31 July 2012

Tombstone Tuesday: An Infinite Variety

It always amazes me that cemetery stones come in so many different varieties.  Flush to the surface, tall, stout, thin and massive.  This massive stone from Newaygo county is definitely massive.  The Brooks were a prominent family in early Newaygo county history, and this is a very fitting monument.
I am sure that cost is a factor in some of the variety.  But even so, it is fun to see the many different shapes these stones come in.
Of course one of the most obvious shapes of the older stones is the obelisk shape. The one above, from Jewell cemetery is a smaller but typical example of those.  And in the background are two of the very common and more recent wedge shaped stones.   They seem to have replaced the obelisk in modern usage.
Another style of cemetery stones not seen any more is the cement logs or trees.  This one above from the Newaygo cemetery is a fine example of the tree stump variety.  Another style is this one below found in Clark cemetery.
This type of stone I call the stack of logs.  Usually there is some kind of scroll cascading down, or a plaque to display the family name.  My Samis line has one, in Chase cemetery, with nothing written on the stone.  So frustrating.
Not so common is the style above.  A more shaped stone.  It is ornate and often like a medallion. This one is also in Clark cemetery.
Then there are the handmade stones. This one from Curtice cemetery in northern Newaygo county
county is one of my favorites.  It is my great-grandfather’s stone and the picture was taken by a friend who only thought it was an interesting stone.  It is constructed of cement and then painted silver.  This particular cemetery has several of these painted stones.  Other handmade stones are of cement, treated lumber, or even iron work. 
The ways that the deceased are remembered in are definitely of infinite variety.

26 July 2012

Obituaries: Hazel Hopkins

I missed Tuesdays post again due to connectivity problems.  Hmmm.  I wonder if all the road construction in town is interfering with our connection?
Anyway, this is not technically an obituary, but it is a report about a girls death.  Sadly this type of death seems to have been all too common.  And it still occasionally happenes today.  

From an unspecified paper.  The only date on it is "1930 -31?" hand-written across the top.


Hazel Hopkins, 14, Succumbs After Kerosene Explosion

Hesperia, May 31.  One girl is dead and another is near death in a Fremont hospital following the explosion of kerosene used by the children in an attempt to start a fire in a stove at the farm home of Jesse Marten, two miles south of here about 8 o'clock Wednesday evening.
Hazel Hopkins, 14-year-old sister of Mrs. Marten, died at 2 a. m. Thursday in Fremont hospital and Florence, 12-year-old daughter of the Martens, is in critical condition.
Mr. and Mrs. Marten and their four smaller children were visiting a neighbor at the time of the accident.  The home was not damaged to any extent from the fire that followed the explosion.
According to a story told by Hezel just after the explosion the two girls were filling a lamp with kerosene and also were using the oil stove, The oil exploded and enveloped both girls in flames.  Hazel dashed from the house and ran across the road to the home of Duncan McCallum, owner of the farm on which the Martens lived.  She hurridly told her story of the accident and McCallum  rushed to the Marten home and found it in darkness.
He tried several doors before he gained admission to the house and then he could not find Florence at once.  After a search he found her unconscious in a bedroom.  Her clothes were virtually burned from her body.
McCallum carried Florence to his home and a physician was called.  Both girls later were removed to Gerber Memorial hospital in Fremont.  According to McCallum, Hazel's clothing was burned from her body when she arrived at the McCallum home and she was soon lapsed into unconsciousness from which she never recovered.
The Martens have lived on the farm about a year.

This was followed, apparently in the next week's paper by the following notice.


Hesperia, June 6.  Hopes are held for the recovery of Florence Marten, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Morten, who was severely burned by explosion of kerosene, which caused the death of Hazel Hopkins, 14, sister of Mrs. Morten.  Miss Morten is in a hospital at Fremont.
Funeral services for Miss Hopkins were held Monday at the Lambers chapel at Hesperia and the body was taken to Fremont cemetery for burial.

Several things come to my attention on reading these clippings. 
One of course is the causal attention paid to the spelling of names.  Hazel became Hezel just a few lines later.  And the Marten family became the Morten family a week later.
The second is trying to identify the paper.  Because of the byline noting Hesperia, at first thought it would be the Fremont papers.  But the people are from the Hesperia area, so perhaps the articles are from the Hesperia paper.  The only thing that puzzles is again the Hesperia byline at the beginning of the articles.  
But until I can get my hands on Hesperia microfilm, which I am not sure exists, I guess I will have to continue puzzle about.

20 July 2012

Obituary--"Uncle Joe" Reed

In the same paper as the obituary posted last week for Manly Seymour, was another one for Joe Reed.  While both men died out of town, Mr. Reed's obituary is a bit smaller and less detailed.  Perhaps it is that his life was less in the public eye, or maybe or the fact that he was not a life-long resident.  But still, at least the details were recorded in the obituary. 

From the 26 January 1939 Fremont TimesIndicator.

"Uncle Joe" Reed, 92, Dies Tuesday At Muskegon
 Funeral services will be held at two o'clock this afternoon from the Crandel and Ensing funeral home for Joseph Reed, 92, early Brookside resident, who died Tuesday evening at his home in Muskegon after an illness of about a month.
Rev. Arthur E. Gay, pastor of the Fremont Congregational church will officiate at the services.  Burial will be made in the Holton cemetery.
"Uncle Joe" Reed, as he was more familiarly known to local residents, was born in Canada, April 15, 1846, and was a son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Reed.  He came to the United States in 1886, settling on a farm near Brookside.  His wife died shortly after her marriage to Mr. Reed many years ago.  He lived with Mr. and Mrs. A. I. Miller for 35 years, moving to Muskegon a year and a half ago.  He was a carpenter by trade.
He is survived only by his niece, Mrs. A. I. Miller.

Ok.  That explains his nickname of Uncle, since he lived for years with his niece.  This leaves me asking why he moved, at the probably age of 90, to Muskegon, unless he was in some sort of nursing home or hospital.   But, as with so many of these obituaries, they leave me asking for more than they tell me.

17 July 2012

Tombstone Tuesday--Peter and Mary Wells

 I thought I would share the stones of my great-great grandparents through my maternal grandmother.  I never got to know any of Grandma's family, other than her sister, my great Aunt Neva.  I am embarassed to admit but as a child I hated to visit her.  It seemed like every time we went to see her, we had a horrible store.  (Trees blown down in the road or blizzards.  Every time!)  On the upside, we got to have "jump steak" which I loved when we visited.  (That is venison for the uninitiated.)
One July in 2004, one of my cousins who also has been bit with the genealogy bug went finding ancestors.  Some of the graves we looked up were ones I had previously found.  I'll share more of them another time. But these in Copmish were brand new to both of us. 

 The graves of PeterWells (18 January, 1844 to 15 March, 1924) and Mary Jane (Nolf) Wells (20 October 1852 to 23 December 1929) are located in the Copmish cemetery, Cleon township, Manistee county, Michigan, along with many of my Stiver line. 
 The cemetery is a split cemetery.  The smaller, and apparently older portion is on the north side of the road and is where my family are located.  At least it seemed to be older.  We never got to the south side of the road because it was much larger.  And we had found everyone we were looking for in the north cemetery.
I must go back there, because althugh I did find the parents of Mary there as well, I had a drop of water on my camera lens and all the pictures after these three have one blurry corner.
But for a Cemetery Diva like me, I can't think of anything I would rather do.

14 July 2012

Obituarie--Cassius and Mary Bunker

This is a touching obituary, where a long time couple, died within a few hours of each other.  I have seen that often in reviewing the old obituaries.  One of my set of great-great-grandparents, William and Abigail Brown Cross, died withing a couple weeks of each other.  (If I could find an obituary, I would share that here.)  But where my family members died as result of a house fire and smoke inhalation, these two devoted people died of illness and a heart ailment. 

From an undated, un-named paper with only 1937 handwritten on the top:

Man and Wife Die Three Hours Apart
Years of Devotion End for Mr., Mrs. Bunker of Bailey

Bailey, Feb 1--(Special)--Many years of devotion to each other ended here Sunday when Mrs. Mary Bunker, 74 years old, died at her home at 6 A. M., and her husband Cassius Bunker, 76 years old, a retired merchant, died three hours later.
Mrs. Bunker had suffered from a heart ailment for three years and much of the time she had been confined to her bed.  With patient solicitude, Mr. Bunker cared for his wife until two weeks ago when he became suddenly ill.  A week later he also became confined to his bed.
The aged husband became unconscious Saturday.  He did know know that his wife had died.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Bunker had lived in Muskegon county nearly all their lives and had been residents of this community for many years.
When Mr. Bunker became ill and was no longer able to care for his wife, Mrs. Howard Seccomb of Lansing, the only daughter of the couple, came to keep a bedside vigil.  When she was unable to be at the parental home, Mrs. Carl Pendell of this community stayed there.
Double funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday from the Church of Christ of which Mrs. Bunker was a charter member, with Rev. Frederick Pinch, pastor of the Newaygo Congregational church, conducting.  Burial will be made in Seaman, hear here.  The bodies will lie in state at the church from 1 to 2 p.m. Tuesday. 
Mrs. Bunker is survived by one sister, Mrs. Clare Reeves of Addison, and three brothers, John Davis of Traverse City, and Joseph and George Davis both of Bailey.  Mr. Bunker is survived by one brother, Miles Bunker of Muskegon.

Since this came to us by way of a visitor, and not from the microfilm, I suspect this is perhaps from one of the Grand Rapids newspapers.  Bailey is a very small community and  located quite a distance from the nearest larger towns.  Muskegon and Grand Rapids are quite a distance, and since Bailey south of Newaygo county.  Although it is in Muskegon county, Grand Rapids is closer, and if I were a relative searching further, I would look at Muskegon county vital records, but also look in the Grand Rapids newspapers for information on this family. 
Sometimes, it helps knowing the area.

13 July 2012

Names and Places

Here at the Terry Wants Historical Research Center, one of the resources that we are working is an index of our scrapbooks.  These books were kept by area residents of newspaper clippings of people they knew, for the most part.  Occasionally there are clippings of items of national news that was of interest to them as well.  Charles Lindberg's transatlantic flight for example.  But most are of local news: marriages, anniversaries, enlistments, etc.
The scrapbook I am currently indexing is full of small articles from a nearby town in the county, Newaygo Michigan.  The time frame of this one is mostly early 1940's, the World War II era.  Most of the articles I have come across has been of service men and women: being on service roll after the war, going to training, working with the SeaBees and other gossipy tidbits of friends and family.  Finding so many of the same names repeating, they begin to almost seem like family.
Occasionally though, a series of clippings will really touch me. 
Since the book is not always pasted together in chronalogical order, sometimes I will find an entry about someone attending training, or being shipped to the Pacific or European theatre.  While saving the clipping under their name, I frequently find a previously saved clipping under the same name.  And sometimes the previous clipping provides a poignant bit of foresight.  While saving a clipping that someone was missing, I found a clipping about them being released from POW camp.
Sometimes it may be a clipping about their heading to combat after a leave, only to find one already saved about their memorial service.
Sometimes foresight is the pits.

12 July 2012

Obituary--Manly C. Seymour

Back some time ago we featured a tribute to Mr. Seymour's wife that had probably been written by my favorite flowery obituary writer, Mrs. Robertson.  Here I've found the obituary of Mr Seymour.  Several years after his wife's death, he is only 59 years old, but a prominent resident of Hesperia whose name appeared frequently in articles about the Hesperia area. 

From the 26 January 1939 Fremont TimesIndicator:


Fatally Stricken At Wheel Of Car While On Visit To Indiana Saturday

Manley C. Seymour, a prominent Hesperia resident, was unexpectedly taken by death when he was stricken by a heart attack as he was driving his car at New Haven, Indiana, last Saturday noon.  He had been in ill health for several weeks and wat the time of his death was visiting relatives in Indiana.  He was 59 years old.
Mr Seymour was a resident of Hesperia all his life and was born at that place September 30, 1879.  He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. George Seymour.  On June 1904 he married Miss Etta Johnson who died 14 years ago.   As a young man he operated a harness shop in Hesperia and later owned a store.  For the past several years he owned a service station in the village which he recently leased out.  He was a member of the village council until last year and was a member of the Greater Hesperia association.  During 1935-36 he was Newaygo county welfare agent.  Last fall he was candidate for the Republican nomination for the state legislature from the Newaygo-Oceana district.
For the past 10 days he had been visiting his daughter Evelyn June, at the home of his brother-in-law, Clyde Moon and family in New Haven.  While driving his car about the town he succumbed to his heart ailment and the car continued through a stop light at an intersection, coming to a halt against a telephone pole.
Funeral services were held Tuesday afternoon from the Hesperia Methodist church of which he was a lifelong member.  Rev. E. M. Mumby, pastor of the church officiated.  Burial was made at East cemetery, Hesperia.
Besides his daughter, he is survived by one sister, Mrs. Gladys Evans.

The headlines were rather frightening on this one, stricken while driving his car, but apparently he was the only one insured.  But he was apparently a real go-getter, having owned several businesses in Hesperia, as well as active in the county and state politics.  And as a native of Hesperia, I had to chuckle at the phrase "Greater Hesperia association," as Hesperia is not a very large village.  Clearly Mr. Seymour was a person who was able to adapt to the changing times, as he started out with a harness shop, and ended up with a service station.

10 July 2012

Tombstone Tuesday--The Barto Branch

 One of my favorite ancestors, in terms of just the name is Barlo Barto, my third great grandfather.   (Sorry for the blank space, I didn't realize there was such a large white border on the photo.) 
Barlo has one of those names that just has a rhythm to it.  It tickles my fancy.  Stern looking fellow, wasn't he?
His obelisk type stone is located in Kent County Michigan, in Alton cemetery.It is still fairly easy to read, but not as well as it was, according to my nearly 90 year old aunt, who helped me find it.
 Barlo was born in New York state, on 23 April 1810.  He died 14 November 1891.  I do find it interesting that both him and his wife Fanny Clark Barto (25 May 1811 to 10 April 1882) have the same picture of the clasped hands, although slightly different.  His seems to have a ruffly cuff on the right, while on hers there are no ruffles that I can see, but there may be more detail on the left.
 Her stone faces the west, with more direct sun on it, as well as the prevailing winds, while his faces south.  This can account for some of the wear.  Still without many trees around, they remain fairly lichen free and relatively clear still.
 In the same cemetery is their daughter Edna (18 November 1838 to 9 November 1898).  She is my Ford connection on this branch of my family, as she married Warren Ford.  (I also have this same Ford family connected another place in my Cross line.  Warren's grandfather Barnabas is the common ancestor.)  While Edna's side of the stone is engraved with her information below a carved graceful weeping willow, Warren's side is blank. 
Apparently his location is unknown, even by my great aunt.  Warren remarried after Edna's death and he died in Muskegon, Michigan in 1908.  His burial place is unknown, or at least unmarked.  And as so often happens, the stone remains unfinished.  With such a fine marker waiting for him, it is a shame that his final resting place is unknown.

06 July 2012

Obituary: Andrew Knowles

This obituary comes from the same day's paper as our previous obituary.  But this is a man with a different background and different life.  While previously a farmer, he was retired and living in the village at the time of his death.  
From the pages of the 1 November 1917 Fremont TimesIndicator:

Andrew A. Knowles was born in New Lime, Ashtabula county, Ohio, August 15, 1844 and died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Geo. Hewitt.  in Brunswick, Mich., October 21, 1917, aged 73 years.
He was married to Miss Ida Tucker of Unionville Ohio, and moved to Pentwater, Mich. in 1865.  To this union two children were born, his wife dying in 1871. 
He was married to Josephine Freeman of Gobleville, Mich. in 1873, they coming north in 1879 and purchasing the farm seven miles north of Hesperia on which farm they lived until fives years ago when they moved to the village of Hesperia.  He with Mrs. Knowles was visiting his daughter at the time of his death. 
He leaves to mourn their loss, a wife, two daughters, Mrs. Wm. Sellman of Ashtabula, Ohio, Mrs. George Hewitt of Brunswick, Mich., five sons, Asa of Bedford, Ohio, Albert and Edson of Hesperia, Guy of Klondike, Ray of Grand Rapids.  Also three brothers, Thomas of Walkerville, Almond of Volney, Elmer of White Swan, Washington, several grandchildren and a host of distant relatives and friends.

One thing I noticed while typing this up was that the author of this obituary, as opposed to last week, author, never spelled out Michigan in full.  It was always Mich. and never spelled out completely.  Also unmentioned is that after his first wife died, he apparently moved south, possibly to Gobleville.  I don't know if it is present day Gobles or not, which is south, but since he and his second wife later moved north to Hesperia in 1879, which is south of Pentwater, he had to make a move sometime.  I also wonder if he also came to Michigan via the Great Lakes, since Pentwater is another west coast town, and Ashtabula is on Lake Erie.

03 July 2012

Tombstone Tuesday: Cemetery Signs

 Okay, okay, technically these are not pictures of the actual tombstones, but rather of the entrance signs.   Although if you look closely, you can usually see a few tombstones in the background, so these do qualify for Tombstone Tuesday.
 The large Fremont City cemetery is Maple Grove Cemetery.  As befitting the largest town in the county, the cemetery has a very impressive entrance.  The flags shown here were on display for Memorial day this past May.  I love the granite and the contrasting band displaying the name.
Nearby Holton Cemetery has two signs.  This is the the one over the original main entrance.  I displayed both of them on my post in May about Holton cemetery.  I really like the metal arch above the sturdy brick bases. 
 The sign at East Christian Plains cemetery (AKA just plain old Christian Plains cemetery) is more typical of most of the county cemeteries.  Many are just a neat wooden sign, many with a green border, a bit wider than this one.
 Big Prairie-Everett cemetery serves both Big Prairie and Everett townships.  A simple sign, but easy to read.  Again, I like the archway effect.  The two metal poles may be simpler than the brick bases, but the do the trick quite nicely
 Davenport Cemetery is the one that is divided on both the east and west side of the road.  If I recall correctly, this is on the east side.  (But don't hold me to that.)  Lower than some, but the white bricks topped with the gray granite gives this entrance sign a very dignified appearance.
 My home town cemetery has this fairly new sign by the main entrance.  It is clearly noticeable from the road.  Nicely painted with a handsome border and decorative lettering.  Is my partiality showing? 
 Clark Cemetery has an older sign, and is starting to show some wear.  The sign faces the road between the two legs of the U shaped drive.  It is different than may signs, probably because this is not a township or city cemetery, but a private, community cemetery.
I just had to include the Whipple Cemetery sign.  A very pretty metal sign, with some decorative metal vines in the corners.  And I love the touch of the arch being above the pedestrian gate, rather than the drive.
I was dismayed to discover that many of my family cemetery pictures lack a picture of the sign.  This is a drawback I must correct.   And the next time you are out and about taking pictures of family cemeteries, don't forget the sign.