To find out about my great-great grandmother’s beginnings, I had to look at her end. According to her death certificate, Minnie Oakes was born September 8, 1857 in Germany. Her parents were listed as John Schroeder and Sophie Marlin. I’ve only been able to look at an index of the record, so I’m not sure if her mother’s maiden name was indexed right. I haven’t looked at any German records yet. In the 1880 U.S. Census, her birthplace as well as that of her parents was listed as Mecklenberg. The 1900 census lists her year of arrival as 1872.
According to the marriage registration, Wilhelmina (Minnie) Schroeder and Heinrich Ochs (Henry Oakes) married April 8, 1877 in Dearborn, Michigan. Henry had served in the 24th Michigan, Company F from 1864-1865. In the June 1880 U.S. Census, the couple, listed as Ochs, was living in Taylor, Wayne County, Michigan. Henry was 33 and was a farmer, while Minnie was 23. In this census, Henry’s birthplace was listed as Hesse-Darmstadt, while Minnie’s was Mecklenberg. They had two children, Frank, aged 3 and Tillie (Matilda), aged 4 months. Frank Henry Oakes had been born February 16, 1878 and Matilda was born January 9, 1880.
Another son (my great-grandfather), William E. Oakes, was born July 8, 1888. Another daughter, Emma Oakes, was born in Wayne, Wayne County, Michigan on July 19, 1890.
In the Friday, October 13, 1899 Wyandotte (Mich.) Herald, two real estate transfers stand out. “Henry Loss to Minnie Oakes, lots 28 and 29 of blk. 2, village of Wayne, $600. Henry Oakes to Henry Loss, same land, $600.” In the 1900 census, Henry Loss was listed as the Post Master.
In the June 1900 U.S. Census, the family is living in Nankin Township, Wayne Village, Wayne County, Michigan. Henry was listed as 52 and a day laborer and Minnie was listed as 43. Frank was 22, Tillie was 20, Willie was 11, and Emma was 9. Minnie filed for divorce on October 16, 1900 for drunkenness and cruelty, but it is listed as pending and I can’t find a record granting the divorce.
In the 1910 census, Henry was listed as an inmate and Commissary Department assistant at the Michigan Soldier’s Home in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His marital status was married. I have been unable to find Minnie in the 1910 census. Between 1916 and 1918, he lived at the Soldier’s Home in Dayton, Ohio, then after 1918 at the Soldier’s Home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
In the 1920 census, Minnie was living with her daughter Tillie and her husband Lee Brice in Detroit. His mother was also living with them. Minnie’s marital status was separated. At the same time, Henry was an inmate and dish washer at the Disabled Soldier’s Home in Wauwatosa, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was 74 and listed as married.
On February 19, 1922, Henry died at the home in Wisconsin of peritonitis and intestinal obstruction. His effects ($6.10 in personal belongings and 17 cents in cash) were shipped to his widow, Minnie, living at 1616 Hurlbut Avenue, Detroit, Michigan. Henry was buried in Wood National Cemetery in Milwaukee.
In the 1930 census, three widows were living on Hurlbut Avenue in Detroit. Tillie was 50. Her husband Lee had died the previous year. Her mother and mother-in-law were still living with her.
Minnie died March 9, 1936 in Detroit. She is buried in Northview Cemetery in Dearborn near her son William who had died August 31, 1928.