Friday, October 28, 2016

Prof's Progeny

In our earlier post, 20th Century Callin Clan, we recounted the colorful lives of the children of Civil War veteran John Henry Callin and his wife, Amanda Walker. This week, we will take a look at the descendants of their eldest son:

Byron Herbert "Prof" Callin (1874-1933) was a complex character. Studying his life, and tracing the records he left behind, it is clear that he was driven by ambitions and desires that conflicted with each other. His choices drove him to abandon his family - more than once - and led to his untimely death. There are a lot of questions we won't be able to answer, and I will try to stick to the facts; but know that there are some parts of this story that are still contentious, and the implications of what we know happened may provoke some strong opinions among his survivors.

Byron Herbert "Prof" Callin
Byron was a precocious student, and a well known teacher from the time he received his teaching certificate at age 16. His nickname, "Prof," came from his identity as a teacher, and it seems clear that he inherited his love of learning from his father. Prof seemed to have ideas about how the family name should be pronounced ("Collin," with the round "ah" sound instead of the flatter "a" of "Callin"), and later in his life, he seems to have preferred to be called "Herbert" instead of Byron, feeling that Herbert was more refined.

He married his first wife, Frances Edith "Fanny" Muir (1873–1946), on 18 July 1896, when he was 21 years old. She was the daughter of one of the Scottish settlers that gave Scotch Ridge its name. John D. Muir (1841–1920) was the son of James Muir, and served as a commissioned officer in the Civil War.

Byron and his father-in-law both featured in the local history of Wood county published in the late 1890s, each receiving their own hagiographic sketch. The impression this gives me is that Byron, as the son of one Civil War hero, felt some societal pressure to marry the daughter of another such war hero. The couple's fathers may have put them together; and the connections between the Callin and Muir families through the United Brethren Church may have also added to that pressure.

Byron and Fannie moved to Dayton, where Byron was teaching in 1900; but not long after that, Byron took a teaching job in South Dakota, and left Fannie in Ohio. They had no children, and it seems to me that either Byron felt the Pull of the West (and Fannie did not), or the couple thought that after some time apart, he would return to her. Regardless of their intentions, Byron was living in Aberdeen, South Dakota in 1905; and by 1910, Fannie Muir was divorced, and living in her father's home in Webster township.

Ruby Mary Cole Callin
Byron soon remarried. His second wife was Ruby Mary Cole (1885–1973), and it was during their courtship that Byron was injured by his shotgun during a hunting trip. As the story goes, he and Ruby were riding in a buggy, when the horse became spooked. In the subsequent furor, the gun that he had in the front of the buggy discharged and struck him in the right side of his jaw. He carried a terrible scar on his face for the rest of his life - and in the portrait above, you will note that he keeps his right side turned away from the camera. According to Truman Matcham, Byron's nephew, the family was always suspicious of the story and felt there was more to it than Byron would admit.

Ruby was born in Shabbona, De Kalb county, Illinois, where her parents met. Her father, Elijah Cole, moved the family to South Dakota when she was in her teens. While it isn't clear how long Byron was in South Dakota before he divorced Fannie, he and Ruby were married in 1906 - and they had three daughters in their household by 1910.

Byron was very much on the move during these years. His children were each born in a different state - Opal in Minnesota, Elda in South Dakota, and Pearl in Montana. In 1915, the family was settled in Middlefield, Otsego county, New York - known today as the site of Cooperstown - and they remained there for several years.

Byron stayed put until 1923, when he moved the family to Reading, Pennsylvania; after that, it isn't clear where they went, but probably by 1925, Ruby and the children were living back in Ipswich, South Dakota, and Byron stopped appearing in the records.

     I. Opal Leota Callin (1907–1978) was born in Solway, Beltrami county, Minnesota. Her mother and siblings had moved back to South Dakota, where she married Nicholas Clarence Blanksma (1895–1988) on 8 December 1926. They had five children, two of whom are still living; two sons and three daughters. They also took in their niece, the daughter of Nick's brother, Jacob P Blanksma (1897–1988), after her mother died.

Violet Lucile Blanksma (1923-2011) was less than two years old when her mother, Francis Marie Gibbons Blanksma (1904–1925), died at 21 years of age. Violet would marry twice: first, to Herman Lester Mills (1912–1991) on 12 November 1941, with whom she had a son and a daughter, still living; then Willard Fredrick "Bud" Eppler (1924–1992) in 1967. Violet loved living on the farm, and raised her family there.

       A. Ruby Agnes Blanksma (1930–2009) married Otis Jess Jacobsen (1925–1994) - twice, if I read the records correctly! The Blanksma family moved to Washington state between 1935 and 1940, and Ruby and Otis were married on 2 April 1947, and again on 11 October 1986 - both records appearing in different Washington marriage record databases. I don't believe they had children of their own.

       B. Dean Herbert Blanksma (1931–1983) married three times; he had no children of his own but he helped raise 5 step-children.

       C. Bonnie Jean Blanksma (1934–1992) married Elvin R Fetch (1927–1993) in Coos Bay, Oregon, on 26 August 1952. As far as I know, they have two sons, still living.

     II. Elda Geraldine Callin (1908–1969) was born in Ipswich, South Dakota, and returned there in her early teens after growing up in Otsego county, New York. She married Delbert Clyde Triplett (1904–1954) in September 1928, and returned with him to his native Kansas. They raised two daughters, who are still living.

     III. Pearl Neoma Callin (1910–1974) was born in Plevna, Montana, where her father was teaching and served as the post master for a short time. She married Emerson Wertz (1907–1999) on 28 November 1928 in Edmunds county, South Dakota. They had one son, still living, but Pearl and Emerson divorced in 1934. She remarried in 1935, this time wedding Jacob P Blanksma (1897–1988), her sister Opal's widowed brother-in-law.

     IV. Perda J Callin (1917–1920) was born in Middlefield, New York, and died there after suffering for several weeks from scarlet fever.
Found on

     V. Elsie Permelia Callin (1921–1970) was born in New York, after the death of Perda. She was still very young when her mother and siblings moved back to South Dakota. She married Carl Jacob Weber (1907–1975) on 16 May 1935, and they remained in the Edmunds county area the remainder of their lives.

       A. Mary Elizabeth Weber (1935–2010) was born in Ipswich. She attended Northern State Teachers College at Aberdeen, graduating with a first grade certificate. She taught two years in rural Edmunds County. She married Fred H. Zantow (1923–1985) on 12 August 1955, and they moved to Lead, South Dakota, in September 1956. They moved to Spearfish in 1982 after Fred retired. The couple did not have any children of their own, but helped raise their nieces and nephews.

       B. Joyce Jean Weber (1940–2000) married James Alvin Wescott (1931–2005) on 6 August 1955. They had three children: two sons, and a daughter, still living. They divorced at some point, and Joyce married Rudolph Carl Zantow (1926–1995) on 25 November 1961. They had at least two sons, one of whom is still living. Joyce has two other daughters, still living, but I was not able to tell which daughter came from which marriage. Joyce was survived by her third husband.

     1. David James Wescott (1956–1994) served in the U.S. Coast Guard for six years, from 1975 to 1981. He resided in Puyallup, Washington.

     2. James Alvin Wescott (1958–1999) as born 2 July 1958 in Faulkton, South Dakota. Jim worked as a longshoreman in Puyallup, and was survived by his wife and two children.

     3. Rudolph Julius "R.J." Zantow (1963–2003) was born in Tucson, Arizona, and died at age 40 in Springfield, Illinois.

       C. Dale Emerson Weber (1942–1992) served in the U.S. Air Force from 1959 to 1963. He married Yvonne Isabel Childress (1935–1992) on 10 July 1964, and they lived in Washington state.

       D. Diana Elsie (Weber) Geist (1946–2008) was survived by her ex-husband, and two of their three children. Her son Kevin Dean Geist (1966–1984) died at only 17 years of age.

     VI. John Elijah Callin (1923–2008) was the youngest child, and only son, of Byron and Ruby Callin. He was born in Tannersville, New York, but was still very small when the family moved to South Dakota. He married Alice Yoshiko Shimona (1929–1969) on 23 December 1954 in Los Angeles, California. Alice's parents had come to the United States from Hiroshima, Japan, around the time of the First World War, and settled in Colorado, where Alice was born. The family was interred at the Poston War Relocation Center during the Second World War.

After losing his wife and his son, John married Vivian Lucille Cook (1912–1999) in Los Angeles on 28 November 1974.

       A. Michael E Callin (1958–1973) was 15 years old on 25 December 1973, when he was accidentally shot to death by a neighbor boy while playing with a rifle that was a Christmas gift.

Those were the descendants of  Byron and Ruby, but there are still a few descendants through his third wife who are living today.

There is no nice way to say that Prof abandoned his family, but I am told that this is how they felt about it. Around 1930, he divorced Ruby. He married a girl 36 years his junior in Florida: Georgia I. Hancock (1910–1996). They had two daughters, both of whom are still living.

On 29 November 1933, there was an altercation involving members of the Hancock family and Prof. According to reports in the Palm Beach Post on 30 November:

Alva Hancock, 23, was In the Jackson county jail Wednesday night charged with the slaying of her brother-in-law, H. B. Collins, about 62, in a family quarrel at Alford. "I won't be here long," she told officers after calmly reciting details of the killing. Officers quoted her as saying she shot Collins only after he had shot and wounded his wife, who Is Alva's sister, and had also fired at her father, R. D. Hancock. A charge of buckshot struck Collins, and he died almost instantly, Coroner Douglas H. Oswald reported.

A few months later, in May 1934, the same paper reported that Alva had not been indicted by the Grand Jury, but she was under investigation for firing a shot at her sister, Georgia. In the absence of other records, it's hard to say what actually happened that night.

Georgia raised her daughters on her own, until 1942, when she married Abner Mondell Peacock (1889–1973). Georgia and Abner remained together until his death in 1973. Both of her daughters married career military men, one an Air Force technical sergeant, and the other an Air Force colonel. I hope some day to be able to add their children and grand-children to this history.

 - -- --- -- - 

And there you have the tragic story of Byron H. "Prof" Callin. If you are new to the blog, I'm working my way through the descendants of James Callin, and we started this journey in July 2015 with a post about James's sons in The Brothers Callin of Ohio.

If you're a descendant of any of the people mentioned in this post, then your story belongs here, too. I hope you'll reach out to me through the comments section below, through my "callintad" Gmail address, or through the Callin Family History Facebook group. (That group is for family only, so please be prepared to tell me how we're related!)

I hope you'll help me fill in gaps and correct the inevitable mistakes I'm bound to have made!

You can buy a re-printed replica of the original Callin Family History published by Byron's uncle George W. Callin in 1911 (in hard cover or paperback) from And if you give me permission, I'd be happy to include you and your family's story, and any photos you would like to provide, in the revised Callin Family History - which I will be editing for publication as soon as we get through the last of James's descendants.

Friday, October 21, 2016

A Few Words About the Walkers

After reposting my piece on the 20th Century Callin Clan, I wanted to take some time to share what I've learned about the parents and siblings of Amanda Walker Callin since that piece was originally written. Strictly speaking, this extended Walker family isn't part of the Callin Family History, but they have presented several tough puzzles and brick walls over the years, and I wanted to document what I know for sure.

William Walker was born on 24 July 1833 in Ithaca, Tompkins county, New York. He died on 27 December 1915 in Perrysburg, Wood county, Ohio. He was known in Webster township as "Yankee Walker," according to one obituary. He farmed and had raised his family in Scotch Ridge, and was buried in the Webster Township Cemetery there. Here is a detailed obituary I found in the Perrysburg Journal:
Found on

He married Lydia Bowen in Fairfield, Huron county, Ohio, on 13 May 1856 (note the erasure of her identity from the obituary), and we find their young family in the 1860 U.S. Federal Census living in Webster township, Wood county, Ohio - the post office listed is Scotch Ridge.

There are three people listed who ought to give us important clues to identifying the parents of both William and Lydia:

Household members:
Name Age
William Walker 32
Lydia A Walker 28
Lydia A Walker 3
Martina Walker 2
William Walker 1
Adelade Bowin 14
Elizabeth Walker 60
Jesse Walker 21

This 1860 record has a few details wrong - this is the only record I've found that puts William's birthday around 1828 instead of 1833 - but it is definitely our William Walker. The 3-year-old "Lydia A" is our Amanda (referred to as "Mrs. Mandy Collin of Elyria" in his obituary), and Martina and William (age 1) match her two eldest siblings. While the 1860 Census does not identify relationships the way more recent Censuses do, Elizabeth Walker (60) is most likely William's mother, and Jesse Walker (21) could be a brother or nephew.

Looking at the 1840 Census for Ithaca, there is a Richard Walker listed who had two sons between the ages of 5 and 9; they could well be William and Jesse There are also three other Walker men listed in Tompkins county, all living in Lansing: Edward, James, and William. Each of them have sons who could plausibly be our William Walker. The 1850 Census does not seem to have any records that would tie the 1860 Walker family to anyone in the 1840, and I have not found anything that indicates when Elizabeth Walker might have died.

Jesse Walker, though, left a lot of records behind. He enlisted in the Union Army on 1 July 1863, in Webster, Wood county, Ohio. According to his Veteran's Headstone application, he reached the rank of Sergeant. After the war, he married Anna Samantha Fox (1844–1918), and they established a farm in Swan Creek, Fulton county, Ohio. They raised five sons and three daughters, and in the early 1900s, they relocated to Michigan. Annie and Jesse each died in Coldwater, Branch county, Michigan. Jesse died on 25 March 1925 and was buried in Oak Grove Cemetery. His death record (which puts his birthday on 13 March 1838) does not name his mother, and only gives his father's surname.

Lydia A. Bowen (1828-1879) leaves almost as many questions as her husband. A lovely Ancestry user uploaded a scan of their 1856 marriage certificate, which confirms the date and location - Huron county, Ohio - and based on that, I think we can safely identify her in the Bowen family listed in Fairfield, Huron county, on the 1850 Census:

Household members:
Name Age
William Bowen 67
Mary Bowen 62
John Bowen 25
Lidia Bowen 23
Edward Bowen 18
Edwin Ball 26

Clearly, Lydia would have aged more than 5 years between 1850 and 1860, but that just tells us that the 1860 record has misstated her age, the way it misstated William Walker's age.

I have high confidence that the William (67) and Mary (62) Bowen listed here in 1850 are Lydia's parents, and her brothers are John (25) and Edward (18). I am slightly less confident that the same family is listed in Fairfield in the 1840 Census (the enumerator's handwriting could say "Brown"), but there are about six children listed in that record whose ages would accommodate John, Lidia, and Edward.

There is a Mary Bowen buried in the "Old" Cemetery in North Fairfield. The marker (pictured to the right) gives her date of death as August 2, 1863, and her age: 80y 6m 13d. The 1850 record approximates her birth in 1788 in New Jersey.

There are at least two men named William Bowen who have records in Ancestry's Wills & Probate database, but they died in Stark and Jackson counties, respectively, and neither will mentions people who match our Bowen family. Mary is listed in the 1860 Census, living with their son, Edward, and his wife and daughter in Fairfield, but William is not; I would expect to find a record of his death in the 1850s, but so far, no luck.

But, we still have the mystery of who Adelade Bowin might be. She is listed in the Walker household in 1860; she would seem not to be Lydia's sister - otherwise, she ought to have appeared in the 1850 record as a girl between the ages of 4 and 6. Unfortunately, none of the records for Adelaide or Adeline Bowen (or similar spellings) turn up any clues that match what we already know about the Bowen family.

The children of William and Lydia Bowen Walker

     I. Amanda Lydia Walker (1857–1933) married John Henry Callin, and you can learn more about their family in the previous post. I'll be posting about their descendants over the following weeks, too.

     II. Martina D. Walker (1858–1922) married Frank Springstead (1860–1935) on 14 May 1894; they divorced in 1910. They had two sons and a daughter. Martina lived in Quincy, Branch county, Michigan, but she died while in Missouri; she was probably there in February to prepare for the May wedding of her youngest son, Russell.

     III. William Riley Walker (1859–1925) married Amy Ann Grim (1868–1912) in 1888. They raised two sons and two daughters. After Amy's death in 1912, William went to live with his eldest daughter, Goldie, in Sherwood, Michigan, where he died in October 1925.

     IV. John Bowen Walker (1861–1937) married Amanda Warner (1860–1932) in 1884. They had four daughters, and were lifelong residents of Wood county.

     V. Mary Annette "Nettie" Walker (1862–??) married William J Dennis (1853–1928) in Monroe, Michigan, on 14 June 1881. They had four daughters and three sons over the next 15 years, mostly while living in Wood county. The family settled in Jackson, Paulding county, Ohio, around 1896, and remained there at least through 1910. In 1920, they were living in Detroit, Michigan. That is where William died in 1928.

     VI. James Perry Walker (1864–1954) married Anna Bell Keiser (1866–1932) in 1887, and they raised three sons and three daughters in Madison, Sandusky county, Ohio. Perry died in 1954, in Denver, Colorado; but he was buried back in Gibsonburg, Ohio, with Annabell.

     VII. Henry Franklin Walker (1867–1939) married Lottie Belle Younkin (1878–1937) in 1896, and they raised a daughter and a son in Bowling Green. They retired to Toledo, where they were living in 1930.

     VIII. Jane Alice (Algany) Walker (1868–1943) married William F Budd (1867–1922) in 1888, and they had 14 children over the following 24 years. In most of the records, she is referred to as "Jane," but "Algany" or "Algania" appear in the 1880 and 1910 Census records, respectively. Her 1943 Michigan death record gives her full name as "Jane Alice."

     IX. Emma E. Walker (1869–1947) married Oscar Fremont Kelly (1864–1946) in 1888, and they had seven children. Some time between 1915 and 1920, when she was approaching her 50th birthday, Emma was committed to the Toledo State Hospital, where she spent the remainder of her life.

After Lydia's death in 1879, William remarried in 1885. His second wife was Louisa Klinger (1843–1918), the widow of a Civil War veteran named Samuel T. Defrehn (1844–1876). Louisa had a daughter named Kittie (Catherine S.) Defrehn (1874-1925) would married Charles E. Muir in 1893. Louisa and William Walker also had a son.

     X. Herold Eugene Walker (1890–1966) married Nellie E Dennis (1893–1974) around 1917. (She does not seem to be related to William J Dennis, the husband of Herold's half-sister, Mary Annette Walker.) Herold and Nellie had three sons together, but at some point, Herold left the family in Toledo, and moved to Barnstable, Massachusetts. He was an artist, by occupation, and he settled in Provincetown by 1930, which is where he died in 1966.

 - -- --- -- - 

Thanks for sticking with me on this one! I hope it helps clear up some of your mysteries - and if you happen to be a Walker or Bowen researcher with more information, let me know!

Also, my DNA profile is on, if you're researching that way. I'm still pretty lost when it comes to navigating alleles and sequences, but I've got the paper trail!

Friday, October 14, 2016

The 20th Century Callin Clan

Amanda Walker, about 1873
(Since John Henry Callin is the next family member on our list, I'm reposting this earlier piece on his family. Enjoy!)

This is the story of one generation of one family; just a little more than one life span. It was a century that bridged centuries, saw three major wars, and took my family from the old frontier to a new one. It was one generation that multiplied two ancestors into many cousins... but enough poetry - let's get started!

My great-great grandmother Amanda Lydia Walker was born in 1857 on Scotch Ridge in Wood county, Ohio. Her father was born in New York around 1828, and there is some speculation that his parents were Scottish immigrants who arrived after the Revolution. In 1874, when she was 17 years old, she married 33-year-old schoolteacher and Civil War veteran John Henry Callin.

John was the oldest son of William Callin and Elizabeth Berlin (who we read about in November's "Silk or Satin" post). William was a prosperous farmer known in the county for his physical strength and his industriousness, but not for his education. John, however, was a good student who was accepted into the Western Reserve Normal School in Milan, Ohio, when he was 18.  Three years later, in 1861, he began teaching his first classes in Wood county, Ohio.

Of course, that April saw the start of hostilities between the states. If it is true that William's farm was a stop on the Underground Railroad, that may have contributed to the enthusiasm his sons showed for enlisting in the fight. John dismissed his students in the middle of their term, and enlisted in the 21st Battery of the Ohio Light Artillery. He acquitted himself well as a soldier, and was later credited with leading Detachment B during its deployment in West Virginia. He brought home notebooks full of poetry he wrote on the battlefield, including an account of his unit's part in halting Morgan's Raid. After his discharge at the close of the war, John attended a course at Hillsdale College in Michigan, and then returned to Wood county, where he taught school for 22 years.

John married a Lucy Patterson in October 1865, according to his pension records - it isn't clear whether she is any relation to the Captain Patterson who commanded John's unit during the war, or what happened to cut that relationship short. Needless to say, there isn't any mention of this first marriage in the biographical sketches of John in the Wood county history. At any rate, they do not seem to have had any children, and John was free to marry Amanda nine years after his wedding to Lucy.

John & Amanda Callin's family - c. 1892
John and Amanda's eldest son, Byron Herbert, was born in November of 1874 - the year they were married. The following year they had a daughter, Leota, who died in infancy. After a few years, they had another son - my great-grandfather, John Quincy, who was born in 1879. Then, starting in 1885, when John would have been 6 and Byron would have been almost 11, the rest of the children came along in quick succession - Emma, their only sister (1885), Prentice (1887), Welles (1889), and Ray (1890).

The family photo to the right shows the whole family from around 1892. Standing up in the back are Byron and John Q. Amanda is seated on the left with Prentice and Welles to her right and left; John H. is holding Ray and Emma is standing to the right.

B. H. Callin, May 1895
Byron was a precocious young man, and he seems to have decided to follow in his father's footsteps as an educator early on. By one account, he was given a teaching certificate by the county board of examiners at age 16. In 1894-5, he taught at the school in New Rochester, Ohio; then attended Berea College in Berea, Kentucky for a term; and he attended the 1895-6 winter term at Findlay College in Findlay, Ohio. On July 18, 1896, he married Fannie E., daughter of John and Eliza Muir of Scotch Ridge, Ohio.

John Q. Callin (right)
Bowling Green HS football
John Q. also grew up to become an educator, though he didn't make as many headlines as his older brother. John played the left halfback position on the Bowling Green High School football team, and broke his ankle during a play against the Perrysburg team - which made the local papers. (BGHS beat Perrysburg 35-0!) He graduated in May 1900, and was listed in the commencement program  as delivering an Oration, Unnoticed Heroes.

(Given that theme, he probably would have appreciated the idea of Mighty Acorns!)

At the Turn of the Century, the Callin family was coming of age. The family portrait below was likely taken in 1902, around the time John H. moved the family to Fostoria. Standing from left to right in back are Ray (12), John Q. (21), Emma (15), Welles (13), and Prentice (14). Seated in front are Byron (26, and living in Dayton by this point), John H., and Amanda.

I estimate that John H. retired from teaching around 1889 - at 49 years of age. He seems to have gone back to farming, and he became more active in the Grand Army of the Republic. Even though his pension records indicate that he was never commissioned by the Union, he was known in his community as "Colonel Callin", which was possibly his rank in the GAR. His mother, Elizabeth, was living in his home in Bowling Green when she died in 1903.

John & Amanda Callin's family - c. 1902
John Q. married Bertha Cramer in 1906, and their daughter, Yvonne, was born in May of 1907. They had two sons: John Norman, in 1912, and Robert (my grandpa Bob), in 1920. They stayed in Fostoria that whole time, presumably supported by John's teaching.

Byron’s marriage to Fannie Muir didn't last long. Records of their divorce have proven to be elusive, but in 1906 he surfaced in Baker, Montana where he married Ruby Cole. Their daughter Opal was the first of John H. and Amanda's grandchildren, and she was born in April 1907, in Minnesota.

During their courtship, Byron and Ruby were riding in a buggy, going on a hunting trip, when the horse became spooked and in the subsequent furor, the gun that he had in the front of the buggy discharged and struck him in the right side of his jaw. He carried a terrible scar on his face for the rest of his life - and in the portrait below, you will note that he keeps his right side turned away from the camera. According to Truman Matcham, a son of Emma Callin, the family was always suspicious of the story and felt there was more to it than Byron would admit.

Welles Monroe Callin was born on April 19, 1889 in Bowling Green, Ohio. He grew up there until 1902, when the family moved to Fostoria. Welles attended Fostoria High School where he was the captain of the Ohio State Championship football team in 1907.

Emma Beatrice, born July 8, 1885, married a man 41 years older than herself in 1907. George D. Matcham was widowed when his first wife, Marion Worcester, died the year before. They had been married since 1871, and had opened a 20-room cottage at Linwood, a resort town on Lake Erie, just a few years before. George and his first wife never had children, but in November 1908 he and Emma presented John and Amanda with their first grandson, George Jr. Since John H. is also said to have owned property at Linwood, it seems likely that his new son-in-law may have helped him get started in the business of building resort cottages.

Welles Monroe Callin, c. 1908
After his high school graduation on November 10, 1908, Welles married Lucy Patterson, daughter of a local Fostoria city councilman, George B. Stone. They eloped to Windsor, Ontario, Canada and moved to Detroit. Welles’ brother Prentice was living there also, and they may have moved in with him. This marriage didn't work out and they were divorced shortly thereafter; they had no children.

Welles and Prentice then seem to have left for Edmunds County, South Dakota where their brother Byron was living.  He held a number of degrees, including at least one in theology, and had been a traveling preacher for a time in South Dakota, as well as teaching school at nearly every level.
Prentice George Callin
Hattie Own

Byron and Ruby had a second daughter, Elda Geraldine, while living in South Dakota, then Byron moved the family to Plevna, Montana. Welles seems to have followed them, but Prentice returned to Ohio where he homesteaded a piece of property and married Hattie Owen in 1910.

It was around this time that Byron began calling himself “Herbert”, his middle name. Welles evidently thought this was quite elegant and is listed in the 1910 census as “Monroe Callin”, though nobody ever seemed to call him that. In Baker, Montana, he met Marion Elizabeth Silvernale, the daughter of Baker's blacksmith, Charles Silvernale. They eloped sometime in 1911. It was quite a scandal, and there was even an article in the local paper with the headline, “Where is Marion Silvernale?”

Her family was not exactly smitten with the idea of their little girl seeing a divorced man, but the couple settled in Whitefish, Montana where Welles went to work for The Great Northern Railroad. They had three boys, Cameron Welles (1912), Charles Silvernale (1913), and John Kenneth (1920).

In 1913, John Henry died at the age of 72. Ray was attending college at Gambier, Ohio (probably Kenyon College), and Amanda moved to Vermillion to live near the Matchams. In 1920 she and Ray were living in the home of a widow named Anna Sherod, where Amanda worked as a housekeeper. Welles was still in Montana with his young family, but it seems the rest of the boys gravitated to Middlefield in Otsego county, New York.

John and Prentice Callin
Byron and family were in Middlefield in 1915. Prentice was there, as well, with Hattie and their two boys, Owen (1911) and David (1914); both boys were born in Ohio, so they must have moved not long after David was born - and by 1917 they seemed to be back in Ohio. Byron and Ruby stayed in New York state through at least 1923 or 4, and had the last three of their children there: Perda Jane (1916), Elsie Permilia (1920), and John Elijah (1923).

After Congress passed the declaration that entered the U.S. into World War I in April 1917, 2.8 million men were drafted into the Army. John and Prentice seem to have enlisted (or at least registered for the draft), though it isn't clear whether they were in the U.S. Army or an Ohio unit. They were a bit older than the average recruit - Prentice was 30 and John was 38. It doesn't appear that they got far from home before hostilities ended in November 1918, which was surely welcome news to the rest of the family.

The good news was not to last. On September 21, 1921, one year and one day after the birth of his youngest boy, John K., Welles was on a short run from Troy to Libby, Montana. He was standing on the platform between the locomotive and the tender when a heavy coal rake, that was sticking out beyond the side of the locomotive, struck a trestle and knocked him off of the train and into the riverbed. He landed on his head and died instantly. He was 32 years old. He is buried in the Missoula Cemetery in Missoula, Montana.
Ray Callin, with
Mary Delcamp

John Q. and Bertha moved to Schenevus, New York (not far from Middlefield) around 1921, when Bobby was about six months old. John taught there for a few years before moving back to Ohio. In February 1923, George Matcham died of pneumonia, leaving Emma with five children - the youngest being three years old: George Jr. (1908), John Edward (1912), Marjorie (1915), Truman (1916), and Ruth Ellen (1920). Emma remarried five years later to Gus Heimsath, and the aging Amanda moved into their home in Oberlin. That same year, 1928, Ray married Mary Delcamp.

Byron Herbert "Prof"
Callin, 1923
Sometime after the birth of John Elijah, Byron and Ruby had moved back to South Dakota from New York. Truman Matcham later recalled that the family felt that the reason Prof moved so often may have been because he was “asked” to leave. He recalls that when he was young and the family was talking about Prof, the kids were told to go out and play. It seems that Prof had quite a liking for the ladies. Some time around 1930, Prof told Ruby that he was going to look for work. He never returned. She divorced him and raised the family alone.

At some point after this, Byron married again. Records about this union are sketchy. They had one child, Flora Ida, but this marriage also ended in divorce. He remarried and another daughter was born, Ella Margaret.

On November 30, 1933, in Alford, Florida Byron Callin was shot to death. There are several stories about what actually happened. One is that he had been repeatedly trespassing on his neighbor’s property. Another was that it was a land dispute with his in laws. His death certificate states “Gunshot inflicted homicidally”. His occupation is listed as “Farmer.” Flora made numerous attempts to look at the records of the incident, but the County of Jackson, Florida refused to allow her access. No arrests were made. The whole incident simply went away. He is buried in an unmarked grave in Alford.

Mercifully, Amanda did not live to see Prof's ignominious end. She died in February 1933 at Oberlin, and after that, the Callin family began to move out of Ohio more permanently.

John Q. and Bertha had moved back to Fostoria from New York by 1930, but they soon decided to move down to Florida, once again following Prof's lead. John tried his hand at building resort cottages around the growing town of Orlando, and they lived out their days in Winter Park. By then, Ray and Mary had moved to Florida, also, with their son, Glenn, who was born in 1936. Prentice stayed in Ohio until the mid-1950s before moving to San Diego with Hattie.

It was barely 100 years from when Amanda, a daughter of Ohio's pioneering settlers, was born in 1857 until the 1950s saw the dispersal of her children and grandchildren to the East and West Coasts - and John Q.'s death in 1956. They were teachers, preachers, soldiers, builders, and adventurers who saw America come through some of its most celebrated episodes; and their lives were bracketed by the end of the Civil War at one end, and the rise of the Civil Rights movement at the other.

And that's just one family.

Friday, October 7, 2016

The Sly Family in California

After just a few weeks, we have reached the last of the Sly family (and the end of my bad puns on their distinguished name). Today we'll look at the two youngest children of William and Harriet (Callin) Sly:

Eugene T. Sly was born on October 31, 1866, in Ohio. His father, William, was 40 and his mother, Harriet, was 28. He married Anna Barbara Gano (1871-1895) on December 25, 1888, in Ohio. Anna was born on November 20, 1871, in Wood County, Ohio, when her father, Charles M Gano (1831–1910), was 40 and her mother, Julia E Weigel (1842–1925), was 29.

Eugene and Anna had two children before Anna died on October 13, 1895, in Wood County, Ohio, at the tender age of 23. She was buried in Rudolph, Wood county, Ohio.

Eugene then married Lillian Mae Swindler (1878-1947) in 1897, when Lillian was 19. They had three children together in Bowling Green, where they lived until at least 1920. In the 1930s, the Sly family moved to Los Angeles. It is not clear whether all of these families moved at the same time or for the same reasons, but many of them end up on the west coast.

Lillie died in 1947, but I have not found a burial record for her. Eugene died on December 20, 1951, in Los Angeles, California, at the age of 85, and was buried in Inglewood, California.

     I. Julia H Sly (1889–1983) the daughter of Eugene and Anna Gano Sly grew up to marry Russell K Garnes (1889–1946) on 15 June 1909 in Plain City, Ohio. After living in Bowling Green, where their daughters were born, and then in Toledo for a time, this family was in Alameda county, California, by 1930.

       A. Della Leannah Garnes (1910–1988) married Floyd Hazen Gelvin (1912–1981) 31 March 1934. Floyd clerked for the railroad office, and later worked as an underwriter. Leannah raised their son. The family moved to Covina (later West Covina) about 1947.

     1. William Barton Gelvin (1937–1972) was married for only one year before his death at age 35. His wife remarried a few years later, and is still living.

       B. Martha Launita Garnes (1912–2005) married John James Hamilton (1911–1993) around 1939; they had one son, still living, and the family lived in Los Angeles, California. Records have been hard to find, but it would seem the couple did not stay together, as Launita remarried in 1976. Her second husband may still be living, as well. They lived in Pismo Beach in the 1980s, and when Launita died, she was living in Lake Havasu, Arizona.

     II. Clarence Jefferson "Jack" Sly (1893–1987) was the son of Eugene and Anna Gano Sly. He served with the Army Engineers in World War I and was a commander of two Seabee battalions in World War II, retiring with the rank of commander. For 35 years he maintained a consulting and structural engineering business in San Francisco. He was a past president of the San Francisco Architectural Club and former chairman of the San Francisco Building Industry Conference Board.

Jack married Dora Mae Morris (1896–1978) in California after the First World War, and they were together for nearly 60 years. They were survived by their two sons, 10 grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.

       A. Clarence Jefferson Sly II (1920–2002) married when he was in his 60s, and his wife is still living. I believe he was an architect in the Bay Area, living in Oakland and San Francisco until his retirement. He settled in Baldwin City, Kansas, where he died at 82.

       B. William Thomas Sly Sr (1922–1999) who married Charlotte J Dudek (1922–1999) before enlisting in the U.S. Army and serving from 1943 through 1945. After the war, he was a civil engineer working in the San Francisco bay area, and living in Berkeley. They had three sons and two daughters, all but one of whom are still living.

     1. Clarence Jefferson "Jeff" Sly III (1954-1992) was the middle child of William and Charlotte, and was named after his uncle, Clarence II. He died at only 38 years of age. He was a resident of Riverside, California.

     III. Doris D. Sly (1898–1977) was the elder daughter of Eugene and Lillie Swindler Sly. She grew up in Bowling Green, and married George Earl Irwin (1899–1980) in Toledo on 21 September 1921. They had two daughters and a son in Wood county, Ohio; then they moved their family to Los Angeles in 1930, where Earl worked as a truck driver until he established himself as a real estate broker.

       A. Marjorie Helen Irwin (1922–2012) married Raymond Nathaniel Urick (1922–2007) in Yuma, Arizona, on 1941, while he was stationed at Camp Callan in La Jolla, California. The couple had two children: a daughter, still living, and a son.

     2. Daniel Raymond Urick (1942–1994) was born in Riverside, and died in Los Angeles. I have California Birth Index and Death Index records for him, but nothing else.

The SS Statendam - from
The World Ship Society
       B. Madelyn Marie Irwin (1924–2006) married Johan "Joe" Jansen (1912–1998) in 1942, and they were together for 56 years. Joe was born in Holland, and immigrated to America in 1930 aboard the SS Statendam. He was naturalized after living in Los Angeles for a number of years. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on 10 December 1942, and served through 1945.

Coincidentally, Madelyn and Joe died on each other's birthdays - Joe on 28 January 1998, and Madelyn on 26 August 2006. They are survived by a son, a daughter, four grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. Two of their sons have died.

     1. Jerrold Johan "Jerry" Jansen (1946–2013)
     2. Thomas William Jansen (1949–2005) both brothers lived in Stanislaus county, California, for most of their adult lives. Their obituaries ran in the Modesto Bee, which locks its obituaries up behind a paywall; so if anyone has them to share or barter, please let me know!

       C. Donald Earl Irwin (1926–2003) served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, enlisting from 1943 through 1946. He died in Norwood, Missouri, and was buried in the Missouri Veterans Cemetery in Springfield.

     IV. Leona Minnie Sly (1899–1930) was the younger daughter of Eugene and Lillie Swindler Sly. She married Raymond Earl Balyeat (1897–1961) before 1920 (other researchers say on 16 November 1918), and they lived in Toledo, where they had a son. By 1924, the family had moved to Long Beach, California, where Raymond's father died.

In April of 1930, Leona was listed in the Census as a patient at the Dore Sanitarium in Monrovia, California. She died in July that year, probably from tuberculosis. Raymond remarried Joanna Wilma Woods (1908–1987) sometime during the 1930s. (She apparently went by "Wilma," at least in the city directories.)

       A. Ray Earle Balyeat Junior (1920–1984) was in Toledo in 1937 and 1938, attending the Macomber Vocational High School. In 1940, he was back in Los Angeles, living with his grandmother, Lillian Sly. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1942 and served through 1946.

     V. Alvah Eugene Sly (1906–1978) was the son of Eugene and Lillie Swindler Sly. He married Mabel I Harris (1902–2001) in the first half of the 1930s. They lived in the home of Mabel's parents in 1940, but later lived in Laguna Hills, where Alvah died in 1978. I have not found any evidence that they had any children.

Harriet May Sly (1877–1949) was the youngest of William and Harriet (Callin) Sly's five children. She married Arthur C Solverson (1891–1941), and they lived in Dayton, Ohio, near her brother William James Sly and his wife, Sadie. Hattie Mae worked as a clerk in a dry goods store, and Arthur listed his occupation simply as "inspector," which could mean any number of things. I do not see any evidence that the couple had any children.

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Once again, we have reached the end of one line, and my branch is up next! If any of you new Sly cousins would like to suggest any corrections or additions, I'd be happy to hear from you. Please drop a note in the comments below, email my callintad Gmail address, or drop by the Callin Family History group on Facebook. It is for family only, so please don't be upset if I ask how you're related.

Happy Hunting!