“Water is the driving force of all nature.”–Leonardo da Vinci
Mike’s family members are thoroughly Michigander. Apparently there is a musical artist by that name. Not talking about him. With a few rare exceptions of family who moved out-of-state in the 1940s or later, the family has lived along the east “coast” of Michigan since the mid to late 1800s. My late mother-in-law was fond of bragging that Michigan would never run out of water, since it bordered four of the five Great Lakes!
None of Mike’s family was involved in the substantial water commerce taking place in Michigan. I’m not aware of any boat captains or merchant marine sailors. Nevertheless, it seems his family was repeatedly drawn to water, as evidenced by the few photos we have. Today’s blog has vignettes spotlighting some of the people, stories, and photos.
In Winter, I already wrote about Patrick Nolan’s (Mike’s maternal great-grandfather) drowning in the Black River, which flows through Port Huron. Water certainly impacted his life. Death. You know what I mean.
Not too far away, on the other side of the family, John Joseph Carmody spent time as the manager of the Lighthouse Park Tourist Camp, near the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse. He was the manager from at least 1928 (when his wife died), retiring in 1933.
It continued to be a tourist camp until at least 1949, and sported a beach, still popular today. The beach is the likely location of the photos of Mike’s parents, below, taken when they were dating. Even though both lived in Detroit, they regularly headed north to Port Huron. Both had family connections there, and it was an opportunity to get out of the city. Often they “double dated” with Pat’s sister, Sue, and Sue’s boyfriend (later, husband) Gene.
Earlier generations found themselves recreating near the water, too. The photos below all came from an album belonging to Mike’s grandmother, Elizabeth Nolan Kukler. We never saw it until after his mom’s death, and her mother had died 13 years earlier. The album was falling apart. It was too fragile to invert and scan, and I didn’t know (or think) to record how the photos were placed on the pages. My bad. I did have enough sense to write on the backs of photos whatever had been written below them on the pages, but many had nothing to identify them. While I was grateful for the names, dates and places would have really come in handy!
The photos below identified the people, but I didn’t know where it was. Initially I thought it might be Boblo—an amusement park I had heard of, on another island farther down the Detroit River. Mike said it didn’t look like that, and suggested Belle Isle, which I’d forgotten about. Searching online, I found postcards consistent with what I saw in these photos, including the bridge in the background of the first photo.
Frank C. Kukler was born and grew up in Detroit. A true city boy. He met his wife-to-be, Elizabeth Nolan, when she had moved from Port Huron for better job opportunities. Between 1907 and 1919, she worked as a telephone operator or in one or more private homes as a governess or domestic. Who was Tressa? My best guess is she was Theresa Krattenthaler, a 24-year old nursemaid in the Lawrence M. Goodman household upstairs at 67 Euclid Avenue West² in 1920. In the 1915 Detroit City Directory, however, I found both Theresa and Elizabeth, working as “domestics” at the same location in Grosse Point Park³—right across from Belle Isle. It’s not too surprising Tressa stored a canoe, and spent free time at Belle Isle!
Another popular water hole for Mike’s family was Houghton Lake, smack dab in the middle of the “mitten,” about 2/3 of the way up. Mike’s Uncle Gene (Sue’s main squeeze, remember?) inherited his parents’ summer cottage on the lake. I don’t know exactly how much time they spent up there, but Uncle Gene had a pontoon boat (much tamer than the speed boats he used to race as a young man!) on the lake, so I presume they made good use of it. Even Elizabeth (his mother-in-law) went out for a spin on the lake in 1984, when she was 93!
When Mike’s family decided to hold a reunion, we commandeered most (if not all) of the rooms of a nearby strip motel, not far from Gene & Sue’s cottage. There were two buildings of motel rooms running perpendicular between the road and the lake, with a beach, grassy area, and dock between them. It was the perfect place for Elizabeth’s kids (below), grandkids, and great-grandkids to hang out together for a week.
We swam, played in the sand, got boat rides, played putt-putt nearby. Everyone enjoyed the week enough, that we repeated it in 1993. Unfortunately, coordinating the schedules of 20+ families is complicated, so it’s been limited to those two times. Better two than none . . .
Water has been called the universal solvent. It breaks apart more things than anything else.
²1920 U.S. census, population schedule, Michigan, Wayne, Detroit, Ward 2, e.d. 85; Page 2A; dwelling number 19; family number 23; line 12; Lawrence M. GOODMAN household; accessed 5 April 2020. Theresa KRATTENTHALAR, age 24; NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 802; digital image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com).
³”U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995″, database, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com), citing R. L. Polk’s Detroit City Directory, 1915. Entry for Elilzabeth NOLAN, p. 1814, and Theresa KRATLENTHER [misspelled], p. 1450, accessed 5 April 2020.
I don’t have to look very far in my tree to find people with the same name. Undoubtedly there’s at least one instance—frequently more—on each major family line. Depending on the situation, they may cause more or fewer difficulties for me.
I quickly zeroed in on the same name I wanted to write about this week, but this blog has proven more difficult than anticipated. I’ve restarted it at least twice. Then yesterday I discovered a mistake requiring me to publish a correction blog . It’s been quite a week!
So if you read yesterday’s blog, you’ve been reminded about the Andrew Carmodys in Mike’s tree. When I started putting that tree together almost 40 years ago, we knew very little. Mike had some papers his father (Jerry) had left, leaving us a few Carmody breadcrumbs, locating them in Port Huron, Michigan. Other than that, we knew nothing. Mike’s mom had never met any of Jerry’s family, and we had no contact with anyone living.
One item we had was a note Anna Carmody Bauman (Jerry’s adoptive mom, and cousin) had received from Ennis, Ireland, with the obituary for her father, Michael, inside. The note read:
My Dear Nano,
Just a line to let you know I got your letter alright & I am sorry for not writing sooner but I was waiting to get the certificate for you. well Nano it was terrible about your poor Father we got a great shock when he died so quickly we haven’t got over it yet. well Nano your Father left (600) pounds but it is all in the Bank of Ireland & cannot be touched untill all of you come to some arrangements & you will have to write to Mr. Cullinan 6 Bindon Street for any information you want. Andy Carmody (Paddy’s son) wrote to Jack Carmody explaining every thing & telling him what to do & Nano he never heard from him since & he never wrote to us so we can’t do nothing more about it.
letter from “your old Joe” (no last name) at the Ennis Club, Ennis, County Clare, Ireland; dated 5 May 1925. Typed as written. On the note, his periods look like commas, and he doesn’t capitalize the next word—though he does capitalize “Father” each time! So we have an Andrew still in Ireland in 1925, the son of a Patrick!
It wasn’t much to start with. In 1980, the most recent census records available were from 1900, so we spent a Saturday at the Indiana State Library, cranking through microfilm reels, looking for John Joseph Carmody, the name we had for Mike’s grandfather. We found him, his wife, Elizabeth, and their 7 children—including an Andrew, born September 1887!
A subsequent road trip to Port Huron with Mike’s mom found us in the Mount Hope Cemetery, where John Joseph was buried. Nearby were the headstones of Andrew J. Carmody, b. 1887, and another Andrew J., born 1918, presumably his son. Alas, genealogy is seldom as simple as it seems!
As more records became available (specifically, census records) I could fill in branches more completely. The other Andrew popped up, muddying the Port Huron waters. Sorting the two out correctly wasn’t always easy (as is already evident!). A simplified tree below may help:
Sorting these boys out will be easier if done one-by-one, rather than trying to go year-by-year. We’ll start with John Joseph’s Andrew. Originally, I thought the Andrew at Mount Hope was John J.’s son. That is, until I found the family on the 1910 census, where he was listed as Andrew M. He used the middle initial M. inconstently through his life. It was there for the WW I and WW II draft registrations, the 1930 census, and his father’s death certificate. It was missing from 1920 and 1940 census records, as well as Find-A-Grave. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize he was in Lakeside cemetery, so don’t have that headstone photo.
One issue with him was his birthplace. Early census records said he was born in Ontario, Canada, but later ones said it was Michigan. Which was it? This weekend I found his Canadian birth record at FamilySearch. The date was 2 days off from his other records, but his father didn’t register it until 3 or 4 weeks afterwards, so he may have mis-remembered. The parents’ names were correct, but what was most interesting was his name was given only as “Michael.” Apparently “Andrew” was added on, later.
When I re-examined the records I’d found for him, I realized that Canada was given as his birthplace when he was younger—when his parents would have provided the information. His draft registrations and later census records (when he would have provided it) all said Michigan. I also noticed in the 1900 & 1910 censuses, he, his parents, and two older siblings all emigrated in 1887. Andrew M. was born in September, 1887, so it seems they moved to Michigan in the 3½ months after he was born! By 1910, his father was naturalized, probably naturalizing his wife and children at the same time. Maybe Andrew didn’t really know he’d been born in Canada? His only memories growing up would have been of Michigan. Or maybe it was simpler to say he was natural born, rather than naturalized. I don’t know.
So the Andrew J. buried near John Joseeph wasn’t his son. Who was he? Andrew J. didn’t appear in Port Huron until the 1930 census. He was married with 3 children . . . who were all born in Massachusetts? That seemed a little odd. But he was buried close to the other Carmodys at Mount Hope, so that suggested a relationship.
When I found Michael’s family (John Joseph’s brother) in the 1901 Ireland census, there was an Andrew who was only 10 years old—a little younger than expected. But Andrew J.’s death certificate at Michiganology.org clearly identifies him as one of Michael’s children—brother to Anna Carmody Bauman, Patrick, and Lena, and older sister Margaret Carmody Alloway, all of them emigrating to Michigan. So what was up with Massachusetts? I decided I need to to track that down.
Andrew’s oldest child should have been alive before the 1920 census, so I searched FamilySearch for the family. I found a likely match in the Boston area. The record indicated he’d emigrated in 1908, so I looked for him in 1910. His wife, Mary, emigrated in 1910, so they did not arrive together, and it’s unlikely they got married before enumeration day. Again, I found a likely Andrew living with a brother, John F. Carmody, and his wife, Catherine F.
But was this my Andrew? Boston had a lot of Irish, and Carmody isn’t that unusual a name. While the 1901 Ireland census had listed an older brother, John, that’s not an unusual name, either! I was able to find a 26 January 1910 marriage record for John Francis Carmody and Katherine Frances Gallagher. Fortunately, parents’ names were listed, and the groom’s parents were Michael Carmody and Mary Whelan. BINGO!
I would feel a little better if I found Andrew’s marriage certificate, but the databases at FamilySearch don’t quite go far enough. My Ancestry subscription has expired, but Ancestry is giving me a teaser that Andrew and Mary got married in 1916. I will have to follow up with that at the library. It seems that Michael’s son John, moved to Boston and settled there. John’s brother Andrew J., followed him there, but eventually moved to Michigan, where he was closer to his other siblings.
What about “Paddy’s son,” back in Ireland? I know the least about him. The 1901 Irish census listed a Patrick Carmody, age 38, living in house 7 in the Borheen, with his wife, Anne. Ten children are listed, including an Andrew, age 5. The only other Andrew Carmody listed in Ennis for that census was Andrew J., Michael’s son. This 2nd Andrew was still alive for the 1911 census. Were these the right Patrick and Andrew? A March 1859 birth record exists for a Patrick, son of Andrew and Mary Culliney. That fits with this Andrew’s father’s age in 1901. He is the only adult Patrick in The Borheen. There were, however, other Patrick Carmodys in Ennis—aged 44, 58, 19, 30, 47—though none of them had an Andrew.
Unfortunately, I haven’t found a marriage record around 1884 for Patrick and Annie, nor do I have a death record that might confirm this Patrick had the right parents. 1881 and 1891 census records (which might place his parents with him) were pulped during WW I. The information I have is circumstantial at best. If I could connect with descendants of Patrick’s children, I might get the verification I need. For now, though, it’s a big question mark.
Of course, all this started with Mike’s great grandfather, Andrew Carmody. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of information on him. He lived in/near Ennis, County Clare, Ireland, and married Mary Culleeny. Other than his appearance in his children’s birth registers, I haven’t found more about him. I’ve not located a death certificate. No marriage certificate. No birth certificate of his own, or anything to tell me who his parents were. He has left me with more questions than answers.
Nevertheless, I’m grateful he was an Andrew, and not a John or Patrick. I would be having a much harder time of it!
Rule 51, Gibbs’ rules–NCIS, “Rule Fifty-One” (Episode 24, Season 7)
As I was working on this week’s 52 Ancestors prompt, the research I found or reviewed made me realize I had made a mistake in a prior post. That wasn’t exactly the discovery I wanted to make!
The irony of it all is that the post in question, Close Up, talked about a mistake in my tree. I made the correction to my tree as soon as I discovered it. The blog post discussed how/why the mistake was made in the first place. That’s all well and good, except I now realize the explanation was wrong.
Rather than try to incorporate the additional correction into this week’s regular blog, I decided it should be dealt with on its own, beforehand. Otherwise I think it might have become lost in this week’s post, and would also make it more confusing.
I won’t rehash Close Up in depth—you have the link to go back and re-read it, if you like. The original problem stemmed from John Joseph Carmody’s death certificate having the wrong names for his parents. I discovered that fact later on, from his newspaper obituary. Make no mistake—his death certificate is still wrong! But it’s not wrong for the reasons I listed in the previous blog. I had said Andrew J. Carmody (John Joseph’s nephew) had been the informant and gave incorrect information. Nope.
The current mistake happened because I relied on 10+ year old memory, instead of re-examining the document when I wrote the post. So, how did I figure it out, today? I looked at my photo of the headstone for Andrew J., the nephew. His death year of 1939 was carved in it. John Joseph died in 1940. It’s really hard to be an informant if you are already dead. I clearly had a new problem.
After checking Andrew J.’s death certificate to confirm the headstone was correct (hey, mistakes happen, and might not get corrected!), I looked at John Joseph’s death certificate. It clearly said the informant was Andrew M.—John’s son, not his deceased nephew. The decedant’s father was “John J. Carmody” and the mother was “Mary Whelan.”
Originally, I was operating under the assumption that John Joseph’s parents were Mary Whelan and Michael Carmody. So I had assumed Andrew M. got the mother’s name correct, but had been distracted or grieving when stating the father’s name and gave his own father‘s name (John Joseph) instead of John Joseph’s father’s name. When I found the obituary, I discovered my faulty reasoning.
Unfortunately, once I corrected my file based on the new information from the obituary, I didn’t really think about it further. When I decided to write about that incident for a blog post, I should have pulled up the death certificate to double-check facts. I didn’t, so I misremembered some of the details. About the only defense I can make is that we were traveling in France at the time, and my time and internet access were somewhat limited. It’s a poor excuse, but the best I can muster!
Hopefully, I don’t have to correct that blog ever again! Of course, it still doesn’t explain why Andrew M. got those two pieces of information so abysmally wrong in the first place. I guess none of us is perfect . . .
Verb: care for and encourage the growth or development of.
help or encourage the development of.
cherish (a hope, belief, or ambition).
Noun: the process of caring for and encouraging the growth or development of someone or something.
upbringing, education, and environment, contrasted with inborn characteristics as an influence on or determinant of personality.
The definition describes only a fraction of what’s involved in nurturing. Are there people who have no one to nurture them? Sadly, yes. Are there others not being nurtured by those who should be nurturing them, but have others come into their life and provide what’s necessary? Fortunately, yes!
I think there’s another group, though, who are nurtured, but due to some unfortunate circumstances, find themselves feeling unnurtured. It can have a lifelong effect. I think my father-in-law may fit in that category.
Now, I’ll admit I’m skating on really thin ice, here! I never met the man— he died 3 years and a day before I married his son. Mike and I knew each other when his father died, but we weren’t dating, yet. Other than a few photos and documents, most of what I know about him is second hand.
You already met Gerald Bauman in Where There’s a Will. His mother, Mildred Fitzgerald Carmody, died a month after his birthday, and Jerry (yes, it’s “G” for his full name, “J” for the nickname!) was adopted by his first cousin, Anna Carmody, and her husband, Frank Bauman.
Anna and Frank married 13 January 1919, in Toledo, Ohio.² Frank was 9 years older than Anna. She had been married before, to a Julius Klammer and was granted a divorce from him 30 March 1918, on grounds of desertion.³ There’s more to his story, but that’ll be another day.
Julius and Anna married in 1908.4 I found a potential Julius in the WWI draft registration in 1917 who listed a “wife and child.”5 I never knew them to have children, but could this be my Anna? Did they have a child I don’t know about, or did he simply make up a child to appear less draftable? Maybe. There were a lot of unanswered questions, so I went digging.
The 1920 census doesn’t show any child in the household of the recently married Anna and Frank. It seems unlikely to me Julius would desert Anna and take a child with him. Maybe I’m wrong. It’s also possible this is a different Julius Klammer, but the name is distinct enough, I think not. I haven’t noticed others. I had trouble finding Julius and Anna in the 1910 census, but obsessive creative searching located them in Flint (NOT Port Huron or Detroit—more obvious places). 1910 was the second (and last) census where married women were asked how many children they HAD and how many were currently LIVING. Anna had one—and zero.6 Now that I had a new location for them, a search at SeekingMichigan.org found their son, Bernard, who died New Year’s Day, 1910, little more than a month before his first birthday.
So, why does that backstory matter to Jerry? As best I can tell, Anna and Frank had no biological children. The opportunity to adopt Jerry in 1928 was probably a dream come true—an answer to Anna and Frank’s prayers. He is the only child in their household for the 19307 and 19408 censuses.
Nothing I’ve heard from Mike about Anna and Frank suggested that Jerry had any negative feelings for them. Presumably he was properly nurtured by them, and did maintain a relationship for a time with his older brothers, Michael and Joseph, placed with other families after Millie’s death.
Unfortunately, another untimely death complicated things. Frank Bauman died 18 July 1936 of “carcinoma—hepatic” when Jerry was only 8. That left Anna a widow in the middle of the Depression. How she made ends meet, I don’t know, but she and Jerry continued to live in Port Huron, with extended Carmody relations nearby—including Jerry’s birth father.
In 1940, death landed on Jerry’s doorstep, again. This time it was his adoptive mother, Anna. Some time that spring, she was diagnosed with kidney problems. She died 4 November 1940, of chronic nephritis that had been diagnosed 6 months earlier. Being widowed and in ill health, she presumably spent time that spring and summer making arrangements for 12-year-old Jerry’s care, if she were to die.
We don’t know who she approached to take him in. His oldest brother, Michael, was just turning 18, so really wouldn’t have been in a position to be able to take care of Jerry. There were numerous older half siblings (from John Joseph’s first wife) in Port Huron. They might have have been potential guardians for him, but none agreed to serve as such.
They ranged in age from 57 to 42, so some were already empty nesters, the others still dealing with their own teenagers. Either group may not have wanted to add another person to the mix. The Depression was also still going strong, so it’s possible those families really didn’t have the wherewithall to feed and clothe a teenage boy. If they were barely scraping by, another person might have been too much to take on.
Unfortunately, Jerry’s biological father, John Joseph Carmody, had died 4 January that year, of brachio pneumonia, almost age 78. At that age, he certainly wouldn’t have been able (or expected) to take Jerry in, but would he have been able to convince one of his other children to do so? Who knows? Maybe. Maybe not. But he died before Anna knew she was sick, so was of no help.
Bottom line, Anna was unable to find someone to agree to take Jerry in. Her will named Rollin B. Stocker executor and guardian for Jerry. Jerry spent time at the Starr Commonwealth (a children’s home, still in existence) in Albion, Michigan. This, of course uprooted him from his school and friends in Port Huron.
Actually, I never knew the home’s name, and had always thought it was in St. Clair, a town about 12 miles “down river” from Port Huron— not 160 miles away! Jerry graduated from the St. Clair High School, so I assumed it was there, and no one told me differently. Fortunately, we just spent two weeks cruising to and from Hawaii with Mike’s brother and his wife, so we had several conversations where the guys were able to “compare notes” about their memories. Each had heard (or maybe remembered?) different details from their dad. It wasn’t necessarily contradictory information, just different. Mike’s brother mentioned foster homes— something else I had never heard! Presumably the last one was in St. Clair.
Obviously, being orphaned had a huge impact on Jerry. According to Mike, his dad felt anger and resentment that none of the Carmodys took him in after Anna died. We don’t know how much Jerry did or didn’t know about Anna’s search for a replacement family for him. Maybe he heard all the details, or maybe she gave him only the Cliff Notes version.
Realistically, if you’re a 12-year-old kid about to be orphaned, it doesn’t really matter how good the reasons might be—or not be—for the adults around you not to take you in. All that matters is that you are losing your last parent, and no one wants you. You are feeling unwanted, unloved, and definitely not feeling nurtured! It’s a hard enough age under the best of circumstances—and his certainly weren’t the best!
I don’t know that Jerry had any animosity towards Stocker; he was just a man doing his job. He looked out for Jerry and his interests (assets held until adulthood). He wasn’t family, though, and didn’t make up for them.
Jerry left high school early to join the Army, 5 November 1945 (age 17), and was honorably discharged 12 May 1947. He was awarded his high school diploma 11 June 1947, though he has the programs for all the Commencement activities (19 May-7 June, 1946) and the Honors Convocation held 28 May. He was already in the Army, so couldn’t have attended any of them. Someone must have saved those for him.
He and moved to Detroit shortly after his 1947 graduation. He didn’t keep in touch with the Port Huron Carmodys. Both full brothers had also moved away: Michael to Seattle, and Joseph to Pennsylvania, so he didn’t have a particular reason to stay in Port Huron. Since the three brothers hadn’t been raised together, I don’t know how much they kept in contact with each other as adults. Nor did Jerry reestablish contact with his Carmody half siblings, as an adult. That wound from his youth never fully healed, and was clearly expressed to Mike, as an older teen. His feelings mirror his father’s, in not wanting to connect with the descendants of these families. I’m not sure if that will extend to the Carmody descendants still in Ireland, but I’ll cross that bridge when I actually locate some!
This whole story makes me sad, though. Everyone has lost out, due to this rift. I’m not about to lay blame on anyone—not Anna, not the Carmody relatives, and certainly not Jerry—aged 12 or 40-something. People made the decisions they felt they had to, and were entitled to the feelings they had.
Perhaps as time passes, the emotions will mellow and dissipate. In the meantime, I need to look into getting whatever records might be available from both Starr Commonwealth and the high school. Hopefully, information from one or both institutions will answer lingering questions Mike and his brother may have regarding their dad’s life.
²Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013, index and images, accessed 8 March 2019, citing Lucas County, Franklin County Genealogical & Historical Society, Columbus, Ohio, FHL microfilm 004260731, image # 00171, reference ID it 1 p 273 No. 32685, image # 00165 of 333. Frank M. BAUMAN (39) and Anna B. KLAMMER (30); FamilySearch.
³Wayne County, Michigan, Circuit Court, In Chancery, divorce file No. 60,848 (30 March 1918) Anna KLAMMER v. Julius KLAMMER, decree of divorce; Coleman A. Young Municipal Center, Detroit. Copy obtained from estate files of Gerald Bauman.
4“Michigan Marriages, 1868-1925”, database, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, FamilySearch Record Search (https://familysearch.org), accessed 8 May 2019, citing Port Huron, Saint Clair, Michigan, reference n.g., citing FHL microfilm 2342682, image# 534, citing Secretary of State, Department of Vital Records, Lansing. Julius KLAMMER (21) and Anna CARMODY (20).
5“United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918”, digital image, The National Archives (https://www.familysearch.org), Julius KLAMMER, serial no. 1527, order no. 381, Draft Board Ward 4 Precinct 3, Wayne County, Michigan; citing World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Washington, D.C.: NARA microfilm publication M1509, 4,582 rolls. Imaged from Family History Library Roll No. 1,613,195; accessed 8 May 2019. Registered 5 June 1917.
61910 U.S. census, population schedule, Michigan, Genesee, Flint, e.d. 17; Page 6B; dwelling number 110; family number 121; line 79; Charles A. NORGET household; accessed 12 May 2019. Julius KLAWMER [KLAMMER], age 23, boarder; NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 642; digital image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com).
71930 U.S. census, population schedule, Michigan, St. Clair, Port Huron, 10 precinct, e.d. 74-41; Page 1B; dwelling number 25; family number 25; line 73; Frank M. BOWMAN [BAUMAN] household; accessed 12 May 2019; NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 1025; digital image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com).
81940 U.S. census, population schedule, Michigan, St. Clair, Port Huron, ward 10, e.d. 74-29; Page 1B; household number 12; line 42; Anna BAUMAN household; accessed 12 May 2019. Anna BAUMAN, age 52, widowed; NARA microfilm publication T627, roll 1815; digital image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com).
Last week you heard about Patrick Nolan’s (Mike’s great grandfather) death from falling into the Black River in Port Huron, Michigan. The initial article¹ had many other details, not necessarily connected to his death. Let’s back up a bit, first.
Patrick married Alice Needham 4 November 1879, in Kenockee, St. Clair, Michigan. When we saw his 1880 Agricultural Schedule (On the Farm), they were newlyweds. Twenty five years later, they are the parents of ten children (“ages 10 to 25” according to the article—though the youngest was actually only 4, and the oldest born 18 October 1880, so only 24), one already having died (William, age 2). Some time in the 1990s, while interviewing my mother-in-law and her sisters, they mentioned their mother (Elizabeth) said her mother (Alice) “was a saint” as far as what she put up with from her husband. They didn’t elaborate, and I don’t know if it was a case of them not knowing details, or being reluctant to share them with me.
In Where There’s a Will I briefly mentioned looking at Patrick’s probate record. Among the bills submitted to settle up the estate was one from a lawyer, for the paperwork for a divorce filing. Oops. There was trouble in paradise. Or at least Smiths Creek. Ancestry has a “Michigan, Divorce Records, 1897-1952” database, which has images from the county registers. I found an entry dated 17 August 1904 for the two of them, but lined out. Alice had filed, charging cruelty, but apparently changed her mind.
So, back to the article¹ about Patrick’s unfortunate untimely death. We discover that my in-laws probably weren’t exaggerating about him. The subtitle of the article was “Made Round of Saloons Sunday Night and Fell Into Black River While Drunk.” Oh, my! We are also told he’d been in the city for 2 or 3 days, and had been busy on Sunday:
he’d been at Dan Conway’s Atlantic house at Quay and Michigan for most of the day, leaving there Sunday night
he’s somewhere after that, finally ending up at Pat Cahill’s saloon at 405 Quay Street around 11 pm.
he leaves Cahill’s alone (time unspecified), intoxicated, looking for a man named Woods
the presumption is he “became muddled and walked off the dock.”¹
I love how the saloons get free advertising, with the address and all! The next paragraph adds other juicy details:
There had been trouble for some time between Nolan and his wife, and not long ago it culminated in their separation. Mrs. Nolan went to live with her mother and it was at that time she would ask the courts for a divorce. About a week ago their differences were patched up and the two started living together again. It is thought that this attempt at reconciliation was not successful, however, as Nolan has been spending most of his time in Port Huron.
That corroborates the probate packet and the register. We get a general description of him that becomes not very flattering:
The place [his farm] was run down, however, as Nolan, in his love for drink, neglected everything.
This whole thing is going from bad to worse! The former justice of the peace (Mr. Frink) was apparently interviewed and painted the following picture:
Nolan’s love for drink, which was his worst fault, and which caused his death, often resulted in his being brought before Mr. Frink. After every drunk Nolan would take a solemn oath not to touch a drop of liquor for six months. At the expiration of that time Nolan would become intoxicated again and then go through the same pledge procedure. Mr. Frink says that Nolan kept this up for several years, always steadfast in his oath, but unable, nevertheless, to break himself altogether of the habit.
I then found a newspaper article (“The Mean Man”²) printed when Alice filed for divorce, containing even more details:
Whenever she left home to purchase supplies, Mrs. Nolan alleges, she would be accused by her husband of having left for the purpose of meeting other men. His insane and jealous disposition, she avers, has deprived her of society and has required her to confine her visits to her mother and brother. Unable to put up with this alleged domestic torture Mrs. Nolan left home on August 7 last. She charges her husband with
having lighted a fire in the kitchen stove and removing the lids, causing the smoke therefrom to be carried to the room occupied by herself and children.
It is also claimed that he removed articles from the various room in the house and piled them in a heap on the floor.
He also removed eatables from the house,
dismantled the stove so it could not be used to procure meals,
and to cap the climax he overturned a churn she was working at, allowing its contents to spill all over the floor.
I don’t know about you, but I think I’d put attempted asphyxiation above the spilled churn! Hopefully the children went with her when she left—neither article mentions anything about that. While the 3 oldest were out of the house by the 1900 census, 6 were still home in 1904.
Nor do I know if the details above list all of her charges against him. But with the divorce suit withdrawn, would the original paperwork have been destroyed? Maybe I need to check on that. I’m also struggling to figure out why Alice decided to move back home.
Obviously I don’t know exactly what was going on with him or between him and Alice—or how long it had been a problem. Presumably they had good years together, too. It’s all rather sad, though.
Lest you think Patrick and Alice were particularly unusual, not so. I noticed other couples with similar laundry being aired in public. With no TV or social media, the newspaper was the best source of local gossip.
But yeah, based on the descriptions found in the newspaper, it seems Patrick qualifies as naughty.
¹”Paddy Nolan was Drowned,” 14 November 1904, Last Edition, Newspapers.com: accessed 24 August 2018, record number: not given; citing original p. 1, col. 4-5, The Port Huron Times Herald, Port Huron, Michigan, online archive (http://www.newspapers.com).
²”The Mean Man,” 24 August 1904, Last Edition, Newspapers.com: accessed 24 August 2018, record number: not given; citing original p. 1, col. 4, The Port Huron Times Herald, Port Huron, Michigan, online archive (http://www.newspapers.com).
“Now is the winter of our discontent.” —William Shakespeare
My husband’s great-grandfather, Patrick Nolan (you met him in On the Farm), died in the winter. Well, not technically winter, but almost. He died 13 November 1904, in Port Huron, St. Clair, Michigan. Born on or before 4 May 1851, he was 53 years old at his death.
Winter doesn’t arrive until 21 December. Even if you go with “meteorological winter,” that doesn’t start until 1 December. However, Port Huron is an hour north of Detroit, so by mid-November, it can start to feel pretty wintry! I’m giving myself little leeway.
Patrick’s death record¹ states his cause of death is “shock by falling in river.” Specifically, it was the Black River, which was listed at the top of the certificate as the place of death. The article in the Port Huron Daily Herald the next day (14 November 1904)² provided more details:
The body . . . was found shortly after seven o’clock this morning floating in Black River in the rear of the Port Huron Light & Power Co’s plant . . . The coroner believes that Nolan’s death by drowning was accidental and the facts of the case all point that way.
The end of the article notes other details from the coroner:
Coroner Falk and Dr. Patrick held a Postmortem over the remains . . . Serious heart trouble was found and Dr. Patrick gave it as his opinion that the man died from the shock of falling into the water as he was dead before the drowning took place. There were no signs whatever of foul play.
The family, however, wasn’t satisfied with that conclusion. In his dealings selling cattle, Patrick frequently carried large amounts of cash with him. His wife, Alice, thought perhaps he’d had cash on him at the time, and had been attacked, robbed, and pushed into the river. According to the 19 November 1904³ paper:
. . . the family has demanded an inquest. This morning Sheriff Davidson, Coroner Falk and Dr. O. H. Patrick went to Smith’s Creek to exhume the body and make an examination.
The results were reported two days later, on 21 November 1904.4 No change to the verdict was made. The three officials mentioned above were
met by Dr. Brock, two sons of the deceased and about 25 friends and neighbors . . . The body was placed on top of the box . . .
Dr. Brock, the local doctor, didn’t want to examine the body, but told them his charges would be $20. The coroner couldn’t authorize an additional expense for the county, so the two sons covered the cost.
Dr. Brock then cut into the scalp and rolled back the flesh, but was unable to find that the bruise on the side of head amounted to anything. He announced himself satisfied without further examination.
WOW! I can’t imagine doing this, in the cemetery, with over two dozen gawkers (not to mention two children of the deceased) watching. The newspaper then gives a detailed description of the entire proceeding! It was a pretty exciting Saturday.
I’m not really sure why the family was so concerned about the cause of death. Was there an insurance policy that would be impacted by those findings? Did they believe law enforcement should investigate and try to recover the cash they felt was stolen? The initial article² reporting his death mentioned he’d been in
. . . Pat Cahill’s saloon at 405 Quay Street. The bartender gave him 30 cents worth of drinks. Nolan had no money but as he was a good customer of the place nothing was said about pay.
When Nolan left Cahill’s he was intoxicated. He went away alone and said that he was looking for a man named Woods.
While he had no money at the bar, if he was transacting business with “Woods,” perhaps money was exchanged then? There are many question that probably will never have satisfactory answers. The person who knew best what happened was the unfortunate victim.
There is more to Patrick’s story, but that will have to wait until next week . . .
¹http://seekingmichigan.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/p129401coll7/id/554434/rec/95; accessed 8 December 2018.
²”Paddy Nolan was Drowned,” 14 November 1904, Last Edition, Newspapers.com: accessed 24 August 2018, record number: not given; citing original p. 1, col. 4-5, The Port Huron Times Herald, Port Huron, Michigan, online archive (http://www.newspapers.com).
³”Exhume Body,” 19 November 1904, Newspapers.com: accessed 24 August 2018, record number: not given; citing original p. 5, The Port Huron Times Herald, Port Huron, Michigan, online archive (http://www.newspapers.com).
4“Only a Farce,” 21 November 1904, Monday Edition, Newspapers.com: accessed 24 August 2018, record number: not given; citing original p. 1, col. 6, The Port Huron Times Herald, Port Huron, Michigan, online archive (http://www.newspapers.com).
John Joseph Carmody is Mike’s paternal grandfather. Due to some odd circumstances (Where There’s a Will), he did not raise Mike’s father. John died in 1940—he’s been gone a long time.
When I started researching Mike’s tree, I had little information, so tackled the records with easiest access—censuses. I located John with these occupations in:
1910—soliciting agency²—what did that mean?
1920—master transportation, Michigan Short Ship Circuit³
Say what? That last string of words meant nothing to me. It could have been Greek. I wrote it down, but had no clue. If you remember in Close Up, I mentioned the fateful trip to Port Huron that blew apart the faulty tree I had constructed for Mike. Knowing John’s death date, I had requested the microfilm of the local paper at the county library, hoping to find his obituary. That was the lovely record4 unraveling the family.
But that wasn’t the only information in the obituary, which was surprisingly lengthy and was located on the front page—also unexpected. I learned he:
had a nickname—”Racetrack Jack”
“was founder of the Michigan Short Ship Trotting circuit
“was one of the outstanding authorities on trotting horses in Michigan”
became “a master of transportation for the racehorse circuit and his ‘Carmody Special’ became known throughout the United States”
I know you’re thinking, “Census records and newspaper articles aren’t unusual sources!” No, they aren’t. You know how every once in a while you get bored and Google your own name (to see how many “yous” are out there), or old boy/girlfriends? Well, genealogists do that with our dead people. Sometimes with our live people, too. New sources show up online, or someone creates a new web site for their genealogy. You never quite know what, if anything, you’ll find.
So on a boring Thursday afternoon, 10 November 2016, I decided to see if there was anything new for John Joseph Carmody—particularly as it related to horse or harness racing. I don’t remember what my search terms were, but I ended up with many results I could clearly see were “not him.” Most of them I didn’t even click into.
Then I saw one for The Horse Review, in Google Books, of all places! Oh, what the heck! I clicked on it and discovered it was an ebook, accessible for free. Naturally, I clicked through again and found myself in the Horse Review 23 April 1901 vol 26 page 421 (yes, you can click on the link and go there yourself). It was a little article in the lower right corner talking about the upcoming racing season in Michigan, mentioning John by name, and talking about his special train.
The Horse Review (I’ve since learned) was a weekly newspaper published from 1885-1932 about the standardbred harness horse. It was the place to go if you were looking for that kind of news. A more recent search also turned up this page: Horse Review 17 June 1902 vol 26 page 648. It had an ad for the upcoming (1902) season at the bottom of the page, again mentioning that John Carmody was in charge of transporting the horses by rail (lower left corner). The idea was to not only entice spectators to the track, but also to encourage potential contestants to sign up their horses and drivers.
Why do I care about this relatively obscure periodical? It’s not telling me anything momentous. I already learned about this activity of John’s from the census records and his obituary. Remember, though, that obituaries are frequently written by (or the information provided by) family members. There’s always the potential for embellishment, or just flat-out mistakes. So while I love the details in the obituary, having an unbiased source to corroborate that information is extremely useful.
Prepping for this blog post, I did further newspaper searching for John. He was all over the Port Huron papers from 1901-1921. Sometimes it was an article about
the upcoming season
which horses were coming in for a set of races
his travels in and out of town, dealing with race business
the horses he’d arranged to come in for the race (now the “soliciting agency” occupation in 1910 makes more sense!)
occasionally it was about a birth, death, or marriage in the family, but those were the minority
It would have been easy to blow off the Horse Review search result when I first saw it, but I’m so glad I took the time to check it out. I love discovering the little everyday bits and pieces that round people out. While they sometimes raise other questions, we get a much clearer picture of the person and his or her life. We—and they—are so much more than just a birth and death date.
¹1900 U.S. census, population schedule, Michigan, St. Clair, Port Huron Ward 7, e.d. 103; Page 16B; dwelling number 371; family number 378; line 99; John CARMODY [PARMODY] household; accessed 21 September 2018. John CARMODY [PARMODY], age 37; NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 742; digital image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com).
²1910 U.S. census, population schedule, Michigan, St. Clair, Port Huron Ward 7, e.d. 115; Page 14B; dwelling number 360; family number 365; line 64; John J. CARMODY household; accessed 21 September 2018. John J. CARMODY, age 47; NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 673; digital image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com).
³1920 U.S. census, population schedule, Michigan, St. Clair, Port Huron Ward 7, e.d. 123; page 5A; dwelling number 95; family number 98; line 15; John J. CARMODY household; accessed 21 Septermber 2018. John J. CARMODY, age 56; NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 795; digital image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com).
4“John Carmody Dies Thursday,” 5 January 1940, Newspapers.com: accessed 22 September 2018, record number: n.g.; citing original p. 1 col. 5 below photo, entry for John CARMODY, The Port Huron Times Herald, Port Huron, Michigan, online archive (http://www.newspapers.com).