Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009 - Let us give Thanks!

Lord, Could we talk for a few minutes?

I knew you would say yes!

You are such a good listener. Wish I knew how to listen as well as you. Feel free to jump in here anytime, in case I start to ramble!

Oh yah, I knew you would do that too. In any case, I just had a few important things to talk to you about today.

First things first, do you remember those explorers you sent out. You gave them the courage to sail all over the world. They were men who sailed day and night, day after day, month after month. They left their homes not knowing if they would ever return. I can not imagine the fear that must have built up in those brave souls, not knowing where they were or where they might end up. They had no flight plan or itinerary! Nor can I imagine the joy and excitement they must have felt the day that they finally did see land on the horizon. Thanks Lord, for them, their courage, their safe travel and their discoveries!

Remember all those brave people who left Europe and came to America when it was a wild settlement. They left their known world for an unknown world. Their courage to me is incredible. They left everything they knew with the hope of having something better in our “New World”, a world that they had never seen before a world that did not exist until they created it! Thanks Lord for their safe travels and their determination to make America the land of the free.

You gave them courage to stand tall and fight for the freedom of democracy that we have today. They thanked you on the first Thanksgiving and we thank you today on our Thanksgiving of 2009. You provided them with food for their first Thanksgiving and the first brutal winter in the New World and you do the same for us today. And we thank you for continuing with that tradition for all these years.

You provided us with people who are civic minded and focused on America and making it the Democratic country that we love. You gave us people who are courageous enough to become members of our military, leaders, governors, senators, congressmen and judges. You have guided their decisions and our country has most often flourished. The road is bumpy today and has been bumpy in the past but with your guidance you have always pulled us through. We, as a people, do not always agree but that freedom is a part of our Democracy and so we Thank You.

You gave me wonderful Grandparents who loved me and whom I loved as a child but I did not understand their importance or how much they taught me until much later in life. You gave me parents who loved me, encouraged me and had the courage to let me spread my wings and fly when the time came. They "cheered me on" when I flew and were there to help "pick me up" when I fell! It takes courage to let your child fly or fall. Thank you Lord!

You gave me the world’s best siblings with whom wonderful memories have been created. You taught us to love, to share, to encourage, to champion, to support, to listen, and to enjoy! Thank you Lord and incase you are wondering, we have just gotten started with a new bunch of memories. So stay tuned!

You gave me two sons, whom I love. You gave me the courage to raise them when I was just a child and to set them free when they became adults. You helped me through the smooth sailing and the rough seas and for that I am grateful. Thanks so much for teaching me balance, for knowing when my role in their lives should be in the foreground and when it should be in the background. Your guidance is most appreciated when the line is fine. I am still listening.

And then for my second chance in marriage, thanks so much for sending my husband across my path first as a friend and then as my companion for life. Help us to learn to sail through the still waters and the rough seas enjoying the adventures which each brings.

Thanks for my Grandchildren, help me to know what they need to learn from me as my Grandparents knew what I needed to learn. Please give me the right time and place to teach them the lessons. They are so very special and carry our family on into the future.

Then there are nieces, nephews, cousins and friends who you orchestrate into our lives at the exact times they should be there. Some remain in your life for ever and others come in and out of your life but you are better for their friendship! They bless us with their gifts and we thank you for these blessings.

You have given me the opportunity to peak into the lives of my family members who have come and gone long before me and I am Grateful. You have blessed me with the ability to get to know wonderful people who I never met or who are related to me through these early settlers and for that I thanks you.

On this Thanksgiving, and each day of our lives, we are blessed! Thank You, Lord

Love, Jan

PS. You let me ramble, you have this listening thing down to a science! Have a Great Day!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday – November 24, 2009

Charles Densmore
 December 23, 1864 – January 4, 1943

Charles Densmore was sexton for the Woodlawn Cemetery in Marine City , Michigan for 18 years. I believe that I have acquired my love for cemeteries from my Great Grandpa Charles Densmore. He loved them and I love them!

When I was a little girl, I often visited our local rural Cemetery in Washington, Michigan. As you can see from the Photo there are now house built all around it but when I was a girl it was surrounded by farm fields and 29 mile road was still a gravel road. You would see cows or sheep grazing with an occasional deer tossed in the mix. It was a peaceful place. I did not know anyone who was buried there. It was an old pioneer cemetery and I was fascinated by it. I can still recall riding my bike down the gravel road as fast as I could. I would ride up the sloping entrance of the cemetery into the center of the graveyard, jumping off my bike and dropping it in the middle of the grass.

For the next 30 minutes or so I would wander the cemetery reading the names and dates on the gravestones. In my mind I would create thrilling stories about these people and their lives. There was a Frost Family buried in the cemetery and I was sure that they could all write poetry like there famous relative, Robert Frost. (not really related that I know of but in my imagination they were...) When I found a child, they would become my playmate. One day we might play marbles and the next it might be tag or hide and seek, hiding behind the tombstones. A young woman would transform into a mother or a local farmer’s wife helping to milk cows, gathering eggs in her apron or hauling water to the kitchen. When I saw a military stone, I would imagine soldiers in their uniforms marching off to war and fighting in battles. Old men became like Grandpas letting you sit on their lap while they tell you about the old days, the really old days….Old woman became Grandmas that let you help make cookies and pies and a little mess once in a while. I wish I had written some of the stories down now. I came from a fairly large family and this was something I always did when I wanted to be alone. It was not a conscious thing as I recall but in a large busy family each member needs some alone time and this was mine. 

Some times it was fun to lie in the grass and watch the clouds as they formed and dissolved and reformed.  I would lay there with my friends who had been laying there long before me.... and have remained there long after I am gone...You might think that I am strange and that is OK... but there are very few places on earth that I like better than a cemetery!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The decade of 1860 to 1870...

The decade between 1860 and 1870 was very hard on this Smith Family. In 1861 Kisiah, the 19 year old daughter of James and Susannah died. In the 1860 Pickway County census shows, Mary Ann and her husband Jonathan have 4 children. In 1863, Mary Ann and her daughter, Susanna die and are buried in the Nine Mile Cemetery. By the 1870 Census, Jonathan and their son James W, are the only surviving members of the Kimble Family. What happened to the other children? Their names were Jacob and Mary Ann Kimble. Jacob was the oldest son born in 1854 and Mary Ann was born in 1859. They are not buried with Mary Ann and Susannah Kimble in the Nine Mile Cemetery according to the cemetery records. I assume that they must have died in Ohio prior to Mary Ann but I can find no evidence of it so far. If they had died in Indiana, then they would have been buried in Nine Mile with the rest of the family members. I have not been able to find them anywhere.

Again in 1863, James and Susanna would lose one of their children. This time it is Charles Smith. The month is not listed on the tomb stone but he is buried at the Nine Mile Cemetery. I have not found a death record but a Charles Smith from the Fort Wayne area died in 1863 in the Civil War. I suspect that it maybe our Charles. James W Smith and Joseph J Smith both enlist in the Indiana 142nd Infantry in 1864 and serve in the Civil War until they both muster out in 1865 with no reported injuries. James Smith, father and patriarch of this family would die in March of 1868. He is buried with his children in the Nine Mile Cemetery.

 It is after this very difficult decade that I search in earnest for Susannah wondering where she has gone. After looking for her with her daughters and not finding her, I started to look closer for her with her son’s and their families. Joseph was one of the easier boys to locate. When I located him, I found her too in the 1870 Census. Joseph, his new wife, Mary Catherine and one year old twin sons are living with Susannah, John, and Martha in Lafayette Township, Allen County. Near by James W. and Oella are living with their new son, William F. and a teenage Henry C Smith who now seems to be called Charles Smith. Has he taken his brothers name to honor Charles after his untimely death in 1863? I suspect that Henry's middle initial "C" stands for Charles.

In 1870, John F Smith is of age, 21 years old and working on a farm. Is he working the Smith Farm or someone else’s, I wonder?  Martha is as 13 years old and Henry C is 17 years old… though the census worker listed him as 7 years. Neither Charles nor Martha is listed as being in school either. When did "young men and young women" finish their schooling? I would guess around 12 or 13 years of age. Martha will be married four short years later when she is 17 years old. At the time of this census, Susannah Smith still has two children who are not of age yet. Next door in 1870 is Jonathan Kimble and James, Susannah’s son-in-law, husband to the deceased MaryAnn and her Grandson.

James Kimble is 11 in the 1870 census.  Jonathan has remarried and his new wife is also listed in the census but is listed above the Jonathan Kimble household almost as if she was a member of the household before Jonathan’s. I had over looked her several times in the early days of my research.

I spent quite a bit of time this week trying to untangle the Kimble Family. Wish I knew who Jonathan’s parents were or where he is buried. There are many Kimble families in Ohio in the 1850's and 1860. After the 1870 Census, I lose track of Jonathan and James again. Don’t know if they go back to Ohio or if they move further west. I keep looking for more needles in my haystack.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - November 17, 2009

Our Family Civil War Veteran’s Tombstones

The following are tombstone photos which I have of Civil War Veterans in our family.  We have other Veterans from the Civil War but I currently do not have photos of their tombstones.  Getting the new photo's will gives me an opportunities for future Veteran's Day blogs.

This is my Great Great Grandfather Austin Boyer from Rose Township, Oakland County, Michigan. Lillian Losee’s Grandfather on her maternal side of the family.  This stone was place by Mary Florence, Austin's wife,  to honer her husband.  It is in the Boyer Plot in Thetford Cemetery in Genesee County, Michigan. No government stone was requested.

Austin L Boyer

Born: February, 19, 1848
Died: May 27, 1908
Service: 10th Michigan Calvary, Company L

James W Smith is our GGGGrandfather from Nine Mile Indiana. This is Everett Smith’s Grandfather on his paternal side.  He is buried in the Uniontown Cemetery in Wells County, Indiana.
James W Smith
Born : July 26, 1843
Died : Jan 28, 1913
Service: 142nd Indiana Infantry,
Company D

This tombstone was provided by the government for James W's grave.  There is no tombstone with James and Oella's birth and death information.

Joseph J Smith is the brother of James W. Smith. Everett’s Great Great Uncle on the paternal line. This tombstone was place by the family no government stone was requested to honor Joseph as a veteran.

Joseph J Smith

Born : 1845
Died : December 18, 1923
Service: 142nd Indiana Infantry, Company D

Friday, November 13, 2009

Family Veterans

In honor of Veteran’s Day this week, here is a list of the American Veterans which have been identified in our family search so far.

Ohio Revolutionary War Veteran  - GGGGGrandfather Jacob Crites

Jacob Crites – 1740 – 1821 Buried in Crooked Run Cemetery in Dover Ohio. Jacob was born in Berks County, Pennsylvania.


Our GGGrandfather James Smith and his brother Joseph Smith

James W. Smith – Nine Mile, Indiana – Indiana 142nd Infantry Company C - October 20, 1864 mustered out July 14,1865 in Nashville Tennessee – Promoted from a Private to a Full Corporal.

Joseph Smith - Nine Mile, Indiana – Indiana 142nd Infantry Company C - October 14, 1864 mustered out July 14, 1865 in Nashville Tennessee

Susannah Overly Smith's nephews and cousins

David Overly - Indiana 142nd Infantry Company C – October 25, 1864 mustered out July 14, 1865 in Nashville Tennessee

Thomas Overly – Fort Wayne, Indiana – Indiana 142nd Infantry Company D –  Mustered out July 14, 1865 in Nashville, Tennessee

Samuel Overly – Nine Mile, Indiana – Indiana 5th Calvary Company D - October 31, 1862

Thomas Overly – Nine Mile, Indiana - Indiana 5th Calvary Company D - October 31, 1862, mustered out June 15, 1865 Pulaski, Tennesse 

Daniel Overly – Nine Mile, Indiana – Indiana 5th Calvary Company D  - November 29, 1864 mustered out June 15, 1865 Pulaski, Tennesse 

James Overly Sr. - Nine Mile, Indiana – Indiana 5th Calvary Company D  - November 29, 1864 mustered out June 15, 1865 Pulaski, Tennesse


GGGrandfather Austin Boyer and his brother Dennison

Austin Boyer – Milford, Michigan – Company L, Michigan 19th Calvary –  Enlisted at the age of 18 on October 14th 1863 and mustered out on November 11, 1865 in Memphis, Tennessee 

Dennison Boyer – Rose, Michigan – Company L, Michigan 19th Calvary –  Enlisted at the age of 18 on September 18th 1863, promoted to Full Corporal on 1 Jun 1865 and mustered out on November 11, 1865 in Memphis, Tennessee.

Our GGGrandfather on Leah Anderson Smith side. 
John Densmore – St Clair, Michigan – Company K, Michigan 11th Infantry 

For Tombstone Tuesday this week I will highlight the tombstones that I have for these Veterans from the Civil War.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - November 10, 2009

Nicholas Murray son of John and Alice Murray
died June 27, 1868 age 28 years old.

This is another beautiful metal “White Granite” tombstone at Transfiguration Catholic Cemetery in Lake County, Illinois. The Murray family was a large family in the area during the Civil War time period. I am not sure if there are other family members buried there too. I took this picture because I like the stone. I did a small amount of research once I got home.  Next time I am in the area I will stop again to see.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Hidden in plain view …

I have searched and I searched, I just can not find Susannah after 1870! In the federal census that year, she lived in Lafayette County with Joseph and Catherine, her children, Martha and John is listed with them too. Henry Charles is with William and Oella Smith, who live next door. While I was search for Susannah, I did find that Martha had married Henry Hause on June 14, 1874 though the name is spelled Hauss in the marriage records. She is 18 years old when she married. There is little information available about her because she is dead 3 short years later. I am looking for an Obit for her but so far I have not found one.

Margaret is also pretty elusive. Since Susannah counted all of her children in 1860, I spent years looking for Margaret in the decade of 1860-1870. Every Margaret in Allen and surrounding counties was a suspect but I just could not find her. During one of my visits to the Nine Mile area, I decided to check out two older cemeteries which were very close to the Nine Mile Church. It was out of curiosity more than anything that I chose to visit them. Maybe, just maybe, I would find Susannah buried there and if not her maybe someone else!

The first cemetery was West on Winter Rd. I found it the first time I visited Nine Mile because I turned left to find the church when I should have turned right. I had stopped and looked during my first visit but I had no idea who I was even looking for. The cemetery is called Albright Cemetery and has about 25 graves. The names are familiar and all of the people buried there are from early Allen County family names that I recognize from early census records.

The second cemetery was called Brenton Chapel Cemetery. It is located on Cloverdale Road, around the corner from the two cemeteries on Winter Road. Many of the names on the tombstones there are familiar old Allen County names too. I found that Letisha Davis was buried there. She is the wife of Benjamin C Davis and died on November 15, 1851. I recognize the “Davis” name because Benjamin was one of the founding members of the Nine Mile Church. And 1851 was about the time that they started the church, I had thought. I took a mental note to check this out when I got home.

When I arrived home, I went in search of Benjamin Davis. It took some time because he was not listed as Benjamin, eventually I found him listed as Ben C. Davis and he is remarried. His new wife is Margaret! “Could it be her?” I thought. With further research, I found that Margaret Smith had married Benjamin C. Davis in 1851, one year after the 1850 census and a few months after his first wife’s death. Benjamin and Latisha had 6 children and Margaret would be the one to finish raising them. Benjamin and Letisha’s children were; William (1831), Mahala (1832), Sarah Ann (1833), Adaline (1835), Columbus (1838), and Betsey( 1843).

Margaret would have her first son, James in 1853. Margaret and Benjamin would have six children in all: James (1853), Joseph H. (1856), Martha (1857), Mary Davis (1860), Lucinda Margaret (1863) and Elnora Davis (1866). It is no wonder that I could not find Margaret. First Susannah made me think that she had not gotten married until after 1860 and she appears to have died by 1867, I say “appears to have” because I can not find where she is buried either. Her last daughter Elnora was born and that is the “last known” event I can find in her life. I am thinking that she may have died giving birth to her. By the 1870 Federal Census, Benjamin is listed with his third wife Hannah E. Davis. Hannah would raise Margaret’s children and have a couple of her own.

After finding Margaret and her children, I was able to find that Martha Davis married William Putt. The Putt Family was three doors down from the Davis’s in the 1860 census. Martha, her husband and two of their children are buried in the Nine Mile Cemetery and the Putt family members were long standing members of the Nine Mile Church. Martha Putt and her children are named on the Quilt which hangs in the lower level of the Church.

I have spent time the last few days trying to find out where any of the Davis children were buried in Indiana assuming that Margaret would be with them but I still can not find her.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Door County Tombstones

Northeast Wisconsin is the largest settlement of Walloon speaking Belgians in the United States. Walloon is a French dialect from southern Belgium and Flemish, a Dutch dialect from northern Belgium and is Belgium’s other official Language. In the late 1840’s the economic conditions in Northern Europe took a downturn. With this economic downturn coupled with the potato famine which intensified food shortages, families were forced to leave the Belgium country side for the city in hopes of finding work. But upon their arrival, they were to find that factories had no jobs.

Across the Atlantic conditions were very different, so the Belgians crossed the ocean and settled in Wisconsin. They would arrive in Sheboygan area near the end of July in 1853. Soon after their arrival it would become clear that they would need to go further north to find available land to settle on. In the early months of being in America while the men were looking for land to purchase, one of the children in the Phillip Hannon family died.

This child’s death caused the settlers to seek out a French Catholic Church for a funeral. They would go to Green Bay where Father Edouard Daems was visiting the St. John’s priest at the time of the funeral. Father Daems was a Crozier priest who had been born and raised in Belgium. He spoke Walloon and he was also the priest of a new Catholic church at Bay Settlement, a small community just northeast of Green Bay. Since practically all the pioneers were followers of that faith, they followed Father Daems and settled near by.

They settled in the counties of Brown, Kewaunee and Door counties near the water of Green Bay. Land would be purchased for $1.25 and acre as promised when they were still in Belgium. For the next ten years many Belgium immigrants would settle in the area of Door County which is known as Namur, Wisconsin today. Many of the original wooden structures of the Belgian Americans were destroyed by a firestorm which swept through the area in 1871. A few of the stone houses remain but you will see the more common red brick house built in the 1880’s. This cemetery is located on State Highway 57 , 0.2 of a mile east of county Highway N. It is known as Our Lady of the Snows Cemetery which is located adjacent to the red Brick Church of the same name.

These tombstones are grave markers from the early settlers in Namur, Wisconsin. Namur is named after an area of Belgium similar to a state or province near the French border which these settlers originated from. Upon investigation, I learned that some of the buildings in this settlement were moved to allow additional lanes to be built in the highway. I am not certain if this is the original location of the burial grounds or if it was moved here. I found it interesting how they placed these stones. When ever I have seen them like this before, it usually meant that the remains where moved. Most of the stones are written in what at first looked like French to me. Having taken French in High School, I was able to translate some of it. It would be through my investigation that I would learn what the language really was.

I just knew the first time I saw this cemetery that there had to be a story behind it. It has been fun investigating it. My husband and I like to go camping in Door County in the fall. We have not driven by this cemetery for a few years because we have been taking a different route. We will have to go visit the cemetery again. Now that I have learned so much about the Belgian’s who settled in this area, I will need to be more observant. Eighty percent of the land originally settled by these Belgian families’, remains in these same families today. They were known to build small chapels on their property. These chapels are never locked and open to all. Many of these Chapels are lovingly maintained by descendents of the families who built them. The Belgian Wayside Chapels are evidence of the historic faith of these Belgian settlers and the determination of their modern descendents to preserve the culture of their families.

Sources of information are:
“ Door County Living” by Katie Lott Schnorr

“ Belgian Settlement in Wisconsin Marker “ from or the Historical Marker Database.

“Aux Premiers Belges : Remembering Northeast Wisconsin’s First Belgian Settlers”

written by Cletus Delvaux

Monday, November 2, 2009

Still looking for Susannah

For the longest time, I poked through census trying to find Margaret. She was Susannah and James’s oldest daughter and seemed to me like the most logical one that Susannah could be living with after James died. I looked at all the Margaret’s who were born in Ohio in 1831. All the Margaret’s in Allen County, Wells County, Huntington County, Whitley County and Steuben and Adams Counties in 1870’s and 1880’s wondering where she could have disappeared.

Eventually I moved on to the next daughter, Sarah Elizabeth. It took some time but using the same technique I had used to look for Margaret, I found Sarah Elizabeth. First I looked at all the marriage records and then looked for those families in census records. Sure enough there she was in the 1870 census.  She had married Robert F Hood on March 26, 1861 just after the 1860 census. She would settle in Whitley County with Robert and they would begin their family.

Robert Hood came from England with his family on October 14th, 1848 arriving in New York on November 4th, 1848. Robert became an American Citizen in 1852 along with his father and several of his older siblings. He lived in the Fort Wayne area until 1858 when he moved to Columbia City, Indiana.  He studied as a journeyman in a wagon shop own by the local Blacksmith and his family. He would eventually own his own Wagon shop where he faithfully conducted business for forty five years.

Robert and Sarah Hood had three sons. Robert Hood was born in 1862. James A Hood was born in June 20, 1863 but he died in August of 1863. John William Hood was born in 1869. In the 1870 Federal Census, I am able to locate Robert, Sarah and the two surviving children. Sarah Elizabeth died on Jan 13, 1875.

The inscription at the base of Susan's Stone is for James A Hood who died as an infant. Susan inscription is on the oval plaque.

By 1880, Robert has remarried. He married Mary J. Hilderbrand on January 12, 1876 according to the marriage records for Columbia City, Whitley County, Indiana. In the 1880 Federal Census, we find that he is listed with his new wife Mary J and the two surviving son’s, Robert and John William.

Susannah was not found living with Sarah Elizabeth at any time. Nor did I find her nearby. So my search was productive because I found Sarah but I am still searching for Susannah. We will have more to come on this family in the furture.