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:
James Wells – Farmer, aged 40, Horsepasture District, Henry Co., Virginia
Willis Clark – Dead
Arthur Belknap – aged 11 – his dad was a laborer in Dover, Fulton Co., Ohio
William Bost – Farm Laborer, aged 20, Marion Twp., Henry Co., Ohio
John Wilson – Farmer, aged 48, Howe Island, Frontenac, Ontario, Canada
My grandmother Helen was an only child. She had three first cousins on her mother’s side. On her father’s side, she had nine first cousins, but I don’t think she knew any of them. She doesn’t seem to have had much contact with his side of the family, and he died in 1928 when she was about 16.
Today, I’d like to post some picture’s of Ma’s first cousins on her mom’s side, Lee, Harry, and Glenn Moore, the sons of her uncle Glenn “Fred” Moore. Lee was born on January 5, 1913 in Hartford, Van Buren, Michigan, Harry was born on December 25, 1914, and Glenn III was born on June 20, 1922 in New Buffalo, Michigan.
I have written about my great-grandmother’s sister Helen before (back in 2011). Since this week was about tragedy, I though I would share her story again, and include some newspapers articles I’ve found since 2011 that shed some light on what happened to her.
Helen was born March 14, 1895 in Plymouth, Michigan to Fred and Mina (Bolt) Moore. She had an older brother and sister, Glenn and Mae, and a younger brother, Earl.
Helen was 2-3 years old when she was photographed with her sister and younger brother, shown above. An article from the Northville Record from Friday, April 28, 1899 says, “The four-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Moore of Plymouth was seriously burned in that village last week Friday. Her clothes caught from a burning bon-fire near which she was playing.” So that would mean the accident occurred on Friday, April 21, 1899.
Another article from the April 28, 1899 issue of the Yale Expositor also said she was burned when her clothes caught fire from a bonfire. That paper said, however, that “she may live but will be disfigured for life.”
Helen died on May 1, 1899 at about six in the morning in Plymouth, MI. Her death certificate says she suffered a severe burn 10 days before. The disease causing death was listed as a sympathetic fever, which she had been enduring for 48 hours, and the immediate cause of death was listed as a hemorrhage.
I love this picture of my great-great grandmother laughing. It’s fun to imagine who or what she is laughing at and what the occasion was. Maybe a picnic? The picture below shows from left, my great-great grandmother Mina (Bolt) Moore Thompson, Jessie (Johnson) Bodington, the sister-in-law of my great-grandmother, and my great-grandmother Mae (Moore) Johnson. I think this picture was taken sometime in the 1930s, since Jessie came over from England in 1929.
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
I had heard from a relative that my great-grandmother Mae’s brother Glenn Bolt Moore, (nicknamed Fred after his father) was once the mayor of New Buffalo, Michigan. I looked it up once in a book about New Buffalo, but couldn’t find him there.
But newspapers had the answer! The Benton Harbor (MI) News-Palladium from March 9, 1937 revealed that “Fred” was elected president of the village of New Buffalo on the Progressive ticket with 259 votes.
As reported in the May 9, 1939 issue of the News-Palladium, Mayor Fred Moore threw out the first pitch at the first high school (?) baseball game of the year.
When Ancestry added “Michigan, Divorce Records, 1897-1952” a couple of years ago, lots of questions were answered in my family tree and also lots of theories were confirmed.
Finally, I was able to see the divorce record of my great-grandparents, Mae (Moore) and William Oakes, my grandmother Helen’s parents. They were married December 23, 1908 in Detroit and had one child. Mae filed for divorce on August 31, 1914 (when Helen was only 2 years old). It was granted on July 13, 1915 and the cause was cruelty and non-support. William did not contest the divorce.
It was also interesting to be able see divorces that were filed, but never went through. One of these I found was for William Oakes’ parents, Henry and Minnie. They were married April 8, 1877 in Dearborn, Michigan and had 4 children. Minnie filed for divorce on October 16, 1900 and the causes were drunkenness and cruelty. It was still pending at the end of 1900 and apparently never went through because Minnie still received Henry’s Civil War pension after his death. By 1910, Henry was at the Michigan Soldier’s Home in Grand Rapids and died in 1922 at the Soldier’s Home in Milwaukee.
It’s often surprising in my research when I find that my ancestors had more children than I thought they did. One example is my great-great grandparents Fred and Mina Moore. They were married in September 1885 in Plymouth, Michigan. They had a child I didn’t know about named Hazel, who was born January 5, 1888 and died August 1, 1888 of cholera. She is listed as male in her death registration, but female in her birth registration.
Mina Adell Bolt Moore Thompson, my great-great grandmother, lived for years with Bert Thompson while still married to my great-great grandfather Fred Moore! She and Bert were officially married about three weeks after Fred’s death.
Mina A. Bolt and Fred L. Moore were married on September 10, 1885 in Plymouth, Michigan. They had five children between 1888 and 1897. Two daughters died before 1900. Two sons, Glenn and Earl, and another daughter, Mae, survived into adulthood. In 1900, the family was living in Plymouth and Fred was a railroad freight agent.
I’m not sure what happened to the marriage between 1900 and 1910, but in the 1910 Detroit City Directory, Mina was listed as widowed. In the 1910 Federal Census, she was listed as married and was boarding with her daughter Mae. She was listed as the housekeeper for the head of the household, Alta Fisher.
Sometime between 1910 and 1918, Mina met Bert Thompson. She was listed as his wife on his September 12, 1918 WWI Draft Registration card. And they were living at 370 Maple Ave. in Plymouth. Meanwhile, in 1919, Fred was selling grapes in Benton Harbor, Michigan.
In 1920, Bert and Mina were living as husband and wife on Columbia in Dearborn, while Fred was listed as divorced and living as a roomer with the Dean family in Benton Harbor. By March 1923, Fred was living in the Berrien County Poor Home. He died on November 4, 1924. On his death certificate, he was listed as widowed and his son Glenn was the informant.
This is odd, because Glenn’s mother Mina, was alive and well and married Bert Thompson in Toledo, Ohio on November 22, 1924. She was listed as divorced, but I’m not sure that Fred and Mina were ever legally divorced. Ancestors always keep you guessing!