Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween!

My dad (top right) and his brothers
Halloween 1964

My paternal grandfather, Benford Maurice Trahan
Halloween, circa 1940

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pemberton Obituary Project: Joseph Putnam Phelps

Joseph Putnam Phelps was the husband of Agnes Emma Pemberton, the fourth child of Jeremiah Pemberton and Susanna Jermyn. His obituary is below:

From The Port Huron (Michigan) Times Herald, "Algonac," 18 Mar 1919, p. 7:

Joseph Phelps passed away at his home west of town on Saturday evening after a lingering illness. He was 80 years of age and has lived here for many years. The following relatives survive him, his aged wife, two sons Joseph and Norman, and four daughters, Mrs. Henry Aspenleiter, Mrs. Wm. Taft, Mrs. Albert Avers, of Algonac, and Mrs. Bert Basney of Detroit. Mr. Phelps was an old civil war veteran.

Again, Henry and Nellie (Phelps) Aspenleiter are listed as residents of Algonac, although I've found them in Detroit for the 1910-1930 censuses. Makes me wonder if they frequented back and forth between Algonac and Detroit. Perhaps Algonac was their summer home.

According to his pension index card, Joseph was a lieutenant with Co. E's 9th Regiment of the Michigan Infantry. His brother-in-law, John Pemberton, fought with Co. C's 1st Regiment of the Michigan Cavalry. I have always wondered if they knew each other from the Civil War or not. Agnes married Joseph after he returned from the war in 1867. I will have to do more research on their regiment's battle histories.

It is interesting that this obit does not mention the funeral services or the burial. I'm assuming they had already happened by the time this obit was published. I should also check to see if there are more details in an Algonac newspaper, if one survives.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pemberton Obituary Project: Agnes Emma (Pemberton) Phelps

Continuing the Pemberton obituary project, here is the obituary of Agnes Emma (Pemberton) Phelps, the fourth child of Jeremiah Pemberton and Susanna Jermyn:

From The Port Huron (Michigan) Times Herald, 30 Dec 1931, p. 12

Funeral services for Mrs. Phelps will be held at 2 p.m. Friday in the Church of Christ. Rev. Ralph R. Woodard, pastor, will officiate. Burial will be in Oaklawn cemetery.

Mrs. Phelps is survived by four daughters, Mrs. William Taft, Mrs. Albert Avers, Mrs. Henry Aspenleiter, all of Pointe Tremble; and Mrs. Burton Basney, Detroit, and one son, Joseph Phelps, Pointe Tremble. There are 31 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

She was born in Ontario, March 16, 1845. She married Mr. Phelps shortly after the close of the Civil War. She had been a member of the Church of Christ since her marriage.

This is the first of many references to the Church of Christ in this family's obituaries. This is probably the Church of Christ in Algonac, where Agnes lived from 1880 (probably earlier) to 1930. This obit was listed under the River District News, which includes Algonac and other towns south of Port Huron along the St. Clair River.

Her daughters listed are Sarah J. (Phelps) Taft, Elizabeth M. (Phelps) Avers, Nellie A. (Phelps) Aspenleiter, and Anna Essie (Phelps) Basney. Agnes also had a second son, Norman Angus Phelps, who was the twin brother of Nellie. He died in Detroit in 1928, just three years prior to Agnes' death. I have found his obituary, but I still need to find his death record. I am curious as to why he died so young.

Pointe Tremble is an unincorporated area just west of Algonac and east of Pearl Beach. Googling Pointe Tremble brings up a link for Pointe Tremble Elementary School on Phelps Road! The Phelps family must have been pretty prevalent in Pointe Tremble.

What's also interesting is that a Google search for the Algonac Church of Christ brings up the church's website, which shows several Avers family members who are still active members. I know these are probably not direct descendants of Elizabeth (Phelps) Avers, though, because she only had two children, neither of whom had any children of their own, according to their obits.

It seems as if Nellie (Phelps) Aspenleiter may have moved back to the Algonac area after living in Detroit for the 1910-1930 census. I don't see her listed on the St. Clair County death index, so I wonder if she moved back to Detroit before her death. Or it's also possible that the newspaper got her place of residence wrong.

I can only seem to account for 15 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren who were alive in 1931. Hmm...looks like I may be missing 8 great-grandchildren.

This is the only source I have found that states Agnes' date of birth directly. Of course, it is still a secondary source, since it was not created at the time of her birth.

I will have to remember to share this obit with a newfound cousin on She is married to Agnes' great-great-grandson.

Stay tuned for the obit of Agnes' husband, Joseph Putnam Phelps.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Quick Update

I realize that I haven't posted anything since the end of September. I just haven't felt like blogging since losing two grandfathers and being told by my fiance that he wasn't ready to get married (AFTER FIVE YEARS TOGETHER!!!). My California trip did clear my mind somewhat on the issue of my relationship, but I'm still recovering emotionally. He's going to be moving out this weekend (the weekend we were supposed to get married) so that we can both have time to ourselves for awhile. We are NOT moving back in together unless we get married. In California, I realized that I gave up a lot of things up for this relationship, and that did not get me where I wanted to be after five years. I need to learn to be more assertive and fight for what I want in a relationship.

Anyhow, hopefully I will get back to blogging soon. Stay tuned!