Monday, January 20, 2014

Isaac Clawson and Anna Rollenhagen, one pair of my great-great parents were married on New Year's Eve in 1885.

The marriage was recorded in the Muskegon County, Michigan marriage records.

Marriage records (click on picture to see larger version).

A fancy document was probably supplied by the Minister of the Gospel as a wedding souvenir.

Certificate of marriage.

Isaac was 31-years-old. He was born in 1855 in Ohio. His father, Hiram Clawson, went off to fight in the Civil War in 1862 and two years later died from measles in Knoxville, Tennessee. He left behind a 32-year-old widow with four children. She moved her family to Michigan to be close to her parents and sisters. Six months after her husband's death, she married again to Fuller Porter. Widows didn't have many options. Paulina (Bates) Clawson's second husband was a drunk and a bully. They would divorce in August 1885, Paulina testified  that: "disregarding the solemnity of his marriage vow... at various times neglected to support (Perlina) and to furnish her a home although he is an able bodied man and has enjoyed good health almost all the time since her marriage..her said husband moved all his furniture, including the only cooking stove in the house and left (her) entirely destitute (the house was a rented one).."

Isaac Clawson (sitting) and an unidentified man, circa 1875-1880. The standing man has a device behind him to hold his head still for the photograph.

Anna Maria Dortea Rollenhagen was born in New York, four years after her parents and older siblings sailed from a tiny town in Prussia, the youngest child dying and being buried at sea. The family moved on to Michigan, the surroundings very similar to the little village of Brusewitz that they had left behind forever.

Fractur document.

The couple would go on to have 12 children between 1886 and 1913: Maybelle, Myrtle, Mildred, Claude, Lillian, Robert, Arzey, Richard, Frederick, Margaret, Ina, Edwin, and Edith. Maude and Richard died in infancy. My great grandmother Maybelle was born eight months after the marriage, so Isaac and Anna were obviously having sex before marriage. Or as my mother says, "The first child can come out at any time."

The Clawsons, circa 1925-1928.

Isaac worked as a farmer and sometimes as a carpenter. My grandmother recalled him building a child's coffin for a neighbor, lining it with a lacy blouse. He was also apparently a problem drinker, and would beat Anna when drunk.

Anna and Isaac Clawson.

My mother remembers the couple- Isaac died in 1936 and Anna in 1938. She was asked as the oldest great grandchild to carry a rose in to her while Anna was confined to bed.

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