07 August 2012

Tombestone Tuesday: Chester Township Relatives

 For a long time, when I was just beginning my genealogical journey, I thought my Gilbert line just dropped out of nowhere. 
But then, on the 1890 Civil War Census, for Michigan I made my first discovery.  My great-great-grandfather Armenus.  And with him came a whole boatload of Gilberts. 
 As I researched further, I found that after the Civil War, Armenus and his family came to Michigan from Ohio.  They settled in what is now Chester township Michigan, just a few miles from where his son, my great-grandpa Roy last lived in Muskegon county, Michigan.   With that and contact with a distant Gilbert cousin, I discovered a world of cousins. 
 And armed with that information, and the help of the Chester township website linked above, I ventured to Chester township and its cemeteries. 
Regardless of the background visible above, behind my ggg-grandparents stone, I was surprised to find the area to be rolling graveling hills.  So much of Michigan that isn't low, flat and swampy are these glacial moraines.  What surprised me was that it was so similar to the area in northern Newaygo, southern Osceola counties that my family later moved to.  Heck, even the land I grew up on, next to my grandparents farm was similar.  
These stones were found in McNitt cemetery.  Sadly the death information for Jacob was never filled in.  The stone below is inscribed with his death date. 
 It is so wonderful to find websites devoted to township history, like the one linked above.  The actual township sites only list the owners of the graves and if they are open or closed.  The historical site gives the cemetery burial information with lot number, names and dates.
Another township cemetery of interest to me was the Bennett Cemetery. It is a smaller cemetery, on a side road with deep ditches and not much parking.
In this cemetery are many relatives of the wive of Armenus Gilbert, Adelia Averill.  Below is the stone, I believe of her mother.
In a printed transcript I have seen this listed as Oscar's grave.  Although it is hard to make out in this picture, the portion of this stone that remains says"Wife of" above the more clearly written Oscar Averill.  I have looked around, as best I could for the upper portion of the stone.  But without digging, this is the best I could find. 
I find it very interesting that I was able to feel so at home in the region my ancestors came to in Michigan.  It makes you wonder, is there some kind of genetic imprinting of the type of land that feels like home?  Especially when the family next moved to similar ground a bit north, and more recently my parents and grandparents also built their home on the same rolling moraines of Oceana county Michigan.

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