Friday, July 8, 2016

Myers Family A - Two for One Post

James Callin's great granddaughter, Sarah Ferguson, and her husband, Daniel Myers, were the parents of four sons. We spent the last two posts reviewing the two elder sons and their descendants.

I. Samuel Ralston Myers
II. Henry Tilman Myers

Today, we'll have time to cover the descendants of both of the younger sons in one post - but first, I have to introduce someone else.

Emma May Hostler (1862-1922) was born near the beginning of America's Civil War, and died after the First World War. Her parents were Michael Hostler (or Hosler), Jr. (1832-1916) and Elizabeth Disler (1832-1930), both of whom were born in Stark county, Ohio, to German immigrant parents and both of whom were part of that great Westward migration to Indiana that we saw during the 1840s.

May married early, wedding William B Fletter (1858–1891) on 10 August 1879 in Allen County, Indiana. They had seven children during the 11 years they were married, and while I have not found any documented evidence of the date of William's death, I believe the other researchers of this family who peg it around December 1891. Sadly, the youngest of those seven children was also born that year, and May remarried on 29 November 1893 to Alfred E. Keck (b. 1872) - who, you might note, was ten years her junior.

I don't like to moralize or sound judgmental about the marriage customs of these earlier times. There is no way to know what social or economic pressures drove anyone's decisions; but there are a number of factors here that spell danger to modern readers. A young widow, with so many children; a younger husband; volatile economic times; whatever it was that motivated them, the Kecks had two sons together before their divorce in 1899, and this time, when she remarried, May found a husband from our family.

     III. David Albert Myers (1873–1938) grew up on his father's farm in Perry township, near Fort Wayne, and he married May Keck in 1902, when most of her nine children were old enough to be self-sufficient. I don't believe he adopted any of them, though Ernest Vernon (1895-1965) and Franklin Adolph Keck (1898-1975) appeared in the household under the Myers surname in 1910. At that time, the family was living in Chicago, where David worked as a carpenter. David and May had one son together.

     A. John Michael Myers (1903–1944) married Burnetta Blanche Hess (1907–1970) on 6 November 1922 in Hillsdale, Michigan, and they raised two daughters in Fort Wayne, Indiana. One of their daughters is still living. John supported the family working in a foundry. He contracted pneumonia in 1944 and died on April 15. The records aren't clear to me, but it seems that before John's death, Burnetta was already married to her second husband.

Betty Rose (Myers) Birch
Covington Memorial Gardens, Ft. Wayne, IN
     1. Betty Rose Myers (1923–1983) joined the U.S. Army in March 1945, and served through January 1946. I know from her death certificate that she was divorced at the time of her death, but I have not been able to locate an obituary or any other information about her husband or any children.

     Some researchers have documented May Hosler's death in 1941 in Los Angeles, California, but I found her death certificate on - according to that document, which correctly identified her parents and her husband, she died on 4 May 1922 from kidney failure due to chronic interstitial nephritis. She was buried in the Old Leo Cemetery in Leo-Cedarville, Allen county, Indiana, next to her first husband, William Fletter.

When he lost May, who had been 11 years his senior, David might have ended up on his own. His son and many step children were all grown, after all, and many men his age might have retired to the farm. But in December of 1923 David married his second wife Iva Elizabeth Shirely (1904–1962). She was 18 when they wed, and they had two daughters and a son before David's death in 1938. As far as I can tell, their elder daughter is still alive.

     B. Davis Lewis "Sonny" Myers (1925–1990) was a truck driver who was living in Hicksville, Ohio, when he did of a heart attack at age 64. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on 21 August 1943 and served until 27 February 1946. He was married, and his wife survived him; she may still be alive today.

     C. Violet Beaula Myers (1927–2007) was born in Benton Harbor, Michigan; I'm not sure why, as her parents were lifelong residents of Fort Wayne, but the records are pretty clear. She married Robert L Kessinger (1921–1990), on February 18, 1946. He worked as a telephone lineman. They raised two daughters and two sons, and left behind three grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

     IV. Edward Alfred Myers (1875–1952) the youngest of these four Myers brothers, married Gertrude M Jones (1882–1928) on 29 September 1901. Edward worked as an engineer and builder in the Fort Wayne area. He and Gertrude had four children - three sons and a daughter - two of whom survived to adulthood. The records are not completely clear, but I believe that Edward and Gertrude divorced in the early 1920s. Having lost two children within a couple of years of each other, their marriage may have suffered; they would not be the first couple to split up after such a painful tragedy. There are marriage records for Gertrude Jones and Evert Arnold in 1924, and Gertrude Arnold died in June 1928. Other researchers on Ancestry document her death in February, as Gertrude Myers, but I have not found records to confirm that.

The Myers family seems to have been close, as they frequently took care of each other during hard times. In 1910, Edward's brother, Henry, came to live with Edward's family after Henry's wife, Fannie, died. Henry's younger children went to live with Daniel and Sarah that year. And after Gertrude left in 1924, Edward's mother, Sarah, came to live with him.

Edward spent his final years in the Leslee nursing home, and died of chronic nephritis in 1952.

     A. Albert Harry Myers (1902–1981), eldest son of Edward and Gertrude, married Luella Emma Claus (1902–1946) on 15 May 1922 in Hillsdale, Michigan, and he worked as a wire drawer and enameler in the 1930s and 1940s. They raised three children together, but Luella died just at the close of the second World War. Then on 2 October 1949, Albert married his second wife, Ivah V Miller (1903–1976).

Albert and Luella's two younger children seem to still be alive, but they lost their older daughter in 1944.

Found on
     1. Wilma Gertrude Myers (1922–1944) graduated from North Side High School in Fort Wayne in 1940, and she found work as a bookkeeper for the First National Bank in Fort Wayne. The bank was located next to a Sears and Roebuck Co. building which was ravaged by a fire at the beginning of April 1944.  Two floors had burned away, and while the building was undergoing repairs during the first two weeks of April, there were heavy rains and high winds in the area, which further weakened the remaining walls. On 11 April, the Sears & Roebuck building collapsed and spilled tons of brick and mortar debris into the Fort Wayne bank, killing six and injuring several others. Wilma was among those killed during the collapse.

     B. Arthur Lee Myers (1904–1921) was 17 years old when he and a friend decided to go hunting one Monday in November 1921. They tried to hop a ride on a freight train back to Fort Wayne, and when his friend attempted to pass the shotgun up to Arthur, it discharged into his left shoulder. The accident occurred on the 7th of November, and he died two days later.

     C. Alva Albert Myers, Sr. (1906–1969) married Laretta Belle Green (1908–1945) on 5 March 1927. In 1930, their little family was living with Laretta's parents on Wabash Avenue. Alva worked in the wire factory. They had six children altogether; five of whom survived to adulthood, and three of whom are still alive today.

On the 15th of October 1945, Laretta died after a coal oil explosion at home covered her entire body with second degree burns. Her three youngest children were all under the age of ten when she died. Alva remarried in 1950; his second wife was Pearl Maude Trim nee Carpenter (1914-1954), who died just four years later of ovarian cancer.

     1. Mary Ellen Myers (1928–2010) married Frederick Wilson Cartwright (1925–2012). Fred was a World War II Purple Heart Army veteran. He retired as a mogul operator for Wayne Candies in Fort Wayne, Indiana and he and Mary moved to Virginia to be nearer to their four children, ten grandchildren, six great grandchildren and several step great grandchildren. Two of their daughters and their son are still living

     a. Ellen Elizabeth (Cartwright) Wasson (1960–2011) was born in Fort Wayne, but was living in Palmer Springs, Virginia, when she died at the age of 51. She clerked for Slip-In Convenience stores, and was a member of the Church of Religious Science.

     2. Edward William Myers (1930–1931) was just over a year old in April of 1931, when he contracted pneumonia and died.

     3. Helen Luella (Myers) Bell (1932–2012) married in 1951, and she was survived by her husband, three daughters, two sons, 19 grandchildren, 39 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild.

     D. Henrietta May Myers (1909–1917) was severely disabled, suffering from a spinal defect and from a bout of meningitis when she was two years old. At age 8, she died from a pulmonary hemorrhage.

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Sometimes this hobby feels very morbid - especially when I am writing about a family that has suffered a lot of tragedy. Most of the time, I contribute that feeling to the fact that I'm not writing about living people (not without their permission!) and to the fact that I'm getting a lot of information from obituaries. This is particularly true at the end of a post, when I'm usually writing about the most recent generations.

But I think Ancestry either added a database of Indiana Death Certificates, or made the existing records easier to find, because as I reviewed these last few Myers families, the Ancestry hint system was suggesting these records to me. That is why I was able to go into (often gruesome) detail about how some of these people died.

Whatever the reason, I hope you found this interesting and helpful, and as always, if you spotted any mistakes, please let me know. And if you belong to this family, let me know that, too! Drop a note in the comments, or come visit our Callin Family History Facebook group to learn more about this project.

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