AMHERSTBURG FREEEDOM MUSEUM
The Holbert Family History Part 1 – Minnesota Connection For this month’s family history, I will be focussing on the Holbert (sometimes spelt Hulbert) family. The earliest member of the Holbert family that I could find is Joseph Holbert who was from Virginia. He married a woman named Sarah. Although I could not find any records for Joseph, I did find a brief 1885 obituary for Sarah which says “Holbert- In Detroit, on Wednesday July 8th, Sarah Hulbert, aged 78 years. Deceased was the mother of Rev. Joseph Holbert of this town, and the corpse was brought down on the Riverside yesterday (Thursday) and the funeral will take place today.” Sarah’s obituary mentions her son Joseph Holbert, but Sarah and Joseph Sr. had several other children including John, William, Tolliver, Nancy, Harvey, Caroline, Simon, Lewis, and Rebecca. In the Museum’s family history collection, there is a note mentioning that John, William and Tolliver remained in Virginia. I was not able to find any further information for them.
There were a few documents that mention their sister Nancy. Her marriage record states that she married Morgan Hill, the son of Rober Hill and Creetia Hill, on November 20, 1862 in Essex. Sadly, her death record reveals that she passed away a few years later in August 1869 at the young age of 20.
Nancy’s brother Harvey is next. He married Ellen Norris on October 22, 1872, in Detroit. On September 21, 1888, the Amherstburg Echo printed a death notice for Harvey which said “At Blair, Wis., on Thursday, September 13th, Harvey Holbert, aged 37 years. Deceased was a brother of Rev. Joseph D. Holbert, of Amherstburg, and leaves a widow and one son.” I also found an obituary for Harvey’s wife Ellen who remarried following Harvey’s passing. Her obituary from the August 15, 1930 issue of the Amherstburg Echo says “Mrs. Hedgman Buried – The remains of Mrs. Hedgman, who died in Detroit, Friday, were brough to Amherstburg and the funeral took place Sunday afternoon to the A.M.E. church, King Street, where services were conducted by Rev. Slater, of Detroit, with burial in Rose Hill cemetery. The pallbearers were Jerry Harris, Arthur Allen, William Allen and Peter Brooker. Mrs. Hedgman’s maiden name was Norris. Her first marriage was to Mr. Hulbert, of this town, uncle of David Hulbert and her second marriage to a Mr. Hedgman, brother of the late Mrs. Joseph Hulbert.”
Harvey’s obituary mentions that he and Ellen had a son. His name was Edward. I was not able to find any information for Edward, but I did find his wife’s (Myrtle McDowell) obituary in the Amherstburg Echo which was printed on September 22, 1916 and says “There died in Detroit early on Sunday morning Mrs. Edward Hulbert, a former resident of this town, in the 38th year of her age. She had been ill for some weeks, following the birth of a child. The remains were brought to Amherstburg by special car Tuesday afternoon, and after service in the First Baptist church burial was made in Rose Hill. Mrs. Hulbert was formerly Miss Myrtle McDowell, daughter of the late Simuel McDowell, and was born in this town. She was first married to Jos. Richardson, of Ypsilanti, who died. Two years ago she was married to Edward Hulbert. Besides her husband, she leaves six brothers and two sisters: Simuel and Benjamin, of the steamer Lynn; Alonzo and John, of Detroit; Ruddy, of the steamer Alex McDougall; Ray, Ethel, Mrs. Norman Wilson and Emma, of Amherstburg.”
Myrtle was married previously to Joseph Richardson. They are both mentioned in the January 24, 1973 obituary for their son Russell which says “Russel Richardson, 72, son of the late Joseph and Myrtle McDowell Richardson, who lived in Amherstburg at the time, died in Detroit, January 14th. He was a nephew of the late Mrs. Norman G. Wilson (Ethel McDowell). Amherstburg. The funeral was in Cleveland, Thursday. Surviving is a sister, Mrs. Alex Harris in Cleveland and cousins in Amherstburg.”
Harvey’s sister Caroline married Peter Vaughn, the son of Philip and Catherine Vaughn on February 17, 1871 in Colchester. Caroline’s sister Rebecca was a witness. On May 14, 1897, the Amherstburg Echo printed “I am prepared to do white washing, cleaning chimneys, laying carpet, repairing furniture or any other work in connection with house cleaning. Peter Vaughn, at S. Holbert’s, St. Arnaud St.” Caroline and Peter did not remain in Colchester the entire time, but seem to have moved back and for between Essex County and Wisconsin. They appear on the 1880 US Census for Preston, Trempealeau, Wisconsin, along with their children Francis, Elminnah, Sarah B., Julia A., and Minnie M., in addition to Caroline’s mother Sarah Holbert. The 1900 Census shows more movement because they are now living in St. Paul City, Minnesota. There are more children listed in addition to Almina and Julia, including Irene, Eva, Colvan, Culpernia, and Julia’s son George Baker. The following Census for 1910 lists Peter and Caroline as still living in St. Paul City with their daughter Carpina (could be Culpernia) and their grandchildren Ira Vaughn, Angelo Wright, Mellvina Wright and Merrie B. Wright.
Peter and Caroline’s son Francis was born Franisco Doro Vaughn on December 11, 1871 in Colchester. He passed away on September 15, 1927 in St. Paul, Minnesota and was married to a woman named Rosie. Francis’ sister Elmina (Elminnah, Almina) married William Davis on November 29, 1907 in St. Paul, Minnesota. She passed away on June 1, 1955 in St. Peter, Nicollet, Minnesota.
Elmina’s sister Sarah married Charles House, the son of Louis House and Emma Ryan, on September 5, 1919 in Lucas, Ohio. Sarah’s marriage record also mentions that she was previously married to Donald Gordon and that Charles was a widower.
Sarah’s sister Julia married Clarence G. Baker, the son of Benjamin Baker and Elenora Camron, on August 28, 1897 in St. Croix, Wisconsin. You may recall that Julia and her son George are listed in the 1900 Census with her parents Peter and Caroline Vaughn. I was also able to find Julia’s death record, but she is listed as Julia Wiley, not Julia Baker. Her death record lists her husband as Jesse Wiley. Julia passed away on February 13, 1948 in St. Paul, Ramsey, Minnesota. This record also shares that Julie was born in Windsor in 1878. I could not find any documents for Julia’s siblings, Minnie, Irene, Eva or Colvan, but I found a death record for Colpernia. She passed away on December 12, 1920 in Toledo, Ohio, and she is listed as Colpernia Holton. Colpernia’s brother John Robert Vaughn married Mary W. Green, the daughter of William Whitlock and Malissa Elam, on May 13, 1947 in Lucas, Ohio.
What we publish is not a complete history of any family and is based on the documents that are available. We welcome photos and information to fill in the gaps. See you next week for part 2.
The Holbert Family History Part 2 – Civil War Veteran
So far, I have discussed John, William, Tolliver, Nancy, Harvey, and Caroline Holbert. It is now time to continue by discussing Joseph, Simon, Lewis, and Rebecca. Joseph was born on March 8, 1827 and he married Caroline Hedgman, the daughter of John Hedgman and Charlotte Boyles (a separate records says Holmes), who was born on March 8, 1834 (some records say July 8, 1944). On July 14, 1882, the Amherstburg Echo printed an interesting article about Caroline’s father, John, which said “We see cases mentioned in Oxford and Halton of men 80 and 89 years old voting at the late Dominion elections, but none of them can compare with the case of John Hedgeman, an aged colored man of Amherstburg who voted in the Second Ward for Mr. McGregor. He is said to be 105 years old.”
Joseph Holbert also appeared in the Amherstburg Echo including a brief article on February 25, 1898 which says “On Saturday night last, Rev. Jos. D. Holbert was surprised by a goodly number of the members of the First Baptist church. They brought with them baskets well laden with good things for which the reverend gentlemen returned his sincere thanks. A very pleasant evening was spent in music, singing, etc.” In this article Joseph is referred to as a Reverend. A note from the Museum’s collection says that Joseph was called to the ministry around the age of 20. His obituary appeared in the Amherstburg Echo on April 30, 1909 and shares even more details. It says “Rev. Joseph D. Holbert, for the past fifty years a resident of Amherstburg, died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Miller, Detroit, on Tuesday last, in the 83rd year of his age. The remains have been brought to the home of his son David, and the funeral will take place this Friday afternoon at 2 o’clock to the First Baptist church for service and interment will be in Rose Hill cemetery. Mr. Holbert was a native of the South, and came to Amherstburg in the early 50’s. He took part in the American Civil War and drew a substantial pension. One brother lived and died at New Canaan, and he has a sister, Mrs. Rebecca Boyd, of this town. His wife died a few years ago. Surviving him are two sons and two daughters. David, of Amherstburg; John, Lottie (Mrs. Miller), of Detroit, and Maud (Mrs. Herod), of Grand Rapids. Mr. Holbert was one of the most highly respected men in Amherstburg. He was a deacon of the First Baptist church and for some years resident pastor. He was elected a member of the Public School Board, and gave splendid service in educational affairs for many years. Recently, owing to a new rule regarding those who drew pensions from the United States, he went to Detroit to live with his daughter, Mrs. Miller. His death was due to old age.” A further note in the Museum’s collection states that Joseph served “in the Civil War he was Sergeant in Company ‘H’, 102 Regiment Michigan Coloured Infantry, and was mustered out in 1865 at Charleston, South Carolina.”
Caroline passed away a few years before and her obituary was printed in the Amherstburg Echo on April 30, 1909. It says “In Amherstburg, Tuesday, April 27th, 1909, Caroline, wife of Rev. Joseph Holbert, aged 65 years, 9 months and 19 days. Deceased had been an invalid for 17 years suffering from paralysis. She failed rapidly during the last ten weeks but the end came unexpectedly. She was born in Malden, was the youngest daughter of the late John Hedgman and was the last surviving member of the family. She was united in marriage to Rev. Joseph Holbert in 1868 and had been a resident of Amherstburg since that time. Besides her aged husband she leaves to mourn her loss two daughters, Mrs. Robert Miller and Mrs. Maud Jackson, of Detroit, and two sons David and John, of Amherstburg. She was a woman of quiet demeanor and had a host of warm friends. The funeral will take place on Friday afternoon, April 30th, at 2 o’clock, to the First Baptist Church, interment in Rose Hill cemetery.”
Caroline and Joseph Holbert had at least four children. The 1881 Amherstburg Census lists Joseph and Caroline with their children Charlotte, David, John and Maud E., who will be discussed next. Charlotte/Lottie appears in an Amherstburg Echo article on October 3, 1884 which mentions her talents as a singer. It says, “A Grand Concert and exhibition will be given in the New Town Hall, Amherstburg, on Wednesday evening, October 22nd, under the auspices of the young members and friends of the Baptist church. The programme will consist of laughable farces dialogues, vocal and instrumental music. Two star singers from Detroit are expected … Don’t fail to come and hear the two popular soprano singers, Miss Lottie Holbert and Miss Annie Green. Come one, come all. Doors open at 7 p.m. Curtain … at 8. Admission 25 cts.”
Charlotte married Robert Miller and they appear on the 1910 Michigan Census with their son Clark who, at the time, was a 21-year-old Bookkeeper. Also listed on this census is Charlotte’s sister Maud Holbert who worked as a waitress. Charlotte and Robert may have had more children, but I could not find evidence beyond their son Clark.
There were several documents found for Joseph and Caroline’s next child, David. He married Bertha Green, the daughter of John Green and Maggie Brooks, on March 8, 1897 in Detroit (see Green Family History https://amherstburgfreedom.org/green-family/ ). As a young woman, Bertha was involved with the Amherstburg-based Young People’s Social Club which was part of the Nazrey Church. In 1892, she was elected as Vice President of this organization. Years later, in 1924, the Amherstburg Echo records that Bertha, along with Mrs. H.D. Banks, were delegates from the First Baptist Church for the Baptist Association in London. The Echo also mentions Bertha’s participation in the Order of the Eastern Star and not only that she attended the Grand Chapter O.E.S. in Chatham but was also re-elected the Grand Royal Matron. In January 1926, the Echo reported that “The Women’s Guild of the First Baptist church met in the home of Mrs. B. Holbert on January 12th for the purpose of closing all business for the year 1925 and election of officers for present year. For the year 1925 the Guild raised $331.70. During the fifteen years the Guild has been in progress its achievements have been many in doing for the church, the sick and the needy. The last year’s greatest accomplishment was the gift of a beautiful Heitzman piano to the church. Officers elected for the years: Hon. Pres., Mrs. B. Holbert: President, Mrs. E. Stokes; Hon. Vice-Pres., Mrs. J. Saunders; Vice-Pres., Mrs. E. Thomas; Chaplain, Mrs. B. Holbert; Treasurer, Mrs. E. Kirtley; Secretary, Mrs. B. Hall; Asst. Sec., Mrs. M. Bank; Finance Committee, Mrs. B. Holbert, Mrs. F. Johnson, Mrs. B. Wilson. The Guild extends a vote of thanks to all who helped her in her undertakings and especially the merchants of Amherstburg, who are always so liberal.” The Women’s Guild began as the Church Aid Society in Amherstburg which was a mixed-gender society that began in 1850 out of the First Baptist Church. From the Church Aid Society came the Amherstburg Guild in 1899, and then the Women’s Guild in 1909.
Sadly, Bertha Green Holbert passed away on September 25, 1928. Her death record also mentions that her date of birth was July 1, 1880. A few days later, on September 28, the Amherstburg Echo printed Bertha’s obituary which said “Mrs. Bertha Hulbert aged 48 years, prominent in colored church and fraternal organizations of Amherstburg and wife of Mr. David Hulbert died at her home, Kemp avenue, late Tuesday night. Since last October she had been suffering from heart trouble, but on Tuesday seemed somewhat improved; however in the evening she suffered a severe attack and died about midnight. She was born in Amherstburg, the daughter of the late John Green and his wife, Margaret Brooks. Thirty years ago she was married to David Hulbert. At an early age she became a member of the First Baptist Church and has been very active in church work ever since, occupying many positions of responsibility in the church and church societies. At the time of her death she was clerk, honorary president of the Guild, and honorary president of the Women’s Missionary Society. She was also a member of Ruth Chapter, O.E.S., and for four years was Grand Worthy Matron of this Order for Ontario, resigning this position because of ill health. She is survived by her husband, who is in the employ of Falls & Son; one son, Joseph, chef of the steamer Queen City; her mother, Mrs. John Green; three sisters, Mrs. Myrtle Green, of Amherstburg; Ruth, Mrs. John Cole, of Cleveland; and Esther, Mrs. Henry Balfour, of Maidstone; also two brothers, Edmund and Denzil, both of Cleveland. The funeral services will be held this afternoon (Friday) at 2 p.m. in the First Baptist Church. Rev. Talbert will be in charge, assisted by Rev. Edwards, pastor of the church. Interment will take place in Rose Hill cemetery.” A separate obituary found in the Museum’s collection, printed October 2, mentions “Owing to the prominence of the deceased in the church work and in the Order of the Eastern Star, the attendance was very large and a number of letters and resolutions of condolence and eulogy were read from societies of the local church and also from churches in Windsor, North Buxton and other places. Mrs. William Wilson sang ‘There is No Night There.’”
Decades later, on December 8, 1955, the Amherstburg Echo printed an obituary for Bertha’s husband David Holbert which says “Funeral services were held Saturday afternoon for David Joseph Holbert, who died at his residence on Perry St., Amherstburg, in the First Baptist Church. Mr. Holbert was born in Amherstburg and was a resident of this district all his life. He was employed as a maintenance man at Bob Lo Island. Mr. Holbert was a member of the First Baptist Church. He was also a member of Lincoln Lodge No. 8 A.F. and A.M. His wife, Bertha, died in 1928. A son, Joseph, died in 1946. Surviving is one brother, John, in Detroit.”
What we publish is not a complete history of any family and is based on the documents that are available. We welcome photos and information to fill in the gaps. See you next week for part 3.
The Holbert Family History Part 3 – By Land or By Sea
As mentioned in their obituaries, Bertha and David had a son named Joseph D. Holbert. He married Mable Bow, daughter of William and Mamie Hughes, on June 2, 1924 in Detroit. Sadly, Mable passed away a few months later. The Amherstburg Echo shared her obituary on September 19, 1924, which says “Funeral services for Mrs. Joseph Holbert, who died at the home of her mother, Mrs. Mammie Bow, Seymore street, took place Sunday to the A.M.E. church, Rev. Alexander officiating. Burial was in Rose Hill cemetery, the pallbearers being Lionel Conway, Reginald Adams, Alonzo Harris, Roy Banks, Norvel Wilson and John Boyd. The deceased’s maiden name was Mabel Bow and she was born in Detroit May 1st, 1905. She was married to Joseph Holbert June 2nd, being a bride of three months, which makes it doubly sad. Besides her husband and mother, she leaves two sisters: Lillie (Mrs. Arkard Wilson), Nettie (Mrs. Neal Wilson), and four brothers: Richard, Ellwood, Elmer and Carl. Those who attended the funeral from out of town were Mr. and Mrs. Purdie Dennis, Mr. and Mrs. Bud Powers, Mrs. Whittaker, Miss Morris, Mr. and Mrs. Miller, Robert Miller, Mrs. Maud Valentine, of Detroit; Denzie Green, of Cleveland, and Harry Smith, Windsor.”
Joseph married a second time to Maxine Alice P. Roper who was born on May 21, 1906 in Dresden and was the daughter of Joseph Roper and Alice Freeman. On October 19, 1928, the Amherstburg Echo printed “Joseph Hulbert and his bride are spending their honeymoon at the home of his father, David Hulbert, Brock street. Mr. Hulbert was married at Ebenezer A.M.E. Church, Detroit; Tuesday, October 8th, to Miss Maxine Roper, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Roper of Dresden, Rev. Mr. Gomez officiating. Their attendants were the bride’s niece Mrs. Garnet Cook and Lewis Brock.” I was also able to find a few references to Maxine’s parents in the Amherstburg Echo. The first mention is for Maxine’s father Joseph Roper on January 26, 1934 and says “Joseph Hulbert and wife were called to Dresden last week on account of the illness of the latter’s father, Joseph Roper. Mr. Roper died on Monday.” A death notice appears in the paper which says that Joseph Roper died on January 22, 1934 at the age of 81. Just a few months later, Maxine’s mother Alice passed away and her obituary appears in the Amherstburg Echo on July 20, 1934 and says “Local Resident’s Mother Dies – The death occurred at Dresden on Sunday evening of Mrs. Alice Roper, widow of the late Josiah Roper, and mother of Mrs. Joseph Holbert, of Amherstburg. Deceased had been in ill health for several months, and was confined to bed for the past three weeks. She was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Freeman and was a life long resident of Dresden. She was an active worker in the Queen Street Baptist Church, and will be greatly missed from the congregation. Besides Mrs. Holbert she is survived by another daughter Mrs. David Lambkin of Dresden, and one son, Freeman Roper, of Dresden.”
I was also able to find an obituary for Joseph David Holbert in the Amherstburg Echo from February 1, 1945 which says “Following a short illness Joseph David Hulbert, aged 46 years, died in Hotel Dieu, Windsor, early Tuesday morning. He was taken to the hospital Friday suffering from a kidney condition. He was born in Amherstburg the son of David Hulbert and his late wife Bertha Green. The young man attended the schools in Amherstburg and went sailing on the lakes as a cook. Coming ashore he worked at the Brunner Mond Canada Limited plant and recently at Ford Motor in Windsor. He was twice married, his first wife the former Mabel Bow of Detroit, died shortly after marriage. His second wife was the former Maxine Roper of Dresden. Besides his wife he is survived by his father and two children Jackie and Bobbie. His grandfather, for whom he was named was the well known pastor of the First Baptist Church in Amherstburg at the turn of the century. The young man was master of Lincoln Lodge No. 8 A.F. & A.M. Funeral services will be held Friday afternoon in the First Baptist Church, Amherstburg and burial will follow in Rose Hill Cemetery.”
Joseph’s second wife Maxine married a second time on May 19, 1945 in Wood County, Ohio to Leroy Banks, the son of Henry Banks and Mary Web. At the time Henry worked as a Factory Foreman. Maxine Roper Holbert Banks passed away on January 10, 1976 at the age of 69. Her obituary from the Amherstburg Echo shares a few details of her life and says “Mrs. Maxine Pauline Banks, Kempt St., Amherstburg, died Saturday in her 70th year. Born in Dresden the deceased was predeceased by two husbands Joseph Hulbart and Roy Banks. She was mother of John Hulburt and Robert Banks, sister of Freeman Roper and Mrs. May Lampkin both of Dresden. The funeral will be in the First Baptist Church today at 1 p.m.. Rev. Banks Clark officiating. Interment in Rose Hill Cemetery.”
As mentioned, Joseph Holbert and Caroline Hedgman had two more children: John and Maud. John married Louisa Smith Watson, the daughter of Charles Smith and Lydia Brown, on November 22, 1921 in Detroit. John’s sister Maud married several times. The details of her first marriage appear in the Amherstburg Echo on September 30, 1898 and says “On Monday last at Cleveland, Miss Maud Holbert, youngest daughter of Rev. J.D. Holbert, was united in marriage to Andrew Jackson, of Rainesville, Ohio, now of Detroit. Mr. and Mrs. Jackson returned to town on Wednesday where Mrs. Jackson will remain a short time before taking up her residence in Detroit.” Their marriage record states that the date of their marriage was September 19, 1898.
Maud’s second marriage was to Richard Herod, the son of Richard Herod and Nancy Quinn. The couple married on January 7, 1911 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. At the time, Maude’s occupation was Singer, while Richard was a Waiter. Maud’s next marriage was to Charles F. Valentine, the son of John H. Valentine and Marie Ryan. They married on November 17, 1919 in Detroit. On Maud’s death record, she is listed as Maude Williams which indicates that she married a fourth time. Her husband’s first name is not listed, but it does say that Maud was born on July 29, 1885 in Amherstburg.
Now that I have discussed Joseph Holbert, I will move on to discuss his remaining siblings Simon, Lewis, and Rebecca. Simon is listed on the 1901 Census as living under the household of his brother Joseph. This census records that Simon was single. He passed away just a few years later on February 11, 1903 in Amherstburg which was reported in the Amherstburg Echo which says “Simon Hulbert died in Amherstburg on Wednesday of last week, in his 61st year. Deceased was born in Washington County, Ohio, in 1842, and came to Amherstburg in 1860. He served in the U.S. civil war for which he received a pension. He lived in Colchester North and Amherstburg off and on since the war. He was a brother of Rev. Jos. Hulbert, of Amherstburg, and Lewis, of New Canaan. Mrs. John Boyd, Amherstburg, at whose residence he died, was also a sister. He was taken ill with a complication of diseases about a year ago and gradually grew weaker. The funeral took place Thursday to Rose Hill cemetery.”
Simon’s brother Lewis is next. He married Eliza Jane Allen, the daughter of Benjamin and Nancy Allen, on January 8, 1891 in Colchester. Eliza and Lewis’ children include Raymond, Lacy/Lucy, Orvill, Laverne, and Waneta. The 1901 Census also lists additional children named James A., Joseph and Charmia. Raymond Hulbert was born on October 27, 1892 in Colchester North. He married twice. His first marriage was to Martha Cottan and they married on April 11, 1914 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Raymond’s second marriage was to Elsie White, the daughter of John W. White. They married on September 13, 1922 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Raymond’s sister Lacy/Lucy Ann married Zepich Fletcher, the son of Zepich Fletcher and Rena Pines, on October 16, 1916 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She passed on December 16, 1943 in Ann Arbor. Her death record mentions that she was born on August 1, 1895. Her brother Orvill’s death record mentions that he passed on June 27, 1922 in Ann Arbor, but that he was born on August 10, 1896 and was single. Orvill’s sister Laverne married Elwood Johns, the son of Jim Johnson and Laura Evason, on November 2, 1924 in Ann Arbor. She must have married a second time because her death record lists her as Laverne Sellers, who passed on May 18, 1940. This record also mentions that she was born on April 23, 1906. The last child of Eliza Allen and Lewis Hulbert is Waneta (some records say Marieta). She married Joseph Perkins, son of John Perkins and Mary Lee, on April 3, 1920 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
What we publish is not a complete history of any family and is based on the documents that are available. We welcome photos and information to fill in the gaps. See you next week for part 4.
The Holbert Family History Part 4 – “the strongest man in the town”
I will end this family history by discussing the last child of Joseph and Sarah Holbert, Rebecca. She married John Boyd, the son of Harden and Charity Boyd, on June 17, 1891. John was previously married to Eleanor Nolan who is listed alongside John and their children (William, Maria, John, Rachel, Nellie/Ellen, Immanuel, Margaret, Anthony, Esther, Andrew, Aaron, Truman, Ernest, and Walter) on the Census.
According to her death record, Rebecca passed away on December 28, 1921, in Amherstburg. A very brief mention of her passing appeared in the Amherstburg Echo which says “Rebecca Boyd, one of the town’s oldest women, died on Wednesday at the home of Newton Bell. She was near 90.”
Rebecca also had a daughter named Margaret who was born in Colchester on March 9, 1865. Margaret married Albert Wilson, the son of Washington Wilson and Mary Elnora Starks, on August 9, 1880, in Detroit. The couple moved to Amherstburg and lived in a house on George Street which has since been torn down and replaced by a modern structure. According to the Amherstburg Echo Albert Wilson purchased a house which stood on the corner of Ramsey and Gore since 1812. Circa 1917, the house was dismantled and moved. The house “was built of square logs dovetailed to a centre post and at the corners. Every piece of timber is sound.”
Margaret’s husband Albert was born May 6, 1863. According to Milo Johnson’s book New Canaan, Freedom Land, “Albert was very popular in town [Amherstburg] and was known as having a quiet lifestyle and for being the strongest man in the town.” In an article from February 7, 1936, titled “Amherstburg’s Strongest Men,” it gives further details, saying “You’ve heard the saga of Paul Bunyan and his blue ox that performed feats of strength which only the imaginative French-Canadian mind could devise. Amherstburg has had its own Paul Bunyan, only he wasn’t a mythical character, albeit he did things that hardly seemed possible for one man. That was the late Al Wilson, who bore the title of the strongest man in town, past or present. He was a muscular … man who had 275 pounds distributed over a commanding stature. He got a lot of fun out of demonstrating his strength, not boastingly, but because of the surprise his actions caused. Now a barrel of salt to an ordinary man is a hefty as well as an awkward article to handle. But Al tossed barrels of salt (they weighed over 300 pounds) about like an empty keg. He could grasp one by the ends and toss it on a wagon without apparent effort while the eyes of the strangers popped. He was always a handy man to have around because he could take the place of a block and tackle or lever. Threshing gangs have seen Al lift one end of a threshing machine, and that’s a big lift. He used to do a little lumber jacking now and then, too, and at times when men struggled with logs Al would step and move them around as though they were match sticks.”
His 1932 obituary also mentions that Albert “was for twenty years employed by the Mullen Coal Company, and as gardener and handyman around the Mullen home. Then was foreman of labor on Bois Blanc Island for thirteen years. He was a splendid florist and an expert tree surgeon, and saved many fine shade trees in this community by means of tree surgery. He was a man of very quiet life and habits; was a member of the First Baptist Church.” On March 21, 1913, the Amherstburg Echo published an article about Albert’s skill as a tree surgeon, writing “Albert Wilson gave a demonstration in arboreal surgery at the rear of the Lake View House Friday, the outcome of which will be watched with interest. He skimmed off all the decay from a large scar on the side of a tree, cleaned out the wound thoroughly, gave it antiseptic treatment and then applied a coat of cement, over which he expects the bark to grow within a few years, just as it was before the wound was received. He has treated trees in a similar manner with great success on Bois Blanc.” Impressively, Margaret lived to be 100 years old and, at the time of her passing, had 55 grandchildren and 300 or more great grandchildren.
Albert and Margaret had twelve children: Lillian (1881), Grace (1884), Albert (1884), Rebecca (1887), William (1889), Simon Peter (1890), Cornelius (Neil) (1892), Norman (1894), Arkard, Ira Laird (1897), Washington, and Norval (1909). Albert Sr.’s obituary also mentions two additional children, Margaret and Isabel, who were deceased at the time of Albert’s passing on May 1, 1932, in Amherstburg.
According to the marriage record for Lillian Wilson, daughter of Albert and Margaret Wilson, she married a farmer named Andrew Boyd on July 28, 1901 in Amherstburg. Andrew was born on May 7, 1872 in Colchester and was the son of John Boyd and Ellen/Eleanor Nolan. According to the 1911 Census, Andrew and Lillie had at least four children: Marguerite (born February 13, 1902 in Amherstburg), John T. (born March 8, 1903 in Amherstburg), Andrew (born February 11, 1906 in Amherstburg) and Joseph (born January 7, 1909 in Amherstburg). There is also a death record for an Esther Valeein Boyd, who is listed as the child of Andrew and Lillian Boyd. She passed on March 4, 1914 in Amherstburg and was under the age of 2.
Lillian’s sister Grace is the next child of Albert and Margaret Wilson that we will discuss. According to her marriage record, Grace married Earnest Boyd on December 9, 1900, in Amherstburg. Earnest was the son of Ellen and John Boyd. According to her obituary, Grace moved to Detroit in 1900 and she and Earnest (who is listed as William) had one son named Ernest.
Grace’s brother Albert Tobias is next. I would first like to thank Albert’s great granddaughter Debora who shared information on the Wilson family. Albert married Ella Gains, daughter of Frank Gains and Sarah Daley, on August 9, 1905 in Windsor. Albert and Margaret had at least two children: William Albert and Cornelius. William Albert was born July 1, 1906 in Windsor, while Cornelius’ birth record states he was born on January 29, 1911 in Amherstburg.
An interesting account of a shipwreck, found in the Amherstburg Echo, mentions Albert and says “A November 13th blizzard brings death and destruction to three million dollars worth of shipping on the Great Lakes. Shores from Lake Superior to Lake Erie strewn with wreckage and drowned sailors. The steamer J.T. Hutchinson in command of Capt. Walter Lawler was blown ashore near Iroquois Point and was a total wreck. Among his crew were mate Herman Cornwall and chefs James Kirtley and Albert Wilson Jr. all of Amherstburg.”
Albert’s sister Rebecca married twice. A marriage record for October 19, 1908 states that Rebecca married a lawyer named William B. Hughes, the son of S.C. Hughes and Hannah Binga, in Windsor. Rebecca’s obituary also states that she married Albert Kersey and was mother of Wilbert who lived in Chicago.
The next child of Albert and Margaret has a special connection to the Amherstburg Freedom Museum. Their son William lived in the Taylor log cabin that is on the Museum’s property. William married Azalia Thompson, the daughter of Emma Taylor and Thomas Thompson. Before we move forward, here is a bit more about Azalia and her family. Azalia’s mother Emma was the daughter of George Taylor and Mary Ann Brooker. Interestingly, the Taylor cabin on the Museum’s property is named after George Taylor. According to George, Emma was born on July 25, 1880. In 1901, she married Thomas Thompson, a mason, when she was 21, and following their marriage Thomas, who was 24, moved into the Taylor Cabin. In Emma’s 1926 obituary it states that “She was a hard working woman, a devoted wife, a loving mother and sister, ever ready to do an act of kindness, a devote member of Nazrey A.M.E. church and of the Women’s Guild Society.”
William Wilson’s wife Azalia, was born in 1895 in Anderdon Township and she lived her entire life in the Amherstburg district. William was a mason, just like Thomas, and Azalia was a schoolteacher and active member of the First Baptist Church in Amherstburg. According to the Church statistics for the Amherstburg Regular Baptist Association (ARMBA), Azalia also acted as a Clerk for the First Baptist Church from 1932 to 1944. Azalia, just like her mother, was also involved in the Women’s Guild in Amherstburg. In a 1931 edition of the Amherstburg Echo, it records that the Women’s Guild hosted a Home Coming at the First Baptist Church, which included dinner and entertainment from Windsor’s B.M.E. choir and a solo performance by Azalia Wilson. She is listed as the secretary for this organization as well. Singing was not an uncommon practice for Azalia, who in October of 1909, also sang at the town’s Harvest Home Concert and Social in the A.M.E. Church. In October of the following year, the Echo writes that she also sang a solo “Seek ye first the kingdom” in the A.M.E. junior choir and her performance was described as “very acceptably rendered.”
William and Azalia had at least five children: Harold, Marwood, Grenville, Marian and William. Marion went on to marry William Henry Vincent, son of Ernest Vincent, on 10 April 1943. They were married in the First Baptist Church in Amherstburg by the Reverend. I.H. Edwards and resided in Detroit. Billy and Marwood, a labourer, remained in Amherstburg, but a tragic end met their son Private Harold Wilson who was killed in action in North Africa on July 17, 1943, while serving in the US Army. He was married to Marjorie Sopher (m. 1939) with two children: Harold Jr. and Beverly.
Now that we have discussed Lillian, Grace, Albert T., Rebecca and William, we will move forward with Simon Peter, Cornelius, Norman, Ira, Washington, Arkard, and Norval. Simon Peter married Arabella Adams, daughter of William H. and Laura Adams, on December 23, 1911 in Amherstburg. According to the Amherstburg Echo “A pretty wedding took place at the Baptist parsonage Saturday evening, December 23rd, when Miss Belle Adams, fourth daughter of William Adams, and Simon Wilson, third son of Albert Wilson, were made man and wife, the Rev. Allen Peavey officiating. The happy couple have taken up housekeeping on King Street. They received many beautiful presents. Mr. Wilson is chef on a big Steel Trust steamer.” The 1921 Census lists Simon and Arabella with their daughter Lena.
Simon Peter’s brother Cornelius (Neil) married Viola Nettie Bowe and lived in Amherstburg, then Colchester Township. Cornelius purchased land on the 4th Concession and Drummond Road. According to Cornelius’ obituary, he and Viola’s children included “Lawrence, Carter of Amherstburg; Earl, Windsor; Ellwood, Carl, Harrow; Waunetta Townes [sic] of Amherstburg; Grace Baylis, Hazel Baylis, Nettie Taylor, Naomi Ennis, Gwendolyn Manners of Harrow; Dorothy Esenault of Windsor; Mable Price of Pontiac. Predeceased by Orville (1920), Rhoda (1953), Floyd (1970). Step Father of Bev, Brenda, Vernetta, Audrey, Elwin Wilson, Kenneth and Robert Day, all of Windsor.”
The next child of Albert and Margaret Wilson is Norman George who was born on January 22, 1894 in Amherstburg. Norman married Ethel McDowell. According to the 1901 Census, Ethel was the daughter of Sim (Simeon) and Emma McDowell. The 1891 and 1901 Censuses also list Ethel’s siblings: Myrtle, Alonzo, John, Benjamin, Simion, Emma Jane, Raymond and Samuel. The 1921 Census for Norman and Ethel lists their children Alva, Margaret, Marietta, Arnold and Herman. Also found was a death record for June, the daughter of Norman and Ethel, who sadly passed at 9 months old on January 19, 1926 in Toronto.
Norman’s brother Arkard married Lillian Bow and the 1921 Census for Amherstburg lists Arkard and Lillian with their children Elmer, Frederick, and Norvell. Arkard’s brother Ira married Vera Byron, the daughter of John Henry Byron and Rosa Taylor, on November 9, 1927. According to their marriage record, Ira worked as a Mason and Vera was a Domestic. Additionally, Vera was born on October 7, 1909 in Colchester. Ira and Vera had at least fourteen children. According to the book New Canaan “Ira was a very well-liked and active resident of Colchester and often attended council meetings to further the position of farmers’ concerns about drainage in the area. He and his wife were faithful members of first Mount Calvary C.O.G.I.C., and later St. Mark’s Church of Colchester.”
There was no information for Ira’s brother Washington, but there were several available documents for Norval. According to records from the Museum’s family history collection, Norval married Doris Goode, the daughter of Frank Elwood Good and Lenora May DeBaptiste. According to the October 1986 obituary for Doris Iona Wilson, her husband, the Reverend Norval Wilson passed in 1974. It also states that Doris was the “Beloved mother of Mrs. Velma Warren, Detroit; Mrs. Janet Harris, Mrs. Lenora Mulder, Norvel Wilson Jr., Paul E. Wilson, Mrs. Nancy Cox, Duane Wilson, all of Windsor; Harold Wilson of Harrow; and Philip of Coombs, B.C.; Mrs. Cheryl Shelby, Windsor. 33 grandchildren & 13 great-grandchildren. Foster mother of the Howard Mulder Sr. family of Harrow. Mrs. Wilson was a member of the Harrison Memorial Church of God in Christ.”
What we publish is not a complete history of any family and is based on the documents that are available. We welcome photos and information to fill in the gaps. See you next week where we will celebrate another amazing family.