My 3x great grandmother Janett (aka Jennie) Smith Rosa left Michigan, sometime in the early to mid 1860s, with her two daughters Carrie and Ida, and moved to Wisconsin, without her husband Abram. Abram testified in his pension application that she had left him while he was away during the Civil War. I believe it was possibly while he was incarcerated at the Fort Tortuga in 1865ish.
As to the reason why she left him? We will most likely never know the answer to that question. We can speculate that: Abram was abusive, lazy, or a crappy farmer, (his family did not have the best reputation around town); Jennie could have been scared of him, bored and went to try her luck somewhere else, unhappy with her choice, or shamed at his incarceration. It could be his fault. It could be her fault. It could be the fault of both of them. Either way, neither one of them are talking now. Their daughter Carrie told her own children that her father, Abram, had died in the Civil War, so who knows what Jennie had told Carrie, and her sister Ida. This same story was passed down to later generations as fact–now debunked. (NOTE: We have to remember though that Jennie was only 14 1/2 years old when she married Abram in February of 1854, Abram was 20.)
So Abram finally gets back from the war probably early in 1866. His wife and daughters are gone. Everyone tells him they took off for Wisconsin and won’t be coming back. Apparently, he didn’t care enough to try to get them back either.
In 1868, three years after the war was finally over, Janett married Fred Lavelly, in Oconto County, Wisconsin. About a year later, in 1869, Abram married Harriet Emerson in Berrien County, Michigan.
So, okay, this all sounds pretty straight-forward right? They have both moved on with their lives.
But the sticker is–I can find no divorce record for either of them. Not in Berrien County, Michigan. Not in Oconto County, Wisconsin. So that begs the question, were they both bigamists? It is quite possible they were.
Divorce at this time was a very expensive, and nasty, business. Neither one of them had much money to speak of, so the cost of court and lawyers would have been much on both of their minds. As they both lived in different states, maybe they decided that what no one knows, can’t hurt them. Which is probably why the story that Abram was killed during the war came to be part of the family lore. Abram could honestly say his wife deserted him, so in fact his marriage was over.
If indeed these two never divorced, it is the first known case of bigamy on either side of our family.
Happy Valentines Day!
P.S. Maybe there is a divorce case in Brown County, Wisconsin. I’m on it!
Being assaulted, in the news, by the constant, disgusting, goings on in Washington these days has gotten my revolutionary dander up. I won’t be taking up arms, like some wackos, but I will be armed, with a pen, at the voting booth.
All this dissent and conflict brings to mind my ancestors who fought a war in this country to rid themselves of a King. In fact, did you know — nah, you probably didn’t — that on the John side of our family, all, but one, of the our direct male ancestors living in America, of the Revolutionary War generation, fought in the American Revolution. The ‘one’ was actually a Loyalist, who, surprisingly, didn’t flee to Canada.
Abraham Rosa — From his pension record: …entered the service of the US in the Army of the Revolution under the following named officers and served as herein stated. That on the first day of February 1778 he was draughted for the term of nine months, under Captain Bogert of Albany, New York. He was draughted in the Town of Coxsackie, Greene County, New York Colonel Harper commanded the regiment….from Coxsackie he went to Albany, from Albany to Schoharie, where he was stationed at Twoman/Freeman[?] Fort and Beekers Fort. He was out on scouting parties after Indians some of the time...he was honorably discharged at Freeman Fort in Schoharrie by Colonel Harper…after serving 9 months…
15 May 1779 at Coxackie he volunteered for the term of 5 months in NY militia under Captain Philip Conine…he went from Coxsackie to Kiskadamnatia[?not on any map] 20 miles from Coxsackie where he was stationed most of the time, he went with scouts to Dices Mannor and Schoharie Kill after Indians some of the time…he was honorably discharged after serving…
2 June 1780 he volunteered again for the term of 4 months … under Captain Benjamin Dubois…he went to Catskill from there he went aboard a sloop and went by water to Fishkill in the north…from there to Thirt Point by canal…eventually crossed into New Jersey going to the town of Hackensack …in a company commanded by Captain Austin of the Light Infantry. Colonel Fancortland[?] Commanded the regiment, General Lafayette commanded the Brigade…He was drilled by Barron Steuben…he was honorably discharged 2 October…
He also went with a team 4 months in 1777 –he drew Battery and Cannon from Fort Edward to Lake George, baggage and commissaries stores, from Albany to Buman’s[?] Hights, soldiers that were wounded in the action with General Burgoyne to the hospital at Burmas’s[?] Heights, and foraged for our army from there, he carried baggage for Colonel Morgans regiment of riflemen to Geshin[?] in Orange County, NY where he was discharged the last of October…
The same year he went in the month of June before Captain Hermanes from Redhook commanded the party…1
Joseph Cross — From his pension record: …enlisted in the month of April in the year 1777 in the town of New London, Connecticut as a private in a company commanded by Captain Jonathan Parker in the regiment commanded by Colonel Charles Webb…served until April 1780 when he was discharged…he was in the battles of White Marsh, Monmouth…2
Jeremiah Peter Smith/Schmidt — From his pension record: … He was called or drafted into service in the fall, but does not remember the year, in Claverack, Albany County [now Columbia County], New York in the company commanded by Captain Jeremiah Miller in the regiment commanded by Colonel Robert Van Rensselaer for an indefinite amount of time. Immediately the company was called into service and marched to Schoharie, Schoharie County where they were stationed to guard against the British and the Indians. They stayed into late fall. The company was discharged by Capt. Miller and the commanding officer.
Then he was called out or drafted into service in the late summer, he does not remember the exact date or length of service, in Claverack in the company militia commanded by Captain Peter Bartle and Lieutenant Jeremiah Miller. They marched to Fort Edward on the Hudson River in New York and stayed there for two months, after which they marched to Lake George to meet with another part of the American Army which was stationed in a fort on the banks of the lake. During the march they met another part of the Army heading south at which time they returned to Fort Edwards staying there another month.They were discharged in the late fall.
He was called out another time in late spring of the next year or early summer, again he does not remember the exact date or length of service, in Claverack under Lt. Miller commanded by Van Rensselaer. The company marched to Albany and was stationed there with a few other companies to guard against attacks. They were there about a month then discharged again.3
Johannes Houghtaling — Loyalist. He is on a list of persons living “west of Stissing Mountain” (a hill 1 1/2 miles west of Pine Plains, in New York), who refused to sign the Articles of Association. Johannes didn’t fight for either side, but we don’t know his reasons. Those who made the choice not to fight English rule, did so out of a great variety of reasons: economics, loyalty, fear, desire for peace. We can only guess at Johannes’.
There are more soldiers on this side of the family, but they are uncles and cousin. And on mother’s side of the family there are too many to count; plus one Scot who was sent to America as a British prisoner of war, having been captured at the Battle of Preston, during the Jacobite Rebellion.
So what does this all mean? It means that my ancestors had a history of rising up against repression and corruption,( including fighting for the Union during the Civil War). I mean to continue in the same tradition, because I am mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore. So, I invite you to participate in the revolution. Get out–join, organize, VOTE!
NOTE: Most of the names of places and forts in Abraham Rosa’s pension are difficult to transcribe as they are hard to read. From what I have gleaned so far, few of the names as currently transcribed show up as actual places. A work in progress I guess.
Abraham Rosa, complete pension file #S.14381, Case Files of Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Applications Based on Revolutionary War Service, compiled ca. 1800 – ca. 1912, documenting the period ca. 1775 – ca. 1900, NARA, Record Group: 15, Roll: 2083.
Joseph and Serviah Cross, complete pension file #W16940, Case Files of Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Applications Based on Revolutionary War Service, compiled ca. 1800 – ca. 1912, documenting the period ca. 1775 – ca. 1900. NARA M804, Record Group: 15, Roll: 0699.
Jeremiah Smith and Sophia Smith, complete military pension file #W19378, Case Files of Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Applications Based on Revolutionary War Service, compiled ca. 1800 – ca. 1912, documenting the period ca. 1775 – ca. 1900. NARA Record Group: 15, Roll: 2218
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
Carried probably had a very good time at her party, as long as there was music playing, because she loved to dance.
1 Oconto County Reporter Enterprise-Enquirer; v54issue28, 1925-04-23
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 about 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:
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.
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:
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:
Loral appears to have been a pretty interesting lady. (She was my half 1st cousin 3 times removed.)
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.
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.
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.
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.