Previously I wrote about Charles and Emma Heilman Garver, my husband’s great-grandparents. They had nine children, all of whom survived to adulthood, and all but one of whom remained in Michigan for most or all of their lives. They are shown in this 1930 photo, standing behind their parents: Alta, John, Bea, Forest, Florence, Roy, Mabel, Walter, and Ray. I love to trace all the children in a family, not just one. It’s called “cluster research,” and it gives me a better understanding of the family if I step back and look at the bigger picture...
Walter Garver dug ditches for his father-in-law as a young man—a photo survives. He and his wife Hazel (Alwood) Garver had fifteen children, fourteen of whom survived to adulthood—one is my mother-in-law. Walter was a farmer, raising hogs and milking dairy cows, but he also worked for the WPA during the Great Depression on a road-building crew. He died at age 80, marrying a second time shortly before his death in 1971.
Clara Mabel Garver married Andrew McClellan Leeth when she was 17. They moved to Colorado at the suggestion of Mac’s doctor, due to Mac’s tuberculosis, but eventually they returned to Michigan. They had three daughters and a son, and she died in 1969 at age 76.
Forest Garver (pictured below) served in Europe in World War I. Several photos survive. On the back of one picture, he calls his flat standard-issue helmet “my little tin lid.” He later married Aletha Allen and they had three children. He worked as a repairman in a Flint, Michigan auto factory in 1920, but was a farmer by 1930. He died in 1978 at age 82.
Florence Garver married Arthur Kever in 1916. They were dairy farmers and had three daughters. She died at age 79 in 1976.
John Jacob Garver married Naomi Burton and they had a daughter and a son. John was a factory worker, and died young—compared to most of his siblings—at age 60, following a heart attack.
Ray Lester Garver drove his sister Clara and brother-in-law Mac to Colorado. Ray remained there, marrying a Michigan girl named Martha Hutchinson. He died in Colorado in 1986 at age 84.
Beatrice Garver married John Acre in 1904 when she was 16. John worked as an auto mechanic. She and John had two daughters and four sons. She died in Michigan in 1981 at age 77.
Roy Russell Garver, the youngest son, helped his widowed mother run the farm after his father died in 1931. But he contracted measles, and the complications that followed took his life. After he died at age 26 in 1933, his mother was forced to give up the family farm.
Alta Garver, the baby of the family, married James Beattie; it was said in the family that it was love at first sight. The marriage lasted 63 years. They had eight children, two of whom died young. They spent most of their lives in Michigan, where they had a grocery store called Beattie’s IGA Market in Marine City. Alta was a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, a Masonic organization, serving as “Worthy Matron” (presiding officer). She and James eventually retired to Florida, where Alta died at age 94 in 2009.