29 August 2012

Tombstone Wednesday(?)--Elizabeth Cunningham Smith

This stone in Chase Cemetery, Lake County, Michigan, is a replacement stone.  Some of my distant cousins had it put in place in 2006, as you can see by the cement base. 
Elizabeth Cunningham Smith was born in Ontario Canada.  I like her because she is my tangible link to Mary Sitts, who as a young girl was captured by Indians from the Mohawk River Valley in New York and taken to Canada.  Mary Sitts was Elizabeth's grandmother.  Elizabeth is my great, great, great grandmother.  Her father was Mary's second husband, the one she "ran off with."  After that husband fell from a roof and died, she married John Johnson and settled eventually in Norfolk county, Ontario.  Loved that story.
Elizabeth came to Michigan with her husband, Levi Smith and children.  There they settled in and thrived.  Their previous stone was illegible.  I do not have a picture of the original stone, so it may have been completely gone, or perhaps never existed in the first place.
I am so grateful that these two cousins were able to put this stone in place.
And sorry about the lateness.  Connectivity and busyness continue to conspire against me.

21 August 2012

Quick Tombstone Tuesday--Armenus and the No Name Stone

Just a quick post today.  It was a busy day at our history center.  Always a good thing.
But I wanted to share the stone of my great-grandfather Armenus.  He is my first discovery, and I was so delighted to find his stone.
But as you can see, not much identifying information.  In the beginning I had to go by the fact that Great Grandpa Roy was next to him and his wife, along side his wife Ada.  Since Ada's father's stone is in another section, I knew this was Armenus.  Especially when I was able to get his Civil War papers and verify some other dates.
This stone, along with the others in the line, drive me crazy.  Flat, constantly getting covered by sod, and Armenus and Adelia's with no names.

17 August 2012

Obituary--Eva M (Mrs. Harry) Hooker

This is a straightforward simple obituary, of a woman who lived nearly her whole life in this area.  While born outside Newaygo county, her early home was in a neighboring township.  Her surname and that of her husband, are names of people in my neighborhood.  She was very young, but, since she attended what later became Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, she was apparently healthy enough to venture from home.   I wonder, given the death coming a mere 9 months after marriage if she died in childbirth. 

From the 20 February 1930 Fremont TimesIndicator:


Mrs. Harry Hooker passed away Tuesday at Gerber Memorial hospital.  She was 23 years, five months and 21 days old.
Mrs Hooker, whose maiden name was Eva M. Church was a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Riley Church and was born in Holton township August 27, 1906 .  She spent the greater part of her life in that vicinity.  She graduated from the Holton high school and later attended Western State Teachers college, Kalamazoo.
She was married May 17, 1929, to Harry Hooker of Brookside and sonce (repeated line here that apparently covers another line) Harry Hooker of Brookside and since Croton where Mr. Hooker teaches school.
Besides her husband, she is survived by her parents, four sisters and three brothers.
The funeral services will be held Friday afternoon ad 12:30 o'clock from the home of Mr. and Mrs. Riley Church and at the 1:30 o'clock from the Reeman christian Reformed church.  The pastor, Rev. Herman Goodyk, will officiate.  Interment will be in Reeman cemetery.

I think the editors had a bit of problem correcting their spelling error.  They changed sonce to since, but put the correction in place of the wrong line.  I dare say the missing line went something like "since then they have resided in Croton."

14 August 2012

Tombstone Tuesday: Anscomb Cemetery

Once again, I am stretching the Newaygo county boundaries with this one.  This is located in nearby Muskegon county, but only barely. 
One evening after work, several years ago, my co-partner in crime Sandy, and another friend, Lois, went out determined to locate this cemetery.
As near as I can remember, (and take this with a grain if salt if you wish) this nearly abandoned cemetery was near an artillery shooting/practice range.  I guess either for a gun club, or the national guard.  Perhaps for the factory in Muskegon who used to manufacture tanks.  That part I am fuzzy on.  But as a result, cemetery and its grave stones and rumored former Indian mounds are nearly gone. 
 As you can see above, there are one or two stones in remarkable shape.  Allen and Maggie Anscomb only died in 1948 and 1936 respectively according to their stone.
Other, presumably older stones are much less clear.
 The best I can make out on the above stone is that it is the daughter of Allen and Maggie Anscomb.  Since the parents are buried in the previous stone, apparently it is a sibling or other family member who still remembers this grave with the silken lilies.
 The most noticeable feature of Anscomb cemetery is this small wrought iron enclosure.  How it managed to stay intact is probably a modern miracle.  Since the cemetery has been kept mowed, except for the interior of this, maybe the sexton has been keeping it up as best they can.
 Here is a closer view of the wrought iron fence, with the gate post.  The corners and gate posts were square structures.  There are flowers inside the plot, but also it was overgrown with ferns and other plants.  While rather rusty, perhaps someone still has a key to get inside and clear it occasionally.  If you look closely, in the background, you can see Sandy and Lois pulling weeds and generally tidying the grounds. 
This is one of the few upright stones, and you can see where it has apparently was broken off just above the plaque-like section with the name.  Also, if there was a finial on top, that is long gone.  This stone for James Anscomb, who died in (I think) either 1883 or 1888 is still fairly clear, and again, with flowers below, proves that someone still is taking care of this cemetery, despite the treatment it received in the past.

11 August 2012

Obituary: Frank Cook

This is not so much an obituary but a rather a long article about an automobile accident that caused the death of a passenger.  Still it does tell about his death, and the times. 

Reprinted in the Fremont TimesIndicator 21 Sept 1922, from the White Cloud Eagle:


White Cloud Eagle--
Running out of the road and into the ditch, the Ford car driven by H. J. Hanson turned turtle about 5:30 o'clock Friday afternoon, Sept. 8, just east of the Selin residence near the Decker bridge, and Fron Cook, a single man of Everett township, was killed.  Mr. Hanson was bruised somewhat but nothing at all serious.
Mr. Hanson stated to The Eagle he was driving west when he passed a car.  As he passed the car, he got a flat tire on the right front wheel, which veered him to the side of the road, where he hit a small washout which dragged him further out.  He stated he was not going over 20 miles an hour, but he could not get the wheel back onto the road, that he continued thus, getting farther out of the road, until the right fender struck a tree which prevented going further down into the hole which is about three or four feet dee,p but level at the bottom.  With the left wheels near the top of the embankment and the right wheels down in the hole the car was nearly on edge, and flopped upside down soon after passing the tree.  Mr. Hanson stated he thought had the tree not been in the way the car could have been driven into the hole with out upsetting.
Both men were pinned underneath the car, with Cook's face downward and Hanson on top of him.  As the cap came off the gasoline tank the clothing of the men and the ground were soaked with gasoline, the fumes of which is ascribed as being the cause of Cook's death.
While the top of the car and windshield weredemolished, the rest of the car was not so badly damaged but what it was towed home soon after the accident.
Justice of the Peace Reed acted as coroner and empaneled a jury consisting of J. J. Terwillegar, Lyle Webster, N. E. Branch, J. N. Patterson, W. E. Patterson and David Moote.
Mrs. Charles Selin, who saw the car go in the ditch, called her husband and his brother Ed who were bathing in the river, also telephoned to town.   Before the arival of the Selin boys to the scene of the accident, Albert McGowan passed along.  He cut some poles and tried to raise the car, but couldn't even with the assistance of Ira Johnson who arrived about five minutes later.  As the pair were vainly tugging on the pole, W. J. Larkin was driving along, and the three succeeded in raising the car off the postrate forms below.
After hearing testimony of witnesses the jury rendered a verdict that Frank Cook had met an accidental death.

In current times, how much different are peoples response.  It is almost dangerous for those passing by to lend assistance.  And three passersby just cut a pole (?) and finally lifted the car off the victims.  With leaking gas and fumes all around.   Yikes.  
Another point that struck me, back in the early days of automobiles, after rolling over, they later just towed home, "not so badly damaged."  Changing times indeed.

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.

03 August 2012

Obituary: Paul Troost

Most readers know by now that I love reading these old obituaries.  Even if you move away from town, your obituary can still make it in the local paper.  Of course, often the deceased is the close relative of a current resident.  That still is the case today as well. What often drives me crazy, is those obituaries where you are left to wonder why they appeared in our local paper. 

From the 20 February 1930 Fremont Times Indicator.

John Troost received a telegram from Portland, Oregon last week announcing the death of his father, Paul Troost, a former resident of Fremont, who died at the age of 84 years.
Mr. Troost was born in the Netherlands, April 10, 1845, and came to this country as a young man.  He was married in Grand Rapids to Miss Mattie Bouwman and they lived in Big Rapids before coming to Fremont almost 38 years ago.  Mr. and Mrs. Troost left here for Oregon in 1910 and lived there until their deaths, the latter passing away in 1920.
Mr. Troost is survived by the following children: Joe Troost of Niles, Neal and Homer Troost, Mrs Kate Webber and Mrs. Mattie Wheeler all of Portland, Mrs. Walter Gorham of Beaverton, Ore., Paul Troost of Seattle, Wash., and John Troost of this city.
The body was interred in Portland.

I was puzzled at the line about the son in Fremont just receiving a telegram, and nothing noted about him going.  In my mind I was imagining the parent all alone, clear across the country.  But reading on, it was clear that there was plenty of family out west.  The parents had left about 20 years ago, and the mother had died 10 years after the move.  Perhaps an estrangement.  Perhaps a question of distance and money.  Just another mystery from long ago.