Eugene Baker, Death Certificate 1920Some of these character studies remind me that I have a remarkable small amount of information on some of my direct lines. Eugene is one of those—which always strikes me as weird because I know so much about his grandparents (Smith & Katherine nee Gilbert Lapham) and Great Grandmother (Hannah nee Johnson Gilbert DuBois). I’m missing the anecdotal notes which I hope exist in the local happenings of the Rockford Register. I’ll have to look into that soon.

Eugene Smith Baker was my 3rd Great Grandfather. He was born 15 Oct 1850, to Isaac and Harriett (Lapham) Baker in Rockford, Michigan. He loved most of his life within the community with the exception of a stint working in a hotel in Crystal Lake, Benzie County, and a brief time in Illinois around the time of his marriage to Amelia Grove 26 Oct 1873 in Joliet, Will County. The couple had seven children: Katherine (born in Joliet), Willis George, Frank E., Clara, Lena Grove (my 2nd Great Grandfather), Hollis Lapham, and Ethan Rex. Upon returning to Kent County Eugene settled to farming in Cannon Township and later relocated to Algoma Township. He was a staunch Republican like his grandfather (who served in the Michigan Senate) and involved in his community. He died after a 3 month illness on 15 Apr 1920 and was buried in the Rockford Cemetery. Sadly his wife never recovered following him quickly in June.

Happy hunting,

Jess

The Plot of Harvey K and Rachel Deer Bailey

This is the plot of the family of Harvey K. Bailey in Rockford Cemetery, in Rockford, MI. The stone in the foreground is that of his wife Rachel C. Deer. Today is the 101st anniversary of her death in Algoma Township, MI. She was born in May of 1830 to George and Sara (Labere) Deer and she is the sister of my 5th Great Aunt, Sarah (Deer) Helsel. She married Harvey in Dec of 1864 in Kent County, MI. The couple had at least two children: Austen and Ella May Bailey. I detailed the Deer family back in May.

Happy hunting,

Jessica

I love the detail in this stone—between the branch design and the square and compass symbol marking G. N. Shaw a Freemason—and the details in the picture with the tipping stones in the background.

This is the marker for the final resting place of George N. and Sarah (Johnson) Shaw in Rockford Cemetery, Rockford, Michigan.  George was the son of Sisson and Sophia (Rounds) Shaw. We’re not directly related but the Shaw family intertwines with most of the early Algoma Township families including the Helsels, Houses, Morningstars, and Rectors.

Happy hunting,

Jess

I now feel like I have just enough of a backlog of digital images to participate in the meme “Tombstone Tuesday”… so, the next up is in honor of my Great Great Grandmother who was laid to rest 84 years ago yesterday.

This is the headstone for my Great Great Grandmother Lena Grove (Baker) Johnson. She was the 5th child and youngest daughter of Eugene and Amelia (Grove) Baker born 16 Apr 1884. At the age of 18 she married William Amos Johnson, the youngest son of William Suffling and Mary (Gordon) Johnson. The family spent a number of years in Traverse City, Michigan where William worked as a plumber but in 1923 they moved back to Rockford, Michigan. She died five years later on 03 Sep 1928 after a six month illness leaving one grown son, Robert Eugene, and a 10 year old daughter, Betty Lou.

Lena is buried with her husband in the Rockford Cemetery, in Rockford, Michigan. When you take the main entrance to the cemetery if you follow the center path and take the next left the Johnson plot will be on the left hand side of the path. Interestingly on my last trip the stones were essentially in the right location but up out of the ground beside their normal spots. Given the tremendous shifting over the years I’m not terribly surprised.

Happy hunting,

Jess

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