Lifespans of your 3rd Great-Grandparents

I got the idea for this post from Randy Seaver’s blog.

My 32 great-great-grandparents are, by ahnentafel number:

32. Joel Wells (1801-1856), 55 years
33. Sarah Tarpley (1805-1890), 85 years
34. William Clark (1810-?), ?? years
35. Ann Martin (1807-?), ?? years
36. Joel Wells (1801-1856), 55 years
37. Sarah Tarpley (1805-1890), 85 years
38. William Clark (1810-?), ?? years
39. Ann Martin (1807-?), ?? years
(yes, my Wells/Clark great-grandparents were double first cousins)
40. Thomas Belknap (1803-1889), 86 years
41. Polly Ann Farr (1832-1887), 55 years
42. John Gisel (1843-1923), 80 years
43. Margaret Rhost (1848-1939), 90 years
44. Adam Bost (1838-1924), 85 years
45. Mary B. Shartzer (1841-1921), 79 years
46. ? (? – ?), ?? years
47. ? (? – ?), ?? years
48. Berger Halvorsen (Rustad) (1806-1837), 30 years
49. Helena Andersdotter (1802-?), ?? years
50. Robert Gibson (1805-1882), 77 years
51. Mary McCormick (1811-1886), 75 years
52. Robert Thompson (?-?), ?? years
53. Mary Stevenson (?-?), ?? years
54. David Dunning (?-?), ?? years
55. Nancy Vance (?-?), ?? years
56. John Ochs (1823-1912), 89 years
57. Anna Ziegler (1820-1852?), 32 years
58. John Schroeder (1828-1916), 87 years
59. Sophia Martens (1826-1916), 89 years
60. Andrew Moore (1830-1918), 88 years
61. Mary Lyman (1836-1904), 67 years
62. William D. Bolt (1835-1901), 66 years
63. Mary J. Everitt (1837-1918), 80 years

The average birth year for third-greats is 1820, with a range from 1801 to 1848. (Calculated with 26 of 32 birth years).

The average death year for third-greats is 1896, with a range from 1852 to 1939. (Calculated with 21 of 32 death years).

The average lifespan is about 73 years, with a range of 30 to 90 years. Males average lifespan is 73 years, and females average lifespan is 74 years.

#3 – Nancy Jane Clark Wells

(52 Ancestors #3 – Tough Woman)

Nancy Jane Clark (seated) with her son Edward and his family
Nancy Jane Clark (seated) with her son Edward and his family

Nancy (“Nannie”) Jane Clark was born February 12, 1880 in Henry County, Virginia to Willis and Sarah Elizabeth Clark.  In the 1900 census, Nannie and her mother (listed as Bettie) were living in Horsepasture, Henry County, Virginia.  Nannie was 20 and her mother was 62.  Nannie married Robert Luke Wells on March 20, 1902 in Henry County.  In 1903, Nannie gave birth to a stillborn baby.  On June 29, 1905, she gave birth to Edward Lee Wells, my grandfather.  On August 7, 1908, Willis James Wells was born.  In 1910, the family was living in Horsepasture, Henry County.  Robert was listed as 28 years old and a farmer, Nannie was listed as 30, Edward was 4 and Willis (listed as James W.) was almost 2.  Nannie’s mother was living with them, listed as Sarah E.  She was 72 and widowed.  She was listed as having 6 children, 3 still living.  On February 12, 1912, Nannie gave birth to her only daughter, Mary Ellen Wells.  William Robert Wells was born on June 12, 1915.  On April 28, 1919, Nannie gave birth to her last child, Jesse Brown Wells.  Sadly, after being ill for two months, Nannie’s husband Robert died of typhoid on December 26, 1919 at the age of 38.

Nannie and her daughter, Mary about 1929
Nannie and her daughter, Mary about 1929

In the February 1920 census, Nannie and the children and her mother were living in Reed Creek, Henry County, Virginia.  Nannie was 40 and her oldest son Edward was 14.  He was a laborer in a furniture factory – a young age to become the man of the house.  Thirty-five years later in 1955, history would repeat itself when Edward died of a massive heart attack at the age of 49, leaving his oldest son, Robert (my father), as the man of the house at age 16.  Meanwhile, Willis was 11, Mary was 8, William was 4, and little Jesse was only 8 months.  Nannie’s mother, Elizabeth, was 83.  I think Elizabeth died sometime in 1923.

Nannie and her family moved to Detroit between 1920 and 1925.  In September 1925, her son Willis accidently shot himself with a pistol he had found in a drawer while looking for a flashlight.  In 1927, Nannie is listed as living at 4009 Lovett in Detroit.  In 1928, she is living at 4086 W. Fort St., Detroit.  By 1933, she had moved to Lincoln Park at 1095 Victoria Avenue.

In the 1940 census, Nannie and her son Jesse were living at 1087 Victoria Avenue with two lodgers, Fred and Boaz Duncan.  Apparently, Nannie ran a boardinghouse during these years.  Jesse was a truck driver for a lumber company.  In the later 1940s, 50s, and 60s, Nannie lived at 1177 Montie Rd. in Lincoln Park.  Toward the end of her life, she lived with her son’s family in Melvindale, Michigan.

Nannie (on left), Robert (Dad), Florence and Earl Belknap
Nannie (on left), Robert (Dad), Florence and Earl Belknap

My dad remembers her as a very tall woman, and very stern.  She insisted her grandchildren call her “Grandmother.”  Nannie Jane Wells died on February 26, 1969 at the age of 89.

Michigan Memorial Park, Flat Rock, Michigan
Michigan Memorial Park, Flat Rock, Michigan

Family Recipe Friday – Grandma’s Apple Pie

Edward and Velma (Belknap) Wells, 1951
Edward and Velma (Belknap) Wells, 1951

Here is my Grandma Wells’ apple pie recipe:

8-9 apples (not sliced too thin)
2/3 cup sugar
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
4 pats margarine

Mix apple slices, cinnamon and nutmeg together.  Let stand 15-20 minutes.  Pour in pie crust [I guess we’re on our own on how to make the crust!] and put pats of margarine on top.  Put slits in top crust.  Bake on 425 for 20 minutes then turn down to 350 for 40 minutes.  Make sure to put the pie on a cookie sheet, so the juices won’t spill in oven.

apple_pie

Wedding Wednesday – July 16, 1960

bobmarywed

Here is my parents’ wedding picture from July 16, 1960.  Dad’s grandpa, Earl Belknap, had died July 13, 1960 but the family said they should go on with the wedding.  My aunt (standing next to mom) had secretly married an African-American man on July 4, 1960.  She still lived at home and didn’t tell anyone until after my parents’ wedding.

Daily Blogging Prompt: Wedding Wednesday

A tragedy and a mystery

September 1925, from an unknown newspaper (maybe Lincoln Park) in Wayne County, Michigan:

Willis Wells, 17-year-old son of George Wells, a contractor of 1284 Arlington Ave., accidently killed himself in a room where E.K. Belknap had gone with the youth to look for a flashlight. 
     Young Wells opened a dresser drawer and picked up an old .22 caliber pistol which was kept there.  A little later E.K. Belknap stated, when his back was turned, he heard the report of the pistol and Willis exclaimed, “I’m shot.”
    Dr. Loeffler was called, and upon arriving he found the lad lying on the bed dead.  Soon after Coroner Burgess ordered the body turned over to Undertaker Stohl.
     The accident happened at 6:40 Monday Evening.
Mrs. Arthur Belknap, 60 years old, of Fayette, Ohio, was instantly killed and her son Orville, 24 years old, seriously injured Tuesday evening, when the automobile which Orville Belknap borrowed from Sergeant William Born, and drove to Fayette to bring his mother and wife here for the funeral, ran into the rear of a body truck, ripping off the top and turning over at Telegraph and Eureka Roads.  The driver of the truck apparently did not stop.  Belknap is in the Eloise hospital, where it is said he is suffering from a fractured skull and other injuries.
 
     A report of the accident indicated that Orville Belknap’s wife was with him and his mother in the car.  This has since been disproved.
     The inquest into the death of Mrs. Belknap was held at Eloise Wednesday.
     Funeral was held Thursday from the home.  Interment at Woodmere Cemetery.

willis_wells_grave
Willis Wells’ unmarked grave at Woodmere Cemetery, Detroit
Arthur Belknap Family
Martha Belknap (1869-1925), seated at center

Some parts of this news story are familiar to me.  I had heard that my paternal grandfather had a brother who died when he was 17.  First, the story was by drowning, then it was by gunshot.  It took place in Lincoln Park, which is where 1284 Arlington Ave. is located.   E. K. Belknap could possibly/probably be my great-grandfather Earl Ervan Belknap.  I know Mrs. Arthur Belknap is his mother, Martha.  She died in a car accident in 1925 which corresponds with this news article.  I know Orville is Earl’s brother.  I had no idea the families knew each other this early.  Earl’s daughter married my grandfather Wells in 1932.

Mystery:  Who is George Wells?  I know of no George Wells.  My grandfather’s parents were named Robert and Nannie.  Robert Wells died in Virginia in 1919.  Nannie moved her four sons and 1 daughter to Michigan around 1924, I think.  Could this be a typo in the news article?  I sure hope so.  Otherwise I have no idea what is going on.

Willis Wells, Nannie’s son, is referred to as James W. Wells and is almost 2 years old in the 1910 Virginia census.  In 1920, he is listed as an 11-year-old Willis J. Wells.

The Willis Wells of 1284 Arlington Ave.  died on September 14, 1925 and was buried September 17, 1925 in Section 6, Block 4, Lot 121 at Woodmere Cemetery.

Think this needs a little more research…