Feeds:
Posts
Comments
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

Advertisements

#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

#2 – Melvin L. Jones

Melvin Jones was born in Cleveland, Ohio on May 5, 1926 to Charles and Marjorie (Saunders) Jones.  His parents had been married in Mississippi and moved around between Chicago, Cleveland, and Detroit.  Melvin was the third of eight children.

In a letter from Marjorie’s mother, Emma Saunders, dated December 15, 1929 from Vicksburg, Mississippi, Emma says, “Your uncle Clarence and my cousin Joe Reed has killed a many cat.  Your papa says all boys will kill cats.”  Emma then tells a story about what her sister Grace once did to a cat.  She concludes that section with, “So I guess that is where Melvin got killing cats.”  Yikes!  What kind of boy kills cats at the age of 3?

emma_1929letter_page3

Anyway, in 1930, the family, including Charles, Marjorie, little Marjorie, Melvin, Earl and Gwendolyn lived on Milford Avenue in Detroit and Charles was a real estate agent.  In the 1940 census, the family lived in Chicago on South Park Avenue.  Four more children had been born to Charles and Marjorie (Donald, Adelbert, Jacquelyn, and Vaughan).

Melvin Jones, Graduation from High School, 1944

Melvin Jones, Graduation from High School, 1944

Melvin married and had a daughter.  He and his wife divorced.  Melvin and my Aunt Sally Wilson married on July 4, 1960.  Sally kept the marriage hidden from her family until after my parents’ own wedding on July 16, 1960, in which Sally was the maid of honor (see page header; Sally is to the right of the bride, my mother Mary).

Melvin, Sally and Charles Jones, Christmas 1962

Melvin, Sally and Charles Jones, Christmas 1962

Uncle Melvin worked at the Chrysler Tank Plant in Detroit and was very active in the UAW Region 1B.  He and Aunt Sally took many trips to the conventions around the country.

Uncle Melvin, seated, second from right

Uncle Melvin, seated, second from right

After retirement, Uncle Melvin and Aunt Sally moved from Detroit to Williamston, Michigan.  He died July 15, 1995.  Aunt Sally died July 9, 2009.

jones

 

 

#1 Thomas Belknap

Thomas and Polly Ann Belknap's tombstone

Thomas and Polly Ann Belknap’s tombstone

Thomas Belknap was born in 1803 to Obadiah Belknap and Abigail Locke in Lisbon, New Hampshire.  According to A Standard History of Fulton County, Ohio, “It is known that Thomas Belknap was born on a family homestead in Vermont that had come to his father…in consideration of his service in the War of the Revolution” (page 428).  (Although there is some “Tory” talk in the family; somehow the Belknaps ended up in Quebec just over the border since both Obadiah and Abigail are buried there).   I’ve also seen a story that mentions that his new step-father did not get along with the step-children, so Thomas went to live with an uncle in Pennsylvania until the age of 21. However, I’ve never found evidence Abigail remarrying after Obadiah’s death.

Thomas married Sally Dearborn in Derby, Vermont on August 1, 1824. She died in 1838. Thomas married Eunice Burns sometime between 1838 and 1848, and they had a son named Francis Marion Belknap who was born in Wisconsin on January 17, 1848.  I am assuming Eunice died in childbirth as Thomas then married Polly Ann Farr on September 18, 1848 in Lorain, Ohio.

According to A Standard History of Fulton County, Ohio, “Zera Belknap was the oldest in a family of seven children born to Thomas and Polly Ann (Farr) Belknap, and he was the only one born in Lorain county. He was not yet two years old when his parents came by wagon from Lorain to Fulton county. They encountered many difficulties crossing the black swamp enroute to the new country. They located at Delta, and there six children were born to them. They were: Myron, Lucile, Lucretia, Thomas, Lucina and Arthur. While Thomas Belknap attained to the age of eighty-five years, his wife died while she was yet a young woman. They lie buried in the Spring Hill Cemetery.  Thomas Belknap was married three times, and Zera Belknap was a son from his third marriage. There was a half brother, Francis Marion Belknap, who was from the second marriage, and he came along with the family to Fulton county. There were three children by the first marriage, but their mother died in Vermont and the father went to Wisconsin before he finally located in Lorain county. These children never came west and nothing is known of them today. In all there were eleven children born to Thomas Belknap—three different mothers.”  This helpful book also states that, “When Thomas Belknap removed from Delta he located at ”Hornetsville,” and he helped cut the timber from the site of Wauseon and work it into barrel staves. While there was white oak timber in abundance, his occupation was stave-making, the staves sent to Buffalo and the barrels made there.”

In the 1850 census, Thomas, Polly and Francis are listed as living in Russia, Lorain County, Ohio.  Polly was only 18 years old and Thomas was 46.  In the 1860 census, the family lived in Clinton, Fulton County, Ohio.  Thomas was listed as 45 and Polly as 29 (Hmm, Thomas never ages in these censuses!)  They had Francis living with them, as well as their children Zera, Myron, Alice L. (Lucile as listed above), and Lucretia.  In 1870, Thomas Belknap was 54 and Polly was 38 and the family was living in York, Fulton County, Ohio.  Francis was living with them, but Zera was not.  Also, Myron, Lucelia (Alice or Lucile as listed above), Lucretia, Thomas, Susanna (Lucina as listed above), and Arthur.  My family line comes through Thomas’ son Arthur who was born in 1869 when Thomas was 66 years old.  In 1880, the family lived in Dover, Fulton County, Ohio and Thomas was listed as 60 and Polly was listed as 49.  Myron, Lucina and Arthur were living with them.  Polly was listed as Ohio as her birthplace, while her father’s was Vermont and her mother’s was Kentucky.  I’ve never been able to find anything about her parents.  I think Polly died around 1887.  Thomas died, full of years, on April 13, 1889.  They are buried in Tedrow (Spring Hill) Cemetery.