Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I have four pictures of my great-great grandmother, DeEtte. I know a handful of facts about her, some official records, a couple of newspaper articles. One item she owned, her Bible, is the only heirloom passed down through the family.

Sarah DeEtte Pierce was born in December 1851 in Jefferson County, New York, the oldest daughter of Robert and Julia. As a teenager, she moved to Wisconsin, living near her father's family in Sheboygan County while he went off to serve in the Civil War. Afterward, the Pierce family moved to Grand Traverse County and settled on a farm.

DeEtte met handsome David Chandler and they were married in February 1872. I'm guessing the first two tintypes were taken shortly after the marriage. She is almost certainly posed with some contraption holding her head in place so that she couldn't move and blur the images.

David and DeEtte, circa 1875.

DeEtte gave birth in 1873 to John, 1875 to Grace, and in 1881 to David Garfield.

Sarah in the 1880s.

She was a mid-wife, assisting women in her neighborhood. DeEtte also was a church-goer and once helped organize a fund-raiser for a local minister. She was involved in the one-room schoolhouse near her home.

DeEtte and Grace, mid 1890s.

Her life ended unexpectedly:

Mrs. DeEtte Chandler, wife of D.G. Chandler of East Bay, died quite suddenly at her home of paralysis Tuesday afternoon, aged 46 years. Mrs. Chandler had not been in strong health for some time, but was as well as usual the day before her death, and was not taken seriously ill until after breakfast Tuesday, when a sudden stroke of paralysis prostrated her, and death came about two o'clock in the afternoon. The funeral services will be held at noon today, and the burial will take place in Oakwood cemetery.

Mrs. Chandler was prominent in many good works and will be greatly missed, especially among the young people of the Potter school house Sunday school of which she was superintendant, and her loss will be felt deeply by the whole community."

Her husband erected a tombstone in Oakwood Cemetery in Traverse City.

DeEtte's tombstone.

DeEtte's whole life- 4 pictures, a few words, and a Bible.

I am older than she was when she died.

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