From my paternal Johnsons to my maternal Johnson line…

Sarah Suffling JohnsonI’ve spent quite a bit of time on my Michigan Johnsons in the past so now I’m working my way back out of the country. Sarah Suffling was the wife of #5 Richard Johnson and the mother of my 3rd Great Grandfather, William Suffling Johnson. She was the eldest daughter and the second of at least seven children born to William and Elizabeth (Pegg) Suffling. She was born in March of 1801 and christened on March 22nd in Lessingham, Norfolk, England. I have no concrete information about her life up until her marriage but from October of 1827 she built a life with Richard Johnson first in Horsey-Next-the-Sea and then in America.

Sarah was the mother of at least four children starting with my William in 1830. As I mentioned in the post on Richard, he supported the family as a husbandman, laborer and fisherman. William and his next brother, Matthew, immigrated to the United States around 1848 and the rest of the family, as well as a number of Sarah’s siblings, made the journey across the Atlantic. By the time of the 1855 New York Census Richard and Sarah had settled in Carlton, in Orleans County where the family farmed.

After Richard died in 1874 Sarah could be found visiting the households of her children. During the 1880 Federal Census she was living in Kent County, Michigan as part of William’s household.  She died in May of 1889—making this year the 125th Anniversary of her death—in Gaines Township, Orleans County. She is buried beside her husband in Otter Creek Cemetery.

This photo was passed to me by a generous cousin and fellow Johnson researcher.

Happy hunting!

Jess

Johnson 2000

Man you looked like a kid! My cousin who is celebrating a birthday this week and his eldest child. They’re lounging on top of his much younger stepbrother. (Sorry, Jack!)

Happy hunting,

Jess

Harrison Trotter SS AplicationI have mentioned my 2nd Great Grandmother, Josephine Johnson Trotter a few times as Harrison’s mother or Sam Trotter’s first wife but she, like her husband, is a bit of a mystery to me. My first knowledge of her was from family gatherings and reunions. The Trotters gather as the descendants of Sam and Josie Trotter but until I tracked down my grandfather’s Social Security application from 1942 when he named his parents I hadn’t seen her maiden name. I have since been able to track down a transcription of her and my 2nd Great Grandfather’s wedding license in Ashley County, Arkansas records from December of 1880. My one additional find has been a transcript of her testimony at the Coroner’s inquisition at the death of Joe Lawson in 1883. She, like her husband, just seems to have fallen through the cracks. I’m hoping that there is more out there on both of them—though I’m resigned to the fact that I’m probably going to need to head to Arkansas and find it.

Happy hunting!

Jess

Roseanne Lee Trotter JohnsonSaturday, March 1st, will mark the 102 anniversary of the birth of my Great Aunt Roseanna Lee Trotter Johnson. She was born in 1912 in Bradley County, Arkansas and married Leroy Johnson in 1932. This photo was one shared with my father prior to a recent Trotter family reunion.

Happy hunting,

Jess

P.S. Sharp-eyed Bradley County researchers, check out the picture in the upper left-hand corner. I swear I’ve seen that posted somewhere. It’s not something I’ve found in my collection.

Since I’ve already spent a great deal of time on my Grandmother’s parents (Robert and Cora (Packer) Shea) I’d like to explore some of their close family as the year progresses starting with Gran’s Aunt Retta Shea Brooks.

Loretta SheaLoretta M. Shea was my Great Grandfather’s oldest sibling. She was born 10 months after him on October 13, 1889 in New York State, possibly while the family was visiting her father, Cornelius Shea’s family. She grew up with her siblings in Empire Township, Leelanau County, Michigan. In the 1910 Census she was still living at home but was working as a teacher in the public schools. The family then appears in the 1911 directory for Traverse City where Retta worked as a clerk at Steinberg Brothers, dry goods store.

Four years later she married William Ralph Brooks in Frankfort, Benzie County, Michigan. Ralph was the son of Cook and Martha (Snell) Brooks of Benzie and then Grand Traverse County, Michigan where Cook labored in and later owned his own farm. Interestingly the couple started their family immediately with the birth of Donna Marian Brooks, in Woodson Virginia. I have no idea why they were there but multiple sources say Marian was born in Virginia. By June of 1917, when Ralph filled out his World War I Draft Card, they were settled in Traverse City, Grand Traverse County, Michigan, where Ralph worked as a carpenter.

By the 1920 Census they had moved to Kent County and settled near Loretta’s family in Grand Rapids, Michigan where Ralph worked as a carpenter for one of the many furniture factories and their next two children Ralph Jr. and Jack were born. By the 1930 Census the couple owned their own home and had added Lucille, Wayne, Doris and Mary Kathleen. By 1936 the family had moved out to a rural part of Grattan Township, Kent County and added their last children Glenn in 1931 and Clare Ellen in September of 1936 (who sadly died a scant 18 weeks later). In the city directories I’ve looked at so far, it appears that the couple moved back into Grand Rapids and throughout the 1940s and as late as 1960 they were listed as living at 43 Stewart Street SW.

Ralph Sr. died 30 April 1963 and was laid to rest at Resurrection Cemetery, Wyoming Township, Kent County, Michigan. Aunt Retta died in April 1975 and was laid to rest beside him.

Any Brooks researchers out there? I’d love to know why both Aunt Retta and her daughter were born out of state.

Happy hunting!

Jess

Note:  The photo is cropped from this larger family portrait.

Trotters, c1980

The 93rd anniversary of Grandpa Levie’s birth is coming up this week. I love his smile in this picture—enough to post it despite my expression. Yes, I’m the put-upon looking child on the left followed by Grandma Trotter, my older cousin, Grandpa, and my brother. This was taken in late 1979 or early 1980 at my parents’ home in Lansing, Michigan.

I have found the magic formula to get some of you to talk to me… post a picture and misidentify the people!

So this is actually my Great Grandfather Harrison and his half-sister Cora,  in the foreground—not my Great Grandmother Rhoda as I posted at the beginning of the month.

Harrison Trotter and Cora (Trotter) Steppes

This, however, is my Great Grandmother. She is the older woman in the cat glasses pictured with a few of her children,  including my Grandfather Levie immediately behind her.

Rhoda (Rogers) Trotter & Children

Keep correcting me. Really!

Happy hunting!

Jess

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