Remembering Billy G.

My mother’s cousin, William Gardner Koontz, called Billy G., was born 94 years ago on 19 August 1925, to William Peter and Ethel Emma Chidester Koontz.  William Peter was my grandmother’s brother.  Billy G. was 6 years younger than my Aunt and 2 years younger than my mother.  From family lore, he was the favorite of both.  Around the time Billy G. graduated from High School in Ohio and Uncle Bill needed to move to California for work, Billy G. took seriously ill.   It was in Nevada, near Las Vegas, that he succumbed to Spinal Meningitis and died on 19 August 1943.  He was the first of my mothers 13 cousins to pass away.   I remember as a child he was still discussed in hushed tones as such a tragedy.

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Happy 375th Birthday, Grandmother Botsford!

Hannah Baldwin, my 8th great grandmother, was born 375 years ago on 16 August 1644 in Milford, Connecticut, to Timothy and Mary Welles Baldwin.   As mentioned earlier, Grandmother was the granddaughter of Gov. Thomas Welles of Connecticut, the subject of a six volume series of books published by the Welles Family Association.  [And yes, I have all six volumes in my personal library!]

Scanning back two days in this blog you will find that her husband. Elnathan Botsford celebrated his birthday just two days before Grandmother.  It must have made it convenient for family celebrations.  Maybe they split the difference and just had one cake on the 15th?

Hannah married Elnathan [my 8th great grandfather] on 12 December 1667.

Hannah and Elnathan were the parents of 11 children: Esther (1668), Samuel (1670) [my 7th great grandfather], Mary (1671), Hannah (1674) [my 7th great grandmother through her marriage to the Prindle line and additional descendants from there], Joanna (1674), Henry, (1676), Timothy (1678), Deacon John (1680), Sarah (1683), Ruth (1686), and Sergeant Joseph (1688).

Grandmother Botsford died on 7 August 1706, in Milford, Connecticut.

Milford has served as the ancestral family seat for the Botsford family and is the gathering place for the annual Botsford Family Reunion.

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Happy 246th Birthday, Grandmother Lee!

Mary Sommers , my 4th great grandmother, was born on 15 August 1773, in Old Hebron, Connecticut, to William Sommers and his wife whom I have not as yet been able to identify.   Mary was wed to William Lee on 27 May 1793.  The couple migrated from Connecticut to New York to Michigan as is evident from the birth locations of their eight children: Chauncy (1794 – Guilford, Connecticut), William (1796 – Guilford, Connecticut), Harvey (1798 – Guilford, Connecticut), Horatio (1800 – Guilford, Connecticut) [my 3 times great grandfather], Mary Ann (1804 – West Bloomfield, New York), George (1806 – West Bloomfield, New York), Richard (1808 – West Bloomfield, New York), and Norman (1811 – West Bloomfield, New York).  By the early 1820s, the entire family had settled in Farmington Township, Oakland County, Michigan.  Grandfather passed away on 1 June 1840.   Grandmother lived almost 20 years longer and passed away on 8 May 1860.

Both Grandmother Lee and Grandfather Lee are buried in the newly restored Quaker Cemetery in Farmington, Michigan.

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Happy 378th Birthday, Grandfather Botsford!

Elnathan Botsford, my 8th great grandfather, was born 14 August 1641 in Milford, Connecticut, to Henry and Elizabeth Woolhead Botsford.  Elnathan was the only son of Henry and Elizabeth , but there were 6 children in total.   Elnathan married Elizabeth Fletcher, daughter of John Fletcher, on 12 December 1664.  Elizabeth died around 1666.

Elnathan and Elizabeth had one daughter, Elizabeth (1665).

Elnathan then married Hannah Baldwin [my 8th great grandmother] on 12 December 1667.  Grandfather apparently did not want to have to remember a new anniversary date!  Grandmother Hannah was the daughter of Timothy and Mary Welles Baldwin [Mary the daughter of the Connecticut Colonial Governor, Thomas Welles].

Elnathan and Hannah were the parents of 11 children: Esther (1668), Samuel (1670) [my 7th great grandfather], Mary (1671), Hannah (1674) [my 7th great grandmother through her marriage to the Prindle line and additional descendants from there], Joanna (1674), Henry, (1676), Timothy (1678), Deacon John (1680), Sarah (1683), Ruth (1686), and Sergeant Joseph (1688).

Grandfather Botsford died on 10 September 1691 in Milford, Connecticut.   The will of Elnathan Botsford appears on pages 43-45 of Botsford Genealogy, The Line of Samuel, 1.1.3, Volume 1, published by the Botsford Family Historical Association.

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Happy 222nd, 3 Times Great Grandaunt Patience!

Patience Jenks was born 13 August 1797, in Adams, Berkshire, Massachusetts, to Laban and Prudence White Jenks.  This locale was the second stop on the family’s migration from Rhode Island to Michigan.    There would be two additional stops along the way for the Laban and Prudence Jenks clan, both in the Berkshire Purchase area of New York.  The first was a settlement that was named Jenksville [named for the Jenks cousins who founded the hamlet and Grandfather became the first postmaster].  The second, a bit to the north of the first was a second setttlement named Speedsville — Grandfather opened a general store and also became the postmaster there.   Wanderlust did not stay hidden long and when the Michigan Territory opened up, Grandfather was ready to move again.

It was while the family was still living in New York that Aunt Patience married Nathan Park on 23 April 1815 in neighboring Caroline, New York.  The couple had three children: John, Oliver, and Emily Harriet (1816).  Nathan died before the Jenks family migrated to Michigan in 1822 and Aunt Patience and her three children came to Oakland County with her her parents and siblings.

After the migration to Michigan, Aunt Patience met and married John A. Williams.  The couple also had three children: Olive (1831), Edwin R. (1836), and John O.  The Williams family removed from Oakland County and settled in nearby North Plains, Ionia County, Michigan.  It was here that Aunt Patience died on 11 April 1869.

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Happy Birthday to Great Great Great Grandparents, an ocean apart!

Two of my great, great, great grandparents were born on 11 August.  One in Würtenburg; one in New York.

Alexander Gaertner was born in 1785 in Klein Ingersheim, Würtemburg, to Johannes Gaertner and Christina Leibbrandt.  He married Christina Regina Bauer on 24 November 1813 in Klein Ingersheim, Würtemburg.  Grandfather Alexander and Grandmother Regina had 12 children, the youngest of which was my great, great grandfather Wilhelm Gotthardt Gaertner who became known in the United States as William G. Gardner.  My research confirmed the family story that Grandfather Gardner was indeed the youngest, and seventh son, and therefore the child sent to America since there was no inheritance for him at home.  [William = Wilhelm, Gardner = Gaertner, grandfather changed it himself.]

Across the Atlantic, in New York, Hannah Munn was born in 1807 to Noah Munn, Jr. and Mercy Simons Munn.  Grandmother would marry Horatio Lee on 5 April 1825 in West Bloomfield, Ontario, New York.  My great, great grandfather, Charles Norton Lee was their son, fifth child in a group of twelve.  It is through Grandmother Hannah Munn Lee that I have been able to trace my Mayflower ancestry.

Alexander’s descendant, Florence Marie Koontz, married Hannah’s descendant, Lee Goodliff Weaver;  joining these two families.   The merging couple were my grand parents.

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Happy 152nd Birthday, Uncle Stephen!


Stephen A. D. Wright

Stephen A. D. Wright [my great grand uncle] was born 10 August 1867 in Southfield, Oakland County, Michigan, to Allen Prince and Rebecca Caroline Griswald Wright.  Stephen was 9th in birth order of his parent’s brood of 11 children.   On 21 February 1894, Stephen married my great grandaunt, Marietta Lee, the sister of my great grandmother, Effie Clarissa Lee Weaver, in Pontiac, Oakland County, Michigan.

From the Reunion Papers of the Jenks Family by Eva Seymour Jenks:

“Marietta Lee, daughter of Charles and Esther Jenks Lee and Stephen A. D. Wright were united in marriage in Pontiac, Michigan, February 21, 1894, by the Rev G. C. Pillsbury. Mrs. Pillsbury and Miss Maggie Green acting as witnesses. The bride was attired in a beautiful dress of light brown, trimmed with velvet and silk braid and very becoming to the wearer. On their homeward trip they spent a few hours with Mrs. Myra Wright Mudge (Mr. Wright’s sister) at Birmingham — then returned to the home of the bride’s parents. For a number of years Mr. Wright was employed in the mill of L. C. Phelps at Southfield burg, and they lived nearby. Some years ago, they bought the old Lee place where they still live.”

The couple had a long life together and provided for their family of 8:  Estelle (1894), Mariam Mae (1896) [a frequent correspondent to my grandfather Lee Weaver], Clare Levern (1898), Walter Lee (1901) [see prior blog post], Harvie Morris (1903), Lewellyn Lee (1904), Baby Girl (1905-1905), and Esther Rebecca (1912).

As indicated, Stephen took a great interest in the education of his children and of the community as served as the director of the Southfield Township School Board.


[Robert Churches noted as the Board Treasurer happens to be Stephen’s brother-in-law as he was married to Marietta’s sister, Hannah Almira (Myra) Lee.]

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