For this week, I actually found the surname Poorman in my tree! Below is the only information I have found on Mr. Poorman (first name possibly Henry). He married Mary Greenawalt, the sister of my 4th great-grandmother (Sarah Greenawalt Shatzer/Shartzer).
The theme for Week 45 is “Rich Man.” Amy’s suggestion of “Any Moneypennys or Banks in the family tree?” made me look for that surname in my tree. Surprisingly, I found some Moneypennys. My 2nd cousin 2x removed Viola Dilsaver married Charles Moneypenny in 1931 in Ohio. Viola was the daughter of Laura Belle Culver (1880-1940) and James Dilsaver. Laura was the daughter of Sarah Ellen Bost (1860-1939), my 3rd great-aunt, and Alfred Culver. Sarah Ellen was the sister of my great-great grandfather William S. Bost (1859-1932).
Anyway, back to the Moneypennys. They lived in Summit County, Ohio, and divorced in August 1944. Viola and Charles had 2 sons, David and Jack. Viola married Henry Wilson on October 25, 1947. On their marriage license, they were both listed as rubberworkers. Viola died in 1992 at the age of 78. Her son David had died in 1964 in a plane crash at the age of 31. Charles Moneypenny died in 1998.
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.
Finding the context in a person’s life is one of my favorite things about genealogy. I love finding more than just names and dates. Occupations, addresses, family tragedies, world events, awards, military service – they all shape a person’s life.
My favorite places to learn about context are newspapers and city directories (for home addresses and work places). Censuses have some information that could be useful for context, like occupation or whether the person was blind or deaf. Divorce filings often have a lot of juicy details.
Here are some of my previous blog posts, for which I used a lot of newspapers and city directories:
For Week 40 of #52Ancestors, the theme is “Harvest.” I decided to look and see how many of my great-great grandfathers (you have 8) were listed in the 1880 U.S. Federal Census/1881 Canadian Census with an occupation of “Farmer.” Here we go:
James Wells – Farmer, aged 40, Horsepasture District, Henry Co., Virginia
Willis Clark – Dead
Arthur Belknap – aged 11 – his dad was a laborer in Dover, Fulton Co., Ohio
William Bost – Farm Laborer, aged 20, Marion Twp., Henry Co., Ohio
John Wilson – Farmer, aged 48, Howe Island, Frontenac, Ontario, Canada
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.
The theme this week is Mistakes. My great-great grandmother Mary (Clark) Wells was listed in the 1900 census in Horsepasture, Virginia even though she died in 1894. Now this is either a spooky mistake or my great-great grandfather’s wishful thinking. He was in the middle of a strange second marriage to a much younger woman who was also his son-in-law’s sister, and his new wife and their newborn daughter were living with her parents.
Mary Ann Clark was born December 20, 1839 to William Clark and Ann Martin in Henry County, Virginia. She was 10 years old in the 1850 census, living with her family, and attending school. In the 1860 census, she was 20 years old and living with her parents, younger siblings, and her grandmother. On September 2, 1864, she married James H. Wells in Henry County. By the 1870 census, they were living in Horsepasture Township and had 3 children – Susan, Mary, and William. James’ sister Eliza was also living with them with her 2 young children. In 1880, James and Mary were living in the same township, with 4 more children – James, Sarah, Lucy, and Martha. In 1881, they had my great-grandfather, Robert Luke Wells. Mary Ann died on December 29, 1894 of fever (according to the Death Register of Henry County, Virginia, Volume 11, 1875-1896, p. 162-163).
Now is where things get a little strange. James and Mary’s daughter Martha married J. W. Koger on July 21, 1897. James re-married on February 22, 1898 – to J. W.’s sister Sallie. James was 57 and Sallie was 32. According to (spoiler alert!) divorce depositions, Sallie left James in July/August 1899. She gave birth to their daughter Maggie on February 13, 1900. On June 4, 1900, Sallie and Maggie were living with Sallie’s parents and her brother. Sallie was listed under her maiden name, Koger, while Maggie had the surname Wells. Meanwhile, on June 26, 1900, James and his (dead) wife Mary are listed with their sons Robert and Edward, and their daughter Martha, her husband, and her daughter.
On April 16, 1901, James filed for divorce from Sallie on the grounds of desertion. The divorce was granted in June 1903. James Wells died March 6, 1904. Sallie lived until 1947 and their daughter Maggie lived until 1985.
The Bassett Historical Center in Bassett, Virginia was incredibly helpful in researching James and Mary Wells, sending me copies of vital records and divorce papers.