Happy 131st Birthday, Cousin Seymour!


It was 131 years ago, 7 October 1888, in Southfield, Oakland County, Michigan, that my first cousin, 3 times removed, Seymour Arthur Jenks was born to Oliver Torrey and Evelyn Roselia Seymour Jenks.

From the his mother’s notes to the Jenks Family Reunion in 1923:

“He started school in the old stone schoolhouse in September, 1895, attended but a few weeks as he was taken sick and unable to go through the winter. In the Spring of 1896, we moved to Birmingham and he attended school there until about a year after his father’s death (1901). He passed the 8th grade, but after that he worked at whatever he could get to do, and done his best to help his widowed mother along. While with W. W. Collier of Bloomfield Hills, he worked up from all around chore boy to private chauffeur. After he left Mr. Collins, he was for a while with the Welch Motor Works at Pontiac. While there, he accepted a position as private chauffeur for Mrs. Jerome Croul of Detroit and held the position until shortly before the aged lady’s death. While in her employ, he spent one summer at Grosse Isle, Michigan, and another at Watkins Glen, New York. When coming back to Detroit, the family motored to Buffalo where they took an early train for Detroit and left Seymour with the auto to come on the evening boat. If I remember rightly, it was his 21st birthday. Anyway, he wrote me that he was his own boss, he sure was for that one day at least. He was alone in a strange state – in a strange city, where there was not one familiar face. And he had the auto and the whole day to run the streets of Buffalo. After leaving Mrs. Croul, he was in the employ of Miss Jacklyn Stevens, and with the family spent the season at Pride’s Crossing, Mass. – Mrs. Stevens’ beautiful summer home. He did not lack company there for there was Mrs. Stevens’ chauffeur, coachman, her housekeeper, and several nice looking maids. He was also chauffeur for Roy D. Chapin – President of the Hudson Motor Company until after Mr. Chapin’s marriage and the new lady set him at housework. So, he took the job of running Tom Stevens car for him. As Mr. Stevens’ home was out in Grosse Pointe Farms, and his own was in Detroit, and he was away from his family so much night and day, he secured a job of Motor Bus driving in Detroit. He is now and has for several years been driving one of the double deck motor buses.”

Seymour married Erma Pauline Tranzow on 28 April 1915, in Imlay City Michigan.  And, of course, Seymour’s mother dutifully reported it to the Jenks reunion the next meeting:

“The St Paul’s Lutheran Church at Imlay City was the scene of a pretty wedding Wednesday noon April 28, 1915, when Miss Erma Pauline, daughter of Mr.  & Mrs. Frederick Tranzow was united in marriage with Seymour A. Jenks of Grosse Pointe.  The bride wore white silk crepe de chene trimmed with iris lace.  Her veil of trille was fastened with orange blossoms and she carried a shower bouquet of white roses and lilies of the valley.  Miss Rose Tranzow, who attended her sister as maid of honor, wore pale green crepe de chene and carried pink and white sweet peas.  Miss Helen Dawson, niece of the bride, and Miss Elna Moore, niece of the groom, who also wore gowns of pale green crepe chene and carried sweet peas were bridesmaids.  Little Miss Frieda Tranzow, the bride’s niece, was flower girl and was dressed in white.  She carried the ring in a basket of roses and sweet peas.  Mr. Frank Tranzow attended as best man.  The ceremony was solemnized by Rev. A.  Grietzlaff.  After the wedding a dinner was served to forty guests at the home of Mr.  & Mrs. E. H. Dawson, Calkins St, where the guests were received by Mrs. Clayton Conrad of Detroit.  Music was rendered by Miss Ethel Titus and Miss Pearl Dawson sang two pretty solos.

“The out of town guests were Mrs. Eva Jenks, mother of the groom, of Birmingham, Mr. & Mrs. C. W. Moore and Miss Elva Moore, Mr. & Mrs. J G Jones and Miss Ellen Jones of Pontiac, Mr. & Mrs. C. E. Jenks and daughter, Marian, of Square Lake, Mr. & Mrs. G. E. Jenks of Redford, Miss Rose Tranzow, Miss Marie Gutchesee, Mr. & Mrs. Clayton Conrad and daughter, Margarette, of Detroit, Miss Mabel Acker of Lansing and Mr. & Mrs. Frank Tranzow and daughter of Durand.  Among the many beautiful and useful presents were a check for $100 from Mr. & Mrs. R. D. Chapin, the groom’s employer.  Mr. and Mrs. Jenks will make their home at 3600 Jefferson Ave East, at Grosse Pointe Park.”

Seymour and Erma Pauline were the parents of five children: Pauline Evelyn (1916). Aileen Helen (1919). Betti Jane (1922), John Seymour (1925). and Mary Ellen (1929).

Seymour Arthur Jenks died in October, 1970.

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Happy 474th, Grandfather Botsford!

It was 474 years ago, 6 October 1545, in Charlgrave, Bedsford, England, that my 11 times great grandfather, Richard Botsford was born to John and Agnes Botsford.  On 30 October 1569, he married Neyle also in Charlgrave.  The couple had 3 children mentioned in the Botsford of Chalgrave:  Child (bur. 3 August 1570), Henry (1571) [my 10 times great grandfather], and Edward (1579).  Grandfather was buried on 10 April 1607.  Not much else is known about this generation — more is recorded as Henry weds and his descendants eventually sail across the Atlantic and settle in North America.  But, it is kind of interesting (well, to me) to be able to trace back 500 years in a single line of my pedigree!


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Happy 162nd Birthday, Grandpa Koontz!


C.P. Koontz – approx. 1905

It was 162 years ago, 5 October 1857, in Navarre, Stark County, Ohio, that Casmear P. (CALL ME C.P.) Koontz [my great grandfather] was born to Ezra Peter and Mary Ann Allen Koontz.  From Ohio, the family of Ezra Koontz removed to Noble County, Indiana were C.P. met and married Phebie Ann Gardner, daughter of William G. Gardner [nee Wilhelm Gotthardt Gaertner] and Mary Ann Cummings Gardner.  Ezra Koontz was a cabinet maker and his son, C.P. followed in the family tradition.  C.P. and Phebie were the parents of 5 children: Essie P (1887), Ethel Jeannette (1889), Florence Marie (1895) [my grandmother], William Peter (1898), and Henry Allen (1900).  The two older children were born in Ligonier, Noble County, Indiana.  Between the birth of Ethel and Florence, the family relocated to Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio, where the three later children were all born.

According to his daughter, Florence, C.P. Koontz was given solely the initials of C.P. as a name by his parents. Then, in response to pressure, while in the United States Army, to assign a name to the initials given him, he chose Casmear Permaski in honor of the Polish General that he admired. In later documents, he used the first name of Casmear and the name Camear P. is engraved on his tombstone.  This appears to be a great bit of family lore, since the name Casmear appears in documents long before his service in the Army.   The likelihood that the P. stood for Peter is also quite high, but unproven, due to the high use of the name throughout the Koontz male line.

Grandpa Koontz was a cabinet maker and while perfecting his craft, he spent time at he Ohio State Pen. learning the technique to cane chair seats.   When this came up in conversation in later years, his daughter, Florence, was quick to point out, Papa came home every night!  He was not an inmate!

I am fortunate to have two items that were Grandpa Koontz’.  I have his rocking chair which family stories persisted that if anyone coming to the Koontz home dared to sit in it, Grandpa Koontz would just stand next to it until they got up!

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Grandpa Koontz also was a cabinet maker, by trade, and it appears that he made the cedar chest for his youngest daughter, my grandmother.

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The chest is made of pure cedar with copper fittings.

Grandpa and Grandpa Koontz had a New and Used Furniture Store on Broad Street in Columbus.  Essie, Ethel, and Florence all put in time as clerks.  I am not sure what chores were assigned to Bill and Heinie, but both of the boys graduated from Ohio State University.

Grandpa Koontz died on 12 December 1914.  Grandma Koontz continued on in the store until her death in 1935.

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Happy 379th Anniversary, Grandparents Botsford!

379 years ago, on 4 October 1640, in Milford, Connecticut, my 9 times great grandparents, Henry Botsford and Elizabeth Woolhead were married.  The actual date is not recorded, but, Elizabeth was admitted to the church in Milford on that date according to church records and would need to have been married.  Henry waited to join the church until 25 July 1644 [see below].  Henry served as a Corporal in the Army against the Dutch 1654.  His will was drawn 1 February 1685/6.  Since the inventory was taken on 15 April of that same year, it is presumed that Henry had died during the intervening period.   Elizabeth died in 1682.

The pair had 6 children: Elnathan (1641) [my 8 times great grandfather], Elizabeth (1643), Mary (1643) [twins], Hannah (1645), Esther (1647), and Ruth (1649).

According to Botsford Genealogy, The Line of Samuel, 1,1,3; Vol 1, The Botsford Family Historical Association, 1977, p 39:

“Henry was undoubtedly an individualist but he believed in conforming to the accepted standards.  He did join the church after a few years because church membership was considered almost essential in the new settlement.

“Although he may have avoided payment of the detested ship’s money as “taxation without representation”, he seems to have been a strict observer of all the self imposed laws and restrictions of the community.  His sound judgement and integrity were quickly recognized by his neighbors as shown by the long list of offices which he filled.  He was called upon to settle boundary disputes and similar problems.  He was a keen student of human nature.  His will, carefully protecting the rights of his faithful wife, Elizabeth, and the claims of his children, is a remarkable document.  [See page 40-41 of the above referenced volume] He distributed his very considerable landed estate with great thoughtfulness and justice.”

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Happy 170th Anniversary, Cousin Ransom and Lucinda Jenks!

It was 170 years ago, on 2 October 1849, that my first cousin, 4 times removed, Ransom R. Jenks, married Lucinda A. Boyer.  [OK, it was Ransom’s name that caught my eye to this event, but I will continue].  Ransom M. Jenks was born on 27 September 1828, in New York, to Seth and Levinia Jenks Jenks [Levinia’s maiden name was also Jenks!].  Seth was the son of Laban and Prudence White Jenks.  Levinia was the daughter of Laban’s cousin, Michael and Sarah Hunt Jenks.

Ransom and Lucinda were the parents of two daughters: Stella (1858) and Edla (1859).

I decided to Google Ransom as a Given Name:

The name Ransom is a boy’s name of English origin meaning “shield’s son”. Ransom may be rakish and handsome, but it carries an unavoidable association with holding someone for ransom.

Wonder what Seth and  Levinia had in mind?


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Happy 405th Bday, Grandmother Fuller!



Jane Lothrop, my 10th great grandmother, was born on 29 September 1614, in Edgerton, Kent, England, to the Rev. John and Hannah Howes Lothrop.  By 1635, Rev. Lothrop had moved his family across the Atlantic Ocean to Barnstable, Massachusetts, where he was the pastor of the Church of Christ.  On 8 April 1635, Jane married Samuel Fuller, my 10th great grandfather [a passenger on the original voyage of the Mayflower] in Scituate, Massachusetts.   Their marriage produced nine children: Hannah (abt 1636), Samuel (1637), Elizabeth, Sarah (abt 1641), Mary (abt 1644), Thomas (1650), Sarah (1654), and a child born in 1658 who lived only 15 days.  Since Jane is not named or provided in Samuel’s will of 1683, it is assumed that she died prior to that date.


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Happy 184th, Cousin Ol!

184 years ago, 24 September 1835, in Oakland County, Michigan, my first cousin, 4 times removed, Oliver Torrey Case was born to Leman and Polly Jenks Case.  Ol was the fifth child of six in his parents’ brood, and the first son.    Ol married Eleanor M. Pearsoll and they had one child, a son, Harry C. P.   I have very little information about Cousin Ol — I know that he died on 31 March 1920, in Lansing, Ingham County, Michigan.  His wife died two years earlier on 7 May 1918. also in Lansing.

Now where would they have gotten that name for their first born son?  From his uncle, Oliver Torrey, husband of his mother’s sister, Laura Jenks.  Always follow the names — especially when they do not seem to make any sense in their immediate context.

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