Happy Anniversary 3 Times Great Grandparents!

On 20 November 1828, 190 years ago, in Bloomfield, Oakland County, Michigan, Miss Almira Botsford married Mr. Morris Jenks.  Almira was born 27 June 1807 in Salisbury, Connecticut to Simeon Botsford and Esther Clark.  Morris was born on 7 October 1801 in Berkshire, New York to Laban Jenks and Prudence White.   Both migrated to Oakland County in the early 1820s with their families.  Morris and Almira produced four children:  Leman Case Jenks (1830), Esther Jenks (1832) [my 2 times great grandmother], Oliver Torry Jenks (1835), and Minerva B. Jenks (1838).

Morris and Almira built the home on Berg Road in Southfield in the early 1850s that would eventually be called Deer Lick Farm – but that is another story.  Morris died 13 February 1878 and is buried in the Southfield Cemetery.  Almira died five years later, 6 March 1883.  Unfortuately, I have not found definite proof of where GGG Grandmother was laid to rest.  The records of the Southfield Cemetery do not indicate she as interred next to GGG Grandfather.  The search continues.

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106 Year Old Mistake, Aunt Essie!

106 years ago, 19 November 1912, my grandmother’s sister, Essie, married Louis Kincaid Postle in Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio.  Aunt Essie was 21, Louis was 25.  The marriage was not a good one and would end in divorce.  In the 1920 census, the couple appeared to be living with Louis’ mother and siblings, but by the time the 1920 Columbus City Directory went to print, Aunt Essie was back living with Great Grandmother Koontz.

The only photograph I have of Essie and Louis together was taken on the eve of my grandparents’ wedding in April of 1918:


That is Great Grandmother Koontz between Louis and Essie.

I knew that Essie and Louis were divorced, but never know when or why.   We were always quite glad that she married the second time to Harold Spuhler who was one of our favorite uncles who visited my grandparents long after Aunt Essie passed away in 1953.   I did finally write to the Clerk of the Court in Franklin County, Ohio asking for a copy of the decree for Aunt Essie’s divorce.  They were quite helpful and supplied the decree and the supporting docuementation – the divorce was granted on 13 October 1922, with the grounds of gross neglect of duty [possibly due to the fact that he was living in Indiana and she was in Ohio]. Filed by Essie 4/28/1922. Attorney fees: $15.00, Court Costs $12.00 – assessed to Louis Postle. Essie Koontz name restored.   She and Uncle Harold were married 30 April 1923.

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Happy Birthday, Great Grand Uncle George!

It was 149 years ago, 11 November 1869, that George W. Churches was born in Southfield, Oakland County, Michigan to Thomas and Harriet Roper Churches.  George became part of the family when he married, Ora Lee on 2 September 1896 in Pontiac, Oakland County, Michigan.  Aunt Ora was Great Grandmother Effie Lee Weaver’s sister.  Uncle George and Aunt Ora had three daughters: Pearl Geneva (1899), Erma Lorene (1906) and Ella Madelene (1913).  All except Pearl seesawed the use of their given and middle names in documents.  Uncle George and Aunt Ora would have been fairly non-distinct except for this one article in the Detroit Free Press on Thursday, 16 October 1913:  “Redford Builder Still Missing Belief Strengthened that George Churches Met With Foul Play.  

Belief that George Churches, builder, 44 years old, has met with foul play, was given stronger credence Wednesday by his wife and family in Redford as the day passed without a word of the missing man.

Churches left Redford at 5 o’clock Saturday morning carrying between $1,200 and $1,500 [this is the equivalent of a bit over $30,000 in 2018 dollars] which he intended to bank in Detroit.  Before leaving he told his wife he would be back during the afternoon. Thus far nothing has been heard of him.  Members of the sheriff’s force have failed to learn even that he had arrived in Detroit.

Mrs. Churches [Aunt Ora] does not believe that his stay from home is voluntary.  There are three young daughters, Pearl, 14 years old, Loraine, 7 years old, and a babe [Ella Madelene] 4 months old.”

I have not been able to find a follow up article telling where Uncle George was or what he was doing.  I do know that he did return.   Aunt Ora and he celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a big family party in 1941 (also covered by the DFP).  Uncle George lived until 29 December 1960 and is buried next to Aunt Ora at Grand Lawn Cemetery in Detroit.

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Happy Birthday, Great Great Grandmother Lee!🎂


Esther Jenks Lee

Esther Jenks was born in Southfield, Oakland County, Michigan on 24 October 1832, to Morris and Almira Botsford Jenks.    From The Reunion Papers of the Jenks Family by Eva Seymour Jenks: “Esther Jenks, grew in the homestead in the woods to girlhood, of handsome face and figure, sweet disposition, and a pronounced character marked by industry, thrift, and uprightness. At about the age of 17, she went to Detroit and, staying with her Aunt Mary Botsford Cook, she attended the old Cass School for two or three terms. At the close of her school days – often interrupted by the general community conditions common to pioneers, she emerged a young woman of rare intelligence.”

Great Great Grandmother Lee married Charles Norton Lee on 25 December 1855 in her father’s home in Southfield.  It is this same home which she and GG Grandfather Lee would later own and is the home in which she is standing in the above photograph taken in 1916.  The children of Charles and Esther included Emmer Estelle (1856), Effie Clarissa (1859) [my great grandmother], Lewellyn (1862), Hannah Almira (1864), Marietta (1870), and Ora (1874).

On the occasion of Great Great Grandmother Lee’s 85th birthday, her children gave her a new black silk dress as a her gift and all posed in front of the Jenks’ Place [aka Deer Lick Farm]:


Esther Jenks Lee 85th Birthday

Esther Jenks Lee passed away on 10 February 1918 and was laid to rest next to her beloved Charlie in the Southfield Cemetery.

For those of you keeping track, yes, Great Great Grandfather Lee died yesterday, the day before Great Great Grandmother Lee’s birthday.  This is one of the earliest recordings of what has become a spooky family tradition.   My maternal grandmother died on my mother’s birthday.  My paternal grandmother died the day after my father’s birthday.   Needless to day we give birthdays a side glance in our family.


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Remembering GG Grandfather Lee

charles n lee

Charles Norton Lee was born 13 March 1833 in Oakland County, Michigan, and died 23 October 1905, in his home on Berg Road in Southfield, Oakland County, Michigan.  Grandfather Lee was the son of Horatio and Hannah Munn Lee – both early settlers of Oakland County.  Charlie married Esther Jenks, the daughter of Morris and Almira Botsford Jenks on 25 December 1855 in the home of her parents [now referred to as Deer Lick Farm].  It is this same home that Charlie and Esther would eventually take ownership. From the Reunion Papers of the Jenks Family by Eva Seymour Jenks, “Uncle Charlie was always busy, cheerful, and quite well while I was there, but I had been home but one week when I received a card from Effie [Effie Clarissa Lee Weaver] saying “Dear Aunt, This brings you sad news.  Pa died this evening about 7:15.  Funeral at one on Thursday from the house.  Yours in haste and sorrow.  October 23, 1905″”  The children of Charles and Esther included Emmer Estelle (1856), Effie Clarissa (1859) [my great grandmother], Lewellyn, Hannah Almira, Marietta, and Ora.    Grandfather Lee is buried in the Southfield Cemetery.

[The above photograph is on display in the Southfield Library as part of the Southfield History Collection]

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Happy Birthday, Grandma Koontz!

phebie koontz

Phebie Ann Gardner Koontz – 1933

Phebie Ann Gardner was born 156 years ago on October 19, 1862, in Falls Village, Connecticut to William G. [Wilhelm Gotthardt] and Mary Ann Cummings Gardner [Gaertner].  Great grandmother Koontz was the oldest child of great great grandmother Gardner and gg grandfather Gardner, but the second child for gg grandfather Gardner.  With his first wife, Louise Kohler, Grandfather Gardner had a son, William Fritz (1861).  Louis Kohler Gardner passed away due to complications from that child birth.   Grandfather Gardner married Mary Ann Cummings in early 1862.  Additional children beyond great grandmother include: Sophie J, Nellie Marie, and Carrie.  Phebie  (named for her grandmother, Phebie Cummings) married Casmear P [call me C.P.] Koontz on 9 August 1885 in Noble, Indiana, where the Gardner family had relocated from Connecticut following the American Civil War.  C.P. and Phebie were the parents of three daughters and two sons: Essie P, Ethel Jeannette, Florence Marie [my grandmother], William Peter, and Henry Allen.  Besides appears twice in the 1930 U.S. Population Census – once in Detroit and once in Columbus, there are little added information notes about Grandma Koontz.   She passed away in Columbus, Ohio on 5 February 1935.



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Minerva B. Jenks ….(1838-1911)

Great great grand aunt Minerva B Jenks Barnes Bolton Hall passed away 107 years ago on this date 18 October 1911, in Kelso, Washington.   Minerva was the youngest child of Morris and Almira Botsford Jenks, born on 8 May 1838 in Southfield, Oakland County, Michigan, one year after Statehood.  Her older siblings were Leman Case, Esther (my great great grandmother), and Oliver Torrey.  Aunt Minerva had three children with her first husband, Nathaniel Barnes: Ida Almira, Seth Adelbert, and Erminnie.  Her second marriage with Samuel Bolton provided her with another son, Guy Washington.  Her third marriage to Charles Hall did not produce issue.

What makes Aunt Minerva special for me is not that she happened to be married three times (never widowed) in the late 1800s, but that when she was living in Norfolk, Nebraska, her niece, Effie Clarissa Lee, the daughter of Charles and Esther Jenks Lee, was living with her.  I have never heard the reason for this arrangement.  [Effie was my great grandmother] Whether Effie was being sent to live with her aunt as a taming of her wild side (my preferred theory, but without foundation) or to help her aunt with her four children.  In any event, it was there, while working in an Insane Asylum that Effie met Lemuel Weaver (also an attendant, not a patient).   The two were married in Norfolk, Nebraska on 1 August 1891.

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