Party time…

Birthday Party
A surprise party was tendered Mrs. John Cain Thursday evening in honor of her birthday anniversary [67 years old]. Bunco was played, the prize going to Mrs. Surprise and Mrs. William Trepanier.1

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Carrie Rosa Cain was born before the Civil War and married her first husband at the age of 13, John Cain was her second husband. She died in 1952 at the age of 94.

Carried probably had a very good time at her party, as long as there was music playing, because she loved to dance.

Oconto County Reporter Enterprise-Enquirer; v54issue28, 1925-04-23

 

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Attempted murder…

Sophia (Rosa) (Cross) Mattice was, I believe, the oldest (and possibly only) daughter of Garret and Clarissa (Cross) Rosa. Her age is iffy because either she, or other household members, never really seemed to remember how old she was when census time came around. It is believed that she was born sometime around 1815 in New York.

In 1838 after the Rosas and Crosses had moved to Michigan, she married a gentleman by the name of Mandrick Amandor Cross – believed to be her uncle. He was 10 years older than her. These two had seven known children together, of whom we know quite a bit about Daniel Wellington and Benjamin Franklin (aka Frank). Daniel had been arrested several times for theft and spent some time in prison. Frank was a cop in Kalamazoo County for several years. However, it appears that he was probably a very bad cop and most likely on the take – both types of behavior would contributed to his eventually being fired. After his stint as a cop Frank tried his hand at a little larceny himself, nothing to get himself in prison, but enough to get fined. There is not much nice to say Untitled4about Cousin Frank. He was married and divorced twice. During the first marriage he went to court asking for a divorce; he was tired of his wife always accusing him of being with other women. Which she did. A lot. The judge said, “Sure you can have a divorce.” The second time he was in court was because his second wife was asking for the divorce, she was tired of him always being with other women. Which he did. A lot. He was a popular customer at the local brothel, and he had an African American mistress. A very renaissance man. The judge told Frank’s wife, “Sure you can have a divorce.”

But all this excitement happened in the later part of the 1800s. Before his attempts at marriage, Frank was living with his mother Sophia and her second husband, David Mattice. Mind you Frank was almost 30 at this time. The two boys did not get along, but as neither one of them were very nice people they probably rubbed each other the wrong way all the time. Sophia also might have spoiled Frank, which wouldn’t have helped the situation. So eventually things came to a head, resulting in this article appearing in the newspaper:

newspaper_crossfrank_assaulted

This incident happened in September of 1877. Frank survived the assault and lived on to be a scion of society, an example of shining knighthood for all young men, the epitome of virtue … yeah … not so much. Apparently that knock on the head, or dare I say, near death experience, didn’t shake any sense into him.

I don’t know if Sophia left David after this incident. Battered women don’t tend to do that. But, I am still working on finding more out about Frank, I can’t resist. He is such a little sh*t.

She had a need for speed…

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This image is from a scanned newspaper image, so it is not the greatest.

When Abram Rosa came back from his time in prison after the Civil War, he came back to an empty home. His wife, Jennie, had left him, taking their two daughters with her. At this time we are not aware of an actual divorce having taken place between the two of them, but they both did marry to other people a few years later.

Abram’s second wife was a woman by the name of Harriet Emerson. They married in October of 1869. Over the 4oish years of their marriage they had two known children, both boys, Alby and John Nelson. So now my gg grandmother Carrie had two half brothers, both of whom she never met or knew about, as far as we know.

John Nelson did marry, at least 3 times, but never had children. His brother Alby married several times also, but he did manage to have two daughters with his first wife Dora Ritter, Erma and Loral. Erma never married. Loral married a gentleman by the name of Willis C. Servis in 1921 in Benton Harbor, Michigan. They had one son Dean C. Servis before they divorced, Loral married again to Ethemer Emery in 1932 and together they had about 6 children.

So what does all this have to do with speed?

Loral, the actual subject of this post and pictured above, was not your usual grandmother type. Somewhere in her genes was a speed demon waiting to come out.

While trying to find out more about the Abram’s second family and his descendants, I found this awesome newspaper article:

newspaper_rosaloral

Edwardsville Intelligencer August 2, 1958 page 6.

The caption that is with her picture above reads:

Equally at ease in matter pertaining to ministering professional care for the aged at the Madison County Nursing home in Edwardsville or when behind the wheel in stock-car racing is Mrs. Loral Emery a resident of East Alton who contends she is “completely sold” in piloting jalopies at the Alton Speedway in Godfrey.” The 57 year old grandmother of 11 was recently presented a trophy symbolic of being the eldest driver at the nearby oval.

I wonder if her interest in racing was influenced by her first husband, Willis, who was a garage mechanic? She definitely had cool written all over her.

Racing, like all sports where men are involved, was a vey sexist sport. In the 1940s, when racing clubs were first starting in the U.S., a woman’s role was as either ‘eye-candy’ or ‘sandwich and coffee provider’ for all the manly men doing the racing, or working in the pits. This continued into the 1950s, although now there were a few women starting to get their game on and competing in their own right. So when Loral was heading out to the track to satisfy her speed need, she was doing it at the time women were coming out of the woodwork and showing the men they had what it took to race, contrary to popular belief. (Although, there are still plenty of dumb bunnies out there today who are satisfied being nothing but eye candy.)

After this article was published in 1958, Loral went on to live another 25 years. She passed away in 1985:

obit

Loral appears to have been a pretty interesting lady. (She was my half 1st cousin 3 times removed.)

Is Delany, Lena?

I’ve been working on this particular genealogical problem for at least 10 years, is the Delany who is entered in Garrett Rosa’s death record as his mother, the same women called Lena who married Abraham Rosa in Coxsackie, Greene County, New York.

When first researching Garrett’s ancestry I ran across a book that had been compiled on the Roosa line and found the following entry for my Garrett and his parents:

“2177. Abraham Roosa (son of Guert) was b.1759 Coxsackie, Greene Co., NY and was bpt. 6 May 1759 in the Coxsackie RDC. He served in the New York Line during the American Revolution. Abraham d. 7 Jan. 1855, at the age of 85. He m. Eleanor van Loon in NY. Eleanor d. 17 Oct. 1845.
3741. Guert Roosa (son of Abraham) was b. 1790 in Coxsackie, Greene Co., NY, and was bpt. 19 Sep 1790 in Coxsackie RDC. Guert d. in Wadsworth Flats. He m. Clara Gass. Her last name could be “Grass”, or “Crass” (as it appears in one source).”*
* You will notice that not one single source is provided for the data in this book, just the mention of a vague one.

First off, I know that Garrett died in 1869 in Kalamazoo County, Michigan, and I have no idea where ‘Wadsworth Flats’ are; the entry should have been made more clear when they compiled the book. This ‘error’ makes me immediately leery of this resource as a reliable one. Well, that and the fact that there are very few sources listed. Garrett’s first wife’s name was Clarissy/Clara Cross. I know this from the death records of two of his sons. So at least that much information sort of matches the book. Again, no source as to how they know his wife’s name. As a resource the book is questionable, and that means I have to start from, mostly, scratch for at least a few generations.

When Garrett died his death registration had both parents listed: Abraham and Delany Rosa. His second wife, Lucinda, is most likely the person who provided the information for the record and who knows if the clerk wrote it accurately. His mother’s name, Eleanor, from the ROOSA book could be construed as Delany, maybe, but it does seem a stretch.

Garrett Rosa’s death registration entry in the Michigan records.

To expand my research I decided to pursue the possible pension record for his, believed to be, father Abraham. I did find one in Cortland County and decided to request a copy from NARA, but as I was only speculating that this record was for the correct Abraham I didn’t get too excited.

According to this pension Abraham was born in the year 1760 at Coxsackie, he lived there until he entered into the service. Later he moved to Greene in Chenango County, then Manlius in Onondaga County, then Locke in Cayuga County and lastly he settled in Homer in Courtland County, all in New York state. His son Rufus testified that his father was married twice: the first time in 1783, and then after his wife died in 1802, to his second wife Sarah _____. Rufus also stated that he was the only child of the first marriage and his sister, Amanda, was the only child of the second marriage. At no time did he name the wives and we only know Sarah’s first name because she is still around during the pension application process; thank you for nothing Rufus!

Nothing in this pension would lead me to believe that this Abraham was the father of my Garrett Rosa. That is until I started perusing the Coxsackie Reformed Dutch Church (RDF) records, which are online (transcribed, not originals). These are the same records that are used as sources in the Roosa history book.

Here are some intriguing entries:

1. 1790 September 19 Abraham Roos and Lena Roos (parents) — Guert (child being baptized) — sponsors Guert Roos and Geertruy Roos (brother and sister to Abraham)
2. 1793 March 3 Abraham Roosa and Lena Roosa (parents) — Rufies (child being baptized) — sponsors Rufies Schipart and Antje Schipert (brother -in-law and sister to Abraham)
3. 1795 February 7 Abraham Roose and Lena Vn Loan (parents) — Abraham, (child being baptized) December 24 1795 — no sponsors listed
4. 1798 July 7 Abraham Roosa and Eleanor Vn Loon (parents) — Anna (child being baptized)

This Guert/Garret was born pretty much the same time as my Garrett. He had a brother Rufus, there is a Rufus, son of Abraham (of Coxsackie), in the pension record. The records are in Coxsackie, the same place as is mentioned in the pension. The wife’s name in the baptismal records is Lena (or Eleanor, which is possibly an error on the part of the minister entering the data and assuming Lena was a diminutive of Eleanor). Lena and Delany seem to be a closer match.

Rufus could have misunderstood the question about children, as all the other siblings were off in other states, or counties making him and Amanda the only ones left with their dad, or he just outright lied, hoping to cash in on a little pension money without having to spread it around to the rest of the family. The Rosa’s, remember, were not known for their upstanding behavior in Michigan, it could have been a family trait.

The research is slowly putting itself together, helping me to feel more comfortable about his mother being Lena and this line of descent being correct. That’s not to say I won’t change my mind.

I will be doing more research in Salt Lake on Abraham and his various moves using land and court records. By putting together a timeline of Abraham and Garrett I am hopeful of making the proper connection between the two. Wish me good luck.

But I was framed….

Years ago, I received a copy of Abram and Joseph Rosa’s pension files regarding their service in the Civil War. I distinctly remember a comment made by the gentleman taking depositions and accumulating evidence to prove service in order for either gentleman to receive any money. He said that, to paraphrase, “the Rosa’s in the past were not well regarded by the community, but in these later years had improved their behavior.”

My eyebrows had raised at reading the comment, but I was not terribly surprised. Jennie Rosa had left her husband, Abram, during the war, with their two daughters. Never to go back to Michigan again. My belief was that she left him because of possible abuse. Of course, it is doubtful we will ever truly know.

Now Joseph is Abram’s older brother, by about only a year or two. He never married dying a bachelor  about 5 years before his brother. But apparently he spent a bit of his life more on the nefarious side, as can be seen from this little tidbit from the May 22, 1867 issue of the Kalamazoo paper:

Found in the In Court section on page 5.

Joseph would have been 35 when this occurred. The Wellington Cross mentioned in the article was his sister Sophia’s 22 year old son, his nephew. I have a hard time believing that Joseph had nothing to do with the larceny, he was much older than his nephew and was probably a very bad influence. Further investigation into Wellington shows him in court over the years for burglary and larceny at various times. It appears he had light fingers. I can find no evidence of Joseph in court again, but that could mean he just wasn’t caught or I don’t have access to all the newspapers.

So now we have a better idea to why the community was leery of the Rosa’s and their kin. Abram was possibly abusive and his nephew and brother were crooks.

Who says genealogy ain’t fun. Now I need to see those court records.

More union soldiers, a wedding and a death…

I am back from my trip to Salt Lake City. Who would think that a weeks vacation could be that exhausting.

I spent many an hour looking bleary eyed at microfilm. All in an effort to find something new about our  ancestors. I am happy to say that I did find a tidbit or two.

Firstly, until just this last week I had no idea when Jennie/Jannett Smith Rosa Lavelley died. I did know it was after 1870 and before 1898 (according to her ex-husband, Abram Rosa’s, pension). But this week I found a quit claim deed filed in Berrien County, Michigan labeled ‘Jannett Rosa, by heirs’ to Michael Smith [her brother]. The incriminating bit of information in that index entry was the ‘by heirs’ part. The deed was filed in 1877. Okay, it didn’t give me the exact date of death, but now I know that Jennie died between 1870 and 1877, a much shorter date range. Who knows, maybe a bit of digging in my own backyard will turn up more on that issue, after all she lived in Oconto.

Secondly, the Buchanan family has been researched by others, but some of what they have put out there is wrong. I now know that Margaret and William Buchanan died in Jackson County, West Virginia. Margaret in 1883 and William in 1891. I found their death records online. Easy peasy. Well, after Margaret died, William must have been feeling a bit lonely because he married again in 1884 to an Emily Duke. How do I know this, land records. William and Emily are selling land together to family, etc. in Jackson County in the 1880s. It took me a while to realize that the name of his wife was Emily in the deeds as I am mostly just photographing records and looking at them later. I am glad I did though. Now I can add Emily to the records. I even confirmed the marriage by finding their certificate online.

Thirdly, After learning about Emily, I dug around on Ancestry to see if there was something I missed about William Buchanan in their online records. William is the first Shepard side ancestor I have found to have been an actual soldier in the Civil War. He joined the Union’s 17th Regiment, Company D, Infantry. He was only in the war for about a year, the same as F. W. John. He appears to have survived the war without any incidents. But, he didn’t live long enough to file a pension having died in 1891. Emily his wife died by 1900, as we know from the land records. When she died the land she inherited from William, had to pass on to his children: Jane, Ebenezer, Rebecca and Sarah.

All in all I have had affirmed in my mind the importance of land records in doing one’s research. It can lead you to finding all kinds of little gems.

This is the page from the 1890 Veteran’s Schedule showing William Buchanan.

Civil War tidbits…


In 1865 Abram Rosa was put in front of a military court and charged with “Conduct prejudicial to good order and Military discipline”.

The result of which he ended up spending 3 months in a military prison in Florida. A true hellhole.

According to the charges he took offense at his superior officer, Major Thomas B. Weir’s treatment and punishment of a fellow soldier threatening and insulting him with, “No God damned Officer shall abuse that man, “Look here,” God damn you, you have churned that man enough, “ I’ll show you, by God. He also removed his coat and shook his fists in a threatening manner towards, Major Weir  still using insulting and threatening language. All this happened near Eagle Pass, Texas about September 7, 1865.

While I knew the story, and was of course appalled by the verdict and punishment (nothing like good old military justice). I was interested in learning more about the story, or at least by researching the officers involved in the case maybe I might find something else out about the incident.

Major Thomas B. Weir
Well something interesting did turn up when I googled Major Thomas B. Weir the officer whom Abram threatened. This Major Weir is famous, as he was the same Major Weir who was involved with Custer and the massive defeat at Little Bighorn. 

Major Weir commanded Company D of the 7th Cavalry under Custer, and joined him in the attack on a large Native American encampment on the Little Bighorn River in Montana on June 25, 1876. Weir disobeyed orders to remain on what is now Reno Hill, and instead, moved north to attempt to support Custer, who had led a detachment to attack the encampment from that direction. The effort was too late and Custer and his soldiers were slaughtered. Weir himself survived the assault, but died later the same year, 1876, having drank himself to death. It is believed over his inability to save Custer, whom he greatly respected.

I doubt that Abram would have shown any sadness at his passing, maybe he even did a little jig when he heard the news. It is interesting that Weir allows Abram to be sent to hard labor in a horrible prison for three months, when he was only trying to protect a fellow soldier from over-enthusiastic punishment. Yet, Weir disobeys orders from his superiors, hoping to protect Custer from a disasterous attack, fails, and wasn’t punished in any way by the military.

But justice comes in many forms.