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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.

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