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.