Going through the three pages of names, I decided to research each family in the order they appear on the list, and try to determine just how they are related to each other and to me. This required searching a number of different genealogical sites and sources, as many of the families were unfamiliar to me.

We have turned the page and are now on Page 2 of the Grant & Lilley Family Reunion Guest List. Who and/or what will we encounter here.

21. Mr. O. B. Porter

We first learned of Mr. O. B. Porter of Houlton on the last Blog – he was the professional photographer who attended the Reunion and took what I believe was the photograph that hung on the wall of my grandparents sitting room.

Oscar Bryan Porter was born on 13th of February 1885, the son of Leonard & Nellie Melvina (Rand) Porter. He was the oldest of eleven children, all born in the area around Island Falls, Aroostook County. Oscar B. Porter has no direct personal connection to the Grant or Lilley family, he can be thought of as simply the photographer, who was hired to take the group photograph.

However, he did have a connection to both the Grant and Lilley family through his wife, Emily Inez (Robinson) Porter. She was the 2nd cousin of Lewis Leavitt and his wife Pauline (Soule) Leavitt. They also attended the reunion and are listed on the guest list as family #3. It makes you wonder if this connection is why he was chosen as the group photographer.

Although Emily did not attend the reunion with her husband and his assistant, she is related to me indirectly through her Lilly and Grant Ancestors.

Emily Inez Robinson was born the 6th of November 1886 in Sherman, Aroostook County. She was the daughter of Cyrus Elmer and Martha Edwina (Leavitt) Robinson. Her mother, Martha Edwina was the 2nd cousin of Lewis Leavitt. Emily married Oscar on 8th of October 1905 in Island Falls, Aroostook. They were the parents of five children: Nathaniel, Halbert, Sadie, Laureston and Quenton. It appears that neither Emily or any of the children attended the reunion, as they do not appear on the guest list.

It was after the reunion, but on 31st of May 1926, Oscar B. Porter married Ina Ellen Hand, his photographic assistant.

22. Mr & Mrs. Asa Hall

I recognized this name on the guest list immediately. I have done quite a bit of family research on Mr. and Mrs. Hall. You see, Mrs. Asa (Hannah) Hall is the former Miss Hannah Gardner, my 2nd Great-grandaunt. The daughter of George Washington and Tabitha (Roberts) Gardner, the younger sister of my 2nd Great-grandfather, John Henry Gardner. Asa, her second husband was Hannah’s 1st cousin. He is the son of Samuel and Mary Lee (Roberts) Hall. His mother, Mary Lee is the younger sister of Tabitha. Hannah is one of the closest relatives I have that attended the reunion, yet I have and her connection to the Grant / Lilley family currently is through her 2nd husband, Asa Redington Hall. He is my 1st cousin 4times removed. I have a feeling that Hannah is also directly related to the Lilley family, and I’m actively searching for a connection, but in the mean time, I’ll settle for her being the wife of Asa Redington Hall.

Asa Redington Hall was born on 23rd of September 1851 in Unity, Waldo, Maine. He was the 4th child and 2nd son of Samuel Hall and his second wife, Mary Lee (Roberts) Hall. When Asa was born the Hall family consisted of the 4 children of Samuel and his 1st wife, Harriet, along with Asa’s older sister, Martha Matilda . An older brother, John Quincy Adams Hall and older sister Hannah P. Hall had unfortunately not survived.

Asa was 14 years old when his mother passed away, leaving Asa to strike out on his own. Although no exact date has been found yet, on the 1880 US Federal Census, Asa is listed as HEAD of the family with his wife Nina A. Hall. She was the former Nina A. Randall, daughter of William Randall and Lavonia Longly Clough. By 1900, the couple and their son, Irwin Eldrich, had relocated to Dyer Brook, Aroostook County where Asa bought a farm.

The 1900 US Federal Census has Asa and Nina, along with their son on the family farm in Dyer Brook. Living with the Hall family was Hannah L. Gerrish, Asa’s 1st cousin and her son Owen T. Gerrish. Hannah’s husband, John Gerrish was a close friend of Asa’s and had partnered with him on the running of the farm. John passed away in 1894 and Hannah and her youngest son had moved in with the Halls, allowing Owen to assist with running the farm.

By the 1910 US Federal Census, Owen Gerrish had become a full-fledged partner with Asa Hall. Owen was now married with a 3 year old son, William. Also living on the farm was Herbert and Addie Hughes and their 4 children. Addie Hughes (nee) Gerrish is Owen’s older sister. Herbert worked as a farm laborer. Hannah Gerrish is now listed as HEAD of the family on the farm next door.

Tragedy struck on 10 May 1912, when Nina A. Hall passed away. On 28 June 1913, the 65 year-old, Widow Hannah Gardner Gerrish married her 1st cousin, the 64 year-old Widower Asa Hall. The 1920 US Federal Census has Hannah and Asa living on the smaller neighboring farm that Hannah had occupied prior to their marriage. Hannah’s son Jesse and his family (wife Hattie and their 5 children) are living on the larger farm.

None of the Gerrish or Hall children appear to have attended the Grant & Lilley family reunion in 1922. Mr. and Mrs. Asa Hall of Dyer Brook are listed as the 22nd family on the Guest List. As of the time of this writing, I am still looking for a direct connection for either Asa or Hannah to the Grant or Lilley family.

23. Mr. & Mrs. Walter Lane

Family #23 on the list of attendees is “Mr & Mrs. Walter Lane and family of Smyrna.” According to Ancestry.com, Walter is husband of sister-in-law of nephew of husband of 1st cousin 3x removed. His wife Guilda was the sister of Shirley (Ingalls) Marley, who has a convoluted connection to my 2nd Great Aunt, Hannah (Gardner) Garrish’s daughter May Viola. It seems a rather shaky connection, and perhaps there is a closer one for Walter that I have not yet discovered.

Walter Eben Lane was born on 21st of September 1887 in Litchfield, Kennebec County, Maine. He was the 2nd child and eldest son of Francis E. Lane and Caroline “Carrie” Deering. His childhood was spent in Litchfield, where his father was a farmer.

On 28th of August 1916, Walter was married to Guilda Ingalls, daughter of Ross Ingalls and F. Maude Lakeman. She was the sister of Shirley Ingalls Marley, wife of Benjamin Marley and will appear in a future listing. By 1918, Walter, Guilda and their son Craig Ingalls Lane had moved from Litchfield to Smyrna, Aroostook County. Walter at this time was Superintendent of the Smyrna Schools. It was here that their next three children (Elizabeth 1919, Margaret 1921 and Albion 1922) were born. At the time of the reunion, Albion was barely one month old and may not have accompanied his parents and siblings to the reunion.

24. Mr. & Mrs. J. W. Hall

The 24th name on the guest list is “Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Hall of Whittier, California.” Jesse Whitmore Hall was the son of Samuel and Mary Lee (Roberts) Hall, the younger brother of Asa Redington Hall (Family #22 above). Jesse is also my 1st Cousin 4times removed, but he has a very clear link to the Grant/Lilley family. Mrs. J. W. Hall is the former Annie Mary Grant, the daughter of William Burt and Esther (Travis) Grant. Mrs. Angie Soule is Annie Mary’s sister.

Jesse Whitmore Hall was born 3rd of November 1856 in Unity, Waldo County. He was the seventh of the Hall’s nine children. Like his brother Asa, he was born on the family farm, but unlike his brother, he did not remain in Maine. He appears with his family on the 1860 US Federal Census, but with the death of his father and mother by the time he was 14 years of age, he set out on his own.

Jesse is found in the 1870 US Federal Census working as a farm laborer on a farm in Presque Isle, Aroostook County. He appears to have remained here until prior to his marriage on 27th of November 1879 to Miss Annie Mary Grant. They were married in Dyer Brook, Aroostook County, which is where a number of his siblings had settled. His bride, Mary Ann Grant was born Jun 1863 in Dyer Brook, Aroostook County, the daughter of William Burt Grant and Mary Ann Lilley. The Hall family remained in Dyer Brook for the birth of their first three children; daughters Eva, Mary Ann and Winnie. By 1887 and the birth of their 4th child and first son, Raymond, the family had relocated to New York State. They did not remain here long as their 5th child, Mattie Edna was born in Oregon as was their youngest two children, Harry and Emma.

Jesse is listed as a Sawmill Laborer on the 1900 Census, explaining his move out West. They left Oregon and ended up in Nevada, as seen on the 1910 US Federal Census. In Nevada, Jesse is working as a Teamster on a Freighter and Annie is working as the Keeper of a Mine Boarding house. Their youngest two children, Harry and Emma are living with them, with Harry working in the mine.

The 1920 US Federal Census shows that the Jesse and Annie make their final move, to Whittier, Los Angeles County, California. Here Jesse is listed as working as the Janitor at an oil company. It was from here that Jessie and Annie traveled back to Dyer Brook to attend the Grant & Lilley Family Reunion on 26 August 1922. It appears that none of the children made the trip back East.

25. Mrs. Percy Lougee & Children

The 25th name on the Grant & Lilley Family Reunion Guest List is “Mrs Percy Lougee & Children of Dyer Brook.” It didn’t take long to locate Percy Lougee and find the maiden name of his wife. She is Marjorie Velma (Lilley) Lougee, the daughter of Sidney Joseph Lilley and Frances Pippin Grant. Listed by Amazon.com as wife of 1st Cousin 4times removed, she can also be listed as a the niece of the husband of Second Great-grandaunt. Because her parents were 1st Cousins and were so closely related to both the Grant and Lilley families, I’m sure she can be listed as a number of different relatives to me.

Marjorie Velma Lilley was born 23rd September 1898 in Island Falls, Aroostook County, the youngest child of Joseph and Fannie Lilley. As their youngest child, she remained with her parents until her marriage in 1916. On 26th of October of that year, Marjorie married Percy Oscar Lougee, the son of Oscar and Carrie (Stevens) Lougee. Married in Smyrna, they settled in Dyer Brook. The 1920 US Federal Census lists Percy and Marjorie, their two sons, Howard and Ralph, along with Percy’s widowed mother Carrie. The two boys, aged 5 and 3, are the “& children” included on the reunion attendance list.



Going through the three pages of names, I decided to research each family in the order they appear on the list, and try to determine just how they are related to each other and to me. This required searching a number of different genealogical sites and sources, as many of the families were unfamiliar to me.

As I get further into the list of names, I am finding more and more Grant and Lilley family members that are related to my Gardner family. Unfortunately it still hasn’t answered my question as to why my Grandparents LeRoy and Nancy would have the photograph displayed in such a prominent place in their sitting room. The search continues…

16. Mr. & Mrs. Arthur Grant & daughter

The next family on the Guest List is “Mr & Mrs. Arthur Grant & daughter of Smyrna, Aroostook County.” Arthur Walker Grant was the 13th child born to George Washington and Alice Maud (McGinley) Grant. He would be the second son named Arthur born to the couple, his older brother Arthur having only lived eight months. Like his siblings, Arthur is listed on Ancestry.com as the Uncle of the wife of my 2nd cousin 2x removed.

Arthur Walker Grant was born on 8th of February 1899 on the family farm in Oakfield, Aroostook County, Maine. He will first appear on the 1900 US Federal Census as a 1 year old. Like his siblings before him, he would remain in the Oakfield area for much of his life. With the death of his father in 1918, Arthur would move with his mother and siblings to the nearby town of Smyrna, where on the 23rd of January 1920, Arthur would marry his first wife, Edna Alice Fitzgerald. Edna was the daughter of James F. Fitzgerald and Cora S. Perkins. They would have one child, daughter Jeanice Arline Grant, who was born 28th of July 1921. The one-year-old would attend the Grant & Lilley Family Reunion with her parents.

17. Miss Geneve Grant

“Miss Geneve Grant, the 32-year-old, unmarried daughter of George Washington and Alice Maud (McGinley) Grant is the 17th name found on the guest list for the Grant / Lilley Family Reunion. Like her brother listed above, she is related to me as the Aunt of my 2nd cousin 2x removed.

Alice Geneve Grant was born in Oakfield, Aroostook County on the Grant family farm on 19th of December 1889. She is found with her family on both the 1900 and 1910 US Federal Censuses. On the 1900 US Census, she is listed as Alice G. and is listed as a student, who attended school for 5 months of the year. On the 1910 US Census, Geneve is listed as Geneve A. Most likely this is to distinguish her from her mother, Alice.

Unlike her siblings, she did not remain with the family on the farm. The1910 US Federal Census shows that the 31-year-old Alice was living with Harry and Beaumont Marley and their two children as a live-in servant. (Note: Harry and his family will appear on the Reunion list a bit later.)

I can’t help but wonder if Ms. Grant attended the reunion with her mother and siblings or with her employer and his family?

18. Mr. & Mrs. G. F. Lilley

The next family named on the Reunion list is “Mr & Mrs. G. F. Lilley of Island Falls.” This was another of the challenges I faced in my research, as there are a number of G. Lilleys living in the area. However. it turns out that G. F. Lilley is in fact George Frederick Lilley. He was the second husband of my 2nd Great-Grandaunt Nellie Orend Gardner. This is one of my strongest connections with the Lilley Family, as Nellie was the younger sister of my 2nd Great Grandfather, John Henry Gardner.

George Frederick Lilley was born on 11th of June 1848 in New Brunswick, Canada the 2nd son and third child of James E. Lilley and Elizabeth Jane Grant. The Grant family emigrated from Canada to Aroostook County, Maine sometime between 1848 and 1850. By the 1850 US Federal Census, they can be found living in Linneus, Aroostook County. George’s brother Samuel and his wife Hannah are living on the farm next door.

The 1860 US Federal Census shows that the family is still living in Linneus and the family having grown to seven children. By 1864 and the birth of the families eighth child, Lizzie V., the family had moved to Dyer Brook, Aroostook County. But the family didn’t remain in Dyer Brook for very long, because the 1970 US Federal Census shows that the family has moved to Township 5, which would shortly change it’s name to Merrill Plantation. Just before the Census was taken, the Lilley’s nineth and final child, Effie T., was born.

Meanwhile, in Township 6, Nellie Orend (Gardner) Keith, newly widowed, is living with her parents, brothers and sisters and 5 year-old son, George.

Nellie Orend Gardner was born on 19th of October 1844 in Corunna, Penobscot County, Maine, the eldest daughter and 3rd child of George Washington and Tabitha (Roberts) Gardner. The Gardner family would move from Penobscot County to Waldo County by 1860 and would then relocate to Township 6, Aroostook County by 1870.

Unlike George, Nellie was married twice. Her first marriage, to Isaiah B. Keith, occurred on 28th of August 1865 in Smyrna Mills, Aroostook. Isaiah was the son of Samuel Stillman and Thankful N. (Ellis) Keith. They would remain in the Smyrna Mills area until Isaiah’s untimely death on the 27th of October, 1870. Their son, George was born 17 Nov 1865.

Although an exact date has not yet been found, George Frederick and Nellie Orend were married in 1871/1872. Their daughter Edith M. was born in November 1872. Four more children were born to George and Nellie; Ray O., Guy Raphael, Merle Ainsley, and an unnamed infant that did not survive.

The Lilley family remained in the Merrill, Aroostook area for the remainder of their lives, as seen on the 1880, 1900, 1910 and 1920 US Federal Censuses As all of the children were married and living separate lives by the time of the Family Reunion. They do not appear to have attended with their parents.

19. Mr. & Mrs. John Stephenson

The next family on the Grant / Lilley Reunion Guest list is “Mr. and Mrs. John Stephenson of Houlton.” Mrs. Stephenson is the connection to the Grant and Lilley families, as she is the daughter of Chelsey O. Grant and Frances Lilley. Ancestry.com states that she is the paternal first cousin of the husband of my 2nd Great-Grandaunt. In other words, she is the cousin of George F. Lilley, on her father’s side.

Lucy A. Grant was born on the 18th of January 1858. Based on the different vital records found for her, she could have been born either in New Brunswick or Maine. She was the 6th child and 4th daughter of Chelsey and Frances Grant.

When examining the Federal Census for Lucy and her family, you will find that they appeared to migrate across the US-Canadian boarder multiple times. According to the US Federal Census, a number of Lucy’s older siblings were born in Maine, while a few of the younger ones were born in New Brunswick, Canada.

Lucy’s father Chelsey Grant was a farmer all of his life, and his daughter Lucy would continue to live on a farm with both her parents, and then with her husband for a total of approximately 45 years. Lucy A. Grant married John Stephenson, son of John and Anne (Ervin) Stephenson on 26th of March 1879. John was an immigrant who arrived in Canada and then crossed the border into Maine at the age of 3 on 1856 from his native Ireland. The family relocated in Littleton, Aroostook, Maine where they would remain the rest of their lives. After their marriage, John and Lucy remained in the Littleton area. It wasn’t until the 1920 US Federal Census do you find that the Stephenson family relocated to Houlton, Aroostook, Maine, upon the retirement of John from active farming. John and Lucy did not have any children.

None of Lucy’s siblings appear on the Guest List, and it appear that the couple attended the Family Reunion alone.

20. Miss Ina Hand

When I read the name “Miss Ina Hand of Houlton,” who is next on the guest list, I was quite baffled. The last name of Hand had not come up in any of my previous research of my mom’s family. So when I found Ina on the 1920 US Federal Census and read that her occupation was “Assistant in Photo Studio”, I figured she was just there to help the photographer. It was quite obvious by the photo that hung on my grandparents wall, that a professional photographer was used for the full gathering shot.

Looking for a connection to Ina and the Grant and/or Lilley families took some time. At the time of the reunion, she was simply the assistant to Oscar B. Porter, a professional photographer, based in Houlton. He was also the husband of Emily Inez (Robinson) Porter, who was related to the Lilley family through her 2nd cousin Lewis Leavitt, who was the husband of Pauline (Soule) Leavitt, who was the sister-in-law of Ray O. Lilley, the son of Nellie O. (Gardner) Lilley, my 2nd Great-Grandaunt.

It was after the reunion, but on 31st of May 1926, Ina Ellen Hand married Oscar B. Porter, linking her to me as the 2nd wife of the husband of 2nd cousin of husband of sister-in-law of the 1st cousin 3x removed.



Going through the three pages of names, I decided to research each family in the order they appear on the list, and try to determine just how they are related to each other and to me. This required searching a number of different genealogical sites and sources, as many of the families were unfamiliar to me.

11. Mr. & Mrs. Carlton O. Grant

The 11th family found on the Grant / Lilley Family Reunion guest list is that of “Mr. & Mrs. C. O. Grant” of Houlton, Aroostook County. Carlton O. Grant is the son of Joseph and Margarett (Grant) Grant. Joseph and Margaret were first cousins, their mothers Phoebe White and Margaret White were sisters.

Carlton Otis Grant was born on the 21 November 1858 in New Limerick, Aroostook County to Joseph and Margarett (Grant) Grant. He was the eldest of their three children. Carlton was only 5 years old when his father, Joseph died of Typhoid Fever 06 Jun 1864 in Alexandria, Virginia. Joseph had volunteered to serve as a private in Company E of the 31st Regiment of the Maine Infantry during the Civil War.

The 1870 US Federal Census shows that Margarett Grant, widow, and her son Carlton, 11 years old, were living in New Limerick, Aroostook County. She is listed as the Domestic servant for Mr. & Mrs. Moses Drew and their sons Moses, Jr and Augustus. Her other two children, Winfield S. and Ella May both passed away in 1865 and were buried with their father in East Hodgdon Cemetery.

The 1880 US Federal Census has the 21 year-old Carlton living alone on a farm in New Limerick, Aroostook. On the farm next door is listed his mother, Margaret, step-father Augustus Drew and their three children: Harry, Madeline and Lenora. Carlton’s mother married Augustus Drew, son of Moses Drew on 06 Jan 1874.

In 1884, Carlton married Mary Eliza Cole, daughter of Oliver Cole and Hulda Eliza Bower. They were the parents of six children: Percy Otis, Perl I., Effie L., Harry F., Oliver Cole and Carlton Augustus. The 1900 US Federal Census indicates that the Grant family has relocated to Houlton, with Carlton working as a Dry Goods Salesman. Four of their children are listed: Perl, Effie, Harry and Oliver. Percy Otis passed away on 30 Apr 1893 from Meningitis. He was 8 years and 4 months old.

Tragedy again struck Carlton’s life when his beloved wife Mary Eliza passed away on the 23rd September 1909 in Houlton. She died of Pernicious Anemia and Chronic Nephritis, Her death left Carlton with 5 children at home, the youngest being Carlton Jr, aged 6.

The 1910 US Census shows that Carlton and his family have relocated to Houlton and Carlton is now employed as a Real Estate Agent in town. Acting as homemaker was Pearl, Carlton’s 24 year-old daughter. Also living with the family as a Boarder was Norris C. Estabrooke, who would marry Pearl in 1911. Later that year, Carlton married Annie C. Chase (nee Sheppard) on the 11th of October 1910. She was the widow of Benjamin F. Chase. Benjamin died on the 10th of May in 1905 and Annie moved to Houlton, Aroostook County, Maine in 1907. On the 1910 US Census she is listed as working as a Dressmaker.

By 1920, Carlton and Annie had settled in their home on Franklin Avenue in Houlton. With the death of Harry F. in 1919, the remaining 4 Grant children had married and started their own families. Pearl and Effie both married in 1911, Oliver married in late 1920. Carlton, having returned from serving in the US Army during WWI, was living in his own home. He would marry in 1922. This left Carlton and Annie living alone.

Carlton and Annie would attend the Grant & Lilley Family Reunion on the 26th of August 1922 without any of the children.

12. Mrs. Angie Soule

The next family on the Guest List is “Mrs. Angie Soule,” of Smyrna. Angerona ‘Angie’ F. (Grant) Soule is listed on Ancestry.com as the mother-in-law of my 1st cousin 3x removed (Ray O. Lilley). She can also be listed as a distance cousin as she is the daughter of William Burt and Mary Ann (Lilley) Grant, who are both related to me separately.

Angerona F. Grant was born on October 26, 1851 in Linneus, Aroostook County, Maine the 3rd child and second daughter of William Burt and Mary Ann (Lilley) Grant. Angie, as the family called her, was born on the family farm, as were her siblings.

Angie’s mother, Mary Ann had passed away in 1869 and her father had married Esther Travis, the daughter of Ebeneezer and Elizabeth Travis. In 1870, Angie, now 18 years old, is living in Lincoln, Penobscot County, working as a School Teacher. It was while she was living in Penobscot County that she met her husband, Benjamin Franklin ” Frank” Soule. Frank and Angie were married in Lincoln, Penobscot County on 25 Sep 1874.

By the time of the 1880 US Federal Census, Frank and Angie and their family had made their final move. They relocated to Oakfield, Aroostook County, where the family purchased their farm. According to the census listing, Frank was working the farm with his brother John, who lived there with his wife and young son. There was also a farm worker living with the family. By this time, Angie and Frank were the parents of three children.

The 1900 US Census shows that the Soule family has grown to include 8 children, of which 7 were living at home. Their eldest living child, Jessie A., was living in Portland with her aunt and uncle and working as a Milliner. Unfortunately by 1900, the 2 eldest daughters of Frank and Angie (S. Ethelyn and Mary) and eldest son (Frank) had passed away.

The family was still on the farm in 1910, but consists on only Angie, Frank, sons Clinton and Fritz and granddaughters Aleda Lilley and Evelyn Lilley. Aleda and Evelyn were the daughters of Jessie A. and Ray O. Lilley. Jessie having passed away in 1905.

Benjamin Franklin “Frank” Soule passed away on 30 May 1916, leaving his grieving widow Angle on the farm with her youngest son Albert and her two granddaughters, Aleda and Evelyn.

It was with her son Albert that Angie (Grant) Soule attended the Grant & Lilley Family Reunion on 26 Aug 1922.

13. Mr. Albert Soule

The thirteenth family listed on the handwritten guest list is “Mr. Albert Soule”. As listed in the above profile, Albert was the 10th child and youngest son of Benjamin Franklin “Frank” Soule and Angerona F. “Angie” Grant. At the time of the reunion, Albert was assisting his mother with the running of the family farm. He would go on the marry Josie Mae Kelley, daughter of Elijah A. and Lucy M. (White) Kelley. Josie is related to the Lilley family through her mother Lucy, but does not appear to have attended the 1922 Reunion.

By 1917, Albert is living in Musselshell, Montana and working as a farmer, as seen on this US World War I Draft Registration card. Albert would go on to serve in the U.S. Army as a Private from 12 Dec 1917 until 09 Jun 1919. He served overseas from 25 Sep 1918 until 28 May 1919.

Upon his discharge in June 1919, Albert returned to Oakfield, Maine and helped his mother run the family farm.

Albert attended the Grant & Lilley Family Reunion with his motehr on 26 Aug 1922.

14. Mrs. Alice Grant

The next family on the Grant / Lilley Reunion Guest list is “Mrs. Alice Grant”. Mrs. Grant was a challenge to find, as there were a number of “Mrs. Grants” living in the area at the time of the reunion. By looking at the families named below Mrs. Grant, and checking for an “Alice Grant” in the 1920 and 1930 US Census, I was able to determine that this Mrs. Grant is Alice Maud McGinley Grant, daughter of William McGinley and Margaret Graham and the widow of George Washington Grant.

Alice Maud McGinley was born 1st of December 1864 in Houlton, Aroostook County, the 3rd child and 2nd daughter of William McGinley and Margaret Graham. Alice remained with her family in Houlton until her marriage. On 30th of January 1882, Alice married George Washington Grant, son of William Burt Grand and Mary Ann Lilley. Alice and George would go on to have a total of 21 children born, 15 of whom survived infancy. Alice and George raised their children on their farm in Oakfield, Aroostook County and it was here that she would remain after George’s death in 1918. He would leave behind Alice and 15 children to continue running the farm.

On the 1920 US Census, Alice is listed as living in Smyrna Mills, with 5 of her children, Frank and his wife, Andrew, John, Bubbie and Doris. I wonder if 4 younger children (Andrew, John, Bubbie & Doris) attended the reunion with their mother and married brother. The attendee list doesn’t have “& family” or “& children” listed with Alice, so it’s not at all clear if they attended or not. Based on a brief review of the names listed, 6 of the Grant’s 21 children did attend the reunion in 1922. They were: Frank G., Harold E., Charles C., George H., Alice G. and Arthur W.

15. Mr. Frank Grant & son Herman

The 15th family listed on the guest list is “Mr. Frank Grant & son Herman.” According to Ancestry.com, Frank is the Uncle of the wife (Phyllis Grant) of my 2nd cousin 2x removed (Mark E. McDonald. This translates to mean that Phyllis was the daughter of Frank’s brother Harold and Mark was the Great-grandson of George Washington Gardner, my 3rd Great-Grandfather.

Frank Grover Grant was born on 8th of August 1884, the eldest son and 2nd child of George Washington Grant and Alice Maud McGinley Grant. Frank remained on the Grant family farm his entire life, taking over the running of the farm at the death of his father. Frank married Eldora I. McPhee, the daughter of James and Malvina Baglow McPhee on 16th of July 1919. Frank was 34 years old and living with his mother, Alice; brothers, Andrew, John and Bubbie; and sister Doris. Eldora was 17 years old.

Frank and Eldora’s son Herman Frank Grant was born on 26 April 1920. Tragically, his mother passed away shortly after his birth, leaving her husband with their newborn son. Herman accompanied his father to the Grant & Lilley Family Reunion in 1922. He was 2 years old at the time.

As I continue my search through the names on the Grant / Lilley Family Reunion guest list, I’m finding that I am related to some of the attendees in more ways than one. But that’s a blog for another day…..



Going through the three pages of names, I decided to research each family in the order they appear on the list, and try to determine just how they are related to each other and to me. This required searching a number of different genealogical sites and sources, as many of the families were unfamiliar to me.

6. Mrs. Lucy Clark

The 6th name on the Guest List is Mrs. Lucy M. (White) Clark of Dyer Brook, Aroostook County. She was the daughter of Charles and Elizabeth “Betsey” (Lilley) White and the younger sister of Harrison White, making her the paternal 1st cousin of the husband of my 2nd great-grandaunt.

Lucy M. White was born 24 July 1863 in Littleton, Aroostook County. She was the 5th child and 2nd daughter of Charles and Betsey White. Like her older brother Harrison, Lucy was born in the United States, on the family farm in Littleton.

Lucy first appears on the 1870 US Federal Census, living with her parents and 6 siblings. By the time of the next Census, 1880, Lucy is now a marriad woman. She married Elijah Kelley, son of William H. & Mary Jane (Fields) Kelley on the 3rd day of May in 1879. Lucy was 18 and Elijah was 24. The marriage produced 6 children, Clara Estelle, George Ambrose, Eddith Etta, Harry Newell, Charles William and Josie Mae.

Lucy’s first husband Elijah passed away on th 23rd of Nov 1897 at the young age of 41, leaving Lucy a widow with 6 children, the youngest being only 11 months old.

On 31 October 1899, Lucy married her second husband, John I. Clark. She and John would have two children together, Millie Bearle and Ora William.

Lucy attended the Family Reunion alone, according to the list of guests.

7. Mr & Mrs. Joseph Lincoln Hawksley & daughter

The next family on the Guest List is “Mr. and Mrs. J. L. Hawksley & daughter from Dyer Brook. It took some searching, but I was able to identify the attendees as Joseph L.Hawksley, his wife Dorothy (White) Hawksley and their daughter Sylvan / Feneda . Both Joseph and his wife are members of the Lilley family, as Joseph is the son of Lucy Thomas (Lilley) Hawksley and Dorothy is the daughter of Elizabeth “Betsey” (Lilley) White. Dorothy is Lucy M. White’s younger sister. Joseph is listed on Ancestry as the paternal 1st cousin of husband of my 2nd great-grandaunt. Dorothy is also listed as the paternal 1st cousin of husband of my 2nd great-grandaunt, making Dorothy and Joseph first cousins as their mothers (Elizabeth & Lucy) were sisters.

Dorothy L. White was born on the 28th of January 1865 in Lewiston, Aroostook County. She was the 6th child of Charles and Elizabeth (Lilley) White.

Joseph Lincoln Hawksley was born on 15th of August 1865 in Mars Hill, Aroostook County. He was the 9th child of John Goodwin and Lucy Thomas (Lilley) Hawksley.

Joseph and Dorothy were married on 02 April 1896 in Smyrna, Aroostook by Clergyman George F. Lilley, who is 1st cousin of their mothers.

They first appear as a family in the 1900 US Federal Census, living in Smyrna with their 2 children: Sylvan and Feneda. They are still living in Smyrna according to the 1910 US Federal Census, but have moved to Dyer Brook some time before the 1920 US. Federal Census.

Both of their daughters, Sylvan and Feneda were living at home in 1922, but it is unclear which of them attended the family reunion with their parents.

8. Mr. & Mrs. Roger L. McGary

The eight family listed on the handwritten guest list is Mr. and Mrs. R. L. McGary. It took a little searching, but I was able to find Roger Lilley McGary and his wife Cora (Whiting ) Sargent. With a middle name of Lilley, it’s obvious which member of the family is the Grant / Lilley connection. Roger is listed on Ancestry.com as father-in-law of nephew of husband of 1st Cousin 3x removed, May Viola Gerrish. But I have found a second, closer connection between Roger and I. Through his mother, Lucy Caroline Lilley, he is the paternal 1st Cousin 1x removed of husband of my 2nd great-grandaunt, Nellie O. Gardner.

Roger Lilley McGary was born on 28th of July 1877, the 4th child and 3rd son of Thomas and Lucy Caroline (Lilley) McGary. Born on the family farm in Smyrna, Aroostook County, Roger would live in the area his entire life, living with his parents on the family farm until his marriage.

On Christmas Day, December 25, 1901, Roger took the young widow, Cora (Whiting) Sargent as his wife. She was the widow of Fred P. Sargernt, and the mother of a 6-year-old son, Arthur.

The 1910 US Federal Census lists the family as Roger, Cora, their two children, Florence and Clifford, along with Arthur. There is also a farm laborer living with them, Francis Wood, a live-in housekeeper, Geneva Ireland and a boarder, Nellie Brown.

By 1920, the family had grown to 3 children, with the birth of Raymond in August, 1910. Roger’s 5-year-old nephew, Herbert, is also listed with the family. Herbert was the son of George B. McGary, Roger’s youngest brother.

Based on the guest list, it doesn’t appear that any of the children attended the family reunion.

9. Mr. & Mrs. Crawford William Marley & family

The next family on the Grant / Lilley Reunion Guest list is Mr. and Mrs. C. W. Marley & family. The Grant / Lilley connection in this family is strong. Mrs. Marley is Electra Grant, the daughter of Henry and Electra (Lurvey) Grant. She is listed on Ancestry.com as the sister-in-law of my 1st cousin 3x removed (May Viola Gerrish).

Electra W. Grant was born 10th of March 1878 in Smyrna, Aroostook County, to Henry Allen Grant and his 2nd wife Electra (Lurvey) Grant. Her mother tragically passed away 19 days after her birth. The 1880 US Federal Census reflects this, as Electra, her older brother Leon and her father Henry are living with Henry’s parents, William and Esther Grant.

The 1900 US Federal Census lists Electra as a Boarder at the home of Clifford Marley and his sister Lottie. Electra married Crawford W. Marley on 12th of December 1900. Electra and Crawford were blessed with 3 children during their marriage: Benjamin, born in 1901; Donald, born in 1910 and Phyllis, born in 1916. This is reflected in the 1920 US Federal Census.

Benjamin married Shirley S. Ingalls on 24th of June 1921. Although Benjamin did not attend the reunion, his wife Shirley is listed as an attendee. I will explore her connection to the family at a later date.

Donald, who was 12 years old and Phyllis, who was 6 years old at time of the reunion most likely can be counted as the “& family” on the guest list.

10. Mr. & Mrs. Jesse Gerrish & family

When I saw the name “Mr. & Mrs. Jesse Gerrish & family” on the Grant / Lilley family reunion guest list, I immediately recognized it. Jesse Gerrish is my 1st Cousin 3x removed, the son of Hannah L. (Gardner) Gerrish. Hannah is the younger sister of my 2nd Great Grandfather John Henry Gardner. She is also the sister of Nellie O. (Gardner) Lilley. However, I have yet to find a connection between Jesse Gerrish and either the Grant or Lilley family other than through his aunt Nellie.

I am setting this brick wall aside for the time being and continuing to work through the attendance list. Hopefully a clue will appear to assist me with this family connection.



Going through the three pages of names, I decided to research each family in the order they appear on the list, and try to determine just how they are related to each other and to me. This required searching a number of different genealogical sites and sources, as many of the families were unfamiliar to me.

  1. Mr. & Mrs. Henry Vivian Grant

The first family listed is “Mr. and Mrs. Vivian Grant of Patten, Maine. It turns out that according to Ancestry.com Henry Vivian Grant was the stepson of my 1st cousin 3x removed (May Viola Gerrish Grant)

Henry Vivian Grant was born on the 21 August 1899 in Readfield, Kennebec, Maine, to Leon Miles and Caroline “Carrie” (Knights) Grant. He was the eldest of 4 children.

Record of a birth for Henry Vivian Grant

His parents having been married on the 22 of October 1898 in Readfield, Maine, the family moved to Peru, Oxford, Maine prior to the 1900 US Federal Census. Here the family lived on a acre farm with Leon as the primary farmer.

By the 1910 US Federal Census, the family had re-located again, this time to a farm in Crystal, Aroostook, Maine. By this time the family had grown to include 3 children, Henry V., John Harold and Corrie May. There had been born a fourth child, who did not survive.

The 1920 US Federal Census finds Henry as a 20 year old, still living with his parents, brother Harold and sister May. The family has yet again relocated, this time to Patten, Penobscot, Maine. No longer living on a farm, both Henry and his father are listed as Laborers, performing general work.

On 26 Dec 1921, Henry Vivian Grant took Mildred Rachel Boynton as his wife. They were married in Patten, Maine by I.H. Lidstone, Clergyman. It was the first and only marriage for each of them. Mildred was the 4th child and 2nd daughter of Ernest and Mary A. (Seales) Boynton.

On the 26th of August 1922, the newlyweds attended the Grant & Lilley Family reunion.

2. Mr & Mrs. Charles Grant

The next family listed is “Mr & Mrs. Charles Grant of Oakfield, Maine. I did not find them on my family tree and had to research to learn the family connection. Ancestry.com has listed Charles Cleveland Grant as the brother of my 7th cousin 1x removed, which seems like a strange connection to me. I have a feeling that he is related to me in a closer connection, so I set out to learn what I could about Mr. and Mrs. Charles Cleveland Grant.

Charles Cleveland Grant was born the 25 May 1887 in Oakfield, Aroostook, Maine. He was the fourth of 21 children born to George Washington and Alice (McGinley) Grant. (note: several of his siblings appear later on the list of names)

Not much can be found on Charles Cleveland prior to his marriage to May Annie Clark on 5 Jun 1912. They were married by the Rev. H.G. Kennedy in Oakfield and by the time of the 1920 US Federal Census, they were settled in a home in Oakfield with Charles working at first as a farm laborer, but later obtaining a job as a mechanic.

Charles and May were the parents of 3 children: Priscilla, born in 1923, Catherine, born in 1925 and Robert, born in 1928.

At the time of the Grant / Lilley family reunion in 1922, they were still living in Oakfield, without any children.

3. Mr. & Mrs. Lewis Leavitt & family

The third family on the list is Mr. & Mrs. Lewis Leavitt & family of Smyrna, Aroostook County. Before I could determine how they are related to me, I needed to determine what was their Grant /Lilley connection.

Lewis Leavitt was born on 18 May 1882, the son of Artemas Moses and Mary Anne (Clement) Leavitt. Pauline Soule was born 25 Aug 1885, the daughter of Benjamin Franklin and Angie F. (Grant) Soule. Pauline, also known as Polly, is listed in Ancestry.com as my sister-in-law of my 1st Cousin 3times removed (Nellie Orlend Gardner-Lilley) and is the apparent connection to the Grant / Lilly families.

Another fun fact is that Mr. & Mrs. Leavitt employed a young woman by the name of Nancy Ella Gerald as a live-in housekeeper for several years. It was during her time as their housekeeper that she met her future husband, LeRoy George Gardner. My maternal grandparents remained in the Smyrna/Merrill area their entire married lives.

As stated earlier, Pauline “Polly” Emma Soule was born on 25 August 1885 in Oakfield, Aroostook County. She was the 6th child of Benjamin Franklin and Angerona “Angie” (Grant) Soule.

The 1900 US Federal census is the first one Polly appears on. She is living in Oakfield, Aroostook County with her parents and 7 siblings on the family farm. She is listed as having attended school 6 months of the previous year. It was not unusual for the elder children of a family to also work on the farm, as seen by the fact Polly’s younger brother Clinton is listed to have only attended school for 4 months.

Polly and Lewis were married on 16 Jan 1903. They went on to be the parents of 8 children, all girls: Alva, Arleen, Helen, Erna, Winnifred, Joyce, Anita and Gloria.

Ranging in age from 9 years (Alva) to 4 years (Anita) it is safe to assume that all of the children were also in attendance at the reunion.

4. Miss Evelyn Lilley

The fourth name to appear on the guest list is Miss Evelyn Lilley of Smyrna, Aroostook County. She was the niece of Pauline (Soule) Leavitt, the daughter of Jessie A. Soule and Ray Orsoe Lilley. My connection to her is strong: her paternal grandmother, Nellie Oreno (Gardner) Lilley was my 2nd Great-Grandaunt, making her my 2nd Cousin 2x removed.

On the 1910 US Federal Census, you will find Evelyn and her sister Aleda living with their maternal grandparents, Benjamin and Angie (Grant) Soule. This is because Jessie A. (Soule) Lilley passed away on 05 November 1905. Her cause of death is listed as Septicemic sore on face. Evelyn was only 2 years old and her sister Aleda was only 3.

Ray Lilley went on to marry twice more, to Martha Etta Bolstridge and Winnfred I. Labbe, but his 2 daughters by his first wife remained with their maternal grandparents, as seen on the 1920 US Federal Census.

On 26 August 1922, Evelyn was still single and most likely living with her grandmother, Nellie. She attended the family reunion alone.

5. Harrison G. White

The fifth name on the Guest List is Harrison G. White of Dyer Brook, Aroostook County. According to Ancestry.com he is the paternal 1st cousin of the husband of my 2nd great-grandaunt. In other words, he is the cousin of George F. Lilley, who was married to my 2nd Great-Grandaunt Nellie O. Gardner.

Harrison G. White was born on 20 Dec 1859 in Littleton, Aroostook County to Charles and Elizabeth (Lilley) White. He was the 4th of the couple’s 9 children and the first to be born in the United States. His parents and three older siblings emigrated from Richmond, New Brunswick, Canada in 1858.

The 1860 US Federal Census shows the family living on a farm in Littleton, Maine with Charles & Betsey White and their four children. Also living with the family is Aaron Lilley, Betsey’s younger brother, who is working as a laborer on the farm.

By 1870 the White family had grown to include 7 children. Although they are still living in Littleton, it appears that they have moved from their farm. Charles is no longer listed as a farmer, simply a Laborer.

Between 1870 and 1880, the family relocated to Dyer Brook, Aroostook County and again are living on a farm, with Charles’ occupation listed as “farmer.” Harrison, now 20 years old has the occupation of “working on farm.” Harrison’s younger sister Lucy has married and she and her husband are living on the family farm. Enoch White, their eldest son is shown living with his family on the farm next door.

Charles White died 15 May 1894. The 1900 US Federal Census reflects this and his 2 unmarried sons, Harrison and James are now shown as running the family farm in Dyer Brook. William, also unmarried, is working as a Carpenter, but still living with his mother and brothers.

In 1910 on the US Federal Census, Harrison is again shown as the Head of the family, still single and living on the family farm with his mother and elder brother, William. James, who has married Jennie M. Parker in 1901 has moved to his own farm in Dyer Brook.

The 1920 US Federal Census shows no change; Harrison is listed as the Head of the family, working as a farmer. Living with him is his 87 year old mother Betsey and his brother, William.

Neither Betsey nor William appear on the list of Guests at the Grant / Lilley Family reunion.


26 Aug 1922 – Grant & Lilley Family Reunion

On 26 Aug 1922 in Dyer Brook, Aroostook County, Maine a Grant & Lilley family reunion took place. Attending this reunion was 60+ families who were related to either the Grant Family or Lilley Family, or in many cases, both families!

A Little History

I’ve been given a number of boxes containing photographs that belonged to my Aunt Ellen, my mom’s elder sister E. Ellen Gardner, who was the family historian of her family. I periodically go through these boxes and wonder if I recognize some faces, guess at others and find unseen photos of my parents and siblings. Sometimes I also find other documents, such as birth records, newspaper articles and occasionally a hand-written family history document.

Such was the case when I found the Guest List from the Grant & Lilly Reunion, held on 26 Aug 1922. Some of the names I immediately recognized as cousins. Some names I recognized as names I had encountered in the building of my family tree and yet others I had never seen before.

This is a small portion of the photograph in question, cropped from a photo my Aunt took of her Sitting Room wall.

I remember a photo that used to hang on the wall in my Grandfather LeRoy’s sitting room – a photo that had to be at least 4 feet wide. It was of a LARGE group of people of varying ages. Seeing it as a child, I marveled at the size. I didn’t realize until I found the Grant/Lilley Reunion Guest List that most likely the photo was taken on 26 Aug 1922 and everyone in the photo was a Grant/Lilley relative. I never found my grandparents in the photo, but then again, they are not listed on the guest list.

I’m not quite sure if I am directly related to the Grants and Lilleys (and I am actively searching to confirm/deny connection) but I do know that several of my 2x Great Grandfather’s siblings married into both the Grant and Lilley families.

Why would my Grandfather have this photograph?
How am I related to the Grant / Lilley Families of Maine?
Where is the photograph today? – The last time I saw the photograph was at my Aunt Ellen’s funeral, where it was displayed next to her coffin. That was in June of 1999.

Over the course of the next few months, I hope to answer these and other questions I have regarding the Grant / Lilley Family reunion.


Henry Cranston and Sarah Jane Baggerly were the parents of six children. Their youngest son, Fred Franklin Bliven, was my Great-Grandfather. He was born on the Bliven family farm (see LAND OF MY PEOPLE – PART 2) on 08 Sep 1874. He was raised on this farm, working for his father until his father’s death in 1892.

On 01 January 1896, Fred married Maude Houghtaling, eldest daughter of Lafayette and Diantha (Fisher) Houghtaling, a farmer from Cohoctah, Livingston County, Michigan. Maude had been born in Brighton, Livingston County and her family had lived in Brighton before settling in Cohoctah Township.

Published in Livingston County Daily Press and Argus – 08 Jan 1896, page 1

Sometime between their marriage and the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, the newly created Bliven family left Livingston County and located in neighboring Shaiwassee County.

The 1900 U.S. Census lists that Fred and Maude are living in Burns, Shiawassee Co. Michigan with two of their three children; Martin and Mildred. (Their youngest daughter Florence was born in 1901.) The census indicates that Fred’s occupation is a farmer and that he owns his farm. On 29 Sept 1909, it is listed in the newspaper that “Fred Bliven and family have moved away from here” [Shiawassee County].

This move is reflected in the 1910 U.S. Census which now lists Fred, Maude and the three children back in Cohoctah Township and are renting the farm that they are living on. Fred did eventually buy the farm and the family remained here until 1917, when they sold the farm to Chris. O. Ludke and wife for $1,200.

It was this farm in Cohoctah Township that I have been able to locate on the 1915 U.S. Indexed County Land Ownership Maps. In section 32 of Cohoctah Township, Fred is listed as occupying 60 acres. Although I have located this land on Google Maps, I have yet to personally travel to the area and photograph the actual land. That is planned for later this month (pandemic willing).

But, I have a question? Having been a farmer all of his life, why did Fred, at the age of 43, sell the farm? Where did the family move to?

There are a number of documents that allow me to trace where Fred, Maude and the family went upon selling the farm in Cohoctah. The U.S. World War I Draft Registration Card for Fred, dated 02 Sep 1918, has him living at 815 North Cedar Street. He is listed with a present occupation of City of Lansing Policeman.

U.S. World War I Draft Registration Card, 1917-1918

The 1920 U.S. Census has Fred and Maude still living at 815 North Cedar Street, but now his occupation is listed as a Motorman on a Street Car. All three of the children have grown, married and moved into their own places.

When I first learned that Fred and Maude lived on Cedar Street, I wondered how close they might be to where my Great-grandparents, Charles and Christina Elizabeth lived. I knew that Cedar Street was very near Center Street, as my father attended Cedar Street Elementary School as a boy.

So I looked up 815 North Cedar Street on Google Maps, and found the following:

Apparently, I had driven past this home numerous times and not realized that it was also a former residence of my family. Below is what came up when I asked Google Maps to give directions from 815 N. Cedar Street to 808 Center Street.

My grandmother Margaret (aka Peggy) married Fed and Maude’s son Martin on 26 Jun 1920. This photo was taken after the wedding, in the front yard of 808 Center Street.

So, I’m glad that the Bliven family left the farm and moved to Lansing, as this led to my grandparents meeting, my father being born and, therefore, ME!

Lansing was not the last location that either Fred or Maude lived, but that’s a story for another time.


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 …)


I am web manager, what we call “host” of several web pages, which are part of GenealogyTrails.com. I am State Host for the State of Michigan page (http://genealogytrails.com/mich/) and county hosts of 5 Michigan counties:

Ingham County – http://genealogytrails.com/mich/ingham/
Isabella County – http://genealogytrails.com/mich/isabella/
Livingston County – http://genealogytrails.com/mich/livingston/
Oakland County – http://genealogytrails.com/mich/oakland/
Shiawassee County – http://genealogytrails.com/mich/shiawassee/

and one county in Idaho
Canyon County – http://genealogytrails.com/ida/canyon/

As County host, I mantain the web pages, add content, answer questions and so on. As State Host, I do the same for the main State webpage, as well as add content and monitor the unhosted counties in the state.

Calhoun County, Michigan is located in the lower western portion of Michigan’s lower peninsula. The county seat is Marshall, but the most well known city in the county is Battle Creek, aka “Cereal City.” Known for being the home of several large cereal manufacturers, such as General Foods, Kelloggs, etc.

I recently received a request through the Genealogy Trails: Michigan web page, asking if I could help a Battle Creek resident in finding information about a dance hall that had been on her property during the 1930s and ’40s. I took the request as a chance to find interesting information to post on the Calhoun County web page, as well as help a fellow genealogist out. The following is the document I created with the information I found about the Riverside Pavilion, 201 Raymond Rd, Battle Creek, Michigan.

12 Feb 2020

Riverside Pavilion
201 Raymond Rd, Battle Creek


Received Email request from Michele DeVore requesting if I could help her find information about a dance hall that was supposedly present on 201 S. Raymend Rd., Battle Creek in the 1930s and 1940s.

  1. My initial search was in the History of Calhoun County, (bibiology)
  2. Also checked Portrait & Biographical Album for Calhoun County (bib.)
  3. Next searched for articles in local Battle Creek and Calhoun County newspapers.
  4. Once obtained names of managers, searched for information in Ancestry.com
  • Did initial search in Newspapers.com, NewspaperArchive.com and CMU Newspaper Portal, to see what initial hits/news articles I could find.
    • CMU Newspaper portal shows that all Newspaper archive links for Battle Creek, Calhoun County are pay.
    • NewspaperArchives.com has no specific newspapers for Calhoun County or Battle Creek.
    • Newspaper.com has access to Battle Creek Enquirer from 1918-2020 and Battle Creek Moon-Journal for 1921, 1931, 1936, 1940
  • Using search topics such as “Riverside Dance Hall, Riverside dance, 201 Raymond Rd, Dance Halls, and limiting the dates between 1930 and 1940, found several articles
    • DANCE OPERATOR ROBBED OF $30 PUBLISHED IN BATTLE CREEK ENQUIRER (Battle Creek, Michigan) 2 Jan 1938, pg 2
        Sheriff’s officers today were searching for for two men who held up the proprietor of the Riverside dance pavilion on Raymond road at the end of Cliff street, about 2:30 a.m. Saturday and escaped with $30.
        Merlin J. Young, 140 East avenue north, who runs the dance hall, told Deputy Sheriff Edward Harlow that one of the men stuck a gun in his side and took the money, most of which was in silver, just as he was closing the pavilion  after a New Year’s eve celebration. The other man, according to Young, kept the motor running in a waiting car and both made their escape.
        Young did not get a description of the car, but said the man who held the gun was about 40 years old, five feet, 11 inches tall and weighed about 180 pounds. He was wearing a black overcoat and a dark cap. Young could give no description of the man who waited in the car.
        Young saved several hundred dollars in receipts because he took his wife’s advice and placed the money in a cardboard carton before the hall was closed. The carton was in the car when the bandit approached him.
  • SOCIETY NEWS, PUBLISHED IN Battle Creek Enquirer (Battle Creek, Michigan) 18 Sep 1942, pg 6
    • A farewell dinner for Rexford Young, who reported at Fort Custer Tuesday for duty in the army was given recently at the Riverside dance hall. There were 19 guests for the dinner, at which he received gifts from his family. The occasion also celebrated the birthday anniversary of Mr. Young’s mother. Out-of-town guests were Mrs. Joseph A. Madenford and son of Walkerson, Ind. Pvt Edward Young of Camp Perry, O., and Mr. and Mrs. Kroom Sand and daughter, Joyce of Clear lake.

    • DOZEN DRINKING TEEN-AGERS SPOTTED IN CARS NEAR DANCE, PUBLISHED IN Battle Creek Enquirer (Battle Creek, Michigan) 16 Jun 1942, pg 11
      • Sheriff’s officers, setting out to stop drinking by teen-agers in parked cars near dance halls in the Battle Creek area, found “alarming conditions” outside the Riverside dance hall on the South Raymond road Saturday night.
        “We found more than a dozen teen-agers actually drinking in the parked cars in the dance hall area and found intoxicants in at least a dozen other cars,” Undersheriff Ray Purcell said. “We found one girl only 13 years old in a car where there was liquor but did not see her actually drinking.”
        Sheriff’s officers from the local and Marshall offices joined forces in the first checkup.
        “We confiscated a quantity of both whisky and beer,” Mr. Bursell said. 
        “We confiscated a quantity of both whisky and beer,” Mr. Pursell said.  “Most of the liquor was taken from teen- agers who were seen while drinking the rest was from cars.”
        Sheriff’s officers said that they have received numerous complaints concerning drinking at various dance halls in the area on Saturday nights. They plan to visit other dance halls on future Saturday nights and to confiscate intoxicants found in the possession of minors.
        The officers said that they walked among the parked cars to observe the occupants. They said comparatively few adults attended the dance and none was seen drinking in cars.
        Mr. Purcell said that he was checking with Prosecutor Donald Gordon with reference to prosecuting any adults who may be caught drinking in cars.
        “We also are endeavoring to trace the source of intoxicants found on the minors and will prosecute those who furnished teen-agers with whisky, wine or beer,” he said.
        The Sheriff’s office is also planning to contact parents of minors found drinking and to seek their cooperation in halting the practice.
        “We believe that a few week’s checking, confiscation of the intoxicants and notification to parents will do much to eliminate such drinking, Mr. Purcell said.
    • EMMETT ACTS TO REMEDY HAZARDS, PUBLISHED IN Battle Creek Enquirer (Battle Creek, Michigan) 19 Feb 1946, pg 5
      • Fire Prevention Orders Issued Following Inspections
        Orders calling for the remedying of numerous fire hazards in public buildings in Emmett township were issued yesterday at the conclusion of a two-week inspection of schools, churches, taverns and dance halls in the township made by Fire Chief LaVerne Stearman and Detective Glenroy Walker of the state fire marshal’s office.
        Chief Stearman reported these hazards ordered remedied within 30 days of the inspection:
        Install added exits:  Spaulding and Newman
        Fire-proof doors and frames leading to boiler rooms located beneath open wooden stairs: Brownlee Park and Wattles
        Install exterior metal fire escapes: Raymond and Brownlee Park.
        Install exterior door exists with panic hardware (opening on pressure): fire doors on three wooden buildings of Wattles Park school
        Cleanup fire hazards in basement: Cresco school
        Fire drills in all schools at least once each month.
        Install swing-out exit doors with panic hardware: Olive street Friends church
        Widen exit: Belden tavern
        Make exit doors swing out: Angell’s Tavern
        Install new first floor exits: Riverside Dance Hall
        Install wide double exit doors at the rear of the hall: Beadle Lake dance hall (This work has already been undertaken following a tavern inspection. They hall no longer has a tavern license.)

        Chief Stearman said the inspections are made under the 1943 revision of the Michigan public assembly law. He reported that the school fire hazards were especially grave, with some repair of at least a minor nature ordered on each of the nine school buildings in the township. He said many rooms in Spaulding and Newman school did not have separate exits from each room, and the Wattles Park school’s three wooden buildings need five extra doors ad exits. School boards have the orders and indicate they will comply at once.
        The township board now is studying a fire prevention ordinance drawn up and submitted by Chief Stedman, based on an ordinance in effect in Battle Creek township and on recommendations from the National Fire Underwriters association. A similar ordinance is being drafted for the city of Battle Creek.
        The Emmett ordinance, which would be effective when passed by the township board, provides for a bureau of fire prevention, with authority vested in the fire chief to inspect all places of public assembly in the township twice yearly, and hazardous places four times yearly; to order removal of hazards at other than private dwellings, and to inspect for storage of explosives and incendiaries, maintenance of exits and escapes, and to investigate causes of fires.
        Mr. Stearman said the township needs a second fire truck with at least a 500-gallon booster pump and tank. He points out that the new million-dollar warehouse being constructed by the Kellogg Co., is in the township, and that property valuations have risen to a point where added protection is necessary.
        Members of the board who have the proposed fire ordinance under study are Roy Brigham, supervisor; Elmer Robinson, treasurer, Percy Fruin, clerk, and Marvin Hyack and Harry Hopenbecker, justices of the peace.
        A provision of the new proposed regulatory ordinance would provide that all circuses and carnivals showing in the township must comply with fire regulations as to exits and electoral equipment and must have flame-proof tents.

    • NEWMAN SCHOOL’S YOUTH CLUB WILL MARK BIRTHDAY, PUBLISHED IN Battle Creek Enquirer (Battle Creek, Michigan) 22 May 1950, pg 7
      • The first “birthday” of the Youth club of Newman school district will be celebrated by its 75 members with a party Thursday following the regular meeting and anniversary dance Friday at the Riverside dance hall.
        The Newman Men’s club sponsors the organization, composed of boys and girls from 10 to 18 years of age and advisers are W. P. King, Roy Braddock, Mrs. Winston Allen and Mrs. Henry Allen. Newly-elected officers are Patricia Ellis, president; Marjorie Eldred, vice president; Jacqueline Willy, secretary, and Joanne King, treasurer. Former officers were Fred Case, Vonda Faurot, bob King, Sally McNamara, Joanne Poole, Barbara Taft and Robert Trubey.
        Among the activities of the group are dancing and movies, held alternatively on Friday and Saturday nights. Profits from admissions are used to purchase recreation equipment.
  • Changing the search phrases to several other combinations, finally settling on “Riverside Pavilion” which was a phrase that kept appearing in the articles found during earlier searches.
  • Based on the results of this extensive search, I was able to develop a timeline for the Riverside Pavailion.
    • Opening Dance, New Years Eve, December 31, 1930
    • 1931 – Manager: “Happy” Edens
    • 1932 – Manager: “Happy” Edens
      • Dances held every Wednesday & Saturday nights for months of Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug.
      • No Dances in Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec.
    • 1933 – Manager:
      • Hall for rent for private parties for Jan-May
      • June 12, Newly finished Dance Hall opens, but again only for rent
      • Oct – Nov. Dances start again, after “Doc” Youngs and Robert Mayer lease the hall
    • 1934 – Manager: Merlin “Doc” Youngs
      • Jan – Mar held dances and other gathering
      • Apr – Aug: Closed
      • Sep 10th reopens, ads say “Under New Management”, appears that Robert Mayer has left.
      • Oct – Nov: dances every week, different days of the week, usually Weds, Thurs, Sat. Closes again in December
    • 1935 – Manager: “Doc” Youngs
      • Jan – Aug: private rentals only
      • Sep 28th reopens
      • Dances throughout Oct and Nov. Closed in December.
    • 1936 – Manager: “Doc” Youngs
      • Jan & Feb. Closed
      • Mar – now managed by Youngs, Miller and Little
      • Apr – Aug – rentals for private parties only.
      • Sep – rooms associated with pavilion for rent by Mrs. L. Mason
      • Sept 19th last Dance held.  Managers, Young and Miller rent new location.
      • Oct, Nov, Dec – closed.
    • 1937 – Manager:
      • Equipment being sold by Mrs. L. Mason, pavilion being rented out for private parties only
      • Jun – Dance hall used by “My Dance Club” burns down.  President of club, “Doc” Youngs, rents Riverside Pavilion in October to use as clubhouse for club.
      • Oct – Dec: weekly dances and card parties by My Dance Club.  Pavilion is still available for private rental.
Add for “My Dance Hall” – the new location for the My Dance Club group.
    • 1938
      • Manager: Merrill “Doc” Youngs
      • Manager robbed on New Years Eve.
      • Pavilion available for private rentals from Jan through August.
      • Sep 21st – resume having weekly dances.
      • Oct – Wednesdays and Saturdays.
      • Nov & Dec – Dances every Saturday night
    • 1939
      •  Manager:
      • Mar – Ad appears for available room to rent above dance hall
      • Apr-Jun – available for private rental only
      • Jul – mixed dances
      • Aug – Balloon dance
      • Oct – Benefits and dances
      • Nov  & Dec – weekly dances
    • 1940
      •  Manager: “Doc” Youngs
      • Apr – ‘My Dance Club’ starts having weekly Card parties.
      • May – Nov – ‘My Dance Club’ uses pavilion as their club house. During this time, other Rallies, Benefits and Dances are held.
    • 1941
      •  Manager: “Doc” Youngs
      • Jan-May – ‘My Dance Club’ continues using pavilion for their weekly card parties.
      • Feb – Raymond Mason starts to rent the pavilion for wedding receptions.
      • Jun – start having dancing every Friday
      • July – dances are changed to every Saturday
      • Aug – dances are now Fridays and Saturdays, continues through December.
    • 1942
      •  Manager: “Doc” Youngs
      • Jan-Jun – dances every Saturday
      • Jul-Oct – private rentals only
      • Nov-Dec – Dances every Saturday
    • 1943
      •  Manager: “Doc” Youngs
      • Jan-Dec – dances every Saturday
    • 1944
      • Manager: “Doc” Youngs
      • Jan-Oct – dances every Saturday
      • Nov  1st – closed for remodeling, reopened on Dec 28th for New Years Eve dances.
    • 1945
      • Manager: Raymond Mason
      • Under new management, reopens New Years Eve. 
      • Jan-Mar – dances every Sunday night
      • Apr-Dec – dances every Saturday night
    • 1946
      • Manager: Raymond Mason
      • Jan-Dec – dances every Saturday night
      • Jul, Aug & Sep – also have ‘Community Auctions’ every Friday night. Public is invited to bring items to be auctioned off.
    • 1947
      • Manager: Raymond Mason
      • Jan-Dec – Dances every Saturday night
    • 1948
      • Manager: Raymond Mason
      • Jan-Aug – Dances every Saturday night.
      • Pavilion closes on Aug 13th and reopens on Oct 2nd. Dances every Saturday night in Oct and Nov.
      • Holds Christmas dance on Dec 18th.  Closed through holidays.
    • 1949
      • Manager: Raymond Mason
      • Jan-May – Dances every Saturday
      • Closes May 27th for season. Pavilion available for rental during Jun, Jul and Aug.
      • Fall Opening on Sep 10th
      • Sep-Dec – Dances every Saturday night
    • 1950
      • Manager: Raymond Mason
      • Jan-Mar – Dances every Saturday night
      • Closes end of March, remains closed until Oct 28th, when it reopens under new management: Dewey Tooze, Sr.
      • Nov-Dec – Dances every Saturday night
    • 1951    
      • Manager: Dewey Tooze, Sr.
      • Jan-Feb – Dances every Saturday night
      • Mar – available for private rental only. Remains available for private rental the remainder of the year
    • 1952
      • Manager: Dewey Tooze, Sr.
      • No longer operating as a weekly dance hall. Available for rental for private parties only.
  • After 1952, the only mentions of either Riverside Pavilion or 201 Raymond Rd. were about the former managers, Merlin “Doc” Youngs and Raymond J. Mason.
  • A few interesting ‘tidbits’ about the managers of the Riverside pavilion.
  • Everd I. “Happy” Edens (09 Dec 1895 – 01 Oct 1974)
    • Although “Happy” Edens appears to have been involved in the initial opening and first couple of years of running the Riverside Pavilion, his obituary does not mention his involvement at all.
    • OBITUARY: Everd I. Edens
      Everd Irving “Happy” Edens, 78, of 1163 E. Michigan Ave., was pronounced dead on arrival at Leila Hospital today, where he was taken after being stricken at home. He had been ill three years and seriously ill three weeks.
      Born in Roundhead, Ohio, he had resided in this area for more than 60 years. He was employed as the manager of the Wash King Laundramat on E. Michigan Laundry for the past 13 years. Earlier he had been employed by the Michigan Carton Co. for 44 years, retiring in 1960. Before that he had been employed by Post Division, General Foods Corp., the Merrills and Edens Meat Market and the Red Star Yeast Co. He was a member of the Michigan Carton 25-Year Club and the Ben Hur Association.
      Survivors include his widow, the former Marie B. Merrils; a daughter, Mrs. June E. Beninghaus of the E. Michigan address; one grandson; one great-granddaughter, and a brother, Vern Edens of Lima, Ohio.
      Services will be held at 1 p.m. Friday at the Royal Funeral Home.
      (published in Battle Creek Enquirer, (Battle Creek, Michigan) 01 Oct 1974)
  • Merlin Julius “Doc” Youngs (25 Sep 1890 – 15 Mar 1975)
    • Unlike the first and last managers of the Riverside Pavilion, Merlin “Doc” Youngs didn’t run the pavilion as a ‘side job’. His main employment his entire adult life was the Dance Hall Business/Resort Owner/Operator.   
    • In 1955, an article about Merlin J. “Doc” Youngs was published in the Battle Creek Enquirer. Although it was about his Resort at Clear Lake, it does mention his management of Riverside Pavilion.
      Merlin Julius Young was once a Red Man – a member of the Improved Order of Red Men. It was this fraternal affiliation hat led him into the dance hall business and finally took him to his present location at resort proprietor of Clear Lake near Downing. As chairman of the lodge’s entertainment committee he ran the dancing parties in the old Annex building in S.W. Capital ave. just off Michigan Ave. Resort and dance halls once flourished at most of the nearby watering places, but in the changing world, Mr. Young at Clear Lake and Ray McCarthy at Beadle Lake remain as the only survivors in the area. Their businesses today are very much alike – a sizable dance hall with band music on Saturday nights, refreshments and rowboats for rent.
      In this modern era, both of these men have become experienced operators, but in the long range background of the resort business they are comparative newcomers. While Mr. Young was working in Grand Rapids and Muskegon as a furniture manufacturer and tool and die maker, the memorable amusement parks, bathhouses, midway, boat liveries, dance halls and skating rinks were flourishing at Goguac Lake. And there were thriving boat liveries, dance halls and diving rooms at St. Marys’ Waubascom, Mill and other lakes in the area.
      Mr. Young was born at Edmore on Sept 25, 1890, the son of Tracy and Cora Drake Young. He is the only survivor among three children. A sister, Effie died in the influenza epidemic in 1918 and a brother, Byron, died in Grand Rapids in 1924. The father, a sewing machine salesman in Edmore, was fatally injured when thrown by a horse when Merlin was 8 years old.
      “We arrived in Grand Rapids on a Thursday and the following Monday I went to work in a furniture factory,” Mr. Young said. After two years he joined the Oliver Machinery Co., makers of woodworking machinery and during the five years there learned the machinest trade. Then he joined Continental Motors at Muskegon, but after six montha the nerves in his eyes gave out and he was totally blind for six months. Under protracted treatment, his eyesight was restored.
      His first job on the comeback trail was as foreman for the Fibre Grand Co. of Grand Rapids, producers of paper fibre for furniture and after this he worked for the Thwaite Fibre Co. This firm moved to Albion in 1922 and the Youngs were residents there for the next three years.
      On moving to Battle Creek in 1925, Mr. Young’s first job was as painter and maintenance man, handing the extensive properties, of Dr. A. E. MacGregor. It was during this time that he became active in the Red Men lodge and was appointed chairman of the dancing parties. The lodge did not engage in a program expansive enough to suit Mr. Young, so he resided as chairman and took over the Riverside Pavilion in 1932. He featured there the bands of Ward Reese, Marion Mott and Steve Roxbury’s ‘Roxy’s Hot Shots.”
      Next, he rented the place in the Beadle lake road known variously as the Cow Barn, Cocoanut Grove, Mom & Pop’s Place, and the M-T dance hall near the former Electric Lake. This was going good as a Saturday night spot, despite the depression, when it burned to the ground in June, 1935. Then Mr. Young went back to the Riverside Pavilion.
      He spent one summer season running the Fine Lake dance hall, but in September 1943, took over the St. Mary’s Lake dance hall, which he operated for five years. In 1948 he moved to the Pine Creek dance hall where he made many new friends among the dancing set during the 25 months he was there. The Ma and Pa Kelly band played for the dances there and Les and Irene Turner as well.

Mr. and Mrs. Young bought the Clear lake resort in 1952. The dance hall had been started by Frank and Fern Herrington, but they had sold out in 1930 and moved to Battle Creek. Mrs. Harrington became the ticket-seller for Mr. Young at the Riverside Pavilion. Later she became a school teacher and met an accidental death when struck by a switch engine while she was in Kalamazoo to attend a teachers’ meeting.
(Published in Battle Creek Enquirer (Battle Creek, Michigan) 17 Jul 1955)

  • Obituary: Merlin Julius “Doc” Youngs
    HASTINGS – Merlin J. “Doc” Young, 84, of 2999 W. State Road, former owner of several dance halls, died Wednesday in Barry County Medical Care Facility where he had been a patient six weeks. He had been ill more than two years.
    He was born in Edmore and moved to Battle Creek in 1927 from Albion.
    In Battle Creek, he became manager of Riverside Pavilion in the early 1930s. He later was associated with dance halls and resorts at Beadle Lake, Fine Lake, St. Mary’s Lake and Pine Creek before purchasing Clear Lake Danceland near Dowling in 1952. The resort was closed and Young retired in the 1960s.
    His wife, the former Charlottie A Lafler, died in 1971.
    He is survived by sons, Rexford C. Young of Battle Creek and Merlin N. of Allegan; daughters, Mrs. Ethan (Doris) Hammond and Mrs. Merland (Genevieve) Miller, both of Battle Creek, and Mrs. Kroom (Beulah) Sand of Hastings; 13 grandchildren; 22 great-grandchildren, and three great-great-grandchildren.
    Services will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at Royal Funeral Home, Battle Creek.
    (Published in Battle Creek Enquirer (Battle Creek, Michigan) 13 Mar 1975)
  • Raymond R. Mason (29 Jan 1910 – 15 Nov 1992)
    • Taking over the Riverside Pavilion from “Doc” Youngs, Raymond Mason ran the pavilion from 1945-1950. He was the youngest of the managers and the only manager that lived at the 201 Raymond Rd. address.
    • OBITUARY: Raymond R. Mason
    Raymond ‘Dad’ Mason, who excelled as a powerboat racer at the age of 70 and was inducted into the American Powerboat Association Hall of Champions, died Sunday, Nov. 15, 1992, while deer hunting near Lincoln.  He was 82 and resided in Battle Creek.
    Mr. Mason was born Jan. 29, 1910, in Bear Creak to William Henry and Lulu (Tuttle) Mason. He worked in the maintenance department of University of Michigan from 1929 to 1939 and at Eaton Corp. from 1940 to 1945.
    In 1945, he started Ray Mason’s Battery Service, which he owned and operated until 1969, when he sold it to his son, Lyle R. Mason. He contined to work part time for many years.
    He was a Golden Gloves boxer in 1936 and helped found the Food City Boat Club in 1955. He won Class D. national championships in outboard hydroplanes at age 69 and 70.  Mr. Mason was a member of National Rifle Association and enjoyed hunting, fishing and powerboat racing.
    He married the former Helen B. Heshelman on July 10, 1931, in Washington, Ind. She survives. Also surviving are son, Lyle R. Mason of Battle Creek; daughters, Linda L. Garrett of Houghton Lake and Lydia K. Baines of Battle Creek; eight grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
    Visitation: After 6 p.m. today at the Richard A Henry Funeral Home
    Services: 1:30 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home with the Rev. David L. Morton officiation.
    Burial: Floral Lawn Memorial Gardens
    (published in Battle Creek Enquirer (Battle Creek, Michigan) 17 Nov 1992
  • Dewey Tooze, Sr. (27 Sep 1899 – 08 Oct 1974)
    • Last manager of the Riverside Pavilion.  As with the first manager, there is no mention of his time with the pavilion in his obituary.
    • OBITUARY: Dewey Tooze, Sr.
      Dewey D. Tooze, 75, of 21190 North Ave., died Tuesday at his residence.
      Born in Milo, he came to Battle Creek as a young man. He retired in 1968 from Grand Trunk Western Railroad Co. after 48 years as a roadline stockkeeper. He was a member of the Battle Creek Elks Lodge 131.
      Survivors include a son, Dewey D. Tooze, Jr. of 220 Meadow Drive; a daughter, Mrs. Charles (Della) Nobles of the North Avenue address; eight grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren and brothers, Porter Tooze of Augusta and Russell of Fresno, Calif.
      Services will be held at 1 p.m. Friday at Richard A. Henry Funeral Home.
      (published in Battle Creek Enquirer (Battle Creek, Michigan) 09 Oct 1974)

I have become so interested in the Dance Pavilions found in other Michigan cities that I plan on researching them for my web pages as well.


In the summer of 1964, my family took a 3-week vacation and drove to Denver, Colorado to visit my Dad’s HART and SPAULDING Cousins. Christine (DeVaney) Spaulding and Kathleen (DeVaney) Hart and their families both lived there.  The two women were the daughters of Ivy A. (Vincent) DeVaney and her husband Michael, who helped raise my Dad after his mother passed away.

I was only 7 years old at the time, and my memories of the trip are now limited to just the moments that were captured by photographs. And oh, what photographs I have:  Mountains, Plains, Continental Divides, Buffalo Bill’s Grave and so many photos of my Mom, sister Margaret, 2 brothers, Chuck and Lee and me.

I inherited all of them after my parents passed away, and have over the years scanned them, so I have an electronic copy and can relive the memories. 


Some of these photographs have puzzled me for decades.

Backyard of the home we stayed at in Colorado, overlooking the hills and meadows.

This is a photo of the backyard of where the Bliven family stayed while in Colorado.  I don’t remember which of the families we stayed with – was it with Mr. and Mrs. Gus Hart?  Was it with Mr. and Mrs. Jay Spaulding?

What I do remember is that there were horses living in the field behind, and I was photographed with 2 of my young cousins and several of the horses.

My mystery cousin and I and one of the wild horses.
More of the wild horses come to visit.
My cousins, me and the horses.

Who are these cousins? Are they still living in Colorado?

I know that at least one trip into the Rockies included Jay and Christina Spaulding, my parents and older brother and sister, because several photos exist to support this.

Jay Raymond Spaulding ( 1909-1970) married to Christina R (DeVaney)
Looking closely at the car, I can see both my Mom and cousin Christina in the back seat.
Again, looking in the car, I see my Mom, my older brother and my sister
A classic shot – “Snowball fight in the middle of summer” – participants are Mom and Margaret
I’ll bet this happened a lot on this road trip – “Stopping for photos” Participants: Jay Spaulding, Margaret Bliven

I vaguely remember the day of this trip, as my younger brother and I got to stay behind and play with the family dog. There was only room for 6 in our family station wagon and in reality, both my younger brother and I would most likely not remember the trip, since we were 7 ½ and 4 ½ years old at the time. So, it’s possible we stayed with the Spaulding’s and the Hart’s came to visit.

Perhaps one of my Hart/DeVaney/Spaulding cousins will also remember the visit in that Summer of 64, when the Bliven family came to Colorado to spend time with cousins. Perhaps they will be in contact with me.  Perhaps, I’ll never know the names of the cousins I spent time with.

I’ll end this here, with a few more photos from the trip to and from Colorado.

Traveling with my Aunt Ivy – I believe somewhere between Michigan and Colorado
Golden, Colorado – Gravesite of “Buffalo Bill” William F. Cody
Another Classic photo op “Children in front of scenic marker” Participants, Nancy and Leroy Bliven (I believe this is located in South Dakota)
Apparently there were occasional breakdowns on the road to and/or from Colorado. Then again, what’s a vacation without an occasional breakdown?
Another Historical Marker, another Classic picture
You HAVE to take a photo of children in front of markers. Participants: Nancy, Leroy and Chuck
The Majesty of the Rocky Mountains!
Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, Montana
Cemetery at Little BigHorn Battlefield National Momunent
Battlefield photo
Walking the Battlefield. Led by Leroy, then Mom, Nancy , Chuck, Margaret trailed by Dad
“Children in front of beautiful lake” Participants: Nancy and Leroy
If my memory is correct, this is a mountain view of the area in Colorado where we were staying. Supposedly, you can see our trailer from here. I’ve never found it.
Another mountain top view
Somewhere in the Black Hills of South Dakota
Buffalo in the Black Hills
A Family Favorite Spot – Prairie Dog Town. You may not see them, but the field is filled with Prairie Dogs peeking out of their burrows.