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MinnieTo 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.

He led the quiet, orderly life of a farmer, and was a strong advocate of temperance, belonging to the Sons of Temperance.  In politics he was a Democrat.

– from his son William H. Everett’s entry in Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens of Oakland County, Michigan, 1903.

George Baxter Everitt was born in New Jersey on May 29, 1803 to Isaac Everitt and Mary Davis.  Isaac and Mary are buried in the Montague Dutch Reformed Churchyard in Sussex County, New Jersey.  George married Jane Hornbeck on December 5, 1824 in Sussex County.  They had two children, Hannah (born October 19, 1828) and Francis (born about 1824), both born in Pike County, Pennsylvania.  Sometime after 1828, George left his family in Pennsylvania. George married again in Portage County, Ohio in December 1835 to Rosanna Elrick/Eldred/Eldredge.  Their first six children were born in Ohio and their last four were born in Michigan.  George and Rosanna settled in Livonia, Michigan in 1847.  George was the only one of his siblings who ended up in Michigan.  His uncles Marshall Everitt (died in Michigan on Nov. 30, 1833, buried in Livonia) and George Everitt (elected highway commissioner in Michigan in 1835, died Oct. 30, 1854, buried in Livonia) seem to be the only ones’ of his father’s generation to go to Michigan, which may be why George ended up there. George and Rosanna had ten children: William Harrison (born 1835), Mary Jane (born 1837), Seneca (born 1838), Isaac (born 1840), Rachel (born 1843), John Allen (born 1845), Catherine (born 1847 – died young?), Matthew Lindley (born 1849), Martha (born 1854 – died young?), and Edward (born 1857).

Orson (1838-1920) and Rachel (Everitt) Westfall (1843-1924), with daughter Ada (1876-1910)

Orson (1838-1920) and Rachel (Everitt) Westfall (1843-1924), with daughter Ada (1876-1910)

In the 1850 U.S. Census, George and Rosanna (born in Pennsylvania) were living in Livonia Township.  Harrison was 15, Mary was 13, Seneca was 11, Isaac was 9, Rachel was 7, John was 5, Catherine was three, and Matthew was less than a year.  In the 1850 Agriculture Schedule, George had 25 improved acres and 33 unimproved acres valued at $1000 with $156 in farm implements and machinery.  He had 2 horses, 2 milk cows, 4 other cattle, 35 sheep and 5 pigs – all valued at $195.  During the year, the farm produced 25 bushels of wheat, 250 bushels of Indian corn and 300 bushels of oats. In 1860, they were still living in Livonia; George was 58 and Rosanna was 43.  Rachel (17), John (14), Martha (6), and Edward (3) were living with them.  George’s real estate was valued at $5000 and his personal estate was $805.  Their daughter Mary Jane had married William Dillon Bolt during the previous year – they were living in Plymouth, Michigan (they are my great-great-great grandparents).

William (1835-1901) and Mary (Everitt) Bolt (1837-1918)

William (1835-1901) and Mary (Everitt) Bolt (1837-1918)

In Livonia, in 1870, George was listed as 67 and Rosanna was listed as 62.  Their sons Seneca (30) and Edwin/Edward (12) were living with them.  Emma Barlow, a 21-year-old schoolteacher, was also living with them. George died on May 22, 1874 and is buried in Riverside Cemetery in Plymouth, Michigan.  Rosanna (also listed as Rosannah, Rose Ann, Roseann) died February 14, 1899 in Detroit.  She is also buried in Riverside Cemetery. everitt_george_b

Helen, Mae and Earl Moore

Mae Moore, at right, c1897

My great-grandmother was married three times, which surprised my mother who always thought she was the sweetest lady and how could she have married three men?  Third times a charm, I think, because she was married to her third husband, Alfred Johnson, for 46 years until her death.

Mae Dillon Moore was born in Plymouth, Michigan on May 18, 1892 to Fred and Mina (Bolt) Moore.  She had two brothers, Glenn and Earl and a sister Helen.  On December 23, 1908 at the age of 16, she married William E. Oakes.  In the 1910 U.S. Census, she and her mother, Mina, are living as lodgers in the home of Alta Fisher on W. Elizabeth St. in Detroit.  I haven’t found her husband William yet in the 1910 census, but obviously they were living apart.  However, my grandmother, Helen Dorothy Oakes, was born on June 19, 1912, so we know it wasn’t a permanent separation!  Mae filed for divorce from William on August 31, 1914 for cruelty and non-support.  The divorce was final on July 13, 1915.  William died in 1928.

Mae and Helen, c1913

Mae and Helen, c1913

Mae married Joseph R. Smiechowski on June 19, 1916, her daughter Helen’s fourth birthday.  Mae’s brother Earl was one of the witnesses.  In the 1920 U.S. census, Joseph, Mae, and Helen are living at 1521 Sheridan Avenue in Detroit.  My grandmother was listed as Helen Smiechowski.  Joseph was a painter whose father was from Poland.  Mae filed for divorce from Joseph on December 17, 1924 for extreme cruelty and non-support.  The divorce was final on May 11, 1925.  Joseph died in 1936.

Alfred and Mae

Alfred and Mae

Coincidentally (or not), Mae’s third husband Alfred was married to Cecelia Martin and their divorce was finalized on December 8, 1924, just days before Mae filed for divorce from her second husband.  Hmm.  Mae and Alfred were married July 3, 1925 (less than two months after her divorce).  They lived at 14810 Parkgrove in Detroit for over forty years.  They had no children.  Mae died on June 6, 1971 of colon cancer and Alfred died January 27, 1975 of spinal cancer.  They are buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery in Detroit.

Mae and Alfred, c1950s

Mae and Alfred, c1950s

#6 – The Beltofts

The mark of Bennet Beltoft from his will, 1624

The mark of Bennet Beltoft from his will, 1624 (from http://www.belnapfamily.org/ SEAX_DABW_45-1_Will_Beltoft_Bennet_1.jpg)

This week, I’m going to mention a family that is the furthest back in time that I have been able to go.  Thanks to research done by previous generations of my family and others, we’ve figured out that my grandmother’s paternal side is descended from the Beltoft family from Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire, England in the 1400s.  Abraham Belknap, the son of Bennet Beltoft, is the ancestor of all the Belknap’s (or Belnap’s) living today in the U.S.  There’s even a Wikipedia article on the surname, which may explain the change from Beltoft to Belknap.  Another great resource for Belknap/Belnap is the Belnap Family Organization.  Here’s my line: Bennet > Abraham > Samuel > Ebenezer > Obadiah > Nathaniel > Obadiah > Thomas > Arthur > Earl > Velma > Robert > Me

#5 – Jack Wilson

From left: Cecil, Jack, and Hugh (1905)

From left: Cecil, Jack, and Hugh (1905)

John Alfred Wilson was born March 25, 1905 in Pittsburg Township, Ontario in Frontenac County.  He was the fourth child and third son of John and Mary (Thompson) Wilson.  In 1911, Jack was aged 6 and living with his parents John (37) and Mary (38), his brothers Hugh (9), Cecil (8), Charles (4 – my grandpa), William (3), his sisters Marjorie (5), Theresa (1), and his grandmother Mary (Gibson) Wilson (74).  He is listed as Swedish because his grandfather, John Wilson, came to Canada from Sweden.

From left: Charles, Cecil, Marjorie, Theresa, Hugh, Jack (seated), and William (about 1915)

From left: Charles, Cecil, Marjorie, Theresa, Hugh, Jack (seated), and William (about 1915)

In 1921, Jack was 16 and living with his parents John (47) and Mary (49), his brothers Cecil (18), Charles (14), William (12), his sisters Marjorie (15), Theresa (11), and his grandmother Mary Wilson (84).

At age 24, in April 1929, Jack passed through Detroit on his way to Dearborn to join his brother Hugh who was living on Park Street.  In the 1930 census, Hugh was rooming on Park Street and was a salesman at a creamery.  My grandfather Charles had arrived in 1928 and in 1930 was living on Columbia Street in Dearborn and was a truck driver at a creamery.  Jack, in the 1930 census, was employed as a crane operator at a foundry.  He was living with Fred and Mary Curtis on W. Lafayette in Detroit.

On September 2, 1930, Jack married Bessie Winnifred Eastwood (her mother’s maiden name was Curtis).  In the 1940 census taken on April 11th, Jack and Winnie were living on Military Street in Detroit and he was a crane operator at a brass factory.  According to this census, Jack had completed 8th grade while Winnie had completed 2 years of high school.  In 1935, they had been living in the same place.

Jack and Winnie's Wedding, September 2, 1930

Jack and Winnie’s Wedding, September 2, 1930

On April 29, 1940, Jack’s mother died at the farm in Pittsburg Township. On May 16, 1940, Winnie gave birth to a son in Detroit.  The family moved back to Canada soon after to run the farm.  On September 23, 1945, they had a daughter.  According to William J. Patterson’s Lilacs and Limestone: An Illustrated History of Pittsburgh Township, 1787-1987, Jack won Farmer of the Year in 1963 from the Frontenac Soil and Crop Improvement Association.  Jack died June 11, 1987 and Winnie died in February 2001.

#4 – Arthur Belknap

Arthur Belknap, with his 60th birthday cake (1929)

Arthur Belknap, with his 60th birthday cake (1929)

I was born on what would have been Arthur Belknap’s 110th birthday.  He was born May 23, 1869, probably in Fulton County, Ohio, to Thomas Belknap and Polly Ann Farr.  He was their last child.

In the 1870 U.S. census, Arthur was living in York Township, Fulton, Ohio with his parents Thomas and Polly, his half-brother Francis, and his siblings Myron, Lucelia, Lucretia, Thomas and Lucina.  He had another brother, Zera, who was living with the Stillman Biddle family in York, as a farm laborer.

In 1880, 11-year-old Arthur was living in Dover, Fulton, Ohio with his parents and his brother Myron and sister Lucina.

On March 5, 1890, Arthur married Martha Gisel in Fulton County.  Martha had a child named Minnie, who had been born in 1887.  On August 14, 1891, their son Floyd was born in Dover.  On April 9, 1895, a son Earl was born in Gorham Township.  On March 18, 1899, their daughter Belva was born.

In 1900, the family was living in Franklin Township, Fulton, Ohio.  Arthur was a farm laborer and rented his home.  On August 18, 1901, their son Orville was born in Franklin.  On August 18, 1903, their last child Kennard was born.

In 1910, the family was living in Gorham Township, and Arthur was listed as a laborer.  In 1913, Arthur’s first grandchild, Velma, was born in Wauseon, Ohio.  Velma was my grandmother.

In 1920, Arthur, Martha, Orville and Kennard were living on Gorham St. in Gorham Township.  Arthur was a laborer at a lumber company, while the boys were farm laborers.

In September 1925, Arthur’s wife, Martha died in a car accident.  See this post from March 2011 for details of her death.

Arthur Belknap at his wife's grave, 1925

Arthur Belknap at his wife’s grave, 1925

In 1930, Arthur was living alone in Fayette, Ohio, working as a laborer at odd jobs.

By 1940, Arthur was living with his daughter and her family in Nankin, Wayne County, Michigan.

In the 1947 and 1953, Lincoln Park, Michigan city directories, Arthur is listed as living with his son Earl at 617 Cleophus.

Clockwise from top left: my aunt, my grandma Velma, my great-grandpa Earl, my great-great grandpa Arthur holding my cousin who was born in February 1955.

Clockwise from top left: my aunt, my grandma Velma, my great-grandpa Earl, my great-great grandpa Arthur holding my cousin who was born in February 1955.

Arthur died August 1, 1955 in Wyandotte, Michigan. He is buried in Wauseon Cemetery in Wauseon, Ohio next to his wife.

arthur_grave_1955

Nancy Jane Clark (seated) with her son Edward and his family

Nancy Jane Clark (seated) with her son Edward and his family

Nancy (“Nannie”) Jane Clark was born February 12, 1880 in Henry County, Virginia to Willis and Sarah Elizabeth Clark.  In the 1900 census, Nannie and her mother (listed as Bettie) were living in Horsepasture, Henry County, Virginia.  Nannie was 20 and her mother was 62.  Nannie married Robert Luke Wells on March 20, 1902 in Henry County.  In 1903, Nannie gave birth to a stillborn baby.  On June 29, 1905, she gave birth to Edward Lee Wells, my grandfather.  On August 7, 1908, Willis James Wells was born.  In 1910, the family was living in Horsepasture, Henry County.  Robert was listed as 28 years old and a farmer, Nannie was listed as 30, Edward was 4 and Willis (listed as James W.) was almost 2.  Nannie’s mother was living with them, listed as Sarah E.  She was 72 and widowed.  She was listed as having 6 children, 3 still living.  On February 12, 1912, Nannie gave birth to her only daughter, Mary Ellen Wells.  William Robert Wells was born on June 12, 1915.  On April 28, 1919, Nannie gave birth to her last child, Jesse Brown Wells.  Sadly, after being ill for two month, Nannie’s husband Robert died of typhoid on December 26, 1919 at the age of 38.

Nannie and her daughter, Mary about 1929

Nannie and her daughter, Mary about 1929

In the February 1920 census, Nannie and the children and her mother were living in Reed Creek, Henry County, Virginia.  Nannie was 40 and her oldest son Edward was 14.  He was a laborer in a furniture factory – a young age to become the man of the house.  Thirty-five years later in 1955, history would repeat itself when Edward died of a massive heart attack at the age of 49, leaving his oldest son, Robert (my father), as the man of the house at age 16.  Meanwhile, Willis was 11, Mary was 8, William was 4, and little Jesse was only 8 months.  Nannie’s mother, Elizabeth, was 83.  I think Elizabeth died sometime in 1923.

Nannie and her family moved to Detroit between 1920 and 1925.  In September 1925, her son Willis accidently shot himself with a pistol he had found in a drawer while looking for a flashlight.  In 1927, Nannie is listed as living at 4009 Lovett in Detroit.  In 1928, she is living at 4086 W. Fort St., Detroit.  By 1933, she had moved to Lincoln Park at 1095 Victoria Avenue.

In the 1940 census, Nannie and her son Jesse were living at 1087 Victoria Avenue with two lodgers, Fred and Boaz Duncan.  Apparently, Nannie ran a boardinghouse during these years.  Jesse was a truck driver for a lumber company.  In the later 1940s, 50s, and 60s, Nannie lived at 1177 Montie Rd. in Lincoln Park.  Toward the end of her life, she lived with her son’s family in Melvindale, Michigan.

Nannie (on left), Robert (Dad), Florence and Earl Belknap

Nannie (on left), Robert (Dad), Florence and Earl Belknap

My dad remembers her as a very tall woman, and very stern.  She insisted her grandchildren call her “Grandmother.”  Nannie Jane Wells died on February 26, 1969 at the age of 89.

Michigan Memorial Park, Flat Rock, Michigan

Michigan Memorial Park, Flat Rock, Michigan

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