27 December 2012

Obituary--Minnie Black

The subject of today's obituary was a long time local resident, a pioneer as the obituary states.  Born in Ohio, she nevertheless lived in Michigan from her teens and saw much change in the area.

From an October 1939 Fremont TimesIndicator:

Came to County in 1880s and Was a Garfield Township Pioneer.

Mrs. Minnie Black, a resident of Garfield township and Newaygo for more than half a century, passed away at her home on East street Monday afternoon.  She had been in failing health for some time.
Mrs. Black who, in spite of her infirmities, always ahad a smile and cherry word of greeting for her many friends, left a written record of her life and less than a week before her passing had completed arrangements for her funeral service.  The following account is therefore based on her own written record.
Minnie Etta Lloyd was born January 19, 1866 in McKay, Ashand county, Ohio, and came with her parents to Michigan in 1882 traveling in a covered wagon.  Two years later, in 1884, she was united in marriage to Myron Sylvester Black at Newaygo.  The couple purchased wild land from the Indians, in what is still know as "Old Woman's Bend," on the Muskegon river several miles below Newaygo.  They cleared their farm and made of it a comfortable home until 1927 when infirmities forced Mr. Black to give up farming.  They then purchased a home in Newaygo, where Mr. Black had resided since the death of her husband Dec. 27, 1927.
surviving are two sisters, Mrs. Phoebe Bullis, residing in Casnovia township, and Mrs. Laura VanSickle  in Rockland, Idaho, and three nephews, I. L. Bullis of Petoskey, Ben Bullis of Newaygo and Archie Bullis of Casnovia township.
Funeral services were conducted at 2:l30 yesterday afternoon from the Congregational church by Rev. Frederick Pinch.  Burial was in Newaygo cemetery.

One of the things that has happened to me while reading those old obituaries is that many of my preconceived ideas get broken.  Covered wagons were supposed to be things of the Old West, that people took when crossing the plains and the mountains.  Not while coming to Michigan!  I knew we still had many Native Americans in the area though.  And I like the fact that even today, people know about "Old Woman's Bend" on the Muskegon River.

26 December 2012

Belated Tombstone Tuesday

Due to the Christmas and New Year's Day holidays, there will be no Tombstone Tuesday postings this week or next. 
But while you wait for their return, let this picture of James Merrill's stone, nestled in the snow tide you over.
If only we had snow like that now.

20 December 2012

Obituary--Henry John Borgman

When I saw this obituary while leafing through some to pick for this blog.  It caught my attention because I believe he was my sister-in-law's great or great-great-grandfather (Hi Patti!).  At the least he is an ancestor of hers.  So for your information as well as her's, here is his storyl
From the 9 January 1936 Fremont TimesIndicator:

Aged Pioneer Claimed by Death at Home of Daughter

Henry John Borgman, one of the pioneer residents of this community, passed away Sunday at the home of his daughter, Mrs. John Stroven, corner of Merchant Ave and Maple St., with whome he had made his home for the past nine years.  He was 82 years of age.
Mr. Borgman was born July 3, 1853, in Bentheim, Germany, just across the border from the Netherlands, He came to America in 1880 and worked in Drenthe, Grand Rapids and Spring Lake before coming to Fremont in 1887.  Shortly after his arrival he bought the farm west of town where his son Albert Borgman now lives.  At the time he purchased this land he was employed at the Gibson saw mill.
In 1889 he was united in marriage to Gertie Brower who passed away on Oct. 18, 1910.
He was one of the oldest members of the First Christian Reformed church and was one of a group of the aged men of that church whose picture appeared in the state press a few years ago.  He was the youngest of six children and the last survivor.
He is survived by the following children: John , George, Herman and Albert Borgman, Mrs. John Stroven, Mrs. Hattie Karnemaat, and Mrs. Gerrit VanEmst, and a number of grand children.  The late Mrs. Steven Timmer was a sister of the deceased.
The funeral services were held Tuesday afternoon from the First Christian Reformed church and were in charge of the pastor, Rev. L. J. Lamberts.  Interment took place in Maple Grove  cemetery.

As I went through this obituary more carefully I was surprised to discover several things.  First, he was not from the Netherlands.  Most area people are proud of their Dutch heritage.  But, also like many of them, Mr Borgman did not come from the Netherlands, but across the border.  I have since discovered that many of our so-called Dutch, are really from Bentheim, Germany, "just across the border." Not Dutch at all but from Deutschland.
And the other item that really surprised me was that my sister-in-law's great (or great-great-) grandfather died at nearly the same time as my own great-great-grandfather, Armenus, my civil war ancestor.  GGGranddad Armenus died on the same day. 9 January 1936, that the paper that carried Henry Borgman's obituary.  Small world.

18 December 2012

Tombstone Tuesday--The Buildings

 One feature of many of our cemeteries in this area of west Michigan is the caretakers building or shed.  Not only are they used for storage of mowers and other maintenance equipment, but in winter they may become the temporary resting place of the deceased, until the ground thaws.
 Maple Grove Cemetery, here in Fremont, has two buildings.  The one above is the original, and below, behind the wall on the left of the drive is a more recent building.  I am not sure if the original is still used or if both may be used.  I do know that at least previously there were no burials from December 1st of each year until the ground thaws in the following spring.
 However if there is a mild winter, as is the case so far here, burials may be allowed, until the ground does freeze.
Below is the building from Prospect Hill Cemetery, in White Cloud.  It is very familiar to the original Maple Grove building, being of stout bricks, and close to the same size.
 But other styles of buildings are also around.  The building below is from the West Hesperia cemetery.  It is a simple building , but I like the extra little cupola on the top.
 This small one is the building at the old Clark cemetery.  This is a much older, private cemetery, rather than being run by the city or township.  The building is very small.  I don't know if the bodies rest here, or at the funeral homes.
Now I cannot say for certain that these buildings are used still for a temporary resting place, but at least one of the area funeral homes doesn't have much storage room, so I would not be surprised to find them still used in this manner.
I do know that the families are notified in the spring, before the burials.  Both in the case of my mother-in-law, who died in January, and my father, who died in December were delayed burials and in each case, the funeral home notified us before the internment.

14 December 2012

Obituary--Mrs. Alice Lock


From the 1 May 1930 Fremont Times Indicator:


Mrs. Alice Lock, a pioneer resident of this county, passed away Monday night at the home of her son, John Hendrie, at the age of 70 years.  Mrs Lock was the daughter of Mr and mrs. Simon Barnhard and was born in Dayton township July 13, 1859, spending her girlhood there, later moving to Lincoln township.
On January 22, 1874 she was united in marriage to John Hendrie and to this union eight children were born, two of whom preceded her in death.  Mr. Hendrie died June 9, 1900, and on December 23, 1908, she was married to Norman Lock who passed away in 1923.  She lived in Lincoln township for many years.
She is survived by six children, Claud, John and Mayer Hendrie, Mrs. Maud DeWitte, Mrs. Will Cornett and Mrs. Bert Peasly, and four brothers Frank and George Barnhard of Muskegon, charles Barnhard of Lincoln township and Solomon Barnhard of Fremont.  She is also survived by 17 grandchildren.
The funeral services will be held Friday afternoon at 1:30 from the home and 2:00 from the Church of Christ and will be in charge of Rev. F. J. Schlueter of the Methodist church assisted by Rev. C. E. Pickett of the Christian church.

11 December 2012

Tombstone Tuesday--A Bit of a Surprise

While looking through the pictures for a stone to post about today, I came across this one.
At first glance it looks like a nicely engraved stone for a married couple.  But look again.

Margaret, the supposed wife was only three years old at death! 
George was 47 years old when Margaret was born.  I can only guess that Margaret was his daughter.  But there is no way of knowing this. 
Are the years misprints?  I know that mistakes on stones are all too common.  My grandfather's name is misspelled on his stone. 
George lived to be eighty.  Did his wife survive him?  Where is she?  I have way too many questions with this stone.  I think if we had our microfilm of the newspapers already, I would be looking for an obituary for George, to see if some of the details can be worked out.

07 December 2012

Obituary--Linden Little

Today's obituary is from another area paper, and is about an accident by one of the men working on the river.  A sad story, as he was new to the job.  This accident was after most of the area logging was done.  Instead of a log jam, it was from dealing with an ice jam.  But I would imagine this was a type of death that was all to common in the logging days.
From the 27 February 1930 White Cloud Eagle:

Attempting to Break Up Ice Jam in An Effort to Save New Bridge
Linden Little, 21, was instantly killed Saturday afternoon, when an explosion of dynamite blew up a block of ice on which he was standing in the Muskegon river near the Ox Bow Dam.
Little was a resident of Morley and had been employed by the construction crew at the dam only two days.   The crew was throwing dynamite into the stream in an effort to break up the jam and save the bridge near the dam site.  One stick landed near Little and exploded on the block of ice on which he was standing. 
His father, James Little, has been a member of the construction crew some time.  His mother is employed in a restaurant there.

How sad, dying after only 2 days of work.  And with his father also working in the area. 
 I suppose this is more of a news article and notice of death, rather than an obituary.  His fathers name is given, but no birth date.  And readers of the paper would need to calculate what the date of death was, as the paper just says Saturday afternoon.  I suppose during the lumbering era in this region that deaths on the river were common.  But this is well after the lumbering was done.  And how much worse that is was caused by what his fellow workers were doing on the job.

04 December 2012

Tombestone Tuesday--Doud cemetery's Gronso

I was struck by this stone for the Gronso family, located in Newaygo county's Dayton township in the cemetery known as both Doud and Jewell as well as sometimes Dayton Center cemetery.
The thing I found so unusual about this was not the blank faces that were clearly meant to be written on.  That unfortunately is all to common.  My family especially was famous for that.  But the outstanding feature to me was the use of the two different types of stone.   The pink is clearly granite.  The white may be granite, or limestone.  But at least in this area, the use of two different color stones is very unusual.
It does appear to be a family stone, and possibly the other smaller stones are family members.  I like the G engraved in the cap stone of the monument.
I like the way this two-tone stone looks.  I wish there were more around this area.