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
I have been doing a lot of intermittent research on the Cross line on my Dad’s side of the family. Along with other Cross researchers, (some of whom are quite surly and rude), I have been trying to find that magical document that connects my Clarissa Cross to her probable mother Serviah (Warner) Cross. No luck so far.
During this search I have been gathering any documents I can find on the surname. In particular I have been focused on Sophia (Rosa) Cross, the eldest sister of my 3x great grandfather Abram Rosa.
Like her father Garrett Rosa, Sophia also married a Cross, Amandor Mandrick Cross to be exact. He is believed to have been her uncle, her mother’s brother. (And with the reputation this family has, I wouldn’t be at all surprised.)
So, while I haven’t found that ‘holy grail’ document, I thought I might share a bit about what I have learned about herself, and her sons George H. and Daniel Wellington Cross, from their Civil War pension application files. Both boys were Union soldiers.
Daniel Wellington Cross
If you will recall, not too long ago I had some interesting research results to share about Daniel regarding his foray into larceny and his stint in prison. All of which happened after he served, pretty much the duration, of the Civil War in Co. I of the 17th Michigan infantry, and later, in Co. C of the 1st Michigan Sharpshooters.
Daniel was only in his first unit for about 6 months, about half of which time he was in the hospital ill. So, in February of 1863 the military discharged him due to this illness.
In April of that same year he signed up again, this time with the Sharpshooters. Unfortunately, I could find no record of his time in this unit, other than he was mustered out at the end of the war on the 28th of July 1865. After looking at the regiment’s timeline during the war I found that Daniel’s unit was involved in several battles that would put him in the same area as my great great grandfather FW John: Weldon Railroad, the mine explosion in Petersburg. Maybe they ran into each other. I hope gramps checked his pockets afterward if they did! If you are interested in a little bit of the regiments history there are a couple of links below you can check out.
We know next to nothing about Daniel’s personal experience in the Civil War, except regarding his health. Thanks to his pension record we know that while serving guard duty at Camp Douglas in Illinois on New Year’s eve 1863/4, his feet were frozen to such a degree that he most likely experienced frostbite. This incident affected his feet for the rest of his life. Below is his mother Sophia’s testimony and a friend or neighbor Darius ____ regarding the matter.
Although Daniel had been married for a short time, (they divorced), there were no children from the marriage, so Daniel died in 1918 without issue.
An interesting note regarding Daniel’s service, he was most likely only 16 or 17 when he signed up in 1862. Maybe his enthusiasm for battle had him running away and lying about his age. There is nothing in the pension papers that gives any sense of Sophia’s feelings regarding the matter, but she must have been frantic with worry with her two eldest sons off to war.
George H.Cross George was born about 1840 in Michgan. The eldest of the Cross boys he has the dubious honor of having died during the war after contracting an illness. Although he did die at home while on leave. According to my quick research, dysentary was the leading cause of death of 2/3rds of the men during the Civil War, and it is most likely that this was the cause of George’s demise. He had also contracted measles earlier in the war but apparently survived that.
Like his brother Daniel, George was also in the war for pretty much the duration. Although he was sick throughout much of his service. He enlisted in Co. I of the 1st Michigan Cavalry and was later tranferred to Co B. When he enlisted he signed with his mark as he was unable to even write his name.
This particular unit was under the command of General Custer and was known as the Michigan Calvary Brigade, Wolverines or Custer’s Brigade. They fought in every major campaign of the Army of the Potomac from the Battle of Gettysburg to the Confederate surrender at Appomattox Court House in 1865. George was unable to be there for the surrender as he had died at home in February of that year. (See below several links regarding some history of this regiment.)
George’s illness made for some interesting reading in his pension record as he was arrested earlier in the war for desertion, an accusation which was later rescinded. He hadn’t informed his superior that an illness prevented his returning to his company after his furlough was over.
George had been captured at Berryville, Virginia in August/September of 1864. His service record indicates that he was confined at Richmond, Virginia, which would mean he was most likely at Libby Prison. Another of those nasty hell-holes they called a prison during the war. By December he had been paroled and was back with his unit. It was shortly thereafter that he was transferred to Co B.
Much of George’s time in the Civil War was spent being ill. The time he spent in a confederate prison made his health worse, a situation which eventually contributed to his death in February of 1865. Like his brother Daniel, George died single and without any issue. But least Daniel had had a chance to make a life for himself, even if the choices he made were very poor ones.
Sophia Rosa Cross
George’s mother Sophia was the person who applied for a pension under her son’s name. She was alone and in need of support. She had been widowed in 1866, her drunkard of a husband, Amander, having died. Below is a statement from George’s pension regarding Amander’s weakness in this regard:
It appears that Amander put little effort into making the farm they owned a viable resource for providing for the family. He had probably been too busy getting drunk.
So. He died in 1866. Sophia’s eldest son died during the war. Daniel was a thief and ex-con, and lazy Frank wasn’t much better. After Amander died Sophia ended up having to sell her land and everything on it to pay the mortgages that were owed on the property. As that only paid the debts, she hired herself out to clean houses and the like to make money to live on. All told, she was in desperate straights. Thankfully, the pension board saw fit to provide a small pension for Sophia. It was nothing to get rich on, but it help a little.
Sophia died in 1901 at about 85 years of age. She had ended up in a facility for the mentally incompetant and had a guardian; dementia or Alzheimer’s is probably what put her there.
Sophia’s legacy regarding her sons is not a pretty one, they were mostly not good folk. I have my suspicions she had some pretty loose morals herself. After all her favorite brother was Joseph, who had been her son Daniel’s partner in crime, literally, and she had had one of her daughters lie in their pension affidavit about her not having married again, because she had, although the marriage didn’t last.
All-in-all a family of many scoundrels. Makes for interesting reading.
And as for George, (whose illness and poor health during the war contributed to abruptly ending any chance of his having a life), he still died honorably in service to his country. Even Daniel, whose later life choices were usually bad, did at least one good thing in his life by serving his country throughout the war. I respect that.
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.)