21 September 2022

Wordless Wednesday: Unidentified Children

 I have many pictures in my collection of people that are not identified. This one is interesting because of the clothes. If I had to guess it is from my maternal grandmother's side of the Mast family. She came from Mennonite and Church of the Brethren ancestry. Any thoughts?

19 September 2022

The Oregon Death of Jean Watt Kellen

Source: Archives, "Oregon, U.S., State Deaths, 1864-1968," database, Ancestry.com, entry for Jean Ethel Kellan; death certificate number 19, 1914.

Researching one's family can bring excitement when you find what you are looking for, but it can bring sadness when the record shows unexpected details. Previously, I wrote about Baby Kellan, the son or daughter of Arthur Kellan and Jean Ethel Watt Kellan. 

While researching my paternal great-aunt, Jean Ethel Watt Kellan, her death certificate1 of 4 January 1914, was one day after Baby Kellan's birth. I had such a feeling of sadness knowing that Baby Kellan would grow up without his mother.

Jean Ethel Watt was the daughter of David Watt and Katherine McGee Watt. She was born 4 March 18862, in Marquette, Marquette, Michigan. She married Arthur Kellan 12 October 19103, in Marquette, Marquette, Michigan. Sometime after October of 1910, Arthur and Jean found themselves in Portland, Multnomah, Oregon.

Jean died at Rose City Sanatorium in Portland, Oregon at the age of twenty-seven. Are you wondering what happened to Baby Kellan and his father? Check back for that story.

1Archives, "Oregon, U.S., State Deaths, 1864-1968," database, Ancestry.com, entry for Jean Ethel Kellan; death certificate number 19, 1914.

2 "Michigan Marriages 1868-1925," volume 3, page 23, record number 312.

3 Ibid.


16 September 2022

What Happened to Baby Kellan?

Rose City Sanitarium in 1909
Photo credit: City of Portland Archives, A2004-002.9249. 

Note to readers: Please do not download or share this picture, for your own copy, seek permission from  https://vintageportland.wordpress.com/tag/rose-city-sanitarium/

My recent research has taken me to the family of Arthur Kellan and Jean Ethel Watt. Jean is my paternal great aunt. She died at the age of twenty-seven. My dad never knew her, but he had fond memories of his Uncle Art. Art was the person who took my dad to his first Detroit Tigers game.

Arthur Kellan and Jean Watt Kellan had a son, born on 3 January 1914 at Rose City Sanitarium, Portland, Oregon. In all my research I never came across the fact that they had a child until I found Baby Kellan's birth information in the state of Oregon.

Source: Oregon Center for Health Statistics; Portland, Oregon; Oregon, Birth Records, 1903-1918. Citing the birth of Male Kellan; record number 1  47, Ancestry.com.

I knew that Arthur Kellan was living in Detroit, Michigan in the 1920 Census. I knew that Jean Watt Kellan had died by 1920, but never knew about the baby or what happened to baby Kellan.

I was afraid of what might have happened to him/her and looked for the baby in the Oregon State Death Records.

Source: Ancestry.com. Oregon, U.S., State Deaths, 1864-1968 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2021. Citing the death of Baby Kellan, 6 January 1914.

Why did I say him/her? If you look at the birth record, the child is listed as male. The death record says female. Baby Kellan lived three days. 

Can anyone read the cause of death? If so, leave a comment, please.

14 September 2022

12 September 2022

The Marriage of Samuel D. Breed and Orpha A. Fenn in 1841

One hundred eighty-one years ago today, Orpha Ann Fenn, the daughter of Daniel Fenn and Huldah Rowley Fenn, married Samuel Dwight Breed on 12 September 1841 in Grass Lake, Michigan. Michigan marriages were not recorded at this early date and I needed to look for other records to confirm this date. One such secondary source record was on page 16 of The 1900 Congregational Yearbook. In addition to marriage information a biography of Samuel Dwight Breed was provided. The transcription is

BREED, SAMUEL DWIGHT, son of Reuben and Martha (Everett) Breed, was born in Volney, N. Y., 1820, Nov. 3. Grass Lake, Mich. 

Academy. Chicago Seminary, 1859. 

Ordained, Augusta,now Whittaker, Mich., 1862, Feb. 19; acting pastor there, 1862-7 ; Grand Blanc, 1867-9; New Haven and Chesterfield, 1869-70; Napoleon, 1870-2; Rochester, 1872-5; without charge, Ypsilanti, 1875-85; Ann Arbor, after.

Married, 1841. Sept. 12, Orpha Ann, daughter of Daniel and Huldah (Rowley) Fenn, of Shoreham, Vt. She died, 1846, Feb. 12. One son died in the civil war.

Married, 1848, Sept. 14, Amelia Eliza, daughter of Amos and Laura (Mills) Bosworth, of Sandisfleld, Mass., who died, 1893, Sept. 28. Two daughters and two sons, the latter being Revs. Dwight P. and Merle A. Breed. 

Died of arterial sclerosis, 1899, Aug. 16, aged 78 years, 9 months, and 13 days. '

My next step in my research would be to look for Grass Lake church records. I know in 1836 there were three churches in Grass Lake, Methodist, Baptist, and Presbyterian, which the later became a Congregational Church. Currently, it is the Federated Church of Grass Lake.

'States, General Council of the Congregational and Christian Churches of the United. The Congregation Yearbook: 1900. Boston: Congregational Publishing Society,. Digital images. Google Books. https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=9BRKAAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&output=reader&hl=en&pg=GBS.PP1 : 2015

08 September 2022

The Birth Anniversary of Estella Fenn Shaw 175 Years Ago

Source: Family data, Hattie L. "Fenn" Glover Family Bible, The Holy Bible: with Revised New Testament, (Chicago: GW Borland & Co., 1882); original owned in August 2022 by Brenda Leyndyke, [address for private use] 

Estelle Jane Fenn, daughter of Daniel C. Fenn and Jane E. Poor was born on 8 September 1847, in Jackson, Michigan. Estelle lost her mother when she was seven months old. Her father, Daniel C. Fenn married Jane's sister, Elizabeth Poor between 1848-1850.
Estelle spent most of her life in Jackson, Michigan. She married James Shaw in Jackson on the 10th of May 1866.  Later in her life Estelle travelled to Florida and California to spend her winters there. 

Estelle died 13 July 1934, of cardiac degeneration, in Jackson, Michigan. Interestingly, I found her obituary in my local Battle Creek newspaper archives.

Source: Obituary: Local Woman's Sister Succumbs in Jackson, Battle Creek Enquirer, Battle Creek, Calhoun, Michigan, United States, 15 July 1934, page 3; column 6.


Mrs. Estelle Shaw Was Member of Prominent, Mother of Publisher.

     Mrs. Estelle Shaw, member of a well known family of Jackson and sister of Mrs. Hattie Glover of Goguac lake, died at 2:30 o'clock Friday afternoon at the home of her daughter, Mrs. R.H. Rossman, in Jackson. Mrs. Shaw was the widow of the late James F. Shaw, who was a prominent shoe merchant of Jackson. She had been ill about two weeks according to the message received by her Battle Creek relatives.
     Mrs. Shaw is survived by two children, the daughter at whose home she died and a son, Arch Wilkinson Shaw of Chicago, well known publisher.  She is also survived by the sister, Mrs. Glover, who lives with her daughter, Mrs. Victor Tyson, 103 Lakefront, Goguac lake and two brothers, Tully D. Fenn of route five, Battle Creek and George Fenn of Hersey, Osceola county. Mrs. Shaw had often visited in Battle Creek.
     Funeral services will be held Monday afternoon at 2:30 from the daughter's home in Jackson.  All of the Battle Creek relatives will motor over to attend the service.  Burial will be in Jackson cemetery.

07 September 2022

Can You Identify These Pictures at the Fort Custer Library?

Some of my readers know that I volunteer at the Fort Custer Historical Society library. It isn't open to the public because my helper, Jan, and I are still in the process of inventorying things. 

Our latest project is working on the thousands of photographs in the library. We grouped them by war or subject. If a photo didn't have any identifying information, we scanned it using Google Lens. The photographs below are the ones needing identification. 

This is where I need your help. If you can identify anyone, anyplace, or anything about the photograph, please leave a comment below or email me at brae957@gmail.com.  If you know which war it was, which arm of service it was, or even the smallest hint, I would be grateful. Thanks for your help. I will update the photographs as I get more information.

The numbers are under the pictures.



















Tritten Store in Brethren, Michigan

An undated photograph of Brethren, Michigan.

I never visited my aunt and uncle, Kate and Carl Tritten, when they had the store on N. Coates Hwy, in Brethren, Michigan. My stories come from my mother, Audrey, who went to live with her sister, Kate, at the age of nine. 

She tells stories of having to clean and polish the wood floors of the store, pumping gas, babysitting Kate and Carl's children, Katherine Marie and John, stocking shelves, and waiting on people. I don't have a picture of the inside of the store, but I have a few that were taken outside of the store.

Carl Tritten holding his daughter, Katherine Marie Tritten, on the steps of the store.

Lola Fredricks, Kate Tritten's sister, holding her niece, Katherine Marie Tritten, in front of the gas pump.
John Tritten on his bike. The gas pumps are behind him, the store would be to his left. To John's right were railroad tracks. The store was a stopping place for the train. The train would pick up mail bags that were hung on a hook. If no passengers were getting on at this stop, the train didn't stop. The train would slow down so the mail bag could be grabbed. My mother told the story of how it was her sister's (Kate) job, but my mom would have to go out and hang the bag.

1984 picture of Aunt Kate's home. The store entrance would have been at the front of the house.

The Trittens lived there for many years. The room that was originally the store was a huge room. A bathroom was added at some time. There was a large dining table and huge hutch on one end. A washer and dryer were near the kitchen. The other half of the room was a living room type area and an office area. 

06 September 2022

School Days in 1944 Brethren, Michigan


Photo Credit: "Beckquist's" 11797 Scanned photograph from the collection of Jamie Welch given to Brenda Leyndyke.

The day after Labor Day always reminds me of back-to-school time. I had many back-to-school days as a student, teacher, and a parent. I was the daughter of a teacher and a wife of a teacher. It is an exciting time for students. I can't say when this picture was taken, but I thought it was a good example of school days.

The scanned picture was given to me on a scandisk by my second cousin, Jamie Welch. His father, Thomas P. Welch is in the picture. Tom, as I knew him, was in first grade in 1944. I didn't make a note of which one is Tom, I will have to ask his son.

The picture is taken on the steps of what I believe was Brethren School, on the corner of N. High Bridge Road and N. Coates Hwy. It is at the four corners of Brethren, Michigan. I noticed how many boys were in this class. I only see two or three girls in a class of twenty-six. Oh, that poor teacher! I have been around first grade boys and they are full of energy. (If anyone knows which school this was, please leave a comment.)

Do you have back to school memories to share? Feel free to leave them in the comment section.

03 September 2022

Bruce Glover Elected President of Northern Thumb C Conference

Source: "New Officers for North Thumb Loop," Bay City Times, 19 September 1957, online images, Genealogy Bank: accessed 23 August 2022


New Officers for

North Thumb Loop

Special to the Times

PIGEON-New officers of

The Northern Thumb C Confer

ence were elected Tuesday night

at the annual meeting of

coaches and school officials held

at the Pigeon Community


     The new officers, all of Deck-

erville High, are: president,

Coach Bruce Glover; vice-pres-

ident Coach Jim Waldo, and

Secretary-treasurer, George Le-


     Retiring president is John

Noell, of Harbor Beach.

My father was involved in coach’s associations throughout his career. He was a charter member of the Michigan High School Coaches Association. The above newspaper clipping shows he was elected President of the Northern Thumb C Conference. 

He went to many thumb conference meetings in his role as a coach and athletic director for Deckerville Community Schools and Harbor Beach Community Schools, both in Michigan.

Michigan schools are classified as Class A, B, C, and D for sport team purposes, with Class A being the largest schools. Each class has student population ranges. It has changed throughout the years as student population has declined. 

The interesting thing about this record, to me, is the date: September 19, 1957. It was four days after my birth! I asked my mom about this, and she said she was in the hospital for six days. My sister, who was four at the time, was staying with my Aunt Mabel and Uncle Hank Glover in Ferndale. 

My mom was the quintessential coach’s wife. Even if she were home with a day’s old newborn, she wouldn't have stopped him from going. 

My dad coached Reserve Football, Varsity Basketball and Track in 1956-1957 school year. Here are pictures of his teams.


01 September 2022

September Birthdays and Anniversaries

 The following are the sourced September birthdays and anniversaries in my ancestry. No living people are included.

1 September 1784

Hopkins ROWLEY and Elizabeth STEWART (238)

1 September 1847

Miles BALDWIN and Aminda FENN (175)

2 September 1575

Thomas LOWTHROPPE and Mary HOWELL (447)

2 September 1862

Catherine MCGEE (160)

2 September 1922

Carl Edward MCDONALD (100)

3 September 1654

John OSGOOD (368)

3 September 1813

Mary Magdalena GRAF (209)

3 September 1835

Katarina "Katherine" GRAF (187)

3 September 1927

Howard E. DYER and Dorothy M. RILEY (95)

4 September 1575

Edward FULLER (447)

4 September 1625

Anna MAST (397)

4 September 1737

Sarah ST. CLAIR (285)

5 September 1656

Daniel POOR II (366)

5 September 1658

John POOR (364)

5 September 1789

Susanna MAUST (233)

5 September 1821

Samuel Worcester GLOVER (201)

5 September 1875

George FOUST and Philippina GRAF (147)

5 September 1914

Anna Ellen BENNINGER (108)

5 September 1915

Albert GUHSE and Lottie WESOLOWSKI (107)

6 September 1918

Kathryn Louise FREDRICK (104)

7 September 1600

Edmund HOBART and Margaret DEWEY (422)

8 September 1847

Estella J. FENN (175)

8 September 1873

Edward Leroy DYER (149)

8 September 1897

Pearly Mae GRAF (125)

9 September 1731

Seth BEAL and Abigail CLARK (291)

9 September 1792

Samuel B. POOR (230)

9 September 1901

Augusta FREDRICK and Herman Adolph BREEN (121)

10 September 1662

Sarah ROWLEY (360)

10 September 1870

Jeanne WATT (152)

10 September 1900

Margaret GIBSON (122)

11 September 1798

Samuel Stillman GLOVER (224)

12 September 1841

Samuel Dwight BREED and Orpha Ann FENN (181)

12 September 1915

Francis H. GLOVER (107)

14 September 1761

Christian L. LIVENGOOD (261)

14 September 1848

Samuel Dwight BREED and Amelia BOSWORTH (174)

14 September 1872

Margaret "Maggie" WATT (150)

14 September 1878

Elias Abraham FREY (144)

14 September 1925

Jacqueline WATT (97)

14 September 1940

Boots GRISCHOW and Audrey Bessie CHALMERS (82)

15 September 1864

George GRAF (158)

15 September 1881

Arthur R. KELLAN (141)

15 September 1909

David GIBSON (113)

before 16 September 1638

Robert LINNELL and Peninnah HOWSE (384)

17 September 1847

Silas R. FENN (175)

17 September 1863

George Begole POOR and Addie OSBORN (159)

18 September 1623

John HOWSE and Mary OSBORNE (399)

18 September 1692

Rebecca MAYO (330)

18 September 1703

Jacob POWERS and Sarah MERRIAM (319)

18 September 1767

Mary "Mariah" LIVENGOOD (255)

18 September 1832

Wilhelmine FREDRICH (190)

20 September 1714

Hester "Esther" BLANDING (308)

22 September 1770

Enoch POOR (252)

23 September 1756

Jonathan ROWLEY and Elizabeth HOPKINS (266)

24 September 1698

Hannah GLOVER (324)

24 September 1765

Anna Walpurga GRAF (257)

25 September 1835

Courtney FENN (187)

25 September 1845

Abel FENN and Mary E. SMITH (177)

25 September 1858

David WATT (164)

26 September 1782

Johann Friedrich GRAF (240)

27 September 1922

Anna K. BITTNER (100)

28 September 1670

Lucy POOR (352)

28 September 1799

Johann Valentin GRAF (223)

29 September 1906

Howard E. DYER (116)

30 September 1751

Edward POWERS (271)

30 September 1914

George B. FENN and Etta L. KLINE (108)


31 August 2022

Last Day Local (kind of): Polar Bear Soldiers of World War I

You may be wondering why I would blog about an infantry regiment that served in Russia for a Last Day Local post. It's easy. The group now known as the Polar Bears had its beginnings at Camp Custer, now Fort Custer, near Battle Creek, Michigan.

The Polar Bear Patch, shown above, worn by the returning soldiers from the 339th, but also the first battalion of the 310th Engineers, plus the 337th Ambulance and 337th Field Hospital Companies

On July 11-17, 1918, the 85th "Custer" division left Camp Custer, near Battle Creek, Michigan. 30,0000 soldiers made up the Custer division. The 85th Division consisted of the 337th, 338th, 339th, and 340th regiments. The 339th was made up of soldiers from Detroit and Southeast Michigan, mainly.

One platoon of Co. H. 339th Infantry North Russian Expeditionary Force, North Russia. Courtesy of the Sandusky District Library

July 23, 1918, saw General Pershing detaching 4750 men from the 85th Division to form the American North Russia Expeditionary Force (ANREF). This regiment became known as the Polar Bears. The troops had no idea what they were being sent to do. The men decided on the name "Polar Bears" during withdrawal from Russia. The men served in frigid temperatures of 40-50 degrees below zero.

The troops traveled to England, through the Arctic Ocean to Archangel Russia, arriving on September 5, 1918. "Once the men arrived in Archangel it was discovered that many were deathly sick with the Spanish Influenza virus, so another 500 officers and men from the other three Infantry Regiments that had gone on to France were transferred to North Russia as replacements, arriving in Archangel on Sept. 30, 1918." (email from Mike Grobbel)

They continued fighting the Bolsheviks until April, 1919. The Polar Bears arrived home to Detroit on July 3, 1919, seven months after World War I ended. During these seven months, 94 ANREF troops were killed in action. "The soldiers were allowed to go home, if local, or stay in a local hotel; they had to be back at the Michigan Central railroad station by 8:00 AM on the 4th so they could travel to Belle Isle for the "Welcome Home" festivities. They departed on the morning of the 5th for Camp Custer and discharge from the Army." (email from Mike Grobbel)

Source:  Ludington Daily News, 21 October 1919, page 6; column 3, Google News.

The Polar Bears suffered 553 casualties in Russia. 81 deaths were from disease, mostly from the Spanish Flu.

Brief Timeline of the ANREF's Service

July 11-17, 1918   Leave Camp Custer

July 23, 1918        American North Russia Expeditionary Force (ANREF) is formed.

Aug 25, 1918        Depart for England

Sept 5, 1918         Arrive Archangel, Russia

Nov 11, 1918        Armistice Signed

April 1-5, 1919     Final Battle 

June 2, 1919        Head for home with stops in Brest, France and New Jersey or New York

July 3, 1919        Arrive in Detroit

Much has been written about the 339th Regiments time fighting the Bolsheviks. Family history researchers of this regiment will find wonderful primary sources available in Michigan. Books, scrapbooks, diaries, manuscripts, digital images, maps, publications, and more may be found.

Michigan Polar Bear Expedition Resources

A few Michigan resources to look for Polar Bear information can be found at:

1. Bentley Historical Library, 1150 Beal Avenue, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109 A search using the words Polar Bears returned 177 results. Since the Bentley Library is a historical library none of the returns were about the animal polar bear.

a.     A Few of the Collections at the Bentley

                           i.     Polar Bear Association PhotographCollection: photographs commemorating the Memorial Service at the Polar Bear Memorial, White Chapel Park Cemetery, Troy, Michigan

                          ii.     Polar Bear Project Collection,1918-2019: Documents and correspondence, military discharge papers, and newspaper clippings. Most of the correspondence is between the library and family members who felt their soldier was left out of the collection.

                         iii.     Polar Bear Expedition Web Archives: Over 60 individual collections of Primary source material. These archives are available online.

                        iv.     Polar Bear Roster: a roster of the soldiers attached to the Polar Bear Expedition.

                        vi.    Polar Bear Digital Collections: over 2000 digital items.

2. Sandusky District Library, 55 Sanilac Road, Sandusky, Michigan 48471. This small-town library in the thumb of Michigan has excellent genealogy related sources and they are online for you to explore. The search results doesn't allow me to save the url. To find the two collections below. Go to the library main web page, click on Genealogy, using the left sidebar go to Documents and scroll down for the Schroeder Scrapbook. For the Erickson memorabilia do the same, but click on Pictures on the left side bar.

a.     Collections at the library:

                        i.     Polar Bear Regiment, William Schroeder, WWI Scrapbook: a 51-page scrapbook filled with digital images including soldier photographs and letters written by William.

                       ii.     Polar Bear Regiment, 339th Infantry, WWI: Mauritz E. Erickson’s memorabilia including discharge papers, reunion program, journal cover, and pictures. The pictures show the conditions which the Polar Bears were living in at the time.

3. Detroit’s Own Polar Bear Memorial Association is “dedicated to the memory of the 339th Infantry Regiment, the 1st Battalion of the 310th Engineers, the 337th Ambulance Company, and the 337 Field Hospital of the U.S. Army’s 85th Division.” (From the “Introduction - "Detroit's Own" Polar Bear Memorial Association - Grobbel”) This website is the work of Mike Grobbel, and it is one of the best websites for Polar Bear research that I have seen.

a.     Website Highlights:

                    i.     Ceremonies and events of the association

                   ii.     HonorRoll: lists the casualties and cause of death of the soldiers

                  iii.     Military Decorations

                  iv.     Engagements: a list of battles fought qirh mpa

                  v.     Polar Bear Stories: soldier stories told by the soldier themself or a family member, many include photographs.

                 vi.    Articleand Reference Information: filled with links to information about the Polar Bear Expedition

               vii.    PhotoAlbum: 241 photographs from the collection of Casimer “Cash” Nowak, Co. B. 310th Engineers. Courtesy of his son, Roy Nowak.

             viii.    More links: many, many links to explore

               ix.    Books: books relevant to the Polar Bear Expedition.

4. Michigan Heroes Museum, 1250 Weiss Street, Frankenmuth, Michigan 48734. This museum displays Michigan soldiers. Some Polar Bear Exhibition artifacts can be found here.

Fold 3 ($): Fold 3 has records of the Polar Bears. Search by soldier's name, battle name, place, etc. Michigan residents can get online access to Fold 3 with a Library of Michigan card

AAncestry.com: U.S., Army Transport Service Arriving and Departing Passenger Lists, 1910-1939.

Books about the Polar Bear Expedition

There are many books available to learn more about the Polar Bear Expedition and I urge you to go to the Detroit's own Polar Bear Memorial Association website

One book that is fully downloadable and available free from Guttenberg.org is The History of the American Expedition Fighting theBolsheviki, Campaigning in North Russia, 1918-1919.

Polar Bear Memorial

Photo Courtesy of Bolandera, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

White Chapel Cemetery in Troy, Michigan is the site of the Polar Bear Memorial. It is the resting place of 56 soldiers who were brought home from Russia by a group of Polar Bear members. It was created in 1930. 

I have highlighted just a few of the hundreds of resources available for those researching their Polar Bear Expedition ancestors. You will notice a definite Michigan slant because most of the soldiers were from Michigan. Do you have a Polar Bear ancestor? Check out the above resources to find him. Feel free to leave your ancestors information in the comments.