I stumbled upon this website, Rural Diary Archive, because I was researching my Wilson/Thompson/Gibson line on Amherst Island, Ontario. The founder of the project, Dr. Catharine Anne Wilson (maybe a relative, maybe not!), wrote a book called A New Lease on Life: Landlords, Tenants and Immigrants in Ireland and Canada, which explores landlord-tenant relationships on Amherst Island especially tenant families that migrated from the Ards Peninsula in County Down to Amherst Island between 1820 and 1860.
Anyway, the Rural Diary Archive “showcases over 150 Ontario diarists from 1800 to 1960.” The diaries come from museums and archives across Ontario. You can search transcribed diaries, as well as browse by county, occupation, ethnicity/nationality, and religion. I did find one diary from Amherst Island, written in 1872-1879 by George Wright. That is part of the time period the Wilson’s and Thompson’s lived on the island, but I haven’t a chance to read it yet. Hopefully, it will give me some insight on daily life.
The Archive also has a Twitter account (@RuralDiaries) that tweets diary entries in an “On this Day” format.
I love learning family members’ middle names. Sometimes they are unusual or passed down in the family. But sometimes they are the mother’s or grandmother’s maiden names. So if a relative has a middle name that sounds an awful lot like a surname, you may have hit on a female relative’s maiden name.
My grandfather and two of his siblings have the maiden names of their mother and both grandmothers as middle names:
Charles Thompson Wilson, born May 1907 – Thompson was his mother Mary’s maiden name
William Gibson Wilson, born September 1908 – Gibson was his paternal grandmother Mary Ann’s maiden name
Theresa Dunning Wilson, born December 1909 – Dunning was her maternal grandmother Elizabeth’s maiden name
For this week’s “At the Cemetery” prompt, I’m going to take a look at Tedrow Cemetery in Dover Township, Fulton County, Ohio. A lot of Belknap’s are buried there, including Thomas Belknap, our ancestor that originally left New England and came to Ohio to continue our branch of the Belknap tree.
Tedrow Cemetery is located on the north side of County Road J, just east of the village of Tedrow. The cemetery has also been known as Spring Hill Cemetery and Eldredge Cemetery.
Family members buried here include:
Thomas Belknap (1803-1889)
Polly Ann Farr Belknap (1837-1887), Thomas’ 3rd wife
Zera Belknap (1853-1920), Thomas and Polly’s oldest son
Mary Jane Kessler Belknap (1854-1928), Zera’s wife
Frederick Belknap (1889-1920) – Zera and Mary’s son
My grandmother Velma’s brother Arthur was a Master Sergeant in the Air Force, and served during WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. He was born January 8, 1923, the only son out of the 10 children of Earl and Florence Belknap.
I tried to trace his career through records and newspaper articles. Arthur first enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps on May 28, 1942. He served in the 13th Air Force, 307th Bomb Group, 370th Bomb Squadron. He was an assistant aerial engineer on the B-24 “Eager Beaver” at Guadalcanal in 1943. The following images are from the 307th Bomb Group documents on Fold3.
I’m not sure what happened next, maybe he was discharged, but on September 11, 1945, Arthur registered for the selective service in Lincoln Park, Wayne, Michigan. He was listed as unemployed.
On August 22, 1946, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force.On July 3, 1947, he married Eva Reitzi in Manchester, New Hampshire and his occupation was listed as U.S. Soldier. I’m thinking he must have been stationed at Grenier Air Force Base in Manchester. He and Eva divorced on October 27, 1949 in Wayne County, Michigan. Arthur next married Daisy Burpee, who was from Manchester. They married on January 5, 1950. In 1953, Daisy was listed as a cementer in the Manchester City Directory. Around this time, Art may have been stationed in Germany. Eventually, Daisy must have joined him, because on December 28, 1955, they adopted 2-year-old girl in Bitburg, Germany that they named after one of Arthur’s sisters. On September 23, 1956, the three of them returned to the U.S. via military air transport, landing at McGuire AFB in New Jersey.
After this, he was stationed at Laughlin AFB in Texas. This is where they were living when their daughter was naturalized on March 17, 1959. A newspaper article in the Del Rio News Herald of May 31, 1959 discussed the opening of the Capehart housing project on the base. Arthur’s family was among the first five families to move in. According to Val Verde County Historical Commission, these were the first on-base quarters available to Laughlin personnel.
After this, I don’t really have any information about Arthur’s career other than his military release date was December 31, 1964. Below is a picture taken at the 1980 Belknap Reunion of Art, surrounded by his surviving sisters.
He died on September 7, 1985 in Tawas City, Michigan and is buried in Fort Custer National Cemetery in Augusta, Michigan. His wife Daisy died in 2018 at the age of 95.
In my research, I’m always saddened when I come upon a mother who died young. One example is my great-grand aunt Clara Bost. She was the youngest sister of my great-grandmother Florence. Clara was only 5 years old when her own mother, Mary McCracken Bost, died in 1911.
Clara was born in New Bavaria, Henry, Ohio on September 7, 1905. She married Bert Turner on January 21, 1922 in Wauseon, Fulton, Ohio. They had 2 children born in Ohio (Lucille, born 1923 and Robert, born 1925). Their son Raymond was born in Lincoln Park, Michigan in 1928 and their daughter Betty was born there as well on December 2, 1932. In 1929, Bert and Clara were living at 1323 Victoria Avenue in Lincoln Park, and Bert was employed as a Checker at Timken Detroit Axle Co. (the same place my grandfather Edward Wells worked). The 1930 census has them living at the same place.
Sadly, Clara died on December 13, 1932 at Wyandotte General Hospital of puerperal septicemia from the birth of her daughter Betty eleven days earlier. She was only 27 years old. She is buried in Wauseon Union Cemetery.
Her husband Bert remarried to Nellie LeBlanc a few years later and had at least one son with her.
My great-grandmother Mae Moore Johnson and her 3rd husband Alfred Johnson were married in 1925. They used to take the bus to Florida for the winters in the 1950s (not sure exactly how many years they did this). I’m lucky to have the postcards they sent my mother from their trip in the winter of 1959.
First postcard of the trip, postmarked Feb. 25, 1959, Charleston WV
Second postcard, postmarked Feb. 26, 1959, Charlotte, NC
Third postcard, postmarked Feb. 27, 1959, Orlando, FL
Third postcard, postmarked Mar. 6, 1959, Orlando, FL
Fourth postcard, postmarked Mar. 9, 1959, Orlando, FL
Fifth postcard, postmarked Mar. 16, 1959, Miami, FL
Sixth postcard, postmarked Mar. 28, 1959, Miami, FL
Last postcard, postmarked Apr. 13, 1959, Saint Petersburg, FL
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.”
I think I may have found my 3rd-great grandfather in an unexpected place. There is a William D. Bolt enumerated in the 1856 Pleasant Township, Wapello County, Iowa census. This William was 21 years old and born in New York (same age and birthplace as my William). He is listed as widowed with no children. This is a surprise. If he had a wife besides my 3rd-great grandmother, it is news to me! He was living with James and Caroline Hyde and their family. James and Caroline had been born in New York, but married in 1847 in Wayne County, Michigan. Their children had been born in Michigan as well.
In the 1860 Federal Census, William was married to Mary J. Everitt (having been married within the year) and living in Plymouth, Wayne, Michigan. In the same census, James and Caroline were living in with their children in Ypsilanti, Wayne County, Michigan.
I haven’t found that the Hydes and Bolts were related, but maybe they came from New York to Michigan together, and then William decided to join them in Iowa for a while before they all returned to Michigan around 1859.