27 April 2012

No Posting

I haven't forgotten to blog.  Really. 
I have been trying at work, and our router is temperamental and goes in and out.  I have tried blogging from my smartphone, but I think our last wind storm damaged a tower near home.  I have been getting low signals from home.  Trying to type an entire obituary, or find cemetery pictures is difficult on the telephone anyway, but with bad signals, forget it! 
But I promise to be back once the internet is working better.


24 April 2012

Tombstone Tuesday--Military Honors

Many cemeteries have monuments or markers denoting military service.  My distant cousin that I mentioned recently, Paul Davis (Gilbert) has a marker on his grave.  This is one of the common ones that make mention of the conflict served in, and they often serve as a flag holder.
Other cemeteries have a monument as a memorial of the veterans and fallen soldiers of several wars.  This one is in the White Cloud Cemetery, also known as Prospect Hill cemetery that was covered in a previous posting.  It honors those who served in the Grand Army of the Republic, as well as both world wars, Spanish American war, Korean and Vietnam wars.
Some communities, instead having these monuments in the cemeteries, will have similiar monuments in city parks.  In the local county, I know that Hesperia and Fremont have done that.
The flag holder markers also serve the extra purpose of helping to find the graves.  Since my great-great Grandfather's stone is flush to the surface of the ground, it frequently gets covered by leaves and grass.  This marker helped me locate the stone, several times.
The markers are different for each war.  While you can't see Paul's marker very plainly, it is easy to tell that his from World War II is different from the GAR one on GGGrandpa's grave. 
And this one, on my great-uncle's grave, who served in WWI is still different from the other two.

20 April 2012

Obituary--Frank Merchant

It always amazes me how many of our residents came from other states.  I always think of Fremont as being solely Dutch heritage.  So many of the churches are Reformed and Christian Reformed that and with several pages in the phone book of names beginning with "Van" it is easy to forget the many citizens who are of other backgrounds.  I think the many who came from Germany also got lumped into the Dutch/Deutsch group.  But in reality, many were simply restless people who liked to be on the move, especially after the Civil War.  Frank is one of those, who after the war, eventually made his way to the Fremont area.

From the 25 October 1917 Fremont TimesIndicator:

Frank Merchant

Frank Merchant was born August 15, 1843, or New Gloucester, Maine, and died at his home on North Division Ave., October 23, 1917, aged 74 years , three months and eight days.
In 1861 he enlisted in the 10th Main Infantry, serving two years in the Civil war and participating in seven hard fought battles, including the battle of Antietam.  After leaving the service he went to VanBuren county, a little over fifty years ago.  From there he came to Fremont more than forty years ago and lived here the balance of his life here.
While living in VanBuren county, he married Elizabeth Waldron, who died November 11, 1898.  On December 17, 1902 he married Mrs. Anne Woolston, who survives him.  Besides his wife, Mr. Merchant leaves one son, Frank Merchant Jr. , and one daughter, Mrs. Herbert Somers of Fremont, and a sister, Mrs. Abbie O. Marston, of West Pownal, Maine.
Funeral services will be held from the residence on North Division St., at 2 p.m., Friday, Oct. 26, under Masonic auspices.  Rev. R. A. Thibos, pastor of the Church of Christ, will officiate.

A simple, basic obituary.  But a good obituary.  It lists names, places, dates, and war record.  The only thing I would like to see was parents names.  But of course, by the time he passed away, it may be that none of his survivors had that information.  It happens so often today, that I can't be surprised that that information was lacking nearly one hundred years ago.

19 April 2012

Obituaries--Pvt. Paul Davis (Gilbert)

My previous post was about my first cousin, twice removed: Paul Davis.  As I explained there, his widowed mother Delia Samis Davis, married my widowed Great Grandfather.  One of my "discovered" cousins explained to me he had taken Grandpa Roy's last name when he went in the service.  And while this isn't exactly an obituary, it tells about his life and death, when his body was returned to Michigan. 

This clipping was found in July 2003, from an undated 1948 Muskegon Chronicle

Private Gilbert Arrives Home, Rites Saturday

The body of Pvt. Paul Davis Gilbert, 25 years old, Muskegon soldier who died Oct 18, 1944 of wounds received six days previous during General Patton's drive toward Germany arrived in Reed City yesterday.

Private Gilbert was the son of Mrs. Delia Gilbert who lived at 3787 Bolt highway, R.R.5, prior to her death two years ago, and the step-son of Roy Gilbert, now of Ravenna.  Mrs. Gilbert was the first Gold Star mother of Muskegon to die.

Attached to Company L, 11th Infantry division, Third Army, Private Gilbert received the Purple Heart decoration and citation.

The infantryman was born in Newaygo county, March 21, 1919.  His father Monroe Davis, died in Reed City in 1924.  Private Davis came to Muskegon when nine years old and attended Bunker school.  He had been employed by the Norge division, Muskegon Heights.

The soldier enlisted Dec 19, 1939 and trained at Ft. Wayne Ind. And Fort Custer.  In March 1942, he was sent to Iceland.  After 16 months he was moved to England, North Ireland and then to France, in August 1944.

Memorial service will be held Saturday at 2 p.m., at the Livingston Funeral Home in Reed City.  The VFW post of Reed City will be in charge and the Rev. D D Dermyer, pastor of the Church of the Nazarene, Reed City will officiate.  Burial will be at the Chase Baptist cemetery, where his mother and father are buried.

Private Gilbert leaves besides his step-father of Ravenna, twin sisters, Mrs. Alice Houtman and Mrs. Sarah Wright, and two brothers, Russell and Milo Davis, all of Muskegon.

His mother, father and brother Milo are all buried near him in the Chase cemetery, Lake county, Michigan.  I found the fact that he was able to enlist under a name other than his legal name quite interesting.  Nothing on the grave shows the assumed surname, just his legal name.

17 April 2012

Tombestone Tuesday--A Family Soldier from WWII

My Great-Grandfather, after his first wife died, married her sister, who by that time had also lost her first husband.  I find that happening a lot in my family.  Anyway Great-Grand Aunt/Grandma Delia had several children, including Paul Davis. 
 Delia is buried in the Chase Cemetery, in Lake county, Michigan, beside her first husband Monroe and her two sons. 
 There is also a Davis family stone.
 But the one that intrigued me was Paul.  I remember watching a film about D-Day and the European theatre of World War II  with my family when my mom and Uncle mentioned Paul.  Of course back then I wasn't yet bit by the genealogy bug, and let it slide.
Later as I started researching my family, and history in general, Paul became a focus point.  Was he really part of the D-Day invasion?  Did he die in the Battle of the Bulge?  I was coming up blank on records.  Although his mother and stepfather lived in nearby Muskegon, Michigan, I could find no obituaries or records of him in the newspaper archives there.
Finally, one of those serendipitous discoveries of a distance cousin helped solve the mystery.
Paul had so admired Great Grandpa Roy that he had taken his last name when he enlisted, and was no longer Paul Davis, but Paul Davis Gilbert. 
With that information I found news clipping about when in 1948 his body was returned to Michigan.  It states he died of his wounds while part of General Pattons drive to Germany.  The stone itself lists that he died in France and was in Company L, 11th Infantry.  I also discovered that he had been serving in several countries, and was sent to France in 1944.
So I still don't know if he was on the shores at D-Day or now.  But at least I know enough to try both names.
PS--I noticed this was not a military stone, but one that matches his mother and father's stones, as well as the family stone.  His brother Milo, buried nearby who survived the war, does have a military stone.  Same size and color, but different design.

11 April 2012

Obituary--Harry Balcom and Daughter Addie Leraine Balcom

One of the things I find so touching about going through the old obituaries is the way tragedy can hit some families so hard. Case in point is the Balcom family from Detroit. The sad deaths of father and then the only daughter are recorded in the local paper only because the father was born on a local farm and is a brother of a local resident. Because of that, the obituaries of both are of notice here.

First, from the 12 April 1917 Fremont TimesIndicator:

Mrs. E. P. Lore received the sad intelligence that her brother Harry Balcom, of Detroit, had died in that city and that his body would be brought to Hesperia for burial. The funeral was held at the residents of Mrs. and Mrs. E. P. Lore in Dayton Thursday afternoon at two o'clock, Rev. Wylie officiating, and interment took place in the East cemetery. Those from a distance who attended the funeral besides the widow were Mr. and Mrs. Asa Lennen and Harry Lennen, of Remus, and Mr. and Mrs. Edward Ray, of Portland, and Mrs. Addie Walkenhuit of Chelsea.
Harry Balcom was born on a farm in Denver township thirty-five years ago. His early life was spent on the farm and attending school until he grew to man's estate, when he left home as most boys do to try is fortune amid new scenes.
He lived a few years in Ypsilanti, marrying in the meantime, finally going to Detroit to work in the Ford manufactory, where he was taken ill with pneumonia and died in a short time. He leaves a wife and four little children. He was a young man of sterling worth and to be cut down in early manhood when all of life was before him is sad to contemplate. We often wonder why these things come so unexpectedly into our lives, but some day we are told we shall know.
Besides the widow and four children Mr. Balcom leaves an aged father and blind mother, one brother, Burr of Negaunee, and three sisters, Mrs, Walkenhuit, of Chelsea, Mrs. Laura Webster, of Hillsdale, and Mrs. Blanche Lore, of Dayton, who all mourn the loss of a loving husband and father, son and brother and the sympathy of all go out to them in this, their sad hour.

Now this particular obituary does not have a byline, but I would be willing to bet that this was one of Mrs. Robertson's obituary. My favorite obituary writer covered the Hesperia area and particulary Denver township, and this tone of this is totally in her flowery style. And the same style is evident in the following notice that came less than a month later.

From the 10 May 1917 Fremont TimesIndicator:

Mr and Mrs. E. P. Lore received the sad news that their little niece, Addie Leraine Balcom, the only daughter of Mrs. harry Balcom, died last Friday in the hospital at Ann Arbor with a complication of diseases after an attack of the measles. Mr. and Mrs. Lore attended the funeral at Remus last Sunday. It is just a short time since the little girl's father, Harry Balcom, died and his remains brought here for burial. The mother is now left with three boys, this being the only little girl. Truly the shafts fall thick and fast around some families and the Balcom's have had their share.

Yes, that sounds like Mrs. Robertson all right. For a sample of other of her offerings, check out the link for her on the side bar. I am sure you will agree that this is her style.
Another thought that comes to mind as I re-read these obituaries. Being early in 1917, it was before the main time thought of as the big "Spanish Flu" epidemic, but Harry died of pneumonia, which was often the diagnosis given to influenza victims. And little Addie had a complication of diseases, after her measles. Given her probably weakened state, it is easy to speculate she may also have caught the same illness that took her father just a few short weeks later.
And as a genealogist, this thought comes to me as well. No where is Mrs. Balcom's name given. But in light of the fact that Addie is taken to Remus for burial, even though her father was buried in Hesperia, if I were researching this family, I would investigate the Lennen family from Remus who came to Harry's funeral. I have a hunch that that is Mrs. Balcom's maiden name.

10 April 2012

Diving In

Ok.  I missed Tombstone Tuesday.  But I was distracted by my first chance to dip into the 1940 census..
I wasn't sure where my mother's family was living then but my aunt told me approximately where her family (including Dad) were living. 
So after finding the right county and township, I started searching.  And after about a dozen pages......there they were!  Grandpa, Grandma, Dad and the three youngest siblings.  How exciting!  And further down the page, my aunt's first husband.
Mom's family took a bit longer.  They were in the second place I looked.  They hadn't moved to the farm I remember yet.  And in a surprise discovery, there was a great-grandpa there too.
Such luck inspired me to keep on searching.  So I turned to my home township to look for Hubby's family.
I knew they were mostly in the area we live now. 
But can you believe on page one?
I have a few more to look for, but I think 1940 is a great year.  Even if I wasn't around.

03 April 2012

Tombstone Tuesday--My Barto's and Fords

In Alton Cemetery, Vergennes Township, Kent County, Michigan several of my ancestors are buried. Somewhere here, I am convinced, is my connection to cousin Jerry. (AKA President Gerald Ford.) Many Fords are buried here, and this area is where all my Fords came from. Both my Cross line and my Allen line have Ford members and I cling to the memory of Grandma Allen saying that as a child Gerald Ford and his adopted family came to Ford Family reunions.
Anyway, Frances Clark Barto shares her stone with her husband Barlo. (I love his name: Barlo Barto.)
Their stone is on a grassy slope of the rolling cemetery. I apparently got there when the light was good. The last time I was there, with my aunts and dad, my one aunt noticed that the letters were much faded from the last time she was there.
Both Barlo and Fanny have the clasped hands symbol on the top of their side of the stone.
Their daughter Edna married Warren Ford and were the parents of my Great-grandma Carrie, the oldest relative I can remember. I have great stories about her that some of my cousins remember. I just remember her scooting around in her padded cushioned kitchen style chair on castors that served as her wheelchair.
I noticed that Warren's side of the stone is blank. Edna died at age 59 in 1898. Since Warren remarried in 1900 I am guessing that perhaps that when he died in Muskegon, about 50 miles or so from here, he may have been buried there, or at least some where his second wife chose, since she survived him.
I need to fill in this research blank left by my aunt and cousin who did most of the research on this side of the family.
Something to do while waiting for Michigan 1940 census to be loaded?