#48 Henry Oakes, Horse Thief

My great-great grandfather Henry Oakes (aka Henry Oax, Heinrich Ochs, or Henry Ochs) was born December 24, 1846 in Hesse-Cassel (Germany). He, his father John, mother Anna, and brother Conrad arrived in New York on April 22, 1852. Anna died by 1856, and John remarried to Wilhelmine Mager. In 1860, the family was living in Greenfield, Wayne County, Michigan.

Henry enlisted in Company F of the 24th Michigan in August 1864 in Detroit. He was not quite 18 years old. He missed Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and Cold Harbor, but joined in time for the siege of Petersburg. He joined the regiment at Weldon Railroad, Virginia on September 7, 1864. The regiment participated in the fighting at Hatcher’s Run in February 1865.

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Roster of Company F on a broadside published c.1865 (from University of Michigan Bentley Historical Library – http://quod.lib.umich.edu/b/bhl/x-bl006906/bl006906)

On February 11, 1865, the 24th was ordered to Baltimore and then to Springfield, Illinois for rest and recruiting at Camp Butler. While there, they were the military escort at Abraham Lincoln’s funeral on May 4, 1865. According to Henry Oakes, “J.D. Sheldon[?] was promoted to Lieut. shortly after we went to Lincoln’s funeral at Springfield, O. or Springfield, Ill. We stayed then till we came home to Detroit to be discharged.” On June 19, 1865, they left Camp Butler by train for Detroit. On June 28 at 5 PM, they had their last dress parade and the regiment was mustered out on June 30th. About the time immediately after that, Henry said, “When discharged from 24th I guess I was at my parents. I don’t know where else I could have been. They now live some 2 ½ mi. W. of Dearborn – John Oakes.”

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Last orders to the 24th from the Detroit Free Press, June 30, 1865, page 1

Henry reenlisted in the 18th U.S. Infantry (3rd Battalion) on December 4, 1865. During January to March, 1866, the 3rd Battalion was going through organization and instruction at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri. They left there on April 20, 1866 and reached Sedgwick, Colorado on May 31, 1866. According to Henry, “We got to Salt Lake City [Fort Douglas] about 1 of July 1866. Fired a salute there on the 4th. Drew pay and clothing and then a pile of them deserted and I was put on detached duty. My gun was taken from me and I was put on a horse and a revolver given to me and a detachment of 4 of us with a non-commissioned officer put out to apprehend deserters for $30 a head. I can’t think who the officer was in charge of that detachment nor who the men were nor what companies they were from. I have no idea how long I was on that duty. Couldn’t tell whether 3 or 5 months of the time but I know we brought in a deserter every once in a while.” In December 1866, the 18th was reorganized: the 1st Battalion stayed the 18th Infantry, the 2nd Battalion became the 27th Infantry, and the 3rd Battalion became the 36th Infantry. Henry’s enlistment ended on December 4, 1868.

Here’s what happened to Henry after that according to his deposition from his Civil War Pension File: “When I was discharged from the regular army I went as brakeman on the U.P.R.R. [Union Pacific Railroad] – ran from Laramie to Rollin Springs. Brake man a little less than a year – got my left hand [?] [?] and was in a hospital with that in Laramie City. I can’t tell how long. Went braking again on same route. I can’t say how long then the whole crew was “pulled off.” I laid round Laramie I don’t know how long and I kind of think I came from there to Detroit. No I worked quite awhile at the European Hotel at Laramie City as 2nd(?) cook. Then I had charge of the dining room there quite a spell. Then to Detroit. Was brought to Detroit and put in House of Correction for 5 years for horse stealing. Had started herding cattle and was roped in. Was taking 3 horses from Laramie to Ft. Bridger for a man whose name I can’t recollect and was arrested with the horses in my possession. The man who sent me with the horses kept a [?] house at Laramie and he skipped out.”

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Henry’s account of his “horse stealing”

So Henry was sent to the Detroit House of Corrections for 5 years for horse stealing in Wyoming Territory. He was received at the jail March 28, 1871 and was let out August 30, 1875.

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Response from Superintendent Joseph Nicholson of the Detroit House of Corrections to the pension investigators about Henry’s tenure at the prison

Week 48 (Nov. 25-Dec. 1): Thief

#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

#36 Helen Oakes’ School Play

I’m not sure what grade this is from, what school it was taken at, or how old my grandmother was, but I do know which one is her – the one in the middle with the big arrow pointing to her.

IMG_4669

Week 36 (Sept. 2-8): School Days

#17 Kirche Blücher Church Records

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.

Minnie_oakes_baptism_1857

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.”

kirche_bluecher

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The church at Blücher is located between Besitz and Boizenburg in Mecklenburg, east of Hamburg. (https://goo.gl/maps/5fJnjoDYNmLEuLF29)

Week 17 (April 22-28): At Worship

#9 Divorce of Mae and William Oakes

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.

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Divorce record of Mae and William Oakes, 1915

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.

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Pending divorce of Minnie and Henry Oakes, 1900

Week 9 (February 25-March 3): At the Courthouse

#7 Grandparents in Love

I love finding pictures of my grandparents when they were young and in love. So sweet!

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My maternal grandparents, Helen (Oakes) & Charles Wilson on June 4, 1932
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My husband’s paternal grandparents, Ellsworth & Lillian (Mann) Eklund, in 1948
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My husband’s paternal great-grandparents Leonard and Mayme (Kivi) Eklund on their wedding day, June 23, 1931

Week 7 (February 11-17): Love

#2 William E. Oakes (1888-1928)

The ancestor that was one of the biggest challenges for me was someone who lived relatively recently and is pretty closely related to me (great-grandfather). William E. Oakes was the first husband of Mae Moore and the father of Helen Dorothy Oakes, my grandmother. Reasons he was a challenge was that Helen was born in 1912 and her parents divorced in 1915. I’m not sure if she ever saw her father again. She never talked about him. Also, he died when he was only 40, in 1928, when my grandmother was only 16.

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William & Mae’s marriage 1908 registration from Wayne County, Michigan

The document that helped me the most and started unraveling the mystery of William Oakes was his and Mae’s marriage registration. Through that, I discovered their marriage date (Dec. 23, 1908), his age (21 and therefore an estimated birth year of 1887), and his parents names (Henry Oakes and Minnie Schroeder).

This helped me to find the Henry Oakes family in the 1900 census in Nankin Township, Wayne, Michigan. William was listed as “Willie Oak” with a birthdate of July 1888. In the 1910 census, though they were still married, William and Mae were not living with each other. She was a boarder with her mother and worked at a theatre as a ticket clerk. I haven’t found William in 1910 yet. Their daughter Helen was born June 19, 1912. William and Mae were divorced July 13, 1915. William married again on January 1, 1916 to Pearl Sullivan.

Another interesting document that tells a lot about William is his WWI Draft Registration from June 5, 1917. He and Pearl lived at 317 W. Kirby in Detroit, which would have been near the corner of W. Kirby and 3rd Avenue. His birthdate was listed as July 8, 1888. He was a foreman for Ford Motor Company. He claimed exemption from the draft due to poor health.

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I don’t have a picture of William, so this is the closest I can get to what he looked like. (from his 1917 WWI Draft Registration)

Sadly, Pearl and William had a stillborn baby boy on April 8, 1918. William died on August 31, 1928 at Receiving Hospital located at St. Antoine and Macomb in Detroit. According to The City of Detroit, Michigan, 1901-1922, volume 2, p. 1185, the Receiving Hospital was:

        “Detroit’s municipally-operated hospital located at St. Antoine and Macomb streets…and was opened October 12, 1915.
“It was established by the Poor Commission, now known as the Department of Public Wefare.
“It serves as an emergency hospital and clearing house for accident or injury cases occurring on public thoroughfares or of a public nature, and a psychopathic hospital for the safe and human handling of the mentally disturbed, and is under the control of the Welfare Commission. Other wards of the hospital are devoted to the care of medical and surgical patients unable to pay for treatment in other hospitals.”

According to William’s death certificate, he died of “Acute nephritis superimposed upon a chronic nephritis” with a contributory cause of chronic myocarditis. He was buried in Northview Cemetery in Dearborn.

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Week 2 (January 8-14): Challenge

#46 Henry Oakes

Detroit House of Correction, circa 1884 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Detroit_House_of_Correction)

Random Fact: My great-great grandfather Henry Oakes (aka Henry Oax, Heinrich Ochs, Henry Ochs) was sent to the Detroit House of Correction for 5 years for horse stealing in Wyoming Territory. He was received at the jail March 28, 1871 and was let out August 30, 1875.

I am so fortunate to be able to hear his side of the story from his 1891 deposition from his Civil War Pension File:

When I was discharged from the regular army I went as brakeman on the U.P.R.R. – ran from Laramie to Rollin Springs. Brake man a little less than a year – got my left hand [?] [?] and was in a hospital with that in Laramie City. I can’t tell how long. Went braking again on same route. I can’t say how long then the whole crew was “pulled off.” I laid(?) round Laramie I don’t know how long and I kind of think I came from there to Detroit. No I worked quite awhile at the European Hotel at Laramie City as 2nd(?) cook. Then I had charge of the dining room there quite a spell. Then to Detroit. Was brought to Detroit and put in House of Correction for 5 years for horse stealing. Had started herding cattle and was roped in. Was taking 3 horses from Laramie to Ft. Bridger for a man whose name I can’t recollect and was arrested with the horses in my possession. The man who sent me with the horses kept a [?] house at Laramie and he skipped out.

52 Ancestors Week 46 (November 12-18)

#44 William F. Ochs

St__Joseph_Daily_Press_Fri__Jan_17__1913_
Another article from the Jan. 17, 1913 St. Joseph (MI) Daily Press (this one says the children were a boy and a girl)

This post is a re-working of a post I did for a Thriller Thursday back in 2013 about my 1st cousin 3x removed, William F. Ochs. He was the nephew of my great-great grandfather Heinrich Ochs (or Henry Oakes).

William F. Ochs was born January 28, 1880 in Michigan.  He married Amelia Hartwig Hamilton on August 14, 1911.  Amelia (born 1871) had previously been married to Herman Hamilton and had 7 children with him.  Herman died in 1903.

According to a January 16, 1913 Detroit Free Press article titled ‘See Stepfather Slay Wife; Then End His Own Life,’  Amelia’s 2 youngest children, Florence and Ella were at home with their mother when William came home to their farm in Dearborn after a two-week bender.  He had a shotgun and shot Amelia in the head as she was trying to escape out the back door.  He then went out on the front porch and shot himself in the head.  The two girls ran to a neighbor who then notified the sheriff.

According to the death certificates, they both died around 8 PM on the night of January 15th  The inquest ruled it a murder/suicide.

Amelia was buried in Woodmere Cemetery in Detroit. Unfortunately, her daughter Ella died in 1924 at the age of 21 of pneumonia. Ella is buried near her sister Laura and her family, also in Woodmere.

52 Ancestors #44 (Oct. 29-Nov. 4) – Frightening

#19 John & Anna (Ziegler) Ochs

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.

Citations

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.

52 Ancestors #19 – There’s a way