Monday, November 30, 2009

Seeking Michigan Archives

There is an on-line site that has Michigan documents that may be of interest to the genealogicl minded. One of the collections is Michigan death records from 1897 to 1920. I've been able to mine a few docuemnts related to my Bavin, Gray, Sloan, and Beal connections.

Seeking Michigan

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Virginia McCully Ortiz Huff : 1946 - 2005

"Huff, Virginia McCully Ortiz, Saginaw, Michigan. Passed away Friday, April 22, 2005 at home. Age 59 years. The daughter of the late Nathan and Gladys McCully, Virginia was born February 19, 1946 in Saginaw. She was married to Pablo Ortiz in April of 1966 and he preceded her in death in 2003. Virginia had been employed by West Side Decorating of Saginaw as a Professional Design Consultant, and had also been employed by Camille's Costume Shop in Bay City. She was an active member of Saginaw Valley Community Church where she also served as an usher. Surviving are a daughter, Cynthia Ortiz of Saginaw; a son, Richard Ortiz and his wife, Maria, of Tucson, Arizona; a very special granddaughter, Ciara Reed Ortiz; and three sisters, Kathleen Mertz and her husband, Lauren of Saginaw; Doris Hicks and her husband, Fenimore of Roscoe, Ill.; and Norma Kracko of Clio; and several nieces and nephews also survive. Funeral service will take place 11:30 a.m. Monday at Saginaw Valley Community Church, 3660 Hermansau Drive. Pastor Richard Sayad will officiate. Friends may call at the Cederberg & Brietzke Funeral Home, 403 N. Michigan Ave. on Saturday from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. and on Sunday from 3:00 to 9:00 p.m. Visitation continues at the church on Monday from 10:30 a.m. until time of service. Those planning an expression of sympathy may wish to consider memorials to the Family Discretionary Fund or to Saginaw Valley Community Church Memorial Fund."

(Published in the Saginaw News on from 4/23/2005 - 4/24/2005.)

Ginny was my 1st cousin; her mother, Gladys (Newcomer) McCully, was my dad's sister. The last time I saw Ginny was at her mother's funeral. I remember Ginny as a goofy, fun loving kid. She always had a smile, and was full of ginger. When I was still a lad, it was Ginny that told me about peanut butter. You know.... How do you get peanut butter off the roof of your mouth? You don't remember that one? Boy I do, and it it was Ginny that told me about it. I never forgot, but when I reminded her about it the last time I saw her, she denied all memory.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Guy Vernon Newcomer Remembered

My Grandfather, Guy Vernon Newcomer, died about nine years before I was born. My mother’s father had died from complications while recovering from a farm accident when my mom was only seven years old. Thus it was in God’s providence I never got to know either of my Grandfathers. Back in 1988 I asked my Aunt Florence (Newcomer) Ruffer to write about what she remembered of her father, my Grandfather. The following is what she wrote in December 1988:

Guy Newcomer 1880 - 1940

“No one can tell me much about our father so what I write is my remembrances of Guy Vernon Newcomer.

Our mother was the dominant figure in our home so I remember Dad as a quite, gentle man. He had many friends and was a good neighbor. Dad did not attend church. Would he have if Mother would have gone to the Methodist church? We’ll never know.

I can see Dad, at 6 P.M., sitting beside the Atwatter Kent (radio) listening to Lowell Thomas’ newscast. He never failed to listen to his favorite newsman. I also can picture him with the cigar in his mouth as he drove the horses or car. Also, driving the horses attached to the bobsled as he picked us up from school on snowy days. Often he took all the kids home around the square mile. No, he didn’t smoke the cigar at that time.

He loved his Masonic lodge and was a loyal member of the Waldron lodge. He had a wry sense of humor for instance; mother’s W.C.T.U. (Women’s Christian Temperance Union) was, to him, the “Women’s Continual Talking Union” and lodge members who only came for the “eats” were the “belly members”.

Ruth Merrifield Suffel (his grand-daughter), says he always took them with him to the mill and he always bought them candy. I recall the ice cream cones he always bought us on the Saturday night town trip.

Dad always rested his horses at noon - he also rested on the couch on the back porch. He always fed milk to many barn cats. that feeding always came first.

Dad graduated from the eighth grade and I believe he should have gone to college but destiny said “he a farmer”. He could have been a surveyor or some trade similar.

Dad was a good man, as I recall him. I remember going to the Fulton County fair with him and the many friends he also had in Wauseon.”

[Florence (Newcomer) Ruffer, December 1988]

The school Aunt Florence mentioned was the old White School on Hartley Road just west of Tuttle Road. A house now sits where the school building once was. My grandparents moved to Waldron, Michigan about 1911 from the Wauseon, Ohio area.

My father says that in the late 1920’s Grandpa had to take off-farm work to make ends meet. He got a job in Toledo, Ohio. Toledo is about 50 miles east of Waldron. He would stay in Toledo during the week, then come home for the weekend. At that time one could catch the train in Fayette and ride in to Toledo and back.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Letters from Aunt Gladys (Newcomer) McCully

In February 1995, my Aunt Gladys (Newcomer) McCully sent me a letter with some memories of her father and her early years. This letter of Aunt Gladys’s helped me much better understand some of the things I’d observed about my Grandmother when I was a child. She writes (italics are my own notes):

“........I remember my father as being a quit man - a hard worker - kind. I never saw him abuse his animals. We girls never had to work in the fields or do heavy chores as many farm girls did. As I look back I think we should have. He was interested in knowing what was going on in the world by both the Toledo Blade (Toledo, Ohio newspaper) and radio, that wonderful exotic invention that brought Lowell Thomas and Amos and Andy. I also remember the sleigh rides.

My mother was not a farm girl and I think missed many of the amenities that might have been hers elsewhere. I thought of this when I was volunteering at the Historical Museum (in Saginaw, Michigan). I was working on an exhibit portraying life in the early 20th century. There was a difference between the farm home and the town or city home! I have to describe my mother as being “straight laced” which was not unusual at that time. On the lighter side - she enjoyed music and had some training. Her alto voice was often used in the church choir and as a soloist. She was excellent as a reader of prose - not poetry.

Dad was a Mason and both parents were Eastern Stars. These organizations (and the Gleaners) provided the social life for them. Dad did not go to church, but mother was very active in the aid Society and the Temperance Union.

On Saturday night we went to town in the surrey. I don’t remember fringe on the top! This was quite an occasion - the band played in the village square - later there were free movies (we took our own seats). Of course we had an ice cream cone too. 5 cents each! Dad often bought some peanuts which we sprinkled on our oatmeal Sunday morning.

By the way, my dad enjoyed the threshing time. It was long hard work but the companionship was important.

My parents moved to Michigan a few years later then you said. (I had originally thought it was in 1908.) My birth certificate shows that I was born in Ohio Feb. 26, 1908. I have always understood that they moved to Michigan when I was about 3 years old.

I recall so many things about W.W I. At first I had no idea what a war was. My parents explained it. It was so far away across the ocean but by the time the United States was involved I was old enough to appreciate the bond sales - Red Cross Days - etc., etc. Then dad received a questionnaire from the draft board, but fortunately the Armistice was signed. It was celebrated with great jubilation. Waldron really shook that day!!

It was a big decision when my parents decided to build the new house. First they built the new granary. This would serve as our sleeping quarters. Then the kitchen from the old house was moved next to the granary. It continued as the kitchen. Many meals that summer were served on a table under the two maple trees in the yard. Wonder of wonders - the new house had a furnace to supply central heat AND we had a bathroom with a flush toilet!......................”

In another letter from Aunt Gladys, received in February 1997, she relates some more memories of the Tuttle Road farm near Waldron, Michigan..

“..This farm of 80 acres was bisected by a fairly wide lane which gave my father easy access to any of the fields or the woods., which was at the far end of the lane. Near the woods was a wooden bridge over a ditch which went the width of the farm.

About a third of the way back on the left side of the lane was an area of wetland called a swale. Dad wanted to drain this. This would call for hand labor- no equipment available such as we have today. Sam Flowers and son (or sons) were experts in the tiling business. They lived about a mile North of us. To lay the tile the ditch had to be a precise depth and evenness. I used the term ditch, but really it was a long narrow channel as a trough for the tile. Sam Flowers was the best! Hard work? You bet!

Across the lane and a little further back, the land was a little higher. I remember Dad removing some stumps from this area. In my mind is a remark dad made one time when my older sister Martha and I were helping(?) dad chop down thistles in this area. He said that at one time there had been a log cabin there. Some years latter I asked my sister Florence if she knew anything about it. She said no. I don’t know the early history of the area or the farm, but I believe the story could be true. Michigan was part of the Northwest Territory and was slow to be settled, partly because of swampy land, and was not easily accessible until after the completion of the Erie Canal in 1825. Then settlers began to arrive in Detroit, and fan out into the southern part of what is now Michigan state.

Bernice Chappel has written several excellent novels about this part of our history. In my opinion one of the best was “Reap the Whirlwind”. Other titles were “In the Palm of the Mitten”, “Bittersweet Trail”, and “Blowing in the Wind”. We used to sell them in the Museum Store. [The local history museum in Saginaw, MI.]

All or most of the lumber for the new house came from the woods on the farm. I don’t remember the kinds of trees, but I do remember going nutting with mother. We gathered hickory and butternuts. Closer to the house was a huge black walnut tree. There were some fruit trees near the buildings - apples, sour cherries and plums. One lazy summer day we children were lying on the ground under the trees when my brother, then a small lad, quietly and seriously asked, “Is there an engine that pulls the sun across the sky?”

Our black and white cows were all named (Mary, Daisy) as were the horses (Mutt, Bill, Dan, Jack, etc.). Babe, a grey mare, was the mother of Jack. when Jack was full grown, he was kicked by another horse. Lockjaw resulted. Lacking modern medicine, Dad had to put Jack away. I can still see him leading Jack down the lane.

There were many small animals. Lots of cats. We were always excited when dad came in to announce a new calf, pigs, or kittens. One year I had a pet lamb. I think that was the only year we raised sheep. We had to take the runt pigs into the house to be babied and give them a good start and then out they went.

In Robert Schuler’s biography he tells about being sent out into the pig lot to gather corn cobs, (This was Iowa), to be used for fuel in the house. We never had to do that, but there was a pig lot west of the barn. We always had a swill pail by the back door!

I didn’t intend to write so much - just got carried away! I will celebrate my 89th birthday next week. I have had time this past year to think about what happened years ago. I am thankful for good health, a wonderful family and that we enjoy each other...

[At the end of this letter Aunt Gladys adds this PS.]

During W.W.I my sister Martha and I drove a horse and spring wagon to town to deliver the milk for dad and neighbors, Mr. Bradley and Mr. Moyer. We were paid a small sum for doing this. We used the money to buy war savings stamps. We also drove Bill about the area to sell tickets for the benefit of the Red Cross. I must have been about ten years old. G-

Aunt Gladys grew up and went on to become a teacher. She married Uncle Nathen and they lived in Saginaw, Michigan where they raised a family. Aunt Gladys passed away in 2003.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Gladys N. McCully
February 26, 1908- December 18, 2003

[Copied from the memorial bulletin for the worship service in honor of God and in celebration of the life of Gladys N. McCully, held on Saturday, December 20, AD 2003, at the First Baptist Church in Saginaw, Michigan.]

"Gladys Newcomer McCully was born to the late Guy and Sadie (Gray) Newcomer in Wauseon, Ohio. She married Nathan J. McCully on June 19, 1932 in Waldron, Michigan. He preceded her in death on November 19, 1988.

Gladys was a member of the First Baptist Church of Saginaw, Michigan for over 50 years, a member of the Church Reading Circle, the Ames Retirees and Flint Travel Club, the Historical Society and Museum of Saginaw County, a charter member of Saginaw Bowmen and bowled for many years with the Friday Owls. She received the Life Teacher Certificate from Michigan State Normal College now Eastern Michigan University. She then received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Central Michigan University. She was employed as a teacher with Saginaw High School, retiring in 1973 after 23 years of service.

Gladys spent numerous hours crocheting and knitting for the less fortunate. She enjoyed reading, playing euchre and Tiger Baseball.

Surviving are four daughters: Kay (Larry) Mertz, Saginaw; Doris (Fen) Hicks, Roscoe, 111; Norma Kracko, Clio, Michigan; and Ginny Huff, Saginaw; 12 grandchildren; 26 great grandchildren; one brother, Rex Newcomer and many nieces, nephews and cherished friends. She was preceded in death by three sisters."

The three sisters mentioned above were Martha (Newcomer) Merrifield, Florence (Newcomer) Ruffer, and June Newcomer.

Pvt. George Britton

Pvt. George Britton, son of O. Wilber and Angela (Sloan) Britton was killed in the Argonne Forest in France October 21, 1918, exactly 3 weeks before the armistice...

No sons or daughters to morn their dad,
No grandchildren to remember,
In a foreign land he lays
By his comrades in their graves.

Brothers and sisters shed their tears.
A mother's heart was broken.
Of dreams and hopes for one so dear,
Pain and grief is now spoken.

Will we keep his memory?
He paid the ultimate price.
Let us not forget him,
As we live our lives.

(Copyright © August 2009)

There is a memorial marker for George Britton in the Leonardson Cemetery, Jefferson Twp., Hillsdale Co., Michigan. Mildred (Bavin) Newcomer affirms her Uncle George Britton's buriel was actually in France.

Monday, November 9, 2009

My Newcomer Lines of Ancestory



Guy Vernon NEWCOMER(1879-1940)/Sarah (Sadie) Elizabeth GRAY(1881-1969)

George DeBolt NEWCOMER(1844-1931)/Malinda MIKESELL(1850-1903)

John NEWCOMER(1807-1890)/Naomi DEBOLT(1814-1886)

Jacob (I) NEWCOMER(1765-1820)/Mary (I) NEWCOMER(1776-1842)*1

Ulrich (Neukommet) NEWCOMER(1731-ABT Aug 1787)/Magdalena BAUMGARRTREN(1726-1789)

*1 Mary (I) NEWCOMER

Christian(II) NEWCOMER(????-1786)/(Unknown) FURRY

Christian (I) (Neukommet) NEWCOMER

"Resided in Manor Twp., Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania. Arrived in Philidelphia on the ship "Brotherhood" Nov. 3, 1750. The name "Christian" was used much in the early generations of The Newcomer's, and by different branches of the clan."

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Our Newcomer Roots

The First Arrival

In 1750, a Christian Newcomer came on the ship “Brotherhood” to settle in Lancaster County Pennsylvania. This Christian had two sons, Christian (II), and Peter. His wife’s name is not known. Christian (II ) Newcomer married a Furrey, (first name not known). Their children were Christian III (1773-1814), Mary (1776-1842), John, Barbara, and Elizabeth. Our interest in this family centers on the daughter Mary, but before that discussion we need to look at another immigrant family to Pennsylvania.

(Primary source is: “Early Newcomers of Lancaster County” by Virginia N. Lane, Mennonite Family History, Vol. II, No. 3; July 1983)

To A New World

Sometime in 1754, Ulrich Neukom left the Bern Canton, Switzerland and boarded the ship “Phoenix “ at either Rotterdam or Antwerp in Holland. This ship took Ulrich to Philadelphia in the Pennsylvania colony in the New World. There was another Christian Newcomer also on that ship who may have been related to Ulrich. Of that Christian we hear no more.

The story is that Ulrich’s first wife died on board. Ulrich was a Mennonite, and on board ship was a Mennonite lady who was shipping as an indentured servant, probably to pay her passage. The Mennonites made it a habit to redeem the indentures of their own people. According to the story, Ulrich contributed to the fund to pay off the indenture of Miss Magdalena Baumgentern, and they were latter married.

There is note of one child from Ulrich's first marriage. Ulrich and Magdalena had five children. They settled in an area that at the time was Lancaster County, but is now part of York County, Pennsylvania. One of those five children was a son named Jacob.

Newcomer & Newcomer

As mentioned, one of Ulrich and Magdelena Newcomer’s sons was named Jacob. This Jacob married Mary Newcomer, granddaughter of the 1750 “Brotherhood” Christian Newcomer. Thus the two lines were brought together. There are at least two other points where descendants of this Christian, married descendants of Ulrich, but not in our line from Jacob and Mary.

James K. Newcomer, writing in 1882, thought that this Mary Newcomer was possibly a grand-daughter of Wolfgang Newcomer, and thus niece of Christian Newcomer, the Moravian missionary. Virginia Lane’s research clarifies the connection of Mary to the 1750 “Brotherhood” Christian.

According to the family history complied by Jacob’s grandson, James K. Newcomer, Jacob and his wife Mary moved from York County, and crossed the mountains, settling on a farm near Masontown in Fayette County, Pennsylvania in the year 1808. (Masontown is about 40 miles south and a little east of Pittsburgh.) They would have carried with them a baby of about 1 year of age named John. This is the John Newcomer who married Naomi Debolt, and latter moved to Northwest Ohio, eventually settling on a parcel of land which latter became part of the city of Wauseon, Ohio.

(Source: A Record of One Branch of the Newcomer Family by James K. Newcomer (Great Grand Son of Ulrich Neukommer) Urbana, Ohio, 1882)