29 February 2020

Last Day Local: Harmonia Cemetery

Previously, I wrote about the spiritual utopia, Harmonia, that was once on the land where Fort Custer Training center is now. Harmonia Cemetery sits in a remote area of Fort Custer Industrial Park near Fort Custer. 

The cemetery was laid out in 1862. Find a Grave holds 71 memorials and 69% of the cemetery is photographed. Harmonia is not an easy cemetery to access. An 8 foot tall barbed wire fence surrounds it. It is closed to the public and permission from Bedford Township Offices is required to visit it.

Many of the surnames in the cemetery trace to the earliest settlers of Harmonia: Sampson, Beecher, Terry, Cox, Clevenger, Mead, and Schuyler. Other surnames are Adrian, Baugh, Baumfree, Bevier, Bradley, Brown, Cox, Forshey, Garman, Gray, Burnflo, Lipsitz, Ledeman, McCreary, Merrill, O'Malley, Roy, Sawtell, Sayton, Smith, White, Wilde, Wingate, Wright, and Zollinger.

Sojournor Truth's daughter Sophia Truth Schulyer is buried here. When Sojournor Truth left slavery she took her daughter Sophia with her. Sophia Truth married Thomas Schulyer. A 1900 Detroit News editorial talks about Sophia Truth Schuyler going to the Calhoun County poor house. Sophia's death certificate can be found at Michiganology. It is listed as Sophia Schyler. Sophia died, in 1901, at the "poor house" in Marengo Township, Calhoun county, near Marshall, MI. She was buried in an unmarked grave at Harmonia Cemetery. Thomas McLeichey, of Battle Creek, purchased a marker for Sophia.  It says "Sophia Schuyler 1821-1901 Daughter of Sojourner Truth." Sophia Truth Schulyer was Thomas' great grandmother. (Source:  "Sojourner Truth's daughter was buried in an unmarked grave until a descendant took action" 1 Feb 2019 Battle Creek Enquirer, Battle Creek, MI accessed 29 Feb 2020.)

Harmonia being a community of Spiritualists believes that one can communicate with the spirits. It makes me wonder how many Spiritualists are talking to those buried at Harmonia Cemetery today.

Last Day Local is a blog prompt I use to celebrate the history of Battle Creek, Michigan, my hometown for the past 32 years.  I try to post one article on the last day of the month about the heritage and history of Battle Creek, The Cereal City!

17 February 2020

In Memoriam: Bruce Glover

Today, February 17, 2020 would have been my dad's 95th birthday. What a milestone that would have been! He lived in ten decades before his death in 2018. He was born in 1925. Imagine the changes he saw in his 93 years of living.

I have stories of some of those changes, and events, that molded his life because my dad left his family a great gift-his autobiography. In honor of his life I will share my favorite stories he wrote.

He entered Kindergarten in the fall of 1930 and only remembered that when the rest of the Kindergarteners were playing tag, or in the sandbox, he went to watch the older kids play softball. He would chase their foul balls and hoped they would ask him to play, which they never did. My dad had a love of sports which started at the age of five!

Another grade school memory was he collected baseball cards. He always lamented that his mother threw them out when he went to college. He would regularly read the sports page of the newspaper and knew every starting player's name in the National and American baseball leagues. There were eight teams per league at the time. My dad would attend the men's softball games in Hazel Park, Michigan and they got to know my dad. One of the players would say, "see that little kid over there? I bet you can't stump him on a starting player for any major league team." My dad wrote, "he might want to know who was the starting centerfielder for the Philadelphia Phillies and without blinking an eyelash I would spit out Richie Ashburn." My dad was in third and fourth grade at the time.

Another story I remember my dad telling me when I was a kid was about a car ride he took with his dad, " I remember going to the store, one Saturday morning, with my Dad in his old Reo back in the days when cars had running boards to help you climb up into them.  As my Dad and I were puttering down John R Street on the way home one Saturday morning from shopping, I leaned against the door and next thing I remember I was laying on the pavement by the side of the road.  How I’ll never know, but hardly suffered a scratch.  Worst for wear, however, was Dad who I think went a block before he realized he was missing a passenger, namely me. When he came back he was understandably shaken, but thankful I was ok."  I can just see it in my mind, now I can chuckle but I imagine it scared him at the time. I never met my grandfather, but wouldn't that be a great story to hear from his side of things.

His junior high summers were pretty carefree, my dad talks about hanging out with friends and biking to Palmer Park which was about 6-7 miles from home. They would have their mom's pack a lunch and they would head to the tennis courts at the park, sign up for a court, play for an hour or so, go to the concession stand and buy a pop and eat lunch. After lunch, they would sign up for a court and play another hour or so.  If he wasn't playing tennis, he and a buddy would go to a vacant lot two lots north of their house on Reynolds Ave, in Hazel Park and golf. My dad had a seven iron and a couple of golf balls. He and his friend would dig a couple of holes, about 20-25 yards apart, and play for hours. He would always try to better his score.

My dad served during World War II in the European Theater at the Battle of the Bulge. When the war ended in Europe he was sent back to the United States. He often said the most beautiful sight he ever witnessed in his life was when the ship entered New York harbor and he saw the Statue of Liberty for the first time.

He ended up at Fort McClellan, Alabama as a physical training and bayonet instructor. During the evening he coached and played on a company basketball team. A regimental tournament was organized and my dad was asked by Colonel Reeder to coach the 7th Regiment team. There were seven regiments in the tournament. His team hit the jackpot when a bus from New York arrived with five boys asking if they could join his team. My dad said once they took one trip up and down the court he knew he had his starting five. My dad always wondered what happened to the boys from that team.  He only remembered two: Jack Gilcrest and  ? Pommerano. The 7th Regiment won the tournament with a win over the 3rd regiment and my dad believed this was the catalyst for what would become a fifty year coaching career.

My dad shared many wonderful stories in his autobiography, but these were the ones I enjoyed reading. My dad loved sports, all kind of sports. Well, maybe not fishing, but all the others. It didn't matter what sport was on television, my dad would watch it. My mom would joke that he would watch a flea match if it was on television!

I think back over the years that my dad grew up in and all the events that molded him into the man and father he was. I miss my dad but I have his autobiography to keep his memories close. I hope my dad is enjoying his birthday in heaven and that there are golf courses, and flea matches, there.

11 February 2020

Where in the World is Alexander Glover?

Where in the World is a series of blog posts I write to show where my ancestors were at a certain time. It helps show gaps, much like a timeline, in my research.  Alexander Glover is my fourth great grandfather, who married Sarah Salisbury, in 1780.

20 Mar 1756
Lebanon, New London, Connecticut, British America

1 Feb 1780
Sarah Salisbury-Conway, Hampshire, Massachusetts, United States

Conway, Hampshire, New York, United States
Conway, Hampshire, New York, United States
Phelps, Ontario, New York, United States
Phelps, Ontario, New York, United States
27 Jan 1826
Phelps, Ontario, New York, United States

08 February 2020

Tinder Collection Showcases Michigan Photographs

Would you like to see a picture of Mr. and Mrs Santa Claus in 1885? What about the 1931 Highland Park School of Nursing? or the Grand Trunk Accounting Division, circa 1930? Are you a fan of the television show, Pimple Popper? There is a picture of a growth that makes that show look tame. 

All of these and more are a part of the David V. Tinder Collection of Michigan Photography housed at the William L. Clements Library at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. I first heard of David Tinder because I was researching family pictures. The Tinder Directory of Photographers is an online directory of early Michigan photographers. It lists the photographer by city or township, years in business, and name of business. Supplemental information includes an alphabetical list of photographers with biographical information, business addresses, comments about business practices, and specializations when known. It is a wonderful resource for Michigan photography research.

Another wonderful resource is the Tinder Collection at the U of M. Tinder, a U of M alumnus, started collecting Michigan stereoviews in the 1970's. This start led to over 100,000 images being donated to the University of Michigan. This collection includes all forms of photographic images. It is a wonderful collection to explore.

Tinder's collection of images cover a vast array of Michigan History. Lumbering, mining, paper making, and cereal making to name a view. It includes african-americans, native americans, ethnic dress, schools, occupations, organizations and more. There are finding aids available online.

One group of finding aid is categorized by counties. For example, the Calhoun County finding aid shows that there are 90 photographs, 1 document, and 1 booklet. The year range is 1870-1930. This part of the collection has store fronts, street views, residences, a train wreck, flooding destruction, Fort Custer, sports teams, police brigade, and more. The document is a fraternity certificate from Albion College. The booklet is from Albion College. Each county is different in its collection and the finding aids will help you to know what is available. Wayne County has 1,937 photographs, 16 real photo stamps, 6 booklets, 101 pages, clippings and ephemera.  Benzie county, the smallest county in Michigan, has 51 photographs in the Tinder Collection.

Unfortunately, not all of the collection is open to researchers. The finding aid will tell you that when you click on the category. Some of the ones not open to researchers include steriographs, over-sized file, photographers file, real photo postcards, photographers albums, framed photographs, glass slides and negatives.

Don't despair that still leaves an awful lot of images to capture your imagination and almost 700 of them are available online. The Clements Library Image Bank houses the online images. I spent some time looking at the image bank and it was a diverse slice of life in Michigan.

Remember photographs are copyrighted and you will need permission to use any of the images in the Tinder Collection. If you are going to be in the M Go Blue (University of Michigan) area, plan a visit (there are a few rules to follow before visiting) to the Clements library and the Tinder Collection.

05 February 2020

Michigan University Libraries and Genealogy

Photography by Brenda Leyndyke

Many posts have been written about the genealogical treasures found in local libraries, but are you using university libraries in your research? I have written about the Bentley Library in Ann Arbor, MI on the campus of the University of Michigan and the great records I found there earlier. Michigan is home to many university libraries that can further one's family history.

University of Michigan: The U of M has the Hatcher Graduate Library. It has sources of genealogical related information, including Biographical Resources, Census Resources, Databases, News and Periodicals, Maps, Atlases, and Gazetteers, Court Records, Immigration and Ethnic, Local History and more. Their materials can be print ones and online ones. It is worth taking a look at their website to see if they have what you are looking for. The University of Michigan's card catalog can be searched for all U of M's libraries.

University of Michigan: The William L. Clements Library on the campus of the U of M is another resource for researchers. It has a few rules you must follow so check out the "Plan Your Visit" section online. All users must register in advance and making an appointment is encouraged. The strength of the Clements Library lies in its collection of 18th and 19th Century American History. It includes books, manuscripts, maps, digitized collections, and more. The manuscript collection is over 2700 items and includes diaries, family and personal papers, military records, journals, school notebooks, business records and more. A few subject guides are available.

Michigan State University: The Main Library at MSU has online databases, Michigan county histories, maps, and more. MSU has a special digitization project called "Making of Modern Michigan", it includes photographs, family papers, oral histories, and genealogical materials for researchers. A research guide on Genealogy and Family History is available. You can search their card catalog too.

Central Michigan Univeristy: Clarke Historical Library on the campus of Central Michigan University , Mt. Pleasant, MI is a regional depository for the Archives of Michigan. Its strengths include Native American history, Old Northwest Territory collections, and 20th Century history. It covers the counties of Clare, Gladwin, Gratiot, Isabella and Midland. Clarke is a closed stack library, meaning you are not allowed to browse the stacks, you have to ask for the material you need. Planning for a visit by using their card catalog will make your visit go smoother. CMU is home to the Digital Michigan Newspaper Portal which provides free access to Michigan newspapers. Yes, I said free! Just this week, CMU announced that Hazel Park, MI will be the recipient of the latest digitization grant.

Western Michigan University: Charles C. and Lynn L. Zhang Legacy Collection Center on the campus of Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI is another archives depository and covers the southwest Michigan counties of Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, Kent, Muskegon, Ottawa, St. Joseph, and Van Buren. This library is an open stacks library. Manuscripts, governmental records, business records, WMU historical records, diaries, journals, and county records can be found in this collection. Check their finding aids.

Michigan Technological University: The J. Robert Van Pelt Library, Houghton, MI covers some of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan including the counties of Baraga, Gogebic, Houghton, Iron, Keweenaw, and Ontonagon. Their strengths include mining company history, Great Lakes research, and Copper Country Historical Images, some of the images are available online. A Guide to Researching Genealogical Sources is available.

Northern Michigan University: Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives, Marquette, MI covers the counties of Alger, Delta, Dickinson, Marquette, Menominee, and Schoolcraft counties. Their strength lies in local government records, local history, and mining records. A finding aid ArchivesSpace can help one find materials.  The Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Mining Company Historical Record Digitizing Project is one to check out for mining ancestors.

Use your local libraries in the area you are researching but remember that university libraries can provide genealogical researcher new resources to check.