Sunday, January 27, 2008

Michigan Biographical Index

If you are researching Michigan ancestors, you may be interested in this site, Michigan Biographical Index. "This is a cumulative full-name index merging many Michigan publications and manuscripts," says the introduction. You search for an ancestor's name, and if found, you will be given information about the publication his (or her) biography is printed in. Some of these sources may be available online, for instance, at the Michigan County Histories site or on Michigan GenWeb or GenNet sites. You can Google the name of the publication; in fact, it may even be available at Google Book Search! Don't forget your local genealogical or historical society's library, or try InterLibrary Loan at your local public library to obtain a desired book. Many of these can also be purchased new or used at online bookstores.

Now go out and find your ancestors!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Biography: Milo SWEERS

From History of Genesee county, Michigan, her people, industries and institutions, with biographical sketches of representative citizens and genealogical records of many of the old families, by Edwin Orin Wood, Federal Publishing Company, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1916, pp. 625 - 628:


Early in 1862, the Civil War then having been in progress long enough to demonstrate that the suppression of the rebellion of the Southern states was going to be a long, difficult job, three young men of Genesee county, Milo Sweers, Marvin Barney and Riley Kipp, enlisted for service in Company C, Tenth Regiment, Michigan Volunteer Infantry, and on April 22 of that same year left Flint for the front. They enlisted on the same day, served throughout the war in the same company, mess-mates and tent-mates, often sleeping beneath the same blanket, came home together at the close of the war, settled down to the peaceful pursuits of a farming community, each marrying about two years later and fifty years later, accompanied by their respective wives, these three comrades revisited the scenes of some of the most hotly contested battles in which they had been engaged during the service. During all the bitter service in which they were engaged but one of the notable trio was ever hit by a bullet, and that was Riley Kipp, who was keeled over, but not seriously wounded, at the battle of Jonesboro. Of the brave company of eleven hundred men who left Flint on that April day in 1862, but ten or twelve are now living and it is to a brief record of the interesting life of one of these that the biographer here asks the attention of the reader.

Milo Sweers, deputy sheriff of Genesee county, was born in this county in the year in which Michigan was admitted to statehood and has spent his whole life in the county, with the exception of the four years spent in the Union army during the trying days of his country's need in the sixties. He was born on a pioneer farm in Atlas township, June 19, 1837, son of Manly and Lydia (Van Cleaf) Sweers, early settlers of Genesee county, who spent their last days here, both living to ripe old ages, and who were the parents of twelve children, namely: Spencer, who is spending his declining years among his brothers and sisters; Rachel, who is the widow of Riley Van Tyne and who is now spending her declining years with her children; Milo, the immediate subject of this biographical sketch; Josephine, who is the.wife of Nelson Confer, of Maple Grove, Saginaw county, this state; Nelson, who died at Louisville, Kentucky, while serving as a soldier of the Union during the Civil War; Ellen, deceased, who was the wife of John Brown; Louisa, now living at Ortonville, widow of George P. Eaton; Oscar, who is now making his home with a married daughter in Goodrich; Freeman, who lives at Davison, this county; Lewis, who is president of a bank at Ortonville; Mary, who married Corwin Skidmore and lives at Fenton, this county, and Daniel, who lives on a farm in Flushing township, this county.

Manly Sweers was the eldest of the three children born to his parents, Manly [sic - Daniel] Sweers and wife, the others having been Daniel [Jr.] and Mrs. Cummings [sic - Mrs. Jeremiah F. York, I]. The elder Manly [sic - Daniel] Sweers and wife were natives of the state of Vermont, who became pioneers in Erie county, New York, and later came to Michigan Territory and were pioneers of Genesee county, where they spent the remainder of their lives and were buried on their home farm. The younger [sic - there was no "younger" Manley...he was the only one] Manly Sweers married Lydia Van Cleaf [also spelled Van Cleve], whose parents, also natives of Vermont, came to Michigan in territorial days and became pioneers in Genesee county, making their home near Goodrich, where they died and were buried. They had three children, of whom Mrs. Sweers was the eldest, the others being Lewis and Adeline. It was in 1836 that the younger [sic] Manly Sweers and his wife came to Michigan from New York and settled in Genesee county. Manly Sweers pre-empted a tract of eighty acres of "Congress land" in Atlas township and established his home there in the forest wilderness, his nearest neighbors at that time having been the family of Ezra K. Parsells, seven miles away. Manly Sweers cleared his forest land and gradually added to the same until he was the owner of one hundred and forty acres and was regarded as one of the most substantial farmers in that pioneer community. He built three houses on his place and his last days were spent in comfort. He lived to the advanced age of eighty-nine years and his wife was seventy-five years of age at the time of her death about six years prior to the time of his death.

Milo Sweers grew to manhood on the pioneer home farm in Atlas township, a valuable assistant to his father in the work of clearing and developing the same. He received his schooling in the primitive subscription schools of his boyhood days and when twenty-one years of age left home and began to work on his own account, working for fifty cents a day on the farm of the father of John T. Rich, afterward governor of the state of Michigan. As noted above, Mr. Sweers enlisted in Company C, Tenth Regiment, Michigan Volunteer Infantry, for service during the Civil War, and with that command went to the front. Upon the completion of his term of service of two years and six months he re-enlisted for three years, or during [sic - the duration of] the war, and served until the close of the war, a total period of four years. During this period of service Mr. Sweers participated in thirty-three battles and engagements, three of which were desperate hand-to-hand battles and marched with Sherman to the sea, but through it all he apparently bore a charmed life, as he never received a wound. He was promoted to the post of orderly sergeant and later was offered a commission, but declined the same.

After the close of the war Mr. Sweers returned home and resumed his work on the farm, presently buying a farm of eighty acres of partly cleared and improved land in Burton township, where, after his marriage in the fall of 1866, he established his home and there lived until his appointment in 1906 to his present position of deputy sheriff of Genesee county, which position he ever since has occupied, having been reappointed by each successive sheriff since that time. Mr. Sweers is a Republican and during his residence in Burton township served in several official capacities, including that of highway commissioner and justice of the peace. He is a member of Crapo Post No. 45, Grand Army of the Republic, Department of Michigan, and has served as commander of that post as well as commander of the Henry H. Knapp Post at Davison. He also has served as colonel of McKinley Camp, Veterans and Sons of Veterans, and for many years has been active in the general affairs of the Grand Army.

It was on September 1, 1866, that Milo Sweers was united in marriage to Locelia Barnum, who was born at Bloomfield Center on October 1, 1845, daughter of Richard and Rachel (Gillett) Barnum, early settlers in Genesee county, who died here and were buried at Goodrich, and who were the parents of seven children, six daughters and one son, Sarah, Harriet, Mary, Locelia, Eva, Francis and Judson. To Mr. and Mrs. Sweers seven children have been born, namely: Riley, a traveling salesman, living at Toledo, Ohio, who married Josephine Shaddock, who died leaving one child, a daughter, Josephine, after which he married Hattie Lamb; Emil, living on the old home farm in Burton township, who married Minnie Rhoades and has four children, Kenneth, Clarence, Harold and Reva; Mertie, who married Walter Green, a farmer of Atlas township, and has four daughters, Hildah, Elva, Anna and Catherine; Lottie, who married F. O. Tanner and, with her husband, lives with her father and mother in Flint; Lewis, a commercial traveler, of Flint, who married Vilda White, who died, leaving two children, Riley and Harry, after which he married Mabel Powell, to which second union three children have been born, Oneta, Leslie and Lewis; Milo A., who married Minerva Parsons and lives on the home farm in Burton township, and Harry G., who died when about fifteen years of age.

Biography: Aaron J. S. SEELYE

From Portrait and biographical record of Genesee, Lapeer and Tuscola counties, Michigan..., Chicago, Chapman Bros., 1892, pp. 799 - 800:

AARON J.S. SEELYE. It is not every man, even in a country so rich in resources as Michigan, who can start in poverty and make a financial and social success in life; but the list of those who have done this is a remarkably long one, and even among these we find a very considerable number who have added to this success the attainment of intelligence and a rich store of information, besides the acquirement of an influence which makes them marked men in the community. Such a man is Mr. Seelye whose sketch we now give, and whose beautiful home in Davison Township, Genesee County, is an ornament to the county.

Our subject was born March 7, 1831, in Charlton Township, Saratoga County, N. Y., to which his father, Abel Seelye, a native of Connecticut, had come at the age of twenty-one. He was a maker of spindle wheels, but followed farming most of his life and came to Michigan in 1837, where he located nearly six hundred acres of Government land in Atlas Township. His son, Andrew J., the first white settler in this township had preceded him the fall before, and the father moved into the house which that son had built. Their coming here was soon followed by the settlement of other families, and they began to have other neighbors besides Indians, deer, bears and wolves. The father, who helped to organize the township and was its first Justice, died in 1863 at the age of eighty-one. He was a highly respected and well-known man, a great student of the Bible, and was connected with the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

The Seelye family is descended from five brothers who came to America from England prior to the beginning of the eighteenth century. The mother of our subject, Abigail Seelye, did not change her name in marriage, as she was connected with a distant branch of the family. She died in 1861 in her seventy-fifth year. Eight of her ten children grew to maturity, and two are now living.

All the schooling which Aaron Seelye received was in New York before coming here at the age of seven, with exception of fourteen days when he studied in the log school house at the age of fourteen; and his truly excellent culture and intelligence are the result of his persistent study. At the age of twenty-two he began independent work, taking a season at carpentering. He then opened a general store on section 34, on the 10th of November, 1853, it being the first store in the township. For eight years he thus carried on a successful business, combining with it the manufacture of potash, and at the same time cleared and improved forty acres of land which he had purchased. He closed out his mercantile business in 1861, but continued his potash manufacturing for thirty years, and in 1860 purchased additional land.

In 1856 Mr. Seelye was united in marriage with Grace Thomas, a native of England, who came with her parents to America in 1837. Their one child, Elizabeth A., is the wife of Freeman Sweers, who is a farmer in this township. The early political preferences of Mr. Seeyle brought him into the Whig party and later he became a Republican. He has served some three years as School Inspector, and for three terms served as Township Treasurer, and besides being Highway Commissioner for several years, he is now Justice of the Peace. For two years he was also on the Republican County Committee. He is deeply interested in the Pine Grove Cemetery Association, and has served as its President, Treasurer and Clerk. Upon his fine farm of four hundred and thirty acres he raises all kinds of stock, making a specialty of fine wool sheep and Short-horn cattle. The attention of the reader is invited to the lithographic portraits of Mr. Seelye and his estimable wife, which appear in this connection.

[Note: I was unable to locate any lithographs of either Aaron or Grace (Thomas) Seelye in the digital version of this book. It is possible that they are missing, or that they are located on text pages (making it an extremely time-consuming and difficult task to locate).]

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Biography: Jeremiah F. "Jerry" YORK, II

From History of Genesee county, Michigan, her people, industries and institutions, with biographical sketches of representative citizens and genealogical records of many of the old families, by Edwin Orin Wood, Federal Publishing Company, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1916, pp. 609 - 612:

Jerry F. York, a well-known and progressive farmer of Atlas township, this county, was born in that township and has lived there all his life. He was born on a pioneer farm in section 36 of that township, south of the village of Goodrich, March 28, 1855, son of John H. and Anna (Crothers) York, both of whom were born in Erie county, New York, who came to Michigan in 1850 and settled in this county, where they spent their last days.

John H. York was born in 1823, son of Jeremiah and Rhoda (Sweers) York, the former of whom was a soldier in the War of 1812 and a person of prominence in his home community, a well-to-do farmer, who at one time and another held various local public offices. John H. York grew up to the life of the farm and in 1847 married Anna Crothers, who was born in 1825, daughter of John and Mary (Wycoff) Crothers, the former a native of Pennsylvania and the latter of the state of New York. In the fall of 1850 he came with his family to this state and settled on a farm of forty acres in the north half of section 36 of Atlas township, this county, and there established his home. He later added to his farm until he became the owner of one hundred acres and was accounted one of the substantial farmers of that neighborhood. He was a Republican and he and his wife were members of the Methodist Protestant church, in which he was a class leader and in which his wife served as a steward. He died on November 12, 1898, and his widow survived until February, 1904. They were the parents of seven children, of whom three are deceased, one who died in infancy, one who died when two years old and Marium, who married Henry Frick and died in 1912. The survivors are Mrs. Ella Dillenbeck, of Atlas township; Mrs. Matilda Watkins, of Goodrich; Jerry F., the subject of this sketch, and James L., who is living on the old home.

Jerry F. York remained on the old home farm until his marriage in December, 1877, after which he began farming for himself. For two years he continued farming on the old home place and then moved to the village of Goodrich, where he made his home for sixteen years, a part of which time he was engaged in the harness business. In January, 1896, he bought a farm of sixty acres in section 10 of his home township and ever since has made his home there, doing well at his farming operations and becoming quite well circumstanced. Since moving there he has bought more land adjoining and now has a well-kept farm of one hundred and twelve acres. He and his wife are members of the Maccabees and he is a member of the Masonic lodge at Ortonville.

Mr. York has been twice married. It was on December 23, 1877, that he was united in marriage to Rachel Ann Baxter, who also was born in Atlas township, daughter of Eli and Rachel Ann (Cummings) Baxter, both members of old families in this county, having come here with their respective parents in the days of their youth and growing up amidst pioneer conditions of living. Eli Baxter, who lost his life while serving as a soldier of the Union during the Civil War, was a son of Edward and Mary (Herrick) Baxter. Mrs. Rachel A. York died on May 26, 188o, leaving one child, a daughter, Leno, who married Robert Goodfellow, now living at Castle Rock, Washington, and has four children, Lee, Warren, Loretta and Lola Lillian. On April 22, 1896, Mr. York married, secondly, Eva Cummings, who also was born in Atlas township, daughter of Edward and Susan (Dalby) Cummings, the former a native of this county and the latter of Erie county, New York, who are still living on the old Cummings homestead north of Atlas, for many years honored and useful residents of that community. Mr. and Mrs. York are rearing a lad, Clarence Streater, whose care they assumed in June, 1906, when he was six years old. Jerry F. York is a Republican and has been treasurer for twelve years of school district No. 1o, Atlas township, and is serving his third term as justice of the peace.

Edward Cummings, father of Mrs. York, is an honored veteran of the Civil War and for many years one of the most influential residents of his part of Genesee county. He was born on a farm in section 3 of Atlas township, January 22, 1844, son of Lewis and Elsie (Cummings) Cummings, both natives of Erie county, New York. Lewis Cummings was born in 1814, son of Stephen Cummings and wife, the former of whom was a soldier in the War of 1812, and grew to manhood on a farm in his native county. There he married Elsie Cummings and in 1836 came to the then Territory of Michigan with his wife and two children, Rachel and Orlando, and settled on a tract of four hundred acres in section 3 of Atlas township, this county, which he had picked out on a previous trip to this part of the country, and there he and his family established their home in a little log house, being among the very earliest of the settlers of that part of Genesee county. Lewis Cummings was a good farmer and a man of excellent judgment and prospered in his affairs, until he presently came to be regarded as the wealthiest man in Atlas township, the owner of six hundred and forty acres of fine land and ever interested in movements having to do with the advancement of the community of which he was from the very first one of the leading factors. He was for many years a member of the Congregational church at Goodrich and was ever foremost in local good works, so that at the time of his death on October 1, 1883, he was widely missed in that community. Lewis Cummings was thrice married, his first wife, Elsie, having died in 1851, leaving seven children, four sons and three daughters, Orlando, Oscar, Stephen, Edward, Rachel, Loretta and Elsie.

When the Civil War broke out Edward Cummings was still in his teens, but he enlisted for service in the Union army and served until the close of the war as a member of Company I, Thirtieth Regiment, Michigan Volunteer Infantry. Upon the completion of his military service he resumed his place on the old homestead farm in Atlas township and has lived there ever since, the owner of two hundred and twenty acres of his father's considerable estate. On April 19, 1866, he was united in marriage to Susan Dalby, who was born about twelve miles from the city of Buffalo, in Erie county, New York, in 1839, daughter of Benjamin and Sarah C. (Paxton) Dalby, the former a native of Pennsylvania and the latter of New York state, who came to Michigan with their family in 1855 and located about twelve miles south of Pontiac, whence they moved to Goodrich, in this county, where Benjamin Dalby conducted a blacksmith shop the rest of his life, his death occurring about 1871 and that of his widow in the spring of1888. On April 19, 1916, Mr. and Mrs. Cummings celebrated their golden wedding anniversary and were the recipients of heartfelt congratulations on the part of their hosts of friends in this county. During her earlier years Mrs. Cummings was a school teacher in this county, having taught sixteen or seventeen terms of public and private, or "select" school, and among the hosts of youngsters who learned their letters under her careful tutelage was the editor of this history, who has never ceased to entertain the highest regard for his old teacher.

Biography: John RHODES

From Portrait and biographical record of Genesee, Lapeer and Tuscola counties, Michigan..., Chicago, Chapman Bros., 1892, pp. 1035 - 1036:
JOHN RHODES. After a life spent in usefulness and in helping to perfect each bit of nature with which he came in contact, he whose name appears above was borne to his long home, but has left behind in the hearts and memories of his friends a record that is worthy of emulation by the young and that is an encouragement to the middle aged. Having for some time been a resident of Atlas Township, Genesee County, our subject was born in Orange County, N. Y., August 12, 1820. He is the son of William and Mary (Carr) Rhodes. The latter died when our subject was but a child.

When thirteen years of age John Rhodes with his father and stepmother removed to Western New York and when sixteen years old continued on the crest of the Westward wave to Huron County, Ohio, where he was reared to manhood. He there received a common-school education but was not the recipient of High School advantages. He has devoted himself throughout life to farming. His domestic life began September 28, 1843, when he was married in Ohio to Miss Huldah Hanley, who was born in Huron County of the same State, August 3, 1821. She was a daughter of John and Roxanna (Beebe) Hanley, and both parents were natives of Connecticut. Her grandfather Beebe settled in Lorain County, Ohio and thither Mrs. Rhodes' mother accompanied him although she had previously been married in her native State. The men of the family were patriots whose services were always offered in the time of their country's need.

To Mr. and Mrs. Rhodes six children were born, four of whom are now living--Mary J., Frances, Mrs. Oscar Sweers; Calvin L., and Ella M. Sarah and Adel are deceased, the latter dying in infancy. In 1843 our subject started with his wife to Michigan, coming via the lakes, and his parents accompanied them, but took the overland route. They made a settlement in Genesee County, now owned and occupied by Mrs. Rhodes. They settled in the woods, building a log cabin in which they resided for several years, erecting their present residence later. He cleared up a farm which was in a wild condition, using oxen in the work for a number of years. He died March 4, 1888. In his death Atlas Township loses one of her early pioneers and most esteemed citizens. He was a member of the Congregational Church of which he had been Trustee for many years. In his political views he was a Republican. At his death he left a valuable estate which was the result of his life labor. His widow resides on the home farm and she with her children make one of the most highly esteemed families in this portion of the county.

Biography: Lewis SWEERS

From Portrait and biographical record of Genesee, Lapeer and Tuscola counties, Michigan..., Chicago, Chapman Bros., 1892, pp. 622 - 623:
LEWIS SWEERS. Among the prominent, thrifty and enterprising citizens of Atlas Township, Genesee County, none is more worthy of the notice of our readers than the subject of this sketch. He is a native of the county, having been born here February 29, 1853, and is a son of Manley and Lydia (VanCleve) Sweers. The father was a Vermonter by birth, and the mother a native of the Empire State, and the Grandfather Sweers is said to have been a soldier in the War of 1812.

Manley Sweers, the father of our subject, migrated in the spring of 1836, from New York to Genesee County, this State, and purchased land from the Government where he put up a small log house and resided with his family for a number of years. Later in life, he erected a better residence and is now in his eighty-third year, and counted as one of the oldest living pioneers in Atlas Township.

This sturdy pioneer endured the usual hardships incident to the life of an early settler and had but limited means with which to provide for his family. He has ever been wide awake and enterprising, willing to undertake work for the upbuilding of the county and helpful to the community in every way. He first farmed with the help of oxen but in due time was able to command a team of horses. His education had been limited and he had been blessed with but few advantages. His wife, who died September 29, 1891, was also one of the first pioneers of Atlas Township.

Lewis Sweers, our subject was reared to man's estate in Atlas Township, and from early youth engaged in farming, although his parents granted him time to secure a good common-school education. It was in 1877 when he was married to Amelia, daughter of William Siebenhar of Atlas Township, whose sketch will be found elsewhere in this volume. By this union one son was born, Lewis L., who was born May 27, 1878. Our subject has made his own property and now owns a good farm of one hundred and fifty acres. He has served as Treasurer of the township for two years and in 1890 was the Enumerator in this township for the Eleventh Census. Politically, he is a Republican and is identified with the Knights of the Maccabees at Goodrich.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

More New Contact Information on Surnames Page

I just added a contact for a researcher whose Atlas Township ancestors include the GREEN family. Go to the Surnames page to access the link to her e-mail address.