Thursday, April 17, 2014

Those Places Thursday: Charles and Emma Garver—From Ohio to Michigan

My husband’s mother was a Garver, and it’s a big family full of lots of good stories—always has been.  Charles and Emma Heilman Garver were my husband’s great-grandparents. 


Charles Garver and Emma Heilman married in 1889 in Defiance County, Ohio, and had six children there.  In 1902 they moved to Clare County, Michigan, where the land was cheaper.  Daughter Alta talked about the move with researcher Dale Garver some years ago: 

“There was some sort of government assistance program to help people move about the country.  Charles and Emma Garver in order to capitalize on this had the choice of moving to either Virginia or Michigan…  They took the train with all their possessions, including livestock.  Son Forest, however, never had a ticket.  He tended to livestock, always on the move and avoiding the conductors.  Upon arrival for a short time they lived with friends before moving into their home on Adams Road in Arthur Township.  Since there are few loose stones in northern Ohio, Emma brought the stone with her that she used to weigh the lid down on the crock with making sauerkraut.  She never lived this down, as their new home in Michigan had rocks galore lying all over the place.”

Their last three children—Beatrice, Roy, and Alta—were born in Michigan, joining six older siblings—Walter, Clara Mabel, Forest, Florence, John, and Ray.  They settled on a 40-acre farm on Adams Road in the Browns Corner area of Arthur Township, soon buying another 20 acres.  Emma’s widowed sister Ellen Garver (the sisters had married brothers) bought the 44-acre farm to the west of them.  Soon Charles was a pillar of the nearby Brethren church.


 Dale Garver goes on to say this about Charles:

“More than a farmer, Charles (“Charlie” to his friends) also served as moderator of the local school district.  He played the fiddle at square dances along with son Ray on guitar or zither.  Charles valued his livestock and took good care of them.  Workhorses always got their hour-long rest at noon, and never worked after supper.  In the evening he would sit back and read the Clare Sentinel, often dozing off while doing so.  He and Emma often spoke German when discussing things they didn’t want the children to hear, but after World War I they ceased this practice.  Their daughter Alta wanted to learn German, but Emma wouldn’t allow it.”

Charles died in 1931.  Emma continued to run the farm with the help of 24-year-old son Roy, but it was not to last.  Roy contracted measles, which led to abscesses on his lungs and then his brain.  He died in 1933 at age 26, on the second anniversary of his father’s death.


Emma tried to keep the farm going after Roy’s death, but it was sold to her oldest son Walter and his family before long.  Emma died in 1943, and she and Charles are buried at Cherry Grove Cemetery in Clare County, near their son Roy.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Sibling Saturday: The Children of Jacob & Mary Heilman

Recently I wrote about Jacob Heilman, Civil War veteran.  This piece is about his children.


Jacob Heilman (1819-1907) was born in Bavaria, as was his wife Maria Baker (1832-1912).  He and Maria (pictured above) were married in Ohio in 1850 and they spent the rest of their married lives there, first in Defiance County and then in Henry County.  Twelve children were born between 1852 and 1879.  Two died in childhood—Jacob at age two in 1861 and Minnie at age two in 1878.  Ten more survived to adulthood:

Sarah married George Patten and died at age 23 in 1875, a few weeks after the death of her baby daughter Jenora.

Mary Ann married Thomas Garver, a preacher.  After the birth of three sons (who predeceased her) and two daughters (who survived her), she died at age 31, of “consumption” (tuberculosis).  Thomas later married her sister Ellen.


Martha (known as “Matt” all her life, and pictured above) was said to be very short.  She never married and worked as a servant in several households, later living with her widowed mother until her mother’s death.  After that she lived on her own, and then with brother William, until her death at age 88 in 1943.

Elizabeth, called “Lib,” married John Overly and they had six children.  They lived a quiet life, and she died in 1932 at age 74.

Ellen married Thomas Garver after her sister Mary Ann’s death left him a widow.  She and Thomas had five children before Thomas’ death left her a widow at age forty.  When Ellen died in Michigan in 1941, her body was returned to Ohio and buried next to Thomas, with her sister Mary Ann buried nearby.

John never married.  He lived with his older sister Elizabeth Overly as a young man; then with his parents; then with his widowed mother and sister Martha; the with his nephew Jacob Overly and family.  He died at age 73 of cirrhosis of the liver and was buried near his parents.

Kathryn married George Brubaker and they had seven children; the first two predeceased her.  Like nearly all the Heilman siblings, she lived all her life in Ohio.  She was the last of the Heilman siblings to die, in 1961 at age 94.

Emma married a Garver, like her sisters Mary Ann and Ellen—Thomas Garver’s brother Charles.  She and Charles had nine children and they settled in Michigan.  It is said in the family that she liked to quilt, and would say “By cracky,” “Oh, Lordy,” or “Oh, catshit!” when her thread would break.  She kept the family farm going after her husband’s death with the help of her son Roy, until his death two years later at age 26.  After that she lived with one or another of her children until her death at age 73 in 1943.  She is my husband’s great-grandmother.


Ernest (pictured above) married Alta Mae Brubaker and they had four children.  He died in 1916 at age 43.  The notice in the Northwest News said, “Mr. Ernest Heilman dropped dead Sunday while riding in his automobile.  Heart trouble was the cause.”


William, the youngest, married Leah Blanche Siford and they had eight children.  According to family historian Dale Garver, William worked in the mills and made canal boats until those businesses closed up shop.  From there he worked clearing land and settled with his family on a farm in Henry County, Ohio.  He died in 1955 at age 76.