Julia Caroline Amundson 1879-1949

Carrie Amundson, her wedding pic.

I have actually written quite a bit over the years about Carrie. I am not sure if there will be anything new to learn when I finish this post, but at least it will be all together in one neat little package.

Julia Caroline, went by the name of Kari or Carrie throughout her life. She was the second known child born to Amund Amundson and Jorgina Johnsdtr. She was born on the 29th of August 1879, in Kenyon, Goodhue County, Minnesota (according to her obituary). At this time I have been unable to find a birth record for her in either government or church records.

Kari’s parents were married in Goodhue County1, and for a short time afterwards can be found living there, along with Jorgina’s parents and family. They bought land just to the south in Dodge County in 1875, (while they were still living in Goodhue County), and by 1880 they were living in Vernon, Dodge County, where they stayed until sometime before March of 1880 when they skedaddled quietly and stealthily in the cover of night out of Dodge. It looks like Amund and Jorgina were having problems paying their mortgage and keeping up with the expenses of their farm, so they decided the best course of action was to leave all their debts behind. Although, they didn’t go very far. In the 1885 state census we find them back in Goodhue County. Strangely enough buying more property.

Sometime after 1886 Amund decided that farming was not his cup of tea and moved the family around the state a bit until they ended up in Carlton County. He had a growing family to feed and was finding work as a laborer wherever he could. They stayed for approximately 7 years. By 1903 he and Jorgina had moved to Duluth where Amund found work on the ore docks, a job he would stay at until he retired shortly after 1913.

We really know nothing of Carrie’s early childhood. She was able to grow up around her mother’s Norwegian family until she was about 7-8 years old, then her parents hauled her off to another county far away from Goodhue and all she knew. She had an older sister Christina, and a younger brother John who sadly died between 1885 and 1895. Her mother had another child that never made it to any census records other than a statistic (the 1900 census asks the wife how many children they had had and how many were living, Jorgina’s answer was 4, 2 living).

In 1898 another tragedy struck the family. Christina, the eldest daughter, developed mental health issues and ended up being committed to the Fergus Falls insane asylum.

Christina’s medical records indicate that instances of her mental health problems started when she was about 17 years old, and were supposedly brought on by puberty. It was also noted in her records that her condition was inherited, but did not state from whom, or from which side of the family the illness is supposed to have originated (possibly her mother’s side). The Fergus Falls asylum, where she was taken, had been built in 1890 on the ‘Kirkbride Plan’, being spacious and well planned with lots of light. She was at the Fergus Falls facility until at least April 6 of 1902. She continued as a patient in an asylum for the rest of her life, dying December 11, 1927 at the Anoka State Asylum, of tuberculosis.

from John Family Book, 2008 edition

So now Carrie was the only child left at home.

The next thing we know is on October 25, 1900, Carrie had a child she named John. I can find no evidence that Carrie had married the father of this son. We know his name was John Gustafson, he was Swedish and he was born about 1876, and that’s about it.

Carrie was in the Duluth directory in 1900, she went to her parents in Moose Lake when she was due, as that is where John’s birth certificate says he was born. So, it doesn’t look like she was kicked out of the house, otherwise he parents wouldn’t have let her come home to have her child. Did she move to Duluth because she would have a better chance of getting a job that would support herself and her child in the city rather than a lumber town like Moose Lake? Was she in Duluth because the father of her child was there? We don’t know.

1900 Duluth, Minnesota directory:
Amundson, Caroline, domestic, 1723 Piedmont Avenue –p. 93

The fact that her name is listed as ‘Amundson’ in the directory, rather than Gustafson, raises the suspicion that she was an unwed mother. But, she also hails from a Nordic background where women keep their names when married. So we can’t with certainty say that she was an unwed mother, although, the 1900 census has her entered as single, not widowed. The census was recorded as being taken in August of that year, and her son was born two months later.

Regardless of her married status, she does not appear to be living with a man of any name in the early years of the 1900s. And she was working as a domestic, cleaning and working in other’s homes for a living. It would have been exhausting and tiresome work, for very little pay.

Fred from his wedding pic.

Sometime in 1902 Carrie met a man newly arrived in Duluth from Wisconsin. His name was Frederick Hamm and he was quite the looker. (Hey, even I can admit great-gramps was hot, I can see why the ladies would drop their knickers left and right.) The two were certainly smitten with each other, enough so that they were married on the 24th of February 1903. Carrie would have been relieved to no longer have to work as a domestic, she had a husband to bring home the paycheck now. Fred, when he met Carrie, was working as a carpenter about town. The 1903 directory had him listed as a laborer, probably getting any labor type work he could and by 1904 he had found work on the ore docks of Duluth.

About this time Carrie’s parents decided to make the move to Duluth also. They are found in the Duluth directory in 1904 living with (or in the same building with) their son-in-law and daughter, so they probably made the move sometime in 1903 (there are no directory entries for her parents earlier than 1904). Carrie’s father had also gotten work at the ore docks, maybe with his son-in-law’s help.

On June 3, 1904 Fred and Carrie welcomed their daughter Emelia into the world. And in 1905 they are found in the state census, in an error ridden entry, so who knows who gave the information to the census taker:

Mr. Hames [Fred Hamm] age 31, 2nd St. born Germany [Wisconsin], parents born Germany, carpenter
Mrs. Carrie Hames [Kari Hamm] age 25, born Wisconsin [Minnesota], parents born Norway, wife
Emilea Hames [Hamm], age 1, born Minnesota, parents born [can not read entry]

1905 Minnesota Territorial and State Census, Duluth, St. Louis County: enumeration dist. 22, ward 7, sub-division B, precinct 2nd; sheet 18, page 101, City of Duluth June 7th-8th lines 37-40

Sadly they lost Emilia to gastroenteritis a few months after this census was taken.

Fred didn’t like dock work and went back to carpentry not long after their marriage. He continued in this line of work until 1907 when he became a police officer.

Annual Report of Police Department, Duluth, Minn., Jan. 1st 1907:
Fred W. Hamm, appointed patrolman, Oct. 13, 1906; page 122

And then was fired two years later due to misconduct and dereliction of duty.

In 1906 the couple had another daughter, Myrtle Caroline, my grandmother.

But Carrie and Fred’s marriage was not destined to last for much longer. On April 28, 1907 Carrie’s mother died, after having been committed to an asylum for a short time. She most likely had dementia and Amund was unable to handle her erratic and violent behavior. Then a year later these articles started appearing in the local newspaper:

Non-Support Charge
Fred Hamm, charged with non-support, was arraigned in municipal court this morning. His hearing was set for Wednesday morning, upon his pleas of not guilty. He lives as 2615 West Second St. and has a 2-year old child.

Duluth Evening Herald, Monday November 16, 1908 page 8

Policeman Fred Hamm was let go on suspended sentence by Judge Cutting yesterday on his promise to contribute $25 a month to the support of his wife and child.
The officer was arrested by Court Officer Jensen on a warrant sworn out by his wife charging him with failing to contribute to the support of his family.
Mrs. Hamm, who carried her baby into court, testified that two months ago when the separation took place her husband said he was tired living with her.
The evidence showed that the couple have had many quarrels which began when Mrs. Hamm’s mother died nearly two years ago and the patrolman was called upon to support a former child of Mrs. Hamm’s which had been living with her parents.-724-ctx-.tiff

–Duluth News-Tribune (1908-11-19): page unknown

Fred Hamm, a Policeman, Arraigned in Municipal Court.
Fred Hamm, a local policeman, was arraigned in municipal court before Judge Cutting this morning on the charge of non-support. The case was continued for three months, under Hamm’s promise that he would contribute $25 monthly to his wife’s support.
The couple have not been living together since last August. Hamm claims the trouble started because his wife objected to having his sister visiting at the house, claiming that the sister wanted to “boss” her. He said he had been perfectly willing to support his wife, and always had contributed liberally to her support, but that he insisted on the right to have relatives visit him, as long as he was paying the bills. He denied that the sister did any bossing.
Mr. and Mrs. Hamm have one child, an infant in arms.

–Duluth Evening Herald. Publication Date November 19, 1908: page 2, column 1

Obviously the two were not getting along and Fred was feeling boxed in by his marriage. On July 19, 1910 Fred filed for divorce in Koochiching County, Minnesota after having run away to Montana. Here he is in the 1910 census:

HAMM, Frank, boarder, male, white, age 36, single, born in Wisconsin, parents born in Germany, speak english, laborer in a logging camp, works for wages, hadn’t been out of work on April 15, 1910, or all of 1909, can read and write.

–1910 census Hellsgate Twp, Missoula County, Montana details: Missoula National Forest-North Division, Enumeration Dist. 61, Sheet 5A, 23 April, line 21

Carrie was having a rough go of it. She has two children, a husband who now refused to support them, and then disappeared, (he objected to supporting Carrie’s son from another man), a mother now dead, and a father who would be useless to help. She was now all on her own, and not really capable to doing so.

The details of why are unknown, but their daughter Myrtle was living with her grandparents George and Amelia Hamm by the 1910 census. In fact she ended up growing up on the Hamm farm. And Carrie’s son John isn’t found again until a 1920 newspaper article when he was injured on the job and his mother sued the railroad for compensation.

Other than the newspaper articles related to her marriage to Fred, we know nothing about Carrie’s life after his desertion, other than what is found in directories and census records. She wasn’t at the divorce hearings in Koochiching County. I doubt she even was aware that they were going on, she didn’t live anywhere near there. And even if she did, she most likely couldn’t afford a lawyer or the trip.

So Carrie was now back living on her own and working as a laundress/domestic, a job she had until her death in 1949. As far as we know she had no further contact with her daughter, my grandmother after she was farmed out to her grandparents. If she wrote, we have no correspondence to confirm any such contact.

And she really had no other family to speak of from 1917, when her father died, until her own death in 1949.

From the Wednesday, June 1 1949 Duluth News-Tribune (Funeral Notice):     AMUNDSON, Mrs. Carrie C., 212 West Second Street. Funeral Services 2 p.m. at the Johnson Mortuary Chapel, the Rev. Benjamin Urshan officiating. Interment Park Hill.

Same Paper:     Mrs. Carrie C. Amunson, 67, of 212 West Second Street, died yesterday in a Duluth hospital. Born in Kenyon, Minn., she resided here 60 years. Surviving are a son, John C. Gustafson, Minneapolis; a daughter, Mrs. Myrtle John, Rothchild, Wis., and three children.

The clues that Carrie left behind regarding her life, lead me to speculate that the mental issues, (like depression), that plagued the family probably also affected her. She didn’t really raise her own children. Her son was farmed out to her parents in his early years, and her only other living child, Myrtle, was farmed out to her ex’s parents in Wisconsin by the time she was 4. Carrie only shows up again in her son’s life when there was a chance to make some money from the railroad.

Not everyone is meant to be a parent, and it is quite possible that Carrie was one of those people. So maybe both of her children were better off not being raised by their mother.

Her life seems a bit sad and lonely to me, I hope she had a good one in spite of herself.

1. Ammon Amunnson and Kari Jorgina Johnson entry, page 60; “Minnesota, County Marriages, 1860-1949,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/X2BR-JQK : accessed 26 Sep 2013), Ammon Amunnson and Kari Jorgina Johnson, 1874. Image saved as marriage_amundson_to_johnson [FHL Film number: 1379159 online Digital Folder Number: 004540657 online Image Number: 01315

2. Fred W. Hamm vs Carrie Hamm divorce case file #492 Koochiching County, Minnesota 1910; Civil and Criminal Case files, 2907-1950, 1961, Minnesota District Court, Minnesota Historical Society. Accession number(s): 999-71; 2006-58; 2007-20; 2008-22; Catalog ID No.: 1735999. Forwarded by Koochiching County Clerk of Courts office.

August 10, 1960 Letter William To His Parents

August 10, 1960

Dear Dick and Dad:

Happy to hear you are settled at the cabin. Just be sure that you don’t start any more construction jobs. I’m rather sorry to hear that other people are building at the beach I had the idea but you know how it is.

Lois is probably written you about her coming over. I think she will leave Ohio just after October 1. At least that is what they tell me here.

We have a brand new three bedroom apartment in Kaiserslautern. It is the nicest I’ve seen in these parts. We will probably move on the base next spring.

The beer and food taste so good here I have a hard time keeping my waist line down. I weigh the same I did when I left Ohio 200 pounds.

We will send you some pictures when Louis gets the camera over.

Enjoy your vacation north and I hope that Florida is warm this winter. I’ll try to write next month, although my pen isn’t very long!

Take care of yourselves – Love Bill

The Wilds of Minnesota

Fred Hamm, maybe in a desperate attempt to get away from his ex (my great grandmother Carrie Amundson), ended up settling in Koochiching County, Minnesota for a while.

According to his second marriage certificate he married Emma Steinbach March 22, 1912 at Fort Francis, Ontario, which is just over the border north of International Falls.

International Falls press and border budget. Pub. Date January 22, 1914:
Fred Hamm moved his family and stock to his claim on the upper Black River last week. [Emma, Margaret, himself]

1920 Federal census, Rapid River Township, Koochiching County, Minnesota.

And the 1920 census above shows Fred and a different family there, because by 1918 he had divorced Emma Steinbach and was now living with his brother’s wife Emma Paugel and his brother’s children, along with his and Emma’s son Raymond.

As far as I can tell Fred’s only purchase of property, ever, was a homestead purchase from the United States Government in 1918. So I do not know if he actually owned a different property that the family was moving to in 1914, or if it was the same property, and he just hadn’t purchased yet.

Plat of his property; provided by register of deeds office.
Fred’s full 160 acres, ignore the blue pin.

Even today you can see that there are no real roads out in this area. Here’s another view a bit further away in airspace:

The pink box in the image above is a close approximation of his property. The closest road appears to be Hwy 101/Black River Road and Fiero Truck Trail. Just the name of the latter road brings forth visions of rough travel. When you get up close using satellite images, it almost looks like this was pretty much swamp land, but according to various online histories about the area there was plenty of good farming.

There was a US agricultural census made in 1920, and Fred was on it, but unfortunately it was destroyed by the US Government, who saw no reason to keep it. Only a few states survived the destruction, Minnesota was not one of them. So that means we have no idea what Fred and Emma were growing and farming on their property during the 8-10 years that they lived there.

In 1924 he quit claimed the property to Asa Kelsey. (According to current maps on the county’s register of deeds site, it is all now owned by the State of Minnesota.) It might be at this time that the family moved to Shawano, Wisconsin, where he finally saw fit to marry Emma Paugel in 1931.

This is the only evidence I have found of Fred settling down anywhere for any length of time. After this bout of farming fever, he never owned property again, although he did work as a farm hand of some sort until he died.

Here’s a fun tidbit: As of the 2000 census, there were 23 people, 11 households, and 6 families residing in Rapid River township.[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rapid_River_Township,_Lake_of_the_Woods_County,_Minnesota]

June 4, 1960 Letter Herman To His Parents

Worthington Ohio
June 4, 1960

Dear Dick & Dad:-

It’s been so long since I’ve written,
maybe I can get this one to you before
you leave Tuesday. We are looking
forward to seeing both of you and
hope you have a safe trip north.

We have our last eastern star
meeting next Wednesday night
before summer recess, maybe
you can make it. I’ve been
working on the boat every chance
I get, still have many things to
do i’ll try to enlist dad maybe
he can speed me up a little.
I didn’t realize I was getting
myself into such a project.

I am enclosing a couple of dollars
for you to bring me a few jars of
Damson Plum jam (Deep South Brand)
if it isn’t too much trouble.

We were up to our cottage at East
Harbor last week and for the first
time this year, between rains it took me a
day and a half to cut the grass.
Everything was O.K. up there
and all her friends were O.K.

Had news from Birch that he is
improving and even has an offer of
a job at the golf station in
Westerville if he is able to take
it. Well Ruth is scratching a
note. So till next week when
you arrive.

Lots of love
H. O.

Back In The Saddle Again

Well, it is official. I am on furlough from my job until August 31. Although the boss is working on possibly getting that shortened. We’ll see. One of the many different types of casualties of this pandemic. Thankfully, as of yet, no one in our family has contracted the virus.

The one thing that I have been doing these past few months is keeping a journal during this time specifically, (although I have been keeping a journal on and off for the last ten years). But in this time of massive social upheaval, crazy shenanigans, and scumbaggery, it is even more important to record one’s thoughts, feelings, day to day life, anything to help those in the future understand what living ‘in’ this bit of history was like for folks. (The genealogist in me can’t help myself anyway.)

With furlough coming up, starting next week, it is time to make an effort to find a little joy in life. For me genealogy and beading are two of those activities that help with that. I can focus on projects that have been on the back burner for retirement. Including my beading. I have a project that has been on my loom for 17 years (ever since I started working again), now I can finish it. I will also be back to my blogging again.

It will be good to get a little joy back.

This has been half done for 17 years. Time to fix that. I am very excited now to see it finished.

When the 1918-1920 flu epidemic swept the world it doesn’t appear that any one in our family was personally affected by it. No one, as far as I can tell, died from it, no one talked about it either. They certainly didn’t leave any records of having done so. I would really like to have found a diary or journal from that time. Did it affect them personally? Did anyone of their close friends die? How did they get through day to day life? Did they help their neighbors? Did they grab their guns and storm the capitol building of their state, screaming like crazed rabid humans, to go back to work? I don’t know.

But at least our descendants will know that their family was sane, smart, and sensible.

Be safe, smart, sane, and sensible.


This Corona Virus has put a crimp in my research, my time, among other things. So I will not be posting any new articles for a while.

Too many more important things to take care of right now.

Everyone stay healthy!

Jeremiah’s Lineage Confirmed

I have two ancestral relations by the name of Jeremiah Smith. The one on my father’s side is my 4x great grandfather, of New York and Michigan. The one on my mother’s side is, most likely, a 5x great uncle of Ohio.

A cousin of ours, who also descends from Jeremiah of New York and Michigan, recently contacted me with the information that recent DNA testing has proven that our Jeremiah Smith is indeed a son of Jeremiah Smith, senior, born 1755ish in New York whose wife was Sophia Herder. This also means that our belief that this line originates from George Adam Schmit of Rossbach, Germany, a Palatine German immigrant, is true!

Over the years our cousin has been in contact with a couple of researchers who descend from the same Smith line, and in one case the paper documentation just couldn’t be found to prove the connection of an unknown son of Jeremiah Smith and Sophia Herder. The DNA testing has proven that while the paper documents don’t exist, the results can’t be denied. So I also have another son, Benjamin, I can add to the list for this couple, a previously unknown uncle.

With more and more folks getting their DNA tested to help solve puzzles just like this, I am hoping that the future will bring more confirmations and affirmations to my own research.

Stay safe and healthy!

Not William Buchanan

This photograph found in my mother’s parent’s collection was not labeled, so I could only guess who the people were who are in it.

Thankfully a cousin who descends from the Mobley or Buchanan side of the family saw it, and recognized them.

The man sitting on the porch floor is Silas Mobley. His second wife Ura Finch is sitting in the chair. They are at their home in Missouri. Silas is a brother to my 3x great grandmother Margaret (Mobley) Buchanan. (Margaret was married to William Buchanan.)

There are several reasons that I scan and upload old family pictures to flickr. This, right here, is one of those reasons.

January 24, 1960 Letter Herman To His Parents

Worthington Ohio
January 24, 1960

Dear Egg Head and Dad: –
It has warmed up a bit here today, it’s up to 20°. Most of the time the temperature has been around  have had some 20° temperature. I hope it don’t damaged the fruit as it hurts when it hits those groves down there, and to think of all the money they lose. That’s when it hurts most, when it hits the old pocketbook. And of course later we will be paying more up here due to the scarcity of fruit. The cold weather up here hurts us but only our feelings.

That sore throat I had last time I wrote you developed into a real dandy cold, I was off work from Tuesday evening on, although I’m hoping to go back tomorrow.

Ruth and I went to our O.E.S. School of instruction last night the first I’ve been out all week so you see I wasn’t kidding.

We didn’t get up to see Burch this week so I don’t know anymore about him as of now. When Edw. Called last week, or I was writing you, he said

[page 2]
he was coming down but the stinker never showed up. I hope he comes down before he visit you folks, maybe he can help us decide what to do about Burch. At least I would like for him to talk with Cliff, and see if he draws the same conclusion as Ruth and I, maybe we don’t give the old boy as much credit as we should. That the reason I would like to have someone else’s opinion. I hope we’re wrong about his condition.

We were really proud to hear you were elected assoc. conductress and wish for you all the luck in the world. That means you will be working towards your year from now on, getting ideas and plans together. That’s one installation we won’t miss. To bad Dad can’t be your W. P. Or does your chapter permit husband-and-wife to be W.M. and W.P. together? We had a real nice school last night, our Worthy Grand MatronIs tops, she is surly [surely] an inspiration to all of us. Martha Jane is coming over this afternoon and we are

[page 3]
going to plan a rehearsal for all our officers before meeting Feb. 10. We are going to have initiatory work that meeting. We have met a lot of people and made a lot of friends in our district and I suppose you are doing the same down there.

We have bought another boat, an 18 foot Thompson with a 60 H. P.  motor, windshield and folding top, etc. It’s a used boat a 57 model and the motor was new last spring. The outfit has had good care and is in good condition, however I want to make a few changes in the back of the boat and refinish it complete. I hope to have it all ready by the time the weather gets good. I’m going to put in the garage down on Morse road which belongs to Steve that works with me at the shop, his garage is large enough to hold it and is is heated so I’ll get a chance to work evenings and weekends from now on. Believe it or not Jack Neff is trying to buy our old boat. I don’t know how he’s going to arrange it but he’s supposed to give me a deposit on it tomorrow

[page 4]
I told him I would have the full amount in 90 days as that is when I have to have ours paid for. I’ve asked Jack $500 for our old boat, motor and trailer etc. I’m getting this new outfit for $1500 so that will leave me some to finance at the bank. Tell dad he won’t have to worry about getting a “ducking” in this outfit. Ruth said “she’s had it”. We hope to buy an inboard, but they are too rich for my blood, maybe someday in the future on the inboard. We looked at one in good condition (new last year) and the price was $3000 so that’s the reason we are settling for an outboard. which leads me to a proposition I would like to make you and dad. I still want to buy the lot in Canada but can’t do everything I want to at once. I feel the larger boat is a necessity for Lake Erie,that’s the reason I’m going ahead with it. Would you and dad buy that lot for us and I’ll pay you

Page 5
back with interest same as at the bank. Think it over and if it’s O. K. we can do it next summer when we’re all in Canada. If you don’t want to there won’t be any hard feelings on our part. I could pay cash for the boat and lot if we would cash our stocks in, but I wouldn’t be able to buy them back it’s such a good price as I bought those at, also I would have to pay a 25% capital gain tax if I cash them in now. Just an idea, Dad said last fall I shouldn’t buy that lot, but I wouldn’t want to see anyone else get it either. If sometime in the future I couldn’t see any possible use for it I could always sell it, maybe at a profit. I don’t think they will decrease in value, do you?

Well I suppose you will say I’ve gone completely off my rocker

[page 6]
and justly so. – We’ve had our supper now, Martha has been here and gone and we are going to have our rehearsal Fri. eve 5th of Feb. I’ve also made a batch of peanut brittle and it’s 10:30 PM still feel like I’ll go to work tomorrow if we don’t have any snow. So far we’ve only had a trace of snow from the recent cold spell.

Ruth and H. O.

p.s. How is real estate prices holding down there?

Land HO!

Over the past several years I have looked over the microfilmed indexes to deeds, available through the Family History Library (FHL), for Abram Rosa several times over, and never found an entry for him. Which I always thought was weird because several census records have him listed as being a property owner, with a mortgage.

Then last year I found an article from a 1909 Michigan newspaper informing its readers that Abram was selling land to his son Alby (his name is incorrectly stated in the newspaper as Alley).

Herald Press St. Joseph, MI 03-26-1909p3

Here was printed proof that I wasn’t crazy. So now I was determined to find those deeds.

Figuring that the FHL wasn’t going to be any further help, it hadn’t been so far, I decided to try for local sources. Remembering how I found all kinds of great deeds from Ohio at the various county register’s websites, I thought that I might find the same resource at the Berrien County office. Sure enough, they do have deeds online, and a search of their index found me 3 land deeds for Abram.

I still don’t understand why he wasn’t showing up in the FHL microfilmed records, but I didn’t care anymore, ’cause I got some of them now, although for a fee. (In Ohio they are FREE! Just sayin’.)

The first land record I ran across is in regards to fruit trees.

I don’t know if you are aware of this but Michigan is a big fruit state, and there are a lot of different fruits that come from the state other than blueberries. In this case it is peaches. It looks like Abram was paying for the honor of having 700 peach trees planted on his land, or paying someone part of his profits from the fruit, as part of money he owed for the trees.

To be honest I can find no record of Abram having actually owned land himself any sooner than 1894. And this contract indicates that Abram signed this lease in 1871 (this particular record is merely transferring the lease to a different party at a later date).

It looks like Abram was part of the peach rush of the mid 1800s. But as per his usual luck, the rush came to a dismal end when in 1868 a disease started showing up in the peaches which became known as “the yellows,” because of the odd deep yellow color around the pit, it also made the flesh of the peach mealy. The disease spread quickly to the whole county over the next few years because the farmers were pollinating healthy trees with pollen from unhealthy trees. So by about 1872 the peach boom was a bust. About the time of the above lease being transferred, peach trees were starting to be destroyed in vast numbers across the county to stop its spread. (On a more positive note by the 1880s the peach industry was making a comeback.)

There are 1870 and 1880 agricultural censuses for Berrien County. So I decided to see what was going on on Abram’s property at this time. I was unable to find him in the 1870 listing (which means he might not have owned property at this time), but I did find an entry for him in 1880:

ABRAM ROSA–owned 60 total acres; 30 tilled; 10 permanent meadows pastures, orchards, and vineyards; 20 woodland and forest; farm valued at 3500; implements and machinery worth 185; livestock worth 100; hired 25 dollars worth of labor for 4 weeks; value of all farm productions for 1879 300; grass lands 6 acres mowed; 9 acres not mowed; 5 acres of hay; owned 3 horses; 2 cows; 3 other; calves dropped 1; sold 1 living cow; made 60 pounds of butter; 7 swine; 60 poultry; 40 doz eggs; 4 acres indian corn 120 bushels; oats 7 acres 200 bushels; wheat 2 acres 25 bushels; potatoes 2 acres 20 bushels; apples 2 acres 20 bearing trees; PEACHES 0 acres 00 bearing trees; value of produce sold 50; amount of wood cut 10 cords; value of all forest products sold or consumed 10.

Here is the agriculture census page for Abram, he is line 4.

I can find no record of these 60 acres that he owns in 1880, (however, I will eventually). But the big takeaway from this census record is the fact that in 1875 he has 700 peach trees on his land and 4 years later…NONE.

The loss must have been devastating for the family. Maybe the family went broke and he lost the land as a result.

In 1894 Abram purchased about 19.4 acres in Hagar, which he owned for about 15 years before selling to his son Alby. It is possible that he was leasing this same property for several years before buying it, because in the 1892 directory of the area his entry states that he was farming in section 12 on 19 acres, the same description as in the actual deed of sale two years later. At the time of his selling the property to his son he was a widower, and no doubt looking to retire from farming.

Abram’s purchase of 19 acres, which he was possibly leasing before this.
Berrien County, Hagar Township Plat 1887[?]

At least I have one property nailed down, and I am closing in on the property Abram Rosa and his second family owned in the ’70s and ’80s. The plat map above also helps because many of the same names show up in the 1880 census, which gives me a sense that he was living in the same general area in the ’70s and ’80s, but we just don’t know where exactly. But, at least we know that in 1892, and later, he was living on the spot marked by the arrow.

In the images below there are several views of the property. One has the partial property description of NESW right on the edge of Harris Lake. Street View does not go down Martin Road, where the property is located, so you can only see down the road a bit in that image. I did get a good image from Apple Maps of the location as it currently looks. Apparently some folks like living on mosquito breeding grounds with fetid looking water views. Then there is the larger overview of the property’s location.

I decided that this year the old man and I are taking a vacation/genealogy trip to Michigan. I will visit the graves of my Smith and Rosa families, and check out the land where they lived and maybe visit an archive or two.

As an added bonus, I will finally get to see Michigan! We can check out a few tourist sites and then take the ferry home over Lake Michigan. (Which means that I will have taken ferries: from Washington State to BC, island hopping in Hawaii, and now Michigan to Wisconsin. Can’t wait.