#43 Automobiles

For transportation week, I’m posting some pictures of ancestors and their automobiles.

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My husband’s paternal great-grandparents Leonard and Mayme (Kivi) Eklund on their wedding day in June 1931
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My grandfather Charles T. Wilson, 1930s?
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Belknap/Wells Family, c1945

Week 43 (Oct. 21-27): Transportation

#40 Farmers in my Tree

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:

  1. James Wells – Farmer, aged 40, Horsepasture District, Henry Co., Virginia
  2. Willis Clark – Dead
  3. Arthur Belknap – aged 11 – his dad was a laborer in Dover, Fulton Co., Ohio
  4. William Bost – Farm Laborer, aged 20, Marion Twp., Henry Co., Ohio
  5. John Wilson – Farmer, aged 48, Howe Island, Frontenac, Ontario, Canada
  6. Archibald Thompson – Sailor, aged 43, Amherst Island, Lennox & Addington, Ontario, Canada
  7. Henry Ochs – Farmer, aged 34, Taylor, Wayne Co., Michigan
  8. Fred Moore – Farm Laborer, aged 17, living with his grandmother in Stafford, Genesee Co., New York

So 1 of my g-g grandfathers was dead by 1880, 1 was only 11, 1 was a sailor, and the rest were farmers or farm laborers. Interesting stuff!

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Archie Thompson, year unknown

#30 Ezekiel Worthen

This week’s theme was “Easy.” But I chose to go a different way with it: I search my tree for people with “E-Z” in their names. I came up with Ezekiel Worthen (1636-1716), my 8th great-grandfather. He was the great-grandfather of Martha Worthen (1745-1826), who married Thomas Locke (1751-1816). They had a daughter Abigail (1778-1861) that married Obadiah Belknap (1774-1834). Obadiah and Abigail were the grandparents of my great-great grandfather Arthur Belknap (1869-1955).

Week 30 (July 22-28): Easy

#28 Belknap Reunions

My grandmother’s family, the Belknaps, used to hold a family reunion every year in Ohio. At first, it was for the descendants of the Belknaps and the Clarks (the descendants of my great-great grandfather Arthur Belknap, and those of his sister Lucina and her husband John Q. Clark). My grandmother (and her mother before her) used to keep track of names, birth and death dates in booklets she handed out to every family represented at the reunion.

In the Sept. 11, 1942 issue of the Adrian (MI) Daily Telegram, there is a short article titled “Clark-Belknap Families,” which states:

The 15th annual reunion of the Clark-Belknap families was held Sept. 6 at The Island in Adrian with 68 members present from Montpelier, Ohio, Bay City, Detroit, Royal Oak, Adrian, Ogden Center, Ypsilanti, Belleville, and Clayton. Officers were elected as follows: president, John Q. Clark; secretary, Mrs. Earl Belknap; treasurer, Mrs. Jesse Clark. The 1943 reunion will be held at the same place.

In the 1985 booklet, she wrote, “Our reunions have been going on since 1950, your Historian has attended reunions since they first were organized in 1925, under the title of ‘Belknap-Clark Reunions’ which were disbanded in 1955, after the death of Arthur Belknap.” I think she was saying the Belknap-only reunions started in 1950.

In the 1974 booklet, she wrote, “In the year of 1949, Arthur F. Belknap decided a record of his ancestry would be nice to have to hand down to his descendants. He contacted a lawyer friend of his and eventually the following record of ancestry was give to him.” Arthur was in contact with Glen W. Evans of Lansing (a genealogist, not sure if he is the lawyer friend mentioned above), who wrote a book titled “The Belknap Family” in 1949. In a letter to Arthur dated October 5, 1949, Mr. Evans listed Arthur’s ancestry from Abraham Belknap to his father Thomas Belknap. He ended the letter by saying, “Keep well and take care of yourself and I will try to make the Belknap Reunion next year at Adrian, Mich. where I may be able to tell you more about this branch of the Belknap Family.”

In 1980, the reunion celebrated it’s 30th anniversary. Here are my grandmother (back row, second from left), her one brother, and her seven surviving sisters (one had died in 1977).

reunion

Week 28 (July 8-14): Reunion

#29 Polly Ann Farr

The thing about family history that is challenging is the overwhelming focus on the male side of things – surnames, lines of descent, etc. This means (at least for me) that I know very little about even some pretty recent female ancestors.

thomas_polly

One example is Polly Ann Farr, my third great-grandmother. She was the 3rd wife of Thomas Belknap (born in 1803), and the mother of Arthur Belknap. She was born in about 1832. The earliest record I have found for her is an application for a marriage license, dated September 18, 1848 to Thomas Belknap in Lorain County, Ohio. I’m not sure if this means they were married on that date or not. The application states that “she is of eighteen years.” I don’t think that’s true though.

The next record is the 1850 U.S. Federal Census for Russia Township in Lorain County. Polly Ann was listed as age 18 and birthplace of Ohio. Thomas’ 11-year-old son Francis is also living with them. In 1860, the family was living in Clinton, Fulton County, Ohio. Polly was listed as 29 and born in Ohio. They had 4 children in addition to Francis by 1860. In 1870, they were living in York Township, Fulton, Ohio and Polly was listed as 38. Now they had 6 children in addition to Francis. In 1880, the last census she is found in, the family was living in Dover Township, Fulton, Ohio. She was listed as 49, born in Ohio. Polly’s father was listed as born in Vermont, while her mother was born in Kentucky. Only three of their children were living with them in 1880.

thomasbelknap
Thomas and Polly Ann’s tombstone in Tedrow Cemetery

After all this, she ended up dying at the age of 52 years 3 months in 1887 (according to her pretty unreadable tombstone – I know: the dates don’t add up!), before her husband Thomas, who died in 1889 at the age of 85!

Through DNA, I think Polly Ann’s father may have been Kimball Farr, but I have to do a lot more research to prove it!

Week 29 (July 15-21): Challenging

#26 William Worth Belknap

I’m not so sure about this relative’s legendary status, but he is somewhat infamous. William Worth Belknap is my 6th cousin 4x removed. We are both descended from Abraham Belknap, my 9th great-grandfather. My Belknap line comes from Abraham’s son Samuel, while William’s Belknap line comes from Abraham’s son Joseph.

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Major General William W. Belknap, about 1865 (https://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2018666395/)

William was born in New York in 1829 and graduated from Princeton University in 1848. He moved to Keokuk, Iowa and joined the Democratic party. He was elected to office and served in the Iowa House of Representatives from 1857 to 1858. He joined the Union army in 1861 and was commissioned as a major, recruiting the 15th Iowa Volunteer Infantry. He served at Shiloh, Corinth, Vicksburg, and Atlanta. By the end of the war, he was made a Brevet Major General. After serving as the Iowa Collector of Internal Revenue, having been appointed by President Andrew Johnson (and during which time he became a Republican), William was appointed Secretary of War by President Grant in 1869.

Due to the Trader Post Scandal and all that went along with it (including involvement by 2 of his wives), William resigned as Secretary of War on March 2, 1876, but was still impeached by the House on March 3. He was acquitted by the Senate on May 29, 1876.

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Illustration from the cover of “The days’ doings”, v. 16 (March 1876), showing wife (Amanda Tomlinson Belknap) of Secretary William Belknap at the home of Mr. Blackburn pleading on her knees to save her husband’s honor. https://lccn.loc.gov/89711264

William moved back to Iowa and practiced law. He maintained an office and a residence in Washington, D.C. He died there in October 1890. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

One of the good things William can be remembered for is purchasing thousands of negatives from the Civil War photographer Mathew Brady when he was going bankrupt in the early 1870s. According to the National Archives, where the photos are stored, “After the Civil War, business for Brady’s studios gradually declined, until in July 1874 Secretary of War William Belknap purchased part of Brady’s collection of negatives (ca. 2,250 plates) at public auction for $2,500 because of Brady’s bankruptcy. In April 1875, the War Department purchased 3,735 plates directly from Brady under express Congressional authorization… .”

Lots more information about William Worth Belknap can be found in his Wikipedia article.

Week 26 (June 24-30): Legend

#25 Earliest Photos

I saw this idea from Amy’s review of Week 25: “Debi shared the earliest photos of various ancestors. (I like how she broke them down by maternal and paternal sides).” So I’m going to give it a try!

Maternal

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My 3rd Great-Grandfather, William Dillon Bolt (1835-1901)
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My 3rd Great-Grandmother, Mary J. (Everitt) Bolt (1837-1918)

 

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My 2nd Great-Grandmother, Mina Adell (Bolt) Moore Thompson, (1866-1942)
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My 2nd Great-Grandfather, Archibald Thompson (1838-1931)
jawilson
My great-grandfather, John A. Wilson (1874-1930)
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My great-grandmother, Mary (Thompson) Wilson (1872-1940)
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My great-grandmother, Mae Dillon (Moore) Oakes Smiechowski Johnson (1892-1971)
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My grandfather, Charles Wilson (1907-1989)
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My grandmother, Helen Oakes (1912-1988) on her mother Mae’s lap
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My mother

Paternal

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My 3rd Great-Grandmother, Margaret (Rhost) Gisel (1848-1939)
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My 2nd Great-Grandfather, Arthur Belknap (1869-1955)
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My 2nd Great-Grandmother, Martha (Gisel) Belknap (1869-1925)
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My 2nd Great-Grandfather, William S. Bost (1859-1932)
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My Great-Grandmother, Nannie Jane (Clark) Wells (1880-1969)
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My Great-Grandfather, Earl E. Belknap (1895-1960)
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My Great-Grandmother, Florence E. Bost (1896-1961)
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My grandfather, Edward L. Wells (1905-1955)
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My grandmother, Velma Belknap (1913-1999)
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My father

Week 25 (June 17-23): Earliest

#22 Tedrow Cemetery

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.

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Photo from Janet L. Parker, Find-a-Grave

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
  • Myron Belknap (1855-1929), Thomas and Polly’s 2nd son
  • Alice Lucelia Belknap Shaffer (1857-1944), Thomas and Polly’s oldest daughter
  • David Shaffer (1848-1911), Alice’s husband
  • Gertrude Shaffer (1876-1889), Alice and David’s daughter
  • Lucretia Belknap (1860-1900), Thomas and Polly’s 2nd daughter
  • Henry McDole (1854-1915), Lucretia’s husband
  • Lucina Ellen Belknap (1866-1907), Thomas and Polly’s 3rd daughter
  • John Q. Clark (1861-1946), Lucina’s husband
  • Bessie A. Clark Bachman (1887-1920), Lucina and John’s daughter

Only 3 of Thomas’ children are not buried in Tedrow: Francis M., Thomas J., and Arthur.

A very helpful transcription for Tedrow Cemetery can be found here: http://www.crewfamily.com/tombstones/volume_1_page_112.htm.

Week 22 (May 27-June 2): At the Cemetery

#21 Arthur W. Belknap

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.

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3Sep1944

3Jan1944

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.

reunion

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.

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Photo from Sharon W on Find-a-Grave

Week 21 (May 20-26): Military

#20 Farmers

For this prompt, I though I would include some pictures of a couple of farmers from both sides of my family, caught in the act of farming.

John Andrew Wilson
My mother’s first cousin, John Wilson, in the mid-1940s
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John’s mother, Winnie, doing something with milk at the family farm in Pittsburg Township, Ontario in the late 1960s
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Earl Belknap, my great-grandfather, about 1928

Week 20 (May 13-19): Nature