LAND OF MY PEOPLE – PART 2

As I mentioned in my last blog, I have had four different times when I’ve been able to locate the actual land that my ancestors lived on. The first story was my 3x Maternal Grandparents, John Henry and Martha Gardner. THE LAND OF MY PEOPLE

The remaining three stories are all from branches of my Paternal ancestors.

Unlike my Gardner ancestors, I grew up not knowing anything about my Paternal Grandfather, other than his name: Martin Henry Bliven. Over the course of years that I have been researching my family tree, I have learned many, many things about the Bliven branch. Two of the following stories are from this branch.

Henry Cranston and Sarah Jane (Baggerly) Bliven

Union Plains Cemetery, Byron, Michigan. This is the burial plot of Henry C. and Sarah Jane (Baggerly) Bliven

Henry Cranston Bliven was born 27 Nov 1822 in Phelps, Ontario, New York, the eldest son of Benjamin Barber and Palmira (Eggleston) Bliven. He was raised with his three brothers and three sisters on the family farm in Phelps.

By 1850, the 25 year old Henry had left his parents farm and was living and working for others. The 1850 U.S. Federal Census has him in Hopewell, Ontario New York, working as a farm laborer for Charles P. Maynard. Sometime in October 1855, as a 30 years old, he moved to Alfred, Allegany, New York to work as a farm laborer on the Almond Crandall farm.

On 11 May 1856, Henry C. Bliven united in marriage with Sarah Jane Baggerly, daughter of Henry and Dalinda (Welcher) Baggerly Jr. She was also born in Phelps, Ontario, New York. By the time of the 1860 U.S. Federal Census, Henry, Sarah Jane and their son William had moved to Potter, Yates, New York, where Henry was working as a Farm Day Laborer. The 1865 New York State Census shows that Henry owned his own farm in Jerusalem, Yates, New York. But the family would not remain there long.

1860 U.S. Census – H. C. Bliven and family, Potter, New York State
1870 U.S. Census – H. C. Bliven and family, Antrim, Michigan State

Between 19 September 1866, when Henry and Sarah Jane’s daughter Palmyra was born in New York State and 11 Dec 1867 when their son George was born in Michigan, the Bliven family, consisting of Henry, his wife Sarah Jane and their daughters Delia, and Palmyra, (their son William having died in January 1863) migrated to Shiawassee County, Michigan. Here in Antrim Center, Henry would purchase 40 acres for his own family farm. On this farm, his three youngest children, George B., Irma Isabell and Fred Franklin were born.

I was thrilled to locate on the 1875 U.S. Indexed County Land Ownership Maps, the land that Henry C. Bliven owned. I was also thrilled when I was able find the 1915 plat map showing the land that George B. owned.

1875 U.S. Indexed County Land Ownership Maps

But nothing was more thrilling than, when in September of 2009 I was able to locate and photograph the land in person.

A Barn on the farm land, unclear if on what used to be the Bliven Farm
Field of Corn
Recently plowed field

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the road that the farm was located on is “Bliven Road”, named for my 2x Great Grandfather Henry C.

At the death of Henry Cranston Bliven, his son George B. inherited the family homestead. Over time he would increase the number of acres from 40 to 80.

1915 U.S. Indexed County Land Ownership Maps

This land would remain in the Bliven family until October 1946, when George B. Bliven, who was moving to Florida for his health, would auction the land and all of the physical contents of the farm, including:

Ad for Bank Auction of Bliven Farm, published in the Livingston County Daily Press and Argus, Howell, Michigan 23 Oct. 1946.

George B. Bliven died in 1954 in Lakeland, Polk County, Florida. He was buried in Oak Hill Burial Park in Lakeland, having never returned to Michigan.

Although the Bliven family has not owned this land since 1946, as of 1975, it was still being considered the “Old Bliven Farm”, as seen in this Auction Ad from Livingston County Daily Press and Argus, Howell, Michigan 15 Oct 1975

This was not the only land owned by the Bliven family in Livingston or Shiawassee Counties. (to be continued …)

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