Thursday, September 11, 2014

52 Ancestors: #32 Melchior Simon Henn (1774 - ????)



This is my latest post for the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” challenge initiated by Amy Johnson Crow of the No Story Too Small blog. For more information about the challenge and links to the other blogs participating in the challenge, please click on the badge in the right margin.
When it was originally set up, the challenge stated “have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor“. This week’s post is about a research problem, my fourth great grandfather, Melchior Simon Henn …and the rest of the family in Germany.

When I was researching my 3rd great grandfather Franz Joseph (later Francis) Henn and his wife Phillipina Blank Henn, I was ecstatic when I found a record of their marriage on FamilySearch.org which included the names of both sets of parents. Franz Joseph’s parent’s names were listed as Melchior Henn and Gertrudt Grimm. I also found out the names of Franz Joseph’s probable siblings by finding other marriage records which listed Melchior Henn and Gertrudt Grimm as parents: Franz Melchior Henn, Johann Joseph Henn and Serena Henn.

Next I plugged Melchior’s name (with Gertrudt as his wife) into FamilySearch’s search fields and turned up an indexed entry of his christening record (absent the usual digitized copy of the original), which indicated that Melchior Simon Henn was christened on March 4, 1774 in Bronnbach, Baden, Germany and his parents were Joannis Simonis Henn and Annae Margarethe. Using those parental names I also found indexed christening records for found Melchior’s probable siblings: Phillipus Andreas Henn [April 30, 1769], Joannes Buckardus Henn [July 24, 1776], Maria Anna Henn [December 1, 1764], Valentinus Tobias Henn [January 28, 1767] and perhaps Simon Andreas Henn [February 10, 1772] and Dorothea Henn [October 21, 1779] (under the parental names Simonis Henn and Annae Margarethe). All were christened in Bronnbach, Main-Tauber-Kreis, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany. I may not have found all of Melchior’s siblings but I think that these are his because the same names repeat in our family as the generations descend.

 Etching of the Bronnbach Monastery in the 17th Century
By Caspar Merian (1627–1686) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons 


 I stalled out there.  There are oodles of Henn’s listed in the FamilySearch records (and here I thought, all my life, that the name was rare!), but I’ve been unable to find other records, or indexes, I’m fairly sure of because the plethora of (repeating) names is confusing. The records at Ancestry.com are in the same boat. In fact, most of them were FamilySearch’s records originally. 
I did a google search on the names and turned up a familytree  on RootsWeb’s World Connect Project, in German [I used Google Translate initially], that appears to take the family back, both paternal and maternal lines, to the early 1600’s/late 1500’s with birth, marriage, death dates and places. Finding it was really exciting but in reality I can’t use it for more than possible clues as none of the facts appear to be sourced to something I can find so I can’t easily verify the work. I trust documentation that is sourced so that I can find the source, and, I really prefer looking at original documents when possible.

About that time I also found another Henn tree on Ancestry.com that had a digital copy of what appears to be a baptism record for Melchior Simon Henn, handwritten, in Latin (but no indication of where it came from).  So I sent an email to my Henn-side cousin, Steven Bollinger* (of The Wrong Monkey blog, check it out!), who, I had a vague recollection could possibly read Latin and German, asking him if he could read it  and whether he would be willing to translate it for me.  Very helpfully, it turns out that he can read Latin, Greek, German, French, Italian, Spanish, and bits of other languages, and loves translation, and is willing to translate anything I find in my research. (Yippee! Thank you, Steve!) And he translated the digital copy of the record for me – noting some portions he was 100% sure of and others less so do to handwriting issues. It is a baptismal or christening record. The document appears to mirror the information given in the FamilySearch index, with some bonus information, such as that Melchior was a legitimate son and the name of the person from the Monastery who assisted with the birth, (very cool!)

Steve also translated some paragraphs for me from the RootsWeb pages that Google Translate mangled, on Melchior’s uncle Andreas, which turned out to be quite fascinating, but again unsourced. Like me, Steve is concerned that there was no indication of the source of many of the facts listed in the RootsWeb tree or of the document I found on Ancestry.com in the other person’s tree.
I think (hope) that the baptism record came from FamilySearch, because the Index I found had similar family information, including the Latin spelling of the names rather than Germanic. I had noted that the index indicated that FamilySearch has the document on microfilm, and gave the source information of the particular microfilm it is on.  I’ve read that I can have the microfilm sent to a local branch of the FamilySearch Family History Center for viewing and making digital copies of the document (note to self – bring a thumb drive!). I looked it up and there is one in Albany, with limited hours. Yay!

But I think that has to be a project for next year. When I go I want to have requested several records, not just one, since I have to use up a vacation day to do it (not open weekends). So that means some concerted research ahead of time to find several possible ancestors’ documents to request and wait to be delivered to the Family History Center & then go look at.  As long as I'm trying to complete the "52 Ancestors in 52 weeks challenge" I haven't the time for that sort of concerted research, given the long hours I work in my regular job.  Additionally, in the intervening time, I might have the time to read my new book, “In Search of Your German Roots: a complete guide to tracing your ancestors in the Germanic areas of Europe”, 4th ed., by Angus Baxter, which might make searching for the Henn’s in Germany easier.


So I think that this is a good time to move on to start checking out the O’Brien, Wilcox, Currier, and Sharp branches of the paternal side of my paternal family tree, and later the Bennett, Gregor, & and McFarlane lines of my grandmother’s tree, before I end this year with profiles of my own grandparents. I did my Snyder-side grandparents last after going through their family tree and I think it was effective to see what family forces shaped them before profiling them and I intend to do the same with the Henn-side.

(I will go back and profile more of the Henn ancestors later, I just want to be sure that I can reach representatives all the branches this year for the 52 Ancestors Challenge to the extent it is possible.)


*Name used with permission.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

52 Ancestors: #31 Henry Strauss, jr. (1862 - 1881) Part 2 - "Justifiable Homicide"

Climbing My Family Tree: HEADLINE: "Justifiable Homicide"
HEADLINE: "Justifiable Homicide"
The Syracuse Morning Standard, June 18, 1881
Click to Make Bigger

This is my latest post for the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” challenge initiated by Amy Johnson Crow of the No Story Too Small blog. For more information about the challenge and links to the other blogs participating in the challenge, please click on the badge in the right margin.

This is the second of two posts this week on Henry Strauss, junior, my 1st cousin 3 times removed, born on June 11, 1862 to Rosa Henn Strauss and Henry B. Strauss. Everyone seems to run into some less than honorable black sheep ancestors in the course of their family history search. Henry is the first I’ve found in my tree (there are bound to be more, but he’s my first). Last week I wrote about Henry’s mother, my 2nd great-grand aunt, Generosa (later Rosa) Henn Strauss, who was declared insane within a few years of Henry’s death (she spent the last 21 years of her life in an asylum). In the article on his mother I promised that this week I would do two posts – part 1 & 2 - of transcriptions of the article reporting on the fight in which died, which he started, and of the article reporting on the inquest into his death.  

On Wednesday, I posted the first articles describing the fight. Unlike today’s news stories, there was no indication of from where or who the author had obtained his information, and as you’ll see in today’s post the initial article got quite a few details wrong (assuming that those testified to are more likely to be right). But, unlike today’s journalism, the article does not highlight the changed details, and makes no apology for the changes in the newspaper’s recounting of the story.

Today’s news articles describe the inquest into Henry’s death and the funeral. The inquest came about as a result of Henry’s father pressing charges against David McClure (identified in the first article as Joseph McClure) for murder; it included testimony from Henry ‘s father, the doctor who treated Henry and subsequently performed the autopsy, and two disinterested eyewitnesses to the fight (merchants whose places of business were in the area). The inquest itself does not seem that dissimilar to today’s inquests, and the reporting in this article seems more like modern reporting.  The article, in the main, appears to have a more balanced factual tone than the article I transcribed in Part 1. The final small article regarding the funeral just adds a note of the bizarre to the whole thing.

Climbing My Family Tree: "Justifiable Homicide" Strauss McClure fight The Syracuse Morning Standard, June 18, 1881
"Justifiable Homicide"
(Strauss McClure fight)
 The Syracuse Morning Standard, June 18, 1881
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The Syracuse Morning Standard, Saturday Morning, June 18, 1881

JUSTIFIABLE HOMICIDE

The Killing of Henry Strauss by David McClure Not Murder

Yesterday afternoon Coroner Knapp held an inquest in the case of Henry Strauss, who died early last Tuesday morning from the effects of the blow which David McClure, an imbecile, dealt him on the head with a stick of wood late last Saturday afternoon.

The first witness called was Henry Y. Strauss (sic), father of the deceased. He testified that he was at work in the garden when his son came home on Saturday evening between 6 and 7 o’clock. The boy staggered as he came into the yard. The father asked him what was the matter. The boy made no answer but said: “Help me take off my boots and my coat so that I can lay down on my mother’s bed.” The father did so and the lad lay down on the bed. A short time after Mrs. Strauss called her husband into the house, said the boy was restless and complaining of pain in his head. The father slept with the injured son during the night. The boy complained during the night and Mr. Strauss got him a drink of water. On feeling his son’s head, the father found it very hot. In the morning the boy was asleep when his father got up. Mrs. Strauss was ordered to keep the other children quiet in order that Henry might sleep. The boy lay that way until the doctor was called Sunday night, and finally died on Tuesday morning between 2 and 3 o’clock.

Dr. Van Duyn said that he cut through the scalp and found bruises over the left ear. The cranial cavity was opened and the left side of the skull was found to be broken in such a way that the middle meningeal artery was broken. From this break blood had poured out and formed a clot weighing four and three-fourth ounces. This compressed the brain so as to cause paralysis and death.

James Barry, who resides at No. 218 West Fayette Street and keeps a store at that location testified that the accident took place in front of his store. He heard a noise and on going out saw Henry Strauss and James Plunkett throwing David McClure’s wagon into the sewer hole. Strauss and Plunkett were both intoxicated and came over near Barry. McClure called to them and Strauss walked over toward him. McClure then picked up a stone. Plunkett followed Strauss. Strauss went up to McClure and said something to him the witness did not hear, McClure said: “Keep away from me, I want you to leave me alone.” McClure kept backing up and Strauss kept following him slowly. McClure said something about being “picked on” and about leaving his wagon alone. Strauss acted as though he wanted to clinch his opponent but dare not because McClure had the stone in his hand. Finally McClure got up against a building standing on the corner. McClure dropped the stone and picked up a stick which lay against the building. A blow aimed at Strauss with the stick failed to be effective. A second attempt resulted in the same manner. The third time McClure struck at the deceased, the latter was leaning down trying to pick up a stone. The blow did not take effect and Strauss ran into the road and picked up a stone and walked back towards McClure. McClure then struck Strauss and the latter fell to the ground. He struck partly on his head. Plunkett then helped Strauss home. The wagon of McClure had wood in it and part of the latter was strewn on the ground. The witness said that McClure seemed to be afraid of Strauss and Plunkett, but wanted his cart. After the deceased was struck McClure threw the stick away. McClure drew his cart into Barry’s yard after the accident. He told the witness that Strauss was in the habit of bothering him, and about a week before had torn his coat. The witness said he had seen Strauss intoxicated several times.

Jacob Sehl, who keeps a restaurant opposite Barry’s store, was called. He certified that he had seen the occurrence as elated by the last witness. Sehl was the last witness called and at the close of his testimony, the jury retired. After a short deliberation they brought a verdict that Henry Strauss “came to his death by a blow to the head struck by David McClure on June 11, 1881, between the hours of 4 and 5 o’clock in the afternoon, at the corner of Niagara and West Lafayette streets, in the city of Syracuse, and that said blow was provoked, and struck by McClure in self-defense. Death of said Strauss taking place from the effects of the injury induced by said blow at No, 314 West Lafayette Street.”

The father and mother of young Strauss feel very much grieved at the untimely death of their son, and yesterday while the inquest was in progress tears rolled down the cheeks of the bereaved couple. The dead boy was the oldest of five brothers. The four younger ones survive the deceased. The eldest is about sixteen years old. The parents acknowledge that Henry Strauss was inclined to be somewhat dissipated. It is rumored that some seven or eight months before his death the wayward son was married to a girl of his own age. The parents say that they never knew of the marriage, and although they heard the rumor, they did not believe it to be true.” 

[The Syracuse Morning Standard, Saturday Morning, June 18, 1881 (found at http://www.fultonhistory.com/ Syracuse NY Daily Standard 1881 Grayscale - 0546.pdf)]
---------------

And this is the last (very) small article I found in this matter, in the oddities section of the paper:

 The Oswego Palladium, Friday, June 17, 1881 

Things Which Don’t Happen Every Day

The young wife of Henry Strauss of Syracuse, who was killed in an affray, was not permitted to attend the funeral services by his parents, and followed the procession to the grave at the very rear.”


[The Oswego Palladium, Friday, June 17, 1881 (Found at http://www.fultonhistory.com, Newspaper Oswego Palladium Jan-June 1881-0836.pdf)]

Thursday, September 4, 2014

52 Ancestors: #31 Henry Strauss, jr. (1862 - 1881) Part 1


Climbing My Family Tree: Headline: "DEALING A DEADLY BLOW" Syracuse Standard
Headline: "DEALING A DEADLY BLOW"
The Syracuse Standard, June 14, 1881
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This is my latest post for the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” challenge initiated by Amy Johnson Crow of the No Story Too Small blog. For more information about the challenge and links to the other blogs participating in the challenge, please click on the badge in the right margin.

[Due to technical difficulties I do not understand, it has taken me 4 solid hours to post this article. If it doesn't post this time I am giving up and going to bed. I am beyond tense!]

Last week I week I wrote about Henry’s mother, my 2nd great-grand aunt, Generosa(later Rosa) Henn Strauss, who was declared insane within a few years of Henry’s death, and entered New York’s asylum system.

Henry was Rosa and Henry Strauss’ first born child, and my 1st cousin 3 times removed.  He was born on June 11, 1862 and died as a result of a street fight he instigated. In the article on his mother I promised that this week I would do two posts – part 1 & 2 - of transcriptions of the article reporting the fight and of the article reporting on the inquest.  In actuality, I’m going to throw in two other small articles to complete the coverage of the matter, one with each post.

In reading and transcribing these articles, I find the differences in writing styles between today’s journalism and 19th century journalism to be very interesting. I also found a significant difference in tone between the two main articles -- I wonder if they had the same author? (No byline is indicated on either piece.)

Today, in the papers I read, when a paper reports on an incident, it is careful to sound balanced and detached (unless the article is identified as an opinion piece), and the reporter is careful to indicate his sources, or to indicate if he is using an anonymous source.  The article below is not detached and the author does not indicate where he got his information, and I'd really like to know how he knew what happened in the Strauss home.Additionally,reporters today explain corrections when they must be made in a subsequent article or squib. This was evidently not common practice in the late 19th Century, as there are some significant differences between the two articles, with no explanation. We’ll start off with the articles about the fight, Henry’s death, and the subsequent arrest of the boy who struck Henry. Strauss, jr.
  
Climbing My Family Tree:  Strauss-McClure fight The Syracuse Standard, June 14, 1881
"Dealing A Deadly Blow"
(Strauss-McClure fight )
The Syracuse Standard, June 14,1881
Click to mak bigger


The Syracuse Standard, Tuesday Morning, June 14, 1881:

“DEALING A DEADLY BLOW

HOW A HALF-WITTED BOY DEFENDED HIMSELF

Joseph McClure, Attacked by a Crowd of Tormentors, Inflicts upon the Leader a Wound which Occasions Paralysis—Death the Probable Result of the Injury


In Geddes lives an impoverished family named McClure, among whom is a son Joseph, aged about 19 or 20 years. The boy is not of sound mind and has lived at home with his parents from infancy. The needs of the household have compelled father, mother, and children to unite in endeavoring to keep the dread wolf from the door. Joseph, the half-witted boy, earns now and then a few pennies by doing odd jobs for anybody who will employ him. He is honest, quiet, and inoffensive, and has frequently been dispatched on errands by people who know him and his wants. When not thus engaged, it is the boy’s habit to trundle a 4-wheeled cart along the railroad tracks and public thoroughfares, where he gathers up bits of coal and wood to be used at home for fuel. In this way he adds his mite to the support of the family of which he is a member. His unfortunate condition has for many years made him the butt among other boys, of equal age and better mental capacity, who have poked fun at him at every opportunity. While he mopes along with his cart, they often taunt him about his occupation, his shabby clothes, and his disease of mind. Last Saturday McClure picked up sufficient coal to fill his small wagon and was on his way home in the evening. He was met in Geddes by a party of boys who at once undertook to plague annoy and abuse him. Although somewhat incensed, the poor lad bore their torments without a reply. Among the aggressors who thus abused McClure was a young man named Henry Strauss who resides with his parents at No. 344 West Fayette Street. Strauss and a companion went so far as to tip over the small wagonload of coal which McClure had spent several hours in collecting and was drawing to his home. McClure’s wrath was aroused to the highest pitch by this treatment, and picking up a stick, which was near to hand, he struck Strauss a hard blow on the left side of the head. Strauss fell to the walk in an insensible condition. He was carried home and put to bed. Blood was issuing from his left ear and his face was livid. As he was being placed on the bed, he recovered his senses long enough to moan:

“Oh, I feel as if I was dying.”

Almost immediately, he became unconscious again. He lay very quiet, but as he breathed with accustomed regularity, his parents concluded that he was sleeping. No mark on the head seemed to indicate that he was seriously hurt. It was thought that the blood on the ear came from some small wound that had been inflicted by the stick. The family thought Strauss would wake all right in the morning, and did not deem the injury sufficient to need the attention of a doctor, consequently none was summoned.

All Sunday the injured lad lay in the same unconscious state. About 6 o’clock at night Dr. Van Duyn was summoned. When the Doctor saw the patient he was at once convinced the injury was very serious. He contrived to partly restore the sleeper, but could not wholly bring him to.  The medical examination disclosed the fact that the sufferer’s right side was completely paralyzed, and the left side partially. It was also evident that the skull was probably fractured near the base of the brain. The parents were still of the opinion that there was no danger of a serious result. During Sunday night and the whole of yesterday there was no change for the better in Strauss’ condition. When the Doctor called last night he found the boy much worse and expressed his opinion that death must ensue. No effort served to resuscitate the sleeper. So low was his condition that when the doctor left his bedside last night it was feared that he would not live until morning. The father and mother of the dying boy could hardly realize the fact that the lad’s end was so near, and as they stood silent and tearful by the bedside the sight was very sad.

Henry Strauss is about 19 years of age and is very smart and a good workman. He has found employment in several different places but was too unsteady to remain long with one employer. After working for a few weeks he would unexpectedly leave the shop. What money he had saved he would spend in getting intoxicated. He was inclined to be somewhat dissipated. His father, who is steady and industrious, is well-liked by all who know him, and works hard to get sufficient money to support a large family. Mrs. Strauss is also spoken of as a very estimable woman who does her share towards providing for the necessities of the family.

A warrant was issued yesterday for McClure’s arrest, but at a late hour last night he had not been apprehended.”

[The Syracuse Standard, Tuesday Morning, June 14, 1881 (found at http://www.fultonhistory.com/  Syracuse NY Daily Standard 1881 Grayscale – 0536.pdf)]

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And the second article for today:

The Syracuse Standard, Wednesday Morning, June 15, 1881

AN IMBECILE’S VICTIM

Henry Strauss Dies from the effects of David McClure’s Blow

Henry Strauss died at 2 o’clock yesterday morning at the home of his parents, No. 344 West Fayette Street. Death was caused by the blow on the head which David McClure, an imbecile whom he had been tormenting, dealt him with a heavy stick of wood late last Saturday afternoon. When Officer Quigley awoke early yesterday morning he read the full account of the affair published in THE STANDARD and learned that a warrant had been issued for the arrest of the aggressor. The officer thereupon went to a barn where McClure was in the habit of sleeping and arrested him. Subsequently McClure was arraigned, charged on oath of Henry B. Strauss, father of the dead boy, with murder. The prisoner pleaded guilty to the charge and bail was fixed at $1000. In default of the required bond McClure was sent to the penitentiary to await the action of the grand jury.”



[The Syracuse Standard, Wednesday Morning, June 15, 1881 (found at http://www.fultonhistory.com/  Syracuse NY Daily Standard 1881 Grayscale – 0540.pdf)]

Thursday, August 28, 2014

52 Ancestors: #30 Rosa Henn Strauss (May 3, 1836 – August 31, 1908) – Adjudged Insane

Climbing My Family Tree: Syracuse NY mid-1800's, post card
Syracuse NY mid-1800's, post card
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This is my latest post for the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” challenge initiated by Amy Johnson Crow of the No Story Too Small blog. For more information about the challenge and links to the other blogs participating in the challenge, please click on the badge in the right margin.

In researching other members the Henn family in this first generation to live in the United States, other than John, I found the most information on his sister Generosa, who became Rosa after the family moved to the United States. Unlike John, who had a good and prosperous life; Rosa had a rough life, experiencing repeated tragedy. This one may be difficult to read, folks.

Rosa was born Generosa Henn in Doerlesburg, Baden, part of the German Confederation on May 3, 1836, to Franz Joseph (later Francis) and Katherina Phillipina [Blank] Henn. She was their third daughter and fourth child. her brothers and sisters were Genofera Blank (later, also known as Genevieve [Henn] Scheer; 1827-1916); Serena Mary Dick (1828-1896); Dorothe (later Dorothea or Dora) Snyder (1830-1896);  Andreas (later Andrew) Henn (1832-1911); Edmund Henn (1838-1961); Josephat (later John) Henn; Franz (later Frank) J. Henn (1843-1928); and Josepha (later Josephine) Schueurmann, (1845-1877). They were all born in Germany, and came to the U.S. in 1853 (see Franz & Phillipina’s story for the immigration story) when Generosa was 17 years old.

Climbing My Family Tree: Horatio Nelson White, architect, for whom Rosa Henn worked
Horatio Nelson White, architect, for whom Rosa Henn worked.
By 1855, the family had settled in on a farm in West Monroe, Oswego County, New York (Generosa was listed as Russena in the 1855 NY Census). But by the 1860 US Census, Rosa Henn had moved from her family home and was a domestic [servant] in the household of the Horatio White family in Syracuse NY. Mr. White was a successful architect, who designed the Hall of Languages, the first building of Syracuse University, several courthouses and churches, and many other monumental structures; he had a wife and four children 12 to one year old in the household. Rosa was likely a live-in servant.



Within a year or so, Rosa had married Henry Strauss. He was listed as a peddler in the 1860 census, which shows him living with (or at least there on the day of the census)  the family of Bernhardt Hamburg in Albany NY. I don’t know whether she met him during her service in the White household, or whether she perhaps knew him earlier, as he, too, was born in Baden, in the Germanic Confederation in approximately 1838 (although on one later census he was listed as from Prussia). 

Their first son, Henry, Jr., was born on June 11, 1862 in Syracuse NY. Their only daughter, Polly, was born in or about 1863 (in the 1870 Census, she was 7 years old). I don’t know whether Polly was her real name or whether it was a nickname for Mary, as it often is.  In December 1864, their second son George Valentine was born.

In the 1870 Census, the family is listed under the name Stross, living in the 5th Ward, Syracuse NY. Henry is a laborer at the railroad shop and Rosa is keeping house while Henry, Jr., and Polly attend school.  Henry & Rosa do not own any real property, and Henry only claims $100 worth of personal property.

In the next year, the family dealt with the sadness of a baby born who only lived just over a week. Charles was born April 11, 1871 and died August 19, 1871. Two years later, on May 16 1873, Rosa and Henry’s fourth son, John Henry, was born.

In the 1875 New York State Census, taken on June 2, 1875, the family is listed under the name “Strous”, living in Syracuse’s 5th Ward. Henry worked as a machinist for the New York Central Railroad. Listed as living with the family were their sons Henry (13), Valentine (11), and John (2). I don’t know where Polly is. I have not yet found any record of her other than the 1870 census in which she is 7 years old. She may have died in the intervening five years, and if so, that would have been another tragedy for Rosa and the family. (I find it difficult to believe that she has married as she would only be 12 in 1875, and I don’t think the family has the money to send her away for schooling.)

Rosa and Henry had two more sons: George H., born on November 7, 1876, and Frank J. Born in February 1879.

Rosa and Henry’s family is found in the 1880 Census under the name “Stroch”. In this census Henry is shown to have been born in New York (& his parents are listed as from Prussia), but the rest of the family has the right first names and approximate ages so I think it’s the right family, and Rosa and her parents are shown as being born in Baden as appropriate. Rosa and Henry are both listed as age 42; Henry is a laborer. Henry, Jr., is 18 and also listed as a laborer, as are Valentine (age 16) and John (age 6) [ I hope the latter is a mistake of the enumerator going too far with the ditto marks but child labor laws did not go into effect until the 20th century so it could be accurate]. The family list also includes George, age 3, and Franki, age 1. 


Climbing My Family Tree: The Syracuse Morning Standard, Saturday Morning, June 18, 1881
The Syracuse Morning Standard, Saturday Morning, June 18, 1881
Contains story of the inquest into the death of Henry Strauss, jr
Click to Make Bigger
In 1881, another tragedy struck the family when Henry, Jr., died as a result of an injury incurred in a street fight. The newspapers picked up the story and we learn that Henry, Jr., was what we might today call somewhat of a juvenile delinquent. He was described as very smart and a good workman who had a tendency to quit jobs without notice after a few weeks of employment; the newspaper further stated that Henry Jr., was “somewhat dissipated”, frequently intoxicated, and a bully.  In the incident that caused his death, on Saturday June 11, 1881, he was picking on a young man named David McClure, who although about his own age, was known as an “imbecile”.  Henry participated in taunting him, overturning a cart in which McClure had been collecting coal and wood to help heat his family’s home, and McClure hit him in the head with a stick. After Henry, Jr., died, on June 14, a warrant was issued for McClure and he was arrested and held on $1000 bail. Three days later an inquest was held into the cause of Henry junior’s death. After hearing the testimony and evidence presented, the grand jury deliberated and returned a verdict that Henry was killed by the blow struck by McClure but that said blow was provoked and was done in self-defense, or justifiable homicide.  Therefore the charges against McClure would have been dropped.  (Next week I will do two posts – part 1 & 2 - of transcriptions of the article reporting the fight and of the article reporting on the inquest. The differences between the two accounts are interesting, as is the look into the operation of an inquest in the 19th century.)

Can you imagine Rosa’s sorrow not only at the death of her first born son, but at the disgrace in how he died? Both Rosa and Henry were visibly grief-stricken at the inquest. Thereafter, Rosa appears to have had real problems coping with the cascade of tragedies that befell her children. I described what I had found to a friend, who asked me Rosa’s age at that time (45) and commented that that would be more than enough to tip any peri-menopausal woman into a mental health crisis.

The next mention I found of Rosa was in The Syracuse Daily Journal, May 5, 1887, “Deputy Superintendent of Poor Barber made his arrangements to take Mrs. Rosa Strauss, who is insane, to the Utica Asylum yesterday afternoon. When he was already to go after her, word came to him that she had taken ill and could not make the journey. The illness turned out to be a fit of madness, and she was taken to Utica this noon.”  The article does not explain what happened to Rosa’s remaining children when she was committed. I presume the youngest remained in the home in the care of their father and oldest brother, Valentine, who was 23; John Henry was 14, George was 11, and Frank was 8.

The Utica Insane Asylum was the first publicly funded treatment center for the mentally ill in New York. Until 1887, I would have used “treatment” sarcastically as the treatment of the poor and insane in these institutions was rather appalling, but fortunately for Rosa New York was in the midst of a reformation in the treatment of the mentally ill and, as of mid-January 1887, the asylum was no longer using the form of restraint known as the “Utica Crib” (see picture below) as reformers had protested sufficiently to raise awareness, and the new Superintendent made it his mission to get rid of them (Here is an interesting article on the treatment of the insane in 1880). 


Climbing My Family Tree: The Utica Crib, a restraint device used as a restraint device in Insane Asylums in the 19th Century
The Utica Crib, a restraint device used as a restraint device in Insane Asylums in the 19th Century.
Removed from the Utica Insane Asylum in January 1887.
Click to make bigger.

The next year, 1888, Rosa and Henry’s home was listed repeatedly in the paper as one of many properties on which back taxes were owed; $1703 in back taxes was owed on the home. I found it odd that the property was listed solely in Rosa’s name but have not yet been able to find a reason for this.   The County Treasurer put the property up for sale on October 30, 1888, but it did not sell at that time. That stroke of luck did not hold for long. Unfortunately, the Onondaga County Savings Bank subsequently initiated foreclosure proceedings against both Henry and Rosa for the house and lot at 344 West Fayette St, and then sold it on April 19, 1889 for $1725. Now Rosa didn’t even have a house to come home to if she were to get well.

Postcard of Onondaga Savings Bank building in Syracuse NY, now the Gridley Building – ironically, designed by Horatio White, with whom Rosa had worked before her marriage.
Click to make bigger.

On July 12, 1889, the manager at the Utica Asylum telegraphed the County authorities that Rosa Strauss had proved to be chronically insane and should be moved to another asylum for such cases, and on November 15, 1889, the Syracuse Evening Herald reported that Mrs. Rosa Strauss, wife of Henry Strauss, was adjudged a lunatic by a Sheriff’s jury at the Courthouse. She was 53; younger than I am.

She was subsequently remitted to a new facility for the insane, the St. Lawrence Hospital, at Ogdensburg, after it opened in December 1890. I don’t know for sure where she was in the year before St. Lawrence opened but a 1901 "Report of the Rise and Progress of the State of The Care of the Insane", by the Ex- NY Commissioner for the Insane stated prior to the state’s recent reforms that the “Utica Insane Asylum was only intended for a small number of supposedly curable cases. When a patient failed to recover after the lapse of a few months, or a year or two at most, if a public charge, he was returned to the poorhouse of the county whence he came, there to remain until his tormented spirit took flight.” The report went on to reference a report by Dr. Sylvester Willard which described those County Poorhouses as barbaric and “revealed conditions which shocked the entire state”. (The conditions were detailed in the report should you choose to read it, and they definitely do shock the conscience.)  

Climbing My Family Tree: Causes of Insanity (1890-1910)
 Illustration from Quebec Heritage News , July –August 2006, Vol. 3, No. 10, p.4
 I found similar data for NY Asylums for approx. the same period
Click to make Bigger

In 1890, the New York State Care Act passed in which, for the first time, the state assumed full responsibility for all mentally ill, including the mentally ill poor in the county almshouses. Distinctions between acute and chronic mentally ill were eliminated as it was believed that hospitals could provide care that was more individualized and economical. St. Lawrence Hospital at Ogdensburg was one of the new hospitals designed and built to enhance the new more humane theories of treatment. St. Lawrence Hospital was located on 1300 acres on the scenic banks of the St. Lawrence River with such a retreat-like landscape that nearby residents of the city of Ogdensburg would come on Sundays to stroll the grounds, relax, and basically treat it like a park. The buildings were built to support a family-style institution with groupings of small buildings so that patients could be housed according to their particular psychiatric disorder. The buildings housed sleeping quarters on an upper floor, and rooms for day activities below.

A program of morale enhancing treatment was created, aimed at both attitude and environment, described as “a nurturing routine of rest without stress in comforting surroundings”. The Hospital asylum community was created to be self-sustaining, with patients participating in occupational tasks to their ability. Patients grew vegetables and fruit in the garden and raised livestock to feed all the patients. The food served was reported to be both nutritional and aesthetically pleasing. There was also a sewing room and looms at which patients made rugs, blankets, sheets, towels, and underwear. Women patients were also allowed to sew for themselves. There was a library patients were encouraged to use. Patients were also encouraged to participate in recreational activities, such as boat rides, teas, dances, music, art, games, theatre (musicals and comedies), sleigh rides, etc. Family visits were encouraged.

It sounds a wonderful place to live when you can’t cope with life. If Rosa had to be in an insane asylum, I’m glad that she ended up in the St. Lawrence Hospital Asylum at that time.

Climbing My Family Tree: Postcard of St. Lawrence State Hospital in Ogdensburg, NY
Postcard of St. Lawrence State Hospital in Ogdensburg, NY
(handwriting at bottom has nothing to do with our family - who knew there were post cards of insane asylums?)
Click to Make Bigger  

Unfortunately, even while in this nurturing environment, the tragedy in Rosa’s life was not yet over. Her husband Henry died in 1891. The 1892 NY Census showed 14 year old Frank living with his older brother Valentine’s family (listed as George V.); Valentine was 28, a clerk, and married, with one child of his own. I don’t know where 19 year old John Henry or 16 year old George were at that time. However, I do know that on September 19, 1898, when he was 23, George was one of two men who burned to death in a huge fire in Elmswood NY, which destroyed 7 buildings, one of which was the hotel in which George worked as a barber and where he also lived in a room on the second floor. Newspapers of the time were rather explicitly gruesome: “the body of Strauss was in far worse condition, only the ribs and a portion of his trunk being intact. It was also burned to a crisp. Later his legs were found and brought to the city...” He was mainly identified by the room in which he was found. The article identified him as a son of the late Henry Strauss, and stated that he was survived by his mother in the state hospital at Ogdensburg, and three brothers: Frank Strauss of Syracuse, and Valentine and John Strauss of Solvay, NY.

I wonder if Rosa was told or if she could understand if she was told. I think I hope that she was never told, if she didn’t have to know.  It is just too much to have four children die, and two of them (that I know of) in such horrible ways.

Rosa was enumerated in the 1905 NY census as a patient at St. Lawrence at age 67. She remained there until her death, at age 70, on August 31, 1908, and then her body was taken to her son John’s home. The funeral services were held both at the home of John H. Strauss and at St. Joseph’s German Church in Syracuse. Her bearers were her three remaining sons and a nephew. Burial was in the family plot at St. Joseph’s cemetery.  The graves from St. Joseph’s Cemetery were removed to Assumption Cemetery in 1965-1966.

Climbing My Family Tree: Memorial stone for those graves  transferred from St. Joseph's Cemetery  to Assumption Cemetery, Syracuse NY
Memorial stone for those graves (Rosa's among them) transferred from St. Joseph's Cemetery
to Assumption Cemetery, Syracuse NY in 1965-1966.
 Taken  by& posted to Find-a-grave.com Memorial No. 49928491 by Bob Tallieu
Used with permission


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I would still like to find out:

how Rosa and Henry met and when they were married;

Polly’s birthdate and what happened to her and when;  

why Charles died at only 8 days old (death certificate);

why the house was in Rosa’s name, and not Henry’s, on the tax rolls; 

find the property records; 

what Rosa’s diagnosis was & more about her life after being committed;

where she was  in 1899 after the Utica Asylum and before the St. Lawrence Hospital; and

how Henry and the boys lived during after Rosa’s commitments.

If anyone has information they would like to share with me about Rosa, please leave a comment below or email me at the address on the “Contact Me” page.
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Ancestry.com. Germany, Select Births and Baptisms, 1558-1898 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014; "New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1891", index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/275K-JZJ: accessed 10 Jul 2014), Joseph Henn, 1853; U .S Census for 1860, 1870, 1880; NY Census for 1855, 1875, 1905; Find A Grave Memorial# 49928491, created by Bob Tallieu (found at http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=49928491&ref=acom); The Oswego Daily Times, Thursday Evening September 2, 1908 (found at http://www.fultonhistory.com/)The Oswego Palladium, Friday, June 17, 1881 (Found at http://www.fultonhistory.com ) ; The Syracuse Standard for Tuesday Morning, June 14, 1881, Wednesday Morning, June 15, 1881, Saturday Morning, June 18, 1881  (found at http://www.fultonhistory.com); Syracuse Daily Journal [??] 1888 (found at http://www.fultonhistory.com), Syracuse Daily Journal 1888 – 0921.pdf) ;The Syracuse Daily Journal, May 5, 1887, April 19, 1888,  (found at http://newspaperarchive.com and at http://www.fultonhistory.com); The Syracuse Daily Journal, Tuesday, September 1, 1908,  Wednesday, September 9, 1908 (found at http://www.fultonhistory.com)The Syracuse Daily Courier, July 12, 1899 (found at http://www.fultonhistory.com); The Syracuse Evening Herald, November 15, 1889, September 19, 1898, & September 3, 1908 (found at http://www.fultonhistory.com); In The Shadow of the Poorhouse: A Social History of Welfare in America, by Michael B, Katz, pp. 103-107, published by Basic Books, copyright 1986 and 1996;   The Prisoners’ Hidden Life, or, Insane Asylum’s unveiled: As Demonstrated by the Report of the Investigating Committee of the Legislature of Illinois, together with Mrs. Packard’s Testimony, by E.P. W. Packard, and Mrs. Sophia Olson, Published by the author, A.B. Case, printer, Chicago (1868), at https://archive.org/details/2566020R.nlm.nih.gov ; Reprint from The International Review, The Treatment Of The Insane by William A. Hammond, Volume VIII, March 1880, New York: Barnes & Company, Pages 225-241 (found at http://inmatesofwillard.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/1880-the-treatment-of-the-insane-w-a-hammond.pdf); Reprint from “The New York Times” Published: November 10, 1901, Copyright @ The New York Times (found at http://inmatesofwillard.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/nyt-1901-rise-and-progress-of-state-care-of-the-insane.pdf ); Return: A History of  the St. Lawrence State Asylum, Ogdensburg, NY by Andrea Ray (found at http://www.andreageyer.info/projects/audrey_munson/munson_book/MunsonPages/PDF/AndreaRay.pdf); http://www.asylumprojects.org/index.php?title=St._Lawrence_State_Hospital

Sunday, August 17, 2014

52 Ancestors: #28 John Henn (1842-1919) and Elizabeth O’Brian Henn #29 (1853 – 1927)

Climbing MY Family Tree: Burnside Michigan Map
Burnside Michigan, home of John and Elizabeth O'Brian Henn
click to make bigger

This is my latest post for the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” challenge initiated by Amy Johnson Crow of the No Story Too Small blog. For more information about the challenge and links to the other blogs participating in the challenge, please click on the badge in the right margin.

I'm still doing catch up posts as I'm still behind for the year. I decided to do another double post as I have had visitors again this past week, and thus not as much time for research or writing. John and Elizabeth (O’Brian) Henn are my second great grandparents on my father’s side. Both immigrated to the United States, as children, with their families in the mid-19th century.

John was born Josephat Henn in Doerlesburg, Baden, part of the German Confederation on February 12, 1842, to Franz Joseph (later Francis)and Katherina Phillipina [Blank] Henn. He was their third son and sixth child. His brothers and sisters were Genofera Blank (later, also known as Genevieve [Henn] Scheer; 1827-1916); Serena Mary Dick (1828-1896); Dorothe (later Dorothea) Snyder (1830-1896);  Andreas (later Andrew) Henn (1832-1911); Generosa (later Rosa) Strauss (1836-1908); Edmund Henn (1838-1961); Franz (later Frank) J. Henn (1843-1928); and Josepha (later Josephine) Schueurmann, (1845-1877). They were all born in Germany, and came to the U.S. in 1853 (see Franz &Phillipina’s story for the immigration story); Josephat was 11 years old.

The family settled in on a farm in West Monroe, Oswego County, New York. Josephat’s older brothers worked as coopers. Josephat learned the needs and skills of coopers from his brothers and farming from his father. Josephat’s older brother Edmund died in 1861 when Josephat was 19, and his father died two years later in 1863.

Climbing My Family Tree: John Henn New York, Civil War Abstract, Muster Roll
 New York, Civil War Abstract, Muster Roll for John Henn, found on Ancestry.com
click to make bigger

The Civil War began in 1861 and when Lincoln put out his call for volunteers the men of Oswego County responded immediately and in large numbers; but Josephat and his brother Andrew did not sign up to join the union forces until after their father died.  Josephat, now calling himself John, enlisted in Company G of the 3rd Regiment, NY Light Artillery, on January 26, 1864.  He was 21. The Civil War Muster Roll Abstract, found on Ancestry.com, above, describes him as "Born in Germany, occupation, farmer, black eyes, dark hair, dark complexion, height 5 ft, 5 in."

Battery G of the 3rd Regiment NY Light Artillery had already served from 1861 to May 1863, attached to the defenses of Washington, DC to March 1862 and then to the Department of North Carolina until May 1863. A new Battery “G” was organized in February 1864, commanded by Captain David L. Aberdeen, and that is the unit John and his brother Andrew joined.  It was attached to the defenses of New Berne N.C., under the Department of Virginia and North Carolina, and then solely with the Department of North Carolina after February 1865. John saw duty as a private in various points in North Carolina through March 1865, and the campaign of the Carolinas under General Sherman from March 1 through April 26, 1865. He saw action in the battle of Wise Forks and participated in the occupation of Goldsboro, NC. John was also part of the armies present when Johnston surrendered to General Sherman on April 26, 1865. (General Sherman had not heard of Lee’s surrender at Appomattox (April 9, 1865) until April 11, 1865. On April 14, General Sherman received a letter under flag of truce from General Johnston seeking an end to the war. General Sherman suspended hostilities and met with Johnston and his generals at Bennett’s Farm House to discuss cessation or surrender on April 17, 18 and, again on April 26, 1865, as the original terms were rejected by Washington as they were more generous than Grant had offered Lee.  Just prior to meeting with General Johnston on April 17, Sherman was informed of Lincoln’s assassination; he told Johnston when they met that day.) John and Andrew continued to serve with the occupying forces until June and then mustered out at Syracuse NY, under Captain William A Kelsey, on July 7, 1865.


Climbing My Family Tree: outside view of Bennett House, where General Johnston surrendered to General Sherman
outside view of Bennett House, where General Johnston surrendered to General Sherman,  published in May 27, 1865 Harper's Bazaar, in public domain
click to make bigger

One of the major industries in Syracuse NY was the production of salt, from the salt marshes on the south shore of Onondaga Lake. The strength of the brine was so strong that one gallon of water could be boiled down to one pound of salt. Salt was then packed in barrels and shipped west and east down the Erie Canal. The industry peaked during the Civil war, but until 1900 the bulk of the salt use in the United States came from Syracuse NY.  When John returned to Syracuse after the Civil War, he observed how many barrels were needed for the industry. He knew, as his brother Andrew was a cooper, that black ash was an excellent wood for the making of the barrels. According to my Grand-aunt Lucille’s book of collected family memories, Members of the Flock, John learned that black ash trees were plentiful in Michigan, and he and his younger brother, Frank decided to go to Michigan in October 1869 to look for black ash trees. In Michigan, the two found abundant black ash trees north of Detroit near Memphis and Capac MI. The two formed a business, hiring other men, to make staves and hoops to make barrels to be shipped in carloads from the Capac railroad to supply the salt industry in Syracuse NY. After a time Frank got homesick and went back to New York, but John remained in Michigan and kept the business. He continued to run it for several years.

According to Grand-Aunt Lucille’s book, John settled in Burnside Township, Lapeer County, Michigan, in 1871, and continued the stave & barrel-making business. Around that time, John also started taking care of his sister’s son, John Philip Henn, who had arrived in Michigan from New York sometime after 1870, at age 15. He lived with John and helped with the business, going by Philip to avoid confusion. Sometime in the next two years John met and wooed Miss Elizabeth O’Brian of Deanville Michigan (which no longer exists).



Climbing My Family Tree: Map of Huron County, Ontario, Canada
Map of Huron County, Ontario, Canada,
where the O'Brian's lived before immigrating to the  United States
click to make bigger
Elizabeth O’Brian was born to James and Anne (McLean) O’Brian on December 12, 1853 in Ontario Canada. I’m not positive where they lived when she was born but I would think that it was in McGillivray, in Huron County, Ontario Canada because her parents and older sister lived there in 1851, according to the Canadian Census, and the family, including Elizabeth, age 8, still lived there in 1861. Her brothers and sisters were: Catherine Priscilla Clink (1850-1938), Janet Dean (1852-?), Margaret Hether (1857-1927), John O'Brian (1859-1935), Annie L. O'Brian (1861-1908), Christy Jane O'Brian (1864-1868), and Ellen L. Harris (1867-1947).

The O'Brian family immigrated to the United Stated in 1863 when Elizabeth was 10 (while over the years, in various U.S. Censuses, Elizabeth claimed to have come to the U.S in 1862, 1863, and 1870, her parents and oldest sister reported in multiple censuses that they came in 1863, so I think that’s when Elizabeth came as well.) When she met John Henn she was living in Deanville, Michigan, where her father was a carpenter by trade, according to Grand-Aunt Lucille’s book, which means they must have met before 1870 because the 1870 census shows that Elizabeth and her family were living on a farm in Maple Valley, Sanilac County, Michigan.

Although I’ve not yet been able to confirm it, grand-Aunt Lucille’s Members of the Flock, states John and Elizabeth were married on February 14, 1873 in Imlay City, Lapeer County Michigan, by the Reverend Emri Steele, a Baptist Minister. This is interesting because John was Catholic and Elizabeth was buried in a Catholic cemetery and so was also likely Catholic. Did they elope? He was 31 and she was 19 years old, some of the family may not have been thrilled by the match. Their first home was in the town of Burnside, Michigan, and it was there that their first three children were born: Otto Frank Henn, on January 25, 1875 (1875-1946); Ella May (Henn) Esper on August 15, 1876 (1876-1942); my great-grandfather Owen James Henn, on November 14, 1878 (1878-1962). The last two children were born after the family moved to a farm about a mile south of town, in Burnside Township, Lapeer County: Floyd Henn, born June 11, 1880 (1880-1943), and Olive Ethyl (Henn) Kreiner, born November 19, 1884 (1884-1938). Philip Henn also lived with John and Elizabeth from the start of their marriage until John bought him a farm in or about 1880. He was successful as a farmer, as he had been as a businessman, and later bought each of his children a farm in the Burnside area, upon which they farmed and lived.

In 1880 John answered questions about his farm for the 1880 Census, non-population schedule. He owned his own farm. He had 40 acres of tilled land and 4 acres in permanent meadows (2 of that hay). He estimated the value of his farm at $1200, farm implements and machinery at $50, $235 in livestock, and $270 in farm production (sold or consumed in 1879). He did not have any paid farm laborers. He owned three horses, 2 working oxen, 2 milk cows, 4 “other” cattle – including 2 calves. He made 150 lbs. of butter (or rather, Elizabeth probably did). They had 1 pig and 18 chickens, which produced 20 dozen eggs in 1879. He had three acres of oats (produced 50 bushels) and 10 acres of wheat (produced 200 bushels). He grew 30 bushels of peas and 30 bushels of potatoes.

Climbing My Family Tree: John Henn, 1880 non population schedule
John Henn, 1880 non population schedule, #1 (found on Ancestry.com)
Click to make bigger
John Henn was very interested in local politics. He was a staunch Republican – the party of President Lincoln, the President he fought for in the Civil War. He was also civic-minded and lived his principles by serving his community. He served his township as Town Treasurer in 1878 and 1879. He then served as Burnside Town Supervisor for ten years, and was a member of the Board of Supervisors for another ten years. He also acted as a census enumerator (the person who went household to household to ask the census questions and record the answers) for the 1900 Census in Burnside Township, Enumeration District # 32. This service led to John knowing most of the people in his community.

All of his civic government positions were elected positions, such that John repeatedly ran for local office. As his wife, Elizabeth would not only have had his children, raised them, cooked, cleaned, and kept their home, but as a local politician’s wife would have been expected to host social events designed to help support her husband in his campaigns and likely throughout his service.

In 1890 John was listed on a special census for surviving soldiers, sailors, & marines who fought during the “war of the rebellion” and widows thereof,  in Burnside, Lapeer County, Michigan. He did not have a disability at that time. But two years later, on April 16, 1892, he applied for, and was subsequently granted an invalid military pension, according to the U.S. Civil War Pension Index. I haven’t yet sent for his pension file and it’s not up on Fold3.com, but Grand-Aunt Lucille’s book, quotes from a supporting affidavit supplied by John’s doctor, Albert E. Weed, M.D., which indicates John accidentally fell from a scaffold to the floor of his barn in wheat season in 1890, and was laid up for three months as he had injured his hip and back “and has complained ever since”. The doctor said he was now lame and uses a cane. The doctor said he had ¼ the capacity of a normal man. The doctor also noted that he John was entirely deaf in his left ear and had a discharge of puss from the ear in 1894. The doctor said that John told him the deafness came from a brain fever 25 years before and got worse with age. John was granted a $20 a month pension to begin June 29, 1912 (he was 70), the pension was increased to $25 a month on February 12, 1917, his 75th birthday.

John and Elizabeth lived to have 46 years together. John died first, on December 16, 1919, at his home in Burnside Michigan, at age 77, after a two year illness, according to his obituary. The death certificate indicates that he died of arteriosclerosis, which he’d had for two years. It lists “organic heart disease” as a contributing factor to his death. He’d last seen the doctor four days before his death. The obituary states that John had been closely confined to the house for the last two years of his life, and that he suffered a great deal, especially in the last stages, and that he welcomed death as a rest from his physical misery. He was described as one of the most substantial and esteemed citizens of Burnside Michigan, and a faithful friend and splendid neighbor. “Honest, obliging and loyal to his home folk and the country of his adoption. It may be truthfully said of him that a grand old man has gone to his eternal reward.” What a wonderful tribute!
Services were held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Burnside Township, conducted by Rev. Leo Gaffney, and he was buried in the church’s cemetery.

Climbing My Family Tree: John Henn, Civil War Pension Index card
John Henn, Civil War Pension Index card
click to make bigger
After John died, on January 14, 1920, Elizabeth applied for a widow’s pension against his military service; she was granted $30 a month. The 1920 Census, enumerated on the January 17 & 19, 1920, showed Elizabeth, a widow, living with her son Floyd’s family, or rather them living with her, as she was listed as head of household.

Elizabeth died on January 12, 1927, at age 73. Her obituary said that she lived with her son Floyd’s family on the old homestead. She had died after a long illness. She had been in poor health for the last seven years, after John died, but her condition had not become critical until October 1926, since which time she had been unable to leave the house. I have, so far, been unable to find her death certificate so I don’t know what illness she had suffered from nor what caused her death. Services were held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, by Rev. Fr. Hill; she was buried in the church’s cemetery. According to her obituary she was survived by five children: Otto of North Branch, Mrs. Edna (Ella May) Espier of Detroit, Owen and Floyd and Mrs. Ambrose (Olive) Kreiner of Burnside; four sisters, Mrs. Noah (Margaret) Hether of Brown City, Mrs. Catherine Clinck of Chester, Montana, Mrs. Geo. (Ellen) Harris of Redlands, Calif., one brother, John O'Brian of Capac. (The sister not named in the obituary was Mrs. Jeanette Dean, of Buffalo NY, and she did survive Elizabeth, although I don’t know when she died.)

Climbing My Family Tree: Henn Plot at St. Mary's Cemetery, Burnside Michigan
Henn Plot at St. Mary's Cemetery, Burnside Michigan ,
added to Find-a-grave.com Memorial # 41841741 by PAWS on 9/11/2009
Click to make bigger
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I would love to find pictures of John and Elizabeth, the kids, and/or their farm. If anyone reading this has some and is willing to share, please contact me at the email address on my contact page. I will be ecstatic. I’m willing to share whatever I have (only, I don't have a lot).

I have photocopies, nearly unreadable, of some of John’s civil war discharge papers, and his political campaign material -- I’d love to obtain better digital images of them.

I intend to write off for his pension records, and military records, on the next pass through my research .

I’d like to find newspapers articles mentioning John and or Elizabeth or their kids. I now understand why that that may be difficult. When they visited, Mom mentioned that a huge fire had gone across Michigan at some point and probably destroyed a lot of archives. I’ll try, though.
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http://www.northcarolinahistory.org/encyclopedia/884/entry; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bennett_Place ; http://www.nps.gov/civilwar/search-battle-units-detail.htm?battleUnitCode=UNY0003RAL; http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h2462.html; https://dmna.ny.gov/historic/reghist/civil/artillery/3rdArtLight/3rdArtLtMain.htm;  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Syracuse,_New_York; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salt_industry_in_Syracuse,_New_York; New York, Civil War Abstract, Muster Roll for John Henn, found on Ancestry.com; Members of the Flock by Lucille Henn Robson (undated; self-published);  History of Lapeer County Michigan - Page & Co. Publishers, 1884, p. 182; Obituary of John Henn, North Branch Gazette – December 17, 1919. from compilation of research done by George J. Lutz, II (May 30, 1972); Death certificate of John Henn; U.S. Census for 1860, 1880, 1900, 1910, & 1920; U. S. Census non-population schedule for 1880; N.Y. State Census, Oswego County, for 1855; Canadian Census of 1851 & 1861, 1890 Veteran’s Schedule, Year: 1890; Census Place: Burnside, Lapeer, Michigan; Roll: 18; Page: 1; Enumeration District: 55 (Ancestry.com); Obituary of Elizabeth Henn (wife of John Henn), Brown City Banner, January 1927.