fences of piled stones.  Clearly a case of using what was available to make monuments to the departed.

19 March 2011

Obituary--Mrs. Wm. Robertson

Fremont Area District Library's Local History Room was shocked and reeling at the word that Mrs Robertson's obituary had been found.  (Sorry, I think she influenced me more than I realized.)
I suppose I knew this day would come.  I must admit that I was surprised to feel such a sense of loss when I turned the page in our 1916-1919 obituary book and came across this one.  I have come to love Mrs. Robertson's writings in the gossip columns of the paper, and especially the unforgettable obituaries written by her.  She has seemed like a friend, someone I would like to swap articles with, to have her critique me.
Even though she has been gone for over 90 years, she touched me.  I'm going to miss her writing.

From the 9 May 1918 Fremont TimesIndicator:

Death Came Last Wednesday After Months of Illness From Cancer--Funeral Held Saturday.
Mrs. Wm. Robertson, one of Newaygo county's best known and most beloved women, passed away at her home, eight miles north and one mile west of this city, last Wednesday night, May 1, after an illness of several months.  She was 59 years, 5 months and 12 days old.
Mrs. Robertson entered Hackley hospital last fall and underwent an operation for cancer but relief was only temporary.  About four weeks ago she was again taken to the hospital but her condition continued to grow worse and she was brought home last week Tuesday.  She expired the following day.
Mrs. Robertson was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel McKay and was born in Cambletown, Scotland, Nov. 20, 1858.  At the age of 13 she came with her parents to the United States and located in Montague, Michigan, where they remained for about a year.  They then moved to their farm in Greenwood township, Oceana county, where they lived for many hears.  At the age of seventeen she began to teach school and taught for eleven years.
In November, 1886, she was united in marriage to Mr. Wm. Robertson and passed away on the farm to which she went as a bride.  To Mr. and Mrs. Robertson were born three children, Minnie, Donald McKay and Marjorie Isabel.  The former died in infancy.
Mrs Robertson was well known to the readers of the Times-Indicator through her letters which appeared almost weekly in this paper under a Hesperia heading.  For more than twenty years she covered the Hesperia district, and her column was sought with eagerness by many who found in her original and resourceful comment an interest and an inspiration.  Toward the last when too weak to write she dictated the letters which appeared in the paper.
Mrs. Robertson was a woman of boundless energy and unflagging activity.  She was a tireless worker in church, Grange and Literary club and in spite of her multifarious duties she never shirked a responsibility.  She loved her home and delighted in entertaining relative and friend at "Bunker Hill."  The welcome was always cordial and sincere.
Mrs. Robertson was proud of her Scotch ancestry and loved the land of her nativity.  She never tired of telling Scotch stories or singing Scotch songs.  Many of her choicest writings were in the language of the Scot.  She was a member of the Clan McCallum.
The funeral services were held Saturday afternoon at the home conducted by Rev. M. Klerekoper, pastor of the Hesperia Presbyterian church of which Mrs. Robertson was a member.  A large number of relatives, friends, and neighbors came to pay their last tribute of respect to the one whom they held in affectionate regard.  The floral offerings were many and beautiful.  The body was laid to rest in East cemetery, Hesperia.

I have definitely lost a friend.  But both Sandy and I were delighted to find so many of the things we suspected about her were true.  She was Scotch, Presbyterian, a former teacher, acquainted with the McCallum family and familiar with Hesperia as well as the Denver and Dayton township areas.  The only surprise was when I reviewed the obituaries we had labeled with her name.  Only one was dated after this date.  But that was one for Etta Seymour.  Although I hadn't seen any other Mrs Robertson obits around this time, this one (dated Feb 1925) sure seemed to have the Mrs. Robertson style. (My favorite line: Etta is not dead. Etta sleepeth,)  But whether we saw her name or were guessing on her style, all the other obituaries attributed to Mrs. Robertson were during the time she wrote. 
So long, Mrs. Robertson.  I am going to miss you.  But I do wish I knew your first name.

17 March 2011

Obituary--Orlando McNabb

I've mentioned how sometimes when I read an obituary as I am updating our database one just screams to be posted.  This is one of those.  He sounds like quite a character: soldier, turned doctor, turned lawyer, turned lumberman, turned gold miner in one lifetime.  
From the 24 January 1918 Fremont TimesIndicator:

Former Local Attorney and Brother of Dr. J. W. McNabb Passed Away January 11
Milo A. white received word Friday from Dr. J. W. McNabb, who is spending the winter in Darling, Miss., that Orlando McNabb, twin brother of Dr. McNabb, died at the Soldiers Home near Los Angeles, California, on January 11, 1918.  Orlando McNabb was well know in this community about 30 years ago and was one of the leading members of the local bar.  He at one time served as village attorney and was celebrated for his efficient and direct methods of securing practical justice in some instances without resorting to the tedious delays of the courts. 
Mr. McNabb was born in Tuscarawas county, Ohio, Jan. 20, 1846.  His parents were natives of Ohio and were of Scotch Irish descent.  He attended school until 28 years of age, and February 7, 1864 enlisted in CO. A, 155 Ind Reg.  serving one year and was honorably discharged at Dover, Deleware, in September, 1865.  After his return from the army he commenced the study of medicine with Hector & Hill in Rochester, Ind.  He continued his studies four years, attending one course of lectures at the University of Michigan.
In May, 1869 he went to Hesperia Mich., and commenced the practice of his profession.  In 1873 he abandoned his profession and went to Chicago, where he gave his attention to the study of law until 1876, then went to Peru, Ind., and practiced his profession three years.  January 6, 1881 he settled in Fremont and practiced law here several years.
In the latter years and after leaving Fremont he first engaged in timber cruising work in Wisconsin and Northing Michigan, later going to California and Nevada where he prospected for mines andworked at gold mining when his health would permit.  He was possessed of a very brilliant mind and had he continued in the legal profession would undoubtedly have reach a high position on the bench.  His dislike of confinement and love for the out-of-doors caused him to follow his inclinations and abandon law.  His end came as a result of physical and mental breakdown following a sever accident nearly a year ago.

What a refreshing character he must have been!  And don't you want to know just what he did to be "celebrated for his efficient and direct methods of securing practical justice in some instances without resorting to the tedious delays of the courts."?  He is the type of person who is so delightful to find in your family tree, a bit of a rascal perhaps, who left a trail of information behind to follow.

15 March 2011

Tombstone Tuesday--Military Markers

While browsing our cemetery pictures to find a theme for today, I wondered from cemetery to cemetery (by pictures, not literally.)  Different markers and ideas, but nothing really grabbed me.  Then I remembered an idea I had been kicking around and decided it was time. 
Many of the pictures we have show the flag holders and military markers that vary from war to war.  Here just a few of what I've found.
This flag holder from the Everett-Big Prairie Cemetery or Community Cemetery as it is called on our index,  caught my eye because of its unusual shape.  I have not seen many of like this one from the Spanish American War.  The name of the veteran was not included in the picture, but the marker seems to be by a large old monument.  One of my Grandfather's cousins also fought in this war, although he died in World War I.  I haven't found his grave, but I presume he would have the World War I marker.

The above marker and the one below were from two different years on my Great Uncle Bert's grave.  The above one is in a common star shape and says veteran.  Below you can see one that says American Legion on it.
The stone on Uncle Bert's grave is the military marker that was typical of military stones, and it gives his rank, and the unit he was in: Co G  64 Infantry, World War I.  His wife was the Aunt Lyla that my dad made a stone for. They are found in Clark Cemetery, west of Fremont.

My Great Great Grandpa Armenus was my first discovery in doing my genealogy when I found him in the Michigan 1890 Veterans Census Index.  My thrill at connecting with him was dimmed by his flush stone that regularly needs to be dug out and made visible again.  Above and below are his military flagholder, showing him to be a member of the Grand Army of the Republic.
The holder is in great condition.  GGGramps is in Hawkins Road Cemetery, just north of Newaygo County, in Lake County. 
As is this stone and marker found in the East Hesperia cemetery.  The flag holder is also GAR.  I suspect that the worn marble slab may  be a military stone. 
Last of all are these: the flag holder and plaque marker for my Grampa's younger cousin, Paul Davis.  He grew up with my Great-Granddad who was his uncle/stepfather.  I was forever finding information on him because he enlisted under my GGranddad's surname, rather than his own, as a tribute for being raised by him.  While I neglected to turn the flag holder around to see the front it when taking the picture, you can see shape is different than the previously shown holders.  The bronze marker, the kind now used rather than marble, I find unique because it only has his first name.  Perhaps the confusion caused by his enlisting as a Gilbert, while his family name was Davis is the reason. I have found the news articles from when his body was brought back from France after the war so even though he died in France, he is interred here. 
Cousin Paul is also in the same cemetery as my GGGrandpa Armenus, just outside the county.  I often stop and hello to both, assuming I can find Armenus's grave.

12 March 2011

Obituary--Ellen Amelia (Mrs. Henry) Coy

This is another obituary of a woman whose obituary appeared in the fall of 1917.  Again born out of town, even out of state in this case, Mrs. Coy was very active during her long life.  The obituary of her husband was previously posted.  Now is her turn to shine.

From the 8 November 1917  Fremont TimesIndicator:


Eighty-three years ago in the little town of Medina, Ohio, Ellen Amelia Harrington was born, and this place was her home for nearly thirty years when she came as one of the pioneers to Michigan.  Three years later she was married to Henry Coy of Fremont, where together they built and occupied the first fram house which was their home for nineteen years.  They then removed to a farm one and one-half miles northwest of Hesperia where they lived until a few years ago when they both being aged, went to Grand Raids to live with their daughter, at whose home Mrs. Coy passed away very suddenly October 31, 1917 and was laid to rest by the side of husband in Fairplains cemetery, November 2.  Rev. Garfield of Berean Baptist church officiated, and Mrs. Mary E. Bodwell conducted the services for the W.C.T.U. which order came in a body.
Mrs. Coy was active in all good and helpful things, having had charge of one of the stations for relief work among the soldiers of the civil war.  She was one of the Crusade Mothers in the W.C.T. U work and helped organize the work among the women and children of Newaygo county.  In this work she retained an active interest until the last, having helped to raise funds and distributed literature during the fight last Fall to make Michigan dry.
She was a devoted wife and mother and with her sweet cheerful personality endeared herself to all who knew her.  Two daughters and the husband preceded her in death, and she leaves to mourn her loss besides countless friends, four daughters, Mrs. Carrie Clifford of Washington, Mrs. Sarah Howe, Ohio, Mrs. Ollie Waterman, 2 Travis St., Grand Rapids, Mrs. Emma Robbins, one son, Charles E. Coy, 125 Ottawa St. Muskegon, eight grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

Mrs. Coy lived nearly 50 years longer than Mrs. Davis in the previous obituary.  And truly an active live, helping with relief for soldiers of the civil war, as well as active in the Temperance Union almost to the end.  And her tie to the area is clear, having lived for many years in Fremont and Hesperia.  
One thing puzzles me here.  (There is always something you know.)  His obituary said he married Ellen Tanner.  Her obituary said her maiden name was Harrington.  No mention of a previous marriage.  Did she have a first husband that died in the Civil War or something? I hate it when obits contradict each other, or leave out marriages altogether. 

11 March 2011

In memory of a dear friend

Linda has been after me for quite a while to write this posting but to be honest it is a hard one to write. On 22 November 2010 we lost a dear friend, mentor and co-conspirator. Terry Earl Wantz passed from this world into the next.

Terry authored many books on Newaygo Counties history and I am sure that anyone researching in this county has come across his work and name. Terry has been the "to go to person" for any questions on the county. His interests ranged from the Civil War, Post offices to lumbering and every thing in between. He always decorated the graves of the counties veterans for Memorial Day often at his own expense. Keeping the cemeteries as a memorial to the county veterans and the service they gave to our country.

I have many fond memories of Terry from his coming into the Local History Room to share a new discovery. Honking his horn early in the morning in my driveway yelling to get moving we were heading out to a cemetery usually Surarrer Cemetery ( I like to sleep in late on my days off). Then came the lessons in Witching (Divining). Terry would often get teased about it but he was very good at it. Terry would find grave sites, water or foundations of old buildings among other things. He had come from a long line of people we used this ability and was very proud of his skill. When he first tried teaching me I also learned he had a lot of patience, it took me a while since the minute the rods would move I'd drop them or hold on to tight for them to move. But I am now proud to say it works for me too, just not as well.

Terry was always busy between his history projects, volunteering at Bay Cliff Camp, collecting and going to yard sales and auctions. I miss him dearly. So often I think oh I need to ask Terry this or that, or say Terry will know before I realize I no longer can do that.

So many people come into our lives that we take for granted that they will always be there. Loosing Terry has made me aware how important it is to take that second to let people what a difference they make in your life. My life has been made better for knowing Terry and his passing has taught me to always tell your friends they make a difference in your life you may not have tomorrow to do it.

10 March 2011

Obituary--Cora A. ( Mrs. Harry D.) Davis

I thought this week I would post the obituaries of a couple women who died within a month of each other.  Both were born out of town  and lead active lives.  But very different lives for a couple of very different women. 
From the 11 October 1917 Fremont TimesIndicator:

Cora A. Post was born in Bangor, VanBuren county, Michigan, September 30, 1882.  At the age of 16 she was converted and baptized in the Christian church at Dowagiac, later transferring to the Methodist church at Traverse City.
She was married to Harry D. Davis at Elk Rapids May 27, 1901.  After a short period Mr Davis went into the employ of the Pere Marquette railroad, moving to Grand Rapids and residing there until 1910 when he was transferred to Chicago, where they have since resided and where her pleasing personality won her a host of friends.  She was a member of the Ladies Auxiliary, division 414, serving as its president for one year.
Mrs. Davis was always of a frail nature and her health slowly began to fail as one severe illness after another robbed her of her strength until valvular heart trouble developed and for the past three years she has been a very patient and cheerful sufferer, always thinking of others before herself.  All that science, medical help and loving care could do was done for her and she passed to her reward October 2, 1917.
She was a woman who endeared herself to all with whom she came in contact.  Her kind disposition was an example to all she met.  Mrs. Davis' faith in her saviour was a great comfort and her rest was well earned.
She leaves a husband, father, mother, one brother, many other relatives and a large circle of friends to mourn their loss.
The funeral was held at the home of her mother, Mrs. G. Vanderhill of Holland where she spent the last few months of her life.  The services were conducted by the Rev. J. W. Esveld, pastor of the Fremont Methodist Episcopal Church.  The floral gifts were beautiful, a fitting tribute to the beauty of her life.
Those who attended from out of the city were Mr. and Mrs. D. Stocking and Mrs. Bertha Davis of Fremont, Mr. and Mrs. J. Davis, Mrs. A. Cole, Mrs. A. Gannon, Mrs. C. Wilcox, Mrs. W. Combs and Miss Sara McWade of Chicago, Mr. and Mrs. Ross Heck and Mrs. C. Cushing of Dowagiac, Mr. and Mrs. J. Ebach and son Charles, and Mr. and Mrs. J. Ritchart of Grand Rapids, Mrs. C. Gibbs and daughter, Evelyn of Battle Creek, and Mrs. Lynch of Muskegon.

I was puzzled why this appeared in the Fremont newspaper.  She apparently never lived here, although a few people from Fremont attended the funeral.   Perhaps Mrs Bertha Davis was her husband's mother. This was apparently published in another newspaper first, as the Fremont people were considered from out of town.  Although not attributed to them, I suspect it either appeared in a Holland newspaper, or someone from there wrote up the obituary and sent it on to the Fremont TimesIndicator.
And as one of those things that just bug me--she was a member of the Ladies Auxiliary.  What was it an auxiliary of?  Just something to ponder.

08 March 2011

Tombstone Tuesday--The Trees (and Stumps) of Stone

I know much has been written about the gravestones shaped like trees.  I have in some previous blogs.  I have picture and talked about them in Maple Grove, Clark and others.  I can't pretend to offer a thorough lecture, but as always, just my personal comments and reflections.  With maybe a real fact thrown in here and there.
A great book we have in our collection is "Tree Stump Tombstones  A Field Guide to Rustic Funerary Art in Indiana" by Susanne S. Ridlen.  It is a wonderful source of information on these type of stones.  Lots of pictures and explanations of the different symbols that can be found on these unique grave markers.
This is one of my family stones, located in the Hawkins Road Cemetery, near Chase, Michigan.  And while not a tree stump, the "stacked log" shape makes it easy to find in the cemetery.  The back is the shape of the stack of logs, while the front has this scroll like feature that hangs down as though held by the top log.  A bit of engraving of a palm frond is across the top, with the family name on the bottom.  But what drives me crazy is the fact that the scroll portion is left blank.  Ok, it is a family marker; James, Sarah and others have small markers nearby.  See the tip of one peeping over the pink flowers?  But think of the info that they could have put on the blank space.  Nothing!  (Drat.  Darn ancestors anyway!)
A similar stone is this one from Clark Cemetery.  Part of the pink granite found there, it is very similar in shape to my Samis stone, but this stone for the Skeels family is also different.  The name is still just a family name, but it appears on the scroll, that is again tucked in and hanging from the logs.  And it has the same palm frond design.
This is another unique style and also from Clark cemetery.  It has the scroll feature, with the family name of Hermance at the top (and blank scroll again!) but this time hanging from one log held upright by a couple forked logs.  I believe this is the only one I've seen shaped like this.  Very striking.
This pair of stones is from Newaygo Cemetery.  The family name is on the branch that crosses both stones, but unfortunately is hard to read in the picture, even in a larger view.  The lichen and coloring almost make the stumps look like the bark has peeled off the center portions.  Vines and flowers climb the trunks and the base looks like roots.  Did you notice too, the two small logs on either side of the large double trunks?  There appears to be a name written on at least the closest one, but again, the lichens and weathering make it difficult to read.  That can be a drawback with these otherwise beautiful stones.

This is one of the groupings of tree stump stones in Fremont's Maple Grove Cemetery.  One that we of course do not have pictures of has the stumps and even benches fashioned as though from branches. This tall family stone has several flat rectangular stones inside the bordered plot, but notice too that there is a small log monument also within the plot.   And again, although no close up here, the main stump is very ornate with flowers, ferns and even a stone potted lily at the base.
This last stone is from East Hesperia cemetery.  It shows more of the possibilities open with these types of monuments.  There are many cut branches from the main stump.  Fronds adorn the bottom but of course the best part is the banner.  Appearing to hang from a rope draped across one of the cut branches it is clearly visible.  This stone is for Hannah S. Bush.  Born Dec 26 1868 and died Oct 7, 1893, not yet 25 years old.  And this banner like section keeps on giving--it also states she was the  "gone but not forgotten Wife of  W. R. Bush".
Some ancestors are not as disappointing as others.  (Did you hear that great granny?)

05 March 2011

Obituary--John G. Frens

My last World War One obituary of the week.  This is so sad because, even though he was "the first local boy to pay supreme sacrifice", nonetheless, his death came after the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.  Forgive me for being rather long, but I wanted to include the entire article, including letters.

From the 5 December 1918 Fremont TimesIndicator.....

First Local Boy to Pay Supreme Sacrifice in Active Service "Over There"
John E. Frens who lives two miles west of Fremont received a telegram from the War Department Friday conveying the sad news of the death of his son, John G, Frens, who died in France November 12 of wounds received in action October 15.  He was 22 years, 9 months and 25 days old. Mr. Frens is the first freomong boy to have given his life as a direct result of the contact with the enemy.
That Mr. Frens did not believe his wounds would prove fatal is evident from a letter dictated by him to a Red Cross nurse.  The letter follows:
American Red Cross
October 15, 1918
Dear Folks:  Just a line to let you know that I have been wounded and am getting along fine.  There is nothing to worry about and I will write very soon myself. I will be sent to a base hospital in a few days and will write you as soon as I can from there.
Best love to all, Your loving son, John.
Written by Rose Peabody,
Red Cross, Mobile Hospital No. 2
A. E. F
John G. Frens was born on the farm where his father still lives west of the city and grew to manhood in this community.  In August of 1917 he went to Platte, So. Dakota for his health and remained there about three months.  After spending a few weeks at home, he went west again in January of this year and remained there until called into the service May 29 when he went to Camp Custer.  He remained at Custer until July when he sailed for France with the 85th Division.
Besides his father and step-mother he is survived by three sisters, Mrs Gerben Bekkering of Denver, Col., Mrs Arie DeKuiper of Grand Rapids and Mrs. Herman D. Kolk of Fremont and one brother, Richard Frens, of Grand Rapids.  His step-sister and brothers are Miss Hattie Nieboer of Muskegon, Ed Nieboer with the colors in France, John Nieboer of Fremont and Gerrit Nieboer of Platte, So. Dakota. 
Mr. Frens was one of the fine young men of this community.  He was always especially solicitous for the the welfare of hsi parents and his one ambition was to alleviate their burdens.
Following is the last letter he wrote his parents before being wounded.
Somewhere in France
October 2, 1918
My Dear Folks at Home:
I suppose you folks I have forgotten you altogether but that is not the case at all.  I could have written a week ago but we could not get the mail out, so you don't want to worry if you don't hear from me for quite a while, because there is always some little reason.
I sure am feeling fine and I am in the best of health and hope you folks are all the same.
Well we have seen some of the real stuff by this time.  We were at the front for about eighteen days.  got along fine.  Do you folks ever hear from Ed?  I suppose he is over here some place, but where I don't know.  But no doubt he is getting along fine also.  Is he still in the Artillery?  I don't know if I wrote it before, but we were transferred into the 42nd Division quite a while ago.  Ed may have been transferred also.  It would not surprise me any if he was.
I have not had any mail yet but expect some most any day, as some of the boys that came over with me have received some already. 
I suppose by the time you get this letter the fall work will be about done.  I do hope you are getting along well with it.  Is Dick going to school again"  Well, father, you have got it pretty hard this year, but I hope and pray that things will be different next year.  From the way things look now, I think they will too.
I have written about all I can think of this time.  Will try and not wait so long with writing next time.
Your loving son and brother

Gone but not forgotten.

03 March 2011

Obituary--C. C. Upton

One of those listed on the list I posted yesterday was C. C. Upton.  At the very bottom, he is listed as having been gassed. (Actually he was gassed, then later wounded, but died of disease.)  His death is one of those that so surprised me.  Today, when we can nearly instantly communicated with our loved ones in harms way in one battleground or another, it seems strange that so many families were not notified of deaths until much later, in this case nearly a month.  And also heartbreaking to me is that so many deaths took place after the Armistice. 
Again as a tribute to all who fought in World War I, and especially to those who died here is another obituary of a local soldier.
From the 18 March 1919 Fremont TimesIndicator:

C. C. Upton, Son of Mr. and Mrs. C. H. Upton, Gassed and Wounded, Dies in France

C. C. Upton, son of Mr. and Mrs. C. H. Upton of this city, has made the supreme sacrifice at the altar of universal democracy.  A message to Mr. and Mrs. Upton received from Washington last week conveyed the sad news of the death of their son in France February 17. Death was the result of pleural pneumonia.
C. C. enlisted on June 28 1917, and was a member of the 78th Co., 6th Regiment of the Marines, and went overseas the latter part of January, 1918.  The first battle in which he was actively engaged was on the Marne.  He was gassed June 14 in the battle of Chateau Thierry and was confined to the hospital until October.  For two weeks he was totally blind and was in total darkness for six weeks which restored his sight.
On October 31 he was shot through the left thigh and was again confined to the hospital but recovered sufficiently to start for the place of embarkation.  he was taken ill with pneumonia and from this last siege he did not recover.  During all the months he was confined to the hospital no letters from home reached him.
Mr. Upton was a graduate of the Fremont high school in the class of 1912.  during his high school course he was prominent in athletics, being one of the best basketball players the local school has produced.  He also excelled in the out-door athletic activities of the school.  He was a member of the Church of Christ.
Mr. Upton was in the employ of the Cadillac Motor Co. in Detroit at the time of his enlistment.
He passed away in his 26th year leaving a father and mother, one brother and four sisters.  The sympathy of the entire community goes out to the bereaved family.

 These are the deaths that are so tragic, after the war ended, and recovered enough from his wounds to head for home, he then dies of sickness.  Thank goodness for modern medicine.

02 March 2011


This past week, the only surviving veteran of World War I past away, leaving only one from Great Britain and one from Australia, or so I've read.   That got me thinking about the many who lost their lives during this fight.  I had a first cousin 2x removed who died then.  I have a few obituaries I have found in the 1918 obit book of men who died then, often of disease rather than fighting.  I found this column that lists names of those killed or wounded in that war.
From the 30 January 1919 Fremont Times Indicator. 

Following is a List of Boys Killed or Wounded in Democracy's Struggle

Casualty list of Newaygo county as compiled by Dr. L. S. Weaver:
Ole Webster, big Prairie
Don M. Dickinson, Fremont
Frank Clark, Fremont
Paul Steffe, Newaygo
Carl Loxen, Grant
Clyde Crabtree, Big Prairie
Herman Brandt, White Cloud

Leo McGrath, Bitely
Frank Raymond, Fremont
Jack Stewart, Woodville
Herbert Lenard, White Cloud
W. H. Dubois, Newaygo
Cornelius Wolters, Fremont
Selah Reber, Fremont
Chas. Risher, Hesperia
Wm. Sherman, Newaygo
Glen anthony, Newaygo
E. O. Cooper, Newaygo
Will H. Horton, Fremont
D. J. Carlington, Fremont
A. C. Harper, White Cloud
Andrew O. Goebel, White cloud
Clyde D. Chism, Fremont
John D. Brookhuis, Fremont
Milo Ostrom, Grant
Howard Brown, Fremont
Howard Brown, Fremont
Geo. K. Bowen, Hesperia
Alto Sherman, Hesperia
David Hopkins, Fremont

Died of Wounds
John G. Frens, Fremont; France

Died of Disease
Carl Reynolds, Hesperia; Great Lakes Training Station
W. H. Fowler, Hesperia; Camp Custer
Glen Taylor, Fremont; Camp Custer
Bert Lambers, Fremont; Ann Arbor
H. Teisenga, Fremont; Camp Custer
Auren Brown, Grant; France
Wm. Hutchinson, France
Chas. Alvord, Croton, Camp Custer
Dan covey, Paris, France
A. D. Jordan, Paris, France
Howard Schoolmaster, Fremont; Great Lakes Training Station.

C. C. Upton, Fremont

01 March 2011

Tombstone Tuesday--Stones That Aren't

Aren't really stones that is.
We have many monuments and "tombstones" in the Newaygo county cemeteries that are not really stones.  Many have been made by those left behind in remembrance of one who died.  And there is great variety in those so called stones.
 These examples are from various cemeteries in Newaygo county.  The one above is a fairly recent one, made from a buzz saw blade and painted, then mounted in a metal frame.  While not stone, it very lovely memorial.
This one was know as the Shell grave stone in Newaygo cemetery.  Constructed of cement, it was once studded with the shells from the deceased's collection of sea shells.  Sadly now most of them of fallen or been picked off, but still a great monument.
 The marker for Henry L is clearly a hand-made one.  Just a simple block of cement with his name and initial carved into it.  And clearly made to last, even if a bit skimpy on the information.
 Another "non-stone" stone is this hand made wooden cross.  Adorned with a wreath and what appears to a real book, this wood cross, if made of treated wood, could last for years, even if the extras fade away.
 Mary A Maus, 1935-1935 is one of the many cement stones in Curtice cemetery.  One of my great grandfathers also has one of these, made of cement and painted silver.  There are many in this cemetery of the same shape, and others more ornate, that are made of cement.  I still think that someone had a business making them, as marl and sand were so plentiful around that area.
Then of course is the neighborhood stone for Henry Wilde.  In a small family cemetery, with similar sized and shaped markers, in the middle of a hay field, the Sitka-Wilde cemetery is just down the road from my home.  The stones are all handmade, in small grove of  young trees.  As the farm owner respects this small private cemetery, carefully farming around it, this group of  non-stone stones should be around for a long time.
It is interesting to see that so many people took the time to be sure the graves of their loved ones were marked, some with elaborate stones like the painted saw blade and the shell monument, and others with simple cement markers, carved with the name of the loved one. 
May they all rest in peace beneath their stones that aren't stone.

26 February 2011

Obituary--Infant Son Dake

I have gotten accustomed to seeing obituaries for wives with no first names, and children with no names given.  But come on people!  Three separate mentions in three different community columns and no one knows his name? 
All from the 5 April 1917 Fremont TimesIndicator:

The infant son of Mr. and Mrs Julius Dake died with pneumonia last Friday.  Funeral service 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 this little one was interred in the Bull cemetery last Sunday.  A little bird of promise was thus cut down, but it will bloom again in the garden of paradise.

Hmmmmm.  Mrs Robertson probably wrote that one.  She seems to have been friends with the Rev. Vanwingerden.  
Here is another notice.

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.

And finally:

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 Mrs. Dake's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Frank McGowen, and interment made in the bull cemetery.  They have much sympathy in their sadness.

So sad that even though three different writers wrote about the death of this little boy, none thought to mention his name.  But after a bit of digging, and checking our transcript for Bull cemetery, the mystery is revealed.  "Dake, LeRoy, son of J. & E Dake.  1916 to 1917."  Rest in peace little LeRoy.

24 February 2011

Obituary--Perry Willson (& Frank Green too)

This is the obituary/death notice I tried to post last week just before the power went out here at the libaray.  Hopefully we will fare better today. 
The article is sort of half obituary and half news article, relating the story of the accident that caused their death.   
***Warning*** Not for the Squeamish!!***

From the 26 September 1918 Fremont TimesIndicator:

Perry Willson, son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry G Willson, of this city, was instantly killed in Grand Rapids last Thursday morning when a Holland interurban car struck an automobile driven by T. C. Willson in which Perry and frank Green were riding.  The accident occurred at the Curve St. crossing in the southwestern part of the city.  Frank Green, formerly of this city, a son of Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Green, was taken to St. Mary's hospital where he died at 12:30 Friday morning.
Perry was thrown more than thirty feet.  His head was crushed. Green suffered a concussion of the brain and internal injuries.
According to T. C. Willson's story he was driving toward the interurban crossing on his way to Elmer Green's home on Dorchester Ave. where Frank Green was to meet his little daughter to take her to school.  Green was sitting in the front seat with the driver.  Perry Wilson was in the tonneau.
As they approached the crossing going up the steep grade at a moderate rate of speed, Wilson says, he inquired of Green whether it was all right to go on across.  Green is quoted as saying he did not hear any signal bell from the tower and told Willson to drive on.  As they were upon the tracks they saw the interurban bearing down on them.  Willson tried frantically to get across, but was unable to do so, the car striking the tonneau squarely.
Perry was instantly killed, his body being thrown clear of the wreckage.  Green was hurled beyond Perry's body and T. C. Willson was thrown over the windshield onto the pavement.  The automobile was crushed between the interurban car and the steel signal post standing on the corner.  The post was snapped off at the base and the automobile, a Buick, reduced to tangled mass of wreckage.
Coroner Simeon LeRoy took charge of young Willson's body and Green and T. C. Willson were taken in the police ambulance to the St. Mary's hospital.  T. C. Willson, after receiving first aid, was able to walk around but has been confined to the hospital for several days.
T. C. Willson, wife and baby and Rene Williams and his wife went to Grand Rapids Wednesday.  They attended the West Michigan State Fair during the afternoon.  The entire party had planned on returning home Thursday evening.  Frank Green was entertaining the Willson party during their stay in Grand Rapids.
James Perry Willson was born in Fremont March 29, 1899 and was 19 years, 5 months and 20 days old at the time of his death.  During the past six years he has lived on the farm in Dayton township with his parents. Besides his parents he is survived by one sister, Mrs. Jesse Davis and one brother, T. C. Willson , both of Fremont.  His many friends will remember him as being kind, genial, obliging and tender-hearted. He was especially fond of animals.
The funeral services were held from the home of Mr. and Mrs. Davis Monday afternoon conducted by Rev. R. A. Thibos of Fairfield, Ill., formerly pastor of the local Church of Christ.  Interment in Maple Grove cemetery.

This is definitely one of those articles where all the gruesome details are included. And while it mentioned the death of former resident Frank Green, this was really all about Perry Willson and his brother, the driver.   This article has piqued my interest in the interurban also.  I recently learned that my paternal grandfather worked on one and I want to learn more about these.  I have seen them mentioned before, usually as running in Michigan between Holland and Grand Rapids, or Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor. 
Obviously they were large and heavy enough to be the winner in any collision with an automobile.

22 February 2011

Tombstone Tuesday--Metal Stones

I know I say that a lot of things about cemeteries are my favorite, but I do love metal "stones", or rather the monuments made of zinc. 
 A prime example is this monument for Andrew A Heath, from Crandell Cemetery.  Even though he died in 1876, the stone is crisp and easy to read.  None of the detailing has eroded away.  Even the corners and edges are still sharp.   Usually it is clear to see that the personal information is on a separate plaque that is bolted on to the main monument.  But Heath's stone seems to be made in front and back halves, and there is not apparent section bolted on, even though the personalization is on an inset area.
 On the Ames stone, for Eliza A. Ames, who died on 22 November 1904, it is clear to see that the section on her life is a separate plaque.  The bolts are on each lower corner and on the top.   The large name on the base however must be cast with the rest of the marker.  This shows another thing I like about zinc monuments.  There is virtually no discoloration on this monument.
This is my own zinc monument.  Or rather, my family monument.  This side has the information for my second greatgrandfather, Jonathan Stiver.  Again the personal information is on a separate bolted on plaque.  
 Nice and clear.  And while GGGrandma Maria's information is not on the stone, (she died 8 years later) there are placeholder plaques on the other sides.  Why I neglected to take pictures of all three of the other sides, I at least got these two pictures.

Excuse the crazy angle.  I swear we were only giddy at finding his stone.  On this side the plaque showed a cross with a wreath of flowers draped over it.
And on the back side above the family name a sheaf of wheat was depicted.  I notice that the picture above the plaque was different on each of the three sides I have pictured as well. 
It is amusing that even on these zinc "stones" the base is molded to look like granite.  
Even though they are are not really stone, these monuments have staying power.  I do wish there were more of them.

Pardon the Interruption

I want to apologize to regular readers for the skimpy offering last week.  I just noticed that the post for the 17th, accidentally posted on Tuesday the 15th.  And then while I was entering the post for the weekend, we lost power here at the library last Thursday.  I thought I at least had a draft, but alas, nothing.  And that was the end of my work week.
I will try to do better this week 

15 February 2011

Obituary--Mrs Roseann Jacklin

Mrs Jacklin is another immigrant to our area, although not from the Netherlands, as so many of our Fremont area people were.  She is actually a double immigrant, being born in Ireland, but coming to Newaygo county from Canada with her husband. 

From the 6 August 1914 Fremont TimesIndicator:

Mrs. R. Jacklin Passed Away at Her Home on Main Street Tuesday--Lived Here Since 1860
The death of Mrs. Roaseann Jacklin occurred at her home on W. Main St. Tuesday, about noon.  Mrs. Jacklin had been seriously ill for three weeks and death was not unexpected. 
The deceased was a pioneer of Newaygo county and was the widow of the late Robert Jacklin, who passed away thirteen years ago.  She was born in Ireland in 1844 and came to Canada with her parents when seven years of age.
She was married to Robert Jacklin in Toronto, April 2, 1860, and in November of that same year came to Newaygo county, where she has lived since that time.
She was a faithful member of the Church of Christ and was always keenly interested in the growth and prosperity of Fremont.
She is survived by four children:  John R. Jacklin, Mrs. Fannie Fuller, Mrs Clara Kellogg and Edward B. Jacklin, and one grandson, Murray Jacklin.
The funeral service will be held this afternoon at 2:-- o'clock from the house and at 2:30 from the Church of Christ.  Rev. R. A. Thibos will have charge of the services.  The remains will be interred in Maple Grove cemetery.

So much of our residents today owe their presence to the itchy feet of their ancestors.  My ancestors came from Ireland, as well as generations in New England. Other branches traveled from Pennsylvania and Indiana.  My favorite ancestor, Mary Sitts, was captured by Indians from New York and her family came to Michigan from Canada.  Itchy feet all leading them to Michigan.

Tombstone Cemetery--Stone Pictures of Bull Cemetery

Pictures in stone.  One of the things I like about cemeteries is the pictures and ornate carving on the monuments.  These stones are all located in Bull Cemetery that was a featured cemetery back in 2009 on this blog.  These pictures today are different than those shown then.
This stone startled me when I realized it was a man's stone.  Benjamin Dake, died May 23, 1865 at age 74.  What startled me about this stone was that it was for a man and not a woman.  It has such a graceful shape, with the curved top.  And with the flowers etched across the curved top as well as down each side of the stone, it just looked so feminine.
This stone for Betsy E Briggs, who died April 14, 18_2, has a wonderful picture above the name.  The lovely weeping willow is so often a symbol of the mourning and sadness.  This one has an image of an obelisk-like monument next to the tree.  I don't think I've seen an image of a grave marker, on a grave marker.  Another striking thing about this stone is that it is still whole!  You can see why so many of the old marble stones get broken.  This seems so fragile and thin.  And did you notice the little stones in the grass near the stone?  Sandy thought they could be foot stones, as opposed to head stones.  They are in the shape of little stumps of wood.
This stone marking the grave of Benjamin, husband of M. Westbrook has a familiar picture of the hand pointing to heaven.  It is in a shield shaped indentation.  What caught my eye is the ribbon shape above the finger. When I enlarge the picture, it appears to be letters on the ribbon, but I am unable to decipher them.
Finally this stone for Rudy A Hanger (Ranger?  Banger?) who died Feb 6, 1882 at the age of 32 years, 8 months, 6 days.  I have rarely seen the image clearly depicted here.  The picture of a crown with the star above the finger pointed heavenward is so crisp for a stone of that age. 
All these stone are great examples of cemetery art.  Simple stones with great pictures as monuments to ordinary lives.

12 February 2011

Obituary--Rufus F. Skeels

It is easy to figure out why this obituary caught my eye.  A well-known, local county line road, bordering Oceana and Muskegon counties is named after this gentleman.  Now I know why....

From 19 Feb 1914 Fremont Times Indicator.

Oceana County Representative Was Prominent In Western Michigan Politics for Fifteen Years

The death of Representative Rufus F. Skeels, of Oceana county, occurred last Friday morning in Hart, after a two years' illness from Bright's disease.  About two weeks before his death Mr. Skeels' condition became serious and his eyesight was affected.
Mr. Skeels was at one time a resident of Fremont and studied law in the office of the late A. F. Tibbitts.  he was admitted to the bar in Newaygo county.  He was born on a farm in Oceana county and received his education in the Flint Normal and the Muskegon Commercial colleges, and graduated from the law department of the University of Michigan in 1894.
Mr Skeels was prosecuting attorney of Oceana county for 10 years, quitting that office four years ago.  In 1912 he was elected to the state legislature and although a first termer he became a leader of the Progressive element.
He was married in June, 1895, to Bertha Millen, of Oceana county, and besides his wife, three daughters survive him.
The funeral service was held Tuesday from the Congregational church in Hart.

That explains the road's name.  And to have accomplished so much, in such a brief time.  Only 40 years old at his death, and he spent 14 at least in public service as prosecutor and state legislature. I'm glad to have discovered the story behind Skeels Road.

09 February 2011

Obituary--Matthew Mullen

Mr Mullen, while not one of our Dutch pioneers, was an immigrant, and also like many of the earliest residents a member of the logging community.  I love the extra tidbits of city history available in his obituary. 

From the 26 September 1918 Fremont TimesIndicator:

Has Been Resident of Fremont 42 Years--Built First Brick House Here
Matthew Mullen, one of Fremont's oldest residents, passed away at his home on Sullivan Ave. Wednesday, September 18.  He had been in failing health for three years.
Mr. Mullen was the son of Matthew and Mary Mullen and was born in Birmingham, England, Dec. 22, 1838.  While a lad in his teens he came to America.  He learned the trade of a mason and at the age of 21 was married to Rebecca Killeen of Waterloo, New York.  He is survived by Mrs Mullen and three  children, John Mullen of Muskegon, Mrs Mary Penrose of Fremont and Rev. Matt Mullen of Hart.  Three other children died when young. 
Mr. and Mrs. Mullen came to Michigan in 1863, living in Oakland county for two years, then locating on a homestead in Cedar Creek township, Muskegon county.  They came to Fremont in May 1876.  Mr. Mullen did a great deal of work in Muskegon mills during the lumber days.  He was especially successful on mill arches and in his prime made many trips to various parts of the United States and Canada for the purpose of installing mill and factory arches.  He build the John Cole house, the first brick house in Fremont.  He also built the Joseph Gerber residence, which is being transformed into the Gerber Memorial Hospital.
Funeral services were conducted Saturday at the Methodist Episcopal church of which he had been a faithful member for 25 years. Rev. J. W. Esveld officiated and interment made in Maple Grove cemetery.

Here is a picture of that home that was the first version of Gerber Memorial Hospital. 
 What a legacy, to know your family built the first hospital.

08 February 2011

Tombstone Tuesday--Down to Earth

One of the things I find most frustrating about cemeteries are the stones that are flush with ground level.  I have several in my family and have often wondered if they were meant to be that way, or if they have simply sunk down.
Of course there are stones you can tell were deliberately placed flush with the surface of the ground.  Some are at cemeteries that were abandoned and later restored, and the stones placed flat, often at random.
 This stone above is located in Pioneer Cemetery, east of Fremont.  It was the first city cemetery and was later abandoned.  I profiled this cemetery here
This stone above is located in the Indian Cemetery, that lies adjacent to Fremont's Maple Grove cemetery.  Not many stones remain here and most are broken, or as above, placed flat.  Even though only a few stones remain in these cemeteries, they are better remembered than in the old County Farm cemetery.
This cemetery, as long-time readers may recall, had all of the stones set flat and buried under a layer of soil, so that residents of the Medical Care Facility would not be disturbed by the grave stones.  Balderdash!  I would be more upset by the sight of the disturbed cemetery, than I would be by the markers outside my windows, if I were there.
Then we come to my family.  (Sigh.)  Great-Great Grandpa is my civil war vet.  When I visit his cemetery, I usually have to locate the flag holder and then his stone which is first in a line of five, all flush or even buried.  I usually have to clean the grass, leaves and accumulated dirt each time I visit.  His stone, his wife, his son and spouse (Great-Grandpa and Great-Grandma) and their oldest daughter who died in childbirth, all lay in a row, and usually require digging.  The last time I couldn't even find them.  I suspect the daughter's son, who would be 90 now, is no longer able to come and clear them as well. 
These were my most recent finds, thanks to my genealogy driven aunt.  From the paternal side of the family, Great-Grandpa's stone, shown on the left above with Aunt Glenna as well as below, is risen above surface level.
However, Great-Gram's stone is flush.  She died nine years later, so I am left to ponder.  Was her stone set lower deliberately?  Has it just sunk more than his?
I fear that Great Grandma Carri's stone will someday end up like my maternal great-grandparents, requiring a "dig-out' every time I stop by to say howdy.
Good thing cemetery hopping is so much fun.

05 February 2011

Obituary--Carl Reynolds

When our local history room here at the library first started collecting information on members of the military, I was struck by all the deaths of servicemen in 1918 who never even left the shores of the United States, due to the flu and pneumonia.  Perhaps at the time, people didn't realize it was such a huge epidemic, but these stories stayed with me.  Here is the story of one such soldier.

From the 3 October 1918 Fremont TimesIndicator:


Death Takes Carl Reynolds From the Service of His Country.---Dies at Great Lakes

This community was greatly shocked and grieved Thursday afternoon when the message came that Carl Reynolds had died with influenza and pneumonia at the Great Lakes Training station after an illness of only a few days.
A telegram came Tuesday saying that he was seriously ill and in Wednesday another wire saying "condition critical."  Mr. Reynolds left immediately after the first telegram came but we understand that he was unable to see him after arriving there.
Carl was well known in athletic circles, having won many honors in the county along various lines.  His highest ambition, as those of all other noble young men, was to serve his country, for which cause he gave his life.
Only two weeks ago he was home on a ten day furlough and appeared so well and happy that we can hardly realize that he has been called away from us so soon.
The entire community deeply  feels the loss of this fine young man and express their sympatny to the family during this their dark hour of bereavement.--Hesperia Union
The young man, who was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Reynolds, was 22 years of age and was home the first part of September to celebrate his birthday.  he was one of Newaygo county's finest young men.

I just knew, while reading this, that this had to be another obituary written by Mrs. Robertson.  Her name doesn't appear on a byline, and the hometown does not appear in the obituary.  But, there near the end, the words stating this was a reprint from the Hesperia Union.  And all of Mrs. Robertson's obituaries are from Hesperia, or the Denver/West Dayton area.   And of course all her catch phrases are in this obituary: greatly shocked, community deeply feels, noble young man....  And then, after the Fremont paper reprinted it, they still had to add his parents' names and his age.  So typically Mrs Robertson.

03 February 2011

Obituary--Lafayette Waters

This obituary chronicles the death of one of our early homesteaders.  Before the influx from the Netherlands, our area saw mostly lumberers and farmers.  Lafayette Waters was one of these who came to Newaygo county before the Civil War.
From the 15 August 1918 Fremont TimesIndicator:

Lafayette Waters Died at His Home in Sherman Township Last Thursday, Aged 75 Years
Lafayette Waters, one of the earliest settlers of this community, passed away at his home in Sherman Township Thursday, August 8, after a long illness of heart trouble.  He was 75 years 5 months and 28 days old.
Mr Waters was the son of Jonas and Lucinda Waters and was born in Warwick County, Ind., February 11, 1843.  When ten years of age he went with his father to Minnesota, remaining there only a short time, when they came to St. Joseph County, Mich., where they lived for nearly two years. In the winter of 1855 he came with his father to Newaygo County and settled in Sherman Township where he has since lived.  His farm was the Waters homestead.  Mr. Waters' mother died while he was still a lad in Indiana.  Lafayette, being the oldest of the four motherless children, shared the responsibilities of the family.
COming to Newaygo County when all this section was a wilderness, Mr Waters helped to lumber off the land and clear the country, and saw the wilderness transformed into fertile fields and well kept farms.
On March 16, 1867, he was married to Miss Polly Nichols, and to this union were born six children, one son passing away in childhood, Four sons, James, Myron, Carl and Ceylon and one daughter, Edith, together with thirteen grandchildren, survive.  He is also survived by two brothers, Byron and Merrick Waters, and many other relatives.
Mr Waters was a man of splendid qualities.  He was always popular, because he was generous and kind hearted, and was every ready to help a friend in need.  He was one of the most zealous members of the Grange and one of its officers for many years.  He held many offices of trust among them being that of supervisor which he held for many years.
The funeral services were held Saturday afternoon from the Congregational Church, conducted by Rev. F. W. Magdanz.  Interment in Maple Grove cemetery.

I can only imagine the change in this land during the time he was in Newaygo county.  Coming when it was still lumbering country, and ending with it being farmland and towns.  This area grew a lot during his residency here.

01 February 2011

Tombstone Tuesday--Stone Pictures

I'm back in one of my favorite local cemeteries again this week.  The cool dark shadyness of Clark Cemetery make it a wonderful place to visit on hot summer days.  Ah, not that is a consideration as a sever winter storm is preparing to blow down on us at I type.  But still, in summer a great place to visit.
I was struck by the carvings on the stones in some of the photos we have of Clark cemetery.
This one for the Ish family is rugged and massive.  Looking rough hewn, but I bet it took a lot of work to make it look so rough and "I don't care."  The banner-like smooth area is a great contrast to the rest of the family stone.
But the ones that caught my eye while browsing through the pictures were the stones for children and young adults.
 The first one I saw was this double stone for Hattie who died 4 January 1869 and Frankie who died 3 May 1876.  Hattie died at the age of 2 years 4 months and either 7 or 17 days.  Frankie was only 8 months and 16 days.  I had thought that they must have died at the same time, since the marker is a double stone.  Perhaps in an epidemic or something.  However, they died 7 years apart.  The weathering on the stones make the pictures a bit hard to decipher.  Frankie's half of the stone depicts a dove flying away.  Hattie's is harder to make out.  As best as I can make out, it is of a hand clutching a bunch of flowers. Sandy, on the other hand, thinks Hattie's picture looks like a bird descending at an angle. 

This next stone is also a double stone.  Our Little Lambs is the inscription around the inside of the crest, followed by Joseph and (another name) Stevens.  Sandy and I both studied that name.  We cannot make it out at all,  _____ie is all we can make of it, no matter how we zoom out and in.  But the two lambs on top of the stone, with the "Our Little Lambs" is so touching a memorial to the Stevens children.
Susan A, wife of E. J. Budlong died on 15 Feb 1879 and she wasn't a child, but at the age of only 20 years, 2 months, 2 days she was far from childhood.  The picture of the hand reaching down to pick the flower in full bloom, is so appropriate here.
Finally, I had to share this picture of several stones in a rather overgrown plot.  I cannot read any of the information on the stones but the light one on the right side caught my eye.  Around the edge is a lovely rope like border.  And in the oval again is a picture of a little lamb.
Stones like these make me wish to know the stories behind the stones, so they will be remembered as more than just a marker.