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.