#24 Mary Agnes Thompson

(52 Ancestors #24 – Heirloom)

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This small tablecloth, with the initials, M.T. and the year 1892, was embroidered by my great-grandmother Mary Agnes (Thompson) Wilson when she was about 20 years old. She was born on March 10, 1872 on Amherst Island, Ontario. On the Canadian census of April 1891, she was living on Amherst Island with her parents Archibald and Elizabeth and her siblings Charles, William, Hugh, Agnes, and Cecil. Mary married my great-grandfather John A. Wilson on November 1, 1898 in Deseronto, Ontario. They had 10 children between 1900 and 1916, including my grandfather, Charles Thompson Wilson.

#23 Earl & Florence Belknap

(52 Ancestors #23 – Wedding)

Earl Belknap and Florence Bost were married on June 2, 1913 in Wauseon, Ohio. Their marriage was announced in the local paper, “The marriage of Mr. Earl E. Belknap and Miss Florence E. Bost, occurred at the home of Mr. John Gisel on Cedar Avenue Monday evening, at 4:00 o’clock, Rev. J. H. Williams, officiating.”

Earl and Florence Belknap, 1920s
Earl and Florence’s Marriage Record

“Ohio Marriages, 1800-1958,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XD8T-J9W : 10 February 2018), Earl E. Belknap and Florence E. Bost, 02 Jun 1913; citing Wauseon, Fulton, Ohio, reference 2:3KVTKL2; FHL microfilm 423,606.

#21 Earl Moore

(52 Ancestors #21 – Military)

Earl Lowell Moore (1897-1956) was my great-grandmother Mae’s brother. Here he is with his mother Mina.
c1897, Helen and Mae Moore, with baby Earl
According to his WWI draft registration in 1918, Earl had been a private in the U.S. Marine Corps for the past 8 months.
Mention of Earl Moore and his brother and sister-in-law visiting their father Fred. From the July 28, 1921 Benton Harbor News-Palladium

#20 Mary Ayer Parker

(52 Ancestors #20 – Black Sheep)

It was hard to think of an ancestor for this theme, so I decided to post about a 9th great-aunt who was executed as a witch in Salem on September 22, 1892. Her name was Mary Ayer, wife of Nathan Parker, and sister of my 9th great-grandfather Nathaniel Ayer.

Witchcraft in Salem Village
Witchcraft at Salem Village. Engraving from William A. Crafts’ Pioneers in the settlement of America: from Florida in 1510 to California in 1849. Published by Samuel Walker and Company, 1876.

Mary’s parents, John and Hannah Ayer, came to America from England in about 1635 along with the first 4 of their children. Mary and her brother Nathaniel and 3 more children were born in America. The family settled in Haverhill, Massachusetts. Mary married Nathan Parker in 1652 in Andover, Mass. Nathan died in 1685. On September 17, 1692, Mary was tried and convicted of witchcraft at Salem. Jacqueline Kelly in her paper titled “The Untold Story of Mary Ayer Parker: Gossip and Confusion in 1692” discussed Mary’s claim to the examiner: “I know nothing of it….There is another woman of the same name in Andover.” There were actually three Mary Parkers, including her sister-in-law, who was mentally unstable, and another who had had a child out of wedlock. So, Mary Ayer Parker may have been a victim of mistaken identity. She was definitely a victim of the hysteria and injustice of these trials. She was hanged on September 22, 1692 along with Martha Corey, Mary Eastey, Alice Parker, Ann Pudeator, Wilmot Redd, Margaret Scott, and Samuel Wardwell.

Mary Parker’s engraved bench at the Salem Witch Trials Memorial in downtown Salem


Proctor’s Ledge Memorial was dedicated in 2017 and is located at the site of the hangings. (Photo courtesy of TripAdvisor).


Proctor's Ledge
Far left: Mary Parker’s inscription on the wall of the Proctor’s Ledge Memorial (photo on Odd Things I’ve Seen blog by J. W. Ocker)

#19 John & Anna (Ziegler) Ochs

(52 Ancestors #19 – There’s a way)

John and Anna Ochs arrived at the port of New York on April 22, 1852 on the ‘Oldenburg Gallion Hermine’ with their two young sons, Heinrich, age 4, and Conrad, age 11 months.

Passenger List from the Hermine’s Arrival on 4/22/1852

According to the New York Daily Times from that date, “The full tide of emigration has set in from Hamburg and Bremen.” On April 3, 1852, 1,500 people sailed from Hamburg alone aboard five vessels headed for New York. Before 1855, there was no central immigrant processing center. According to Rhonda R. McLure, “Before Castle Garden opened, though, immigrants were processed on the ships upon which they had arrived. Inspectors would get the passenger lists from the ship’s crew and go through them identifying the individuals” (from the article “Immigrants to Ellis Island Before 1892“). From castlegarden.org: “During this period, deceptive employers and unscrupulous money changers preyed on immigrants as they disembarked and attempted to secure work and lodging. In response, the State of New York’s Board of Emigration Commissioners established…the Emigrant Landing Depot at Castle Garden.” I hope this didn’t happen to the Ochs family!

John Ochs is next found in the 1860 census in Greenfield Township, Wayne County, Michigan (incidentally Henry Ford was born in Greenfield Township a few years later, in 1863). By this time, John was a farmer and married to Wilhelmine Mager, with two young children, John (3) and Mary (1). Heinrich (13) now went by the name Henry, and Conrad was 9. Since John and Wilhelmine’s first child was born in 1857, I presume his first wife Anna died by 1856. John and Wilhelmine had 3 more children: Minnie, Charles, and Louisa. The 1893 Wayne County Land Ownership map shows the 40 acres John owned in Dearborn.

John lived in Dearborn the rest of his life and passed away February 12, 1912 of senile decay. He is buried in Northview Cemetery. His wife Wilhelmine died in 1914.


1860 United States Federal Census. Ancestry.com. Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2004.

New York Daily Times (1851-1857); Apr 22, 1852; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times, front page.

“New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1891,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:275S-8FZ : 11 March 2018), Joh Ochs, 1852; citing NARA microfilm publication M237 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm.

U.S., Indexed County Land Ownership Maps, 1860-1918. Ancestry.com. Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.