Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mary Rosetta Grinolds... For many years, a mystery...

Mary Rosetta Grinolds was born 4 October 1833*, most likely in Tioga County, Pennsylvania, the daughter of John Matthew Grinolds & Sarah "Sally" Matson. The exact location of Mary Rosetta's birth is unclear, sometimes she is listed as being born in Pennsylvania and other times New York. Her parents started out in Herkimer County, NY and by 1840 they were living in Steuben County, NY... but it seems they lived in Pennsylvania for a brief time, as Mary Rosetta and some of her siblings are often listed with that as a birthplace. Often times she is listed as 'Polly', a common nickname for Mary, and later in life sometimes as 'Rosetta'. It took many years of research to establish just who Mary Rosetta was and who her family was.

Her parents later moved to Juneau County, Wisconsin, and at some point Mary Rosetta met Ole Nelson and they were married 25 December 1855, probably somewhere in Wisconsin, though the exact locale thus far remains a mystery. A short time later they relocated to Freeborn County, Minnesota-- though some of her children have Wisconsin show up as a birthplace, it seems likely they were born in Minnesota, with the exception of child #4- John Charles Nelson born 10 April 1865, during what must have been a brief stay (or just a visit perhaps?) to Wisconsin.

Ole & Mary Rosetta would have at least 9 children, including: Sarah Almira (wife of William Blair), Matthew Gillfillen "Gill, Stephen Luther, John Charles, Lena Sophia (wife of Reinhart Giselson), Mary Rosetta (wife of Charles Hall), Job Vincent, Elmira (died as infant), and another son who also died in infancy. It is likely that there were other children who also died as infants.

The Nelson family lived and farmed in Nunda Township, Freeborn County, Minnesota for many years and sadly it is there that Mary Rosetta succumbed to ovarian cancer on 8 July 1877 at only 43 years of age. [*Her death record gives her age at 44 yrs 10 mos 4 days, which would make her birthday 4 September 1832].

Mary Rosetta had a larger number of brothers and sisters-- some of whom stayed in New York, others coming to Wisconsin & Minnesota. Her brother- John Grinolds and her sister- Almira Schoonover, lived in Faribault & Freeborn County areas in Minnesota, and must have kept in contact to some level with her family.

While her identity was unclear for many years, slow strides have connected her to her parents & siblings. Other things, such as where she is buried, still remain a mystery. I would very much like to find her burial location, but am beginning to think she must have been buried on the family farm, because no nearby cemetery has any record of her.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

More Family 'Treasures'.....

When I first began genealogy, my Great-Grandpa's youngest sister 'Aunt Jo' was a big help. She had been gathering information on our family for many years, and though not a real researcher, she had amassed a lot of data. In her later 80's, she was still very sharp, living in the home of her husbands Grandparents. During one of my visits to her farm, Aunt Jo was tatting litte embellishments for towels and other fancy work. As she began a new project, it became this little butterfly, which upon completion gave to me. Aunt Jo was a dear, special lady who passed away at the age of 90, and this little butterfly is a sweet reminder of that lovely Aunt.

My Grandpa Willard Weerts had many treasures in his old age... hundreds of them in fact. During one of his visits he gave me this Mickey Mouse toolchest... which itself was loaded with mini treasures. Grandpa had an after school job at a Winnebago hardware store, and he saved up his wages and purchased this little tool chest. Later he would serve in World War II and he Step-Mother Stella (Loveall) Weerts kept this chest and other treasures for him, in a drawer in a built in corner cabinet at home. After the conclusion of the War, Grandpa returned home and this toolchest was right where it was when he left. Some 50 years later, Grandpa gave the chest and it contents to me.... He was very sentimental about these family treasures from yesteryear and instilled in me as a child the value of these tangible items... and because of him, I am the proud guardian of many invaluable family 'heirlooms'.

The exact beginning of this quilt is uncertain, but as far as we know my Great-Great Grandma Sally "Essie" (George) Bruce Crosby [see prior punch bowl story] began this quilt... But for some reason she didn't finish it?! Though she completed many other lovely projects... When in old age, Essie moved to California with her daughter, most of her possessions (which were few) were left behind. Her daughter Ruth (Bruce) Stoddard, whom I always called Great-Grandma, though was actually my Great-Grandma's twin sister [a complicated story for another day], came to have this unfinished quilt top. Grandma Stoddard also worked on this quilt, but never completed it... and in time my Grandma Betty (who was raised by her Aunt Ruth aka Grandma Stoddard) aquired this still unfinished quilt... and puttered with it a bit herself before having her Mother in-law once and for all complete this quilt. Looking at its handstitched quitling, you can see many different hands completed the work, as the stitchings style and size slighly varies.

My Grandma has treasured this quilt since its completion and gave it to me just this year, as she wanted someone who knows about the women who created it. Its a true treasure and even though I don't even know what the pattern is called, I'm honored to keep it and display the work of 3 different generations.

My Great-Grandma- Laura Maine had many salt & pepper shakers on a shelf abover her window. These turkey shakers were always my favorites... and amazingly after her death, these shakers made their way to my Grandparents and Grandma quickly passed them onto me. My Great-Grandma was born Laura Nelson in 1913, in rural Freeborn County, MN... Her early life was spent in Freeborn County, until her family moved to North Dakota in the late 1910s ,and later to Cass County, MN, where Laura met Hiram Maine.... and in 1930, 5 months after her 16th birthday, she married Hiram... who was 9 years her senior. Hiram & Laura worked hard and raised 6 children... and remained on the family homestead their entired married lives.

Grandma was a very special lady and when she died in 2004, just shy of 91 years, she left a huge legacy... and these Turkeys... which are some of my favorite things!

Beatrice (Mapson) Sturm was my Great-Grandmother.... she passed away in 1948 when only 46 years old... My Father never knew his Grandma, who was by all acounts a sweet, lovely person. Growing up, I'd seen a couple of photos of her but that was really it... and since her daughter Mava, my Grandmother, passed away when I was just shy of 7, I didn't have any first hand stories of her either.

Ten years ago, when visiting my Grandpa in Arizona, I mentioned never having seen, much less having had, anything of Grandpa or Grandma Sturm's... He went to the china cabinet and removed a few items-- one of which was this green depression cake plate, in the cameo pattern. Not only do I like green glass, but I had a few other pieces of this pattern from other relatives, so it was extra nice to get this cake plate.  It now sits on top of my china cabinet--- where I see it daily and think often of the Sturm ancestors I never knew.