Thursday, June 28, 2012

Mr. Whiskers, or Not?

Copyright 2012, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

From the April 22, 1896 issue of the Michigan Messenger, published in Adrian, Lenawee County, Michigan:


Cooley is Very Much Alive in Jackson


Brown Palmed Himself off on Mrs. McConnell, of Hudson.

HUDSON, April 18 - - Wm. Cooley, supposed to be the dead convict, Tom Brown, was yesterday afternoon discovered to be very much alive in Jackson prison.

The whole preceeding of sending the remains of Tom Brown alias Quinn to Hudson, upon the supposition that he was 'Whiskers' Cooley, brother of Mrs. Mary E. McConnell, of this city, came about from letters which Quinn or Brown wrote to Mrs. McConnell, addressing her as dear sister.  She responded to the letters, thinking they were from her brother. Quinn's number was 6175.  She now learns that her brother's number is 6195.

When Mrs. Cooley reached Jackson she told the prison authorities that the dead man did not resemble her brother, but befogged by the correspondence, they insisted that he must have changed.  She desired to see the other prisoner who attempted to escape, or to search the prison for her brother, but they would not listen to her.  They now find that the woman was right.  She was persuaded to bring the body home, but no one here could recognize it as 'Whiskers,' and the family disclaimed it.

The discovery came about this afternoon through Cooley's reading in a paper that his sister had been over there after his body.  He went to the warden and told him who he was; that he had a father and two sisters, in Hudson, and a mother and one sister, Fanny Cooley, in Cadillac.  The warden at once phoned to Mrs. McConnell, of Hudson, and she was overjoyed.

The undertakers here have been ordered to ship the body of Quinn or Brown to Ann Arbor. Why Quinn wrote to Mrs. McConnell or how he learned her name remains a mystery.  'Whiskers' does not know anything about the correspondence, and has not received any letters from his sister since he was sent up last fall.  He number being so similar to her brother's, Mrs. McConnell thinks Quinn was working her to intercede for a pardon for him.  She learned at Jackson that Quinn or Brown also corresponded with Sarah W. Quinn, 617 Mullett street, Detroit, and John Quinn, of Detroit, as mother and brother.  When Mrs. McConnell was in doubt about the matter at Jackson prison, she tried to get the warden and clerk to telegraph to them, but they put her off, saying he was her brother."

* * * * * * *

And, as, they say in journalism, here is the rest of the story, the back story.  Note that both of these articles were found in the same newspaper, the same page, in fact, the first directly above the second in the same column.  The back story gives us some additional facts and insight.  What a difference 5 days makes.

* * * * * * *

 From the April 17, 1896 issue of the Jackson Citizen Patriot, Jackson, Jackson County, Michigan:


Convict Brown's Record Was a Very Bad One.

A dispatch from Pontiac says:  Thomas Brown, who was killed Wednesday while attempting to escape from state prison at Jackson, was about the toughest customer the authorities of Oakland county ever had to deal with.  He was arrested August 28 at Ball Mountain, near Pontiac, for burglarizing the house of Truman Decker.  On his way to Pontiac he attempted to escape, but Under Sherriff Belt was too quick for him and succeded in locking him up.  He was ugly while confined here, and needed constant watching.

His trail on the above charge began on September 15, and he was convicted on the 17th.  While in jail awaiting sentence, he, with one Henry Commer, convicted of larceny at Oxford, and William Wesley, convicted of pocket picking at Orion, and both awaiting sentence, conceived the idea of escape, but were caught at it.  The jail authorities discovered on the morning of Septmember 24 a bar in one of the west windows nearly sawed in twain.  A search revealed two saws, 10 inches long and half an inch wide, one in Brown's bed, and one over his cell door.  They also found a bottle of acqua fortis, the stains of which were on the fingers of all three of the above named.

He was sentenced by Judge Joseph B. Moore to seven years at Jackson, despite his plea to be sent to Detroit, where he claimed his mother lived.  The authorities here look upon his attempted escape, and consequent death as natural consequences."

* * * * * * *

"A dispatch from Hudson says:  The convict shot at Jackson Wedneday was William Cooley, otherwise 'Whiskers' Cooley, of Hudson.  Tom Brown and William Quinn were aliases by which he was known in prison.  His father and two married sisters live in Hudson, and his sister, Mrs. Ben McConnell, went over to Jackson Wednesday evening, upon notification of the prison authorities, and returned with the remains Thursday night.

'Whiskers' has long been off his mental balance and of a wandering character.  He was sent to Pontiac 17 years ago for a sensational shooting scrape in the family, and did time in the Adrian jail for stealing a mortgaged horse and buggy.  He was sent up to Jackson.  He was in possession of another stolen rig.  He was generally considered harmless.  His presence in Jackon prison was not known here.  It was concealed by his alias and family."

* * * * * * *

The first article I located while formatting a book for the Lenawee County Family Researchers, the second set of articles, from the Jackson paper, I found online.  Jackson County lies north (and a bit west) of Lenawee County, however, they do have a common border.  Hudson is about 30 miles south of Jackson.

I have not done any additional research to discover the fate of our Mr. Whiskers, William Cooley.

* You can read all about aqua fortis, err nitric acid, on this Encyclopedia Brittannica page.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The 119th Carnival of Genealogy, The 5th Annual Swimsuit Edition!

Copyright 2012, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

Thanks to Jasia of Creative Gene for hosting this 119th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy.

The challenge:

It's time to think of summer and lazy days spent at the pool or beach. Dig out those wonderful swimsuit pictures of days gone by and share them with us!

OK, I was going to let this one quietly slide by, and I have no idea why I changed my mind.  I have some cute photos of my first two sons at the beach at Nags Head North Carolina in 1973.  However, I decided to go with this one of them several years before, taken in Kenitra Morocco in 1971.  

Now ya all know, I just HATE my photo being taken, and this is about the last one you will find of me in a swim suit.  EWWWW.  I am going to close my eyes as I post this "wonderful"  ????  photo.  But, hey, the kiddos are cute!  

If you look real close, you can see me scowling, and, tee hee, I don't believe it is from the bright sun.

*OK, there may be other photos of me in a swimsuit, but they are not linked to my data base, and that should tell you about all that we need to know, cause who links horrible icky looking photos of yourself to your family history data base??  Well, duhhh, not I!  LOL

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tuesday's Tip :: If There are TWO Links, Click Em Both

Copyright 2012, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

If there are two links on a family history web site, both for the same people, same event, same day, same place,


First click:

Second click:

Second click gives ages, places of birth, current addresses and fact that the bride is a divorcee.  Also has what appear to be the bride and groom's signatures.  There is occupation information too, not sure what his is, something else to work on in my spare time!  LOL

Yepper:  CLICK EM BOTH!!

* Images courtesy of

** By the way, if there are MORE than two links, click on ALL of them!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Once Upon A Time, A Place Called Bimo

Copyright 2012, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

Once upon a time, a few years back, when Man and I first moved to Lenawee I found the history of the county, and the interest in the history of the county to be addicting.  Lenawee is truly blessed and has several old county histories, some great historical rooms in their libraries to research in and many residents interested in preserving that history.

Some how, I became enthralled with place names of Lenawee, and then was born a little piece I called, "There Was a Place Called WHAT??? in Lenawee County Michigan".

It was a hoot to research and I spent a lot of wonderful fun filled and now and then, laughter filled, hours working on it.  I had the curator of the Lenawee County Historical Society proof read it for me, which was rather nerve wracking.  He knew so much about the county, and here I was a new resident going on and on about Lenawee.  I actually received a favorable review from him, although he questioned one of my findings, a place with the same name as Man and I use as our surname. But, really, I found it written up.

One of the other small places (so many of these no longer exist) was called Bimo,  here is what I wrote about Bimo:

"BIMO:  A station on the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad, the first postmaster was Frazey S. Johnson opening his office on November 23, 1896 .  The office closed December 31, 1903. The 1921 Atlas and Plat map, shows Bimo just west of Weston.  Postal History of Lenawee County, found at the Lenawee County Historical Society Museum Archives, tells us that Bimo is a “farmer’s postoffice” in Seneca Township, 16 miles southwest of Adrian and 3.5 miles from Weston.  The 1901 Polk Michigan State Gazetteer has 2 businesses listed for Bimo: M. E. Capron, cheese factory and R. A. Lason, railroad agent."

Recently while formatting another book, I found a news paper article about the naming of Bimo, shoot, wish I had seen this years ago.  Note: obviously some of this clipping was damaged before it was microfilmed.

Source of this article is the December 26, 1896 issue of the Adrian Daily Telegram, published at Adrian, Lenawee County, Michigan.

Wm. Haywood picked a swell name, but time was not kind, and it disappeared off the local landscape in 1903.

Oh, so, did our namesake place in Lenawee.  It WAS there, and I even have the map to prove it! See.  (Oh, and Bimo is there too.)

Once upon a time, there was a place called Bimo and - - - - - -.

*  Map courtesy of the Lenawee County Historical Society, ca 1909- 1910 map of Michigan by Cram & Polk.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Geo-Caching, With the Grand Twins, Day Three

Copyright 2012, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

So, where we were, oh, yes, we were somewhere in SE Michigan with HOT HOT HOT weather.  We did not leave the house until later in the afternoon, and then, we only went to the State Park near by.  I had read and studied the caches over there, and in my mind we had little business trying to find them, the party that hid them and wrote them up must be a survivalist.  Geessh.  On one there were notes that you would most likely have to walk the plank, err, logs, to get to the cache.  Another, it became very obvious very quickly that you best have a kayak, or be prepared to trudge through some serious water.  I tried to talk Man out of even trying for a cache at the park, but, he thought he found one that he thought sounded obtainable.  So, we parked by this very pretty little fishing lake (boats allowed, not sure motors are), and we went searching.

We ended up in a very heavily wooded area (no, I did not take any photos), the GPS said we were right on, not even 3 foot away.  That GPS said ZERO foot away. There was no cache to be seen.  We were also tromping around in poison ivy, the mom and gramma in me groaned.  Man got a dead limb/stick off the ground and used it to prod and lift foliage and look, he looked about 6 to 10 foot in any direction from the 0 mark.


The girls got discouraged, we were getting hot and sticky.  Time to high tail it out of there.  Back at Jolly we used drinking water and water less hand cleaner and more water to rinse off our legs where we thought maybe that ole poison ivy had rubbed up on our legs, cause, mmmm, ya, we were all wearing SHORTS!

Next: off to the beach, where the girls swam for some time, maybe 2 hours, they got some exercise, and we sat on the beach where it was not too hot for the first time in a couple of days, it always is cooler at the beach!  AHHHHHHH.

After their nice long swim we headed back to the house, had salads for dinner, showers and before we knew it, it was the end of the day.

The next morning, we had breakfast, Man and the girls played Clue, then lunch, and then the parents came to pick the ladies up and they were off and our house was quiet once more.

We have plans to have them come at least once more this summer, maybe twice. We are praying for cooler weather, I have several caches lines up that will be terrific and doable, and I found several that were written and placed by the fellow that did that first one, the cemetery one, that the twins loved.

We will live to cache again, and, oh, so far, no poison ivy itching by any of us!



Thursday, June 21, 2012

Geo-Caching, With the Grand Twins, Day Two

Copyright 2012, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

If possible, and of course, it is and was, the HOT weather was HOTTER today.  We have plans to visit with some of our RVing friends, Shirley and David, down at Lake Erie.  The girls have never been there, so, they get to experience a new place, good stuff.

We had hoped to do some geo-caching along the way, found a cache in downtown Monroe Michigan, but, well, nature called upon one of us, and we had to forego the capture.  Instead we found a Mickeydees and ate and stuff.  Then, on to Sterling State Park where our friends were camped and where there are a number of caches and of course, swimming in Lake Erie.

We enjoyed our short visit with Shirley and David, as we always do, the girls said the water was not tooooooo cold.  Then it was "see if we can find the caches" time.

First cache, FAIL, we could not get close enough, and we passed the suggested parking spot, so we abandoned the search and started looking for another.  Personally I was not disappointed as one of the hints on this one was something about boulder climbing.  GULP.

Second cache, FAIL, found one parking spot, but, were not sure it was close enough either or even if it was the correct place, and it was HOT, so, we decided to try another approach to this cache.  It can be approached from several different start points. I put the GPS coordinates in the GPS unit we use in Jolly, I say to Man, just do what it says.  So, it takes us south on I 75, 2 exits, about 2 miles.  Then it takes us north (YES NORTH) on I 75, about 1 mile and then, without exiting the freeway, it announces we should go OFF ROAD.  OKK, however, we were on top of a bridge when the GPS announced we should be going off road.  Nope, not going off road from this point.  This cache was also abandoned.

I will say this, I was getting a lot of practice finding caches while rolling and discovered a few new tricks to using the web site and maps and such on the tablet.

So, Man says, forget this, find a cache on the way home, Dundee sounds about right.  OKKK Man, let's see what I can find.

Ta da!  One right behind Cabellas.  We know where that is, it is RIGHT on the way home.  Over 1,400 others have found this cache, if they can, we can.

And, we did.  The short walk in:

The hidden cache (it was behind that tree in the photo above):

And, inside, swag and fun stuff.  We have not taken any swag from caches, nor left any, we are happy just to find the cache.

So, one successful find, and Man says, find another along the way home.  OKKK, I am starting to get a bit brain dead tired from all this learning curve AND the heat and well, my Demon was starting to tank, but, I did manage to find another cache just a block off the route and Man found it.   On the photo look for words, typed in red,  "look left".  Yep, they are that hard to see sometimes.

And, here it is:

Enough with the caching in this heat, bring on the pizza!!


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Geo-Caching, With the Grand Twins, Day One

Copyright 2012, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

It is HOT this week in SE Michigan.  HOT HOT HOT.  But, we are doing a spot of caching anyway.  The girls have decided they like the caches that are written with lots of clues, a photo or two, and not hidden in light poles, the best.  Of course, the first cache we went for was the best of the day, maybe of several days!  LOL  Here they are walking from our parking spot to where the GPS said to start, way up at the other end of the cemetery, of course.

This really was a FUN cache, the GPS reading was for the front gate, NOT the actual cache, but, there was this great photo of the backs of some stones that really solved it for us.  The photo had on the side a bit of foliage showing, which also helped us find the correct area.  The hints had the family names to the north, south, east and west of the cache hiding place.  It was very cleverly written and hidden.  This was no park and grab cache, we had to use our observational skills, we all were involved, a great cache, no doubt about it.

Our next cache was a light pole one:

They found this one fairly easily, good hints.  And, inside:

We found another one in a light pole, the hint was something about LIFTING.  They figured that one out quickly too, and thank goodness, cause it started to rain and within just a few minutes it was a deluge.  Photos not worth sharing.

Just before we came home for the day, we let them try to find a cache we had previously discovered, and, again, it did not take them long.  (Give away hint, it was under that bottom plate of the light pole, the cache container has a magnet on it.  And, yes, we had them stay FAR away from those electric wires.)

Of course, their enjoyment of the first fun well written cache sent me to the net for a hunk of time to see if I could discover some more fun ones and not all poles!  LOL  The next day we will go over to Monroe, but, the heat would cook us in more ways than one - -


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

GPS And The Old Leaky Memories.

Copyright 2012, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

Ah, the minds of ole folks.

Weeks ago, Man purchases new GPS to play geo-caching. It comes of course, with cords!  GROAN

I mark said cords, with abbreviations, cause, they are small and I don't have a lot of room to write on.

Hand all back to Man, who puts stuff - - places.

Cut to about 10 days ago, he hands me a cord, marked, HHGPS, and asks, where did this come from and what does it go to?

Like I am gonna remember the abbreviation??  The GPS makes sense, we have several of those.  The HH makes NO SENSE.

I hand it from a cupboard door and look at it several times a day, shaking my head, not remembering - -

This AM, he wants to download stuff to the new HAND HELD GPS, but, cannot find the cord.

DUH, how bout that cord you gave me 10 days ago, I suggest to Man.

Yepper, he is happy.

I still cannot remember what HH stands for, but, am fussing with my own issues, so, it rolls off my active thought processes.

Man fusses with the GPS and the Geocaching web site, gets directions for GPS out, finally realizes he is not signed in on the Geocaching site(yep, it is that kinda morning).

After he gets past all that, major learning curve stuff, gets some caches downloaded, etc., we figure out - -

HHGPS = Hand Held GPS.


* You can see the HHGPS, here, and no, that does not seem to be the current price.  We paid a lot less, shop that A store, if you are interested.

** Learn all about Geocaching here.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

"Oh, Be Joyful", It's Not What You Think

Copyright 2012, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

Found in the April 22, 1896 issue of the Michigan Messenger, published at Adrian, Lenawee County, Michigan:

"It is reported that Doe Mulligan and Bert Butts were arrested for breaking open a car on the the C. J. & M. side tracks and stealing a barrel of  'Oh, Be Joyful'.

Well, I had never heard that term before, my curiosity was aroused, and I had my suspicions so, I went on a bit of a net search.

"Making distilled spirits isn't a new idea to New Hampshire. As early as the 1600s, the English colonists along the coast learned to make distilled brandy from fermented Indian corn. Local New Hampshire farmers of the 18th and early 19th centuries made their own "brandies" and spirits to sell locally. One farmer, Thomas Walker, Jr., of Thornton, New Hampshire, operated a distillery as well as a lumber business and farm until the1820s, and made a brandy from potatoes and apples called "Oh, Be Joyful." ..."

You can read more at:

I also found hits for music, whitewater, a civil war song, a band, at least one church, lots of neat things in Colorado, a gallery.  I even found a campground!  No kidding!  But, me thinks if you have a barrel of Oh, Be Joyful, you have something other than music and art.  So, I tweaked the search terms to include, "slang".  Ya, now, we're talking, the site, Old West Slang, defines it thus:

Oh-be-joyful - Liquor, beer, intoxicating spirits. "Give me another snort of that oh-be-joyful."

And, that dear readers is my history/slang lesson for the day.

* Graphic courtesy of

Thursday, June 14, 2012

George H. Webster, Who’s Your Daddy? Part 2

Copyright 2012, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

My last post covered a "time line" of sorts of Henry David and his brother John Wesley Webster, a tour of the 1860 to 1910 census.

Now, let's review Henry and John's obituaries and their family groups.


I have copies of Henry David’s obituary and John Wesley’s obituary.  There is no publication data on either.  I also have a short death notice/obituary on John, for which I do have the publication data.

Henry David’s obituary states he is survived by, three children, Mrs. J. T. Bowles of DeKalb Illinois; George Webster, Chicago; and E. H. Webster of “this city”.    I believe “this city” is in Lee County Illinois where I find E. H. (Ernest) living in the 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930 census.  Henry is also survived by 7 grandchildren: Hazel, Persis and John Webster of Chicago; Marjorie Bowles, DeKalb and Clara, Charles and William Webster of “this city”.

John has two obituaries, one (the short version) claims he is the “fond father” of Mrs. Lettie Lashbrook of Minneapolis, Minn., Mrs. Carrie Bullock and Geo. H. Webster. The second obituary (the long chatty version) claims John has two adopted daughters.  One is clearly Mrs. Carrie Bullock, the other daughter’s name is MIA on my copy of this obituary, but states she lived in Minneapolis.  This second obituary states John is also survived by George H. Webster, of Chicago; Ernest Webster, of Dixon, Ill.; Frank Webster of Vesper, Kansas, who are nephews and a niece; Mrs. J. T. Bowles, of DeKalb, Ill.  I have identified all the players, err, nephews, except for Frank.  

(I have come to the realization in all this review and writing, and more review, that I originally misread this obituary.  I did not pick up on the verbiage about George H. being a nephew.  I had been told by family members that George was ‘adopted’ by John and Lorinda, as was Lettie or Letta Clifford Lashbrook. Upon typing and careful slow re-reading of this obituary several times, I now realize that this second obituary does not claim George H. is a son, or an adopted son, but rather a nephew, to which I say, BINGO!!)


From the diggin’ and searching and comparing and the burning of a few brain cells, these are the children and grandchildren for Henry David, and his wife Josephine.

1.)  Clara, born ca 1855-56, she marries John T. Bowles, and has a daughter Marjorie.

2.)  Ellen, born ca 1857, who dies young and is buried in Floyd County Iowa.

3.)  George, born ca 1861, who I believe marries twice, oh, ya, just to keep things interesting.  First he marries one Caroline Fluent, with whom he has 2 daughters, Lynne and Marion.  I know very little about them, and my source for what I do have is a web page with memories of a granddaughter of George and Caroline.  I believe that some of the memories are somewhat inaccurate, but, the basic story makes sense with all the other research I have done.  Some of the statements I have not been able to substantiate, and I believe that this granddaughter has slightly confused some of the actors in our little family play.  What I do know is that Caroline died in 1888 and is buried in Floyd County Iowa.

In 1893 I find a marriage record for a George H. Webster and Mrs. Ida M. Pabst, who I believe to be Ida M. Bemis (you surely remember that surname, it is Lorinda’s maiden name).  Census records, as well as marriage and death records and indexes provide us with 3 children for George and Ida, Hazel, Persis and John W. Webster.

There is a George H. Webster buried in Floyd County Iowa who died in 1938, I have several hints that lead me to believe this could be our George.  I have not been able to discover where he died.

4.)  Ernest H., mentioned in Henry’s obituary as son, according to the 1900 census has a wife, Anna and 3 children, Clara, Charles and William.

Children or adopted children of John Wesley and Lorinda Bemis Webster:

1.)  Letti Clifford, aka, Letta Clifford Lashbrook.  Referred to as adopted daughter, and our family tradition is that she was indeed adopted by John and Lorinda.

2.)  George H. Webster, who I believe to be one and the same as above, the natural born son of Henry D and wife Josephine.  Our family tradition had said George was also adopted by John and Lorinda and we do find him on the 1870 and 1880 census reports living in their household.

3.)  Carrie, who will marry William Bullock and have 3 children: Ellen, Letta Lillian and Carrie.  No family tradition or stories about Carrie have come down to us.


I have not included all the tidbits I have picked up the last few days in my research.  There are holes in this research.  Some information I would love to have that would help fill in the holes has not been found online, yet.  It may or may not ever be there.  I have some ideas for future research trips.  I need some obituaries for others in this clan, maybe they will help, maybe they will not, I would still like to have them.  I have found at least 2 family trees online at Ancestry that have some intriguing goodies, photos and the such.  I have not contacted the owners of said trees.  Those trees have a number of holes, where I have information.  I am thinking about that.


The challenge here was to see if I could discover TWO George H. Websters, born between 1859 and 1862 one living with Henry David Webster AND one living with John Wesley Webster on the same census.  So, were there two Georges for the 1870 and the 1880 census enumerations?  Short answer, not that I found.

Born about 1861, George is not found on the 1860 census with Henry and Josephine.  That said, the 1900 census claims he was born in October of 1859.  Yikes!

1870 George is enumerated with John Wesley and Lorinda Bemis Webster, as is Man's ancestor, Letta Clifford.

1880 George is enumerated with John Wesley and Lorinda Bemis Webster

1885 George is enumerated with his first wife, Carrie.

1900 George is enumerated in Chicago with wife Ida and three daughters, Minnie Webster (who I believe is Ida's daughter, age 13;  Hazel Webster, age 5; Persis Webster, age 2.

1910 George is enumerated in Chicago with wife Ida, Hazel (horribly misspelled on the index at Ancestry, but correctly at FamilySearch), Persis and son John W.  In 1910 George and Ida have 3 children, Hazel, Persis and John W. Webster.

1920, I cannot find George in this census, anywhere, but, Ida is still in Chicago and her son John W. is living with her.

1930, I have not found George on the 1930 census either, but, Ida is still in Chicago, this time her married daughter Hazel is living with her (as well as Hazel’s hubby and 2 of their children).

I have some suspicions about where George was during the 1920 and 1930 census.  My theory/suspicions come from that web page, that I mentioned earlier, the memories of a granddaughter.  She mentions that he traveled extensively in North and South America.  That could easily explain why I did not find him enumerated with his wife, Ida.  I can see tracing down that story could be quite interesting.


My tangent research has ended for the time being.  I will do some additional input and note making.  I may contact some of those other researchers.  At this point I feel reasonably comfortable with the lineage as I have outlined it.  Writing down all the findings, sorting through, has helped me organize all those census reports, marriage and death records.  I remembered what it is like to have 10 to 15 net tabs open at the same time, checking this data base and that.  It was a nice break from book projects.  I have some items to add to my to do list.

It has been fun, not sure you all are one bit interested, but, I have had an exhausting, exhilarating, and fun week.

I believe the wild idea/thought I had the other night about George H. being the son of Henry David Webster and the "adopted" son of John Wesley Webster is correct.

This photo has been seen before here at Reflections, on July 23, 2009 on a post titled, A photo brick wall, Clifford-Webster style.  At that time I suspected they were the Websters and Letty Clifford.  I believe that even more so now.  Therefore, I suggest the following identifications:   Seated:  Lorinda Bemis Webster and John Wesley Webster.  Standing, Letta Clifford and George H. Webster.

And, here, is the photo that was published in the long obituary of John Wesley Webster in 1913, publication data unknown.

So, George H. Webster, who is your daddy??  In my opinion at this point in the research process, both Henry David Webster and John Wesley Webster of course.  Brothers raising one son, family ties, ties that bind.

* And that is the lineage as I find it with the current research, the current status quo.  In the future, with additional research and information I may prove myself wrong.  Would not be the first time, nor will it be the last.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

George H. Webster, Who’s Your Daddy? Part 1

Copyright 2012, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

(As I wrote this long review on George, I realized that I had mis-read part of the obituary of John Wesley Webster. Bad - - and good. Bad, obvious, mis-reading or misunderstanding is just not a good thing. Good, well, it made me stay up late and do a lot of research and I found some new stuff and, ya, I had some frustrating fun too! And, so, with that confession of my “ooops”, onward - -)

Here is where this saga stands at the moment, and even though I have been obsessed with the search for several nights (and days) now, I find for many reasons, I need to just record what I think I know and move on for the time being. I have reviewed and snooped and I am exhausted from the efforts, and no, I will not profess this is an exhaustive search.  George, despite this last few days, is NOT a strong contender of the focus of my research, and I must let it rest, at least for now. A revisit in a year or so is not out of the possibilities, by then, more records will become available online, or I hope I will be in a research library where I can access records not available online and I can do some digging there.

So, here is how I think it plays out. Up front, some of this knowledge comes from online family trees at, some from research done by others and published in books, and I only have portions of those books. I have tried to verify some of this information in the past and currently via the net. This is a working draft. I may prove or disprove some parts or all of this later. I feel I am close on this, that said, there are too many holes and missing proofs to be totally comfortable with it.

Henry David Webster and John Wesley Webster are brothers, sons of David Webster and his wife Betsey Blake. Both Henry and John find themselves living in Floyd County Iowa in the 1860 to 1880 time frame.


Henry and his wife Josephine are enumerated on the 1860 census of Floyd County, Iowa with 2 daughters, Clara and Ellen.

In 1860 John is living with his parents, David and Betsey, in Beloit, Rock County, Wisconsin.


In 1870, Henry is living in Floyd County Iowa, but, Josephine, Clara and Ellen are not found on the census. As a matter of fact, Ellen (Ella) is found buried in Floyd County, having died in 1864.

In 1870 John W. and his wife Lorinda Bemis Webster are living in Floyd County. Also in the house hold are: John’s father, David; Georgie or Georgette or George H. Webster; Litta Clifford and 3 individuals with the surname Bemis, actually some horrible form of Bemis.  (Below is image of part of the 1870 enumeration.)


Henry has not been found enumerated on the 1880 census, but, we do find H. D. Webster, with wife Josephine and son Ernest enumerated on the 1885 Nebraska state census living in Brown County. The ages and birth places match well with what I know about the family. Son George is found on the 1885 census of Iowa, as a young married man. This is the last sighting of Josephine I have found.

John W. is enumerated on the 1880 census of Plano, Kendall, Illinois. In the household are his wife, Lorinda; and George Webster, SON, 19; Carrie Webster, DAUGHTER, 8; David Webster (John’s father), 81; 7 others, whose names mean nothing to me at this time, shown as boarders; and one Earnest Webster, aged 17, listed as a boarder, but whom I believe is the son of Henry David, therefore a nephew of John W.


Henry has not been found on the 1900 census.

John is found on the 1900 census of Chicago, Cook County, Illinois. Others in the household are his wife Lorinda and a fellow who is claimed as a cousin (probably the Henry Bemis in the 1910 census, see below).


John is found on the 1910 census of Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, in the household is his wife Lorinda and Henry Bemis, a cousin.


Henry David dies in 1909 in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, John Wesley dies there in 1913.  I have death records for both.

I have traced a number of the “grandchildren”, adopted or otherwise, well past the death dates of 1909 and 1913.  I found them in census and found some marriage and some death records for the grandchildren.  These findings assisted in furthering the searches on the grandparents and on our George H., allowing me to get this far. The searches are not complete by any means.

Part 2 will discuss the obituaries of Henry David and John Wesley Webster and give rough outlines of their family groups.


Monday, June 11, 2012

Monday Moaning, The Exhaustive, Err, Exhausting Search, OR, There Is a Storm Brewing

Copyright 2012, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

Warning, Do Not Attempt to read this post without a freshly brewed pot of coffee, or your choice of caffeine, lots of caffeine.       

Recently, I decided to input one of Man's ancestor's adoptive parents.  The father of this adoptive family has an interesting connection to Noah, no make that Daniel, Webster.  More on that sometime in the future.

While I was doing the input, I decided I would like to learn more about the adoptive siblings.  It seems that these adoptive parents adopted more than one child, and there is what appears to be one natural born child too.  'Appears to be' is the thing that got me exhausted last night (well, kept me up well past when I should have gone off to zzz land anyway).

Let's see if I can unwind some of this now that I am supposedly more rested.  Somehow, I doubt I will, but, here goes anyway - -

We have John and Lorinda, parents that adopt Man's ancestor.  I have two obituaries for John, one is more like a death notice, short and to the point, and names Man's ancestor and two others.  John is referred to as "fond father". No mention of adoptions here.

I have a partial copy of a second obituary, a very long, chatty piece, from a newspaper believed to be the Lake View Times and News from the Chicago Illinois area.  I have this copy due to the kindness of one of Man's distant cousins.  She shared with me years ago, and has since passed.   She shared much and I cannot be more thankful.

There is just one small little issue with the copy, (one issue other than I have no publication information, sigh) there are lines missing on my photocopy.  Some look like someone cut the article on the wrong line, other parts look like they are seriously worn.  Of course, one of the seriously worn sections is the section that covers the survivors.  I can read the home town of one of the "adopted children", and it is that of Man's ancestor, but I cannot read the name.  I can read most of the name of the second adopted child.  Then there is a bunch more stuff that is lost.  We pick up with, "of the surviving relatives are:  George H. Webster.

And, it is George that is providing me with a very interesting search and causing me to stay up late at night, which of course, causes me to loose sleep.

I am having all kinds of trouble searching George.  I have George on the 1870 census in Iowa with John and Lorinda, and Man's ancestor.  George is found on the 1880 census with John and Lorinda, Man's ancestor has married by then and is living elsewhere.  I have 'A' George on the 1900 and 1910 census, in Chicago with his wife and children. (I say 'A' George, because, well, keep reading - - ) I cannot find him in the 1920 census, I do find his wife in that year.  I cannot find a death date, via indexes or whatever other means available.  Have not found an obituary in the sources I have available from my desk and the internet.  Have not found, well, maybe found, a burial place.

Ah, yes, it is confusing and muddled.  Made all the more so last night when I realized that John, you know, the father in this family group, has a brother, Henry David Webster.  John and Henry lived in Floyd County Iowa at the same time.  I have some old family histories that indicate that Henry David married a Josephine.  I found Henry, Josephine and two daughters on the 1860 census in Floyd County Iowa.  1870 Josephine is not to be found, I suspect she has died, as did one of the daughters.

I find family trees online that show that there is a George H. Webster connected to this Henry David Webster.  So, I charge off looking for something that would substantiate this connection.  This family tree also shows a George buried in, yes, Floyd County Iowa.

The phrase, ahhhhh, the tangled webs we weave, is resounding in my brain, screaming in my brain.  Another thought is that this is a huge storm brewing in my brain matter!

I look at a lot of data bases, I charge here and there on the net, I do a lot of screen captures, I charge around some more.  I continue to come up with lots of dead ends (pun intended) when it comes to George H.  I can barely find ONE George H. and surely not two, the reported birth years of the George, son of John, and George, son of Henry, are extremely close, the birthplaces the same.  ARGHHH!!

If you are confused, you should be, it is allowed.  This is what happens when you are using old published family histories and family trees online to give hints on where to look.  This might be a lesson in how NOT to research your family!  LOL

And, then, in my state of exhaustion, my befuddled state of mind, a creative (??) light turns on and I wonder, did Henry David's wife die, and did John, his brother, adopt any children Henry had??  OH MY.  They were living in the same county, Floyd County Iowa, at the same time.  Could this be why it appears there are two Georges but, there really is only one??

I know, what a crazy thought, just one George??

See I also have the obituary for Henry David, aka H. D. Webster, who, it seems, died in Chicago, as did John Webster.  Just so happens that the year Henry died there are images of the certs online, I go, I find, I study, and discover that Henry was living with John at the time. Hmmm, that's interesting.  Henry's obituary states that he has a son, "George Webster, Chicago, who is now in Cuba..."  (No, I have not investigated that yet, but, it does sound pretty intriguing, eh??)

So, both Henry and John are living in Chicago.  Both die there.  Both men's obituaries claim they have a son George from Chicago.  I can only find evidence SO FAR, of one George.

Oh, you can believe this, I will be looking at this again, in detail.  Exhausting and what may be exhaustive research will be the only thing that clears this up, one George, or two.  And, all from the desire to input Man's ancestor's adoptive parents on my data base.  A simple thought, turned exhaustive - -

There's a storm brewing:

* Oh, and just to toss in a bit more fun, George's wife's maiden name might be Bemis.  John's wife's maiden name, is, but of course, Bemis.  More chasing is indicated.  Oh, and while writing this post, I found on the index of Illinois marriages before 1901. a George H. Webster, marrying in Cook County Illinois in 1893 to one Ida M. Pabst. Oh, yea, now that is what I need, ONE more name to chase - -

** So, of course, I chased it right over to FamilySearch, where I indeed found an image of that marriage license, and lookie here, MRS!

Moaning on a Monday Morn - - - More coffee please, better make that a LOT of coffee.

***Graphic of my mind set, errr, the storm, courtesy of Dan Hortons site.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Grasshopper Hoppeth

Copyright 2012, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

One hundred sixteen years ago, to the day:

From the June 6, 1896 issue of the Michigan Messenger published at Adrian, Lenawee County, Michigan:

"Monroe Democrat:  The Grasshopper hoppeth in after the cyclone and announceth his intention to become a burden in Lenawee and Monroe counties; but the grasshopper is not a good prophet or he would know that in a wet season the red parasite assaileth him most and the rain giveth his flippers the Rheumatism and behold the turkey gobbleth him easily."

And, so the grasshopper hoppeth - -

Or the turkey gobbleth - -

* Graphics courtesy of

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tuesday's Tip :: Not Just Genie

Copyright 2012, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

Man's mother came up with this one sometime in the last year of her life.  We thought it was very clever of her, as she was legally blind.  Keep the rings or earrings (really works great for the earrings!)  separated and the container is easily obtainable, light weight, snug locks, reasonable size.  They might even be stackable if you purchased all the same kinds, something to consider if you purchase new.

Would be great for RVers, researchers, and anyone who loves earrings and rings.  Would pack great for a vacation and can be used for every day life in a rig or in a stickbuilt.

No tangles, no misplaced earrings (huge issue for me, I am horrible about earrings, take em off and lay em down, one time I even threw a brand new pair in the garbage with paper that was on my desk).

I would just have to remember to take the earrings off and actually PLACE them in the pill box!  LOL


Monday, June 4, 2012

Monday Moaning, Economy Improving?

Copyright 2012, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

As a volunteer and the gal that monitors the email account for our local genie club I have noted something interesting lately.

For the last several years (during some hard economic times) we received very few inquiries via the email account.  One year I did not field even 1 email a month.  Seriously.  I was somewhat surprised by that actually, as when times are hard, who would not be interested in a limited offer of free lookups??

Lately, and I am not sure why, we are receiving a good number of requests.   In the last 2 months, we are receiving 2 to 5 a week.  Quite the increase.

Is it a sign that economic times are better and that researchers now have some free time to think of things other than the next pay check??

Maybe our web presence is just better??  I did move our web pages last fall to a Weebly set up.

Not sure why, but, all of a sudden our email box is rather full.

*  Weebly is a web hosting site, free.  I use them for several sites, that is the endorsement.  They do not ask me to use their service, do not ask me to chat about them and don't give me anything to do so.  That's the disclaimer stuff.

** Graphic courtesy of

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Hey Lenawee, Your Circus Performer, Anson Babcock, Who Knew?

Copyright 2012, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

There are days that I just love my volunteer job of formatting and editing books for the Lenawee County Family Researchers, this find rates as a fun and interesting benefit.  The first two extractions were found in the current book I am working on and trying to finish.  They are many pages apart in the book, but the first one tweaked my interest immediately.  I even spent some time snooping around for Anson, but, to no avail, as the first article has his name typed as Anse.  Then, I found the second article, the notice of his death, and I was off on a little research tangent.

From the May 20, 1896 issue of the Michigan Messenger published at Adrian, Lenawee County, Michigan:

"After an absense of ten years, the noted circus rider, Anse Babcock has returned to Morenci from South America."

From the December 30, 1896 issue of the Michigan Messenger published at Adrian, Lenawee County, Michigan:

"Anson Babcock, a noted circus rider, died in his rooms in Morenci, Wednesday, Dec. 23rd.  He was 47 years of age and commenced work with Stowe Bros. in 1865.  His wife, now with a "Trilby' Company in Kentucky, and a daughter,  Mrs. V. W. Whitney, of Morenci, survive."

From the  December 26, 1896, issue of the Adrian Daily Telegram published at Adrian, Lenawee County, Michigan, I found another report of Anson's death:

Next, I just had to know what his death certificate said, from, sure enough it says he was a circus performer.  I think that is the first time I have seen that occupation on a death record.

Michigan, Deaths, 1867-1897
name: Anson Babcock
death date: 24 Dec 1896
death place: Morenci, Lenawee, Michigan
gender: Male
death age: 47 years 9 months
estimated birth date: 1849
birthplace: Michigan
marital status: Married
father's name: Wm. Babcock
mother's name: Marian Babcock
occupation: Circus Performer
film number: 2363835
digital folder number: 4208790
image number: 828
reference number: p 154 rn 4672

The images for the death record appear on two pages at, the first is here, the second, here. Cause of death is listed as paralysis.

Continuing my web searching I found this at the Circus Historical Society page:

"VAN ZANDT, A. D. [r. n. Anson Babcock]. (1849-December 23, 1896) Began career as an acrobat at age 17. For 12 years, traveled with his brother as the Van Zandt Brothers, connected with John Stowe & Sons, 1868, 1871; G. G. Grady’s, 1869; Stowe & Orton, 1870; W. W. Cole’s, 1871-83; Great Transatlantic Allied Shows, 1879; Stickney’s Imperial Parisian Circus, 1880. 1877, he began riding and became a proficient bareback jockey. South America, 1886, with Dockrill’s; remained there until May 1896. Died at the home of his daughter, Morenci, MI."

Back to the search engines, I found this image, dated 1874 at the Library of Congress web site, sourcing information follows at end of this post.  This rendition would have been done about 3 years before Anson starting bareback riding, so, there is little chance it is Anson, but, how cool is this?

In one last search I went to the Lenawee County Family Researchers work, "Burial Records of Lenawee County, Michigan, Volume 1 : Seneca Township" to see if Anson's burial was noted, and sure enough, it was, in the Oak Grove Cemetery in Morenci.  I was rather surprised to see his parents buried in the same lot (#443).  I have no idea who the others buried in this lot are:

Yes, indeedy, some days my volunteer duties certainly provide some interesting little tidbits.  And, now, I must get back to finishing this book, almost there,    A*L*M*O*S*T!!

*  Sourcing information on the graphic:

Title: The two-horse act
Date Created/Published: c1874.
Medium: 1 print : lithograph, hand-colored.
Summary: Photograph shows a male bareback rider on two horses balancing his female partner on his right leg.
Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-pga-03752 (digital file from original print) LC-USZC4-13574 (color film copy transparency) LC-USZ62-1147 (b&w film copy neg.)
Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.
Call Number: PGA - Gibson--Two-horse act (C size) [P&P]
Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
E4328 U.S. Copyright Office.
Title from item.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Checkers By Correspondence

Copyright 2012, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

From the February 15, 1896 issue of the Michigan Messenger, published in Adrian, Lenawee County, Michigan:

The checker contest between Harry Wonder and L. F. Cole of Hillsdale, which has been going on for sometime, has ended in a draw.  Each has won two games and two draws.  The contest was carried on entirely by correspondence.

*Graphic thanks to