Sunday, April 4, 2010

Pemberton Obituary Project: Charles Pemberton

The subject of my next post in the Pemberton obituary series is Charles Pemberton, the youngest brother of my great-great-great grandfather, John C. Pemberton. Charles was the ninth and youngest child of Jeremiah Pemberton and Susanna Jermyn. He appears to have been their only child born in Michigan. The other eight children were most likely born in Canada. Charles probably had the most interesting cause of death out of all nine children.

"Father Of Pemberton Brothers Dies As Result of Dog Bite Six Weeks Ago," clipping, Port Huron (Michigan) Times-Herald, 29 July 1939; privately held by Sandra Glover, Algonac, Michigan.

Algonac, July 29 --- Charles Pemberton, 82, retired blacksmith, who was bitten June 16 by his pet dog, infected by rabies, died in Port Huron General Hospital early today as the result of the infection.

Mr. Pemberton was removed to the hospital Sunday by Marshal Richard LaCroix and Trooper Warren Hornbrock of the state police when it became apparent that the Pasteur treatments he was undergoing at home were not counteracting the disease.

Mr. Pemberton, father of Floyd and Jeremiah Pemberton, who were killed in the World war, was a familiar figure on the village streets, since his retirement as blacksmith several years ago. Mr. Pemberton would often be seen, a pair of oars over one shoulder, fishing tackle and usually a string of fish in the other returning to his home. His pet dog which resulted in his death was his silent companion. He protested the shooting of the dog after it had bit him.

Pemberton Bros. Post No. 202, American Legion, was named in honor of his two sons.

Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Monday in the Roy T. Gilbert Funeral Home. Rev. A.B. Sutcliffe, retired Methodist minister, will officiate. Burial will be in Oaklawn Cemetery.

He is survived by his widow, Mrs. Aurelia Pemberton; two sons, Dewey and Whitfield Pemberton, both of Algonac; three daughters, Mrs. Susa Brown, Florida; Mrs. Martha Day, Traverse City; amd Mrs. Nellie Diamond, Detroit; and a sister, Mrs. Sarah Jones, Port Huron.

Mr. Pemberton was born in Algonac Sept. 11, 1856, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Pemberton, early settlers of Algonac.
The poor man died after being bitten by his own dog who had rabies! At least he got to live until age 82. I thought it was interesting that they mentioned the Pasteur treatments. I did a little research and found that Louis Pasteur produced the first rabies vaccine, which was first used in 1885.

Dying of rabies was the "perfect" ending to this family that endured one tragedy after another.

  • The biggest tragedy is mentioned here in the obituary. Charles' two sons, Floyd and Jeremiah, both died in Europe fighting in WWI. Jeremiah died 3 Nov 1918, and Floyd died 7 May 1919.
  • Just prior to Jeremiah's death, Charles' daughter, Martha Pemberton Day, was admitted to the Traverse City State Hospital for schizophrenia on 20 Sep 1918. She remained there until her death in 1955.
  • A year prior to Martha's hospitalization, another daughter, Mary Pemberton Baker, died of tuberculosis at the age of 30 on 14 Feb 1917.
  • Charles had already lost a son, also named Charles, to tuberculosis three years earlier at the age of 28 on 3 Oct 1914.
  • Charles' daughter Susanna Pemberton, was married at least five times, twice to the same man, between 1903 and 1919, before she was run over by a car at the age of 86 in 1969. Her death record said she was divorced, so I presume all five of her marriages probably ended that way. It's also possible that I've found Susanna living at an industrial school for girls in the 1900 census.
  • Charles' youngest child, Nellie, also married at least five times between 1920 and 1959. I need to do more research, but I presume there was a lot of divorce there as well.
Charles followed in the family tradition of being a blacksmith. His father, Jeremiah, was one, as were his brothers John, William, and Samuel. John and William remained blacksmiths throughout their lives, though it appears that Charles (and Samuel) dabbled in other careers. According to the 1920 census, Charles was a machinist, and according to his first wife's obituary in 1928, he was a boat builder as well as a blacksmith.

I have tried to find info on the Pemberton Brothers Post in Algonac, but I think it has been closed. There is no Post 202 found using the Post Locator on the American Legion website.

Charles is buried in the same cemetery as his older sister, Agnes Pemberton Phelps.

His wife, Aurelia Pemberton, is Aurelia Wagner Smith Pemberton. She was born in 1874 in Ohio and died in 1946 in Algonac. She was the daughter of John Wagner and Delia Gallagher. Aurelia was Charles' second wife. They did not have any children together. Charles married her some time after his first wife, Blanche Poole, died in March 1928 and before the census in April 1930.

I'm not quite sure what happened to Charles' son, Whitfield. He was living in Ann Arbor for the 1910 census and at the time of the WWI draft registration in 1918, but he seems to disappear in the 1920 and 1930 census records. There is no death record for him in St. Clair County either, although he appears to have been living in Algonac in 1939 at the time of this obituary. Whitfield married Mary A. Wyckoff, daughter of Elisha Wyckoff and Larain Hull, in Akron, Tuscola, Michigan in 1903. They had a daughter, Jessie, in 1904 in St. Clair County, but she died in infancy. They did not have any children enumerated in 1910.

Charles' son, Dewey, married Mollie Bittner in 1925 and then Lillian Hornby MacDowell in 1930, both in St. Clair County. I'm not sure if Mollie died, or if they divorced. I haven't been able to find a death record for her in St. Clair County. Lillian had a child from her first marriage, but Dewey did not have any children. He and Lillian died in 1977 and 1979, respectively.

Charles' daughter, Susanna, is listed as Mrs. Susa Brown. I believe Brown is the name of her fifth and last husband, Ralph. Ralph and Susanna married in 1919 in Alma, Gratiot, Michigan. They were living in Alma for the 1920 census, but I haven't been able to find them in Michigan, Florida, or New Jersey (where Susanna's social security number was issued) for the 1930 census. Susanna's mother's obituary from 1928 lists her residence as Winter Haven, Florida.

I haven't had a chance to find a marriage record yet for Nellie to anyone named Diamond, but they must have married between 1928, when her mom died, and 1939, when her dad died. The husband listed in her mother's obituary was Leo Jepper, whom she married in 1925. An tree lists her husband as Benjamin Diamond. I'm waiting for the tree owner to email me back.

Charles' sister, Sarah, was the only sibling still alive at the time of his death. There is one sibling, Ella, whom I haven't found a death record for yet, but since her youngest child was living with her older son in the 1910 census, I have a feeling that she died sometime between 1900 and 1910.

His parents are listed as Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Pemberton, but his father was actually Jeremiah Pemberton. Stephen was the second son of Jeremiah and Charles' older brother. Stephen died fighting in the Civil War.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for adding on to Arootdigger as a follower. I love to meet fellow bloggers who have the love. I look forward to seeing your response to the ancestors reward.

    I don't get regularly around, but when I do, I read several posts. Kind of like chocolate, it's hard to devour just one piece.