Friday, October 23, 2015

The Short Line of John Callin (1832-1906)

John is the eldest son of George Callin
John Callin was the eldest son of George Callin, whose farm in Peru township (Huron county) was reportedly a waypoint for escapees on the Underground Railroad. He was born in 1832, and he was probably named for his grandfather, the John Callin who settled in Ohio from Pennsylvania in 1816. He could have also been named for an uncle who died in 1825.

As a young man, he farmed with his father, and in 1854, according to the Callin Family History (CFH), he married Helen Minor . Helen was born in New York in about 1836. The Minor family came to Ohio from New York between 1839 and 1843, judging from the ages and birthplaces of Helen's siblings reported on the 1850 Census.

John and Helen had two children on their new farm in Peru township; James was born in September 1855 and Jennie (or Jane, depending on the sparse records) born in 1857. I'm not sure when Helen died, but by 1870, she was not in the household. John is listed as a "speculator" by then, and he has two hired women in the household - Mary Stebbing, housekeeping; and Mary Anderson, "domestic".

I'm not sure that anyone knows what happened to Jennie, exactly. She is about 14 in 1870, and the only record I've located after that is an 1895 Iowa Census record for a Jennie Callin in Benton (Ringgold county) who is 38 years old, and lists her birthplace as Ohio. I can't say for sure that this is our Jennie, as there is a 1900 record in Benton for a Jennie Callen married to an Alva Callen, which would probably not be the same person.

Riverside cemetery, Erie county, Ohio
James grew up in Monroeville, and married Hattie Bartow in 1876, according to the 1900 Census. They each appear in the 1880 as single, however, boarding with other households in Norwalk. James was working as a laborer and Hattie as a milliner. (I have to wonder if James joked about "Hattie the hat-maker" as I would have done?)

In 1900, the family lived in Huron Village, Erie county, with James's widowed father. John died in 1906, 74 years old, and probably surrounded by his grandchildren and great-grandchild.

James and Hattie had four children, the eldest being named after James's aunt Jennie (the mysterious one whose fate we don't know).

1. Jennie Callin (1879 – 1979) was born 28 September 1879 in Norwalk, Huron county. In 1898 she married Harry Clinton Toomey (1878 – 1944), and they had a daughter, Pearl U Toomey (1899-1971). By 1909, they were living in Cleveland, and in the first half of the 1920s Pearl worked as a clerk for different companies in Cleveland while living at home. I was stumped for a while about Pearl's fate after 1923, but then I found Harry's 1942 World War II Draft Registration card - he was 64, remember - on which he listed his nearest relative as one Mrs. Pearl Kappy. Harry died two years later.

As it turns out, sometime between 1923 and 1930 Pearl married Fred Kappy. Fred's parents were from Czechoslovakia, and he worked as an enameler in a stove foundry in 1930. By 1940, his occupation was listed as "own man," indicating that he probably retired; by 1960, Pearl was listed as his widow. They never had children, so when Pearl died in 1971, that was the end of the line for this branch of the family. Jennie survived, and outlived them all, living to be 99 years - missing 100 by seven months.

2. Arthur James Callin was born 4 September 1883 in Sandusky. He married Mabel Ethel Nolan (1887 – 1967) in 1907, but they divorced before the 1910 Census. In that year, he was listed living with his parents and sister in Chicago, working as an office worker for a railroad. His mother, Hattie, died in 1915, and on his Draft registration card in 1917 he listed his father as his nearest relative, both living at 126 S. Sacramento street in Chicago.

There are two records stating that Arthur married Mabel Siewe (b. 1890) in November 1919, but he was listed as single in 1920 and 1930 Census records. Interestingly enough, James shows up on the 1920 Census living with Arthur in Chicago (enumerated 5 January) AND living in Elkhart, Indiana, with his daughter, Ada, and her husband (enumerated 4 February). That could mean that James moved to Indiana that month.

Arthur was still living in Chicago in 1930, but according to his 1942 Draft Card he was living in Detroit, working at the "Hamburger Barr." He listed Mrs. R.L. Ladd, also of Detroit, as his nearest relative. (This is his sister, Helen, as you will see below.) He was 59 in 1942, and after that, I have not been able to find any more records to tell me his fate.

3. Ada Cecilia Callin (1884–1967) was born in November 1884. She married Albert Sydney Forgey (1883–1974) on 11 July 1906 in Elkhart, Indiana, and the couple lived in Chicago, Illinois, for a little while. Albert worked as a machinist in a roundhouse while they lived there, but by 1912 they were back in Elkhart.

As we noted above, Ada's widowed father, James, was listed in their household on the 1920 Census. The following year saw Ada and Albert living in Jacksonville, Florida, where they spent the 1920s. There is a pretty good record of where they were in the U.S. City Directories database, but unfortunately, James does not appear to be listed in any of them. When he died, in 1930, he may have been living with Ada and Albert in Miami, but I have not seen any records to prove this. In fact, in 1929 and 1931, the couple are in Miami, but in 1930, the City Directories record places them in Birmingham, Alabama.

Regardless, this couple never had children, and they both died in Miami - Ada in May 1967; Albert in December 1974.

4. Helen G Callin (1892–1953) was the youngest of the four by eight years, and was named after her paternal grandmother (Helen Minor). She married a young pharmacist named Roscoe L. Ladd (1888–1972) ....twice, if the records are right.

There is a June 1909 marriage record in St. Joseph, Michigan, which listed the bride and groom as residents of Chicago; this would have been before Helen's 17th birthday, which tells us this may have been an elopement. Helen does appear in her parents's household on the 1910 Census, and she is listed as "married" - though her surname is still "Callin".

City Directories show Roscoe as a pharmacist in Detroit in 1916 and 1918; but on his World War I Draft registration in 1917, he lists his address and employer in Chicago. There are also two records in two different Cook County, Illinois, Marriage indexes showing Roscoe Ladd and Helen Callin being married in 1917.

Whatever the source of the conflicting information in these records, the couple seems to have settled in Detroit by 1920, where they lived until at least 1942. They removed to Royal Oak by 1950. While the couple never appears to have had children of their own, their 1920 household includes two small children, a brother and sister named Bernie and Hehtahn Davigenon.

Helen died in 1953, at the age of 61; Roscoe survived until 1972, and both were buried in the White Chapel Memorial Park Cemetery in Troy, Michigan.

And with that, we come to the end of this John Callin's line - we will examine his siblings' families in the coming weeks, of course. But unless we find a trace of his daughter, Jennie, there are no more descendants to discover.

When I began writing this post, I found that I had a lot of questions that did not have satisfactory answers. Most of these individuals had missing or incorrect information, and I learned (again) the important lesson of double-checking one's sources.

For example, Pearl Toomey simply "disappeared" around 1923, based on the information I had when I started writing. None of the usual tricks for teasing out a marriage record or Social Security application worked for her - that evidence may not exist, or at least may not exist in digital form that Ancestry can provide, yet. But following the lead in her father's draft registration pointed me to Pearl and her husband.

I also had several records for Helen and Roscoe that turned out not to be the same couple that I was researching. Roscoe was frequently listed as "R.L. Ladd" in documents, and when a search result showed "Helen and R.J. Ladd" listed in a 1960 Michigan U.S. City Directory, I added it without checking the details, at first. It turned out that "Raymond J." and this Helen Ladd were not the same people at all, once I clicked through to the scan of the original document.

Doing this research requires a certain amount of leeway; "R.L." could easily be mis-transcribed as "R.J." during the digitization and scanning process, but it always pays to examine a record thoroughly before either accepting it or writing it off. Careful, patient examination of those details can often raise important questions that lead to an answer.

So, for the sake of Jennie Callin, who disappeared after 1870, and for Arthur Callin, whose death remains an open question, we should keep an open mind and a careful eye out for more evidence.

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