One of my great-great grandfathers, Fred Lowell Moore, worked on the railroad, as did his two sons Glenn and Earl. The first time I can find an occupation for Fred is on his marriage registration to Mina Bolt on September 10, 1885 in Plymouth, Wayne, Michigan. He was listed as a railroad agent.
According to a September 19, 1892 Detroit Free Press article, Fred was a conductor at the Plymouth station.
In an April 28, 1899 article from the Yale Expositor about his daughter Helen’s accident, he is said to be the baggagemaster at the union depot in Plymouth. In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census for Plymouth, taken on June 2nd, Fred’s occupation is give as Railroad Freight Agent. A July 8, 1900 Detroit Free Press article about the newsboys of Plymouth, Michigan features his 10-year-old son Glenn and says that Fred is a “veteran employee of the D., G.R. & W. Railroad.” The D., G.R. & W. was the Detroit, Grand Rapids & Western Railroad, which started as the Detroit, Lansing & Northern Railroad. The D.,L., & N was reorganized as the Detroit, Grand Rapids and Western Railroad on January 1, 1897, and in turn became part of the Pere Marquette Railroad on December 7, 1899 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Detroit,_Lansing_and_Northern_Railroad).
His son Glenn (also called Fred) was also employed by the railroad. In the 1915 Benton Harbor city directory, he is listed a a brakeman. On Glenn’s WWI registration card from June 5, 1917, he lists his occupation as yard conductor for the Pere Marquette Railway Company. In the 1920 census, he is listed as a yard switchman. In the 1930 and 1940 censuses, he was a yard conductor. In his 1942 WWII registration, his employer is listed as the Pere Marquette Railroad in New Buffalo. Glenn’s obituary from January 1963 says he was a retired yard master for the Chesapeake and Ohio railroad and a member of the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen lodge.
I have written about my great-grandmother’s sister Helen before (back in 2011). Since this week was about tragedy, I though I would share her story again, and include some newspapers articles I’ve found since 2011 that shed some light on what happened to her.
Helen was born March 14, 1895 in Plymouth, Michigan to Fred and Mina (Bolt) Moore. She had an older brother and sister, Glenn and Mae, and a younger brother, Earl.
Helen was 2-3 years old when she was photographed with her sister and younger brother, shown above. An article from the Northville Record from Friday, April 28, 1899 says, “The four-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Moore of Plymouth was seriously burned in that village last week Friday. Her clothes caught from a burning bon-fire near which she was playing.” So that would mean the accident occurred on Friday, April 21, 1899.
Another article from the April 28, 1899 issue of the Yale Expositor also said she was burned when her clothes caught fire from a bonfire. That paper said, however, that “she may live but will be disfigured for life.”
Helen died on May 1, 1899 at about six in the morning in Plymouth, MI. Her death certificate says she suffered a severe burn 10 days before. The disease causing death was listed as a sympathetic fever, which she had been enduring for 48 hours, and the immediate cause of death was listed as a hemorrhage.
I love this picture of my great-great grandmother laughing. It’s fun to imagine who or what she is laughing at and what the occasion was. Maybe a picnic? The picture below shows from left, my great-great grandmother Mina (Bolt) Moore Thompson, Jessie (Johnson) Bodington, the sister-in-law of my great-grandmother, and my great-grandmother Mae (Moore) Johnson. I think this picture was taken sometime in the 1930s, since Jessie came over from England in 1929.
My great-great grandmother Mina A. (Bolt) Moore Thompson had 2 brothers. The first was George E. Bolt, born in Plymouth, Michigan in 1861. The second was Isaac, born in 1863 and died in 1865.
George Edwin Bolt was born January 20, 1861 in Plymouth, Michigan to William and Mary J. (Everitt) Bolt. George married Mary Emma Quick on September 7, 1880 in Detroit, Michigan (one of the witnesses was an uncle, Matthew Everitt). They had a daughter, Mary (or May) Emma Bolt, in August 1882. In the 1900 census, the family was living on Hubbard Avenue in Detroit and George’s occupation was tinter. According to the Los Angeles City Directory, in 1909 May was the widow of George Calton and the mother of 2 children. She was living in Los Angeles with her parents, where her father George was a shademaker. George Calton had died in Detroit in 1908, so I’m not sure why May and her parents moved to L.A. in 1909. In the 1910 census, George, Mary, May, Alta, and George were living in L.A. and George was listed as an expert tinter at a shade company. The 1911 L.A. City Directory lists George’s employer as the “Whitmore-Talbert Company” and the family was living at 116 W. Ave 34 (which was located less than 1/2 mile from the factory).
The Talbert-Whitmore Company was incorporated in 1904 and moved to its factory at 2620 Lacy Street in L.A. in 1908. In 1921, the company had 50 employees. It was the “largest [factory] west of Chicago devoted exclusively to the manufacture of shade cloth and window shades” (Los Angeles Times, Jan. 1, 1921). Interestingly, the factory has now become a filming location as part of the Lacy Street Production Center. Their website has lots of cool photos of what the factory looks like now, including this one that shows part of the “shade cloth rollers” sign from the middle building above.
The family is listed as living at 58 Goodwin St. in the 1912 Detroit City Directory, so they must have moved back sometime in 1911-1912. so I think they must have moved back to Michigan around this time. May remarried in 1916 to Frederick Covert, moved to Washtenaw County, and had 3 more children.
In 1920, George and his wife Mary were still living at 58 Goodwin, and he was employed as a paint maker at an auto shop. By the 1930 census, they had moved back to Plymouth and were living at 370 Maple. George was finally retired. Mary died on December 3, 1933 at the age of 75. I’m not sure where George was in the 1940 census, but he died on December 30, 1944 in Pittsfield, Washtenaw, Michigan.
I stumbled upon this website, Rural Diary Archive, because I was researching my Wilson/Thompson/Gibson line on Amherst Island, Ontario. The founder of the project, Dr. Catharine Anne Wilson (maybe a relative, maybe not!), wrote a book called A New Lease on Life: Landlords, Tenants and Immigrants in Ireland and Canada, which explores landlord-tenant relationships on Amherst Island especially tenant families that migrated from the Ards Peninsula in County Down to Amherst Island between 1820 and 1860.
Anyway, the Rural Diary Archive “showcases over 150 Ontario diarists from 1800 to 1960.” The diaries come from museums and archives across Ontario. You can search transcribed diaries, as well as browse by county, occupation, ethnicity/nationality, and religion. I did find one diary from Amherst Island, written in 1872-1879 by George Wright. That is part of the time period the Wilson’s and Thompson’s lived on the island, but I haven’t a chance to read it yet. Hopefully, it will give me some insight on daily life.
The Archive also has a Twitter account (@RuralDiaries) that tweets diary entries in an “On this Day” format.
I love learning family members’ middle names. Sometimes they are unusual or passed down in the family. But sometimes they are the mother’s or grandmother’s maiden names. So if a relative has a middle name that sounds an awful lot like a surname, you may have hit on a female relative’s maiden name.
My grandfather and two of his siblings have the maiden names of their mother and both grandmothers as middle names:
Charles Thompson Wilson, born May 1907 – Thompson was his mother Mary’s maiden name
William Gibson Wilson, born September 1908 – Gibson was his paternal grandmother Mary Ann’s maiden name
Theresa Dunning Wilson, born December 1909 – Dunning was her maternal grandmother Elizabeth’s maiden name
My great-grandmother Mae Moore Johnson and her 3rd husband Alfred Johnson were married in 1925. They used to take the bus to Florida for the winters in the 1950s (not sure exactly how many years they did this). I’m lucky to have the postcards they sent my mother from their trip in the winter of 1959.
First postcard of the trip, postmarked Feb. 25, 1959, Charleston WV
Second postcard, postmarked Feb. 26, 1959, Charlotte, NC
Third postcard, postmarked Feb. 27, 1959, Orlando, FL
Third postcard, postmarked Mar. 6, 1959, Orlando, FL
Fourth postcard, postmarked Mar. 9, 1959, Orlando, FL
Fifth postcard, postmarked Mar. 16, 1959, Miami, FL
Sixth postcard, postmarked Mar. 28, 1959, Miami, FL
Last postcard, postmarked Apr. 13, 1959, Saint Petersburg, FL
My great-great grandmother Minnie Oakes (born Maria Catharina Wilhelmine Schröder) was born in Besitz, Mecklenburg, Germany on September 8, 1857 and baptized at the Evangelische Kirche Blücher on September 20, 1857. Her parents were Johan Joachim Wilhelm Schröder and Sophia Dorothea Christiana Martens.
I found her on Ancestry.com in the Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1500-1971 database. According to FamilySearch, “this collection contains parish registers from numerous Protestant communities and military garrisons found in former or modern German territories. The records are largely organized according to historical regions and church districts that may differ from current affiliations.”
I think I may have found my 3rd-great grandfather in an unexpected place. There is a William D. Bolt enumerated in the 1856 Pleasant Township, Wapello County, Iowa census. This William was 21 years old and born in New York (same age and birthplace as my William). He is listed as widowed with no children. This is a surprise. If he had a wife besides my 3rd-great grandmother, it is news to me! He was living with James and Caroline Hyde and their family. James and Caroline had been born in New York, but married in 1847 in Wayne County, Michigan. Their children had been born in Michigan as well.
In the 1860 Federal Census, William was married to Mary J. Everitt (having been married within the year) and living in Plymouth, Wayne, Michigan. In the same census, James and Caroline were living in with their children in Ypsilanti, Wayne County, Michigan.
I haven’t found that the Hydes and Bolts were related, but maybe they came from New York to Michigan together, and then William decided to join them in Iowa for a while before they all returned to Michigan around 1859.
The family of my great-great grandfather who came to Canada from Sweden has always been a mystery. He came from Sweden in the 1850s and met and and married an Irish girl. His name, as far as we knew, was John Alford Wilson. However, the family story was he came from Sweden as a stowaway and was given the ship captain’s last name. So I thought that was the end of that. I was unfamiliar with Swedish genealogy and I didn’t even have a name to go by. Some family members mentioned the name Rhustadt or Rustad. His tombstone said he was born on April 9, 1833 in Stockholm.
Fast forward a few years, after I had my mother take an Ancestry DNA test, I was contacted by a distant cousin who was also a few times great-granddaughter of John. She shared with me some fantastic documents she had found for a Johan Axel Rustad, born April 9, 1833 in Stockholm, Sweden.
He was baptized on April 11, 1833 in Adolf Fredriks Församling, Stockholm, Sweden. Församling means parish or congregation, so I assume that is the church where he was baptized.
Johan Axel’s parents married on September 22, 1833 in Adolf Fredriks Församling. Their names were Berger Halvorsen Rustad and Helena Andersdotter. Berger was born on August 9, 1806 in Elverum, Norway (this explains why Mom has 21% Norwegian DNA and no Swedish!) and came to Adolf Fredrik on Sept. 2, 1833 from Solna (near Stockholm). Helena was born on June 11, 1802 in Räm’s parish, Värmland. She came to Adolf Fredrik on Nov. 4, 1831 from Klara (in Stockholm). They had 2 children born during their betrothal: 1) Bernhard, b. June 29, 1828; and 2) Johan Axel, b. April 9, 1833.
Berger Halvorsen Rustad died on March 4, 1837 in Katarina Parish, Stockholm of typhoid fever. It must have been sometime after this that the family was split up. I’m not sure if Helena died around this time as well. Johan was sent to a foster family in Othem parish, Gotland, Sweden (an island in the Baltic) in 1842 and is last listed there on 9 Apr 1852.
Johan’s older brother Bernhard emigrated to the United States in 1854. They also had two younger brothers, Gustav Arvid Rustad (April 10, 1835 – April 27, 1835) and Oscar Arvid Rustad (March 11, 1836 – September 13, 1876). Oscar married Hilda Falk in 1859 and had at least one son who died in 1872.
Johan emigrated to Amherst Island, Ontario, Canada sometime before 1859, when he and his wife, Mary Ann Gibson, had a daughter Rose Mary on May 13, 1859. He was a farmer and a mariner according to the 1871 and 1881 censuses. He died on Howe Island, Ontario on January 6, 1889 as the age of 55.
Birth registration for Johan Axel – Adolf Fredrik CIb:3 (1827-1857) Image 1040 / page 133 (AID: v81707.b1040.s133, NAD: SE/SSA/0001)
Baptism Record for Johan Axel – Sweden, Select Baptisms, 1611-1920 from Ancestry.com
Records for Johan Axel on Gotland – Othem AI:4 (1842-1853) Image 2090 / page 193 (AID: v61925.b2090.s193, NAD: SE/ViLA/23066)
Marriage record for Berger Halvorsen Rustad – Adolf Fredrik EI:2 (1813-1841) Image 343 / page 673 (AID: v81715.b343.s673, NAD: SE/SSA/0001)
Death record for Berger Halvorsen Rustad – Katarina FI:9 (1835-1844) Image 63 / page 117 (AID: v87044.b63.s117, NAD: SE/SSA/0009)