Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - January 26, 2010

Lucile Mae Smith Daughter of Everett and Lillian Smith

Isn’t she cute? She was Lucile Mae Smith, was born on October 29, 1924. She’ll always remain a six year old girl. She died in the days before penicillin when she became ill with streptococcus. She died on March 21, 1934 at 11:50 PM.

She missed growing up to be a big sister to her brother, Harold. Today people do not generally die of Streptococcus because they recieve an antibiotic and they get better.  We missed out on knowing our Aunt and Dad missed out on having a sister.  I think that is why he decided to have such a big family all those years later... Well, the real reason was, he wanted to have a son so our Smith name continued. It just happened that he got four daughter before he had a son.  Then they decided that Mark, his first son, needed a brother. It just would not be fair to raise him alone with all of the girls!  Bless you Lucile, I wish I had known you!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - January, 19, 2010

Some where after the heat kicked in, I noticed that the red numbers on the ceiling said 2:11 AM. What seemed like a short while later I noticed it was 4:14. By now the brain has kicked in and memories are firing right and left before long the rest of me is awake too. I had wondered last night how I would get my Tombstone Tuesday written. Well, now I know…

With memories reeling in my brain and one of the frames that I noticed were of a man who in my life was larger than life. His name was Everett Alton Smith. He was the oldest son of Alvin and Cora Smith. He was born in 1904 in Uniondale, Indiana at the home of his maternal Grandparents, John and Emma Crites. Three years earlier the first automobile had been produced, 1901 Curved Dash Oldsmobile, built by Ransom E. Olds. It’s hard for me to image a time when there wasn’t an automobile. Alvin, Everett’s father would decide 16 years later that it was time to get in on this “automobile action” which would begin a bit of a legacy in this Smith family with General Motors. Everett however would make a different decision about his life. As a young newly wed man, Everett work for a company which manufactured and sold batteries and other automotive parts.

Everett is seated at a display which is setup in a large tent for at some kind of a conference. On his marriage license, Everett states that he is a battery charger. Within 10 years Everett would find what would turn out to be his real calling. He enrolled in the seminary at Albion College where he lived and studied for a year while his young wife and small children remained in Flint with other family members. He was officially ordained as a minister in 1933, soon after the Great Depression. In 1934, he become an elder of the Methodist Protestant Church in the Michigan Conference. He would serve as a minister in seven church from 1934 until 1956 when he retired. Everett learned that he was afflicted with Multiple Sclerosis which cut short his career as a minister. He had decided that he would preach as long as he could stand behind the pulpit. When he could no longer be certain that he could stand, he would retire. The year would be 1956. After retiring, he and Lillian remained in Lapeer until 1965, when they moved into the West Grand Boulevard Temple Retirement home, in Detriot.

As the granddaughter of Everett, what I really remember the most is that he was a gentle giant. He seemed so big to me. As a child, his lap was a favorite place of mine. You were always welcome to come sit with him especially when he found a rocking chair or a large wing back. I could melt into his lap and listen to his mellow voice. When he gave you a hug you were engulfed by the most secure set of and loving arms. They reminded me of the arms of God. Looking back at his life, he knew then that he had MS and knew that his life would soon change in a radical way. He always had a smile on his bright face and a kind word. If he was afraid or anxious about his illness, he never showed it.

Here he is holding Sharon and you can see the brace that he wore on his right leg. It was this brace that I remembered that he wore when I was a kid. I remember that he could not run and play with us, like my Dad did but he was older and I just thought that maybe that was why. When I was seven, I spent a week in Lapeer with Grandma and Grandpa. It was during that week when I realized that something was wrong with Grandpa. Every morning and afternoon, Grandpa would spend twenty minutes on a stationary bike exercising his legs trying to keep them alive but in the hours between the morning and afternoon bike sessions he spent four hours at the WMRP radio station working. Grandma and I rode to the station early to pick him up from work each day. I remember sitting in the parking lot of the station where we listened to the last ten minutes of his broadcast. It was a bit strange hearing his familiar velvety voice coming out of the car speakers. Two short years later he could no longer make his legs work so he began to use the wheel chair that we all remember so well. From that time on he became a very dependent on all the people around him. There must have been a struggle within him. This once large robust man who can now can barely move but he bore his burden in silence. Thankful for those around him who helped him each day. For thirteen years he lived in a body which lost its ability to function day by day. On March 9,1978 , his heart finally quit beating and he was gone.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Not just another William Smith….

James and Susannah’s oldest son was born in 1836 in Darke County, Ohio. I have searched for years for William Smith. It is bad enough that Smith is such a common name, then add William, another common name to the mix and you will understand how my “needles in my haystack” formed. During my search, I obvious had more luck looking for some of the other kids who had more unusual, less common names. William was in the large melting pot with all the other William Smith’s in America. You can image my shock, when he suddenly appeared in the 1870 census living next door to Branson and Emily in Madison County, Indiana. It was like someone dropped him from the sky into my lap!

It took me a few weeks to determine that he was for sure our William but according to the census information he she fit into the family well. The siblings in this family and the previous generation tended to migrate together. It should not have surprised me that William and Branson settled in the same area but it did. It would not take me long to find out that William and Branson married sisters from the Kinnaman family. William married Hannah Kinnaman and Branson married Emily Kinnaman. The information about the brothers seemed to boil up to the surface and came raging out at me in a torrent. One thing that I have learned about Genealogy research is it often comes in wave after long dry spells. I was able to obtain obituaries for both Branson and William which state that they were born in Darke County Ohio! It was my proof that they were the brothers I was looking for.

William married Hannah J. Kinnaman in 1860 in Madison County, Indiana. They had three children; Sarah Jane Smith born in 1866, William Smith born 1871, and Lenora Smith 1878.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - January 12, 2010

This is the Smith Plot in Mount Carmel Cemetery in Madison County, Indiana.  Today we will highlight some of the Smith's who are buried here. 

This is the grave of Emily (Kinnaman) Smith. She is the first wife of Branson Smith.  She was born on December 12, 1841. She died on October 23, 1881. 

She and Branson had 5 living children when she died.  Two twin daughters are also listed on this stone. They were born and died in 1879.   In 1877, Emily had her first set of twins.  Flora died but Cora lived. I will have to visit the cemetery to see if she is listed on this stone too. Charles, a son of Branson and Emily is also buried in this plot.  His stone can not be read.  Rest in Peace to all that are buried here.

What's in a name? Brunson or Branson?

What is in a name? When you are looking for some evidence of someone in history, it is important to know what their name really is. In the case of Branson Smith, the second son of James and Susannah Smith, I started out on the wrong foot again with a census record. In the 1850 and 1860 Census, Susannah listed him, or should I say the census worker did, as Brunson. Not sure if they misunderstood what Susannah said or if they did not know how to spell it or was it translated wrong. At any rate, when I found the record, his name was Brunson. For years I looked for him, and did not find him. He was 12 years old in 1850 and 21 by 1860.

I looked for him in the Civil War. I looked for him in Allen County. I looked for him in the counties that I had found his siblings in but for the longest time I did not find him. There was a time when I wondered if he had served and died in the Civil War but I could not be sure of it. One evening I decided to try a few variation of two if his name just in case someone had mis-spelled it…Brenson, Brunsen, Branson. There were a few hits on Branson Smith in both Ohio and Indiana. Most are born much later than the one I was looking for but there is one to investigate. The Branson Smith I found resided in Madison County, Indiana born around 1840 in Ohio. Could this be our Branson? As I examine the 1870 census record, I could not miss that he had a neighbor, names William Smith. Could it be his brother, William, who is a couple of years older?

As it turned out there was quite a bit of data on Branson once I figured out where he and his family lived. He would marry Emily Kinnaman. She was the daughter of Hiram and Casandra (Grosley) Kinnaman. Emily's maiden name would show up spelled with an “a” and and an “o” so sometimes it was translated as Kinnoman, or Kinnaman, or Kinnamon. She came from a large family. It appears that when William, Branson's brother first came to the Madison County sometime before 1860, he worked as a farm laborer for a family who were neighbors of the Kinnaman family. William would marry Emily’s older sister Hannnah Jane Kinnaman. William and Hannah will be a story for a future blog.

I have been unable to determine the exact date of Branson and Emily Kinnaman’ s wedding but it was prior to 1865 and the birth of their first child Charles. Charles, I believe was named after Branson’s brother, Charles who died in 1863. I do not have supporting information yet but I believe that he died in the Civil War. I have found information that a Charles Smith from the Fort Wayne area died in the Civil War in 1863.

Branson and Emily remain close to her Kinnaman Family and his brother William in Madison County,Indiana. They would have 7 children; Charles (1865), Dora, (1867), Ida (1868), George Albert(1871), Thomas (1874) and a set of twins Flora and Cora born (1877). I would find evidence of the death of twins in 1879. They are listed on Emily’s gravestone. Charles died as a child too. His grave stone is very hard to read because it is worn. According to Findagrave.com, they list his death as 1810 but it is more likely January 10, 1870 but he is listed in the 1870 census which said it was recorded on the 12th August in 1870. We will need to do a rubbing of this grave stone in order to tell when he died and was buried. Emily died in 1881 and Branson would remarry in 1885.

He married Cynthia E. Whetsel in Hamilton County on May 14th, 1885. We’ll save the rest of this story for another blog.