So This Happened Today…

April 1, 2016 in Allied Families, Bruce's Family, Helping Others

“…Uncle Rufus George was left to care for great grandMother, until a new home was found and made comfortable. They took a boat at Buffalo, going to Detroit. It was a very slow old fashioned boat, and it took two days and two nights to get to Detroit, and my Mother, who was 15 years old then, was sea sick all the way, and decided that if she ever reached land, she would never go on the water again, and as far as I ever heard, she kept her word. Then they started the long trip Northwest to Newaygo Co. There was only one house where travelers could stay, between Detroit and Grand Rapids. Then they went on

Chapter 3, page 21.
to great uncle Ransome’s home, and in a short time he helped them to find a place for a home. After being there a year, grandmother Surrarrer, went back alone to help her Mother settle up her business, and sell her property, then the three of them came back to the new home on Surrarrer Prairie which had been named for Uncle Ransome. There were other families not far away, and there was a school house, and a grave yard not far from the school house. After a time, a young teacher, Lewis E. Wright came to the town to teach in the country schools. Great grandmother thought he was distantly related to her family, but he told me when he was an old man, that he did not know whether he was or not…”

This story involves people from both sides of my husband’s family, but I didn’t know it when I found it. I was researching Lydia Louise Surrarrer, the 1st wife of a man named Burnett Fulkerson. He and Lydia, whose father was the Ransom mentioned above, divorced and Burnett then married a woman named Eliza Ann Myers. Eliza’s sister, Mary Myers, married a man named Joseph Purcell. Joseph Purcell was the brother of Edward Purcell. Edward Purcell was the father of Donald Purcell. Donald Purcell and a woman named Louise Knapp had a child out of wedlock who was named Phyllis Ann. Phyllis was given up for adoption just after she was born 1929. She was adopted by a family with 9 sons; the mother, Lois Wheeler, wanted a daughter.

The Wheelers lived in Coral, Montcalm County, Michigan. Louise Knapp lived in Howard City, Montcalm County, Michigan. Louise Knapp went on to marry Donald Purcell and have 3 more children before she died in 1935. Phyllis Knapp-now Wheeler- met Jack Knapp, the son of a farmer in Amble, Michigan, which is between Howard City and Coral. When the couple got serious and started talking about marriage, the parents of Jack and Phyllis got in touch with the parents of Louise Knapp to make sure the couple were not related. That’s when Phyllis was told she was adopted and who her mother was. She was not told her father’s name.

Jack Knapp was the son of Hazen Knapp and Zelma Wright. Zelma was the daughter of Guy Wright. Guy was the son of the Lewis E Wright mentioned in the story above.

This is the reason you should research every single member of a family that has anything whatsoever to do with your own ancestors. I knew Lewis Wright was a school teacher and had come to Michigan from New York. I know the names of his parents, but because of the limitations of the census records before 1850, I won’t be able to prove a connection between Lewis and the woman who wrote this story in 1947.

I found the story on Ancestry.  “The Story of the Surrarer Family
Written by Lydia Louise (Boone) Chrichton. Written possibly some time around December 2, 1949. The original rough-graph was written on an envelope [stamped 1947] and writing paper. Originally there were two copies of the story, each with a different version. The editor, Marilyn Lee Wiggins Hale, descendant of the Author of the Surrarer Family, has compiled both copies and made them one story. Completed April 6, 1989.