Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Ogemaw County, MI Quilts and Ancestors


Sunset over Lake St. Helen
We took a week to go 'Up North' and stay at my brother's cabin on Lake St. Helen, MI. The area is famous for being beloved by actor Charlton Heston who owned a great deal of the lakeside property which he kept natural for outdoor sports. We went down the road to West Branch, MI.

The West Branch Historical Society showed me their recently acquired appliquéd coverlet.
The green fabric was amazing--no fading! So was the Chrome orange and Turkey red.
 The family history was that the coverlet was made in 1864 by Harriet Gordon.
 It was hand appliquéd, machine pieced, and one layer finished with red binding.

In a downtown West Branch antique store I found this quilt. It has cotton appliqué and embroidery on cotton and wool with a pieced cotton outer border.






It may have been bought at auction near Mio, MI. For $99 it was a bargain...if only I had room to store it! 

West Branch City Hall next to the library with a great resale shop
Of course we also hit the West Branch Library and brought home several dozen books!

The Ecker Family of Ogemaw County, MI

We went on the Genealogy Trail for my husband's g-g-grandparents Henry Ecker (Ecer, Acker, Acer) and Sophronia Van Slyke (Slack) whose child Jennie Melissa Ecker married John Hazen Bellinger. Their child was Loretta Valdora Bellinger Bekofske who I wrote about in the post Girl, A Lamp, and the Shipwreck Coast.

We went to the West Branch Public Library, the Rose City Public Library where the historical society holds its library, and to the library at Tawas, MI. We searched the cemeteries at Prescott and Tawas.

Henry Ecker (Acker, Ecer) and Sophronia Van Slack (Slyck) were born in Ontario, Canada and immigrated to the States in 1890. Their daughters had already come to Iosco County upon their marriages: Jennie married Jacob Hazen Bellinger and her sister Margaret married his brother John Wesley Bellinger.

Henry and Sophronia's children included Margaret, Ettie, Jennie Melissa, Abraham, Joseph H., Sarah Elizabeth, Charity, Leona, Cynthia S., Ralphie (Ralphia/Rafee/Ralph), Allen Thulman, and Truman.

Henry and Sophronia Ecker were some of the earliest land owners in Prescott, Richfield Twsp, MI, purchasing 40 acres in 1890. Prescott was 'lumber camp No. 6" belonging to C. H. Prescott. He developed the town which grew to have a post office, church, and all the other small town highlights.

Henry shows up on the 1900 Federal Census with his family "Safrona', Jos., Rafee, and Truman."

Henry appears on a 1903 Plat; he owned 40 acres in Logan Twsp. A Prescott history shows Henry was baptized into the newly built Judson Baptist Church along with his son John H. Ecker.

We discovered a 1919 probate notice for Henry Ecker in the name of Sophronia.

Then Henry disappears.

The Children

Raphie/Raphia/Rafe Courtland Ecker bought land near his father's farm in 1913.

Joseph H. I believe died in 1939; he had been living with his mother in Burleigh Tsp, Iosco Co, Tawas, MI. Joe died from alcoholism.

Truman was the youngest child born in 1890, the year of his family's immigration. His death certificate shows him living at the Ogemaw County Poor Farm near the present golf course in West Branch. He was 50 at the time of his death.

We found marriages and death notices for the children and grandchildren. I pieced together a history of tragedy for Ralphie. In 1906, at age 21,  Raphie married Miss Louise 'Lonsay' Jane Van Meer. She died in 1907 from "eclampsia" and their baby Mary S. died of convulsions ten days later. In 1909 Raphia Cortland Ecker married Ellen Nichols, 19 years old. She died of measles. In 1929 R.C. Ecker, 44 years old, married Mrs. Arletta Barrington, nee' Brown. She appears as Synthia Arletta on the 1940 Federal Census.

Abraham married divorcee' Ellen Fountain, nee' Kerr, in 1906. Their baby girl Sohpronia was stillborn later that year. Abe's occupation on the 1920 census was 'trapper of fur', 'farmer' in 1930 and WPA worker in 1940.

In 1907 Allan Ecker married Mary Van Meer (sister to Lonsay Jane who married Allen's brother Raphie). Allan's wife.

Ettie married Edward Sheehan; their child was Jennie Elizabeth. Sarah Elizabeth married James Augustus Farrand.

After Edward's death Ettie married William Warner.

Sophronia (Saphronia, Sofronia, or Synthia/Synthie) lived to be 99 years old. She was baptized into the RLDS in her last years. She is buried in the Richfield Township Cemetery near Etta. But her husband Henry does not show up on any list of internments in the county.

Joseph H. is also buried here but I found no headstone.

Raphie Courtland's son Henry and his wife Ettie are buried near Sophronia.


I am still searching to see how Ralph Delton Ecker fits into the family! He was born in 1945.
And also David H. Ecker.
Bellinger Family

We also went to Tawas, MI to find the grave of Jennie Melissa Ecker Bellinger (daughter of Henry and Sophronia who married Jacob Hazen Bellinger). She died at age 44 from complications of childbirth; shortly later her baby also died. The date reads June 1, 1889. She left behind a large family, including my husband's grandmother Loretta Valdora. (Whose brother Elias Howard also lived in Ogemaw Co and is buried in West Branch.)

It is hard to read, but the top of the headstone reads "WIFE."

Her son Edward and daughter-in-law Martha are also buried there. We found no headstone for her brother-in-law John Wesley who appears on the cemetery list.
Our next step to find Henry Ecker's death date and burial place is to go to Oscoda, MI and the Huron Shores Genealogy Society library and if that fails apply to the State of Michigan.

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