Shea menYesterday marked the 80th Anniversary of the death of my Great Grandfather Robert James Shea. I’ve talked about him a great deal on the blog so follow the links for more information.  He died of complications from tuberculosis at Kalamazoo State Hospital on 23 Apr 1933.

Robert is the dark haired bloke seated up front, a believe that is his father, Cornelius,beside him on the bench. I think the others are Earl (at the head of the wagon) and George sitting up on the back.

For more on Robert Shea check out these posts: 24 Sep 201122 Oct 2011

Happy hunting,

Jess

Their first Christmas. These were the firstborn grandchildren for their generation. That’s Mom on the right and her cousin Susie on the left. This is taken in Kent County, MI, circa 1952.

Happy hunting and happy holidays,

Jess

Margaret and Charles Arthur Shea, Maple Grove Cemetery, Empire, MI

These are the headstones of Margaret and Arthur Shea. Maggie was the daughter of Henry and Anna Stormer. She was born in Hanover, Germany. The family moved to America in 1857. She married Daniel Shea in 1876 in New York and their union produced three children—only her son, Charles Arthur, survived her. I suspect she and Daniel divorced. Both she and Charles are laid to rest here in Maple Grove Cemetery in Empire, MI.

Happy hunting,

Jess

 

Since I’ll be riding through roads that the Shea’s traveled and it’s just about 80 years to the day since his death, this week’s Tombstone Tuesday features Rufus Shea, my 3rd Great Uncle and the next older sibling of Cornelius Shea.

When Gran and Aunt June got me started looking for their family they tried to come up with the names of their great uncles—thinking that a few had visited the Shea’s when their father was still alive. One of the names they came up with was Rufus and it was just unique enough to help me find the Sheas in New York.

To the best of my knowledge Rufus was the 8th child and 5th son of Patrick and Theresa (Macumber) Shea. He was born in 1861 in St. Lawrence County, New York. Like his older brothers he worked for some time as a miner there. Later he moved west to the Leelanau Peninsula of Michigan (same as his brothers John, Daniel, Gus, and Cornelius) where he ultimately became a farmer and married Hattie King the daughter of N. C. and Sarah King. They had one son,  Leroy King Shea.

Rufus, Hattie, and Leroy are buried together in Maplegrove Cemetery, Glen Arbor, Leelanau County, MI.

Happy hunting!

Jess

We believe this is Earl Shea with my great grandfather (and Earl’s older brother) Robert Shea. According to the 1900 and 1910 Census listings Earl was born sometime around 1893. In his mother’s obituary he was listed as living in Middleton, Ohio. Grandma thought that he might have married a woman named Gussie, and they might have had a daughter. That’s about the extent of what I think I know about him.  I haven’t found him in later Census and I’m very curious about where he went. Ah well… for now he remains one of my elusive relatives.

But the brothers look pretty dapper here!

Happy hunting,

Jess

These are two of my 2nd Great Aunts—both younger sisters of my Great Grandparents. Grace Packer the younger sister of Cora (Packer) Shea and Donna Shea, the younger sister of Robert Shea. This picture was probably taken between 1922 and 1925—after or around Cora and Robert’s marriage but before either of the sisters married in 1925.

Happy hunting,

Jess

I managed to slip away for a couple of days of fun and research in and around Kent County, MI. On the first day of my trip my mother and I spent a good portion of the day with my Grandmother and Great Aunt. Hanging out with this feisty pair and sharing my progress is truly rewarding. They are so appreciative of the research I’ve done and their very interested in how I’ve organized it.

We spent a couple of hours going through their old family pictures and telling stories—many that I have heard before and love to hear them repeat—and often with an added tidbit, or a possible puzzle piece, that I might be able to use on another day.  And as I talked about some of the characters I had found in my research it is definite that my grandmother in particular has an affinity for the black sheep of the families.

We, of course, talked about good old Henry R. Massy, but we also talked about. Cornelius Shea who may or may not have been dismissed from working for a Catholic church in Grand Rapids over a problem with disappearing wine. And this was the same man who laughed too hard to help his pregnant daughter-in-law out of a well. Poor Grandma Cora! Aunt June still fumes a little telling that story.

But more than anything for me these visits are a time of gathering memories from and of these lovely women who are so neat! Families are so interesting to observe. I see these two ladies and their mannerisms echoed in my mom and aunt (who I watched at breakfast the next morning), or even between myself and my cousin. And it’s those echoes that keep me interested in what’s passed down from generation to generation.

Talk to your elders, talk to your contemporaries and pass it down!

Happy hunting,

Jess

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