* Genealogy of Various Families of Southwest Detroit *
(version October 4, 2021)
Please email corrections to Mike Clark
 

 

A Summary of the Clark and Lewandowski Family DNA Evidence

DNA analyses of members of our family provide some interesting clues about the origins of our paternal grandfather James F. Clark, Sr.. First, we are told that he had a Scottish father, and possibly an Irish mother. Also, we have been led to believe that he is the second in a line of three James F. Clarks originating in the Scottish Highlands. However, our Y-DNA puts us, and therefore him, in the R-Z49 haplogroup, which is a derivative of the R-U152 (U152 > L2 > Z49) mutation that originates not in Scotland nor Ireland, but in the Alpine region of Europe. This means that even though the first James F. Clark (i.e., our grandfather's father) may have been born in the Scottish Highlands, his paternal ancestry in ancient times is not Gaelic/Celtic (i.e., pure Scot), but possibly Norman (French), Anglo-Saxon, or maybe even German. This does not rule out the possibility that the first James F. Clark could have had a Gaelic/Celtic mother or grandmother, but it does demonstrate that his parternal ancestry has to ultimately be of Germanic origin, which includes Norman French and Saxon, but not Gaelic/Celtic.

Second, autosomal DNA analyses (i.e, of the 22 non-sex chromosomes) strongly indicate that our grandfather is almost certainly a grandson of Johann Lewandowski (1814-1889) and Anna Kuglin (1818-1899), who came from the Gdansk (Danzig) region of modern Poland, which from 1793 up until the end of WWII was part of the German province of West Prussia. We know not at his point if Johann and Anna are maternal or paternal grandparents of James, Sr, but we do know that they had seven or eight children who emigrated in the 1880s or earlier to Detroit, Michigan, where we share DNA with many "genetic cousins", who have Lewandowski ancestry. Thus, our line must descend from a child of Johann and Anna. Furthermore, this requires that either our Scottish great-grandfather needs to be replaced by a Polish ancestor, or our Irish great-grandmother needs to be replaced by a Polish ancestor.

Interestingly, the aforementioned Y-DNA data may shed light on the Irish vesus Polish ancestry of our great-grandmother. As it turns out, a Y-DNA analysis has been done on one of the direct male descendants of the paternal line of Johann Lewandowski, and he tests postitive for the U152 mutation, but negative for the Z49 mutation, whereas the direct male descendants of the paternal line of James F. Clark, Sr test positive for both mutations. Thus, the biologic father of James F. Clark senior cannot possibly be a descendant of Johann Lewandowski, and by the process elimination, James' biologic mother has to be a descendant, and almost certainly is a daughter, of the Lewandowski line.

Autosomal DNA ethnicity estimates, which admittedly are only as good as the statistical populations they are based upon, show no apparent Irish ancestry in the descendants of James F. Clark, Sr. This would seem to confirm that his biologic mother is German/Polish, not Irish. If such is the case, then we can assume that the Irish great-grandmother of the family stories is actually a stepmother, and that the biologic mother of James has to be a woman of German/Polish ancestry. The ethnicity estimates do show that that descendants of James Sr. have Scottish ancestry, though admittedly this does not need to be from his DNA contribution, as his daughter-in-law could possibly have some Scottish ancestry in her DNA that we are not aware of.

Although the DNA evidence shows that the Clark and Lewandowski paternal lines are not related in recent times, everyone of western European descent is more or less related if we go far enough back in time. Because both the Clark and Lewandowski paternal lines contain the U152 mutation, they have to share a common ancestor sometime in the distant past. Since only the Clark line has the Z49 mutation, a derivative of U152, the two lines diverged prior to the middle Bronze Age, when the Z49 mutation is thought to have evolved. This means that the common ancestor of the Clarks and Lewandowskis lived in western Europe some 4,000 to 3,500 years ago, give or take two or three hundred years - many, many generations before Johann Lewandowski and his children.

The above summary of the DNA data leads us to three families who were an important part of those early years in the life of our grandfather, Kames F. Clark, Sr., when he was growing up in Detroit. The buttons below link to lineages for each of these families.

 

Shown below is the Sorgen See (Dzierzgoń Lake) region of the German province of West Prussia, where the family of Johann and Anna Lewandowski came from. The large town of the area is Riesenburg, which today is the Polish city of Prabuty. Johann and Anna were married 4 miles northeast of here in the village of Ilawa u Rodowo, which is Polish for Ilawa at Rodowo, and corresponds to the modern Polish village of Rodow Male (Little Rodowo in English; Klein Rohdau in German). At least four of their children were born and baptized here, and at least two others baptized in nearby Dakau, which corresponds to modern Gdakowo. Nearby, on the other side of the Sorgen See, is Riesenkirch (Obrzynowo). The district capital of Marienwerder (Kwidzyn) is 10 miles southwest of Riesenburg, and the other large town in the area was Rosenburg (Susz), some 6 miles southeast of Riesenburg. The Holden family came from Klein Tromnau (Little Tromnau), which is Ilawa u Trumiejeki in Polish. It is located six miles south of Riesenburg.
Sorgen See Region Polish Corridor Map West Prussia The small map in the upper left shows the German province of West Prussia, which first existed from 1773 to 1829, afterwhich it merged with East Prussia to become simply Prussia. West Prussia was then restored in 1873, and was separate again until after WWI. The country of Poland, which since 1795 had been just another province of the German Empire, was given independance after the war to become a free country for the first time in over a century. Prussia also became a free state at this time, and the "Polish Corridor" was opened up through Germany to give Poland access to the sea, and to isolate Prussia from Germany. Danzig, which before the war alternated with Marienwerder (Kwidzyn) as the capital of West Prussia, became a free city, independant of both Germany and Prussia. When Hitler occupied Poland, Danzig and Prussia in 1939 at the onset of WWII, the German Empire was briefly re-established, until the invading Soviet Army near the end of the war occupied the eastern part of the Empire. The boundaries of Poland, as we know them today, were established at this time, with modern Poland containing West Prussia, East Prussia, Danzig, and Pomerania - the latter being an old German province to the west of West Prussia. Most Germans remaining in these regions after WWII were forcifully resettled by the Soviets, and replaced by Poles, who live here today.

 

 

Johann Lewandowski and Anna Kuglin's Family

  1. Johann "John" Lewandowski (1814-1889), the patriarch of the Lewandowski Family of southwest Detroit, was born on Aug. 11, 1814 in Germany, according to his death certificate. This same document gives his parents as Johann and Anna, but makes no mention other than Germany as to exactly where he came from. However, we would guess that he was probably born somewhere in the German Province of West Prussia, most likely within a few miles of a large lake that in those days was known by its German name of the Sorgen See, but today goes by its Polish name of Lake Dzierzgoń. Thus, Johann was born a German citizen, grew up speaking German, and gave Germany as his country of origin on any documents we have found for him.

    Although Johann was born in Germany, the Sorgen See region that he probably came from has been part of several kingdoms and countries in its turbulant past. The Sorgen See sits about 40 miles southeast of an important port on the Baltic Sea that once was the German city of Danzig, but today this is the Polish city of Gdansk. Although this entire region today is part of Poland, it became part of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1701, then it belonged to the German Empire from the late 1700s, up until it was occupied by the Soviet Red Army at the end of WWII. Most of the native Prussian inhabitants around the Sorgen See were expelled at this time, and the region resettled by Poles.

    The Lutheran Church at Rohdau (Rodowo) in West Prussia where many members of the Lewandowski family were baptized.

    Johann became a cobbler, and settled in the village of Ilawa u Rodowo, which is on the west shore of the Sorgen See (see the above map). There he married Anna Kuglien on Sept., 14, 1840 in the local Lutheran church, which was probably the Church of Saint Stanislaus Kostka (shown on the left). This church was built in 1754, and still stands a mile or so west of the village. Johann and Anna had at least eight children, all probably were born in Ilawa u Rodowo, and most baptized at the Rodowo Church, even though the records show that two were baptized at St. Anne's Church, in the adjacent village of Dakau (modern Gdakowo). St. Anne's is very similar to the Rodowo church - both being built about the same year, and possibly by the same architect.

    Johann's wife Anna Dorothea Kuglin (Kuglien) was born on Sept. 6, 1818 in Riesenberg (modern Prabuty), near the south end of the Sorgen See, between it and another lake called the Schloss See (Lake Liwieniec), which translates to "Lake of the Castle". She was baptized there on Sept. 13, 1818 in the local Lutheran Church, which was probably the medieval Cathedral of St. Adalbert. Her middle name honors St. Dorothea (1391-1394) of Montau, whose shrine is located in the nearby district capital of Marienwerder (Kwidzyn). Her baptism record lists Martin Kuglien (b. 1768) and Eva Kruppin (c.1788-1824) as her parents. Whereas Ilawa u Rodowo, where she married, was just a village, her birthplace of Riesenberg was a walled town that was once surrounded by a now largely-demolished, fortified wall, within which was a castle, where the bishops of the town lived. Today the Kwidzyń Gate is about all that remains of these old fortifications.

    The early 1870s were when the German Empire came under control of the former Kingdom of Prussia, which was a military state with a large army in need of conscripts. Johann and Anna's eldest son August (1840-1906) not long after this event emigrated to Canada, possibly to avoid being drafted into the German army. Another son Johann (1851-1936) came in the late 1870s to Detroit, Michigan, probably for similar reasons. The rest of the family followed in time, with Johann and Anna ariving about 1882 or 1883 in Detroit, probably with their youngest child Wilhelm (1862-1919). August brought his wife and children down from Canada about this same time, and by the mid-1880s all of the Lewandowski family were living in southwest Detroit, in an area centered along Michigan Avenue that was the younger of two German districts in the city, the other being on the east side of the city between Gratiot and Jefferson Avenues.

    We have found no ship passenger arrival or departure lists that contain the names of Johann and Anna, or any of their children, with the possible exception of Ferdinand. However, port officals at Bremen, which was the port most German immigrants departed from, destroyed most of its departure records for lack of storage space, and available arrival lists prior to 1885 for the American ports of Baltimore and New York are rather incomplete for this time. We can probably assume that Gottliebe Lewandowski (1846-1932), the wife Johann and Anna's son Friedrich Gottfried Lewandowski (1848-1911), arrived from Bremen on Dec. 5, 1881 in New City on the S.S. Bremen, as that information is provided on the naturalization records of Gottliebe and Gottfried's son Albert August Lavendosky (b. 1875), who was only 6-years old when he came to America. The scant evidence available indicates that most of the family probably departed from Bremen, and arrived in New York or Baltimore, except for the eldest son August, who immigrated to Canada, and almost certainly arrived at a Candian port.

    Parents Johann and Anna settled initally with their son Wilhelm on Michigan Avenue at "1 [house] w of Stecher ave", which was probably somewhere east of 25th Avenue, as 25th avenue before 1885 was the boundary marking the city limits on the westside of Detroit. The 1884 city directory lists Johann as a shoemaker, with shop and home at the same address. Then from 1885 to 1886 they were near the intersection of Goldner and Michigan, which is west of their previous address. Johann must have been successful, as from 1887 to 1889 he is found at a house that he and Anna may have bought at 902-25th Steet. This is probably where either at either modern 3364 or 3354 is today on West 25th - between Ash and Martin Luther King Blvd. (old Myrtle Street). The fact, that their son Wilhelm owned this house in later years, even though he does not appear to have been financially successful, is evidence that Johann and Anna had owned the house before him and were not renters.

    Most of Johann and Anna's children lived close by, in the German neighborhood that was north of Michigan Avenue and to the west of where Johann and Anna lived on 25th Street. Whereas Johann probably made a comfortable living as a shoemaker, his children were less fortunate, and had to work for low wages under harsh conditions in the Lonyo Brothers brickyards, at thr Michigan Car Company (railroad cars), and at other industries that were located farther west, out beyond the city limits. A history lecture by Prof. Thomas Klug (1999) provides a glimpse of the unfortunate working conditions they probably endured.

    Johann died on Nov. 1, 1889 in Detroit at the age of "75 yrs, 3 mos, 0 days", with "old age" given as his cause of death. He is buried in Woodmere Cemetery. Anna died on May 6, 1899 in Detroit at the home of her daughter Maria Bressman (1846-1929), and she is buried beside Johann at Woodmere. Her death certificate gives her age at death as "65 yrs, 11 mos, 19 days". However, this backcalculates to a birth date of May 17, 1833, which cannot possibly be true, as we have her 1818 birth and baptism record. Furthemore, her eldest child August was born in 1840, and she was certainly more than 7-years old at the time.

    Below is a pre-WWI postcard with a view of the south part of old Riesenburg, looking west out past the Schloss See (Lake of the Castle) to farm fields beyond. St. Adalbert's Cathedral, where several members of the Lewandowski family were married, is the church near the middle of the photo.
    The solitary tower to the left of the cathedral is the Kwidzyn gate, which was the southern entrance into the old walled city. A covered water tank, which is shown here, covered the top of the tower from 1908 until the early 1960s, and served as the water supply for the town. The gate was restored in the late 1960s when the water tank was removed, and a peaked roof put in its place.

     

    children of JOHANN and ANA LEWANDOWSKI
     
    • August Levandusky (1840-1906) was born on Dec. 22, 1840, probably in the village of Ilawa u Rodowo in West Prussia, Germany, as he was baptized there on Jan. 3, 1841 in the local Lutheran church. His baptism record lists his parents as Johann and Anna Dor Levandowski, but just his father's name appears on his marriage record, and his death certificate names his parents as John Levandowsky and Anna Kuglihm. He married Wilhelmina "Mena" Marklewitz (1842-1913) of Riesenburg (Prabuty) on Nov. 29, 1866 in her hometown of Riesenburg, and they had at least two children - Frederick (1867-1915) and Gustave (b. c.1870) - both born in West Prussia, probably in Riesenburg.

      Unrest following the Austro-Prussian (1866), and Franco-Prussian (1870) Wars led many Prussian families to leave their homeland to seek better lives. This led August and Mena to immigrate with their children in 1873 or earlier to Canada, where they settled in Waterloo County in southern Ontario. They were preceded there by Mena's older cousins, Fried and Anna Marklewitz (both born about 1817) and their married children Gottfried (1838-1927), Wilhelmina (1840-1918) and John (1844-1931), who left West Prussia separately at various times from 1864 and 1868 to come to the Waterloo area. This part of Ontario at the time hosted the largest German-speaking population in Canada. The 1871 census, in fact, records that whereas about 10% of the rest of Ontario was German, nearly 55% of Waterloo County was German, being made up partly of recent European immigrants, like the Lutheran Marklewitz and Levandusky families, and partly of earlier Mennonite settlers* from Pennsylvania. The next largest ethnic group were Scots, who made up about 18% of the county.

      *Called "Pennsylvania Dutch" by many, these Mennonites were actually "Pennsylvania Deutsch" or "Pennsylvania Deitsch", where Deutsch refers to the standard German that many spoke, and Deitsch refers to the Palatine German (upper Rhine Valley) dialect that others spoke. Nearly all were from Germany, not the Netherlands.

      August remained in Canada for close to a decade, but he appears to have left his wife and children about 1882 or 1883, and moved to the United States with Hermina "Minnie" Strauss (1854-1943), who was 14 years his junior. They arrived in Detroit, Michigan, about the same time that his parents arrived there, and he and Minnie settled near his parents and several of his siblings siblings in the Michigan Avenue area. He found employment in factories on the west side, out beyond the city limits, where he generally worked as a laborer. There is some uncertainty as to Minnie's last name, which shows up on various documents as Strauss, Schultz and Louis/Louisa, although the latter may actually be her middle name. August and Minnie had at least four children together in Detroit, and she is listed on various documents as his wife, but we have found no records to show that she and August actually wed, nor any record that August ever bothered to divorce his first wife Wilhelmina.

      August lived with Minnie in basically the same house in Detroit from 1886 up until his death there 20 years later. This house in 1886 was at the corner of 27th and Magnolia, and then from 1887 to 1888 it is shown as in the city directories as h[ome] e[ast] s[side of] 27th 2 [houses] s[outh] of Magnolia ave, which means that two new houses were built between it and the corner before the printing of the 1887 directory. Given this fact, and the fact that August and Minnie by the 1900 census owned this house, we might surmise that they bought it new when they first moved in. The house in 1889 was assigned the street number of 1002-27th, and the street name changed in 1903 to McKinley. August died on June 27, 1906 at this address. Minnie continued to live at this same address, which became 3580 McKinley with the 1920/1921 street number changes. Today (2020) there is a vacant lot here.

      August and Minnie are buried together in Woodmere Cemetery. August had children with Wilhelmina born in Germany and Canada, and children with Herminia born in the United States, with many living descendants confirmed by DNA analyses.

    • Augusta Dorothea Lewandowski (1845-1922) was born on July 2, 1845 in West Prussia. Although we have found no baptism record for her to prove it, she was probably born in the village of Ilawa u Rodowo where her family generally lived. Her father's name appears on her marriage record, and her death certificate names her parents as John Lewandowsky and Anna Kuglean. She married Gottfried Neumann (1846-1902) on Dec. 1, 1868 in Riesenburg (Prabuty), West Prussia. They subsequently immigrated with at least two children about 1884 to Detroit, Michigan, where they may have been the last members of the extended Lewandowski family to arrive. Gottfried found employment in the factories on the west side, out beyond the city limits, and they settled in southwest Detroit, near Augusta's parents and siblings in the Michigan Avenue area. He later worked as a laborer, and eventually a teamster for Andrew Lonyo's brickyard, where he ended up working for perhaps 16 years. He died in 1902, after which Augusta married Carl Goetzke (1850-1916) on Oct. 10, 1908 in Detroit. Augusta died on Aug. 16, 1922 in Detroit, and she is buried there with Gottfried in Woodmere Cemetery. Augusta and Gottfried had several children born in both Germany and the United States, with the 1900 U.S. Census reporting that a total of 10 children were born to the couple, with only 5 children still alive at the time of the census. Today, there are many living descendants confirmed by DNA analyses.

    • Maria Lewandowski (1846-1929) was born on March 1, 1846, probably in the village of Ilawa u Rodowo in West Prussia, Germany, as she was baptized there on March 7, 1846 in the local Lutheran church. Her baptism record lists her parents as Johann and Anna Levandowski, just her father's name appears on her marriage record, and one of her death certificates names her parents as John Lewandowski and Anna Kuklein. She married Leopoldt Bressman (1845-1916) on Nov. 6, 1870 in Riesenburg, West Prussia. They subsequently immigrated with at least three children about 1881 or earlier to Detroit, Michigan. Leopoldt found employment in the factories on the west side, out beyond the city limits, and they settled in southwest Detroit, near Maria's parents and siblings in the Michigan Avenue area. Maria died on Jan 9, 1929 in Wyandotte, Michigan, and she is buried in Detroit with Leopoldt in Woodmere Cemetery. Maria and Leopoldt had children born both in Germany and the United States, with many living descendants confirmed by DNA analyses.

    • Friedrich "Frederick" Gottfried Lewandowski (1848-1911) was born on Aug. 19, 1848, probably in the village of Ilawa u Rodowo in West Prussia, Germany, as he was baptized there on Aug. 7, 1848 in the local Lutheran church. His baptism record lists his parents as Johann and Anna Levandowski, neither parent appears on his marriage record, and his death certificate names his parents simpy as Lewendowsky and Kaplin. He married Gottliebe Borutzki (1846-1932) on Nov. 17, 1872 in Niederzehren (Czarne Dolne), which is a village about 9 miles southwest of Reisenburg (Prabuty). They subsequently immigrated to Detroit Michigan, with Gottliebe and two children probably departing from Bremen, Germany on the S.S. Bremen, and arriving on Dec 5, 1881 in New York. Frederick most likely came with them on the same ship, but it is also possible that he arrived on his own earlier. He found employment in the factories on the west side, out beyond the city limits, and they settled initially in southwest Detroit, near Frederick's parents and siblings in the Michigan Avenue area. He eventually ended up as a carpenter making railroad cars for the Michigan Car Company, and moved at some point to "old Germantown", on the east side of Detroit, several miles from where his brothers and sisters lived in what could be called "new Germantown". Frederick died on June 4, 1911 in Detroit, and he is buried there Gottfried Lewandowski with Gottliebe in Trinity Cemetery, whereas his parents, brothers and sisters are all buried at Woodmere. Frederick and had children born in Germany and the United States, with some descendants, but we know of no living descendants who have had DNA analyses done to confirm family relationships.

    • Johann "John" Lewandofske (1851-1936) was born on Aug. 13, 1851 in Ilawa u Rodowo (Klein Rohdau) in West Prussia, Germany, as confirmed on his death certificate, and baptized on Aug. 17, 1851 in the Lutheran church of the nearby village of Dakau (Gdakowo). His baptism record lists his parents as Johann and Anna Levandowski, his parents are not named on his marriage record, and his death certificate names them as John Levandowsky and Anna Kuglin. He immigrated as a single young man in the late 1870s to Detroit, Michigan, being the second in the family to come to America, but the first to come to the United States. He married his cousin Augusta "Gussie" Kuglin (1859-1936) on Nov. 10, 1878 in Detroit, and they settled in Springwells, which in those days was an unincorporated industrial district on the west side of the county, outside what was then the city limits. He found employment in the factories on the west side, out beyond the city limits, and they settled in southwest Detroit, near John's parents and siblings in the Michigan Avenue area. John died on Sept. 11, 1936 in Detroit, and he is buried there with Gussie in Woodmere Cemetery. John and Gussie had several children born in Detroit, but we know of no living descendants who have had DNA analyses done.

    • Anna Levandowski (1854-1854) was born on July 10, 1854, probably in either Ilawa u Rodowo or the nearby village of Dakau (Gdakowo) in West Prussia, Germany, and baptized on July 20, 1854 in the Lutheran church of Dakau. She died an infant just 9 days later on July 29, 1854 in Dakau. Her baptism and death records list her parents as Johann and Anna Levandowski.

    • Ferdinand Gustav Lewandowski (1856-1926) was born on June 19, 1856, probably in the village of Ilawa u Rodowo in West Prussia, Germany, as he was baptized there on June 29, 1856 in the local Lutheran church. His baptism record lists his parents as Johann and Anna Lewandowski, the record for his marriage to his second wife lists his parents as Johann Lewandowske and Ann Kuglin, and his death certificate does not name either parent. He immigrated as a single young man about 1881 or earlier to Detroit, Michigan, and he might be the Ferd Lewandowski who departed from Bremen, Germany on the S.S. Hermann, and arrived on Feb. 4, 1881 in Baltimore, Maryland. However, this is not confirmed. His married his cousin Marie Kuglin (1861-1908) on Nov. 6, 1881 at St. John's Lutheran Church (Historic Trinity Church) in Detroit, and they had several children. Ferdinand found employment in the factories on the west side, out beyond the city limits, and he and Marie settled in southwest Detroit, near August's parents and siblings in the Michigan Avenue area. After Marie died, he married his second wife Anna Maria Reh (1853-1916), the widow of Fred Bauschke (1846-1889) and later Arthur Steinke (1851-1899) on July 17, 1909 in Detroit, with Ferdinand's sister Maria Bressman, and her husband Leopold as witnesses. Ferdinand died on June 7, 1926 in Detroit, and he is buried there with Marie and Anna in Woodmere Cemetery. Ferdinand and his first wife Marie had several children born in Detroit, with many living descendants confirmed by DNA analyses to confirm family relationships.

    • William "Wilhelm" Lewandowski (1859-1919), who follows.

    • Madge Lewandowski (?-1889?) is assumed to be a younger daughter of Johann Lewandowski and Anna Kuglin, probably born in the late 1850s or early 1860s in that part of West Prussia that today is in Poland. Her first name is known only from the Michigan Census of WWI Veterans, compiled in 1923 by the Daughters of the American Revolution. This document names a woman named Madge as the mother of James F. Clark, Sr. (1889-1942), the WWI soldier, and James is known from DNA evidence to be the son of a daughter of Johann and Anna Lewandowski. Madge is assumed to be this Lewandowski daughter. A man named James R. Clark, who is named in this same census, is believed to be the father of Madge's son of the same name.

      The 1923 marriage certificate for James F. Clark, the WWI veteran, lists his parent's names, which are names he must have provided when he filled out the paperwork to obtain a marriage license. The certificate lists his father's name as James Frederick Clark, which is no doubt the same man the James R. Clark named in the Veteran's Census, but his mother's name appears as Carrie Finnegan, which contradicts the census. A possible explanation is that Madge Lewandowski is the biologic mother of James the veteran, and that she died when her son was very young, say in 1889 or so just after his birth; and Carrie Finnegan, a woman of Irish extraction, is his step mother, and the woman who subsequently raised him until her own premature death when James was six or years old.

      We have no birth record nor marriage record for Madge Lewandowski, if that is her actual name, so her existence is speculative. However, the DNA data discussed earlier rules out any of the documented sons or daughters of Johann and Anna Lewandowski as being a parent of James F. Clark, the soldier. Thus, we are left to assume that his Lewandowski parent is an undocumented daughter. Madge is certainly not a West Prussian, German or Polish name, but it may be a nickname derived from Magdalena, or something similar.

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  3. William "Wilhelm" Lewandowski (1859-1919), the son of Johann Lewandowski and Anna Kuglin, was born on Oct. 22, 1862 probably in Riesenburg, West Prussia, Germany (which today is part of Poland), as he was baptized in the Lutheran Church there as Friedrich Wilhelm Lewandowski to parents Johann and Anna Maria Lewandowski. His death certificate names his parents as John Lewandowski and Hanna Konklin/Knicklin. However, his death record gives his birth year as 1862, and the year 1862 is what is shown on his tombstone.

    William emigrated about 1882 to the United States, most likely with his parents, as he seems to have subsequently settled with them at their home in southwest Detroit. Here he found work as a laborer, possibly being the same William Lewandowski that city directories show as working for a time as a molder casting iron wheels and such for the Michigan Car Company, a large Michigan firm that made railroad cars at a location that later became the factory for Cadillac Motor Cars.

    St. John's Lutheran Church. It is called Historic Trinity today.

    William married Anna Holden (1864-1918) on Aug. 16, 1884 in Detroit at St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, which was built in 1866 at Gratiot Avenue and Rivard Street, just south of where the Jewish District of Detroit was located. William's brother Ferdinand had married his first wife Marie Kuglin at St. John's three years earlier, before William and their parents arrived from Germany. Rev. Johannes Huegli, who served the church from 1860 to 1902 as their pastor, probably performed the wedding ceremonies. Although his congregation once called themselves St. John's, they later became Holy Trinity, and today they are the Historic Trinity Church. It now occupies an impressive stone building at 1345 Gratiot Avenue that in 1931 replaced the simpler brick church and spire on the right, where William and Anna wed.

    William's wife Anna was born on Feb. 16, 1864 in Klein Tromnau (Ilawa u Trumiejki), and baptized there on Feb. 21, 1864 in the local church - Ilawa u Trumiejki being in West Prussia, about 6 miles south of the Sorgen See area where William was born. Her parents were Gottfried "Fred" Holden and Wilhelmina "Minnie" Teschner (1828-1916). She immigrated in 1881 to Detroit, where she was married three years later to William, and then joined about 1889 by her mother Minnie, her father Fred Haldan having died before Anna's marriage. Minnie then seems to have generally lived with Anna and William from at least 1889 on.

    When William's parents moved to 902-25th St. (possible modern address: 3364 W. 25th St.), he and Anna either moved in with them, or they were already living with them at the time. William subsequently opened a saloon, with a front door address of 853-24th for the establishment, which today would be near 24th St and Martin Luther King Blvd (possible modern address: 3373 W. 24th St). This location was basically on the backside of his parents' property. The city directory of 1889 lists William as a saloon proprietor at 24th St., and he also paid a $300 tax to the city in 1890 for a liquor license. However, the saloon was evidently a short-lived venture, and we find no further mention of it. Williams' father died in 1889, and his mother died in 1899, afterwhich William is shown as the owner of his parents former home on 25th St. This house is also shown in both the 1900 and 1910 census returns with a mortgage on it, but it is not known if William or his father took out the original loan.

    The area where William and Anna lived, their parents before them, and most members of their extended families, was on the southwest side of Detroit. This was the newer of two German districts in the city, and it evolved in the 1870s and 1880s when German immigrant families settled along West Michigan Avenue to be close to their low-paying jobs, the only work they could find, at factories and warehouses that had been built on the west side out past the city limits. The older German district was on the east side of the city, between Gratiot and Jefferson avenues, where many German immigrant families originally settled right after the Civil War. St. John's (Trinity) Lutheran Church, where William and Anna wed, was in the old German district on the east side, several miles from where they lived in the new district on the southwest side.

    When William and Anna married at St. John's (Trinity) Lutheran, there were few German churches in Detroit. One of the few was the Evangelical Lutheran Immanuel Church at 17th and Pine that was built in 1865 as a daughter church of St. Johns/Trinity. Then the Immanuel Church in 1883 built another daughter church named the Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church (modern address: 4305 Military Street), about 1.3 miles west of where William and Anna lived, and less than a mile from where all but one of William's brothers and sisters resided. Of the 51 members of the Immanuel congregation who founded the new church, 41 of them, like William's and Anna's families, were recent German immigrants from West Prussia. Then the Zion Church in 1891 built the Gethsemane Evangelical Lutheran Church (modern address: 4461 28th St), which was even closer. It seems likely that some of the Lewandowski and Holden families assisted in the planting of these new churches.

    The 1900 census shows that William and Anna had four children, with none living at the time of the census. One of these children was born in 1886 and another in 1888, but nothing more is known. Because William and Anna lost all of their own children, it seems likely that they would have been receptive to taking on a foster child. This is one of the reasons we suspect that they might have been the step-parents, from about 1895 to 1901, of James F. Clark, Sr. (1889-1942), before he ran away from home.

  4. Anna had a younger brother named Gustave "Gus" Holden (1868-1931), who lived "out West" in South Dakota, but had the prestigious job of being a locomotive engineer. This makes it likely that he was in town with his job from time to time, and he almost certainly would have made a point of visiting Anna, and his mother Minnie, who lived with William and Anna. Gus certainly would have also had the contacts to get his step-nephew James F. Clark a job as a railroad brakeman, which is another reason to suspect that William and Anna were James' step-parents.

    Grace Hospital in Detroit were both William and Anna Lewandowski passed away.

    William held several jobs, including laborer, molder (Michigan Car Co.), saloon keeper, watchman, and janitor (Detroit Savings Bank), some of which may have been part time and/or temporary. However, he owned his home, which would have helped to make ends meet. Still, the loss of his children, his likely step-son James F. Clark running away from home, and other issues no doubt strained his relationship with his wife, who filed a petiion to divorce William on Nov. 17, 1903, citing "habitual drunkeness and extreme cruelty". However, the petition on Aug. 29, 1904 was withdrawn. The fact that William is on record as a violent man with a drinking problem is yet another reason to suspect that he is the step-father of James F. Clark, given that James as a boy had his colar bone broken when a man in the house came home in a drunken rage and kicked James down the stairs.

    Anna died on June 25, 1918 at Grace Hospital in Detroit, due to complications from a "ventral hernia caused by lacerations of the cervix due to multiple child births". She is buried at Woodmere Cemetery. William died the following year on Oct. 18, 1919 at Grace Hospital of pneumonia, and he is also buried at Woodmere. Although the Woodmere Cemetery records indicate that William and Anna were initially buried in different part of the cemetery, both their names are inscribed on the tombstone over William's grave. This means that Anna was either exhumed and reburied next to William after his death, or she remains in her original plot, and the memorial to her over William's grave is a cenotaph.

    Wilhelm and Anna Lewandowski are probably the couple identified in "family stories" as the step-parents of James F. Clark, Sr.

     

     

 

 


Gus Holden's Family

  1. Wilhelmine "Minnie" Teschner (1828-1916), the mother of Gus Holden the locomotive engineer, was born on June 12, 1828 in Germany, according to her death certificate. Although we have no baptism record to confirm any details, she was probably born somewhere in the German province of West Prussia, most likely within a few miles of Marienwerder (Polish Kwidzyn), which was at times the capital city of West Prussia, whereas at other times the capital moved north to the port of Danzig. West Prussia today is all part of Poland, but back then it was part of the German Empire, and before that it had belonged for more than a century to the Kingdom of Prussia.

    The Lutheran Church at Tromnau (Trumiejk) in West Prussia where many members of the Holden family were baptized.
    Minnie married Gottfried Haldan (1819-1883), also known as Fred Holden, on Nov. 9, 1851 in the sometime capital of Marienwerder (Kwidzyn). Gottfried, who was a farmer, was born on Jan. 3, 1819 and baptized on Jan. 10 that same year in Raudnitz (Rudzienice u Stankowo), which is not too far from Marinewerder. Minnie and Gottfried subsequently settled in Tromnau (Trumiejki), which is much closer to the Sorgen See region that the Lewandowski family of the previous lineage came from. Tromanu was where they chose to raise their family, with all six of their known children being baptized there in the local Lutheran Church, which is shown on the left.

    Minnie and Gottfried's daughter Augusta had immigrated on her own in the late 1870s as a young woman to the United States, where in 1880 she married fellow German immigrant Albert Hoffmann (1859-1933) in Detroit, Michigan. Minnie and Gottfried decided to follow her with the rest of the family, and departed from Bremen, Germany on the S.S. Kronprinz Friedrick Wilhelm, and arriving on May 27, 1881 in Baltimore, Maryland, with their four remaining children - Anna, Gus, Frederick and Christian.

    The Holden family likely settled in the Springwells area of southwest Detroit, which was an industrial district that in those days was out past the city limits. There sons Gus and Frederick found work as laborers in local factories, of which there were many in Springwells. Gottfried, who by now was going by the name Fred Holden, died in Springwells of dysentery, a little less than two years after coming to America. When Detroit annexed in 1885 the area west of 25th Street, all the way out to the east boundary of Springwells, son Gus shows up in the 1885 city directory living on Toledo Avenue between Lansing and Ferdinand. Then the first mention of Minnie is in the 1887 city directory, which shows her residing with Gus and her other son Frederick at 244 Toledo Avenue, which is within a block of the other Toledo address.

    The last mention we have of Minnie at the 244 Toledo address is in the 1889 city directory, after which she is found living most of the time with her younger daughter Anna Lewandowski at 902-25th Street in west Detroit, but also living from time to time with her older daughter Augusta Hoffman out in Springwells, which is a now defunct township located on the westside of modern Detroit. Minnie's granddaughter Berenice Holden (1902-1991) used to recall how as a little girl she made a train trip from Sheridan, Wyoming to Detroit with her parents Gus and Katie Holden in a private railway car to visit grandmother Minnie, and her aunt Anna Lewandowski at the 25th Street House. She remembered it being a large, two-story place that had large wooden beds upstairs with thick quilts on them that a little girl would down sink into so that she could barely see out.

    Minnie lived a long life and died on Aug. 3, 1916 at age 88 at daughter Anna's house, after falling out of a chair and breaking her hip for the third time. She is buried with her husband Fred at Woodmere Cemetery.

     

    children of GOTTFRIED and MINNIE HOLDEN (all born originally with the surname Haldan)
     
    • Christine Haldan (1852-1852) was born on Oct. 25, 1852 in the German province of West Prussia that today is part of Poland. She was probably born in the village of Tromnau (modern Trumiejki), as she was baptized there 6 days later on Oct. 31 in the local Lutheran Church. She died an infant on Nov. 3, 1852 in Tromnau, and was buried there 2 days later.

    • Augusta Wilhelmina "Minnie" Holden (1856-1927) was born on May 24, 1856 in the German province of West Prussia that today is part of Poland. She was probably born in the town of Riesenburg (modern Prabuty), as she was baptized there 2 days later on May 26 in the local Lutheran Church. She immigrated in 1878 on her own as a young woman to the United States, being the first of her family to make the journey, and married Albert Hoffman (1859-1933) in 1880 in Detroit, Michigan, where they had at least two children born. She died on Feb. 9, 1927 in Detroit, where she is buried with Albert in Woodmere Cemetery.

    • Gottfried Haldan (1861-1868) was born on May 12, 1861 in the German province of West Prussia that today is part of Poland. She was probably born in the town of Riesenburg (modern Prabuty), as he was baptized there a few days later on May 20 in the local Lutheran Church. He died when 7-years old on Dec. 20, 1868 in West Prussia, where he is buried in the village of Laseczno, which is located about 14 miles southeast of Riesenburg.

    • Anna Holden (1864-1918) was born on Feb. 16, 1864 in the German province of West Prussia that today is part of Poland. She was probably born the in the village of Klein Tromnau (modern Ilawa u Trumiejki), as she was baptized there a few days later on Feb. 21 in the local Lutheran Church. She immigrated as a young woman with her family to the United States, departing from Bremen, Germany on the S.S. Kronprinz Friedrick Wilhelm, and arriving on May 28, 1881 in Baltimore, Maryland. She then proceceded with her family to Detroit, Michigan, where she married William Lewandowski (1862-1919) on Aug. 16, 1884 at St. John's Lutheran Church, which is known today as the Historic Trinity Church. She and William had four children born in Detroit, none of whom were living at the time of the 1900 U.S. census. She unsuccessfully tried to divorce William on Aug. 29, 1903 due to his cruelty, but he petition was withdrawn. She died on June 25, 1918 in Detroit, where she is buried in Woodmere Cemetery, in a different part of the cemetery from William. More information on Anna is given under the heading for her husband William Lewandowski (1862-1919)

    • Gus Holden (1868-1931), who follows.

    • Frederick "Fred" Holden (1870-1910) was born on June 15, 1870 in the German province of West Prussia that today is part of Poland. He was probably born in the village of Tromnau (Trumiejki), as he was baptized there a few days later on June 26 in the local Lutheran Church. He immigrated as a boy with his family to the United States, departing from Bremen, Germany on the S.S. Kronprinz Friedrick Wilhelm, and arriving on May 28, 1881 in Baltimore, Maryland. He then proceceded with his family to Detroit, Michigan. He married Augusta Mau (1869-1936) on June 27, 1891 in Detroit, and they had several children. He died on Oct. 26, 1910 in Detroit, where he is buried with Augusta in Woodmere Cemetery.

    • Christian "Christopher" Charles Holden (1874-1941) was born on Aug. 15, 1875 in the German province of West Prussia that today is part of Poland. He was probably born in the village of Tromnau (Trumiejki), as he was baptized there a few days later on Aug. 22 in the local Lutheran Church. He immigrated as a boy with his family to the United States, departing from Bremen, Germany on the S.S. Kronprinz Friedrick Wilhelm, and arriving on May 28, 1881 in Baltimore, Maryland. He then settled with his family in Detroit, Michigan. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1897 in Detroit, and served duirng the Spanish-American War in Company A of the 19th Infantry. Then he was stationed from 1900 to 1902 at the San Francisco Presidio. He married Louise Cornelius (1892-1918) on Dec. 22, 1908 in Essex County, Ontario, Canada; and they subsequently settled in Detroit, Michigan, where Louise died prematurely on Nov. 15, 1918 from tuberrculosis. He then married a widow named Mary McDonnell (b. c.1882) in Jan. 1920 in Michigan. He died on Nov. 18, 1941 in Curtis, Michigan, and is buried with a military headstone at Roseland Park Cemetery in Berkley, Michigan. He appears to have had children with both wives, in addition to stepchildren with his second wife.

  2.  

  3. Gus Holden (1868-1931), the son of Gottfried and Minnie Holden, was born August Haldan on Jan. 1, 1867 in the village of Tromnau in the German province of West Prussia, and baptized there on Jan. 6, 1867 in the local Lutheran Church. Tromnau is the same as Trumiejk in modern Poland, and was separated from Germany in 1945 when it was occupied by Soviet forces at the end of WWII. Although born August Haldan, he went by the name of Gustav "Gus" Holden from about 1900 on.

    U.S. census records all show that Gus immigrated in the early- to mid-1870s to the United States. However, this is information that he provided to census takers. He is almost certainly the August Haldan who departed at the age of 14 from Bremen, Germany with his parents on the S.S. Kronprinz Friedrick Wilhelm, and arrived on May 28, 1881 in Baltimore, Maryland, with Detroit, Michigan as their stated destination on the ship arrival papers. This indicates that for whatever reason, he wanted to give the impression that he had lived in the United States longer than what was the actual case.

    The first mention of Gus that we know of in Detroit is in the 1885 city directory, which lists him as August Haldan, working as a laborer for the Detroit Steel & Spring Works, and residing on Toledo Avenue between Lansing and Ferdinand. His absence in city directories before then is no doubt due to the fact that it was not until 1885 that the city annexed the area where Gus was residing, and prior to then his address was in an incorporated part of the County. He is next found in the 1887 directory residing with his mother Wilhelmina, and brother Frederick at "n s Toledo ave 3 [houses] w of Clark ave" - a location that appears in the 1889 directory as 244 Toledo Avenue. He does not appear in any subsequent directories, even though the 1901 directory lists his mother and brother at the same Toledo Avenue address as before.

    Gus as early as 1892 was working for the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy (CB&Q) Railroad as a hostler and switcher, which meant that he moved train locomotives back and forth in the train yards. However, he steadily worked his way up over the next couple of years to a full-fledged locomotive engineer, operating passenger and freight trains on CB&Q tracks throughout the Midwest. Although assigned to the Alliance, Nebraska office of the company, he worked many Midwest locations over the course of his career, including Deadwood, South Dakota and Sheridan, Wyoming, to name just two. A newspaper article that was published many years after the fact describes in great detail a Spring blizzard in 1896 that Gus had to contend with (Billings Gazette, Billings, Montana, May 29, 1955, p. 23). The article makes it clear that Gus, by the time of the storm, was an experienced and respected locomotive engineer.

    Gus was a CB&Q engineer living in Sheridan, Wyoming, when he married an Irish girl named Katie Scullin (1860-1944) on May 11, 1898 in the Sheridan suburb of Higby. Gus had been baptized Lutheran, and Katie, like her Irish parents, was Catholic, but Gus converted to his wife's faith when he married her. Soon after their marriage, they moved to Fall River County, South Dakota, where they lived for the next few years, before returning to Wyoming sometime after the 1905 South Dakota State Census. Gus throughout this time is always shown as an engineer for the CB&Q Railroad.

    Gus is said by his granddaughter Diane Wilkie to have had red hair, and a large moustache. He and wife Katie were also kind people, much loved by family, with many friends. They lived in Sheridan at 1117 North Main Street, and their house, which still stands today, has changed little from the days when they were there.

    Gus' carreer with the CB&Q came to a disastrous end on April 2, 1913, when he was severely injured in a head-on collision with another train, five miles east of Sheridan. One man was killed outright, and Gus was not expected to survive, with a crushed hand and leg. His granddaughter Diane Wilkie has written to us that "Gus was the engineer on a train wreck...head on collision. (Other engineer disobeyed his orders) Grandpa made his crew jump, and he stayed with engine. And thereby saved [the] lives of passengers, [but] lost his hand."

    Although Gus defied the odds and recovered, he was left disabled. The loss of a hand meant that he could no longer work for the railroads. So when the Sheridan Sugar Company formed in 1915 in Sheridan, and built the Holly Sugar Factory to process sugar beets there, Gus was able to get on with them as a stationary machine operator. He also bought and sold real estate on the side. In addition, he tried his hand at politics, and was elected to serve one term from 1917 to 1919 as one of the Wyoming State Legislators representing Sheridan County.

    Prohibition began on January 17, 1920, when enforcement of the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution made it illegal to produce or sell beer, wine and liquor. Gus, as befitting his German origins, loved his beer, so he began brewing his own is his basement. One of the last big events in his life was the "Black Tuesday" stock market crash of October 29, 1929, which wiped out pretty much everything in his real estate business. However, he was fortunate enough to keep his job at the sugar factory, and the 1930 U.S. Census shows him still employed there as a stationary engineer.

    Gus died from a heart attack at age 63 on Nov. 16, 1931 in Sheridan, still working at the Holly Sugar Factory. He is buried in the Sheridan Municipal Cemetery, where an image of a train engine is inscribed on the tombstone he shares with Katie. His tombstone gives his birth year as 1868, which is at odds with the 1867 birth year given on his baptism record. However, he was born on Jan. 1, 1867 in a small village that evidently still used the Julian Calendar, in which the new year does not begin until March 25, whereas 1868 would be his birth year in the Gregorian Calendar that is used today, since the new year in the Gregorian starts on Jan. 1, the same day Gus was born. Katie survived Gus by several years, and died on Nov. 26, 1944 in Sheridan.

    Gus was probably the one responsible for getting his step-nephew James F. Clark a job as a brakeman in the Detroit train yards.

    children of GUS and KATIE HOLDEN
     
    • Clarence Holden (1899-1899) is shown in a family tree on the internet to have been born on March 15, 1899 and died a few days later on April 1 in Edgemont, South Dakota. Although, this information is not verified, the tree does appear to have been made by a member of the family.

    • Lawrence Fred Holden (1900-1966) was born on March 22, 1900 in Edgemont, South Dakota, and moved as a boy with his parents to Sheridan County, Wyomng, where he grew up. He married Amy Pearle Gross (1903-1975) on June 24, 1928 in Bighorn County, Montana; and they had at least one son. Lawrence died on April 1, 1966 in Great Falls, Montana, where he is buried with Pearle in the Mount Olivet Cemetery.

    • Bernice Holden (1902-1991) was born on Jan. 18, 1902 in Alliance, Nebraska, and moved as a girl with her parents to Sheridan County, Wyoming, where she grew up. She married Dale Montgomery Carlyle (1906-1978) on Sept. 18, 1937 in Buffalo, New York; and they had at least one daughter - Diane Wilkie (neé Carlyle). Bernice died on May 3, 1991 in Sheridan, Wyoming, where she is buried with Dale in the Sheridan Municipal Cemetery.

  4.  


    A Baldwin 2-6-2 (Prairie-class) R5 locomotive purchased in 1906 by the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad.
    Gus Holden could very well have operated this engine at some point in his railroad career.

 

 

 


Belle Groh's Family

  1. Isabelle "Belle" Edgeworth (1872?-1940) was born on or before Sept. 2, 1872 to parents Edward Edgeworth (1830-1919) and Drusila Freeland (c.1829-1898) in Windham Center, which is in Norfolk County in the province of Ontario, Canada. This information comes from her death records, and tombstone date. However, the 1871 Canadian census shows a two-year old Arnabelle Edgeworth, daughter of Edward, who is probably Belle. Also, the 1891 and 1901 census returns indicate that Belle was born about 1870 or 1871, not in 1872 as her death records state. Thus, Belle was probably born before 1872, possibly as early as 1869, and she likely lied about her age as she got older, which was not unusual for women in those times.

    Belle's parents Edward Edgeworth (1830-1919) and Drusila Freeland (c.1829-1898) were born and raised in Ontario, with Edward's father being an Irish immigrant, who is said to have been from the village of Collon in County Clouth in the Irish province of Leinster. Belle, who was one of the younger of ten or more children, spent most of her childhood in Norfolk County, but moved as a teenager with her parents to Windsor, which is located on the Canadian side of the Detroit River, just across the border from Detroit city. There, she and a man said to be named Walter Groh had a daughter named Jessie (1894-1987) - Walter's identity being known only from Jessie's 1912 marriage certificate. A few years later, Belle married Andrew Groh (1870-1944) on Oct. 10, 1900 in or near Windsor - Andrew likely being somehow related to Walter.

    Essentially nothing is known about Walter Groh, but Andrew Groh probably came from Germany, and immigrated to Cleveland, Ohio. However, some records show him as being born in Cleveland. He was probably connected there in some way to the well-known Groh Brothers of Cleveland - Andrew (d. 1915), George (d. 1940) and Walter (d. 1927) - who ran a variety of businesses, including a livery stable and a funeral parlor. But this is a guess. Andrew moved around 1900 to Canada, where soon after he married Belle Edgeworth. Although his occupation appears on most records as painter, his obituary refers to him as a retired house decorator.

    There is on www.ancestry.com a user-submitted family photograph from the early 1900s of the grown children of Edward and Drusilia Edgeworth. Two of their seven daughters are identified in this photo, but the three youngest daughters - Mary (b. 1871), Belle (b. 1872?) and Melvina (b. 1873) - are not. Two of the younger daughters are shown in the detail photos on the right. One of them is probably Belle, and the other is probably her sister Mary, but we do not know which is which. Although we are not completely sure, we do not think either photo shows the youngest daughter Melvina.

    Belle Groh's house at 325 McKay Avenue in Windsor, Ontario (Canada).

    Belle and Andrew had five children born in Windsor, four of whom survived, in addition to Belle's daughter Jesse. They were living in 1919 at 39 McKay Avenue in Windsor. Then they are found in the 1921 Canadian census in a house at 117 McKay (which they owned), and Belle and Andrew in their final years resided at 325 McKay. These might all be the same house, but with different addresses, due to renumbering of the city streets, such as took place in 1921 in adjacent Detroit. However, we have not been able to find any information on historic street number changes in Windsor. A photo of the Groh's house at 325 McKay, as it appeared in 2020 on maps.google.com, is shown on the left.

    When Corporal James F. Clark returned to the U.S. after serving in France during WWI, he almost certainly visited Belle at 39 McKay St. That visit would have been sometime during the Fall of 1919, just prior to his December 1919 re-enlistment in the army. Before then, he listed Mr. Amos Lemmons, cousin at 62 - 32nd St., Detroit as his next-of-kin on his army papers, but after Dec. 5, 1919, he started listing Mrs. Belle Groh, friend at 39 McKay Ave., Windsor instead. Family stories tell that when Jim returned to Detroit after an 18-year absence or more, he visited an older sister in Canada. However, that visit did not go well, and he did not see her again. It seems likely that his so-called "older sister" was not really a sister, but Belle Groh. How he knew Belle, and what his relationship to her was, we have no idea and can only speculate.

    Belle died on July 6, 1940 at her home at 325 McKay in Windsor. Her obituary identifies her as a member of the Temple Baptist Church. Although there is no mention in her obituary as to her occupation, she is always listed in the census returns and other records as a dressmaker. Her husband Andrew died on Oct. 16, 1944 at Grace Hospital in Windsor. His obituary also identifies him as member of the Temple Baptist Church, but some records indicate that he was Catholic earlier in his life. Belle and Andrew are both buried at Rose Hill Cemetery in Amherstburg, which is located several miles south of Windsor.

    Although Belle Groh does not appear to be a blood relative, she is probably the woman identified in "family stories" as the older sister of James F. Clark, Sr.

     

    Belle's children with WALTER GROH
     
    • Jessie Groh (1894-1987) was born on July 19, 1894 in Humberstone, Ontario, prior to the only known marriage of her mother. Jessie's father is identified on her first marriage record as Walter Groh. Although nothing more is known of Walter, he most likely is a close relative, perhaps a brother, of Jessie's stepfather Andrew Groh. She married her first husband Robert Gibson Meisner (b. 1894) on May 12, 1912 in Detroit, Michigan, but they divorced on Jan. 16, 1917 in Detroit. Then a few days later she married John Fisher (1888-1960) on Jan. 23, 1917 in Detroit. She died on May 9, 1987 in Fairhope, Ohio; and she is buried with John in the Mansfield Catholic Cemetery, which is in the Ohio county where John died.
     
    Belle's children with ANDREW GROH
     
    • Irene Groh (1902-1984) was born on Jan. 19, 1902 in Windsor, Canada. She married Donald Greig Hand (1895-1952) on Dec. 25, 1920 in Windsor, and they had at least two children. She died on Sept. 21, 1984 in Elgin, Canada.

    • William Forrest Groh (1905-1967) was born on Nov. 18, 195 in Windsor, Canada. He married Lena Robinson (1901-1979) on March 14, 1931 in Lucas, Ohio, and they had at least one son. William died on Jan. 1, 1967 in Royal Oak, Michigan.

    • Milton Russell Groh (1908-1908) was born on March 7, 1908 in Windsor, Canada, and died an infant on Aug. 9. 1908 in Windsor.

    • Genevieve Belle Groh (1910-1940) was born on Oct. 31, 1910 in Windsor, Canada. She had two or three children born before her first known marriage, which was to Lloyd Green on Feb. 27, 1933 in Windsor. Then by 1937, when her youngest child Nancy Ruth Amick was born in Plymouth, Ohio, she appears to be married to John Irwin Amick (1905-1967). She died on April 24, 1940 in Shelby, Ohio, and she is buried with Irwin in nearby Lexington in the Lexington Cemetery.

    • Clifford Groh (1914-1976) was born in 1914 in Windsor, Canada. He married Doris L. Phillips (1917-2008), and they appear to have generally resided in Windsor. It is not known if they had any children. Clifford died in 1976 in Windsor, where he is buried with Doris in Victoria Memorial Gardens.

  2.  

     


    REFERENCES:

     

     

    by Mike Clark & Family

    This history is an evolving document.
    Despite our best intentions it probably contains mistakes.
    Please let us know if you spot any by sending an email to Mike Clark

     

     



Copyright © Michael S. Clark, Ph.D., 1998- - All rights reserved.