Another Randy Seaver/Genea-musings exercise! “Thinking about your direct ancestors back through 2nd great-grandparents – in other words, ancestors #2 to #31 on your pedigree chart – how many children did they have? How many lived long enough to marry? How many died before age 10?” So here’s mine:
#2-3: R. Wells and M. Wilson – 3 sons, 1 daughter (3 married), 0 died before age 10
#4-5: Edward Lee Wells (1905-1955) and Velma Irene Belknap (1913-1999) – 4 sons, 4 daughters (7 married), 0 died before age 10
#6-7: Charles Thompson Wilson (1907-1989) and Helen Dorothy Oakes (1912-1988) – 1 son, 2 daughters (3 married), 0 died before age 10
#8-9: Robert Luke Wells (1881-1919) and Nannie Jane Clark (1880-1969) – 4 sons, 1 daughter (5 married), 0 died before age 10
#10-11: Earl E. Belknap (1895-1960) and Florence E. Bost (1896-1961) – 9 daughters, 1 son (9 married), 0 died before age 10
#12-13: John A. Wilson (1874-1930) and Mary A. Thompson (1872-1940) – 7 sons, 3 daughters (7 married), 1 died before age 10
#14-15: William Oakes (1888-1928) and Mae D. Moore (1892-1971) – 1 daughter (1 married), 0 died before age 10
#16-17: James H. Wells (1840-1904) and Mary Ann Clark (1839-1894) – 5 daughters, 4 sons (8 married?), 0 died before age 10
#18-19: Willis Clark (1834-?) and Sarah E. Wells (1838-1923) – 4 sons, 3 daughters
#20-21: Arthur F. Belknap (1869-1955) and Martha Gisel (1869-1925) – 1 daughter, 4 sons (5 married), 0 died before age 10
#22-23: William S. Bost (1859-1932) and Mary E. McCracken (1862-1911) – 4 daughters, 3 sons (5 married), 2 died before age 10
#24-25: John Alford Wilson/Rustad (1833-1889) and Mary Ann Gibson (1837-1923) – 5 daughters, 3 sons (4 married?), 3 died before age 10
#26-27: Archibald Thompson (1838-1931) and Elizabeth Dunning (1837-1912) – 9 sons, 2 daughters (6 married?), 3 died before age 10
#28-29: Henry Ochs/Oakes (1846-1922) and Minnie Schroder (1857-1936) – 2 sons, 2 daughters (4 married), 0 died before age 10
#30-31: Fred L. Moore (1863-1924) and Mina Adell Bolt (1865-1942) – 3 daughters, 2 sons (3 married), 2 died before age 10
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.
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
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.”
When Ancestry added “Michigan, Divorce Records, 1897-1952” a couple of years ago, lots of questions were answered in my family tree and also lots of theories were confirmed.
Finally, I was able to see the divorce record of my great-grandparents, Mae (Moore) and William Oakes, my grandmother Helen’s parents. They were married December 23, 1908 in Detroit and had one child. Mae filed for divorce on August 31, 1914 (when Helen was only 2 years old). It was granted on July 13, 1915 and the cause was cruelty and non-support. William did not contest the divorce.
It was also interesting to be able see divorces that were filed, but never went through. One of these I found was for William Oakes’ parents, Henry and Minnie. They were married April 8, 1877 in Dearborn, Michigan and had 4 children. Minnie filed for divorce on October 16, 1900 and the causes were drunkenness and cruelty. It was still pending at the end of 1900 and apparently never went through because Minnie still received Henry’s Civil War pension after his death. By 1910, Henry was at the Michigan Soldier’s Home in Grand Rapids and died in 1922 at the Soldier’s Home in Milwaukee.
The ancestor that was one of the biggest challenges for me was someone who lived relatively recently and is pretty closely related to me (great-grandfather). William E. Oakes was the first husband of Mae Moore and the father of Helen Dorothy Oakes, my grandmother. Reasons he was a challenge was that Helen was born in 1912 and her parents divorced in 1915. I’m not sure if she ever saw her father again. She never talked about him. Also, he died when he was only 40, in 1928, when my grandmother was only 16.
The document that helped me the most and started unraveling the mystery of William Oakes was his and Mae’s marriage registration. Through that, I discovered their marriage date (Dec. 23, 1908), his age (21 and therefore an estimated birth year of 1887), and his parents names (Henry Oakes and Minnie Schroeder).
This helped me to find the Henry Oakes family in the 1900 census in Nankin Township, Wayne, Michigan. William was listed as “Willie Oak” with a birthdate of July 1888. In the 1910 census, though they were still married, William and Mae were not living with each other. She was a boarder with her mother and worked at a theatre as a ticket clerk. I haven’t found William in 1910 yet. Their daughter Helen was born June 19, 1912. William and Mae were divorced July 13, 1915. William married again on January 1, 1916 to Pearl Sullivan.
Another interesting document that tells a lot about William is his WWI Draft Registration from June 5, 1917. He and Pearl lived at 317 W. Kirby in Detroit, which would have been near the corner of W. Kirby and 3rd Avenue. His birthdate was listed as July 8, 1888. He was a foreman for Ford Motor Company. He claimed exemption from the draft due to poor health.
Sadly, Pearl and William had a stillborn baby boy on April 8, 1918. William died on August 31, 1928 at Receiving Hospital located at St. Antoine and Macomb in Detroit. According to The City of Detroit, Michigan, 1901-1922, volume 2, p. 1185, the Receiving Hospital was:
“Detroit’s municipally-operated hospital located at St. Antoine and Macomb streets…and was opened October 12, 1915.
“It was established by the Poor Commission, now known as the Department of Public Wefare.
“It serves as an emergency hospital and clearing house for accident or injury cases occurring on public thoroughfares or of a public nature, and a psychopathic hospital for the safe and human handling of the mentally disturbed, and is under the control of the Welfare Commission. Other wards of the hospital are devoted to the care of medical and surgical patients unable to pay for treatment in other hospitals.”
According to William’s death certificate, he died of “Acute nephritis superimposed upon a chronic nephritis” with a contributory cause of chronic myocarditis. He was buried in Northview Cemetery in Dearborn.
Random Fact: My great-great grandfather Henry Oakes (aka Henry Oax, Heinrich Ochs, Henry Ochs) was sent to the Detroit House of Correction 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.
I am so fortunate to be able to hear his side of the story from his 1891 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. – 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.
This post is a re-working of a post I did for a Thriller Thursday back in 2013 about my 1st cousin 3x removed, William F. Ochs. He was the nephew of my great-great grandfather Heinrich Ochs (or Henry Oakes).
William F. Ochs was born January 28, 1880 in Michigan. He married Amelia Hartwig Hamilton on August 14, 1911. Amelia (born 1871) had previously been married to Herman Hamilton and had 7 children with him. Herman died in 1903.
According to a January 16, 1913 Detroit Free Press article titled ‘See Stepfather Slay Wife; Then End His Own Life,’ Amelia’s 2 youngest children, Florence and Ella were at home with their mother when William came home to their farm in Dearborn after a two-week bender. He had a shotgun and shot Amelia in the head as she was trying to escape out the back door. He then went out on the front porch and shot himself in the head. The two girls ran to a neighbor who then notified the sheriff.
According to the death certificates, they both died around 8 PM on the night of January 15th The inquest ruled it a murder/suicide.
Amelia was buried in Woodmere Cemetery in Detroit. Unfortunately, her daughter Ella died in 1924 at the age of 21 of pneumonia. Ella is buried near her sister Laura and her family, also in Woodmere.