The Plowman Family: Lide Remembers Mother, part two

August 6, 2009


Mary Eliza "Lide" Plowman

Mary Eliza "Lide" Plowman

Here is Lide Plowman’s account, written in 1922, of her memories of her mother and life in the mid-1800′s.  As in previous posts, the family tree chart is at the end of this post.

Mother occasionally had help for a few days sewing.  We had our first sewing machine, when I was perhaps seventeen.  Mother was glad if I ever made a dress she would not be ashamed to see me wear, I think I succeeded after awhile, as I began to make my own clothes at that time.  She used to make all the buttonholes but later I said I would never ask her to make another until I could make one as good as she.

 She was a good cook and always had aplenty, but people those days did not have the variety, they think they must have now.  It must have been some task to put up school dinners for six or seven, including the teacher.  (Iva, you have a good start!  Pearl)  But I think the children were used to eating what was set before them, better than now.

 It was a busy time in the home from one year’s end to another.  The butchering was a long two or three weeks of hard work.  Six or seven hogs to be tended on the first day; followed by cutting up and packing the side pork, hams and shoulders.  Then the sausage, trying, or rending the lard, watching that nothing spoiled or went to waste.  The hardest part was saving the lard the first day and preparing the refuse for soap grease.

 The children were always anxious to help and it was a picnic for them to blow up the bladders for balloons, and put corn in them to make them rattle, and also to roast the tails over the fireplace.

 Making sugar was another long, cold, hard task, both outdoors and in.  The sap was caught in a wooden spile, that Father made and run in a trough made from half a split tree two feet or more in length and hollowed out by hand.  They gathered some of it in large wooden pails.  They used a sort of yoke fitted over the shoulders with a string and hook coming as low as the hands, so they could steady the pails.

 The sap was boiled down in a cauldron kettle in the woods, and the syrup brought to the house in pails hung on the yoke.  We had to hunt all the pans and pails to stand it in to let it settle, then we strained it through a cloth before making sugar.  Each one who was large enough to handle a ladle, to stir the kettle, to keep it from running over was now standing around the stove.  (Before the stove came it must have been the fireplace, but that is beyond my memory.)  After the first it was not so much fun to help with the sugaring and it took from three to four weeks to make enough sugar to last our family throughout the year.  Later years Mother would buy a loaf of white sugar for extra, shaped like an egg at one end and flat at the other, but I must have been a grown woman before we had any granulated sugar, although we had brown sugar, called muscovado, before this.  Mother would let us have a dish of sugar the first kettle in the morning but after that if we wanted any we had it on a clean chip from the woodpile.

 Later in the spring there was the soap making which took perhaps a week, from the filling of the leach and running off of the lye to making of the soft soap.

 If one would pioneer now, away from the railroads with no autos or telephones, and could only get what could transported a hundred miles through the woods, we would begin to realize what it meant.  Besides making your clothes from cloth you had manufactured, and doing without what you could not raise.  This is the life of the pioneer!

 As I look back, I think we enjoyed what we had, and were just as contented as people are now. 

 Screens were unknown, so at night we gathered in front of the house around a smudge, made of fine chips from the woodpile.  The children ran around and through the smoke to keep from the mosquitoes and with no light in the house we could get quite a good sleep.  At that hour we had our play oh “Hide and Seek” with Mother playing with us. 

 You grandchildren can only remember Mother likely, as a quiet rather sober woman, rather stooped with gray hair, but I can see her as tall and straight with an abundance of black hair, and ready to talk and laugh and have a good time. 

 She and Uncle Lute Jones were always having a lively talk and joking back and forth.  His birthday came on New Year’s Day and they often visited us on that day, and of course he had to have a whipping.  One year Mother whipped him with a long sprout, which he took home with him and cherished as long as he lived.  Aunt Ellen kept it as carefully as he and often spoke of it to me in her last years. 

 Mother’s was the ruling hand as we all found, she was the one to reckon with if we were not good or transgressed the law.  And I being rather stubborn found it out more often than the others.

 Father never complained about the noise the children made, and there must have been some, as you can imagine with three boys, four girls with George, baby (Ezra left for Isabelle County when George was a baby.)  But let us start to quarrel and he would say, “Emily, can’t you keep those children quiet.” 

Plowman Family Tree

Plowman Family Tree


The Plowman Family: Lide Remembers Mother, part one

August 6, 2009


In 1922 Lide Plowman wrote another chapter in her family’s history as she recounted her memories of her mother and other members of the Plowman family.  We will continue to run the family tree chart at the end of the post to help you keep all the people in the story straight.

Last year I told you more of Father and now I shall tell you most of Mother, Emily Crane Plowman.  Father’s name was William Tuttle Plowman and he was always called Tuttle only when his nieces and nephews called him “Uncle Tut.”

 Mother was born in Orange Co., New York, father’s native county, in 1824.  After her mother Elizabeth Crane married Mr. Stidd, who was not kind to her, she went to live with Uncle Sammy and Aunt Sarah Crane.  She was then about three or four.  They first migrated to Ohio and later when Mother was about fourteen to Oakland County, where many of Uncle Sammy’s relatives lived.  Besides his sister, our grandmother, he had brothers Francis, John, Joseph, Aaron, Gilbert (called Gil) and others I do not recall.


Seven of the original eleven Plowman brothers and sisters

Seven of the original eleven Plowman brothers and sisters

They never had any children of their own and took another girl Arminda, who was younger than mother.  They were very good people but were not financially prosperous and always had a hard time to get along, but in spite of this they were willing to care for those who needed help and later took three other children.

 Sometime after Father came to Clinton County, Uncle Sammy and his brother Francis (Abigail’s father), came too.  They settled on what we know as the Trierweiler Farm and Uncle Francis just east of this.  Uncle Francis’ wife’s name was Polexany, Lext for short, and they ate off the same plate!

 When Father was left with three little children his sisters Adeline and Sarah came and stayed with him a year when he and Mother were married.  Uncle Sammy’s were opposed to this for Mother was only nineteen and Father was eleven years older, besides having the three little children. 

 The other girl Arminda married James Randall and lived in Ionia.  He dressed fine and was not a farmer and Uncle Sammy’s quite approved, but it did not turn out so well for he was not so good a provider. 

 Father knew that Uncle Sammy’s did not like him very well, for years later Mother and I found a letter he had written to Arminda, in which he intimated that he was the better man of the two and that Mother had not done so bad after all.  As I remember he had not written to make Arminda feel badly, but anyway it was never sent.

 After Mother and Arminda were married, Uncle Sammy’s not living alone, took his brother Joseph’s three children, Ira, Charlotte, and James.  They were living there as long as I can remember.  I heard that Charlotte was still living the last time I was in Ionia.  I must have been eleven years old when Aunt Sarah died, and they had no one to care for this family. 

 About this time they heard that Grandmother was living in Jackson.  They had not heard from her since they left New York.  Father and Mother went to visit them.  After Aunt Sarah died it was planned for Grandmother, her husband, and Amanda to come take care of and live with Uncle Sammy and the children.  He did not live long and left the forty acres and house to Grandmother, and the forty acres across the road from Father’s farm to the three children, Ira, Charlotte, and James who then went to Ionia where Uncle Francis and other Crane relatives lived.  Mother’s uncles lived in Oakland, a large family of them.  I remember best Uncle John.  We children always called him the rich uncle, with his stovepipe hat and his broadcloth cutaway coat.  He was taken sick at Uncle Sammy’s and died there.  His children as many as nine or ten came to see him and care for him.  They were much at our house as we had more room and Father was a good provider.

 Father and Mother were what we would call thrifty, as they never spent more than they made and accumulated more, so that in later years they had aplenty, although both had been brought up without any extras. 

 It must have been a great change for Mother from a family of four with three women to a family of five with one woman and three little children.  I never heard her complain as the family increased and the added work came to her.  The house was no larger than Uncle Sammy’s, but they soon had a new one with more conveniences with means to furnish what was needed.  They lived in this good log house, which was lathed and plastered on the inside (which was very unusual in those days) until Uncle John Benedict built the new house soon after the Civil War, and is the house which stands on the old farm now.

 When we think of the spinning, weaving, knitting, making, and cooking for the ever increasing family we wonder how one could do it all, and board the teacher too.  Not to speak of the peddlers and tramps who happened along, for Father could never turn anyone away and Mother never complained even when Mr. Slocum came and camped down for three weeks, until I told Father if he didn’t tell him to go I would.  I was about fifteen then.  Then he went to Uncle Ed’s but he sent him on the same night knowing that he was shiftless and would not work.

 The work in such a family as we has kept a woman busy most of the time, where everything we wore was made at home. 

 The things I remember must be about fifteen years after Father came to Clinton County when I was about seven and older.

 We had a hand machine for breaking the flax, a hatchel for removing the straw, and a small wheel for spinning the flax.  But after, I remember, Mother did not weave linen cloth, such as she wore when she was a child.  It might have been she hated it so herself that she could not punish any of us by making us wear it.  She must have gotten the cotton cloth from Detroit and later from DeWitt, Portland, Lyons, or Ionia.

 But she did spin and weave wool cut from our own sheep.  We often had the yarn spun by the McVeigh girls, but Mother wove it, as Till and I are good witnesses, for we handled the piece in as we called it, when Mother drew one thread in at a time in the harnass which took us about half a day.  And we had to keep our eyes right on the threads and watch out for what we called flats; as it made a poor streak in the goods. 

 Then when Mother had it ready to weave, we had to fill the quills.  If this skein of yarn ran smoothly and no snarls in it, it was not much trouble.  The quills were about five inches long, made from elder stalks with the pith cleaned out.  We must have had from fifty to a hundred of these quills so she need not have to wait.  Ezra and Charlie must have helped Mother before we were old enough.  When the quills were most empty we were called to fill them again.  All the yarn used in weaving the cloth had to be wound on these quills, some work you see, for little children.

 This woolen cloth was used to make all the men’s suits, good and everyday, some of the girls clothes, and for bed blankets.  We always had home woven petticoats until I was about sixteen, when we made the last ones for all the girls, called “balmorals” and they were very pretty indeed.  I cannot remember many woolen dresses that I wore of Mother’s weaving.

It was no small job just to spin and knit stockings for such a large family.  We made stockings for Father as long as he lived and he wore long ones too.  I think I must have been twelve years old before I had my first pair of stockings from the store. 

Plowman Family Tree

Plowman Family Tree


The Plowman Family: Lide Remembers Father, conclusion

August 3, 2009


Today we conclude Lide Plowman’s letter in 1921 in which she remembers her father and all the activities of her younger days.   The chart of the family tree is at the bottom of this post.


George Plowman, Lide's brother

George Plowman, Lide's brother

Father was a good manager.  I cannot remember the time when we lacked any of the necessaries, and we had many luxuries.  His motto on which we were raised was “Sell what you do not need to eat”.  So cream, butter and eggs were used as we needed them.

 Father was very handy with tools.  He and Sam Boughton made the loom which we all remember and will acknowledge was well made and substantial, also the warping bars and scarns (I cannot find this word in the dictionary), quill heads and I do not know about the big wheel and reel.

 The house was later lathed and plastered by father, and we had many things our neighbors did without.

 I remember when he took the last load of wheat to Detroit, driving horses, and received 50¢ a bushel.  He brought home worsted checked cloth for mother and grandmother dresses alike.  After that he could get money for it nearer home, so that the trips to Oakland and Detroit were visiting trips.


Sarah Elizabeth "Sate" Plowman, Lide's sister

Sarah Elizabeth "Sate" Plowman, Lide's sister

I went with them when I was eight and Sate [note: Sate was Sarah Elizabeth, JSW] was little, and I had a straw bonnet which made me rather vain.  Uncle George’s was our first stopping place and aunt Mary Brown lived three miles from there.  We had a horse team and stayed in Lansing the first night at the Old’s Hotel.  From Lansing on we had plank (1853) roads and had to pay toll before we could pass the toll gates.

 Father, aunts Eliza and Mary, had quite a good district school education.  He was much interested in learning, and had quite a few books and read the news papers thoroughly.  The New York Tribune was a constant visitor with us.  He took an interest in all the things that helped to make good citizens.  It was a great cross to him when the sight of one eye was injured by a wood chip.

 After that I read the papers to him, which was the year Freemont was running for President, and was beaten by Buchanan (1857).  I got my first taste of politics then, and like it still.  He was always school director and took the Michigan Educational Journal.  It was from this journal that he found the problem for me to solve, which was a study for me for weeks or months.  I give credit to father for stimulating in me a desire for knowledge.

 A hare to shun a gray hound ran full 40 leaps before the dog began.  And for her life so nimbly did she strive, that to his three leaps she gave always five.  But two of his are equal to her three.  To catch the hare, how many leaps made he?

 I finally studied until I proved he could never catch her.  But father thought I must be mistaken.  When I studied algebra I found they sometimes gave problems with negative answers.  I am sure this one problem helped me greatly in my study of mathematics.  [Note:  I agree with Lide.  The dog will never catch the hare.  JSW]

 Father had a great deal to do in running the business of the township.  I do not remember when he was not Justice of the Peace, and the office of Supervisor was about equally divided between him and Moses Bartow.  Mr. Bartow was a democrat with only a few republicans in the township.  But father had the confidence of the people, and many staunch friends among the leaders.  When neighbors had trouble and came to him to try the law on them, he would always talk to them and try to adjust it out of court, while the other justices enjoyed the lawsuits, indeed rather courted them.

 This has been all of father, as most of you do not know of the long ago, but mother would fill as large a paper with all she had to do and faithfulness with which she fulfilled her duties to a large family.

 She lived very near her children and entered into their joys and sorrows as a faithful mother should.  What pleasure it was to have her come out and play “coop” and “Hide and seek” with us.  She had great tact in making work seem play, such as running races at knitting and sewing, and seeing who could shell the most peas.  We were eager to work with her then, and it made work play when we were working with her.

 Our older brother have given her a tribute that any woman might crave, that she was a good a mother to them as an own mother could be.  And we younger children did not know the difference between them and ourselves.  No one ever had better brothers than they, and no mother had better children. 

Plowman Family Tree

Plowman Family Tree











The Plowman Family: Lide Remembers Father, part two

August 2, 2009


Today we continue with Lide Plowman’s memories of her father and life in the Plowman household.  If this is your first visit to this blog, you will want to read part one of this autobiographical story of life in the mid-1800′s in Michigan.  The family tree chart is at the end of today’s post.

Before I can remember, father built a large log house to accommodate the increasing family and used the old one for tools and black salts.  They used black salts to make soda and the like.  A shed on the east end of the house was a work shop.

 The first chimney was built of narrow flat split sticks, laid in plaster and plastered inside and out.  The jambs or sides of the fireplace, built of large stones, were about five feet apart, and spread out toward the front, which made a nice large place for the family to sit around.  The back of the fire place was laid up of stone.  The first hearth I remember was of brick, but at first it was likely of stone.

 The wood we burned would be a wonder to children now.  The body of the trees were drawn to the house by hooking a chain around the larger end, and the other end of the chain hooked into the ox yoke.  A 12” to 16” log chopped into four foot lengths served for a back log, while a log 6” or 8” thick served for a top stick.  This made the foundation of the fire, after which kindling was placed under, and smaller sticks piled between.

 You will wonder how these large logs were brought in.  We were never without a stout large home made sled with four posts.  The large log was rolled on to it and the stakes put in place, with one boy drawing and one behind pushing, it was brought in before the fire place.  Then with a boy at each end it was put in place.  Then another load for top and fore stick.

 The kindling was placed on “live coals” and the small wood put on top.  We never let the fire go out, for in those days we had no matches, and the only way to start a fire was by the use a flint or to borrow from the neighbors.  I myself remember going over the crick to Uncle Sammy’s with a little shovel to borrow fire.

 You who have never seen such a fire have no idea of the heat and light it afforded.  A candle was not needed to read by and we were all comfortable, if we were not too close.  I wish I could tell you the pleasure we had in watching the fire, seeing the flames and the sparks fly up and coals fall, and the many queer and fanciful shapes fashioned by it all.  It would take a post to do this justice, and we’ll let Till and Sate help us out.

 The great bed of coals served to cook our meals.  A long shovel was used to draw out enough coals to fry a large spider of meat.  The spider had three legs and set over the coals.  A crane hung and swung in the chimney supplied with iron hooks on which to hang kettles, for vegetables, meat and an iron tea kettle, when the fire was low the hooks were hooked in to each other to bring the kettles near the fire.

 Bread was baked in a tin oven set before the fire, and over the coals.  This oven looked something like a leanto, set back from the house, with a place for the dripper where the upper floor would be.  The bright tin of the roof helped to brown the top of the bread, while the coals browned the bottom.  This dripper must have been about 10” by 24” and was the one grandmother Plowman (Emily Crane’s mother) used for pumpkin pies for the boys, when Father and Mother went to Oakland.  I have heard Ezra and Charlie and Saron say they asked for a pie thick enough that when they bit into it it would touch their noses.

 I can just remember when father brought home the first stove.  I must have been about 6 or 7 years old.  This stove was never a good baker, so our bread was still baked in front of the fire or in the outdoor oven until the elevated oven came in to our home, when I was maybe 12 or 14.  Even after that, mother during harvest would bake 15 loaves of bread and pies in the outdoor brick oven, which had taken the place of the mud oven.  I wonder if George or Lute remember splitting oven wood for mother?  It was not a job the boys liked.

 Bringing in of the night wood was a job for two boys and the sled.  We had a shut-in stairway which was an unusual thing in the new country, as a hole in the chamber and ladder running up to it was the usual thing.  Between this stairway and the fire place was a space about 4 feet wide at the bottom and running up narrower.  I have no idea how many sled loads of wood it took to fill this space, likely one fourth cord.

 The fireplace was a cheerful, comfortable place for the family to gather to talk over the days doings, with mother and sisters knitting (mother did not spin and weave much after I can well remember, although Till and I helped her some.)  Father reading or finishing off an ax helve, of which each of the boys had their own, some righthanded, and some left, to suit the boy.  They were first shaped with a draw shave, then smoothed with a pocket knife, then scraped with a piece of window glass and rubbed with fine sandpaper until smooth as a piece of glass.  No one could make a better one than father.

 Can any of you remember our brothers sitting facing each other straddle a flat iron shovel handle, placed on their chairs, with a bushel basket between them, shelling corn (on the handle)?  Not for the chickens and geese.  Oh! No.  That was a daily job for the smaller ones; but to make meal for food for the family, and some of the animals.  (How I should like some for my Christmas present, we never have any now so good). 






Plowman Family Tree

Plowman Family Tree




The Plowman Family: Lide Remembers Father, part one

August 1, 2009
Mary Eliza "Lide" Plowman

Mary Eliza "Lide" Plowman

According to her grandson Mark Andrews, the following is a letter written in late 1921 by Mary Eliza Plowman Benedict and directed to the PLOWMAN CHRISTMAS TREE.  Mary Eliza, better known as “Lide,” wrote from the home of her daughter Pearl Jones in Brooklyn, New York.

 I am going back to the time when our father went from Oakland Co. Michigan, to Orange Co. NY, where he was born Feb. 20 1813 (Wm. Tuttle Plowman) to get his first wife Mary Ann Potts.  This was in 1833.  He told me about it one night in 1866, when I was sitting up to watch for the meteoric shower.  He said he was in N. Y. state and going home from seeing Mary Ann Potts when the heavens seemed to be falling.  It was a wonderful sight!  I was not rewarded, however, for my watching and learned later that the “shower” was not visible in Michigan.

 Father and his first wife lived in Oakland on rented farms, working by the month until Ezra was born in 1834.  They had oxen and other things for settling on a new farm, and Sam Boughton and wife Kiziah or Jane E., father’s cousin, and two other families came with them to Westphalia.  There were only six families in the township (36 square miles) at that time.  It was not an unusual thing for bears to be looking for some of their live stock.

 Father built his first log house and began to clear the land, when one of his oxen was killed by a falling tree.  This made it necessary for them to go back to Oakland Co., and make a new start.  Charlie was born there in 1837 and they probably came back to Westphalia in ’40 or ’41.  Saron was born in 1842, and father was left with three little children (Mary Ann Potts died in childbirth).

 Aunt Adaline came from Oakland Co. to care for them, and Aunt Sarah came for company and help (they were about 13 and 19 years old).  [Note: Adaline and Sarah are William’s sisters.  See the chart.  JSW]  You can realize something what it meant when their only mode of travel was an ox team, through woods, and all the disadvantages of a new country.  But they came and I think Aunt Adaline always had a tender spot in her heart for Saron, and who could blame her.

 In 1843 father married our mother, (Emily Crane) who lived with her uncle Sammy Crane.  He had moved to Westphalia about the time father did.  His brother Francis Crane (Abagail’s father) lived just east of the Casper farm.

 Father was an enterprising, energetic man.  He soon had a large apple orchard, and the peaches, plums and cherries we had when I was a child were larger and better than Clinton Co. can offer now.  I could not have been more than seven or eight then.

 The four and six gallon crocks of peach and plum preserves made with maple sugar would be a wonder to you now.  All from their own labor and no money expenses.  When I was about sixteen I tried to can fruit in a crock by sealing it over with a mixture of resin, beeswax and lard.  But my first attempt failed, although “Met” had been able to keep it this way.  (Met – Luna’s mother).  [Note:  "Met" is Mariette, Charles Nelson Plowman's wife, JSW]  It was just after this that glass cans began to be used.

 The only thing they could sell for money was “black salts” made from the ashes they gathered where they had burned the log heaps in clearing the land.  The leaches would hold six or eight barrels of Ashes, and with a dozen leaches to run off, they took some water.  The Lye was boiled down to a shiny black sticky mass.  When it was ready for sale, which was a real blessing as it supplied the necessaries they could not produce from the soil (Lute collected it in hollowed out logs).  Lyons or Ionia was the place of sale.  The land office was at Ionia so that was an important town.

 This was a real pioneer’s life (would you like it?) 

Plowman Family Tree

Plowman Family Tree


The Plowman Family, Introduction

July 29, 2009
William Tuthill Plowman

William Tuthill Plowman


I am beginning a series of posts on the Plowman family in Wacousta, Michigan and Clinton County.  I have uploaded a genealogical file William Tuthill Plowman Descendants to to share the information that I have.  If you are not a subscriber to ancestry .com, you can get a 14 day free trial; or, if you e-mail me at,  I can provide a guest membership for this file.  I have decent records up until about 1975 when the last reunion that I am aware of was held.  Since then, I only have information on my immediate family.  I would be very pleased to establish contact with other Plowmans or descendants and bring these records up to date. 

Emily Crane Plowman

Emily Crane Plowman

William Tuthill Plowman was born in Oakland County, Michigan in 1813.  He and his first wife, Mary Ann Potts, settled in Westphalia, Clinton County, Michigan around 1840.  Mary Ann died in childbirth with her third child.  William then married Emily Crane and had eight more children.  The Plowmans were to play a major role in the development of Clinton County.  Most of the 11 children settled in Clinton County and raised their families.  Their many children were very close and there was much interaction among the cousins. 

The Plowman brothers and sisters, ca 1880.

The Plowman brothers and sisters, ca 1880.

In the family photo above, Lide (the author of the stories about her family, is on the far left of the back row.  Don’t be fooled by the somber faces in the photographs.  This was a family who enjoyed life and one another, as will be evident as you read about their adventures.

In 1874, the first Plowman Christmas Tree was held. This became an annual event and was a family reunion.  Significant formal planning went into the event.  Officers were elected, and the menu and entertainment were planned.  The Christmas Tree continued until at least 1936.  Several  other reunions were held later. 

In 1921, Mary Eliza “Lide” Plowman Benedict, wrote a letter of her memories to be read at the Christmas Tree.  In subsequent years, she wrote at least four more letters for later trees.  These letters provide a wonderful look at the family and their history.  They are quite long so I am planning to divide them into several posts each.

Because of the size of the families, it is difficult to keep track of all the people.  Below is a chart that will help as you read Aunt Lide’s fascinating narratives.  The chart will be repeated in future posts, so there is no need to memorize the names!

The Plowman Family Tree

The Plowman Family Tree

Mary Deone Daniells Winegar, 1910-2003

July 26, 2009
Mary Daniells Winegar

Mary Daniells Winegar

Mary Deone Daniells was born on her parents’ ranch near Mercedes, Texas.  Her grandmother, Dora Bliss helped with her delivery.  The house in the picture is the house where she was born.  Her parents, W.C. and Iva Daniells, were proud of their new glass window that they got before Mary was born.  Her middle name is the name of one of her mother’s closest friends, Deone Oppenlander.

House in Mercedes, Texas, where Mary was born.

House in Mercedes, Texas, where Mary was born.

When she was about six months old, the Daniells family moved to Chicago and, about 18 months later, to Watertown Township near Wacousta.  Except for her third grade year, Mary and her sisters attended Watertown Center School until she completed eighth grade.  The family spent her third grade year in Tavares, Florida.

This is the school Mary attended.  Mary and her two sisters, Dora and Betty, are among the children pictured.

This is the school Mary attended. Mary and her two sisters, Dora and Betty, are among the children pictured.

In 1923, the family moved to Eustis, Florida, where Mary graduated from high school.  She enrolled in Florida State College for Woman in Tallahassee.  Money was scarce during the depression, and she worked in the school lunch room and supplemented her income by darning silk stockings.  Her mother assisted by taking in teachers and also repairing stockings.  At the end of her junior year, Mary moved back to Michigan to live with her grandparents and completed her last year at Albion College.

Her first teaching job was at the Everett School in Lansing.  She taught first and second grade.  Then she taught for two years in Grand Ledge, Michigan, where she taught first and second grade music, Jr. High music, and ninth grade grammar and literature.

Donald Winegar and Mary grew up attending the same church in Wacousta and knew each other slightly.  They attended different schools and really had little contact other than at church.  In 1928 the Daniells family visited Michigan during the summer.  She attended the Epworth League at the church.  It was decided that there should be a debate.  Nina Winegar, Don’s older sister, and the minister’s son were the negative side, Mary and Don became the affirmative side.  Mary doesn’t remember what the topic was, but she remembers that she and Don won.  This was the first time that they saw themselves as a couple.  They were married 10 years later.

Bass Lake cottage where Mary and Don honeymooned in 1938.

Bass Lake cottage where Mary and Don honeymooned in 1938.

Don and Mary spent their honeymoon at the lake cottage near Greenville, Michigan, built by Orla and Kate Bailey around 1932.  Kate Bailey was a cousin of Iva Daniells, Mary’s mother.  The Winegar family loved Bass Lake and the cottage so much that 22 years later, Kate insisted that they should have it and arranged an open ended loan that allowed them to pay it off as they were able.  Many years later after the death of Mary, her son Jim bought out his brother and sisters and now owns the cottage.

The Winegar family in 1987: left to right, Mary E., Carl, Mary D., Don, Jim, and Donna.  This is one of the last pictures made of the entire family.

The Winegar family in 1987: left to right, Mary E., Carl, Mary D., Don, Jim, and Donna. This is one of the last pictures made of the entire family.

After their marriage, Mary worked full time as a minister’s wife and a mother of four.  They had twin daughters and two sons. They were:

  • Donna Lorraine, b. 1939
  • Mary Elaine, b. 1939
  • James Steven, b. 1944
  • Carleton David, b. 1952

After Donald’s death, Mary moved to Bishop’s Glen retirement home in Holly Hill, Florida.  She and her sister Eleanor had apartments on the same floor.  As Mary’s health declined, Eleanor played a major role in her care.  Mary passed away in 2003 in Holly Hill, Florida.  Mary and Donald are buried in Wacousta Cemetery.  Eleanor Daniells, the last remaining of the five Daniells sisters, died in 2008 and is also buried in Wacousta Cemetery.

Donald Stephenson Winegar, 1909-1987

July 24, 2009


Donald S. Winegar

Donald S. Winegar

The following is an autobiography written in 1972 by Donald Winegar:

I was born in the little town of Wacousta, Clinton County, Michigan, twelve miles northwest of Lansing, in the house which had been built by the great grandfather of the girl who was to become my wife.  N. I. Daniells as he was called built the house to serve as a courtroom for his Justice of the Peace Court.  The living quarters was a twenty-one foot square room with a pantry taken out of the northwest corner next to the kitchen.

Wacousta School graduating class of 1926: left to right back row - Larry Arthur, Charles Main, Donald Winegar; seated - Vera Jones.

Wacousta School graduating class of 1926: left to right back row - Larry Arthur, Charles Main, Donald Winegar; seated - Vera Jones.

I attended the public school located two blocks from our farm home.  Farm chores and a paper route kept me busy for a good share of the time.  As my parents were active members of the Wacousta Methodist Community Church, I was brought up in the faith, and in my teens took a very active part in the youth program which was called in those days the Epworth League.  These experiences of Epworth League Institute at Albion College served to turn my attention to the possibility of going into full time religious work.

Upon graduating from the 10th grade high school in Wacousta, my sister Esther and I attended Central High School in Lansing, Michigan where we graduated in 1928 in a class of 286 students, quite a contrast to the graduating class two years before of four students in the class at Wacousta.

Don Winegar on his Harley.

Don Winegar on his Harley.

A job of selling bottled milk in the Motor Wheel shop became a stepping stone to getting a more profitable job on the assembly line.  Times were good and the desire to earn money for further education became the main objective.  Then came the “bust “ of 1930 and the depression that followed.  I was laid off at the Motor Wheel and there followed a series of jobs to keep busy: work in a store in Wacousta, a cemetery, work on the road for the township, day labor for farmers during the summer harvest for $1 a day, an 11 month jaunt to the West Coast where I picked apples in Washington, and later a job in a Piggley Wiggley in California where I lived with my cousin, Ellis Wood and his wife.  While living with them, I had my Harley Davidson crated up and sent to me from Wacousta.  The depression hit California in the winter of 1931 and I lost my job again.  In June of that year, I strapped all my worldly goods on my motorcycle and started for Michigan via the southern route.  This 3000 mile trip was accomplished in six sweltering days.

That fall because work was still scarce, I enlisted in the Civilian Conservation Corp and went to Camp No. 689 at Shingleton in the upper peninsula near Munusing and Lake Superior and the pictured rocks.

In March of 1932, George Bateman, a farmer in Watertown Township asked me to work for him by the month.  With the promise of work, I left the C. C. C. and went home again.  My wages were $15 a month, room and board in winter, and $20 a month in summer.

The Herman Bliss farm was located but a half mile from the Bateman farm and their granddaughter Mary Daniells who had then returned to Michigan, attended the Wacousta Methodist Church with her grandparents.  Our friendship was encouraged to grow.

Don Winegar BenchFor a number of years, I had had a feeling that I was not yet doing the work which I had been brought into the world to perform.  After consulting with some minister friends, I decided to enter the Christian ministry.  That decision behind me, I had to secure the necessary educational foundation.  A local preacher’s license from my home church at Wacousta was the first step.  Admission year work at the Conference Course of Study was the next step.

Finally, in September, 1936, I was appointed to a three point charge in the Michigan Conference of the Methodist Church.  I served Price, Green Bush and Fowler Methodist Churches for the next nine months, going part time to college at East Lansing.  It was during this nine months that the friendship between Mary Daniells and I began to deepen.

In June of 1937 I was appointed to the single point charge of Howard City, Michigan.  I attended Central Michigan College at Mt. Pleasant during the school year, coming home weekends to do the work of the church.

Donald Winegar and Mary Daniells wedding, 1938.

Donald Winegar and Mary Daniells wedding, 1938.

It was in the following year of 1938, that Mary and I were married, August 25 at the Bliss House [Note: the Pivot, JSW] in Watertown Township.

October 18, 1939 twin girls were born in the parsonage at Howard City.  With the husband and father in school during the week and church and family responsibilities on the week end, it was a busy life.  Mary was left alone during the week to cope with the problems of a family and a needy church.

I graduated from college in June of 1942.  Seminary lay ahead.  World War II was going full speed ahead.  Tires were difficult to get as was gasoline which was rationed.  In June, 1942, the Conference appointed me at Centreville and Nottawa Methodist Churches in St. Josephs County, Michigan.

There followed five busy years there.  I entered Garrett Seminary in the winter of 1943, commuting each week end to take up the work of the family and the parish.  A son, James was born March 17, 1944.  Three years in Seminary was at last completed with graduation in the spring of 1947.  Seven Years of higher education had been completed in ten years.

In June, the Conference appointed me to Bellevue and Kalamo Methodist Churches in Eaton County.  Three years later, we were moved to Ithaca, a single church situation.  It was there that Carleton was born October, 23, 1952.  June of 1956 saw us moving again, this time to Eaton Rapids, Michigan.

In June of 1960, the family was extremely busy.  The two daughters Donna and Mary were married — Donna in Eaton Rapids and Mary in Ithaca.  During the same month, we moved to Urbandale Church in Battle Creek, Michigan.

After six very busy years the family moved to Clare to service the Clare United Methodist Church.


Donald wrote this autobiography in 1972.  In June of that year he had a heart attack and was unable to continue preaching.  In December, he and Mary moved to Daytona Beach, Florida.  After several years, he recovered so that he was able to be on the staff of the Community United Methodist Church in Daytona Beach.  He did a lot of calling on shut-ins or hospitalized members.  During these years, he devoted a great deal of time to genealogy and family history.  The Stephenson and Winegar records reported in this project are only a small portion of the data he collected.He had open heart surgery in 1984 and died of a stroke April 4, 1987.

The Bliss – Daniells Wedding, August 14, 1907

July 23, 2009
The Plowman family members who attended the Bliss-Daniells wedding.

The Plowman family members who attended the Bliss-Daniells wedding.


Following is the newspaper account of the wedding of Iva Bliss and W.C. Daniells.  Although I have the actual clipping, the name of the newspaper and date of the article is not on the clipping.  Group pictures were taken of the attendees and of the Plowman family by Estee Daniells, brother of the groom.  Both photographs are in the possession of Jim Winegar, the one of all the guests hanging over the mantle in his Michigan lake cottage.

The newspaper account reads:

The event of last week was the Daniells-Bliss wedding, which occurred on Wednesday at noon, every feature of which was the most auspicious possible, not a single occurrence to mar the flow of geniality and good spirits.  One hundred and thirty-five guests were present to witness the ceremony, which was the short ring service, performed most impressively by Rev. Dr. DeLamarter, of Lansing, assisted by the M. E. pastor, Rev. D. A. Rood.  The bridal party consisted of Miss Hazel Field, maid of honor; and Mr. Rex Plowman, best man, both cousins of the bride, the Misses Pearl Benedict, Lora Cooley and Deone Lee, bridesmaids, and Messrs. King Lee and Roy Rice, groomsmen, little Miss Bailey, of Lansing, flower girl, Paul Maier, ring bearer, with Mrs. Cooley at the piano, who rendered Mendelssohn’s wedding march.  They marched from an upper room in the usual manner, the bride coming last, leaning upon the arm of her father, and stood in front of a bank of ferns and water lilies, the bridal couple standing under a beautiful bell composed of sweet peas.  All the decorations were by an uncle of the bride, Mr. George Plowman, a florist of Iron Mountain, Upper Peninsula.  The bride was attired in a dress of lace net, elaborately embroidered with darned work, and made over white silk, all the labor and gift of her mother, and carried a shower bouquet of beautiful pink and white roses.  Congratulations followed the ceremony, and soon after all were summoned to an elaborate six course dinner, the preparation and serving of which would have done honor to a professional caterer.  The dining hall consisted of a large tent spread on the lawn west of the house, and was screened from the sun and street by a woven wire fence set upon the north and west sides, and thatched with wild rice seven feet high, making a decorative as well as effectual screen.  Occasionally during the dinner Rex Plowman entertained the guests by singing the verses of an original poem enlarging upon the “beauties” of the groom’s new farm in the Texas gulf country, in which cotton, cactus, mesquite, Texas rattlers, and other characteristics were touched upon in a manner peculiarly his own.  Later Miss Pearl Benedict sang magnificently several with the bride as accompanist.  Mr. Frank Andrews sang the laughing song so effectually that all his audience joined in the chorus by compulsion.  Rex Plowman recited dramatically several selections, and Mrs. Frank Andrews sang several songs, in one of which her sister, Miss Pearl, joined.  Estee Daniells photographed several groups, one of the families of Daniells’ relatives, one of the Plowman’s and branches, and one of the remainder of the guests.  It was a most genial company, every one seeking the pleasure of the rest, which is the height of entertainment.

Among the guests from out of town were, Mr. and Mrs. George Plowman, of Iron Mountain, U.P., and son Rex; Mrs. Barbara Plowman, of Isabella county; Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Plowman, and Mr. and Mrs. B.B. Smith of Alma; Rev. Dr. and Mrs. DeLamarter, Mr. and Mrs. Del Field, daughter and son; Mr. and Mrs. Bailey and daughter; Mr. and Mrs. W.H. Hodges, Mr. and Mrs. Carl Hodges, Dr. and Mrs. T.M. Sanford, Mrs. Sarah Daniels, Mr. Sidney Bliss, and Mr. and Mrs. Earl Bliss of Lansing; Mr. and Mrs. E. S. Daniells of London, England; Mr. and Mrs. Allan L. Daniells, Chicago; Dr. and Mrs. Ralph P. Daniells, Toledo, O.; Mr. and Mrs. E. B. Escott and Miss Laura Escott, Grand Rapids, Mrs. Mary A. Bearmore and Mrs. Sarah Corey, of Brooklyn, New York; Mr. Knight of Elsie; and Mrs. Josenhans, a friend from Ypsilanti, and the others were from home and near-by towns.

About 5 o’clock p.m. a large hayrack well cushioned with hay appeared and was quickly loaded to the edge, a broom from which was suspended old shoes, their ensign, and the march taken up for the village.  At every house greetings and their yells were given – “Married, married, yes, they are; the bride and groom are going afar; hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah! Boom!” and a song sung which usually brought responses and congratulations.  At Daniells & Cooley’s store a shower of peanuts was rained upon them, and at Douglas’ a shower of candy kisses.

The wedding gifts were many and valuable, beautiful and useful.  The couple left for their Texas home Friday afternoon and were accompanied by several carriage loads of friends to the train at Grand Ledge, where they were sent away amid the usual showers of rice, etc., and many adieus and blessings.

They stopped over a few hours at Grand Rapids, taking supper with Mrs. C.A. Wall, an aunt of the groom, and will stop a few days in Chicago, and few days with the groom’s parents in Fort Worth, Texas.

The Daniells in the 1900s

July 22, 2009


Will Carleton Daniells, 1882-1973

W.C. Daniells

W.C. Daniells

Will Carleton was born in Wacousta in 1882 and graduated from the Wacousta 10th grade school in 1901 in the same class with Iva Bliss.  The following day, he left for New York where he went to work for Ingersoll Watch, testing 2500 watches per day at $9 per week.  He followed his older brothers Estee and Allan in working for Ingersoll.  In 1902, he went to Fort Worth, Texas, to Draughon’s Business College.  

W.C.'s Diploma from 10th grade in 1901.

W.C.'s Diploma from 10th grade in 1901.

He graduated in 1903 and moved to Chicago where he worked for his brother, Estee, as a shipping clerk at Ingersoll.  He held that job until 1906.  He also worked at the Auditorium nights and was head usher for Gonzales Church when he injured his knee in a fall on the stairs.

Graduation of Will Careleton Daniells and Iva Bliss in 1901.  W.C. is center back row, Iva is far right, front row.

Graduation of Will Careleton Daniells and Iva Bliss in 1901. W.C. is center back row, Iva is far right, front row.

W.C., as he was often known, purchased 40 acres of the King Ranch, Kingsville, Texas, and went there in the spring of 1906.  After a year there, he returned to Wacousta long enough to marry Iva Bliss at her family’s farm, “the Pivot”.  The wedding was quite a social event in Wacousta, and more will be described about the wedding in the next posting.

The Daniells home in Mercedes, Texas.

The Daniells home in Mercedes, Texas.


The couple spent two years at Santa Maria, Texas, two miles from the Rio Grande, growing cabbages, beans and onions and then two years at Mercedes, Texas.  Mary Daniells was born in Mercedes, the only one of the five daughters not born at the Pivot.  By the time of her birth, Will and Iva had prospered enough to be able to purchase a glass window for their house.   During the family’s time in Texas, Iva maintained a regular correspondence with her mother in Michigan.  Those post cards are in the possession of Jim Winegar.

Iva and W.C. in Texas

Iva and W.C. in Texas

In 1911, the family moved back to Chicago where Will worked for his brother Allan.  From 1915-1916, he was in Tavares, Florida, developing groves for D.B. and W. at Lake Harris.  He sold watches part time in Florida and South Georgia.  In 1919, he was called to New York by his brother Allan to run the watch service bureau.  He alternated between New York and Florida.  Iva and the four daughters returned to Wacousta during this time, soon to be joined by a fifth daughter in the same year.  In 1923, W.C. purchased a home in Eustis, Florida, and the family rejoined him.

Don't mess with Iva!

Don't mess with Iva!

Will spent the rest of his career involved with citrus. Working with Frank Savage, he developed the tangelo, a cross between the tangerine and the grapefruit.  He became known as the “Tangelo King of Florida” and, at one time, owned the largest acreage of tangelos in the world.  He was known as a businessman of upmost integrity and honesty. He died in Eustis in 1973. 



Iva Bliss Daniells, 1884-1946 

Iva was born in Riley Township, Clinton County, Michigan, and later moved with her parents to Watertown Township, near Wacousta.  She was an only child but grew up close to many cousins.  One of her best friends was Deone Oppenlander, for whom she named her daughter Mary Deone.  Iva graduated from the Wacousta School in 1901, along with W.C. Daniells, her future husband.  She attended Michigan State Normal College at Ypsilanti for two years and then taught at the Simmons district school and at New Baltimore.  She was a
Iva Bliss Daniells and her daughters.

Iva Bliss Daniells and her daughters.

very able musician (pianist, accompanist, member of vocal quartet) and a leader in community affairs.  She was president of the Lake County, Florida, PTA, active in church work, and involved in the Eustis, Florida, PEO.  She saw to it that all five daughters got through college during the Great Depression.  After a two-year fight against cancer, she died at the Pivot in 1946.


The five daughters of W.C. and Iva Daniells were:

  • Dora Katherine
  • Mary Deone
  • Estella Elizabeth (Betty)
  • Eleanor Grace
  • Iva Georgean (Jean)



The Daniells home in Eustis, Florida.
The Daniells home in Eustis, Florida.


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