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.

Winegars in the 1900s

July 21, 2009


Edwin Ashbel Winegar, 1873-1946

Edd and Myrtie Winegar on their wedding day.

Edd and Myrtie Winegar on their wedding day.

Edwin Ashbel was born in Vergennes Township, near Lowell, Michigan.  In 1879, his father, Ashbel, died leaving his mother, Mary Rease Roberts, with four young sons and no one to help raise them.  In 1883, she moved back to New York to live with her sister.  She died in 1889.

The next record we have of is of Edwin aged 16 and his younger brother Ira age 14, living in Clinton County, Michigan with a Howe family.  According to Howe records, the boys were orphaned and found shelter in an unused shack.  Fred Howe felt this was not a proper place for the young boys and took Edd in.  Ira went to live with Fred’s brother Rozelle.  Edd worked for room, board and school and became a member of the family.  A young son of the Howe’s reports on how he cried when he learned that Edd was not his brother.  Edd stayed with the Howe family until he was ready to attend Michigan Agricultural College and learn the dairy business.

The Howe home was not far from the Edward W. Stephenson farm and he became acquainted with the Stephenson sisters, Bertha and Myrtie.  At first, he courted Bertha until Myrtie was old enough to date.  He and Myrtie were married in 1900 at the bride’s home.

Edd worked for a short time in a creamery then worked on a farm until he could afford to buy his own.  He purchased a small farm in Wacousta, a small town of 150 inhabitants.  Across the street was a creamery, and he ran that as well as farming.  The house they lived in had been built by Nathaniel Irish Daniells, the great, great, grandfather of Mary Winegar whom Donald Winegar would later marry.  N.I. Daniells had his office as Justice of the Peace in the house.  Demand for the creamery fell off, and Edd turned to farming full time.

Edd’s son Donald Winegar writes:

Dad had a very good mind and was a great reader, always trying to improve his knowledge.  He worked hard and faithfully.  He was honest as the day was long.  I never heard my father swear or say anything that could not be used in mixed company.  His favorite expression when perplexed or exasperated was ‘Oh, Shaw.’‘

But for all his goodness, he had one failing.  He was not a good manager, nor was he of mechanical mind, both qualities that a farmer should possess.  He ‘toggled up’ machinery, harnesses, buildings and the like.  Many people who knew him best, said he was out of his element as a farmer.  He should have been a teacher, for he was a good one.  But this I can say for him, in spite of his inadequacies, he kept on keeping on.  He didn’t give his children property nor money; he gave them the legacy of a good name.

Dad was a Christian.  From earliest memory, he was faithful in things of his faith.  He was a good churchman.  He was faithful in attendance and in giving.  He lived his faith seven days a week.

For several years, Dad was postmaster of the little community of Wacousta.  Progress dictated, however, that the post office be eliminated and the people of Wacousta put on rural routes.  I can still remember people coming to the office, which was in a small room in the southeast corner of the house.

Dad wanted his children to have a high school education.  Because Wacousta had only a ten grade school, this meant that the other two years had to be gotten elsewhere.  This took money, in fact more money than dad and mother could afford.  But they managed by paying for their children’s education rather than paying off the mortgage on the farm.

After my grandfather, E. W. Stephenson, died in 1931, his farm was divided between his two daughters, and as one part of the farm had a tenant house, my folks fixed up the old house and moved in.  The old farm in Wacousta was allowed to go for its mortgage.  The man who took over the mortgage discovered he had gravel on the property. Dad had made tests before but not at the right locations.  The first year the pit was in operation, the owner realized $6000 in profit.  But such is life!

Edd continued to farm until age 72 when he had to retire because of illness.  He died of cancer of the stomach in 1946.


Myrtie Louisa Stephenson, 1880-1954

Edd and Myrtie Winegar in later years.

Edd and Myrtie Winegar in later years.

Myrtie was born in Wacousta in 1880.  She and her sister Bertha were very close and remained so for all of their lives.  According to Donald Winegar, she and her husband rarely spoke of their early life, and he knew very little of their past.  Myrtie had rheumatic fever as a child and was left with a bad heart.  She could do a lot of work but occasionally had to rest her heart.  During those times, the children had to help with all the heavy work.  Donald remembers that his work included churning butter and pumping the washing machine in the back room.

Donald writes:

In many ways, it was a hard life for my mother.  Money was always scarce and she rarely spent money for clothes for herself.  Things for the home to make her work easier had to pushed aside until another time.  She, too, was determined that her children should have a high school education, something she did not have.  For years, she dreamed that things would be better someday.

Through it all, she was sustained by her Christian faith.  She tried to be a good mother.  She wanted her children to have the best possible life.”

When mother and Dad decided to move to the new location, give up the mortgage on the Wacousta farm, and start again free and clear of debt, they fell to with a will, making the house liveable and the barn ready for horses, cows and chickens. I  don’t know when I ever saw her as happy and carefree.  At last, they had a place which belonged to them.  She took delight in making plans for the days to come.  She sang at her work and seemed to take a whole new lease on life.

When Edd died in 1946, Myrtie lived with her children for a number of years.  Ill health and the fact that she could not bear the confusion of her grandchildren any more led her to enter Clark Home in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1953.  She died the following year of hardening of the arteries of the brain.

Myrtie had a hard life.  Donald Winegar ends his biography of his mother with the following:

 They are born; they live,

They struggle; they die.

But this in no way fills in the chinks of life — its dreams, its hopes, its failings, its joys and its sorrows.  What mortal can know what it means to live, to struggle, and to die?  But we believe that God knows and remembers.  Praise be to God!  Amen.

Edd and Myrtie Winegar had six children.  Nina Irene died of tuberculosis shortly before she would have graduated from Michigan State.  Mary Louise died in infancy.  Other children were Esther Alta, Donald Stephenson (my father), William Edwin Ashbel, and Paul Ray.  Below is one of the few pictures ever made of the entire family.

The Edd Winegar Family, from left to right: Edd, Bill, Myrtie, Paul, Nina, Esther, and Donald.

The Edd Winegar Family, from left to right: Edd, Bill, Myrtie, Paul, Nina, Esther, and Donald.

The Pivot Burns

July 20, 2009

The story of the fire that consumed the Bliss house, “The Pivot,”  in 1911 was told in a letter from Bel Maier to her cousins: 

Bel Gensterblum Maier

Bel Gensterblum Maier


 March 14, 1911

 Dear cousins,

The Pivot

The Pivot





               So you want to know how it all came about.  Well, Uncle Herman and Aunt Dora were eating dinner, just begun, had parsnips and apple grunt with sweetened milk, and warm biscuits.  The grunt was still in the oven, where it still reposes, the range being down in the cistern, bottom side up.  Something dropped past the south window, and they went to see what, and it proved to be a piece of cornice on fire.  Herman started for the pig-pen where the ladder was, and Dora to the telephone.  Erma and Mrs. D. Lowell were talking.  She asked for the line to turn in the alarm, and of course both women went to tell the men.  Uncle C.N. and George were in the front yard, went for pails and started at once.  A man by the name of Parks was going by with a load of lumber, and he ran his horses until one laid down when they stopped at Blisses’.  The man Parks was good help they all say.  Mrs. D. Lowell saw Openlander feeding sheep by his west barn and told him.  He started on foot.  When he reached the corner, a funeral procession was passing (a lady over in Mr. Goodnoe’s neighborhood, Crofts), and the M.E. preacher was at the head.  He took in Mr. Openlander and they both came.  (Preacher went back later and did the ceremony.)

            I, like a miserable unfortunate, had gone to spend the forenoon at school, and Hazle Daniells was with me.  Jake had a man setting up a manure spreader, and Ma had dinner ready and waiting.  In some way, she doesn’t exactly know how, she saw some smoke and thought the Bliss house was on fire.  In the mean time Dora had told Erma to call other lines, and she left the phone and rang the dinner bell.  Our folks had not heard the fire alarm, and thought nothing of the dinner bell at noon, so did not know until they saw smoke.  Well Ma said, Jake, I guess Blisses’ house is on fire.  He looked and said for Heaven’s sake, and made a dive for the extinguisher.  Ma thought he was crazy to come into the house instead of taking a bee line for Blisses’.  Next Mr. Corey came out of the barn, thinking as he said that Jake was crazy as he saw him make a dive for the house.  Ma yelled at him and he too started for Blisses’ on the run.  Mrs. Loomis and Della were sitting in their front window, and they saw Jake and Corey run, and went to the west window to see what they were after and discovered the fire.  (I have been at this long enough to burn up several houses, and Rices and my poor miserable self haven’t got there yet.)  Well Eddie saw uncle C.N. and George race out with pails and went and did likewise thinking there must be fire somewhere, and when he reached the road saw where.

            Now to myself.  I had Fan untied and was taking off my blanket when one of Tom’s mill men came by and said Blisses’ house is on fire.  I looked up and saw a little smoke, said something expressive, jumped in and tried to hurry Fan, but seemed as if walking would be faster, so took out the whip and soon had the little lady laying straight.  Erma was just coming out the yard with pails.  She said take my pails and one of the men.  Tom and three of his mill men (Ben D., John Welton, and Deverill) were ahead a little way.  I slacked up a little, stopped for Tom, and raced on up Rice’s hiss and saw a sight that made me sick, kitchen all on fire and about half big part, with smoke and cinders going directly over Maiers’ house.  We had quite a strong south west wind.

            Well I dumped Hazle and Tom in front of our house, tied my horse, and went by the back steps, grabbed a pail and got as far as the lilac bush, when Jake came out of the house helping carry some big thing.  The men thought it was time he went home and made preparations to save his buildings.  It was not safe in the house then for women, so I went home to help Jake carry ladders and get pails of water and watch the roofs.

            Now to go back to Dora ringing the dinner bell and Herman getting a ladder.  She did not ring long, then went after pails of water.  Herman got up on the porch roof and threw one pail of water at the fire (which by this time had spread about half way along the kitchen roof, at first it was blazing only round the chimney).  Part of the water came back and made the porch so slippery that he lost his balance.  Dora heard him, and he says he started down feet first, but when Dora saw his feet come in sight she grabbed them and then he went down head first from the porch roof.  He said he struck on his face and thought he had driven his nose clear into the ground.  He cut his chin some, and his head is bothering yet.  He went to see the Dr. Friday and he says he has slight concussion of the brain, doesn’t seem to get any worse, and is taking medicine.  Now for some more fire news.  He went back and Dora handed several more pails of water, much of which came back into Herman’s boots and over his lower extremities.  He did not change clothes all afternoon and nearly froze part of the time.  Herman also got up the short ladder and fixed it to reach the kitchen roof.  Somewhere about here Jake and Corey and the fire extinguisher arrived.  (Uncle C.N., George, and Parks close behind.)  Jake went up both ladders and turned on steam, and Ma watching from home (she can’t step very lively yet, and her heart was playing tricks so she hadn’t tried to go up) thought they were going to put it out, but the wind was against them.  Uncle Herman was up one ladder with a pail of water when Jake came down from the kitchen roof onto the porch roof, threw his extinguisher and kicked out the little window and went into the boy’s room.  Uncle Herman dropped his pail of water and started after the ax.  You see the attic over the boy’s room was inaccessible, and there was where the fire was.  (Uncle C.N. was busy getting water down below, and says when pails and water and extinguishers began to come down from overhead he left.)

            Aunt Dora left the porch when the extra men came, and went to clear out the back stair-way, the preacher helping.  In this stair way was two bushel baskets of unshelled hickory nuts and one shelled market basket full.  All these were carefully saved, also a little peach basket on the back porch containing a dozen more nuts that Mr. Openlander took to clear off the dinner table in.  He saved three of Dora’s new teaspoons and two best knives and forks, also a tin of 6 biscuit, the bowl of sweetened milk, and the dirty dishes off the stove.  Dora’s first act towards saving things was to help carry out Ma’s new table which they had bought and 1 table leaf.  Then she got two wash tubs and put in the dishes from the kitchen cupboard.  The churn was saved from the back porch, and a half bushel of parsnips Aunt Dora had just bought, from the east porch, was all that was saved from the kitchen wing.  Then Aunt Dora went into sitting room closet after their clothes, and into the bed-room closet and cleared that out, and then Uncle Herman told her she must leave the house.  By this time plenty of help had arrived, and all the furniture in sitting, dining, parlor, and bed room was carried out, including pictures, curtains, carpets, in parlor and sitting room.  The clock and things on wall of dining room and everything in the built-in cupboard behind the door in this room was lost.  Everything in the pantry went.  No one event went the room.  From the cellar they saved 30 quarts of fruit and 16 bu. of Baldwin apples.  They had bbl. of groceries they had just bought with apples, 100 lbs. of sugar, etc., etc.

            The last thing Herman did was to go back after Carleton’s and his own fiddle and brought along back the buffalo robe.

            Mr. Openlander made a desperate effort to get the cream separator, Eddie got the ax which had been carried down stairs and set out the front door, but the fire broke through the wall and scorched his cheek, at the same time the west walls began to fall.  George and Jake and Corey combined saved the bedding from two front beds and front bed-room dresser, had to break off the glass to get down stairs.  And when we came to get things together, half of one mattress was gone.  I forgot to tell about the ax and Jake.  When he got the ax he undertook to chop a hole in the ceiling in the boy’s room near the door and maby head the fire off from the main part.  George and Herman were present watching, and all tell the same story, about the 3rd or 4th time he struck the whole ceiling caved in, so you see the fire must have eaten pretty nearly all through the attic of this wing.

            About 200 people had gathered by this time and were helping watch our buildings and Loomises’.  The grass caught fire near our fence once, and Loomises” straw stack, but as H.P. said, there was men enough around then to cover his stack.

            In one hour and twenty minutes the very last stick of timber had burned and fallen.  When I went tough the corner to go up, every roof was burning including the front porch roof.  They burned just like pasteboard.

            It looked pretty tough to see all the things piled together out under the little thorn-apple tree, where the fire had thawed out puddles, some things across the road in the wheat field and mud.

            We finally came home and ate our dinner at a little past two.  Went back and sort of picked up, and the men put everything in the barn.

            Washed dinner dishes at 5, got supper, talked everything over and iffed and supposed and answered telephone till the day was finished.  Dora and Herman have put their bed and clothes in my downstairs bedroom.  Have got things shaped around some.  Herman, Dora, and Lide are making out their list, and it is just something awful.  They expect to settle Thursday.  Had $1000 on house and $600 on contents.

            George saw Dora’s hand bag hanging on stair-door knob and threw it out, but no one picked it up, and her watch which was inside was destroyed.  Her pocket book had been taken out to pay for parsnips, and laid on table, so Parks put it in his pocket and it was saved.  All the shoes they saved were on their feet, and Dora can’t find her corset, also her best handkerchiefs.

                                     Then in different handwriting:

             Tues. morn —- Bel is washing and says sign her name and get it ready.


                                                            Per M.E.B.

Family Weddings in the 1900s

July 19, 2009


In the post “Coming to Wacousta,” I set out to trace the path of the families of my grandparents from Europe to Wacousta, Michigan.  By the time of the Civil War, all four families — the Blisses, the Daniells, the Stephensons, and the Winegars — were situated in Clinton County, Michigan.  In the 1900s, the families merge.  Following are pictures from the weddings.

Edd Ashbel Winegar marries Myrtie Stephenson in 1900 at the Stephenson home.

Edd Ashbel Winegar marries Myrtie Stephenson in 1900 at the Stephenson home.

W.C. Daniells and Iva Bliss marry in 1907 at the Bliss house, the Pivot.

W.C. Daniells and Iva Bliss marry in 1907 at the Bliss house, the Pivot.

Donald Stephenson Winegar marries Mary Deone Daniells in 1937 at the Pivot.

Donald Stephenson Winegar marries Mary Deone Daniells in 1937 at the Pivot.

Other Daniells Weddings

Iva Georgene "Jean" Daniells marries Don Lowell in 1942 at the Pivot.

Iva Georgene "Jean" Daniells marries Don Lowell in 1942 at the Pivot.

Dora Katherine Daniells marries John Panchik in 1950 at the Pivot.

Dora Katherine Daniells marries John Panchik in 1950 at the Pivot.

Other Winegar Weddings

Esther Alta Winegar marries Clarence Kirkpatrick in 1941

Esther Alta Winegar marries Clarence Kirkpatrick in 1941 in Eagle Twp, Michigan.

Paul Ray Winegar marries Mary Margaret Biergans in 1947.

Paul Ray Winegar marries Mary Margaret Biergans in 1947 in Grand Ledge, Michigan.


Bill and Ruth Winegar married 1942.

Bill and Ruth Winegar married in 1942.

A fire destroyed the original Pivot in 1911 after W.C. Daniells and Iva Bliss married.  Subsequent Pivot weddings were at the home that was rebuilt by Herman Sidney Bliss.  A description of the fire, written by Bel Gensterblum, will be in the next post. The rebuilt Pivot is currently owned by Tom Lowell, a Bliss-Daniells descendant.