Archive | June, 2014

Mary Alice Ellison’s Biological Parents – Mystery Solved!!

14 Jun

Mary Alice Ellison was born 28 MAR 1848 in Cato, Cayuga County to Nathaniel P. Townsend and Betsey Welch.

Her birth name was Elizabeth (Betsey) Townsend. She had one brother at the time of her birth, Darius Townsend. Darius served in the Civil War for the Wisconsin 5th Infantry. He was born circa 1841 in New York.

On 11 APR 1848, less than two weeks later, Elizabeth’s mother died.

The Cutler family and the Townsend family had many associations in Cayuga County and Onondaga County. They formed business relationships and they married each other.

Somehow, Samuel H Cutler and his wife Amanda Davis ended up with Elizabeth Townsend and they re-named her Mary Alice Cutler. Mary Alice is living with them in Elbridge, Onondaga County, New York in 1850. I have searched and searched the Surrogate Court records for this transaction and have not found it. Since, the father was alive at the time of the adoption, I don’t think they needed to go to court.

Nathaniel P. Townsend re-married very quickly to Mary Eliza Perkins (1849.) Mary Eliza was the widow of Cyrus James Gleason of Cicero, Onondaga County, New York. Cyrus and Mary had three children: Sarah Elizabeth (b.1839), Lodawiski Lovilla (1842-1922), and Edson H. (1844-1880). These children stayed with their mother and step-father and are listed on the censuses with them, sometimes as Townsend’s.

Nathaniel and Mary Eliza moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin by 1850. They had four children together. One of them was born in Cato, New York on 31 JUL 1849 and is listed as unnamed. I have a feeling this child died. The other three children were: Charles Nathaniel (b. 1851), Adonirum Elnathan (1854-1904) and Jennie Eliza (1860-1926.) The Townsend family lived in Wisconsin for many years.

You have to be very careful when looking on ancestry.com about this family as people are listing the children with the wrong parents.

Nathaniel died sometime after 1880 (approx. 1894) in Ashton, Osceola County, Iowa where his daughter Jennie was living (Jennie Glazier.) There is a lot yet for me to learn about this Nathaniel P. Townsend- including who his parents were.

When Mary Alice died, her son listed her parents as being:

N.P. Townsend and B. A. Court

Which is partially true.

Her mother was Betsey A. Welch, the daughter of Maria Polly Court and John Welch. When Polly Welch died in 1863, she left her grandchildren Darius and Elizabeth (Betsey) Townsend some money. Maria Polly Court was the daughter of John Court and Lydia Wright of Cato, Cayuga County, New York. This mistake of using the Court name, as the mother’s maiden name, is actually the only reason I was able to figure this mystery out. A very good mistake indeed.

Below are a selection of the papers from Polly Welch’s estate file in Cayuga County, New York:

Welch2 Welch6 Welch12 Welch13 Welch14

 

 

 

 

William & Bridget Butler Family Photos

2 Jun

My great-grandparents William and Bridget Butler had 8 children. William was born in 1866 in Linn County, Iowa to Tobias Butler and Bridget Burke. Tobias came from County Tipperary, Ireland. His mother died when he was five years old and is buried at St John’s Cemetery in Franklin Township, Linn County, Iowa. The Butler’s moved to Detroit in 1929.

Bill Butler

Bill Butler

Bill Butler, William Edward, was born 30 OCT 1898 in Iowa. He married Helen Adams (of Pinconning, MI) on 14 JUL 1952. He owned cabins and a gas station in Sand Point, Michigan near Caseville and then went into real estate with the “Red Hat Realty.” He and Helen did not have children. Bill died 31 OCT 1959 in Pigeon, Michigan at Scheurer Hospital. He drove a double decker city bus in Detroit from 1929 through the 1930’s.

Will and Bridget Butler

Will and Bridget Butler

Bridget Butler nee Carroll arrived in America when she was just 20 years old. She was a Roman Catholic from County Armagh in Northern Ireland.

Maxine and Pearl Butler and Marjorie Ralston

Maxine and Pearl Butler and Marjorie Ralston

Maxine Leona Butler was the daughter of Leo Anthony Butler and Pearl V. Webber.  Here Pearl and Maxine are sitting with my grandmother Marjorie Butler Ralston, the sixth child of Will and Bridget Butler.

Richard T Butler and Family

Richard T Butler and Family

Richard Tobias Butler was the oldest child of the family, born 21 JAN 1893 in Belle Plain, Iowa. In the picture he is with his wife Arlene Therrien and daughter Doris Ann. They lived in Detroit. Richard retired in the mid 1950’s to the Golden West Hotel in San Diego, CA due to the effects of a mustard gas attack in World War One. He died 26 MAR 1961 in San Diego. His wife’s brother Robert Therrien married his sister, Gertrude Louise Butler.

Mary Alice Ellison Probate File

2 Jun

Mary Alice Ellison, wife of Benjamin Walker Ellison, died 27 FEB 1913. Four days after her husband died. Below are select documents from her probate file from the Charlevoix County Probate Court.

You will note that Mary Alice made special mention of my great-grandfather Harold Ellison in her will. She had other grandchildren at this time. The letter is included in the file to prove the authenticity of Alice’s handwritten will. Also, Samuel Delmont, whom Alice refers to as Dell in her letter, asked the estate for $520.oo for services rendered. He had been living with Alice and Benjamin Walker and taking care of them. The court gave him $187 and some change.

MAEProbateFile1 MAEProbateFile2 MAEProbateFile3 MAEProbateFile4 MAEProbateFile5 MAEProbateFile6 MAEProbateFile7 MAEProbateFile8 MAEProbateFile9 MAEProbateFile10

Benjamin Walker Ellison Probate File

2 Jun

Below are select pages from Benjamin Walker Ellison’s probate files from Charlevoix County.

Included are some pages of the declaration of his insanity. He was declared insane on November 27, 1912 and delivered to the Traverse City State Hospital (formerly Northern Michigan Asylum) two days later.

On 23 FEB 1913, Benjamin Walker died at the Hospital.

BWEProbateFile1 BWEProbateFile2 BWEProbateFile3 BWEProbateFile4 BWEProbateFile5 BWEProbateFile6 BWEProbateFile7