Nellie J. Harrington (White) Carter


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Nellie Harrington, age 4

Nellie J. Harrington was born on January 16, 1882 in Orleans Township, Ionia County, Michigan. She was the youngest of three children and only daughter of Edwin C. Harrington and Alpha “Alfie” Amelia Johnson. Nellie had two older brothers, Erie Wellington, born 1875, and Warren, born 1879.

In August 1885, Alpha Harrington died of a strangulated hernia. According to the death record, her husband Edwin was still living at the time of her death, but soon after, the children had scattered to different households. Nellie went to live with the family of Sanford and Mary White of Campbell Township, Ionia County, Michigan. It is unclear when Nellie joined the White household. It may have been directly after her mother’s death when she was three years old, or sometime later. Sanford White and his wife, Mary Waller, had two older children: Elmer S, born 1868, and Sarah E, born 1870. Sarah died in 1890 and is buried in Clarksville Cemetery.

Nellie Harrington as a teenager, maybe 15. Circa 1897. Courtesy of Beth Mowery.

Sometime after 1894, Lapeer County native William Firman Carter traveled to Campbell Township, possibly to visit his grandmother Sarah Bradshaw Firman, who also lived in Campbell Township, and to find work. While there, he met Nellie Harrington. The couple married on September 22, 1898 at Campbell Corners. Witnesses were William’s brother, Norman Carter, and Nellie’s adopted sister-in-law, Mrs. E.S. White.

William Firman and Nellie Harrington Carter remained in Campbell Township, where William worked on Sanford White’s farm. The couple had their first child, daughter Florence Gladys, on April 11, 1899. Their second daughter was born on June 30, 1900. According to the 1900 U.S. Census, which was recorded two weeks before, the Carter family lived near the White family in Campbell Township. Nellie’s adopted aunt, Mrs. Sarah White Van Tassel, who most likely helped Nellie with household duties and taking care of one-year-old Florence before and after having her second child. Unfortunately, the new baby died three months later on October 2, 1900 of Cholera Infantum and was buried without a stone in Clarksville Cemetery. William and Nellie’s third child, Leon Jay Carter, was born June 17, 1901, and another son, Sanford White Carter, would be born December 21, 1903 in Attica, Lapeer County (however, his birth certificate is filed in Ionia County).

A photo of Nellie and William Carter, perhaps a wedding photo. Circa 1898.

This is just an assumption, but I believe that sometime in late September or early October of 1903, William and Nellie left Campbell Township and traveled with their children to Attica, Lapeer County. Nellie would have been about six months pregnant at the time, and it would have corresponded with the beginning of the farming “off-season.” Traveling by rail would have been the easiest conveyance for the family, since the train connected nearby Saranac to Lansing and Attica. A slower (and much less comfortable for a pregnant woman) option would have been traveling by horse and wagon along present-day Corunna Road/M-21. The reasons the family decided to travel to Attica in 1903 are speculative at best. William’s entire family lived in Attica or nearby in Lapeer County, and they most likely stayed with his parents Dana Park and Eliza Firman Carter for the holidays. William may have also been planning a permanent move to the east side of the state, as the area had begun to flourish with the success of the vehicle industry in nearby Flint.

Nellie gave birth to Sanford on December 21, most likely at her father-in-law’s house in Attica. One week later on December 28, she died of Peritonitis and heart failure as a result of puerperal fever. According to her death record, Nellie J. Carter is buried in Clarksville Cemetery, Clarksville, Ionia County, but no stone has been found. According to descendants of her daughter Florence Carter Scramlin, the building that held the cemetery records burned, destroying any information about where she may be buried.


Sanford White Carter


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Sanford W. Carter (left) and his brother Leon J. Carter

Sanford White Carter was the youngest of three children born to William Firman Carter and Nellie J. Harrington. Sanford was named after his mother’s adoptive father, Sanford White of Campbell Corners, Ionia County, Michigan, but was known to his family as Sam.

Sanford’s parents and siblings, Florence Gladys (born 1899) and Leon Jay (born 1902), lived with or near the White family in Campbell Corners until 1903. Sometime late in the year, the entire family, including a pregnant Nellie, traveled 116 miles from Campbell Corners to Attica, Lapeer County, Michigan. The family most likely traveled by rail, from Clarksville to Lansing, and then from Lansing to Attica. If they traveled on the road by horse and buggy, they most likely traveled along present-day M-21/Corunna Road. On December 21, 1903, Sanford White Carter was born in Attica. He was most likely born at the home of his grandparents, Dana Parker Carter and Eliza Marie Firman. While Sanford was born healthy, Nellie suffered some complications with the birth, and one week later on December 28, she died. The cause of death is recorded as “Peritonitis and Heart Failure, caused by Puerperal Fever.”

Three years later, in 1906, Sanford’s father remarried a woman named Dora M. Webb in Flint, Genesee County. The family lived in Flint thereafter, first in a house on Plum Street (since absorbed by the UM-Flint campus), and later in a house on Broadway Avenue (recently destroyed in an arson). However, Sanford did not live with his father and siblings, and was instead raised by his grandparents, Dana Parker and Eliza Firman Carter.

In the summer of 1911, Sanford’s grandfather, Dana, committed suicide by hanging himself. According to the 1920 U.S. Census, Sanford’s grandmother, Eliza, went to work and live at the Michigan State Home and Training School in Lapeer. That same year, Sanford lived with his sister, Florence Carter Scamlin, and her husband Claude in Flint. Eliza Carter died February 15, 1920 at the Michigan Home and Training School of Lobar Pneumonia. After his grandmother’s death, Sanford went to live with his aunt Mintha Carter Eastman and her husband, Bert, in Lapeer.

On October 15, 1921, Sanford White Carter married Indiana-native Emma Fern Everdon in Lapeer. Fern Everdon was the youngest of Samuel Everdon and Flora Forbes’s four children: William Clyde (1890); Cora Blanche (1893-1976); Ginevea (1895-1982); and Emma Fern (1901-1949). In 1915, Fern’s sister Cora moved from the family’s farm in Jennings, Crawford County, Indiana, to Lapeer to get married. After their father’s death in 1921, Fern and Ginevea followed suit, traveling to Lapeer with their mother. Ginevea married in June of 1921, and Fern married four months later.

After they were wed, Sanford and his wife Fern moved to Lansing, where they lived for about three years. In March 1925, the couple returned to Lapeer, and Sanford got a job as a molder in the Bostick Stove Works. Sanford and Fern lived at 46 Turrill Avenue in Lapeer. Sanford also was involved with the I.O.O.F (Independant Order of Oddfellows), as well as an active member of the Methodist Presbyterian Church.

On about June 1, 1926, Sanford went to the Lapeer City Hospital for abdominal pain, which was found to be caused by appendicitis. He underwent surgury to have his appendix removed, and subsequently developed pneumonia. Sanford died on the afternoon of June 8, 1926 at the Lapeer City Hospital. He was buried in an individual plot at Mt. Hope Cemetery, in Lapeer.

After Sanford’s death, Fern moved north to Traverse City where she worked in the State Hospital as an attendant, according to the 1930 U.S. Census. Sometime between 1930 and 1939, she married Thomas Lee LaFrance in Detroit. She had at least three children with him: Sharon, Karen, and William. Emma Fern Everdon Carter LaFrance died January 20, 1949.

* If anyone else has any other information on Sanford White Carter, Emma Fern Everdon, or the LaFrance family, please contact me. I’d love to share info with you!

A Short Visit to South Attica Cemetery


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Stopped by to check on the Carter Family while visiting home. Everyone was fine. Lorenzo is tipping a bit, though.

Emma Fern Everdon


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Aunt Emma Fern Everdon Carter - Circa 1923

Emma Fern Everdon was born to Samuel A. Everdon, a farmer, and Flora Bell Forbes on October 7, 1901, in Crawford County, Indiana. Fern was the youngest of four Everdon children: William Clyde, born 1890; Cora Blanche, born 1893; Geneva, born 1895, and Emma Fern, born 1901. In 1910, the entire family lived on the Everdon Farm on Leavenworth-Makings Road in Jennings, Crawford County.

On April 28, 1915, Fern’s sister Cora Blanche married Floyd W. Schoch, an attendant at the Michigan Home in Lapeer. Floyd Schoch died in 1916 and is buried in Oakland County. On August 15, 1919, Cora Blanche Everdon Schock, then listed as a nurse, married Fred H. Abbey, a bookkeeper, in Detroit. Fred Abbey had also been married once before. The next year, the couple was living in Lapeer,

On December 24, 1919, William Clyde, a rubber worker, married Cordie Alice Watts in Hamilton County, Ohio. The next year, Clyde and Cordie were both living in Elba, Lapeer County.

In 1920, both Fern and her sister Geneva lived on their father’s farm and worked as telephone operators. On June 18, 1921, Fern’s sister Geneva, then a nurse, married farmer Francis McDonald in Lapeer. Fern served as one of the witnesses.

Aunt Fern and Aunt Winifred Carter - circa 1923

Emma Fern Everdon married Sanford White Carter, a nickel plater, on October 15, 1921 in Lapeer, Michigan. Their witnesses were Ester Swartzkopf, the wife of the paster, and Neva Fisher. The couple moved to Lansing for three years, but returned to Lapeer in March 1925, when Sanford got a job as a molder at the Bostick Stove Works. Sanford and Fern moved into 46 Turrill Avenue and often spent time with Sanford’s brother, Leon, and his family. According to photographs, Fern was particularly fond of spending time with her young niece, Winifred.

Around the end of May 1926, Sanford experienced abdominal pains and went to Lapeer City Hospital. There, he underwent “an operation for appendicitis,” which probably means that he had his appendix removed. While in the hospital, Sanford developed pneumonia, and on June 8, 1926, died.

After Sanford’s death, there is little evidence of Fern. By 1930, “Emma F. Carter, widow” was employed as an attendant at the Traverse City State Hospital in Traverse City, Michigan. Since her sister Geneva was a nurse in Lapeer, it is likely that Fern received similar training, and may have even worked at the Michigan State Home in Lapeer.

Sometime between 1930 and 1939, Fern Everdon remarried. She may have been married and had a son with someone with the last name of Hayhow. By 1939, Fern had married Thomas LaFrance, born September 10, 1909 in Michigan. The couple had at least three children, two daughters and a son. Fern died January 20, 1949, in Wayne County, Michigan. Thomas LaFrance died December 21, 1985, in Garden City, Wayne County, Michigan.

Lorenzo Dow Carter


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Lorenzo Dow Carter was the fifth of eight children born to Barzillai Carter and Mary Crary. Lorenzo was born in Warren, Litchfield County, Connecticut, an area where his family had lived for four generations. In 1811, Lorenzo moved with his siblings and parents to Darien, Genesee County, New York.

The name Lorenzo Dow was a very popular name at the beginning of the 19th century. The original Lorenzo Dow was a traveling Methodist preacher who was very well known during the Second Awakening period. Dow travelled extensively through the New York – Connecticut – Vermont area, but also travelled to the wildernesses of Indianapolis and Ohio. Thousands of children were named after Lorenzo Dow, including Lorenzo Dow Carter. More can be learned about him here.

At the turn of the 19th century, many Connecticut families like the Carter family emigrated to Western New York. One such family was the Beardsley family, which had also moved from Litchfield County, Connecticut, to Genesee County, New York. Lorenzo Dow Carter married Luna Beardsley in 1836 in Batavia, Genesee County, New York. Together, Lorenzo Dow and Luna have eleven children together: Henry E in 1838; Norman Brace in 1839; Philena Wells on March 24, 1840; twins Sarah Delgratia and Solon D in 1843; Levant Brown on June 19, 1845; Mentha Amanda on November 22, 1847; Dana Parker on January 11, 1850; *Lynas George on July 20, 1850; Irena Dow on October 23, 1854; and George Lewis on March 31, 1856.  (* Birth dates for Dana and Lynas are a little odd. According to the 1850 Census, Dana was already 1 year old in August of 1850 and Lynas was 9 months old, but according to Dana’s death record, Dana would have only been 8 months old. According to Lynas’s headstone, he was 1 year and 3 months when he died, making his birthday July 20 1850. According to this, he would have only been 1 month old at the time of the 1850 Census).

According to a Lapeer County history, on November 19, 1836, Lorenzo Dow and his brother Russell purchase large tracts of land within Section 28 in Attica Township, Lapeer County, Michigan. According to the General Land Office records,  Russell Carter purchased the west half of the NE corner of Section 28, and Lorenzo Dow Carter purchased the east half of the NE corner of Section 28. By 1840, according to the 1840 US Census, Lorenzo Dow Carter was living in Dryden, Lapeer County, Michigan with his wife, Luna, and their two young sons Henry and Norman. By 1844, the family lived on a farm on his land in Section 28 just south of the present village of Attica, Lapeer County, Michigan. Sometime before 1872, The land changed hands and Lorenzo Dow Carter owned the south 70 acres of the NE quarter of Section 28.

In 1844, an epidemic hit the family. Between June 20 and July 18, 1844, three of the Carter boys died – Henry on June 20, Norman on July 4, and Solon on July 18. Tragedy struck again in August 1851 when two more of the Carter children died – Sarah Delgratia on August 13 and Lynas George on August 20. Since death records were not kept until the 1860s, it is hard to say what the children died of. There is a report in a Lapeer County history that the years of 1848 and 1849 brought an epidemic of “fever of the brain” to Attica, but since the years do not exactly match up, it is only speculation that this is what killed the Carter children. The rest of Lorenzo and Luna’s children lived to adulthood and all stayed in Attica.

Lorenzo Dow Carter led a relatively quiet life, even in a small village like Attica. He did not get involved in political or public life like many of the other early settlers did. It is not clear whether Lorenzo maintained a relationship or even correspondence with family in New York, but there is evidence that he may have been close to two brothers, Norman Brace and George Lewis Carter, who also settled in Michigan. Older brother Norman lived in Lenawee County with his wife Mentha Braddish. Lorenzo and Luna named children after both Norman and Mentha. Youngest brother George lived first in Genesee County before moving to Ingham County. Lorenzo and Luna also named two children after George – Lynas George, who died as an infant, and George Lewis Carter. Lorenzo may have had close relationship with his younger sister, Mary Ruthala Carter Harris, who lived in Fenton, Genesee, Michigan with her husband Heman.

Carter, Lorenzo Dow

Lorenzo Dow Carter's gravestone at South Attica Cemetery, Attica Township, Lapeer County, Michigan

On April 8, 188o, Lorenzo Dow Carter was killed when he was trampled by horses on his farm. He was 73 years old. Lorenzo Dow Carter was buried beneath a medium-sized obelisk at South Attica Cemetery in Attica, Lapeer, Michigan. The epitaph on the stone reads: Soldier of Christ well done; Rest from thy love employ; The battle fought the victory won; Enter thy Master’s joy.

Aubrey Cecil Mathers


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Aubrey Cecil Mathers was born on September 7, 1883 to Lewis mathers and Elizabeth M. Marks in Park Hill, Middlesex, Ontario, Canada. Aubrey had at least one older sister, Laurentia Vivian, and at least one younger sister, Lily May.

Aubrey Mathers married Ruth May Crowder on October 30, 1901 in Port Edward, Ontario, Canada. The couple soon moved to Genesee County, Michigan where they had nine children: Julia L on November 4, 1902; Elizabeth Ann on February 8, 1905; Hellen in 1908; Lewis Charles on June 2, 1910; Ruth Ann on October 26, 1918; Luella on August 23, 1923; Cecil on July 17, 1926; Guyida on August 9, 1928; and Aubrey E on April 12, 1932. All the children lived to adulthood except for Cecil, who only lived a few hours.

According to the 1910 US Census, Aubrey Mathers and his family lived at 2414 or 2514 Vanness Street in Port Huron, St. Clair County, Michigan. At that time, Ruth Mather’s recently divorced sister Caroline M Hunt lived with the family, along with her two children Eugene and John. Aubrey Mather’s in-laws, Charles and Elizabeth Crowder, live next door (or across the street) at 2411 Vanness Street. In 1910, Aubrey worked as a moulder in a “malleable works” or metal shop. A high percentage of residents in Aubrey’s neighborhood also worked at the metal shop, including father-in-law Charles Crowder and brother-in-law Walter Crowder.

By 1920, Aubrey Mathers moved his family from Port Huron to Genesee Township, Genesee County, Michigan. There, Aubrey worked as a grinder at an auto factory.

By 1930, Aubrey Mathers has moved his family yet again from the more rural Genesee Township into the city of Flint. The Mathers lived at 3706 Franklin Street and Aubrey worked as an engineer for the City Water Works. Around the corner at 1915 Knapman Street, Aubrey’s sister-in-law Caroline M Hunt lived with her second husband Guy Gregory, her son Eugene, and his wife and daughter.

In 1937, Ruth Crowder Mathers passed away. Sometime soon after, Aubrey moves from Franklin Street around the corner to 1927 Colon Street. In March of 1953, Aubrey Mathers was diagnosed with Prostatic Carcinoma, or Prostate Cancer. In October of 1953, Aubrey Mathers is diagnosed with Carcinomatosis, meaning that the cancer had widely spread to other parts of his body.

On February 14, 1954 Aubrey Cecil Mathers died of Terminal Pneumonia as a result of his prostate cancer. He was buried on February 17, 1954 in Avondale Cemetery, Flint, Genesee County, Michigan.

I haven’t found Aubrey or Ruth’s headstones yet. Any additional information, photographs, etc would be greatly appreciated.  

Jennie Marie Wood Hill


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Jennie Marie Wood and her husband Wilfred James Hill

Jennie Marie Wood and her husband Wilfred James Hill

Jennie Marie Wood was born August 1879 in Forest Township, Genesee County, Michigan to Abner Wood, a farmer, and Harriet Fenner. Jennie was the eighth of eleven children born to the couple.

At the age of 19, Jennie Wood married 32 year old Wilford James Hill on November 13, 1898 in Flint, Genesee County, Michigan.  The couple remained in Forest Township, having four daughters: May Rosa on August 1899; Tillie Irene on August 24, 1901; Hazel Pearl on April 21, 1904; and Winnifred on January 21, 1907. All four children lived to adulthood.

According to my grandfather, Wilford J Hill was a mean old cuss and an alcoholic. Also according to my grandfather and my great aunt, Jennie Wood Hill was having an affair with her sister’s husband, Allen Carr. The story goes that one day while Al and Jennie were having a fling, Allen’s pregnant wife (& Jennie’s sister) was out in the woods gathering kindling when something spooked the horse she had. She somehow got dragged to death as a result.

Jennie Wood (center) and her daughter May Pettit (right)

Jennie Wood (center) and her daughter May Pettit (right)

Primary records tell a similar, but slightly different story. Allen Floyd Carr did marry Jennie’s older sister Mary “May” Wood in 1900. On January 24, 1916, Mary Wood Carr died of Endocarditis as a result of a premature birth. The death record does not state that any sort of injury led to the premature birth, but I suppose it is possible. Mary died in Elba, Lapeer County, Michigan and is buried in Union Cemetery in Richfield Township near her father Abner and near her son, Leo. However, her stone reads “May G. Carr.”

According to the 1920 census, Jennie M. Hill lived with Allen Carr and his children in Lapeer, Michigan, while Wilford James Wood lived in Genesee, Michigan with his two youngest daughters. Although they are living separately, Jennie and Wilford are still listed as ‘married.”

In the 1930 census, Jennie Hill is listed as living with Allen Carr and his son Leo, but has the status of “single” while Allen has the status of “married.” In 1930, Wilfred Hill lived with his widowed daughter Winnifred Theilen and had the status “divorced.”

Allen Carr & Jennie Wood - August 1964

Allen Carr & Jennie Wood - August 1964

According to my mother, who also heard stories from her parents and great aunt, Jennie Wood seemed to abandon her life and children with Wilfred Hill for a life with Allen Carr. Despite this, her daughters adored her, especially my great-grandmother Hazel Pearl Carter.

Jennie Marie Wood and Allen Floyd Carr remained together for the rest of their lives, but never married. According to stories from family members (which should always be taken with a grain of salt), Allen Carr had a fidelity problem and as an older man had actually gotten a 16 year old woman pregnant. Regardless, (again, according to family stories) Jennie Wood was completely devoted to Al Carr, saying that she would “walk through hell for that man.”

Jennie Marie Wood died on February 2, 1967 in Flint, Genesee County, Michigan.

Clarissa Clara Freeland Kilbourn


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Clarissa Freeland Kilbourn on her 71st birthday, March 9 1964.

Clarissa Freeland Kilbourn on her 71st birthday, March 9 1964.

Clarissa Clara Freeland was born to Francis R. Freeland and Jennie S. McIntyre on March 9, 1893 in Freeland, Saginaw County, Michigan. Clarissa was the fourth of eight children born to Francis and Jennie Freeland.

In 1900, Clarissa and her family lived at 425 Andre Street in Saginaw, Michigan. It is not clear whether it was North or South Andre Street. By 1910, the family had moved to Rich Township, Lapeer County, Michigan. Clarissa’s father, Frank, could not find work as a paper hanger, so he moved the family to Lapeer to find work doing “odd jobs.”

While living in Rich Township, the Freeland family lived near two brothers named Fred and Lee Kilbourn. I believe that at some point, Fred and Lee’s younger brother Blake came to live or visit with them and was introduced to Clarissa. On May 11, 1911, Clarissa Freeland married Blake Clarence Kilbourn in Vassar, Tuscola County, Michigan.

Clarissa & Blake Kilbourn had at least five children together: Irene May on December 9, 1911; Ora J on March 22, 1913, Lena Myrtle on January 29, 1915; Edmund C on October 8, 1917; and Lloyd in 1920. All of their children lived to adulthood.

Soon after Clarissa married and left home, two tragic events happened there. In 1912, her older sister Mabel Mae died from Peritonitis. Clarissa often spoke fondly about Mabel to her great-granddaughter (my mother), saying that she was very beautiful and sweet. In 1914, Clarissa’s mother Jennie Freeland was found dead on a neighbor’s doorstep after suffering from a heart valve failure. Jennie had been out searching for Clarissa’s younger sister Albertina, who had run away that morning.

Soon after she married and left home, two tragic events occurred there. First, her older sister Mabel Freeland Crankshaw died from peritonitis in 1912 at the age of 21. Clarissa often spoke fondly of her sister Mabel, saying that she was very beautiful and sweet. Two years later in 1914, Clarissa’s mother, Jennie, was found dead on her neighbor’s doorstep after suffering from a heart valve failure. Jennie had been out searching for Clarissa’s younger sister Albertina, who had run away that morning.

By 1920, Clarissa and Blake Kilbourn lived with their family at 2038 Hartshorn Street in Flint, Genesee County, Michigan. Blake’s brother Fred Kilbourn and his family also lived at this address. According to the 1920 Census, a total of 19 people lived at 2038 Hartshorn. Also living with Clarissa and Blake was Clarissa’s 14 year old sister Bernice Freeland, who worked as a housekeeper.

By 1930, Clarissa and Blake Kilbourn lived with their family at 1622 Utah Avenue in Flint, Michigan, a house they rented for $25 a month. Their oldest daughter Irene also lived with them with her husband Lewis C. Mathers and their two sons, Leland and Clarence.

Blake Kilbourn died on February 23, 1962. At that time, Blake and Clarissa lived at 2955 Henry Street, Flint, Genesee County, Michigan. In 1967, Clarissa Kilbourn married a man named Elmwood Nuttle. It is not clear whether it was coincidence or whether they knew each other from before, but in 1910 when 17 year old Clarissa lived in Rich Township, Lapeer County, Michigan, 21 year old Elmwood was a farm hand for a family living just down the street from the Freelands. According to my mother, Clarissa’s daughter Irene was very annoyed that her month would “make a fool of herself” by getting married at the age of nearly 75. My mother, who was ten years old at the time, remembers Clarissa being a very cute little old bride. They divorced shortly after they were married. Elmwood Nuttle died in 1970.

Clarissa Freeland Kilbourn died on January 31, 1979 at St. Joseph Hospital in Flint, Michigan. She was 85. Clarissa laid in state at her home at 2955 Henry Street, and then was laid to rest in Flint Memorial Park, Flint, Michigan.

Dana Parker Carter


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Dana Parker Carter was born to Lorenzo Dow Carter and Luna Beardsley on January 11, 1850 in Attica, Lapeer County, Michigan. He was the eighth of eleven children, but before Dana was born, three of his siblings had died in 1844. Two more siblings died in 1851 before Dana turned the age of two.

On February 13, 1873, Dana Parker Carter married Eliza Marie Firman in Lapeer County, Michigan. The couple had at least eight children: Florence Mae in 1874, Lavant Brown in 1875, Norman Brace in 1878, William Firman in 1880, John Wesley in 1884, Mintha Peck in 1887, Clyde Clive in 1891, and Lorenzo Dow in 1893. All of these children lived to adult hood.

By looking at the names of Lorenzo & Luna’s children and grandchildren, evidence of special relationships emerge. For example, Lorenzo named two of his children, Norman Brace and George Lewis, after two of his brothers of the same names. Dana also named some of his children in this way: Lavant Brown, after his brother; Norman Brace, after his uncle; Mintha Peck, after his sister Mintha who married John Peck; and Lorenzo Dow, after his father. Dana & Eliza’s son William Firman was named after Eliza Firman’s father, William. In the same way, Dana’s little sister, Irena Dow, named her second son Dana Griswold after her brother.

Dana Parker Carter, like his father and brothers, was a farmer. By 1893, he owned 40 acres in the NE 1/4 of the NW 1/4 of section 28 in Attica Township. The land was along Belle River Road near Lake George Rd. *See an land analysis here.*

According to the 1910 Census, Dana Parker Carter’s household included his wife, Eliza, his youngest son, Lorenzo Dow, and his seven-year-old grandson, Sanford White Carter.

On June 30 1911, Dana Parker Carter was found dead at the age of 63 as a result of suicide by hanging. He was buried in Attica Cemetery on July 2, 1911 in a plot near the railroad tracks.

There are many questions pertaining to the life and death of Dana Parker Carter, including:
– Where is Dana Parker Carter in the 1870 Census?
– Why did Dana commit suicide?
– What did Dana Parker Carter look like?
– Why did William Firman’s son Sanford live with his grandparents?

Dana Parker Carter – Land Analysis


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According to the 1893 Atlas of Lapeer County, Dana Parker Carter owned 40 acres of land within section 21 of Attica Township at NE 1/4 NW 1/4. According to the previous atlas in 1874, the land was sold to Dana by his uncle Jonathan Sholes and W. Williams. Dana owned this land from at least 1893 to sometime between 1906 and 1921. According to the 1921 atlas, an irregular-shaped plot of land on the West side of section 21 belongs to the estate of “Mrs. E. M. Carter,” Dana’s wife.

Attica Township - 1874

Attica Township - 1874

The map above (and all maps following) show (from the top left corner, clockwise) the southeast corner of section 17, the south half of section 16, all of section 21, and the east half of section 20 in Attica Township, Lapeer County, Michigan. The boundary between section 21 and section 16 is Belle River Road, and the boundary between section 21 and section 20 is Lake George Road.

Important parcels of note include: J.W. Peck (S 1/2 SW 1/4 of Section 16), Dana P Carter’s brother in law; Sholes (of Williams & Sholes, N 1/2 NW 1/4 of Section 21, minus 10 acres in NW corner), Dana P Carter’s brother in law; and B. Henderson (W 1/2 SW 1/4 of Section 21).

Attica Township - 1893

Attica Township - 1893

By 1893, the land has divided further. Dana Parker Carter has acquired 40 acres of land once belonging to Williams & Sholes (NE 1/4 NW 1/4). J. W. Peck has acquired an additional 80 acres of land in Section 17 that once belonged to W. Williams (S 1/2 SE 1/4). Just across the road from Peck’s new acquisition is a small 5 acre plot in Section 20 that is marked “Carter.” It is unclear whether this is Dana Carter or another Carter. The land in W 1/2 SW 1/4 of Section 21 that once belonged to B. Henderson now belongs to Mrs. E. Mott.

Attica Township - 1906

Attica Township - 1906

By 1906, the lines have changed little, but the names have changed much. Dana P. Carter still owns the same land, but the 20 remaining acres of Williams and Sholes has been divided in half – the northern half remaining with Jonathan Sholes (Dana’s brother in law) and the southern half going to L. Carter. This could either be Dana’s brother Lavant or his son Levant. J.W. Peck still owns a combined 160 acres in Sections 17 and 16, but has also acquired the 5 acres across the road that previously belonged to a Carter. The land in the W 1/2 SW 1/4 of Section 21 has switched ownership from Mrs. E. Mott to Benjamin Henderson. It is unclear whether B. Henderson and Ben Henderson are the same person or merely related.

A new addition to land ownership in the area is Dana Griswold (W 1/2 SE 1/4 of Section 16) who owns the land just adjacent to Dana P. Carter. Dana Carter is Dana Griswold’s uncle, brother to his mother Irena, and namesake.

Attica Township - 1921

Attica Township - 1921

Fifteen years later in 1921, some things remain the same. J.W. Peck still owns the same 165 acres in Sections 16, 17 and 20. Dana Griswold still owns the same land in Section 16. Ben Henderson still owns the same land in Section 21.

The land once owned by Dana Carter is now owned by Mott Clifford. Instead, Dana’s widow owns an irregular plot of 35 acres in both the NW 1/4 and SW 1/4 of Section 21. Actually, it is Mrs. Eliza M. Carter’s estate which owns the land, since Eliza died in 1920, and previously had been living at the Lapeer Home for the Insane and Feeble Minded. I believe that the land was sold and acquired before Dana’s suicide in 1911, but it really could go either way.

So what does Ben Henderson have to do with anything? Dana Parker Carter’s son, Levant Brown, married a woman named Chloe Butler, and the couple had three children. Sometime after 1907, Chloe left Levant and went to live with Ben Henderson as a “domestic servant.” She eventually ended up being his common law wife and the two are buried together in South Attica Cemetery. The stone simply reads “Ben and Chloe.”