Friday, October 05, 2007


Beulah Swan Finney notes on her own page in the little genealogy book that she wrote out that she was born in the year of the Chicago fire! October 28, 1871, in Branch County, Michigan. She names no town. Maybe there wasn’t one. Her parents were Samuel Wixom Finney -- we’ve “done” the Finneys -- and Mary Alice Stevens. They were living in Burkmere, South Dakota, when Beulah married on September 19, 1901, in the family home. She was thirty, had taught school and proved up her own homestead.

But first we’re talking about Beulah’s maternal grandparents. Orra Bennett Stevens was born in England about 1822. He came to Ohio where he died around 1899 or 1900. We don’t know who his parents were. His brother Linus married Beulah Swan, the ORIGINAL Beulah Swan, about 1843 in Ohio. Linus and Orra were Civil War veterans on the Union side. Two other brothers, named Mark and Theodore (“Dore”), were both born in Ohio and may have been too young to enlist.

Amy Swan, “our” Beulah’s grandmother, was born about 1824 and died in Michigan in 1879. Her father, Nathan Swan, was a British veteran of the War of 1812, so maybe Canadian as we would say now. There is no record of Nathan’s wife. Amy married Orra Bennett Stevens and they had six children who would be “our” Beulah’s aunts and uncles.

1) Emma F., born 1845 in Ohio, married Melvin M. Dickerson, a veteran of the Union side of the Civil War. His parents were named Alonzo and Lucy Dickerson. Melvin married a second time after Emma died, and that second wife left her home in Mendon, MI, to Florence, who was her stepdaughter, Emma’s genetic child. (Florence never married. No name for that kind stepmother.)

Florence is carving. This is her inherited house. The right side of her face had been removed because of cancer. The other people at the table are r: My mother and two brothers, Sarah Blum, Florence, and then Fred and Ida Smith. It's August, 1952.

Above is Florence’s house from the outside, 2517 Townsend, Mendota, MI. You can’t tell much about it, but it’s quite like the house of Fred and Ida Smith below.

87 E. Jefferson, Quincy, MI. There was a big garden and flock of chickens in the back.

At Florence’s house, a clear case of gender sorting. Goody-Goody Mary plays her only piano piece on the big old square piano for Sara Blum while the boys zero in on television, almost the first we’d seen.

Emma and Melvin’s children (all born in Michigan) who would be “our” Beulah’s cousins included:

1) Amy Lee (b. 2/3/69 - d. 1917 or 1918) who married Leon Farwell. Emma died in Michigan about 1903 or 1904.

2) Omar R. (b. Sept 1871 - d. about 1935) married Nora and had a daughter named Ethel.

3) Grace was born October 28, 1874, (same date as “our” Beulah) and died in 1948. She married Oren Herrick. Their children were Paul and Marion. Grace’s son Paul married Edith and their daughter was named Patricia. (We visited them in Detroit.) Marion married Fred Sommes and they had two children, Frederick and Florence.

480 Bournemouth Circle, Grosse Pt. Farms 30, Michigan. This would be Paul, Edith and Patricia. They introduced us to “Mr. Peepers” on the television. My father had had the brilliant idea of flying out and buying a car there, since it was Detroit. It had those little windshield squirters, the first we’d seen. We named the car “Mr. Peepers” after his water fountain that burbled menacingly every time anyone got a drink.

4 and 5) Sarah was born in 1876. She married Louie Blum, who was previously married. She had no children but Louie’s children were Laurence and Harriet. We visited Sarah Blum and Florence Dickerson (b.1889) in Michigan. See above. Florence was the mayor of her town, Mendota! She had taught school all her life.

6) Kenneth was born about 1883 and married Belva. Their children were another Omar and a nameless daughter.

Mary Alice Stevens, Amy Swan Stevens’ second daughter, was born in Ohio in 1847 and died November 16, 1916, in Faulkton, South Dakota. She married Samuel Wixom Finney. This was “our” Beulah’s mother and Beulah’s family was living with her when she died. Her husband had died earlier and she was in poor health by then. They are in the Faulkton Cemetery.

Thomas Willitt Stevens, “our” Beulah’s uncle, was born in Michigan in 1849 and died about 1926 in Quincy, Michigan. He married Libby Barlow. Their children were all born in Hersey, MI. Mulford, Arthur, Fred, and Nettie. Nettie married a man named Hall and had several sons. Thomas lived in Branch Co. until about 1877 or 78 when he and his wife and Mulford moved farther north into Osceola Co. Some years later after the death of his wife, he remairred and returned to Branch County.

Louisa Stevens, “our” Beulah’s aunt, was born in 1851 and died about 1906 or 1907 in Michigan. She married Chauncy Smith about 1870. Their children were Fred C. (b. October 28, 1877 !) and Glenn (b. @1882). One or two others died in infancy. (Fred Smith is in the photos of Blum and Dickerson above, if it’s the same Fred Smith. He was quite a bold character and pressed Paul to drink cold milk until Paul got sick, which Paul thought was a betrayal. He never realized he was being teased and didn’t have to drink the milk.)

Then there were twins! Joseph and Jannette, “our” Beulah’s aunt and uncle, but we don’t know what year they were born. Maybe 1860. Joseph died about 1932. He married Kate Chase about 1878. Their children were Charley (b. 1883 or 84), Leona (b. 1891 and married Perce Drinker, one of my favorite names: I presume short for Percy.), and Theodore (Ted) (b. 1894 or so) Joseph was a mechanic, carpenter and cabinet maker. he was a member in good standing of the Odd Fellows, Maccabees, and the Baptist choir in both Quincy and Reading, Mi. when he lived in those places.

Jannette(called Nettie) died at the age of 22 or 24, always delicate, never married, a musician by nature, training and occupation -- teaching music. There’s that echo again: Beulah’s sister, also Nettie, also died young.

After Amy Swan Stevens died in 1879, O.B. Stevens, “our” Beulah’s grandfather, lived back and forth between his son Thomas of Hersey, MI and his daughter Mary Alice Stevens Finney in Ashton, MI, until he remarried in 1883 to Mrs. Angeline Stewart in Hersey. He and Angeline returned to live in Quincy about 1886.

I had a devil of a time sorting this out in my head. I hope I didn't make too many errors. Beulah wrote the information in a more conventional family tree way, but then had second thoughts which are written in later or up the side.

No comments: