31 March 2020

Stay Home, Stay Safe and Me

Normally, I would be posting a "Last Day Local" blog post, but nothing is normal right now. Michigan's Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, issued a "Stay Home, Stay Safe" executive order which went into effect at 12:01 am, March 24th.  This order was in response to the coronavirus pandemic. What this means to the citizens of Michigan is that all businesses except those deemed "essential" remain closed until at least April 13. Businesses that can remain open include health care, grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, and banks to name a few.  Workers in essential occupations can go to work. 

These are historical times we are living in. This pandemic is affecting all the United States at this time. Many states are issuing the same orders and I imagine more shelter in place orders will be forthcoming.  

It is scary times when one stops to think of the impact this will have on families, the economy, businesses, and our local communities.  The news coverage is insane. There is 24-hour coverage of the pandemic on many news cable channels. Much like we do with our genealogy research we have to analyze the source. There is a lot of misinformation on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and even partisan news channels. I have relied on NPR (National Public Radio) and information from the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) for my information. 

I haven't used this blog for my own personal thoughts or for political purposes, but due to the historical impact of the pandemic I thought I would share my thoughts on the times which we are living.

March 10th: Today was my mom's 90th birthday. I woke up with a sore throat and knew I couldn't go celebrate with her and risk making her sick. The coronavirus is worldwide. The United States hit 1000 cases with 31 deaths. It is scary times and the federal government response has been unfocused. The virus hit Michigan today with two confirmed cases. Michigan Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, issued a state of emergency. She ordered school closures until April 5th, 2020.

March 14th: My sore throat is gone, but I am having sinus pressure. I don't think it is related to the virus; it is just seasonal stuff I go through every year. It does make one think what it could be though. 

March 15th: My aunt, Alyce (Sleeman) Fredricks died today. It was first announced that the funeral would be by invitation only because of the limit of no more than 50 people gathering. Next, it was decided that there would be no church funeral. A graveside service would be held for immediate family only. It will be live streamed on Facebook by the St. Paul Lutheran Church in Caledonia, Michigan. I have been thinking about my aunt's family because I know how comforting it was to have extended family at my dad's funeral. Aunt Alyce's family won't have that. It is sad times we are living in right now.

March 16th: I am feeling fine now. but things in Michigan are not getting better. All restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, and other businesses are to close for two weeks, March 17-April 5. No groups larger than 50 may congregate. People can order food for takeout or delivery. I am concerned about take-out food at this point. Many restaurant workers do not receive any sick pay or time off. I can't be sure that workers are staying home and not going to work if they are sick. The CDC are saying that people over 65 are at risk for complications for this disease. I am 62, Kirk is 68. Those with other problems such as heart disease, diabetes, lung conditions, asthma, obesity, and immunocompromised individuals are at a greater risk. I had to go to the pharmacy to pick up my prescriptions today. It was the first day I was out since March 6th. I went to the drive through. I used antibacterial hand sanitizer in the car. When I got home, I washed my hands and used a Lysol wipe to wipe off my medicine bottles. This virus is making one think about what they are touching and what others have touched. I was scheduled for a uterine lining biopsy on Thursday, the 19th. The doctor's office called and said they had to cancel my appointment. I wasn't given a rescheduled date. This is a cause for concern for me. I don't like waiting to know what is wrong, I feel better when I know what is going on and I can make a plan for action. 

March 18th: Michigan reported its first death due to coronavirus today, two more occurred later in the day. I think this is just the beginning. The individual counties are reporting when they get there first case. Currently, 116 cases have been announced in Michigan. Tests for the virus are scarce and hard to get, so people feel there are many more cases that have not been able to be diagnosed. I find myself worrying about others more than myself. My mother lives in Story Point Living facility in Portage Michigan. Story Point is restricting visitors to essential people only. No visitors are allowed. Luckily, my mother can get all three meals where she lives. My in-laws live in Aurora Ponds, in the Grand Rapids area. They are still allowed visitors at this time. All three are 90 years old and older and I worry if they were to contract the virus they wouldn't survive. I worry about my children as well. Travis and his wife, Alayna, live in Houston, Texas and Kirsten and her husband, Chase, live in Forest Park, IL, a suburb of Chicago. They are both in big cities with international airports. The news creates anxiety in me. I try to limit how much news I watch a day. The federal government wasn't on top of things and tried to downplay the effect it would have on the United States and for the first time in my life I don't trust the news coming out of Washington, DC. I didn't vote for Donald Trump and I won't vote for him in November of this year. I feel his leadership of this pandemic could have been so much better. I am sure history will have a lot to say about this period of time.

March 19th: I had groceries delivered from Meijer today through Shipt. I placed the order online with what I wanted and then a Shipt shopper shopped it and delivered it. The shopper left it on the back porch, Kirk and I put gloves on, wiped the bag handles down, and brought the groceries into the house and set them on the floor. We took each item out and wiped them down with a disinfectant wipe before putting them away. The virus can live on metal, cardboard, and paper. Jeesh! there is so much to think about. I couldn’t get everything on my list because some of the grocery store shelves are empty. The virus has brought out the hoarders. For some reason, toilet paper is being bought out. I guess people figure if they are going to be home for a couple of weeks, they don't want to run out of it. Other items that are scarce are milk, eggs, snack foods, flour, yeast, meat, frozen vegetables, ready to eat canned and frozen food, paper towels, soap, and disinfectant type supplies. I think people are panicking and worried we will run out of food. I only bought what I needed to get through two-three weeks of staying home. 

March 21st: Today is Kirk and my 39th wedding anniversary. We had a couple of plans to celebrate that had to be changed because of the pandemic. First, we were going to go to Bardstown, KY for a long weekend and explore the bourbon trail. When the virus first started increasing in numbers, we decided we better stay closer to home. I looked for a nice restaurant to go to that would have a good steak and seafood. There isn't much like that here in Battle Creek. Next, we decided we would go to the Shipshewana area of Indiana and get a good Amish meal. After Michigan closed restaurants, except for takeout, we decided to stay home.  I decided to make a Chinese meal for us. The week Kirk and I met, the teachers at the school he was teaching at went for a Chinese dinner in Sarnia, Ontario. It was about an hour from Deckerville, Michigan, where we met. Kirk went and it was that night that he asked me on what would become our first of many dates. I figured a Chinese dinner would bring back good memories.  I made Lemon Chicken, Beef with Cashews, Rice, Egg Rolls, and Crab Rangoon. The only thing missing was the fortune cookie. I still remember the fortune from that Sarnia dinner. It was, "he is someone to be taken seriously."

March 23rd: I am feeling anxious today. I have felt anxious in the past and I could usually attribute it to thyroid problems, but my thyroid levels are normal. I know it is the constant barrage on social media and the television of how severe this virus can be. There is still a lot of misinformation out there and trying to find reputable sources for information is more important than ever. Seven deaths have been reported in Michigan. Nationally, over four hundred have died. Kirk and I spend our days reading, watching television, streaming shows or movies on Amazon Prime or Netflix. I am catching up on Call the Midwife and started watching The West Wing. Kirk watches science fiction shows. We watched the movie, Outbreak, which we had seen years ago. It was a timely re-watching of it. Of course, there is a lot of time for genealogy and I have been organizing my files and sourcing previous research in my Roots Magic genealogy software.  States are starting shelter in place orders. Illinois is under one. Kirsten works from home so no change for her. The Chicago Blackhawks games were cancelled and now Chase, the director of photography for the Blackhawks, is working from home. Chase's parents, Dwight and Leslie, live in Spain. They have been visiting Kirsten and Chase since the first part March. Now that Illinois has issued a shelter in place order, they will be staying with Kirsten and Chase until that is lifted. Plus, Spain has closed their borders and I don't think they would be able to travel home at this time. Leslie's father, Les Agnello, died. His memorial service was scheduled for late March, in California. The service was cancelled due to the virus.

March 24th: Michigan has issued a Stay Home, Stay Safe order. What that means is we are expected to stay home unless we work at an essential business or have essential business to conduct. Many places have closed. Grocery shopping, picking up prescriptions, banking, and getting gas are still allowed. Most bank lobbies have been closed and if you need to conduct business it is by appointment only. The drive throughs are open in order to make deposits or get cash. Kirk and I are not planning to go out unless it is an emergency, or we need prescriptions filled. I haven't been out of the house for eight days. Kirk went to the grocery store yesterday to pick up a couple of items we needed to get us through the next couple of weeks, or longer.  Each day that goes on and the more cases that are diagnosed causes Kirk and I concern. We are concerned for each other and for our parents, who we are not able to help at this time. The last thing I would want to do is to carry the virus to our parents and have them get sick. The constant need to wash hands and sanitize everything we encounter is overwhelming. Many people don't take the stay home order seriously. I see neighbors coming and going all day long. We are such a mobile society; it is hard for people to stay home. I don't have a problem at all. I have enough projects, reading, and researching to keep me busy for months. I wouldn't mind going out to dinner, but that is a very small thing to give up in the scheme of things right now.

March 27th: The United States has over 100,000 cases of the virus and over 1500 deaths. This is a serious virus. Hospitals are becoming overwhelmed with cases. The need for hospital beds, respirators, gloves, masks, and gowns is severe. The federal government isn't stepping up to lead. The individual states are expected to obtain their own resources and every state is bidding against each other for the needed supplies. New York, Washington, California, and Michigan seem to be the worse states in number of cases right now. More states will be affected in the coming weeks. The stay at home orders are increasing and the reason for this is to "slow the curve" as they put it. If we can keep the cases from sky rocketing it will give hospitals time to treat individuals. If we slow the curve our hospitals won't be overwhelmed. It is too late. The hospitals in these four states are overwhelmed. I fear it is going to get much worse. My feelings range from anger to disbelief. I am angry at the current state in Washington, DC. and our President. I can't believe that a nation such as the United States didn't take this seriously when intelligence started briefing the President about the pandemic and its effect on the United States. What kind of person would subject his citizens to this? 

March 29th: The numbers are getting worse. The Michigan Governor is doing all that she can to get the hospitals the supplies that are needed to fight and treat this virus. She had supplies under contract and the federal government told the supplier not to sell to Michigan. This is politics at its worse. The President did grant Michigan a state of emergency status. Kirk and I are still staying at home. We have done a couple of projects around the house. Kirk painted the bathroom. We had the supplies before the crisis started. Buying these types of supplies would not be essential. I have Spring cleaned the kitchen, dining room, and living room. I had deep cleaned my office when I bought two new bookcases, in February. I have our bedroom left to do. In the middle of all this stressful living our water heater decided to stop working. It took a few days to find out if we could get it fixed because of the stay home order. There is some confusion about what businesses can stay open and what ones have to close. It was decided we could get a new one installed. I am thankful for that because I wasn't looking forward to cold showers and boiling water for washing dishes. 

March 30th: We woke up to a flooded basement this morning. Kidder Heating and Air Conditioning, Marshall, MI did the work on our water heater. One of the shut off valves broke and no one told us. Kidder said they didn't use that valve, but Kirk and I haven't been able to move that valve for years. The valve was in the bypass position, not where we had it. Kidder said they would come out and look at it, but it wasn't their fault so we would have to pay a $130 service call.  No way were we going to pay them for something that was their mistake in the first place. This shut off valve is attached to our water softener too. Kirk called Besco Water Treatment Company in Battle Creek, they were here within 15 minutes, replaced the valve and tuned up the water conditioner, for FREE. They are a great company and we appreciate them so much more now. That is the way to treat your customers during a crisis. Pooh on Kidder!

A lot of genealogy meetings, seminars, and conferences are being cancelled. Many organizations are choosing to hold virtual meetings. I am President of the Michigan Genealogical Council and we are scheduled to hold our monthly meeting April 9th. Our February meeting was cancelled because of weather, March meeting was cancelled because of the pandemic and I didn't have a plan in place for a virtual meeting, in March. Our April meeting will be held virtually using Zoom platform. One of my council colleagues, Tom Koselka, offered to let me have a practice meeting and he walked me through the options on Zoom. I feel a lot less nervous about hosting the board meeting now.  

Michigan has 6498 confirmed cases with 184 deaths. Each day more and more people are getting sick. I worry about the people who have to work on the front line of this crisis. All hospital employees, janitors, and grocery store workers are at increased exposure of getting this. The state health department says Michigan hasn't reached its peak yet. The Detroit area has the most cases. My county, Calhoun, has 17 cases. No age bracket is immuned to this disease. I talk with my mother about three times a week and she is doing well under the situation. She seems a little lonely and I am thankful she lives in a place where if she needs help it is there for her. I need to see about having her prescriptions transferred to a place that will deliver. There is so much to think about these days.

This is what the first three weeks of dealing with the pandemic, coronavirus, has been for me. I will continue to keep track of my thoughts and activities so that those in the future can see what a 21st century pandemic does to a society.

Stay home, stay safe, please.

16 March 2020

Andover, Massachusetts Connection to the Salem Witch Trials

In the Shadow of Salem: The Andover Witch Hunt of 1692 by Richard Hite was a Christmas gift given to me by my daughter. I started reading it and decided I needed to either get a highlighter or take notes! I decided to take notes because there were references I wanted to put on my list to look up the next time I went to the Archives of Michigan.

I knew I had a Salem Witch Trial connection through Mary Clements Osgood, but I was surprised to see other family surnames mentioned. Those included Poor, Farnum, Ingalls, and related families in the Andover, Massachusetts area.  Twelve petition signers, those asking for release of prisoners, could be considered Osgood family members. (Hite, page 225)

The Hite book was insightful to what was going on at the time and how it reached Andover which was about 30 miles from Salem. The Osgood family was drawn into the witch hunt when on 6 January 1693 Mary Clements Osgood participated in the 'touch test'.  Mary and Deliverance (Haseltine) Dane, Sarah (Lord) Wilson, Mary (Lovett) Tyler, Abigail (Wheeler) Barker, and Hannah Tyler were blindfolded and the afflicted were there. The afflicted fell into fits as soon as the women were brought in. The women's hands were laid upon the afflicted and the fits stopped. This was the evidence that led to the women's arrests. They were immediately taken to jail. (Source: Hite page 119 from Records of the Salem Witch Hunt (2009) by Bernard Rosenthal pages 737-738)

Mary Osgood confessed to

  • submitting to a baptism by the devil in Five Mile Pond in Boxford
  • afflicting three victims
  • attending a meeting at Moses Tyler's home for the purpose of afflicting
  • carrying the shape of Minister Francis Dane, along with Deliverance Dane, to make people believe he was afflicted.
Next, Osgood was asked, "What hindered you from accomplishing what you intended?" (Hite, page 122) Osgood replied, "The Lord would not suffer it to be that the devil should afflict in an innocent person's shape." (Hite, page 122)  Mary Osgood may have saved Danes life according to Hite.

Why was Osgood targeted as a witch? Mary and her husband, John Osgood had a long history in Andover.  John and Mary Osgood were prominent, and powerful, in the community. John served numerous times as a selectman of Andover. Mary would have been one of the most prominent citizen arrested.

John Osgood became a leader in the effort to free the accused. He paid multiple bonds, with others, to free some of the accused. His name was on an October 12, 1692 petition, along with other family members of the accused, to free the prisoners. The petition did not work to release them. 

Minister Increase Mather's work, Cases of Conscience Concerning Evil Spirits Personating, Men, Witchcrafts, infallible Proofs of Guilt in such as are accused with that Crime, is believed to be the beginning of the end of the witch trials. Mather refuted Mary Osgood's testimony.  Next, 26 Andover residents submitted a petition to the Governor, the council, and colony reps. John Osgood, his sons Timothy and Samuel, and his nephew, Hooker Osgood signed the petition. (Hite page 156)

Mather quoted recantations by Mary Osgood first. Osgood declared her statement of guilt as "wholly false". She says she was urged and pressed to confess. She states she never did the things she confessed to. John Osgood and John Fyre bonded themselves for 400 pounds to enable their wives, Mary Osgood and Eunice Potter Fyre, to be released on condition they would return for trial.

Spectral evidence was not allowed and Mary Osgood was acquitted on 12 Jan 1693.  John Osgood continued to help others and posted bonds, with others, for Mary Barker, Sarah Wilson and her daughter, Sarah after his wife's acquital.

John Osgood was elected selectman at Andover's Annual Town meeting held in March of 1693. Other selectman were elected who defended the suspects, or didn't take a stand, for the next several years. John Osgood died in August, 1693.  Mary Osgood died October, 1710.

10 March 2020

My Mom is 90!

Today marks my mother's 90th birthday. Imagine all the changes she has seen over that time. She was born in 1930, during the depression, on the family farm. My mom felt they survived the depression better than others because they could raise their own food. She doesn't remember being hungry as a child. That doesn't mean it was easy by any means. My mother was one of 12 children. She deserve a special day and I hope she has one.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures of my mother as a young girl. Happy Birthday, Mom.

 Grade School
 Grade School
 on the Family Farm

 As a young girl (front) with her sister, Marie
 My mom (back) and her niece, Kathryn Marie  If you look closely you will see a young man near the tree, it might be her brother, Ray.
Taken, circa 1940, at the home of Leo Sandberg, who married Daisy Marie Fredrick.
Left-Right: Jean, Kathryn Marie, Norman, Audrey holding Rose Marie

Jean, Norman, and Audrey were siblings. Jean and Norman were twins. Kathryn Marie and Rose Marie are the nieces of Jean, Norman, and Audrey 
My mother holding unknown baby. The picture was taken at the home of her sister, Kathryn, in Brethren Michigan.

03 March 2020

Leona Fredricks Graf Wagoner and Robert Wagoner Gravesite

1926-1996       1922-1996

Leona Inez Fredricks Graf Wagoner and her second husband, Robert Dale Wagoner, are interred in Onekama Village Cemetery, Erdman Road, Onekama, Manistee, Michigan. (GPS (lat/lon): 44.37305,-86.20222)

Leona is the daughter of Daisy Ellen Graf and Otto August Fredricks. She is one of 12 children, my mother being one of them. Leona married Raymond Paul Graf in 1947. They had one son, Ronald. She married Robert after Raymond's death. Leona and Raymond lived for years in the Bear Lake area of Michigan. 

Aunt Leona was a wonderful, kind person. She had a vibrant personality and distinctive voice. She was a gifted cake decorator and cook. She would bring her ice cream maker to the family reunion and make the best ice cream. I have many happy memories of visiting Aunt Leona. She gave me beautiful crystal goblets for my wedding and I loved them so much I added to the set over the years.  

Bob worked on the Great Lakes and he would dock at the power plant in Harbor Beach, MI. Sometimes Aunt Leona would come to Harbor Beach, where we lived at the time, and visit us while he was in town. 

My memories of Aunt Leona keep her in my heart. 

Leona and Bob Wagoner, Fredricks Family Reunion, Brethren, MI

01 March 2020

10 Years of Blogging!


Today is the tenth anniversary of my blog. Other than the past couple of years I was pretty consistent with blogging. I enjoy blogging. It makes me a better researcher because I make sure what I write can be proven. It allows me to see gaps in my research and I can look for more information before posting.

One of the best things about blogging, besides the research aspect of it, is the people I have "met." I have communicated with others who enjoy genealogy and blogging. I have connected with cousins. Those connections have led me to receiving a family Bible, photographs, documents, and research.

Looking back on the past ten years has brought me joy. I am proud of the work I have done, not only on my family members but on my local interest and research help stories as well. Here are the top 10 blog posts, by traffic, as of last night (29 Feb 2020).

1. Daniel C Fenn-Ancestor Biography

2. Historic Adventist Village, Battle Creek, Michigan

3. Pure Michigan Genealogy: Records 

4. Ancestor Biography: Otto August Fredrick

5. Michigan's Role in the War of 1812

6. Tech Tuesday: Social Media for Genealogy Analysis

7. Pure Michigan Genealogy-Migration and Immigration 

8. The Kellogg House in Battle Creek, Michigan

9.  Was Your German Ancestory Recruited to Come to Michigan?

10. Lt. Col. Merle M. Glover-Tombstone Tuesday

Happy Blogiversary to Me! I better go see what gift the hubby got me because I am sure he wouldn't forget my 10th blogiversary.

Note: My Pure Michigan Genealogy is being updated and will back online soon. (January 2022)