Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Christmas Memory....

This little plastic light up Santa Claus has been a favorite Christmas decoration since I was very young.  I must have been 4 or 5 years old when my half sister Phyllis took me shopping in the great Toy House in Jackson.  She told me that I could pick out something and I choose this awesome little figure that stands about a foot tall.  Each year, this little guy has held a prominent place under my Christmas tree.  But, that wasn't the only purchase that day....I remember saying to Phyllis, can't we get something for my sisters at home?  She agreed and we found this package of 6 colorfully clothed angel ornaments for the tree.  It was perfect because, as I remarked at the time, there was one to represent each of my sisters--Phyllis, Sandy, KenNetha, Shelley, Mary and Annie.  I don't know what ever happened to that little package of angels that adorned our tree for many years,  but each time I pull out this Santa Claus, I think about my family and the wonderful Christmas seasons we had in our little house on Sunnyheart.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The "Ladies Extension" in Munith, Michigan???

Here is a group picture that was taken in the front yard of Iva Carley Johnson's residence on Coon Hill Road in Munith, Michigan.  Written on the back is "Ladies Extension."  Does anyone know what the group did or was related too? I believe this group must have been related to something like the Farm Bureau or some other organization that was prevalent in a rural farm district.  What I know is that it wasn't part of the American Legion Auxiliary, or the Ladies Aid Society of the Methodist Church, or the Women's Society for Christian Service of the Methodist Church.  Any ideas will be greatly appreciated.  The picture was likely taken sometime in the mid-to-late 1950s.

We are able to identify many of the women pictured in this image, but not any help in identifying the remaining would be greatly appreciated.

Back Row L to R: Iva Johnson, Helen Palmer, Elsie Drew, Mary Shew, Pauline Dixon, and Emma Carley.

Front Row L to R: unknown, Ruth Carley (?), and unknown.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

HAGAMAN-BARNHART Clue uncovered....

For sometime now I have been trying to uncover the linage of my 3x great grandmother, Elizabeth (Barnhart) Hagaman.  This weekend I found a nugget that might just prove to be the link.  Elizabeth was born 4 December 1818 and we learn from a brief death notice (she died on 15 October 1890 and is buried in the Somerset Center Cemetery) that appeared in the Jackson Citizen Patriot that her birthplace was Macedon, Wayne County, New York.  Macedon is located just southeast of Rochester, NY and the Erie Canal runs right through that community.  In the past three years we have also learned that her husband, Jacob Hagaman's family was from Walworth and Macedon.  With a known location, this triggered a more in-depth hunt to discover Elizabeth's family.  What I discovered was a large family of several generations of Barnharts living in Macedon and the neighboring community of Palmyra (Palmyra, the birth place of Joseph Smith the founder of the Mormon faith).  But each male Barnhart I look at in an effort to see if Elizabeth could have been a daughter didn't work out.  So, I wasn't sure what I could do to narrow this down until this weekend--what I discovered was a Jacob Barnhart (and his wife Elizabeth) who were from Wayne County, NY and had migrated to Branch county, Michigan in the 1830s.  They had several children that were listed on their post, which indicated a gap between one of their oldest son's and the rest of their children....could this be a clue?

Next I notice that Jacob's spouse, died in Litchfield, Michigan in 1859.  OK--that can't be a coincidence...Litchfield is a small town in Hillsadale County and I discovered that when Jacob and Elizabeth Hagaman migrated to Michigan in the 1840s they first settled in Litchfield where Jacob was a merchant and it was there in 1858 that their youngest child, George Henry Hagaman was born in 1857.  Then I examined the 1850 census and two sons of Jacob and Elizabeth Barnharts were living in Litchfield.  OK--that seems more of a possibility in my mind now.  But, we really need to figure out what documentation we can find to help prove these relationships. 

--Ive begun looking at newspapers

--death certificates prior to 1897 are pretty sparse

--several of Jacob and Elizabeth Barnharts children remained in Girard, Branch County...which is only about 20 miles from Litchfield.  So, I'm going to pursue looking at their known children to see if there are any published genealogies or biographical sketches in the vanity press books of the late 18th century.

Cross your fingers for me!!!!

Anniversary of the marriage of Jesse Carley and Anna Smith

On August 16, 1905 Jesse Carley, age 22, married Ms. Anna A. Smith, age 19 at the parsonage of the Baseline United Brethren Church near Munith, Michigan.  The ceremony was officiated by the Rev. H. Hollis.  Acting as Matron-of-Honor was Ms. Minnie Iva Larkins and as Best Man, Mr. Lawrence Hobart Smith, brother of the bride.

While the spring time has traditionally become the wedding season, August was that special month for the Carley brothers.  The three, Edward, Alton and Jesse Carley were all married that month.

--August 23, 1894 Alton O. Carley married Ms. Tina E. Harris of Leslie, Michigan. The ceremony was held at the Leslie Baptist Church with the Rev. H. A. McConnell, officiating.

--August 29, 1899 Edward R. Carley married Ms. Ede E. Walz at the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Jackson, Michigan, Rev. Levi Master, officiating.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Jesse Carley (1883-1958) and Carley migration to Michigan

Jesse Carley was born this day, 17 May 1883 in Henrietta Township, near Munith, Michigan.  Today would have been his 132nd birthday.  Jesse was born on the Carley farm on Sayers Road where he lived his entire life.

This wonderful little portrait of Jesse was made by the Novelty Studio Co. in Jackson, Michigan and probably dates to about 1900, just five years before his marriage to Annie Smith (hope you read yesterday's post).

Now how do you suppose the Carley family came to settle in Michigan?

Jesse's grandfather, James Carley immigrated to the United States from Hastings in southern England at the age of 15 aboard the Obit, and arrived in New York on April 30, 1830 with his parents, James and Elizabeth Carley, his grandmother Mary Hunt Carley, and 5 or 6 of his siblings (only three are listed on the ships manifest, younger children were not always listed).

The Carley's would settle for the next 20 years in the Syracuse, NY where James would learn his fathers profession as an upholsterer.  It is probable that other Carley relatives immigrated and settled there prior the family of James and Elizabeth's voyage across the Atlantic.  But the family would not remain in NY, rather they all emigrated to Sacramento, California following the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill.  Sacramento at the time was called Fort Sutter.  By this time James, the younger, had become a man and married a neighbor, Ms. Julia Ann Hoyt and had started a family of his own.  By 1850, all the Carley's, including James, the younger, had left for California.  However, Julia Ann remained in Syracuse with her parents and her children for a short time.

Family tradition states that James did well in the gold fields, and wished to return to the east to be with his wife and five children.  He then left California, leaving his parents and his siblings in the growing City of Sacramento, where most of them would remain for generations.  In 1853, Julia Ann ventured to Michigan with her parents, children and several of her siblings to settle on property that her father, Rev. Keeler Hoyt, had purchased in the early 1840s situated in Section 19 of Waterloo Township. James would travel to rejoin his family now located in Michigan.

Within a short time of his arrival, James purchase a tract of farm land adjacent to his father-in-laws in Waterloo, not far from Portage Lake.  Judging from a 1858 plat map, it would appear that this tact would have only been about 20-30 acres of land, therefore, I would guess that was pretty small to raise enough crops to make a living for a family of seven.  By the outbreak of the American Civil War, James and his family had purchase a new farm tract only about a mile to the west, located in Section 23 of Henrietta Township.  Here, James and Julia would live out the remainder of their lives.

Oren A. Carley, Jesse's dad and James' second son, through the years enlarged the family's real estate holdings.  He would purchase an additional 50 acres from William E. Pickett and then about 40 acres across the road from Calvin Silsbee.  Ultimately, Oren Carley would own 156 acres in Section 23. The family would move to the house across Sayers Road sometime in the 1870's and this house was to become the permanent domicile for the next two generations of Carley's.  It was in this house that Jesse was born.  Oren continued to expand his real estate holdings by purchasing 80 acres in Section 14, located across Sayers road from the Kennedy School House (this would eventual be owned by Ed and Ede Carley).  He again purchased another 80 acre farm on Kennedy Road in Section 15 from C. M. Shearer (across the road from Pleasant Grove Cemetery).  In total, Oren's land holdings in Henrietta Township would include more than 300 acres.  Jesse would inherit all 156 acres in Section 23.

In England, the Carley's were considered "non-Conformists" because of they were members of the Wesleyan Methodist congregation.  When James, the elder, came to this country, he was known to have continued to preach as a laymen in what had become the Methodist Episcopal denomination in the United States.  Many of the Carley's continued to follow Methodism and were members of the Munith Church (today, its the Munith United Methodist Church).

Keeler Hoyt, the father of Julia Ann Carley, however was a reformer within the Methodist Episcopal denomination while still living in Syracuse.  An ardent abolitionist, Hoyt became a preacher in what was to become the Wesleyan Methodist denomination, a faith that traveled with him to Michigan.  It is know that a small band of Wesleyan's formed a congregation in Waterloo Township as early as 1853, but this religious society does not appear to have survived into the 20th century.  It was also during the 1850s that the Wesleyan's created a college for the education of young people at Leoni, Michigan, some 20 miles to the south of Waterloo Township.  We know from a newspaper account in 1856 of a Wesleyan Methodist preacher who was traveling through the western parts of the country met up with "old friend" Keeler Hoyt on his visit to the college at Leoni on his way back to Syracuse.  Knowing these tid bits of information, I've been on the hunt to discover whether Keeler Hoyt had any formal connection with the creation of the Wesleyan school at Leoni.

So, have we answered the question on how the Carley's came to live in Michigan?  Well, perhaps we know a little more about it, but I do wish to know what was the factors that motivated the Hoyt side of the family to relocate.  We have a good timeline here, but more digging is needed.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Anna Smith Carley (1886-1981)

Born Annice Ann Smith on 16 May 1886 in rural Henrietta Township, Jackson County, Michigan, she would live to see more than 100 descendants brought into this world before her death at 94 years of age.  Throughout her life, she would be known as "Anna A." or simply by "Annie" to most of her family and friends, although she was named after her grandmother, Annice Ann Aldrich McCreery (1836-1924).

As a young girl, she attended the McCreery School, which was the first school in the township and built by her great grandfather, Joseph McCreery.  After her parents moved to a farm on Kennedy Road, she and her siblings would attend the Kennedy School.  Annie would become a teacher and taught for one year at the Holling School, a one roomed schoolhouse, located on Territorial Road in the northwest corner of Henrietta Township.  But her career would end when she became married to her former school mate, Jesse Carley on 16 August 1905.

Following her marriage to Jesse, Anna would reside at the Carley Farm are Sayers Road and for a time would include her in-laws Oren and Mary Carley.  Soon, Anna and Jesse would begin to have a family of their own, starting off with three daughters born in a row: Ila Pearl (1906), Iva May (1908) and Clara Bell (1909).  Soon these three would be a great help to their mother with cleaning, cooking and caring for their many younger siblings.

On the farm, the family would raise some livestock, such as cattle, pigs and chickens.  They also grew crops like corn and wheat.  Jesse's two older brothers, Edward and Alton both had farms adjacent to the Sayers Road homestead, and we assume that they all helped each other out when the time came for many hands to work the fields during harvest or with butchering.

The next four children to bless the Carley home were all boys: Oren D. (1912), Clifford (1916), J. Edwin (1917) and Lynn (1919), who undoubtedly became essential farm hands for their fathers growing farm operation.  The next decade would bring the final four siblings into the family, four girls: E. Ilene (1921), Esther (1922), Vera (1925), and Joyce (1927).

 The Carley's lived about 3 miles from the village of Munith, where uncle Ed Carley also operated a General Store and the rural telephone company.  They also attended the Methodist Church there.  To get to Munith for church activities or to see their friends they had to walk.  The most direct route to the village was walking along the Grand Trunk Railroad tracks that ran on the southern property border of the farm, only a short distance from their farmhouse.

Jesse and Anna wanted to keep their family close by and upon each of their children's marriages gave them 1 acre of land of the farm, where they could build a home and get a good start on life.  At least five of their children built homes on Sayers and Coon Hill Roads, adjacent to "Mother and Dads." 

Anna and Jesse would host many holiday's and other celebrations in their home during their lives.  But perhaps one of the most special was their Golden Wedding Anniversary in 1955.  Hundreds of their family and friends filled their home with good wishes and cheer.  Jesse would only survive three more years and died in the same home where he was brought into life in 1883.

Anna would remain in the farmhouse for a couple of more decades living on her own, but just a few years before her 90th Birthday, she found that it was becoming too difficult to manage on by herself.  Not long after she went to live with her daughter Iva, where she remained until her death as a result of a battle with cancer in 1981.

So today, we remember Anna Smith Carley on the 129th Anniversary of her birth.  Here is to a long and prosperous life!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Farm Fires in Calhoun County, Summer of 1891.

I found a letter to James T. Grinnell of Convis Township from the Farmer’s Mutual Fire Insurance Co. of Calhoun in October, 1891.  It was a statement and bill which provided a list of farmers that had claims during the previous quarter that just happened to be the summer season. This was probably the height of bad weather that was the cause of so much damage to their homes, livestock and crops. Grinnell was insured for $750 at a cost of $75., I'm guessing that was a quarterly statement, although this is the only document from this company that I have located. 

Here is the list--

“Since the last Assessment of May, 1891, our Company has sustained and adjusted nineteen losses as follows:"

Jas. A. Kissenger, Leroy Twp., May 2, 1891—Damage to barn and carriage, Lightning
Arthur Crampton, Convis Twp., May 5, 1891—Contents of house burned. Cause unknown
Frank H. Long, Leroy Twp., June 3, 1891—Cow killed by lightning.
Robert C. Williams, Lee Twp., June 8, 1891—House and contents burned.  Supposed spark from chimney.
Norman Ellis, Fredonia Twp., June 19, 1891—Colt killed by lightning.
John H. Spencer, Leroy Twp., July 13, 1891—House burned.  Suppose spark from chimney.
H. W. Backofen, Lee Twp., July 18, 1891—Stack of wheat burned.  Incendiary
Chas. E. Woodliff, Homer Twp., July 29, 1891—Horse killed by lightning.
I.D. & B.F. Warner, Homer Twp., July 29, 1891—One cow and two sheep killed by lightning.
W.W. French, Tekonsha Twp., July 29, 1891—Three horses killed by lightning.
Wm. Krenerick, Clarence Twp., July 29, 1891—Horse killed by lightning.
Geo. R. Sanford, Tekonsha Twp., Aug. 1, 1891—Rooking chair and tidy damaged by fire.
Geo. W. Mellen, Athens Twp., Aug 2, 1891—House and contents damaged by fire.  Unknown.
G. W. Davis, Leroy Twp., Aug 7, 1891—Barn damaged by lightning.
Myron Snyder, Clarence Twp., Aug 9, 1891—Straw burned by lightning.
W. E. Thompson, Sheridan Twp., Aug. 9, 1891—House damaged by lightning.
J. C. Gutekurest, Fredonia Twp., Aug. 17, 1891—Colt killed by lightning.
P.I. Simons, Athens Twp., Sept. 19, 1891—Cow and calf killed and barn damaged by lightning.
W. B. Shepard Estate, Battle Creek, Sept. 22, 1891—Barn and contents burned. Incendiary.