I got back on track!

The Packer Family

Happy 150th birthday to my 2nd Great Grandfather Cornelius Packer! He looks so thrilled!

Here with my 2nd Great Grandmother Cora and their daughters—I’m guessing—Aunt Ethel and Aunt Pearl.

Happy hunting,

Jess

Cornelius Packer

Tomorrow marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of my 2nd Great Grandfather Cornelius Packer. He was born 19 March 1864 in Milton, Kent, England to Joseph and Harriet (Vaughn) Packer, the sixth of seven children. At the age of six his family immigrated to Canada and stories persist of his parents’ fear of his energy onboard ship and his ability to climb the railings.

By the time of the 1871 Canadian Census the family had settled in Hamilton, Ontario where Joseph worked as a laborer. By 1881 they had relocated to Woodstock, Oxford, Ontario. The family was deeply involved in the Salvation Army—even playing in their Brass Band.

On 6 May 1885 he married Flora Jane Massey (a ward of his sister-in-law’s, Mary (Garbutt) Packer’s, family). The couple began their family quickly with the birth of Evelyn Maud in April 1896 but tragedy struck early with Eva dying at 9 months. Ethel Augusta was born the following November. December of 1889 saw the birth of Pearl Elizabeth. The family remained in Woodstock through their enumeration in the 1891 Census then immigrated to Grand Rapids shortly after where Cornelius took up work as a machine hand in the booming furniture industry.

Based on directory listings the family moved regularly in their early years in town living on 5th, Marietta, Myrtle, Ashland, Hickory, and Palmer between 1891 and 1899 until they finally settled in a rental on Shirley Street around 1900. They also met with both fortune and tragedy with the births of Cora Helena (my Great Grandmother) in 1892 and James Arthur in 1897, followed too quickly by a stillbirth in 1899 and the untimely death of 12-year-old Ethel in 1900.

Cornelius was always listed as a turner, machine hand or machinist. Employers were not listed consistently in the directories but in 1895 Cornelius was listed as a Machine hand for the V. C. Rattan Company. From 1902 to as late as 1915 he worked as a Turner and Machine Hand for the Phoenix Furniture Company. And in 1927 he worked as a machinest for Stowe and Davis Furniture Co.

In 1896 Cornelius was naturalized at the Superior Court of Grand Rapids. In the 1900 Census he was enumerated right before his next older brother, Charles and his family in houses on Shirley. At the time of the 1910 Census, Cornelius’s widowed father had moved into the household and brother, Charles, and family had relocated to Detroit, Michigan. In 1912 the family had bought a home on Hovey. And in 1916 the family settled into Cornelius’s last home on Burton. His younger brother, Albert and his family were initially part of the household as well. But by 1920 the household was down to Cornelius, Flora, and their daughters.

Cornelius died at his home 11 June 1929 at the age of 65. His obituary noted that he was survived by his widow and four children, Arthur Packer, Mrs. R. E. Jones [Pearl], Mrs. Robert Shea [Grandma Cora], Mrs. Harold Elliott [Grace]; seven grandchildren, all of Grand Rapids; four brothers Albert of Belmont, Joseph of Hamilton, Ontario, Thomas of Woodstock, Ontario, and Charles of Detroit; and one sister, Mrs. Sarah Chesney of Kinde, Michigan. He was buried 14 June at Fair Plains Cemetery in Grand Rapids.

Grand Rapids city directories were an incomparable source in pulling together Cornelius’s story and the detail about his employers, however inconsistent, is sparking the idea for a road trip to Grand Rapids Public Library to research some of the furniture companies my family worked for.

The photograph of Cornelius is one we found tucked into a tiny scrapbook probably belonging to my Great Grandmother, Cora. It’s not a great shot given his movement—but he sure is happy!

Happy hunting,

Jess

Packer FamilyYesterday was the 147th anniversary of the birth of  my Second Great Grandmother, Flora Jane Massy Packer. She was born in January of 1867 to good old Henry R. and Augusta (Cory) Massy. Here she is with her husband, Cornelius Packer.

Happy hunting,

Jess

Cora Packer & Friends

I’m running late today, but here’s a fun picture to atone.

I can only definitely identify my Great Grandmother, Cora Packer Shea (bottom right). The woman in the top right might be my 2nd Great Aunt Pearl Packer, but I can’t tell for sure.  I do have other pictures with, I believe, each of the women and my Great Grandmother taken at other times. This one was probably taken in Kent County, Michigan sometime between 1910 and Cora’s marriage in 1922.

Happy hunting!

Jess

Packer FamilyI don’t know who all is in this photograph but I know for sure that the standing girl in pigtails is my Great Grandmother Cora Packer, the woman with the boy in her lap is her mother Flora (Massy) Packer, the boy is her brother James Arthur Packer, and the girl sitting down in front is Cora’s sister, Pearl Packer.

Any Packer, Garbutt, Massy, or Cory researchers recognize anyone else?

From my great aunt’s photo collection.

Happy hunting,

Jess

George Garbutt and Flora (Massey) Packer

Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer and I plan to celebrate the season on the blog.

So, my photo of the week goes back to a beach with my Great Great Grandmother, Flora Jane Packer, and her pseudo-older brother–George William Garbutt. I have yet to figure out if she was fostered, adopted, or mysteriously related to the Garbutts but there’s no ignoring the ties between her, the Garbutts and the Packer family.

I am not sure whether this one is taken in Ontario or Michigan… but don’t they look all comfy lounging on the beach?

Happy hunting,

Jess

P.s. I’m always looking to hear from relatives but if there are any Garbutt researchers in particular, drop me a line!

Packers at the beach? c. 1910s or early 1920s

Michigan weather! Spring might be back tomorrow and there’s a chance of summer at the end of the week, which is a nice switch from the frigid temperatures through the weekend. Who’s ready for the beach? They are!

These are my 2nd great grandparents Flora Jane (Massy) and Cornelius Packer. I’m not sure who the person is over Cornelius’s right shoulder. They all look very proper sitting in the sand sometime in the nineteen teens or early 1920s and my guess is that this is either Grand Haven or Pere Marquette Park on Lake Michigan…. but as noted I’ll take corrections. Anyone out there recognize the background?

Happy hunting,

Jess

Grace Packer, Grand Rapids, MI c. 1910

The weather has been on my mind this week so bear with me… I believe this is my 2nd Great Aunt Grace (Packer) Elliott near her home in Grand Rapids, MI. This is one of the happiest expressions I’ve seen on her in the photographs Gran and Aunt June have… but her family seems to have been hell-bent on putting huge bows in her hair. She was my Great Grandmother Cora’s youngest sibling.

Happy hunting,

Jess

PackerTWH_frontThis is the headstone of Thomas William Horton Packer and his wives Mary Garbutt and Isobel Black. Thomas was the brother of my 2nd Great Grandfather, Cornelius and the 2nd son of Joseph of and Harriett (Vaughan) Packer. He was born in Gillingham, Kent, England in 1851 and named for one of Joseph’s older brothers. The family then moved 8 miles east to Sittingbourne.

When the family immigrated to Canada around 1870 he was already almost 20 and was only listed on the 1871 Census in Canada with his family in Hamilton, Ontario. Not too long after that the family moved to Woodstock, Ontario where on 01 December 1875 Thomas married Mary Garbutt, the 4th daughter of William and Martha (Ward) Garbutt.

On the 1881 Census Thomas reported working as a Sawyer and 1891 he was a Glass fitter and Mary’s nephew, William Rennick, was living with the couple and working as a photographer. In 1914 Mary died of Bright Disease.

PackerTWH_back

In the summer of 1916 Thomas married Isobel Black, the daughter of John and Charlotte (Roberts) Black. Thomas died right around the new year of 1835-1836—a newspaper dated 31 Dec 1935 noted his death but the headstone reads 1936.

All three are buried at Hillview Cemetery on 5th Street, on the southeast side of Woodstock, Ontario.

Happy hunting,

Jess

Last week was the anniversary of my 2nd Great Aunt Ethel Augusta Packer who died just short of her 23th birthday in September of 1900. She carried the name of her Grandmother Augusta (Cory) Massy and in turn is the person my Grandmother was named after. This picture might be her. Of the Packer kids she was the second child with Pearl coming next. Evelyn, the eldest died at 9 months. My Great Grand other Cora wasn’t born until 1892—the year they moved to the United States and this was taken in Woodstock, Ontario. So, I suspect that this is either Ethel or Pearl. Though, to confuse matters Photographers of Ontario notes that Alfred Spinks, the photographer, bought his brother out of the Woodstock Studio in 1894 after the family moved to the US. I may never know which Packer girl this is.

Happy hunting,

Jess

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