I was doing some more newspaper research recently, (have I ever mentioned that I love newspaper research), and I found a couple of interesting ads in the Gillett Times newspaper:
Thursday, February 2, 1933 Want Ads REGISTERED GRADUATE NURSE Eight years experience. Very reasonable rates. Mrs. C. F. John, R.N.
Then another, slightly different, ad a few months later:
Thursday, April 27, 1933 Want Ads Mrs. C. F. John, R.N. For Professional Services,$3. Day or night.
At this time Clarence and Myrtle had no children, (their first wasn’t to be born until 1934), so no doubt Myrtle was bored to death sitting at home with nothing to do, except wait for Clarence to get home from work. Heck, I got bored just writing that sentence!
Of course, I have no idea if she got any work that way. I’m hoping something came up for her sake. But then, by November of that year she was pregnant, and waiting to welcome their first bundle of joy, who was born mid-summer of the next year. Her focus was now raising kids.
She got back into nursing after Clarence died in the 1950s. After all she was alone now and had to support herself. No more ads though.
My spouse and I do not have children. It was a choice that we made when we were first married. And we have been quite content with that choice of thirty plus years ago.
I bring this up because I have noticed that one of the ways that choice we made so long ago has influenced my genealogy research, is that I find I like to focus on those ancestral relatives that also didn’t have children, or never married, or even lost the children they did have, before they could have any family of their own. There is no one around who cares to pass on their life story, and many times that is a great loss.
So here I introduce Calvin John and his wife Agnes McDonnell, of Gillett.
Calvin is the son of Alfred John and his wife Hattie. I wrote a post, not too long ago, about Calvin and his father having some kind of tiff that ended up in court. But I know nothing of his relationship with his father.
Calvin was very, very tall. In any picture you see of him he is towering over every other person in it. Can you guess which one is Calvin, in the picture below, without looking at the caption?
Calvin worked in lumber camps his whole life, running, owning, or laboring at them. But Cal wasn’t all work, he could be found in the local paper often as part of the local baseball team, or other types of play.
Calvin was 23 when he married Agnes McDonnell, a local school teacher (who was two years older than him), in 1904. They have a lovely marriage photo (see top). Agnes was the daughter of Daniel and Mary McDonnell, both of whom were from English Canada. Agnes was born in Wisconsin, and had three brothers and one sister that I know about, although admittedly, I haven’t researched her family at all.
They also had a pretty good sized farm. (You can click on the images to see them better.)
We don’t know if, or how much, Agnes, as an Irish Catholic girl, regretted that they had no children, or Calvin either. They would probably have been great parents.
In March of 1958 a tragic accident put an end to both of their lives. I found the following Milwaukee Journal newspaper article, which gives few details about the event that occurred on the 28th. Not much can be gleaned from this except that they were just another statistic for the state to compile.
But thankfully, it wasn’t long after that a local woman wrote a lovely tribute to the pair for the local Gillett newspaper. ‘This article is found in the Gillett Times, Gillett In Milwaukee, by M. Burse:
And now a small tribute to two near and very dear friends, Mr. and Mrs. Calvin John “Calvin and Ag”, as they were known to the entire community, and far beyond.
The writer has known them as long as she can remember and that’s a long, long time. Their parents and my parents having been pioneers of Oconto County.
No Gillett then, no trains. There was a stage that turned northward at North Branch (the old McDonald Farm). Oconto was the nearest city, to which they thought nothing of making the trip on foot. But they settled there, in small log houses and carved their homes out of the vast wilderness. Grandpa John was a Civil War Veteran, and thus we younger ones grew up together —Agnes and Aunt Mary, one half mile between our homes, and one week’s difference in our ages. We grew up together, went to school together, and began teaching school at the same time. She was a brilliant student, and in fact could do just about everything. She was a wonderful person-and good kind was her equal in everything —ambitious, energetic, honest and true.
They were an ideal couple. Lacking one month, their married life’ counted up to fifty four years. — fifty four very happy years. It was such a beautiful home to go to, they were so kind and good to each other and those around them. The home atmosphere was so happy and peaceful. The both worked hard and always together.
They died as they lived — close together, which, tho sudden, and tragical’ (sp), almost had a beautiful side to it —they went together.
As long as the writer can remember, Calvin owned a good driving horse and buggy. He was a prize winning horseback rider and always on July 4th, when the entire community turned out for the celebration in “Helmke’s Grove” one of the features of entertainment was the horseback riders race, which Calvin always entered, and always won first place. Agnes was an expert rider also, and one year, later on—long after Calvin and Agnes were married, and the celebration, July 4th. was in the Gillett Park — ‘The Harvest Festival’ it was —for some reason Calvin was not riding, so his racer was without a rider, until Agnes stepped forward and took over. She went down that race track like a streak —winning first place, and keeping Calvin’s record still at the top.
When we were still in grade school, and played baseball during recess, and at noon, boys and girls together, Agnes was always the first one chosen. They would always choose sides and place the players before we started. She could hit surer, drive father, and go around that diamond like the wind.
Calvin’s baseball days are well remembered. One year his Gillett team were straight winners throughout the season. Nearing the end of the season, they were challenged for a game with Green Bay, to be played at Green Bay. An excursion train was put on to run from Gillett to Green Bay —and it was filled to capacity. During the game Calvin made a spectacular play, putting out his man—by catching an extra high ball. Comments could be heard from the Green Bay team, about his being too tall. One man said “He could be stuck into the ground up to his knees and he’d still be tall enough to play”. Agnes quickly answered him’ “Yes, put him in up to his armpits and he could still defeat you”. Calvin’s team did win that game too.
Their charity was unlimited. No needy one was ever turned away from their door—if it was work they sought, Calvin would find something for them to do, it” not with his’ crew then something on the farm — and Agnes, with a good meal for anyone who was hungry.
I’m sure our Divine Lord had their record books balanced highly in their favor when they were called Home. They were truly good kind people, with friends everywhere, for —
None knew them but to love them, None named them, but to praise
Gillett will not be the same without them. Their going leaves an awful vacancy, but the Good Lord was ready for them—and took them together. “Tho their sudden deaths were a great shock to their near and dear ones, and their hosts of friends, it was comforting to know they were together, and we feel that Our Good Lord had an extra special place for them, and that He met them with this kindly greeting’ —“Well done, my good and faithful servants, come to your home of eternal bliss, that I have prepared for you.”
Then funeral arrangements were beautiful. Everything being done as near as possible to what “Ag and Calvin’” would want, by their near and dear loved ones. It just seemed nothing was left undone. Calvin’s services were conducted in their home by Rev. Simon, whose words were most comforting with soft music, and beautiful singing by three ladies, Mrs. Stanley Korotev was the only familiar face in the trio. Then the funeral procession wended its way to St. John’s Catholic church, where Rev. Father Bablitch offered up the mass for Agnes, and spoke in kindly glowing terms of them both. One came away from both services with such a good feeling of Godliness and understanding.
My farewell to you both dear Agnes and Calvin…Floral offerings were immense, and spiritual bouquets were piled high.
They were in their late 70s when they died. I am glad that at least they had themselves a goodly amount of years together.
I am afraid that I haven’t really been paying attention to my DNA accounts recently. Too much on the ‘lots of other things I have to do’ genealogy list. But this last weekend, between celebrating my old man’s birthday, reading up on the Whiskey Rebellion, going to Avengers, and catching up on my latest game, I had to answer an email from the wife of a cousin, who was looking for his ancestors. I was very happy to help anyway I could, because in his case it was adoption of his mother that was the brick wall.
In the process of answering the question, I started looking around at all the new matches on a few of these accounts, and saw some surnames that were of much interest to me. But one in particular stood out –Amund and Måkestad. “How intriguing”, says my brain to me, “must click.”
I have always had this tiny nugget of doubt that my research had actually found the right Amund Amundson in Norway, and that sometime in the future his whole line would have to be wiped off the board. But, thanks to this one DNA entry in the FamilyFinder matches, all that doubt, as small as it was, has been put to rest.
The reason the entry seemed so intriging was I could see both ‘Amunds(datter)’ and ‘Måkestad’ , (along with other places of common intestest in Norway), entered in this person’s list of ancestors that they were researching. According to my research Måkestad is where Amund had been born.
Thankfully, they also have added a familytree to their account, so I could better make the connection.
So our common ancestor is this couple — Amund Grepson and Guro Sjursdatter, both born in the late 1700s. We descend from their son Amund, and the other person descends from his brother, Greip.
This is very exciting for me and I am so glad to share this great news. I have also been confirming in my mind other connections because of DNA matches, like: Buchanan, Mobley, Lemasters, Shepard, George, Shaw, Goble, McQueen, etc.. While we have pretty much known that these surnames are ours, the DNA further confirms that the research is right.
Just a line to let you know we are O.K. Elsie and Ralph were in last Monday night to bring us the “Black Diamond Cheese” which she presented to us as a gift “God bless her soul” They brought Charlie and his family along so we could meet them. I’ll bet that guy was a ‘circus’ from some of the things they told us. I would liked to seen him dragging that “pike” out on the shore over on Tunal Lake. They must have had a wonderful time. Elisie said she didn’t even want to come home, and they couldn’t keep from telling us how nice you and Dad were to them.
[page 2] Their pictures turned out very good. If they had been in color they would have mine beat a mile.
The fishing at Lake Erie has not been so good the past couple of Sundays. Those darn perch are getting more stubborn all the time, they wont bit on just any old minnow, it has to be a “shinner” if you please and they are hard to get. Week ago Sunday we had a couple here from Worthington with us and the lake was too rough to go out on so we fished in the harbor and caught a few little perch and blue gill. Last Sunday the lake was OK but the fish wouldn’t bit so what are you agona due
[page 3] Have you had any news from Simon in regards to his taking one of the lots? In case you come home before I get to write again bring all the necessary information and papers with you for me to start the process of getting the one next to you.
Are you folks going to Florida this winter? Lots of people are asking and I’m telling them “yes” We are trying to get Elsie & Ralph to go along and drive with us if we got to make the trip. It wouldnt cost as much as flying although I rather fly its so much fun that way [he wouldn’t say that now!!] and a wonderful time soner. over
[page 4] Well that about winds me up for tonight so will close for now. Love from Ruth & Herman
I’m a little late getting this letter written, but better late than never. Ruth & I enjoyed Simon & Hazel’s visit here, they didn’t have any trouble finding the house or nothin. After we had our supper we all loaded into our wagon and toured the city I took them to some of the old places that Simon was familiar with, he said he would be lost if I turned him loose. We didn’t have much tiime to talk but he did tell us about he and Dad getting lost back in White Fish Bay, Boy when two old snake hunters get lost that is “sumpin,” Simon said they weren’t lost but just couldn’t find their way out (Hardy, har, har) We thought the water system was a pretty good deal too. First thing you know you’ll
[page 2] have inside toilets. I’ll bet it was no small job to get that outfit over from Jack’s Camp and installed but Simon is just the guy who could do it. You must have cracked the whip to get all the things done while they were there. Simon and Hazel surely like it up there as he was telling me about wanting a lot.
How is the road situation progressing? Simon said that Mr. Tapp was going to extend the road farther toward you place right away and that it would possibley come to within a half mile of “Shepards Point. I suppose Unk. Ralph and Elise will have all the dope relayed to us by the time you read this. I hope they had good weather while they were there. The weather has been real nice here only a little on the cool side for
[page 3] this time of year. It’s been too cold for me to go “Water Skiing” since we came back. We have been catching a lot of med size ring perch the last couple of weekends 77 one Sunday and 108 over the Labor Day weekend. Mary Ann and Bill were up with us Labor Day and enjoyed the fishing very much. Neither one of them ever fished any. They really got a “charge” out of catching the perch as they were hitting pretty good. They are getting into their house tomorrow so we’ll be alone after that. We’ve enjoyed having them as Mary Ann is as nice as they come and Bill is a big clown.
Ruth is having her Bridge Clu next Thursday night and is working herself silly trying to get the hoseu in condidtion for the girls inspection. After they leave the place will smell like
[page 4] a pool room (cigaretts) and will look like a hog pen, but a least Ruth will have the satisfaction of knowing it was clean to start with. We heard you had an offer on the house but the people wanted posssession now how did you come out?
I would still like to have the lot next to you but would like to know more about the road situation and if Simon is going to get one before we say a definite “yes” I would like to get it before the price goes any higher so keep us informed of any developemnts along that line. Maybe we could get the paper work started and sort of string it along as long as possible. A kind of delaying action. You know
[page 5] what I mean, in order to get in on the present price etc. We got our pictures back and most of them were good. I got one real good one of Aubrey Falls and the rest were under exposed, why I don’t know.
We are planning on going up to Westerville some evening after Ruths Bridge Club to see Lydia and check on Aunt Dosh. Burch is getting along fine he says it sure is nice to be able to take a good “shit” and enjoy it, and I’ll bet he just aint kidding. Burch told me that Ada, Charlie and Chuck were coming up this week end so Charlie must be feeling better. He says Dosh is also feeling better than for
[page 6] some time. We haven’t seen or heard anything of Bess but I suppose she is on her vacation by now.
I received a letter from “Bill ” the other day in answer to the one I wrote while in Canada, not much news just what they are doing etc. Well looks like I’m about run down so will sign off for now.
Love Ruth & Herm.
P.S. Thanks for sending our junk home and Ruth said to tell you we still have 21 lbs of Canada butter and 1 load of Thessalon bread. We have been kinda saving the butter back. If you have space when (over)
you come home bring us abot a dozen loaves of wheat bread, sliced and wrapped etc. We can put it in the freezer you know.
For years I had been looking for evidence that my great grandparents Fred Hamm and Carrie Amundson had actually married, and my grandmother was in fact not illegitimate, which was thought that that might be why her Hamm grand-parents had raised her.
And then, miraculously, I found their divorce case mentioned in a newspaper, while searching for something else entirely, of course. Yay!! And then, I found their marriage record at the register of deeds office. Yay!! And just this month I found the actual church record for their marriage. Again, a total accident. Yay!
Apparently, some Swedish Lutheran Church records were recently added to the Ancestry.com databases, and while doing Amundson searches in Minnesota, I ran across the church record for Fred and Carrie in this most unlikely record series. I guess that’s why it doesn’t hurt to keep sticking the same names in the search box every few months, because something unexpected can turn up. This find certainly put me in a good mood.
I guess this means that it is official, my grandmother Myrtle was totally legit!
Above is the newspaper notice of the ’25 years married’ celebration of my 3x great grandparents, Oscar Ebenezer Hatch, and Olive B[uelah?] Robinson. With the added wonderful addition of their son’s recent marriage celebration, as Dillon Franklin Hatch and Almyra Brooks were married only two days earlier.
The celebration was on the 21st of February, but not in the papers until about 3 weeks later. It all happened in Grand Isle, Grand Isle County, Vermont.
I hope that the weather is better in Thessalon than at Moses Lake right now. All day it has been drizzling a cold rain. We cant complain too much, as it seldom rains.
I have been busy building a 5 foot high picket fence around our yard to keep Bonnie & the boys in. Hope to have it finished in a few weeks.
Havent been doing much fishing or boating since we came back from vacation. Two weeks of it must have worn me out. We did have a wonderful time though. Lis has written you about it, i’m sure.
[page 2] I wonder what time you are going south this year? Ill try to get a cross- county flight and come down for a week-end when you get settled.
The children are getting ready for school now. K W & Sue to high school. Dave to 2nd grade. Alan will go to Kindergarten. We dont want to push him too much. Tomorrow Lois & I are taking him to a hospital in Tacoma Wash. to have another eye examiniation. We hope that an operation will not be necessary.
I hope you & dad are feeling well Dick. Ill close now & get a letter off to H. O. (Ill shock him too).
Just a line to let you know we are O.K. and getting back into the grind of things. Mary Ann and Bill are with us now and I expect they will be for a couple of weeks yet. We were on a neighborhood picnic to night and got to meet a lot of our neighbors for the first time. Of course I had to tell them all about our wonderful vacation. Ruth said look at the full moon tonite and we wondered if you were looking at it to comming up between the Island and the Cove. It is so cool here we turned the furnace on last night and it is down to 52º again tonight 11PM.
Cliff Burch came back to work yesterday and again today, seems to be doing O.K. says he feels
[page 2] like it was worth all the trouble soon as the soreness is over.
We went up to the cottage last week end and found everything OK except the grass was about to take over, the lake was rough etc. so we just took it easy, cut & trimmed the grass, cleaned the cottage etc. and just visited in general. Too bad about Frank but we were more of less expecting the worst.
Run[?] & Elizabeth were up there so we got all the information. Elizabeth is still pretty much upset. She wants to sell his boat etc. and I expect she will be selling the cottage too.
She gave me his hip boots which I use so much in taking care of the boat etc.
[page 3] We haven’t been out to see Elsie & Ralph yet but expect to get in touch with them soon. I forgot to mention in my other letter but we see each gained 3 lbs. I though it would be at least 10 for me.
The peaches are just coming on the market at the lake and we got 2 peck for eating & pie baking purposes. Well that about all.
In my court records research regarding the John family in Oconto County, Wisconsin, I found an interesting case. It was Alfred C. John (my gg Uncle) vs. Calvin John (my 1st cousin, 2x removed).
Alfred is Calvin’s father. The case was a criminal case where Alfred was accusing Calvin of assault:
That on, to-wit, the 31st day of August, A. D. 1916, at the premises of the defendant [Calvin’s home], in Oconto County, Wisconsin, the defendant assaulted, beat, bruised and wounded the plaintiff by violently striking him in the abdomen.
According to Alfred, his son beat him so bad he became sick, sore and was permanently disabled, and continued in such a condition, so he wanted renumeration. In fact he wanted $5000 in damages. Ouch!
Cavin’s response to this allegation was that he was merely defending himself from assault by his father.
There is no testimony to the case because it never went to jury, Alfred never showed up on the day the jury trial was to start, so the case was dismissed.
I was unable to find anything in the local papers regarding this matter either, other than the notifications of court dates, which is a bummer. Maybe Alfred got a little snockered one weekend, the hooch made him ornery, so he started a fight with the closest person at hand, who happened to be Calvin. Or maybe he was just hard to get along with.
The original complaint was filed in 1916 and the trial was to start in 1920. That is a few years of bad blood between relatives. I have no idea how well Calvin and his father got along, but considering the fact that Calvin was the tallest guy in town, I don’t think it was a fight Alfred was going to win anyway.