03 May 2013

Obituary--Carrie Belle Ford Cross Allen

 Today's obituary is for my double great grandmother.  Why double?  She was married to both my paternal great-grandfathers.  After divorcing her first husband, she married her second, whose son by a previous marriage, married her daughter from her first.   Such a tangled web builds our family trees.  

This obituary is from a 25 February 1954 paper, probably Fremont Times Indicator:

Funeral service will be held Friday afternoon at 1:15 from the Dayton Center Wesleyan Methodist Church for Mrs Carrie B. Allen, 80, who passed away Tuesday morning at Gerber Memorial hospital following a lingering illness.  Rev Leonard Brown will be in charge of service and the body will be taken to the Alton cemetery located north of Lowell for burial.
Mrs Allen was born on March 4 1873 in Michigan.  She has been making her home with a son, Clayton Cross at 127 E Elm.
She is survived by two daughters, Mrs Edna Allen of Fremont, and Mrs Clyde E Wilson of Grand Rapids, three sons Herbert J Cross of New Buffalo, Arthur Cross of Bitely and Clayton of Fremont; two sisters Mrs Agnes Sullivan of California and Mrs Burt Riterstorf of Cedar Springs, two brothers Fred Ford of Lowell and Kirk Ford of Bitely; 20 grandchildren, 48 great grandchildren, 6 great great grandchildren.
The body will repose at the Boven Funeral Home until one hour before services.

Ggrandma Carrie is still remembered among my older cousins.  I remember her sitting in her kitchen chair on casters that served as her wheelchair.  My cousins state she was sometimes caught out of the chair, although she officially could not walk.
Her second husband was Omar Allen, mentioned in the previous posting.  Since I didn't have his obituary, I wanted to share hers.  Notice how her stone is similar to his shown previously, but flush to the ground.   The funeral home was a local Fremont establishment that later became Kroeze Funeral Home that is still in business today. 

30 April 2013

Tombstone Tuesday--Omar Allen

 Yup, another one from my family.  GGrandpa Omar was the father of Delva, featured last week.  His stone is in Alton cemetery, in Vergennes township, Kent county, Michigan.  It is a beautiful old rolling cemetery.  The original church is in the corner of the cemetery and many family members names are listed in their rolls.
Luckily, on my trips there I have been accompanied by my aunt, who knew right where to find GGrandpa Omar and his second wife, Carrie Ford Cross Allen.
The stone is a simple granite, rather weathered with just the years 1857-1945. 
Interestingly he passed away just a week after his son died.

26 April 2013

Obituary: Delva Carol Allen

 I shared the stone and some pictures of Grandpa Delva on Tuesday.  This is his obituary that appeared in the local paper.  Dying at the end of World War II, two of his sons were still in the service.  Uncle Howard chose not to return for the service, wanting to remember his father as he had left him.  My father, although living in Grand Rapids, had been wounded in 1943 and was discharged and home for his fathers last days. 

From the 13 September 1945 Fremont Times Indicator:

Delva C Allen, 52, Passes Friday in Ann Arbor

Funeral Services Were Held Tuesday with Interment in Clark Cemetery
Funeral services were held Tuesday afternoon at the Boven Funeral Home for Delva C Allen, 52 years old, who died Friday in Ann Arbor. 
The services were in charge of the Rev. E. D. Jeffries, pastor of the Dayton Center Wesleyan Methodist church and burial took place in Clark Cemetery.
Mr Allen is survived by his parents, Mr and Mrs O D Allen of Grand Rapids, his widow, Edna, four sons, Floyd of Fremont, S/Sgt Donald of Camp Morey, Texas, S/Sgt Howard in France, and Robert of Grand Rapids; four daughters Mrs Florence Burton of Grand Rapids, Mrs Elizabeth Zuwerink of Fremont, Mrs Glenna DePlonty of Fremont, and Joyce at home; a step-brother Clayton Cross of Grand Rapids; two sisters, Mrs Darrell Cross of Napoleon and Mrs Claud Wilson of Terrence California.

I also find amusing that Uncle Clayton is referred to as a step-brother.  He was also a brother-in-law.  What was the reason for not calling him brother-in-law?  Was step-brother considered closer? In one of those examples of the family tree being more of a tangled bush, Grandpa's widowed father Omar, had married Grandma's divorced (Horrors!) mother Carrie.  Thus Grandma's mother was both mother-in-law and step-mother to Grandpa.  
Genealogy can be so confusing.

23 April 2013

Tombstone Tuesday--Don't Believe Everything You See

My paternal grandpa died before I was born.  His stone is a joint stone with grandma's in Newaygo County's Clark Cemetery.
It is a nice upright wedge shaped stone. It is located near the drive, but not too near, under a large maple tree.  No danger of their stone getting buried in grass, leaves and soil anytime soon.  It is more susceptible to moss and lichen.
But there is a problem with their stone.  Specifically with Grandpa's name.  It's spelled wrong. 
I know it is spelled wrong because I was given the correct spelling many times.  My grandma, Dad, several aunts and others used it several times in writing.  It should be Delva.  I also had a cousin named for grandpa. 
Although hard to read in the picture above, the stone clearly says Delve.
 Grandpa Delva did have a fairly unique name.  I haven't met anyone with that name, other than my cousin.  But his line comes from a long line of what are today rather unusual names: Laban, Elisha, Ebenezer, and Omar among others.
 I wonder why the stone was misspelled.  Back when the stone was set, you couldn't blame auto-correct like you can now.
 But it all goes to show, that you cann't believe everthing you see when doing genealogy.
Pictures top to bottom--
  1. The stone for Grandma Edna and Grandpa Delva.  
  2. A picture of Grandpa, undated of course in his baseball uniform.  He wasn't a professional, but must have belong to a local team somewhere, possibly in the Grand Rapids area.
  3. Grandma and Grandpa, presumable on their farm in western Newaygo county in the 30's or early 40's.
  4. Another undated picture, one that my father told me was their wedding picture.

05 April 2013

Obituary: Myrtle Gilbert Schermerhorn, Revisited

Last time I showed the grave of my grand aunt Myrtle. In the picture below she is the oldest daughter, on the left. My grandpa Leon is the oldest boy, on the right. Of course I never knew her, but I am glad I caught this glimpse of her short life.

The following is from the 24 March 1921 Reed City paper, the Osceola County Herald, page 6
Myrtle Fay Gilbert, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Roy Gilbert, was born in this vicinity August 17, 1898, and was married to Mr. Riley Schermerhorn of Hawkins May 2d, 1920.  The young couple established their home in flint and deceased lived there until the time of her death.
Deceased united with the Barton U.B. church eleven years ago and had been a faithful member. Besides the husband and parents, she leaves an infant babe, three sisters and two brothers, besides a host of friends.  Funeral services were held from the Baptist church Sunday afternoon, Rev Pegg officiating.
"Live true, dear soul, thru your sorrow,
Keep Christ as your Savior nearby.
Look upward, look onward each moment,
Reach Heaven your home yonder, on high
(line partially illegible "Once began"?) each word, each action
Will mold your future abode,
God's love over all overshadows
Though 'tis as yet not understood."

This was also on page 6.
We wish to express our heart-felt thanks to the friends and neighbors who so kindly assisted us during the illness and death of our darling wife and daughter.  Especially do we thank those who sent flowers and furnished cars.
Riley Schermerhorn and son, Mr. and Mrs. Roy Gilbert and Family

02 April 2013

Tombstone Tuesday--Myrtle Gilbert Schermerhorn

 The line of stones that I have talked about before, with my great- and great-great-grandparents.  Those darn flat stones that are sunk level with the surrounding ground.  The fifth in the row of five stones belong to older sister of my grandpa Leon. 
Myrtle Fay Gilbert married Riley Schermerhorn in 1920 and died in 1920 giving birth to her son.  Her son, although he lived near Lansing, would still visit her grave in Chase, Michigan.  I often found flowers when I would visit the grave in the summertime.  I think her stone is still clear because both her son and I would clear it off on our visits.
In this family photo Grand Aunt Myrtle is the tallest child, pictured with her siblings and my Great-Grandpa Roy and GGrandma Ada.  My grandpa Leon is the tallest boy in the middle. Uncle Harry is still in skirts in Grandma's arms. Also picture here are Aunt Goldie in back left, and Aunt Nellie in front between GGrandpa Roy and Grandpa Leon.  Aunt Dorothy was still a "gleam in her father's eye."
I must close with this bit of family legend.  I heard from one of my family members, (unfortunately I didn't write down who--bad me!) that she died in childbirth only because the only doctor available was a veterinarian who "butchered"  After this, the townspeople ran him out of town. 

26 March 2013

Tombestone Tuesday--Flat Stones

A marble slab.  Surely that is the iconic image of a tombstone.  But there is nothing simple about those marble slabs.
This row of slabs are found in Everett-Big Prairie cemetery, also know as Community Cemetery.
 The four stones, all in a row are probably from the same era.  The left most above is a slightly different shape on top.  The next three all seem to be similar in shape and design.
The picture of this stone below was filed just before the above picture.  It looks like it could possibly be one of those three on the right.  The first of those has a streak across the bottom, like this stone.
The stone for Felix Matthews is is a simple slab, yet it has the image of the weeping willow with some additional carving in the top corners.  The inscription reads: Felix, son of Henry and Anna Matthews died May 17, 1860, aged 24 years.
The bottom of the stone has an additional verse but it is faint.  It looks to me that at one time, there must have been dirt or debris piled higher around the stone.  The dark streak across the bottom is a bit of a deposit on the stone.  And, since below that line, the stone is less decayed, I think something was protecting that area. Whether it was buried or not, it definitely was not exposed to the elements.
Either way, there is something special about the old marble slab.

22 March 2013

Obituary--Silas A. Harris

This obituary is another of our area Civil War veterans.  It is another of those who just amaze me by how much they traveled in this era in the last half of the 19th century.  This particular obituary is a bit hard to decipher in places, but still is a great example of the mobility of America in the late Victorian age. 
From the 28 July 1938 Fremont Times Indicator:

Silas A. Harris, 92, Is Taken By Death
Civil War Veteran Stricken By Heart Ailment At Grandson's Home Saturday.
Silas A. Harris, 92-year-old veteran of the civil War and one of the oldest residents of Fremont, died Saturday at the home of Ernest Dewey, his grandson, with whom he had been living for about sixteen months.  Death was the result of a heart attack. Funeral services were held from the Crandall & Ensing Funeral Home Tueaday afternoon and were conducted by Rev. Clyde E. Pickett, pastor of the Church of Christ.  burial was made at Maple Grove cemetery
Mr. Harris was born in Iroquois county, Illinois, September 15, 1845 and spent his boyhood at that place.  When he was 17 he was accepted for military service with the Third Iowa Cavalry, Company K, in the Civil War.  He saw about 22 1/2 years service.  At the close of the war he returned to Illinois to a farm but later moved to a homestead in Oregon where he lived until about 10 years ago.  He was chaplain of the Rawlin Post, G.A. R. of Heppner, Ore. until it was disbanded.  Mr. harris was the last survivor of his company in the war.  He is survived by ten children, Mrs. Carrie Phillips of Denver, Col.; Mrs. Nora Dewey, Fremont; Mrs. Lula Phillips, Bradegate, Ia.; Mrs. Irene Martin, Minneapolis, Minn.; Earl Harris, Arizona; Harvey Harris, Chicago; Harley Harris, Danville, Ill; Mrs. Hattie Redman, Benton Harbor; Mrs. Edna Newnes, Pontiac; Mrs. Gladys Hendricks, Sioux City Ia.  He also leaves 50 grandchildren and 20 great grandchildren.  His wife died 18 years ago.

I was rather surprised to find that this obituary received a prominent place on the front page of the paper.  I mean he couldn't have lived in the town more than 10 years, as that is how long ago he left Oregon.  The other thing I got a bit of a chuckle of was how his family was scattered all across the country. 

19 March 2013

Tombstone Tuesday: Fancy Stone of Lulu Utley

While scanning pictures of cemeteries, I was struck by this fancy stone.  Lulu, daughter of W. S. and L. B. Utley apparently died in 1885.
This lovely stone is located in Everett-Big Prairie Cemetery in Newaygo County Michigan.  I really like the detailed carving. The over-all shape is more detailed than usual. When you add the inner framework around the wording, and all the flowers engraved on the top section, this stone becomes something quite ornate.
The stone is a bit weathered, but all in all, a wonderful memorial to Lulu.

15 March 2013

Obiturary--Amos F. Bacon

I love a good obituary, and after reading Eastman's link to one of the best obituaries ever, I feel this isn't on the same level, but nonetheless, full of information.  Even if this isn't as imaginative, it shows a lot about the community, as well as Mr. Bacon's life.  Plus there is an added bit from another paper.  I think that small clipping is from the Muskegon Chronicle, as is often the case.
But first, the main article, from the 31 October 1935 Fremont Times Indicator.

Amos F. Bacon, chief of police of this city and city engineer for 17 years died at his home, 103 Mechanic Ave., Saturday morning at 2:30 A.M.  He had been ill for about two years with hearth disease which confined him to his bed several times during that period and finally ended his work.  He was fifty-nine years old.
Mr. Bacon lived nearly all of his life in this community.  He was born in Brookside December 22, 1875 and spend his early years there.  He was married to Miss Gertrude Dean, also of Brookside, October 30, 1901.  Mr. and Mrs. Bacon moved to Fremont that same year and Mr.Bacon entered the plumbing and heating business, operating this for several years.  When the World War began, he held a position with the federal government at the Hog Island shipyards near Philadelphia.  Then, at the close of the war, he returned to Fremont, where he was appointed chief of Police and superintendent of the public works.
 The public works department involved the maintenance of the municipal sewage plane, water works and streets.  Of these three it was the water works that called for most of his attention.  The water supply of the city had been inadequate for some time and a new well, put down by an out-of-town drilling firm, had proved to be a failure, so Mr. Bacon persuaded the city commission, consisting of W. J. Branstrom, T. I. Fry and Robert Southard, to authorize his drilling a well.  This well, now known as the Bacon well, on North Division, proved an outstanding success and was built at less than half the usual cost.  In 1933 he constructed another well near the Fremont Canning company property, also at a marked saving.
Mr. Bacon was also placed in charge of the local P. W. A. work when this was begun in the fall of 1933.  As this was principally a street grading project, it required considerable work on his part to keep moving from one part of the job to another and at last he was stricken by a heart attack.  This confined him to his home for several months.  Since that time he was able again several times to resume his work although he was under strict doctor's supervision.
Mr. Bacon was a member of the local I. O. O. F. lodge and the Modern Woodmen.  He is survived by his widow, a son, Dean, and three brothers, Grover of Detroit, and Henry and Ellsworth of Fremont.
The funeral services were held at the home and at the Fremont Congregational church Tuesday afternoon with the pastor, Rev. A. E. Gay, in charge.  The I. O. O. F. lodge assisted in the funeral rites.  Burial was made at Maple Grove cemetery.  In his honor the local business places were closed for an hour on Tuesday afternoon and the city hall flag hung at half mast.

And in case you can't read the smaller clipping from (I believe, the Muskegon Chronicle), here is that transcribed.

Heart Attack Fatal To Amos Bacon, Fremont
Amos F. Bacon, 59, police chief and superintendent of the water works system at Fremont for the past 17 years, died Friday night after a heart attack.  Mr. Bacon had suffered a severe heart attack about two years ago but since that time had appeared in good health and was at work all day Friday. 
Mr. bacon was born on a farm near Brookside and shortly after his marriage in 1901 moved to Fremont.  He entered the employ of the village in 1918 and is credited with having sunk the wells which now give Fremont an adequate water supply.
Surviving are the widow, one son, Dean at home and three brothers, Grover of Detroit, and Henry and Ellsworth of Fremont.  Mr. Bacon was a member of the Modern Woodmen and I. O. O. F. fraternities. 

At the end of the clipping is a word or two that cannot be read on the small clipping.  Your guess is as good as mine.  
I like this obituary primarily for the information it gives on the history of Fremont while not being too skimpy on personal details.  It was a life that made a difference in his immediate community.
Thank you Mr. Bacon.

12 March 2013

Tombstone Tuesday--

Chilly morning today.  Our furnace was not working for a while and our temperature here in the history center was down to 56 degrees when I got here.
While the cold is making typing hard, I thought this was the most appropriate cemetery stone I could share.  I am not sure where it is from, but Winfield S Merrill (1851-1938) was the brother of James Merrill, or at least that is what the caption of the photo states. 
The furnace has kicked in, but I remain tucked in wool.  I will find some non-typing to do for a while.

08 March 2013

Obituary--Joseph Cosens

I first picked this obituary because I believe I attended school with one of his descendants.  (It doesn't take much to distract me.)  But I rather enjoyed the fact that a day later there was another article, adding a few more facts.  Because of the two consecutive days having articles I believe that this obituary and notice appeared in the Muskegon Chronicle, in September 1936.  The Fremont paper, although a closer publication, was only a weekly while the Chronicle was a daily.  And many people from that area, at least in later dates, in Hesperia would be most like to have their obituaries published there.

Rites Tuesday for Joseph Cosens, 84
Hesperia, Sept. 1921--(Special)--Funeral services for Joseph Shiply Cosens, 84 years old, who died at the home of his son, Henry Cosens, here Sunday, will be held from the Methodist church at 2 p. m. Tuesday, with Rev. William Paulson, of Newaygo, in charge.  Burial will be made in Clark, south of here.
Mr. Cosens was born in Canads, July 12, 1852, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wesley Cosens, and came to the United States in 1879 shortly after he was maried to Catharine Eveligh.  Mrs. Cosens died March 24, 1900.
Mr Cosens was a resident here 35 years, had been a member of the Masonic lodge and the Methodist church many years.  Surviving besides the sone, Henry, are two sons, Wesley of Hesperia and John of Rockford, and a daughter, Mrs. Maude Robinson of Holton.

So ends the original obituary.  However the following was published the following day.  Again, because of the Hesperia notice in the first line, I believe this is from the Muskegon Chronicle.

Other Cosens' Survivors
Hesperia, Sept. 22--Joseph Cosens who died at the home of his son, Henry near Hesperia, Sunday, is also survived by a step-daughter, Mrs. Ora Edsell of Muskegon and a step-son Clarence Mattice of North Olmstead, Ohio, in addition to other relatives named yesterday. 
Following the death of his first wife he was married to Mrs. Alice Mattice, in Hesperia, March 15. 1908.  She died Jan. 28, 1935.

What an interesting addition.  It makes me wonder what sort of kerfluffle the original obituary stirred up, with no mention of the step-siblings.  It wasn't as if the surviving son would have forgotten her, as she died less than a year before.  
Family strife.  Makes for great family stories.

05 March 2013

Tombstone Tuesday--Oh, Allens

 Several years ago, I went with my crazy aunt Glenna to go cemetery crawling.  She was showing me some of the Kent County, Michigan Allen graves.
 We search several cemeteries that day.  I had armed myself with information from the Western  Michigan Genealogical Society website to figure who was in what cemetery.  But since we had several names not included, most notably my Irish Hurley branch, we still checked several cemeteries.  I believe that these pictures were from the Courtland township cemetery.  Aunt Glenna knew approximately were the Allens were located, and that helped.
We found the big Allen marker with out too much problems, it was near the south drive, and also near the road. 
What we failed to find was my Great-great-grandparents.  My aunt was pretty sure that Isaac and Lydia were buried here.  We did however find stones for two of their sons, Ora and Orlin.
 We also searched in vain for their brother's (and my Great-grandfather's) first wife.  Again, Aunt Glenna though she was also here with them.  Anna Laura Hurley died over 40 years before Ggrandpa Omar, and was, she believed, buried with her in-laws.  She was the mother of my grandpa.
(Which always leaves me wondering, was she Catholic and then disowned by her family?  We have almost no information on the Hurley clan, and I need to find something on them.
Last of all, we found Great-grandpa Omar. He is buried in the Alton township cemetery, again in Kent County. 
He is buried next to his second wife, and as luck would have it, the mother, by a previous marriage, of my grandma.  My grandparents were step-siblings who then got married.
Grandma Carrie is one of the sources of my Ford connection. 
And another strange fact was that Carrie and Omar had one child together.  She (strangely enough) was named after the first wife, Anna Laura.
And here is crazy Aunt Glenna, checking out the Alton cemetery stones shown above.
Yup, no mistakes on those stones.

28 February 2013

Tombstone (Belated)Tuesday--Buried Stones

Some of the stones of my Gilberts are large and very easily read.  Such as this stone at the end of my row of two Great-Great-Grandparents, two Great-Grandparents and a great aunt.  It looks pretty plain, doesn't it?
However, while most stones in the cemetery face east or west, this faces north, toward a bush and tree.  It is very difficult to find at times.   Last time I was there I know I was unable to pinpoint it.  (You would think that turquoise shed in the background would make it easy to locate, wouldn't you?)
But the row of stones behind it look like this.
Great-Grandpa Roy's stone is typical of the row.  On this visit, I wiped it off as best I could, but the sod was encroaching upon it. 
On another visit the same stone was more readable.  I usually go by there at least once a year, now that I know where they are.  I or someone had cleared the sod away and even revealed the smooth pink granite border.  All five stones are the same size, style, and, alas, set flush to the ground.  The stone of the great aunt gets tended by her son, last I knew.  But he is now in his 90's, the care and cleaning may fall to me.
I better get up there soon.  Last year I didn't have time to hunt and couldn't locate them.

22 February 2013

Obituary: Risolia Spagnuolo Caruso

I simply had to share this obituary.  It was one I had pulled to use, and forgotten about it.  But her husband's confectionery store is the building where our history is currently located. 
From the 6 June 1935 Fremont TimesIndicator:

Mrs. Charles Caruso, wife of the local confectioner and ice cream manufacturer, passed away at Gerber Gerber Memorial hospital yesterday morning after an illness of two weeks duration.  She underwent an operation Saturday morning.  Her age was 54 years. 
Mrs. Caruso, whose maiden name was Risolia Spagnuolo, was born in Italy, March 15,1881, and married Mr. Caruso there in 1900.  Mr. Caruso came to this country in 1911 and a few years later came to Fremont and opened a confectionery store.  Mrs. Caruso came to America in 1920 and had lived here since.
Besides her husband she is survived by four children, Sam, Pete, and Louis Caruso and Mrs Mary Spadafore; five brothers, Louis of Fremont, Vincent and Frank of Owosso, George of Lansing, and Sam of Italy and one sister, Mrs. Julia Caruso, also of Italy.  
The funeral services will be held in All Saints Catholic church Friday morning at 9:30 o'clock and will be in charge of the Rev. Fr. Whalen, pastor of the parish, assisted by two other priests.  Interment will be in Maple Grove cemetery.  Funeral arrangements are in charge of Crandell & Ensing.

 One thing interesting about this family is that it is one of the few who came at that time who were not from the Netherlands.  But this family was well known in the are area, thanks to the candy and ice cream store.  The daughter's family, the Spadafores even continued the confectionery into the 40's or so.  And now, all that is left here is the wonderful mausoleum and this great building our history center are situated in.

19 February 2013

Tombstone Tuesday--Jonathan Stiver

I have shared my GGGrandpa's stone before, in Copmish cemetery in northern lower Michigan.  Jonathan Stiver is the last of my information on that line.
I recently downloaded the Ancestry app on my iPad and was looking at some of the shaky leaves, to see if there was any information I could and verify.
There were five hints.  Oh boy!
Then I started looking at the information.
The 1880 US Census says he was born in 1810, in Pennsylvania.
The 1860 US Census gives a birth date of 1817, Pennsylvania.
The 1850 US Census lists 1815, Pennsylvania as the birth information.
The Michigan Death and Burials Indes, 1867-1995 has his birth as being 1805, Pennsylvania.
And the 1870 US Census says he was born in 1820, Pennsylvania.
Oh, great.  I already had Pennsylvania as his birthplace, and the dates are all different.
And just to be contrary, if you count back from the dated given on the monument, he would have been born about 1804, possibly September.
But, monuments can be wrong.
What can you believe?

16 February 2013

Obituary--Tjerk Veenstra

At first I was going to wait until later to post this obituary, since I had posted another obituary just last week from the same issue of the Fremont TimesIndicator.  But when I got a better look at this gentleman's name, I had to post it. 
For just a couple weeks ago, I had gotten a picture of his grave stone to add to our cemetery book for nearby Clark Cemetery.  One of our volunteers, who has put this book together, complete with pictures and any information she can find on those buried there, had found it and brought it in. 
So, especially since it gives such a background on his life, I decided to post it now. 
From the 8 July 1937 Fremont TimesIndicator:

Farewell Address Followed By Death
Tjerk Veenstra, 93, Succumbs After Talk To Group at Annual Family Fete.
While preparing to leave the speaker's platform after making an address that he considered would be his last to his relatives, Tjerk Veenstra, 93 dropped dead Monday afternoon during the Veenstra family reunion which was held at the Veenstra homestead in Greenwood township west of this city.  His death was caused by a heart attack.
His relatives said that Mr. Veenstra thought the family reunion held Monday would be the last he would live to attend and desired to give a farewell message to the group.  He had given the parting message on a speaker's rostrum improvised from a lunch table, and succumbed before he was able to descend to the ground.  Mr. Veenstra had been in poor health during the past winter.
The aged man was born January 23, 1844, in the Netherlands.  His mother died when he was three years old.  His father, who was a clergyman, gave him a fine education.  He was able to converse in four languages.
At the age of 13 he became a cabin-boy on an old sailing vessel and for many years sailed on the Atlantic ocean, and the Black, Baltic, and Mediterranean seas, and the Danube river.  On his first voyage he was shipwrecked near the island of Heligoland but this experience did not deter him from continuing on the seas.  Mr Veenstra had traveled much and often told of the foreign lands he had visited.
In 1872, Mr. Veenstra cam to America and on February 2 of that year arrived in Grand Rapids.  In 1876 he was married to Miss Martha Sprik and lived in Grand Rapids for 32 years.  In 1908 he moved to the farm seven miles west of Fremont where he has since resided.  Mrs. Veenstra died about 10 years ago.
He is survived by six children, y. J. Veenstra, with whom he has lately made his home; Henry of Detroit;; R. T. Veenstra; C. W. Veenstra and E. L. Veenstra, all of Grand Rapids, and Mrs. Frank Palmer who lives west of Fremont.
Funeral services were held Wednesday afternoon from the home with Rev. Herman Goodyke of the Reeman Christian Reformed church officiating.  Burial was made at Clark cemetery.

What a story.  And since I know this family, who live on the same farm, I may just send them a link to this.

13 February 2013

Don't Believe Everything You Read--A Belated Tombstone Tuesday

Transcriptions can be deceiving.  Yeah, I know, hard to believe isn't it.
But as most genealogists know, occasionally what you see written down must be taken with a grain of salt,
Case in in point: My 3rd great grandfather, Oscar Averill. 
When I first obtained and read the transcripts for Chester township, Ottawa County, Michigan cemeteries I was thrilled to find one loaded with Averills.  And one was Grandpa Oscar.  I was so excited to finally get the chance to go there and see the stone.
And when I did, it was a mixed blessing.
For as you should be able to see below, the transcriber was not quite accurate.
That's right.  Wife of Oscar Averill.  Not Oscar himself. 
All was not lost though.  While I did not discover her name or his grave, I did get a probably birth date for GGGGrandma. 
Cuz, as we all know, You can't believe everything you read.  Not even the gravestone.

09 February 2013

Obituary: Isaac Branstrom

I had pulled this obituary out to post Thursday, but bad weather was approaching and then we were closed here at the history center due to a snow storm.  (If local closes, we are officially closed.)  So at long last here is the obituary.  I chose this one because I grew up near one of his sons, who apparently lived in Isaac's home--three miles south of Hesperia. And his son William J. was well known in both Hesperia and Fremont.  Branstrom Park is named for William, and he helped build the library in Hesperia.  So Isaac seemed a good subject for posting.
From the 8 July 1937 Fremont Times Indicator.

Isaac Branstrom of Hesperia Dies
Father Of Local Attorney Passes At Gerber Hospital From Accident In Home
Issac Branstrom, father of Attorney William J. Branstrom of this city, died Saturday at Gerber Memorial hospital as a result of a fractured hip he received June 22 when he fell while rising from a rocking chair at his home, three miles south of Hesperia.  He was 83 years of age.
Mr Branstrom was born in Northland, Sweden, November 7, 1853, and came to this country in 1873.  He settled in Muskegon where he worked for 23 years in lumber mills.  In 1896 he purchased a farm in Greenwood township, Oceana county, where he has since made his home.  He was married to Amelia Lundberg of Muskegon, July 3, 1880.  He died on his 57th wedding annversary.
He is survived by his widow and eight children, William J. of Fremont, Edward of Chicago, Mrs. Edna Olney of Chicago, Mrs. Lydia Olney of Lexington, Kentucky, Frederick of Jamestown, New York, Charles of Goshen, Ind., Arthur of Muskegon and Harold at home.  
Funeral services were held Tuesday from the home with Rev. William Paulson of Newaygo officiating.  Burial was made at Oak Wood cemetery in Muskegon.

It was his son Harold who was my neighbor.  A friend of mine is his great-granddaugher and reports that her grandparents took her to Sweden as a child so it is nice to know that the family kept up those ties with the old country. 

05 February 2013

Tombstone Tuesday--Buried Tombstones

 With the big news yesterday about the confirming that King Richard III's remains had been found under the pavement of a parking lot, it reminded me of some our our local burials that are also hidden.
 I profiled the County Farm/Poor Farm cemetery some time ago.  That cemetery is located behind the present day Newaygo County Medical Care Facility.  On a rolling field, tucked beside a neighboring dairy farm, the graves are still intact.  But apparently when the facility was built, it was felt that the seniors and infirm who would be living there may find the sight of so many grave stones some what depressing .
 So each stone was carefully laid down and covered over.  The grassy meadow shown here above and below in the next two pictures is the final resting place of those buried here.  Luckily, a volunteer here at the Terry Wantz Historical Research Center has researched the names of those who died at the county farm and has put together a notebook of all the names of those we believe buried here.
 Since she is using the township records to assist her, her book is probably the most complete list available for this cemetery.  (Thanks Jeanne!)
One other local cemetery which suffered the same fate, to some extent is the Pioneer Cemetery.  Ironically located just down the road from the old county farm, it was partially abandoned when the city of Fremont created a new, larger cemetery,  Maple Grove.  Some of the bodies were transfered, but many were not. 
 So while there are a few recovered stones that have been placed flat, but above ground, there are other graves that are still occupied, with no stones at all. 
So at least these humble people were in good company with their un-marked and un-named graves.

01 February 2013

Obituary--Miss Gertrude Lubbers

Every once in a while, an obituary that I find is quite unusual.  The reasons are always different, but there is something that really catches my eye. It is also a "two-fer" with two articles about the situation, one before and one after the death.  
Given the font and the fact that the articles are dated two days apart I feel fairly certain they are from the Muskegon Chronicle which was at that time a daily paper.  No specific date is shown on the clippings, just the year 1936.
First the pre-death article:

Mistress Ill, Dogs Bar Physician
Force Fremont Medic Through Window of Home
Fremont, July 1925.--(Special)--Loyalty of dogs to their masters or mistresses in time of need is invariably told with much praise for the understanding canines, but last week two such faithful animals owned by Miss Gertrude Lubbers of Fremont misunderstood and nearly caused serious trouble both to owner and Dr. Willis Geerlings.
Miss Lubbers called Dr. Geerlings to her home, where she resides alone, because of illness.  Before he could reach the house she had lapsed into unconsciousness in her chair.  When he entered the room one dog was lying on its mistress' lap and the other beside the chair. 
Neither dog would allow Dr. Geerlings to approach, in fact they forced him to take to an adjoining room where he slammed the door and left through a window.  He called Chief of Police Al Luchies who with a dog net captured the animals and allowed the doctor to treat his patient.
Miss Lubbers has been removed to the local hospital where she is seriously ill.  Chief Luchies is caring for the dogs who still resent the approach of anyone.

While that article tells of the heroic effort of Dr. Geerlings to help his patient, it has a hopeful tone.  Two days later though came this article.

Mistress Expires, Her Dogs Die, Too
Fremont Woman Willed Death of Two Pets

Fremont, July 27.--(Special)--The death Saturday of Miss Gertrude Lubbers, 46 years old, an emplooyee of the Fremont Canning company the past 33 years, also brought about the death of her two faithful dogs which threatened for a time to prevent a doctor from treating their mistress who became seriously ill at her home about a week ago.
It was Miss Lubbers' last wish that her dogs also die should she fair to recover from her illness, and she requested hospital attendants to tell Police Chief Al Luchies to dispose of the dogs.  Mrs Lubbers died with her wish fulfilled.
Recent Miss Lubbers called Dr. Willis Geerlings to her home but before he could reach her, she had become unconscious in her chair.  When the doctore entered the home, ne of the dogs was ling on its mistress; lap and the other beside her chair.  The animals would not let the doctor come near Miss Lubbers and he was able to treat her only after Chief Luchies had been called and captured the dogs.  Miss Lubbers was later removed to the hospital where she died.
Miss Lubbers was born in the vicinity of Fremont and had always lived here.  Her long record of employment with the canning company started when she was but 13 ears old.  She had worked until shortly before her ilness.
Surviving are two brothers, Albert of Muskegon and Henry of Fremont.  Funeral services ere to be held today from the reformed church of which she was a member, with Rev. H. C. Jacobs the pastor, in charge.  Burial was made in Maple Grove here.

It is sad that she had to have her dogs die too, but from their behavior it was probably the best.  Especially after that last sentence in the first article.  I am left to wonder if they were also buried with her.  

29 January 2013

Tombstone Tuesday: A Rural Scene at Clark

One of the things I like best about Clark cemetery is the woodsy feeling, even though it is near two well used roads. 
Clark cemetery is located on 48th Street, a main road into Fremont.  And just west of the cemtery is the intersection of 48th and Maple Island Road.  It is also the meeting point of Newaygo, Muskegon and Oceana counties.  Maple Island Road is a main north south road for commuters heading for Muskegon.
But here at Clark, you can find new graves and stones, as well as the older ones.  Not only the older obelisk shaped stones, and the wedge shaped granite stones can be found here.  Look behind the tree in the center and you can see a couple older stones, one with a military flag, and the other with a bit of a list.
Those two are back near the edge of the cemetery, and close to the road, as can be seen by the implement dealer in the background.  Shaded, but not forgotten, as shown by the flag in the holder by that back stone.
Clark cemetery is a great mix of old and new.  It is a cemetery I love to wonder through.

24 January 2013

Obituary: Patrick Bayle

Just time for a quick post today.  This obituary has me puzzled a bit.  It is a Hesperia area death, but the font or something leads me to believe this obituary was not published in the Fremont Times Indicator, but perhaps in the nearby Muskegon Chronicle.  Many people from the Hesperia area would have it published in that paper, even though Muskegon was 30 miles from Hesperia, rather than the 12 mile away Fremont paper.  The Chronicle was even then a daily while the Times Indicator was never more than a weekly. 
So from an unknown local paper, November 1936:

Patrick Bayle, 76, Dies Near Volney.

Hesperia. Nov. 6.---(Special)--Patrick Bayle, 76 years old, a resident of near Volney since 1876 and a former lumberman, died at his home yesterday following an illness of five months.
Mr. Bayle was born in North Sheffard, Quebec, Can., March 14, 1860, the son of Mr. and Mrs. John Bayle.  The family came to Michigan in 1875 and to the Volney district, Newaygo county, a year later.  Mr Bayle was married in Volney, to Hattie Sweet, in 1882.
Surviving are the widow, one daughter, Mrs. Ted Lamroch of Flint and one son, Jefferie Bayle of Walkerville, and two sisters, Mrs. Mary Ann Conley of Beaver township, Newaygo county, and Mrs. Bridget McDonald of Grand Rapids.
Funeral services will be held Sunday at 2:p.m. from the Volney church, with Rev. E. M. Mumby, pastor of the Hesperia Methodist church in charge, and burial will be made in Volney.

Okay, I lied.  He was from Volney, not Hesperia.  Volney is a small settlement north of Hesperia.  But many people from that area attended Hesperia schools later on, it has sort of become lumped into that area.  And still, Muskegon is the nearest large town.  I still believe the obituary was given to us from them.

22 January 2013

Tombstone Tuesday--Area Dignitaries

 Well, okay, maybe dignitaries is pushing it some.  But I found it interesting how many family names in Holton Oakwood Cemetery were of citizens prominent enough to have area roads named after them in Muskegon county.  Which does make sense; after all, Holton is in Muskegon county.
And given the lumbering background of Muskegon county especially, it makes perfect sense that one of those families interred there would be the Ryerson family.
 One of our patrons, while I was employed at the local library, was very interested in the Ryerson family.  They have a library in Grand Rapids named after them.  They were prominent lumbermen and were later influential in the Chicago area.
 But other families, ones I am not so familiar with, that are also in Holton Cemetery and are also names I see on the nearby roads.
Ruprecht is a small road nearby.  I wonder if it was named for Edward F, or a relative.
 Marvin is another fairly short road, but a main turnoff into Holton.  Their family has their own marker here.
 Squiers are also here.  Although I think the road is now spelt Squires.
And one of our main county roads, that comes out at the point where three counties come together is Skeels.  And sure enough, they are here too.
I wonder how many other cemeteries are so well represented.

17 January 2013

Obituary--Mrs. May C. Tucker

Most of the obituaries I have shared on this blog are rather lengthy.  Let's face it.  The fun is usually in all the details.  But even when the obituary is a separate news article, it can be a very small obituary.  Sometimes even smaller than the ones that are found in the community (gossip) columns. 
That is the case with today's obituary, short and sweet.  And while some details may be missing, it is still surprising in what it does tell.
From the 4 August 1938 Fremont Times Indicator:

Mrs. May C. Tucker, Former Resident, Passes In Detroit

 Funeral services were held Sunday afternoon at the Crandell & Ensing funeral home for Mrs. May Tucker of Detroit, a former resident of this city who died at Detroit last Wednesday, July 27.  Rev. Clyde E. Pickett, pastor of the Fremont Church of Christ officiated and burial was made at Maple Grove cemetery.  She is survived by a daughter, Mrs. Ralph Carter of Garden City Mich.

There it is, short and sweet.  I decided, since Maple Grove cemetery is online, to look at the information they have on her grave. And unfortunately, it doesn't tell much.  Hmmm.  The grave for Mrs. Marion Tucker is located in a plot owned by a Mrs. Carland Hill and burial date is August 1, 1938.  It is only Tucker where the dates fit and I can see a Marion being called May.  No other Tuckers are buried in the area.  There is a Reuma A, Hill in grave 5, and Marion is in grave 2, and there is an empty one next to Marion.
And so the mystery deepens.  Did her husband die later, and was he buried elsewhere?  Did he remarry?  Or did he die earlier, and she remarried and then was buried in another plot? 
Don't you love it? 

15 January 2013

Tombstone Tuesday--Great Great Great Grandpa Jacob Gilbert

The stone below, located in a Chester township, Ottawa county, Michigan cemetery.
Not much information is it?
I can tell only by the death date given here, and by all the Gilberts that surround him.
Many of his children are here, as well ast this large family stone.  I didn't record the exact location, but I believe that is his stone the the left of this pink granite one.
What I found funny was that although all the information of his wife Sarah is complete, the death information for Jacob has been left off the large stone.  Perhaps he died after putting this monument on the plot.  And after he died, no one updated the large stone, but just provided the small one with the death information. 
Don't these ancestors just drive you crazy sometimes?

10 January 2013

Obituary--Rens Hoekert

This obituary caught my eye, as he is the immigrant patriarch of several families in my neighborhood, those who were his grandchildren, great, and great-great grandchildren still live in the same area, and even possibly the same farm.  There was no headline for the obituary.  It appears it was just a news item reported in one of the community gossip columns that filled the papers at that time.

From the 22 Dec 1920 Fremont TimesIndicator:

Rens Hoekert died at his home near Reeman last Thursday at the age of 75 years.  He was born in the Netherlands June 13, 1845 and came to this country 39 years ago settling at Drenthe.  After remaining there for three years he came to Reeman and has lived on a farm there for 36 years.  His wife died December 14, 1888.  Mr Hoekert was an active member of the Christian Reformed church and assisted in the organization of the Reeman church.
His surviving children are Fannny Lydens, Henry Hooker, Marinus Hooker, Bertha dunnink, Jake Hooker, Jennie Zagers and Maggie Klooster.
The funeral services were held Tuesday afternoon from the Reeman Christian Reformed church, conducted by Rev. J. L. Heeres, the pastor.  Interment in Reeman Cemetery.

Notice that the children had Americanized the surname from Hoekert to Hooker.  Easier to say and spell.  And before Hooker gained the meaning it currently has.  I learned from one of Mr. Hoekert's great-grandsons that a branch of the family that moved out of the area even changed their name back to the original spelling, to avoid the harassment that came from that unfortunate meaning of the modernized spelling of Hooker. 

08 January 2013

Tombstone Tuesday--Hanna Rogers, one of the Pioneers

One of our local cemeteries is now called the Pioneer Cemetery.  It was called the old cemetery, and at times the East Cemetery.  That fact caused much confusion when reading old obituaries, because the East Hesperia Cemetery, was also often just called the East cemetery.  I related the story of this cemetery back in July of 2010.
This cemetery was the main Fremont cemetery, until the city established Maple Grove cemetery on the south side of the town.  At that time many bodies were transferred from the older cemetery to Maple Grove.   After a time, the cemetery was abandoned and the remaining stones were piled in a corner and the lot left to grow wild.
When Harry Spooner, a local educator and historian, started efforts to restore the cemetery and identify those people who were still buried in Pioneer Cemetery some of the stones were uncovered in the back corner.  Among those discovered stones was this one for Hannah Rogers, born 18 April 1891 and died 14 October 1861. 
Those stones that were discovered were lay down flat, some were broken and re-assembled flat. But it is great that these stones, like Hannah's have been preserved.  I love the scroll work on the top that would probably have been broken if the stone were left upright.  And engraved picture is one I do not recall seeing before, with both a lamb and a willow.
I'm so glad that at least some of these early stones have been preserved.

03 January 2013

Obituary--George Seymour

I hope you are still with me after the holiday hiatus.   Hopefully, with all we have going on and coming in here at the History Center, I will be able to post more regularly. 
The obituary for George is typical for this time period.  The Civil War vets were passing away, and most of their obituaries tell of their service, as well as where they came from prior to coming to Michigan.  Many were from other states, usually northern ones.

From the 1 May 1930 Fremont TimesIndicator:

George C. Seymour, one of the few surviving veterans of the Civil War and a resident of this community for the past 55 years, died at his home 618 State street, Tuesday at the age of 83 years, three months and 26 days.
Mr Seymour was born in Ithaca, New York, in 1845 and lived there until he was 16 years of age when he went west to Wisconsin from which state he enlisted at the age of 17 in the Union forces for service in the Civil War.  He was in company B, 16th Regiment, 1st Brigade, Third Division.  He gave heroic service to his country for one year and three months during which time he had an active part in several great victories, the outstanding success being his march with Sherman to the sea.
He was united in marriage December 3, 1875 to Miss Jennie VanderLeest of Muskegon and to this union four children were born--Harvey of Fremont, Florence Smith of Grand Rapids, and Minie Hoyt and Ida Dykman of Dayton Center.
Mr Seymour was for many years an active member of Henry Dobson Post, No. 40, Grand Army of the Republic.
Besides his wive and four children, he is survived by eleven grandchildren and two great grandchildren
The funeral service will be held this afternoon at 2:00 o'clock from the home and will be in charge of Rev. F. J. Schlueter, past or of the Methodist Episcopal church, assisted by the American Legion, Interment will be in Maple Grove cemetery.

Over the next few years most of the remaining Civil War veterans would pass away.  My own Civil War ancestor died in 1936.  What a wealth of information and experience was lost then.