Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My great-grandfather Philip was born in 1874 in Pennsylvania, somewhere in or near Pittsburgh. Someday I will go to Pittsburgh and find his baptismal record, his parents were members of a German Lutheran church there.

Philip, seated at right.

His father was a Civil War veteran and his mother came to the United States from Germany as a child. They moved to Traverse City and had a farm, both died in the 1890s and Philip had to help raise his younger brother Frederick and sister Elizabeth.

Philip and his brother Walter, circa 1895.

In August 1899, Philip was married to Grace.

Philip, circa 1900.


A daughter Amy was born in January 1900, four months after the marriage. Many people would like to pretend that 19th century folks were not engaging in premarital sex. You would be surprised to find out how many were. As my mother says, "The first baby can be born at any time after you marry"

Philip and Grace's daughter Amy died from convulsions and diarrhea in May 1900.

Amy's tombstone in Oakwood Cemetery.

A few weeks later the census taker listed Philip and Grace living at 723 Webster Street in Traverse City. Philip was working as a laborer in a basket factory.

Grace's father was elected Sheriff of Grand Traverse County in November 1900.

He was later a State Representative.

He hired Philip to be his Deputy Sheriff. Philip and Grace moved into the County Jail and lived upstairs. Newspaper articles describe Philip as being sent to various towns to transport criminals to and from the jail or to the prison in Jackson.

Sheriff David and Deputy Sheriff Philip in front of the jail, circa 1901.

Their son Byron was born upstairs in the jail in 1901. There were three more children- Harold (1904) (my grandfather), Frederick (1905), and Bessie (1907).

Byron, Frederick, and Harold in 1906.

Bessie was born in January 1907 and the day after her birth little Frederick died.

Later that year Philip felt a pain in his abdomen. His appendix had burst and after three days of suffering he died from septic peritonitis. He was 37-years-old.

Philip's death certificate.

The family was too poor to buy him a tombstone. One of the things I plan on doing eventually is to purchase one for him and his son Frederick.

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