Emma Oakes, my great-grandfather’s sister, was married to Floyd Burtraw on December 9, 1908 when she was 18 and Floyd was 21. They had 3 children: Earl (1909-1946), Margaret (1911-2011), and Leroy (1915-1922).
In the 1920 Federal Census, Floyd, Emma, Earl, and Margaret were living on Prentis Avenue in Detroit, Michigan. From this page of the census, one would never know that Leroy existed. Instead, I found him as a patient at the Eloise Hospital and Infirmary in Nankin Township, Wayne County, Michigan (now Westland). He was 4 years and 7 months old. Leroy and a boy named Wilbur, who was 2 years and 9 months old, were the youngest patients in the entire infirmary. From the census, I couldn’t tell what his illness was. Next, I found his death certificate listing his date of birth as May 15, 1915 in Detroit and his date of death as October 2, 1922 at 3:30 AM at the Michigan Home and Training School in Lapeer County, Michigan. The poor baby died of otitis media (a middle-ear infection) with secondary/contributory causes of tonsillitis, endocarditis, and “feebleminded.” Next, I looked up the Michigan Home and Training School and found that when it opened in 1895, it was known as “The Michigan State Home for the Feeble-Minded and Epileptic.” According to Merriam-Webster, “feeble-mindedness” is defined as an “impairment in intellectual ability” and is noted as a dated and offensive term. I wonder if doctors used the terms epileptic and feeble-minded interchangeably, and if Leroy was really epileptic.
I wanted to find out more about the institutions that Leroy was committed/admitted to. Begun in 1832 as the Wayne County Poor House, by 1913 Eloise Hospital had three divisions: the hospital (mental asylum), the infirmary (or poorhouse), and the sanatorium (for tuberculosis patients). Leroy was in the infirmary on the date of the census, February 21, 1920. Before June 2, 1913, it had been called the Wayne County Alms House. Later, in March 1933, the infirmary became the Dr. William J. Seymour Hospital for infirmary patients, as well as mental patients with medical/surgical needs. I can only speculate why Leroy was there in 1920. I don’t think it was because his family was poor; Floyd had a job as a machinist at a factory in 1920. Was Leroy too young to be put in the mental hospital area for his “feeble-mindedness”? Did he have epilepsy, instead? And would that have been treated in the infirmary instead of the hospital? I wonder how long Leroy had been there before the census was taken, and how long after.
I do know, according to his death certificate, that he was seen by the doctor at the Michigan Home and Training School from July 1922 until his death in October 1922. The school began as the Michigan Home for the Feeble Minded and Epileptic in 1895 in Elba Township, Lapeer County.
“Originally providing housing and care for epileptics, the home moved the epileptic patients to the hospital in Caro, Michigan, in 1913. This was done in order to focus more attention on teaching and training residents in hopes that they would eventually become productive members of society. By 1922, all residents were admitted only by order of probate court; this included mentally deficient and handicapped children, orphans, abandoned children, and juvenile delinquents, and special consideration was given to the poor.”
Between July 1, 1917 and June 30, 1918 (3-4 years before Leroy came), the school’s rate of maintenance per patient per day was .66 cents. In their biennial report for the end of 1918, the school stated that “there are more than 300 on the waiting list who have been ordered admitted by the various Probate Courts.” An interesting item to note: “Our epileptic population – 65 male and 66 female – are children of school age and will not be transferred to the Michigan Farm Colony for Epileptics until provision is made for their training at the Colony. The balance are patients of low mentality and not eligible for transfer” (p. 14).
I don’t know if Leroy was physically well enough to enjoy the occupations at the school, such as farming vegetables and taking care of animals. In August 1922, according to the 9/21/1922 issue of the Flint Daily Journal, the population was 1,768.
When he died at age 7, Leroy had numerous infections (heart, tonsils, ear) and ended up dying of his ear infection, which may have been curable with antibiotics. Sadly, penicillin wasn’t discovered until 1928. Had he lived, Leroy may have eventually been forcibly sterilized as 2,339 people were at the school between 1914 and 1974.
James Bolt was born about 1804 in New York State. I believe his father, David Bolt, was the brother of my 4x great-grandmother, Hannah. James married Elizabeth “Betsey” Utter in the late 1820s in New York. In the 1830 census, James and Betsey were living in Andes, Delaware County, New York. Their daughter Louisa was born about 1830, and another daughter Polly was born about 1832. Their son Stephen was born about 1838, and another son Benjamin was born about 1840. Their last child Merritt was born in 1843, about 10 months before Betsey’s (spoiler alert!) disappearance in May 1844.
The April 1848 issue of the Journal of Insanity contains transcripts from John Johnson’s November 1845 trial for Betsey’s murder. So that is where I’m getting much of the following information. The main witness against Johnson, Ann Burdick, had been a patient in a psychiatric hospital and her questionable mental health was a roadblock to the validity of her testimony. In fact, this trial was “one of the first instances of expert testimony in the United States that could be regarded as falling under the general umbrella of forensic psychology or psychiatry” (Huss, M. T. Forensic Psychology. Wiley, 2008. p. 50).
According to James Bolt’s testimony, he and his family had been living in Greene, Chenango County in southern New York since about 1838.
In early April 1844, James moved his family to a farm belonging to John Johnson in Triangle, Broome County, NY about 10 miles west of Greene. James described his relationship with his wife during his cross-examination: “I had no difficulty with my wife, lived as happily together as men in general so, not any difficulty between me and my wife except that she wanted to go back to Delaware County where we moved from…”. His family had been acquainted with Johnson for about 9 years by that time. On the day of the move, three men, Nyrum Johnson (John’s son), Frederick Burger, and Harvey Hammond (Ann Burdick’s brother-in-law), moved all the household goods, while James and his oldest son, Stephen, went on foot, driving their animals ahead of them. Louisa, the oldest daughter, rode with Nyrum Johnson. Betsey and her baby Merritt rode in a wagon with John Johnson. Johnson passed James about four miles from Greene and beat all the wagons to the new house. By the time James approached the house, Nyrum and Harvey had already dropped their loads off and were heading away and Johnson had already been there and gone, dropping off Betsey and the baby.
When James arrived, he noticed that his wife was quiet and “cast down,” complaining of pain in her arms, unable to comb her hair. Betsey’s daughter Louisa testified that she overheard a conversation between her mother and Johnson later in which he asked if Betsey had told her husband anything. She said she hadn’t but should, and then he threatened her. Eventually Betsey did tell James what had happened when she arrived with Johnson at the house on moving day. She said that when they got there, Johson caught her and threw her on the floor, put the end of a buffalo skin in her mouth, and raped her. Johnson told her if she ever told her husband about it, “he would destroy her.”
James called a doctor to examine Betsey because she was so ill. Dr. William Purple, a physician in Greene, examined Betsey on May 7, 1844 and found her “weak and feeble…unable to discover any physical cause of her illness. She was agitated and disturbed, exhibited much anxiety, pulse weak and rather quick, nerves weak and irritable.” She said she couldn’t sleep and had no appetite. Purple prescribed “cathartics and anodynes.” James confronted Johnson after Betsey told him what had happened. Johnson said that James “would stand no chance” if he reported Johnson. Then Johnson admitted he had done wrong and would settle it with James with land or money, that James just had to name the price. James refused.
On Sunday, May 12, 1844, Betsey “had been deranged during the day and evening.” James had been locking the front door every night, but that night could not find the key. He brought in a barrel of milk to block the door instead. He left a fire burning all night. Most of the family slept in the main room where the door was. Betsey tried to leave the house once, but James stopped her and put her back in bed. Later she got up, checked the children, and “got her pipe and sat down by the fire and went to smoking.” James watched her awhile, but fell asleep. He woke up to the sound of the door latch. The door was left open and both pairs of Betsey’s shoes were left. She had been wearing a dark calico dress and stockings, but no shoes or bonnet. James went out to find Betsey, checking the well and around the house and garden. He then headed towards the woods. James and Louisa both testified that Betsey had been trying to run away to the woods all day. Neighbors joined in the search, and James afterward made some trips to “places where a deranged woman had been seen rambling about,” but none of them turned out to be Betsey. She had disappeared without a trace.
A neighbor, Vincent Van Arsdale, testified that he saw Johnson in a corn field at the end of June, 1844. Johnson was thrusting a stick into the ground and warned Vincent to keep a good lookout because he thought James Bolt had killed his wife and hidden her on the farm. Vincent told Johnson that he didn’t believe that Bolt killed Betsey. Two men, Fitch and Decker, testified that they had seen Johnson the day Betsey disappeared. He had been passing through Greene in a one-horse wagon and a man wearing a cloak partially covering his face was with him. Another neighbor, Allen Jeffers, said he heard a one-horse wagon going east slowly at 1 AM on the night Betsey disappeared.
A woman named Ann Augusta Burdick testified that in August 1845, she had been washing clothes at a spring near her mother, Amy Baxter’s, house. John Johnson and Mrs. Baxter were in the house, and when Ann tried to go in, the doors were locked. From outside, she overheard Johnson and Baxter talking: Johnson was asking her if “she could get rid of Mrs. Johnson as well as he did of Mrs. Bolt.” Ann then went to another door, opened a window and reached in to unlock the door. She saw Johnson and her mother on the bed. Johnson grabbed Ann’s arms and asked if she had heard him and if she would tell what she heard. Ann said she wouldn’t.
A couple of weeks later, Ann was at her mother’s house and Johnson arrived, asking if her mother was there, but she wasn’t. Ann’s husband came by and Johnson told her to hide in the other room. Mr. Burdick left and Johnson led Ann to the kitchen and tied her hands and then tied her to the bedpost. He tied a bonnet around her eyes so she couldn’t see. Johnson brought in a bag of bones and emptied it on the hearth. He told Ann to put them on the fire, but she fainted instead. When she awoke, the bones were burning. Johnson then took them out of the fire, laid them on the hearth, gave Ann an axe while he held another axe, and told her to pound the bones. Ann fainted again and woke up when he threw some water in her face. Johnson put the bones back on the fire and threatened to kill Ann if she told anyone. He said he would “serve [her] as he had Mrs. Bolt’s bones.” Ann described the bones and the bag, saying she saw what looked like a human head among the bones, but that she had never seen a human skeleton before. She also testified that the bones were purple before they went on the fire and white afterward.
Later when Ann returned home, two people grabbed her in her room. She claimed that one of them was wearing a dress and, after they left when she yelled, she found her mother’s cape on the floor. The next evening after she fell asleep, two men gagged and blind-folded her, and carried her out of the house. They tried to force her to drink something out of a vial, but she knocked it away. They carried her to a swamp and threatened her with a knife. They rolled her face down into a brook, put a couple of logs on top of her, and stood on top of them. She claimed one of the men said he had done enough for $5 and the other said “he had not got his pay for carrying Mrs. Bolt off yet.” Other witnesses later described searching for Ann in the swamp and finding her nearly dead in 3 – 4 inches of water, her hands tied and still gagged.
Johnson’s lawyer then cross-examined Ann about hysterical fits she had had in the past, trying to dismiss her testimony. Ann’s mother, Amy Baxter, testified for the defense and refuted Ann’s testimony, saying that the conversation with Johnson never happened and that she had never been on a bed with him. She described a fit Ann had in which she said she had visited heaven. Dr. Amariah Brigham, head of the so-called lunatic asylum at Utica, testified that Ann had been taken to the asylum on October 24, 1845. He described her symptoms and those of other “hysterical and nervous women.” The defense rested after Brigham said that hysterical persons’ testimonies “should be received with caution. They often say things in that state which they do not recollect when sane.” The jury returned a verdict of not guilty after deliberating for only 30 minutes.
The editor of the Journal of Insanity summed it up this way: “…Nothing has occurred since the trial…to throw light upon the mysterious circumstances of the affair. That a woman in a deranged state of mind disappeared as stated, several years since and has not since been found–and that another woman disappeared from her home in the day-time, and was found imbedded in a brook in a swamp, with her hands bound and a gag in her mouth and nearly dead, are facts. How these occurrences were produced, we leave for others and for time to explain.”
I found another interesting tidbit of history from my mom’s side of the family. My 1st cousin 5x removed, Orator Francis Woodward bought the Jello-O name and business from a neighbor for $450 in 1899! Though not the inventor of the product, he began producing Jell-O through his Genesee Pure Foods Company.
Back to the beginning though. Orator F. Woodward was the son of Abner T. Woodward and Phebe Lyman. Phebe was the sister of my 4x great-grandfather Levi Lyman. Levi’s daughter Mary married Andrew L. Moore, one of the Moore boys that moved west from New York in the 1860s.
Phebe Lyman was born on Sept. 1, 1820 in LeRoy, New York and married Abner T. Woodward on Nov. 18, 1843. Between 1845 and 1859, they had 4 sons and 2 daughters. Orator was born July 26, 1856 in Bergen, New York. His father, Abner, enlisted in the Civil War on Sept. 1, 1864. He was a private in the 8th New York Heavy Artillery, Company G. He was at the Battle of Hatcher’s Run and died at City Point, Virginia on January 24, 1865 of sickness. He was buried at the City Point National Cemetery.
In the 1870 census, Phebe was living in LeRoy with Orator, aged 14, and Clara, aged 10. Her brother Seth Lyman was living there as well. According to the 1875 New York State Census, they were living in a framed house valued at $1500 (Seth had died in 1871). In 1880, Phebe (54), Orator (23), Clara (20), and Clara’s husband, Thomas Larkin (20) were still living in LeRoy.
In 1882, Orator married Cora L. Talmage. They had six children: Ernest Leroy (b. Oct. 20, 1882), Orator Frank (b. May 26, 1884), Paul Wilbur (b. Dec. 31, 1886), Eleanore (b. Jun. 13, 1889), Donald (b. Dec. 20, 1893), and Helen (b. Jun. 19, 1899).
In the 1870s, he began inventing and manufacturing vaious remedies. In 1895 in LeRoy, Pearle B. Wait and his wife May created “Jell-O” by adding fruit syrups to gelatin. In 1899, he sold the formula and name to Orator for $450. He built up the business through very popular advertising campaigns. Unfortunately, Orator died on January 21, 1906. He had suffered a stroke the year before and, weeks before his death, had gone to Hot Springs, Arkansas for his health. His wife Cora became president of the Genesee Pure Foods Company. Their son Ernest succeeded her. Ernest had married Edith Hartwell in 1903. They had one son named Talmage Woodward.
There are lots of newspaper articles out there detailing the exploits of the Woodward family and the Jell-O company. In 2018, Allie Rowbottom published a memoir of her family titled Jell-O Girls: A Family History. Allie’s great-grandmother was Edith Hartwell’s sister.
Last post, I mentioned that the son of George F. Moore married a woman named Luella Lockwood. Her family is pretty interesting, so I’ll write a little about them. Luella’s parents were Charles T. Lockwood and Josephine Crofoot (possibly a niece of Michael E. Crofoot, the namesake of The Crofoot in Pontiac, Michigan). C.T. Lockwood was born in New York in 1835. He and Josephine Crofoot married in 1861 in Oakland County, Michigan and had 2 children. In the August 1870 census, the family was living in Pontiac and C.T. taught music. Their children were Luella, aged 5 and LeBaron, aged 2. C.T. was a composer and wrote a number of songs, and his wife Josephine was also a “teacher of piano and voice culture,” especially after her husband’s death in October 1870.
Luella Lockwood was born in Pontiac, Michigan on February 4, 1865. As mentioned above, when the census was taken on August 20, 1870 she was five years old living with her family and a servant named Nellie Jeffers. In the 1880 census, Josephine (37), Luella (15), and LeBaron (12) were living on Clark Street in Pontiac. Josephine was a music teacher while her children were going to school. On May 12, 1885, Luella married George F. Moore, Jr. in Pontiac. On January 6, 1887, their daughter Ruth Janet Moore was born in Detroit. According to the society pages in the Detroit Free Press, Luella passed the winter of 1890 at Colorado Springs and returned home in April 1890 (Apr. 27, 1890, p. 9).
A huge article from Dec. 4, 1891 detailed the Annual Ball at the Light Infantry Armory, “a brilliant gathering of Detroit’s beauty and fashion.” (Detroit Free Press, p. 1-2). George and Luella, George’s parents, and George’s sister, “ladies and gentleman who viewed the dancers from the gallery,” occupied box 16.
Luella spent the summer of 1892 at Normandie-by-the-Sea, a hotel in New Jersey. She then visited her sister-in-law Adela (Mrs. J. Ledlie Hees) at Fonda, New York. (Detroit Free Press, 9/25/1892, p. 17)
Left: From Facebook, the “Normandie-by-the-Sea located in what is now the Normandie section of north beach in Sea Bright. It was quite a massive resort, including its own train station, which is the small building shown on the left side of the image… . The building was unfortunately destroyed by fire on Sept. 29, 1916.”
Luella and George’s son, George F. Moore III, was born August 31, 1895 in Pontiac. In 1900, the family was living in Pontiac on North Saginaw Street. Luella’s mother, Josephine, was living with them, as were a servant (Emma Howden) and a nurse for the children (Pearl Owen). Ruth was 13 and George III was 5. Luella’s father-in-law died at Magnolia Springs, Florida on March 25, 1904 and the newspapers noted that it was sudden and that George Jr. was with him. George Jr. filed for divorce from Luella on August 4, 1904.
“George Frederick Moore has begun suit for divorce from Luella Lockwood Moore, to whom he was married in Pontiac in May, 1885. He charges his wife with wilful desertion since April 27, 1901, which Mrs. Moore, in an answer filed yesterday from Pontiac, denies. She also sets up that her husband did not sufficiently provide for her support. She asks that his bill be dismissed, but in case the decree is granted, she asks the custody of their 8-year-old son. They also have a daughter, aged 17. Moore is a prominent Detroit business man.”
Detroit Free Press, Wednesday, Sept. 7, 1904, page 10
The divorce was granted December 20, 1904. George Jr. died only four months later, on April 23, 1905 in Los Angeles. His will, written in April 1904, left his estate for the two children to be divided between when George III reached age of 30 (Detroit Free Press, Apr. 29, 1905, p. 12).
Luella, like her father, became a composer. The Detroit Free Press wrote an article discussing the publication of one of her songs “Dearie, I’d Do Anything for You.” The article also talks a little about her father (May 24, 1908, p. 40 – see article at left). In May 1910, the newspaper called her “Detroit’s well-known song writer” who was “having tremendous vogue with her song, ‘Yester-Eve.'” (May 8, 1910, p. 24). In June, “Cecille Berryman [was] singing Luella Lockwood Moore’s songs at Penobscot Inn.” And “Joseph Sheehan, the operatic tenor, [was] singing it in vaudeville.” (June 19, 1910, page 11). On June 22, 1910, she left for a visit to New York City. (Detroit Free Press, Jun. 23, 1910, p. 7). Her daughter Ruth married Roy E. Wiant on June 28, 1911 and the wedding service featured two of Luella’s songs: “During the entrance of the bridal party Miss Elizabeth Moore sang ‘Bridal Veil and Orange Blossoms,’ the music of which was composed by the bride’s mother…. The marriage service was read…during which ‘Perfume,’ a new composition by Mrs. Moore, was played by the organist, Mr. C. W. Morse.” Obviously, fashion was a big part of the day. The article let us know that “Mrs. Moore, mother of the bride, wore a gown of white lace, embroidered with silver spangles and white silk pattern figures with touches of pink under the net. The bodice was cut in a square. Mrs. Lockwood, grandmother of the bride, wore a handsome gown of soft gray marquisette under gray satin, with a garniture of lace in various shades of pink and old gold” (Detroit Free Press, Jul. 2, 1911, p. 49). In mid-July 1911, Ruth and her husband returned from their honeymoon and moved into Luella’s house at 300 Forest Ave. West while Luella was vacationing in the Adirondacks (Detroit Times, July 14, 1911, p. 6). In Fall 1911, the Wiants moved to Philadelpia.
The Colorado Springs Gazette of May 5, 1912 read, “Mrs. Luella Lockwood Moore of Detroit, is spending a short time at the Antlers. Her musical compositions have been favorably received and Fink’s orchestra is using several of them at the hotel. Among them is a suite of three numbers called “My Lady’s Boudoir,” the subtitles of which are “Perfume” (a barcarolle); “Chiffon” (a caprice); and “High Heels and Buckles” (a ballata)” (p. 4).
Luella’s daughter Ruth gave birth to a son named John Ledlie Wiant (Jack) in Philadelphia on April 21, 1914. The next year, Ruth and her husband moved back to Detroit and bought a house at 129 Palmer Ave. East (Detroit Times, Jul. 14, 1915, p. 8). On October 25, 1915, there was a song writer’s contest at the Orpheum Theatre with seven participants, including Luella (now living at 38 Hague Ave.) and her song “Mother’s Kiss is the Sweetest Kiss of All” (Detroit Times, Oct. 25, 1915, p. 2). Luella’s son George F. Moore III married Doris Blakesy in Detroit in March 1918. In the 1920 census, Luella, her mother Josephine, George III, Doris, and a servant named Margaret Ballard were living on Atkinson in Detroit. George was an insurance broker.
In August 1922, Luella, her daughter, and her grandson were spending the summer season at the Gratiot Inn in Port Huron, Michigan. In an article in the Detroit Times, Luella told a reporter, “I really don’t know just how I create my compositions. Of course I have studied some, but mainly I believe it was because of my father’s marked ability and because of God’s will.” She continued, “I believe my vacation here at Lake Huron will be conducive to assist me in writing several songs which I can offer before the winter. These wonderful cool days and the fresh breezes off the lake, cannot fail to help me.” (Detroit Times, Aug. 13, 1922, p. 38).
In September 1922, Luella’s brother LeBaron Lockwood was working as a photographer and living in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. The local newspaper there reported that Luella was “terribly injured in an automobile accident in Detroit. Mr. Lockwood, who received word from his mother in Detroit about the accident, states that Mrs. Moore has not yet regained consciousness…” (Sault Ste. Marie Evening News, Sept. 30, 1922, p. 3). I wasn’t able to find an article in the Detroit newspapers about the accident, but I know Luella did regain consciousness. Meanwhile, in September 1923, George and his wife Doris divorced. The next few years were tragic for the family. Luella’s daughter Ruth died on October 25, 1925 at the age of 38. Her cause of death was a grand mal seizure/epilepsy with a contributory cause of terminal broncho-pneumonia. George III died the next year at the age of 30. He died of edema of the brain. Luella’s mother Josephine Crofoot Lockwood died on August 24, 1927 at the age of 84. She had been a widow for 57 years. Luella died just a few months later at the age of 62. She died October 18, 1927 of hemiplegia (defined as paralysis of one side of the body) and edema of the lungs. She was buried in Elmwood Cemetery. At the time of their deaths, George, Josephine and Luella were living at 1129 Atkinson Avenue.
Recently I have been doing more research on my great-grandmother Mae’s Moore Family. Her dad was named Fred Lowell Moore and, according to his death certificate, he was born in Coldwater, Michigan in 1863. His parents were Andrew Lowell Moore and Mary J. Lyman. Andrew was born in Mount Washington, Berkshire, Massachusetts. He and at least 3 of his brothers made their way to west to Michigan. Andrew’s parents were John Moore and Clarissa Sparks.
John and Clarissa were married around 1812 and they lived mostly in Mount Washington. They had at least 10 children, including Abigail (1813-1885), Betsey (1816-1903), Michael (1818–1897), Benjamin (1820–1897), Louisa (1822–1898), John (1824–1897), Clarissa (1828–1921), Andrew (1830–1918), George (1832–1904), and Sabra (1837–1921). About 1847, they moved to Batavia, Genesee, New York, where Clarissa died in 1850 and John in 1857.
To Michigan, Boys!
Benjamin Moore was born on January 28, 1820 in Mount Washington, Massachusetts. He married Prudence Lee there on February 23, 1843. According to his obituary (Middleville Sun, 12/16/1897), he was converted in 1841 and commenced his ministry as a Congregational pastor at the age of 27. His obituary states that he preached in Batavia and Honeoye, New York, Plano, Illinois [1874-1876], Dowagiac and Wayland, Michigan, and finally, Middleville, Michigan. In the 1850 and 1860 censuses, he and Prudence lived in Batavia, New York and he was a farmer. Apparently ministry wasn’t his full time job until later his in career because in the 1870 census for Dowagiac, Michigan, he was a dry goods merchant. According to the “Minutes of the General Association of the Congregational Churches of Michigan” for 1873, he began his ministry in Wayland, Michigan on November 12, 1871 with a congregation of 42 people and in Middleville on January 1, 1876 with a congregation of 68. In the 1880 census, he was listed with his wife Prudence and their son Harmon Lee in Middleville, Michigan. His occupation was preacher. Prudence died on September 27, 1892. Benjamin’s obituary said that since her death, he had “constantly mourned her absence, often spending half days at her grave.” In January 1897, he attended his brother John’s funeral in Ann Arbor. Benjamin passed away on December 9, 1897 at the age of 77. His last words apparently were, “I am almost home.”
John Moore was born on March 23, 1824 in Mount Washington. He married Emily Calkins on April 27, 1848 in Batavia, New York. He and Emily lived next to Benjamin in the 1850 census with their nine-month-old daughter Agnes. He was a farmer. According to his obituary (Ann Arbor Register, 1/14/1897), they moved to Jonesville, Michigan in 1855 and then to Niles, Michigan in 1859, where he “engaged in the book and drug business.” In the 1860 census, he was a druggist in Niles living with his wife Emily, daughter Agnes (10), son George (7), daughter Ida (3), daughter Mary (10 months), and two relatives of Emily’s, Frances and Edwin Calkins. In 1868, they moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan and purchased a book business. In the 1870 census, John was a book merchant in Ann Arbor with a personal estate of $15,000 living with wife Emily, daughter Agnes (20), son George (17), daughter Ida (13), daughter Nettie (5), and son John (1) . In the 1880 census, he was a bookstore owner living on South Division Street in Ann Arbor with his wife Emily, daughter Nettie (15), son John (12), and daughter Lucy (9). John sold out his book business to George Wahr in 1883. He was then a druggist again until his death. He died Friday, January 8, 1897 and was buried in Forest Hill Cemetery in Ann Arbor. Emily lived with her daughter Lucy and her family in Detroit in the 1900 census. She died on May 11, 1917.
Andrew Moore was born on February 13, 1830 in Mount Washington. In the 1850 census, he was living with his parents John and Clarissa in Batavia, New York. Three siblings were living there as well – Clarissa (22), George (17), and Sabra Ann (12). He married Mary J. Lyman in September 1855 in Stafford, New York. In 1860, he and Mary and their 11-month-old son Lee were living in Pembroke, New York. Mary’s sister Amanda Lyman was living with them as well. By 1870, the family had moved to Little Rock, Illinois (near Plano). In the 1870 census (enumerated on July 9), Andrew was a druggist, living with his wife, son Lee (10), son Fred (7), daughter Cora Libbie (7 months), and Mary’s sister Cora Lyman (24), who died on July 21, 1870. In 1880, Andrew, Mary, and daughter Mary Frances (2) were boarding with Eliza Haines in Plymouth, Michigan, where Andrew was a general store keeper. By 1900, they were living in Sandwich, Illinois where Andrew was still a druggist. His future son-in-law Francis Newton was boarding with them as well. He was a drug salesman. Andrew’s wife Mary died in March 1904. He moved in with his daughter and son-in-law and died on October 3, 1918. They are buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery in Sandwich, Illinois.
George Moore was born on December 10, 1832. In 1850, he was living with his parents and 3 of his siblings in Batavia, New York. He married Adela Mosher in 1855. According to one of his obituaries (Buffalo Evening News, 3/31/1904), he “spent several years in the dry goods store of Seymour & Wells” in Batavia. Then, “in company with George[sic] L. Edson of LeRoy he went to Buffalo in the same business, and later in company with Edson removed to Detroit.” This move to Detroit occurred around 1859. George, Adela, and their 2-month-old son George Jr. were living in the city of Detroit in the 1860 census. George Sr. was a clerk in a dry goods store. In 1867, George, his friend James L. Edson, Allan Shelden, and Zachariah Chandler formed the dry goods business Allan Shelden & Co. In 1870, he was doing very well for himself as a wholesale dealer in dry goods with a personal estate of $30,000 and real estate of $7,000. He and his wife had 3 more children and 2 servants living with them. In 1872, he and Edson formed Edson, Moore & Company, a dry goods store, with Ransom Gillis (yes, this Ransom Gillis) and two others. Their business was located on the corner of Jefferson and Bates. The May 10, 1879 Detroit Free Press featured the news that George and his wife would be sailing for Europe where they would remain for four months. In 1880, George, Adela, George Jr. (20), Willis (18), Hattie (16), and Adela (14) were living on Winder Street in Detroit.
In December 1882, “George F. Moore…had the misfortune to lose by death his fine young pug puppy, presented to him by Mr. [Hiram] Walker, of Walkerville” (Detroit Free Press, 12/13/1882, p. 6). George’s wife and children were a staple of the society pages in the 1880s and 1890s. George Jr. married Luella Lockwood in May 1885. She was a composer, known for her orchestral suite My Lady’s Boudoir. Hattie married John A. Heames in a lavish ceremony in April 1887 (she died on July 1, 1888, two weeks after the birth and death of their son). And George’s youngest, Adela, married J. Ledlie Hees in October 1887. They moved to Fonda, New York. On November 25, 1893, the Edson, Moore & Co. building caught fire and 5 employees died. The company continued until 1974 in various locations. James Edson died in 1895. Adela died in New York City on October 28, 1902. George died in Florida on March 25, 1904. He and his wife are buried in the family vault in Detroit’s Elmwood Cemetery.
My great-great grandfather Henry Oakes (aka Henry Oax, Heinrich Ochs, or Henry Ochs) was born December 24, 1846 in Hesse-Cassel (Germany). He, his father John, mother Anna, and brother Conrad arrived in New York on April 22, 1852. Anna died by 1856, and John remarried to Wilhelmine Mager. In 1860, the family was living in Greenfield, Wayne County, Michigan.
Henry enlisted in Company F of the 24th Michigan in August 1864 in Detroit. He was not quite 18 years old. He missed Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and Cold Harbor, but joined in time for the siege of Petersburg. He joined the regiment at Weldon Railroad, Virginia on September 7, 1864. The regiment participated in the fighting at Hatcher’s Run in February 1865.
On February 11, 1865, the 24th was ordered to Baltimore and then to Springfield, Illinois for rest and recruiting at Camp Butler. While there, they were the military escort at Abraham Lincoln’s funeral on May 4, 1865. According to Henry Oakes, “J.D. Sheldon[?] was promoted to Lieut. shortly after we went to Lincoln’s funeral at Springfield, O. or Springfield, Ill. We stayed then till we came home to Detroit to be discharged.” On June 19, 1865, they left Camp Butler by train for Detroit. On June 28 at 5 PM, they had their last dress parade and the regiment was mustered out on June 30th. About the time immediately after that, Henry said, “When discharged from 24th I guess I was at my parents. I don’t know where else I could have been. They now live some 2 ½ mi. W. of Dearborn – John Oakes.”
Henry reenlisted in the 18th U.S. Infantry (3rd Battalion) on December 4, 1865. During January to March, 1866, the 3rd Battalion was going through organization and instruction at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri. They left there on April 20, 1866 and reached Sedgwick, Colorado on May 31, 1866. According to Henry, “We got to Salt Lake City [Fort Douglas] about 1 of July 1866. Fired a salute there on the 4th. Drew pay and clothing and then a pile of them deserted and I was put on detached duty. My gun was taken from me and I was put on a horse and a revolver given to me and a detachment of 4 of us with a non-commissioned officer put out to apprehend deserters for $30 a head. I can’t think who the officer was in charge of that detachment nor who the men were nor what companies they were from. I have no idea how long I was on that duty. Couldn’t tell whether 3 or 5 months of the time but I know we brought in a deserter every once in a while.” In December 1866, the 18th was reorganized: the 1st Battalion stayed the 18th Infantry, the 2nd Battalion became the 27th Infantry, and the 3rd Battalion became the 36th Infantry. Henry’s enlistment ended on December 4, 1868.
Here’s what happened to Henry after that according to his deposition from his Civil War Pension File: “When I was discharged from the regular army I went as brakeman on the U.P.R.R. [Union Pacific Railroad] – ran from Laramie to Rollin Springs. Brake man a little less than a year – got my left hand [?] [?] and was in a hospital with that in Laramie City. I can’t tell how long. Went braking again on same route. I can’t say how long then the whole crew was “pulled off.” I laid round Laramie I don’t know how long and I kind of think I came from there to Detroit. No I worked quite awhile at the European Hotel at Laramie City as 2nd(?) cook. Then I had charge of the dining room there quite a spell. Then to Detroit. Was brought to Detroit and put in House of Correction for 5 years for horse stealing. Had started herding cattle and was roped in. Was taking 3 horses from Laramie to Ft. Bridger for a man whose name I can’t recollect and was arrested with the horses in my possession. The man who sent me with the horses kept a [?] house at Laramie and he skipped out.”
So Henry was sent to the Detroit House of Corrections for 5 years for horse stealing in Wyoming Territory. He was received at the jail March 28, 1871 and was let out August 30, 1875.
Milo Alfonzo Thompson is a step-relative. He was the father of Bert L. Thompson who married my great-great grandmother Mina Bolt Moore in 1924. Mina died in 1942 and Bert died in 1966. He lived with my mother’s family when she was a kid, so our family has all his papers and pictures, since he had no children or immediate family.
Bert’s dad, Milo, was born in Tioga, Pennsylvania on July 10, 1836 to Bethlehem Thompson and Louisa Chilson. He had four sisters, two of whom (Bethia and Ann) died in 1841 and were buried in Addison, Steuben County, New York. Sometime between 1852 and 1860, Bethlehem brought his family to Michigan. Milo married Ruth E. Noble on January 2, 1860 in Oakland County, Michigan and they lived in Oxford, Michigan. Their first son John Wesley Thompson was born on September 9, 1860.
At the start of the Civil War, Milo joined the 1st Michigan Cavalry, Company G. The unit was organized in Detroit from August 21 to September 6 and mustered in on September 13, 1861. The 1st became part of the Michigan Cavalry Brigade along with the 5th, 6th, and 7th MI Cavalry Regiments. Company G was composed of men from Wayne and Oakland Counties. A roster can be found here. The 1st participated in battles from Winchester, Virginia on Mar. 23, 1862 to Appomattox, Virginia on April 9, 1865. In the 1890 Veterans Schedule, a remark on Milo’s entry says “reenlisted,” but I’m not sure of dates. Milo and Ruth’s second son, George Bethlehem Thompson, was born in Oxford, Michigan on November 12, 1863. I don’t know if he was home in February 1863 on leave or if he was finished with his service and hadn’t reenlisted yet.
After the war, Milo and Ruth had four more children: Violet, Gracie, Albert, and Bert. Violet died September 6, 1870 of brain fever – she was only 1. Gracie and Albert died within a month of each other in early 1879 of diphtheria – Gracie was 6 and Albert was 4. John Wesley died on December 31, 1880 at the age of 20 of tuberculosis. He had married Katherine Weber on February 26, 1880 and she had given birth to their son on December 27, 1880. Bert was born November 3, 1879, and so grew up only knowing his older brother George.
In 1882, the family moved to Luzerne, Oscoda County, Michigan. Milo’s son George married Katie VanAntwerp on September 22, 1887 in Elmer Township. They eventually had 7 children. George died in 1944. Milo’s mother, Louisa, died at Milo’s home on December 21, 1889.
The May, 4, 1894 issue of the Crawford County Avalanche (Grayling, MI) had a disturbing story about Milo: “Milo A. Thompson, of Luzerne, was assaulted by Eli Hagar, of that place, in a brutal manner, one day last week. Mr. Thompson is an old veteran and known by many of our readers.” He wasn’t even 58 yet, but I guess that counted as “old” in the 19th century. Milo’s wife Ruth died of unknown causes on November 27, 1896. Her obituary said she had only been sick for four days. According to the June 10, 1897 issue of the Avalanche, “Some vandal stole the flowers off the grave of the wife of Comrade Milo A. Thompson, of Luzerne. She was buried in the cemetery at Lewiston.”
In the 1900 census, Milo and Bert were living with George and his family in Elmer Township. Milo died on August 4, 1908. His obituary was in the Avalanche on August 13, 1908.
Died – At Ely, Emmet Co., Mich., August 4, 1908., Milo A. THOMPSON, aged 72 years. The deceased was born in Westfield, Tiogo county, Penn., July 10, 1836. When but a young man he came to Oakland Co. On Jan., 2, 1860 he was married to Miss Ruth E. NOBLE. To them were born 6 children, two of whom are now living, Geo. B. and Burt L. THOMPSON, both of this place. In answer to this country’s call he enlisted as a soldier in Co. G. First Michigan Cavalry and did valiant service. He was discharged at the close of the war and returned to his home at Oxford, Mich. In the spring of ’82 he came north and settled at Luzerne, Mich., where he has since resided. His wife died Nov., 27, 1896 whose memory he has always cherished. His last days since her death have been spent among his children. Mr. THOMPSON had always enjoyed fairly good health until 3 years ago when he began to fail. He received a slight stroke of paralysis the last of March which was followed by a more severe one in April. After leaving the hospital and for the last seven weeks, he has been at Ely, Emmet Co., where at his Nephew’s on Tuesday, Aug., 4th., at 2 p.m. he breathed his last. He leaves two sons, one sister, nine grand children, two great grand children and a host of friends, acquaintances and old comrades. Rev. C. E. ROBINSON of Lansing, preached the sermon at Lewiston. He was a member of Marvin Post No. 240, G. A. R. of this place. The body was brought to Lewiston where the funeral services were held on the 6th., inst. The casket was borne to the grave by his comrades of the war.
This week’s theme is adventure, so I thought I’d discuss my grandfather leaving Ontario and coming to Michigan in 1928. Charles Thompson Wilson arrived in Detroit, Michigan on April 11, 1928. On the border crossing document, the name of the ship is “C.N. 115” which stands for Canadian National #115. So instead of arriving on a ship, he arrived on a train from Windsor, Ontario through a railway tunnel under the Detroit River. The Michigan Central Railway Tunnel was completed in 1910. Before that rail cars were transported across the river by ferry. The Ambassador Bridge for car traffic was completed in 1929.
Just one week later, on April 18, 1928, he swore his declaration of intention to become a U.S. citizen. He was living in Grosse Pointe at 152 Kerby. I’m not sure who he was living with; he had put John Purdy at 333 Mona Ave. in Detroit as his contact on his border passage document.
This map of Amherst Island, Ontario is from 1878 and shows my great-great grandfather’s land that he owned just to the west of Stella, the island’s biggest town. In the larger map at the top, it would be just below and to the left of the “Q” in Bay of Quinte. John Wilson (former Johan Rustad from Sweden) arrived on the island in 1857.
My grandmother Helen was an only child. She had three first cousins on her mother’s side. On her father’s side, she had nine first cousins, but I don’t think she knew any of them. She doesn’t seem to have had much contact with his side of the family, and he died in 1928 when she was about 16.
Today, I’d like to post some picture’s of Ma’s first cousins on her mom’s side, Lee, Harry, and Glenn Moore, the sons of her uncle Glenn “Fred” Moore. Lee was born on January 5, 1913 in Hartford, Van Buren, Michigan, Harry was born on December 25, 1914, and Glenn III was born on June 20, 1922 in New Buffalo, Michigan.