Tag Archives: George Kellogg Hess Sr.

What kind of work did our grandparents do?

My nephew, Kevin, inspired me by a question that he asked some time ago. That question has very much been in the back of my mind for some time now. The question was, “what kind of work (occupations) did our ancestors have?” So, today, I thought I would start to document some of the occupations that make up my story of ancestry and the also the ancestry story of those that I love. I will simply write a paragraph or so about several of those ancestors and hope that you will enjoy sharing your insight into this topic as well.

GROVER CLEVELAND REAM – CARPENTER – MY MATERNAL GRANDFATHER

I will start with my maternal grandfather. His name was Grover Cleveland Ream. He was born on 16 Sept. 1885 in Denver, Miami County, Indiana. In the US census from 1900, Grover was living in Ann Arbor, MI and was a mere 14 years old. The 1900 census shows that his father Benjamin Ream (my great grandfather) was a carpenter. Grover, like his father, would also become a carpenter. It was always my understanding that he was exceptional at his trade. I found a copy of his death certificate that shows the last date that he was engaged in his occupation was February of 1931. He died the next month on 26 Mar 1931. He was young, only 45 years old at his death. My mother was a mere 5 years old at the time her father died. In my ancestry notes, I have copies of news articles showing his association with the Carpenter’s Union 512 of Ann Arbor where he served as an officer. In addition to many of the important buildings he constructed, there was also the home he built for his family at 520 N. Main Street, Ann Arbor, MI that would become not only a residence, but a guest home.

EMILIE “AMELIA” ANGELINA GRAYER REAM – GUEST HOUSE HOST – MY MATERNAL GRANDMOTHER

My maternal grandmother was Emilie “Amelia” Angelina Grayer Ream. She was born on 14 Sept. 1885 in Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, Michigan. Actually, as I write this blog, I notice for the first time that my grandparents birthdays were a mere 2 days apart. My grandmother would affectionally be called “Grandma Pet. ” I loved her beyond measure. She died 1 day after my 11th birthday party on 13 Feb 1965. I have many treasured memories of her humor, sweetness, and joy for life. My grandmother’s occupation was to run the guest home in her residence on Main Street in Ann Arbor. I was under the impression that the guests who stayed at the home were primarily business or sales men who were often associated the University of Michigan. In the basement of the home was a large ironing mangle (it impressed me greatly) that was used to iron the sheets of the house guests.

GEORGE KELLOGG HESS, SR. – ELECTRICAL ENGINEER, ORCHARD FARMER, POLITICAL ACTIVIST – MY PATERNAL GRANDFATHER

My paternal grandfather was George Kellogg Hess, Sr. He was born 6 Sept. 1891 in Benton Harbor, Berrien County, Michigan. He was born on a successful fruit farm whose harvests supplied the Chicago market and other large cities. He wanted to leave the farm! My father told me that George did NOT want to be a farmer. In the WWI draft application he completed on 5 June 1917, he states that he is employed by Western Electric Company, Hawthorne Station, Chicago. He went on to graduate from the University of Michigan in 1921 with a degree in Electrical Engineering. I have been told that he was a genius. He worked in Chicago for the electrical company until 1930. Perhaps you will recall the story my father told us so often. My father became direly ill in 1930 (he was 5 years old) and the doctors in Chicago said the only hope for my father’s survival was to move the family to the countryside and out of the large city. What? I know…huh? Anyway, this put George back at the orchard farm in Benton Harbor, MI. This was the same place he had so wanted to leave as a young man. My father’s story is even more amazing because at exactly the same time as my father became ill, George’s father Juan Hess died leaving the farm to George. George must have not liked going back to the farm enough that when his obituary was written it states that he “was a retired electrical engineer” without mention of his successful management of the farm. I have collected numerous newspaper articles that show that George was an activist, even to the point of traveling to Washington to lobby for certain changes that primarily related to pipelines, farm taxes and migrant workers.

HENRIETTA SPRUHAN – PATERNAL GRANDMOTHER- MUSICIAN AND DICTAPHONE OPERATOR

Henrietta was born on 31 Jan 1894 in Illinois. In 1914 she graduated from the Chicago Musical College. She was a very accomplished pianist. (As a note, in 1930 when the family was forced to move to Benton Harbor, MI and back to the farm, she would not agree to go unless she had her grand piano too.) In the 1920 census, Henrietta was 26 years old and single. She is living with her parents. In the census records, she lists her occupation as Dictaphone Operator. I recall that my father told me this was an honorable position that she was able to claim because her pianist’s hands moved so quickly on the keys of the dictaphone.

EUGENE LUDLOW BARNES “E.L.” – PATERNAL GRANDFATHER OF MY SISTER’S HUSBAND- SCHOOL TEACHER, COACH, SHEET METAL WORKER AT A SHIP YARD, A CHEIF DEPUTY SHERIFF AND UNION OFFICIAL.

E.L. was born on 5 August 1906 in Bond, Stone, Mississippi. His home in the 1930 census (when he was 23 years old) was in Columbia, Marion, Mississippi. He listed his occupation as school teacher. In the 1940 census, he still is a teacher and states that he has had 3 years of college education. (This question was particular to the 1940 census, so I don’t know when he actually attended college.) It is known that he was a graduate of Mississippi College. In 1940 he was living in Hattiesburg, Forrest, Mississippi.

ALICE “CHRISTINE” THOMPSON- PATERNAL GRANDMOTHER OF MY SISTER’S HUSBAND- STUDENT, HOMEMAKER

Christine was born on 10 June 1905 in Grange, Lawrence County, Mississippi. In the 1930 census she is 24 years old and states that she is a student. This must have been college, but I do not have educational records for her. In the 1940 census she lists her education level as having completed 1 year of college.

FRANCESCO “FRANK” BIVONA- MATERNAL GRANDFATHER OF MY SISTER’S HUSBAND- CLERK IN SILK FACTORY, CONTRACTOR, INSURANCE AGENT

Frank was born on the 30 November 1904 in Mendoza, Argentina. He arrived in New York in 1916. In the 1920 census, Frank states that he is a clerk in a silk factory. In his 1928 petition for citizenship, he lists his occupation as contractor. In the 1940 census, he lists his occupation as an Insurance Agent. In the 1940 census, folks were asked to record their level of education. Frank states that he had completed school through 6th grade.

ANGELINA “ANGIE” CIRABISI – MATERNAL GRANDMOTHER OF MY SISTER’S HUSBAND – CLOTHING INDUSTRY

Angie was born on 6 September 1909 in New York City, New York. In the 1940 census she lists her occupation as worker in the clothing industry.

Johan Sprague born in Dorset, England in 1501 – my 13th great grandfather

When I received my DNA results from Ancestry.com, I was amazed to see a high percentage of my heritage was attributed to Great Britain.  If Ancestry has my DNA results right, Great Britain is the source of 53% of my heritage. As a little girl, I remember asking many times where my ancestors had come from, and the most common answer I received was, “Germany”.  Indeed, I do have many  German ancestors especially on my mother’s side of the family.  But, here, in this blog on Johan Sprague, I continue my unfolding documentation of my father’s ancestors and  I keep learning about my English/ Irish ancestry!

Johan Sprague was my 13th great grandfather.  Here is a view of how Johan connects to my father, Robert Lawrence Hess:

Johan Sprague (1501 – 1526)
13th great-grandfather
Enos Sprague (1525 – 1554)
son of Johan Sprague
Edward SPRAGUE (1576 – 1614)
son of Tristram SPRAGUE
Anthony William Sprague (1635 – 1719)
son of William Sprague Sr.
Jeremiah Sprague (1682 – 1759)
son of Anthony William Sprague
Knight Sprague (1711 – 1804)
son of Jeremiah Sprague
Anthony Sprague (1742 – 1831)
son of Knight Sprague
Anthony Sprague Jr (1766 – 1850)
son of Anthony SPRAGUE
Mary “Polly” Sprague (1792 – 1852)
daughter of Anthony Sprague Jr
John Kellogg Bishop (1827 – 1906)
son of Mary “Polly” Sprague
Dorothy (Dora) Bishop (1857 – 1904)
daughter of John Kellogg Bishop
George Kellogg (W) Hess Sr. (1891 – 1969)
son of Dorothy (Dora) Bishop
Robert Lawrence Hess (1924 – 2017)
son of George Kellogg (W) Hess Sr.
Now, I am going to share a link from a writing project that was done on the genealogy of the Sprague’s.  I am so very grateful for this story, but, is it only historical fiction?  Is it just a tall tale? I have made my own conclusion, but I will let you make your own decision!
  1.  1.0 1.1 Family History – The First Three Generations of Sprague’s Family. Written by students of International Training and Education Center, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Ms. Kelly Norman, teacher. It is not clear whether this unsourced material is based on research of the actual lives of persons, or whether it is historical fiction intended to illustrate the religion, politics, and health issues of the eras in which they lived. http://rubikgroup.weebly.com/1/post/2013/10/family-history-the-first-three-generations-of-spragues-family.html. Accessed June 7, 2015.

” On a bitter cold day in 1501, Johan Sprague was born in Dorset, England in a Catholic family. From 1512 to 1516, he was studied in a church near his house, but deep down in his heart, he did not believe in Catholicism. By midsummer in 1516, he was married Marie – a pastor’s daughter in the church who taught him. Nine years later, in 1525, they was has a first son – named Enos Sprague. In 1527, they had twins girls, Ava and Mia, but Ava died when she was two years old because of influenza. Three years later, when Mia was five years old, many people in their village got and died of smallpox, and she also got it, she survived but sadly it made her blind. In 1534, Henry VIII dissolved England’s monasteries because Pope did not allow him to divorces his first wife. “After Henry’s death, England tilted toward Calvinist-infused Protestantism during Edward VI’s six-year reign”[1]. Many evangelical churches springing up, Johan Sprague and his family left Catholicism and became Protestant, but not much people in the village knew about that. He really found his faith in Protestantism. Unfortunately, after Edward died, Mary I (also known as “Bloody Mary”) was crowned, people endured five years of reactionary Catholicism under Mary I, she was beheaded and burned many Protestants, nearly 300 Protestants were burned to death. Governments and Catholics had no evidence of Sprague family were Protestants, therefore they can safe. Unfortunately, in 1556, Sunday morning, Sprague family were be burned at their house, Johan, Marie, Mia and Enos’s children all dead, just Enos and his wife can alive, the neighbors around said it was just an accident, but someone believe that Catholics did.”

Sadly, if this story is true, Johan had a life cut short by heresy laws that disallowed Protestant beliefs. Henry the VIII had allowed Protestant beliefs in order that he may divorce his wife.   But, when Queen Mary I (or “Bloody Mary” ) came to power she had nearly 300 persons killed in her attempt to restore the Catholic Church and rid it of Protestants. If the story above is true, my 13th great grandfather, Johan and most of his family came to a horrible violent death.  However, Johann may have never had the twin girls referenced and he may have died at the age of 26 in 1526 rather that 1556 as this story sites.
Additional research
Note:  Even though Johan’s death date is first listed as 1526 in this research, it is also within the same research document listed as 1556.  Ugh…more confusion!
If his death date was really 1526, it makes the story of the twin girls and Johan’s death for heresy less likely! 
Watch for more blogs on the Sprague family coming soon!  I would be very grateful for any information you might wish to share on my family roots!

George Kellogg Hess, Sr. 1891-1969

George Kellogg Hess, Sr. was my paternal grandfather.  I only met him a few times. I was 15 years old when he died.  Perhaps, not “knowing” my own grandfather has piqued my curiosity and given  me ample reason to delve into the history of this direct ancestor. Although I spent little time with this Grandparent, I was frequently told of his intelligence and some of his accomplishments especially those to modernize the Hess family orchard/farm. In other words, while there was some type of “distance” between my nuclear family and my grandparents, there was also an acknowledgement by my father of his parent’s better attributes. I heard they were brilliant, avid readers, liked ham radio, they were ahead of their times in farming technology, and were staunch Baptists. I have a few presents that were sent to me by my grandfather that included an elf doll and a book on animal footprints.   My grandfather has long since passed away from this life and I am trying to understand some of what made up his life story and in some sense “meet him.”

When George Kellogg (W) Hess was born on September 6, 1891, in Benton Harbor, Michigan, his father, Juan, was 41 and his mother, Dorothy, was 34.  If you read my blog about Robert de Montel Hess (George’s brother), http://wp.me/p7gsef-kJ you can get information about George’s siblings and better understand some of the losses my grandfather had as a boy and youth.

This is a link to a book about Juan Hess (George’s father)

https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/16860/dvm_LocHist004592-00674-1/1084?backurl=http%3a%2f%2fsearch.ancestry.com%2fcgi-bin%2fsse.dll%3fdb%3dgenealogy-glh19225593%26so%3d2%26pcat%3dFLH_FAMILY%26rank%3d1%26new%3d1%26MSAV%3d0%26msT%3d1%26gss%3dangs-

Here is a link to a blog I created on Juan Hess (George’s father)

file:///Users/lindagroshans/Downloads/Story%20of%20Juan%20Hess.pdf

George’s parents seemed to have had a successful life.  I understand that they were farmers, but had a city and country home. Dora, George’s mother, was accomplished in social graces and many news articles of that era spoke of her love for the arts, music, sleigh rides, buffets and social gatherings. (The articles below are only samples of many articles that appeared in the news)  The orchard successfully sold and supplied Chicago markets and other large city markets with their very fine fruits.

sSleigh RideArt League

George was a graduate of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI.  Both of his sons, George Kellogg Hess, Jr. and Robert Lawrence Hess would also graduate from the U.of M.  Henrietta had attended and graduated from the Chicago School of Music.

graduationSigma Xi Quarterly from Dec 1, 1921

George married Jane Ellen Agens on April 21, 1917, in Benton Harbor, Michigan.   My father had not been told that his father had been previously married. But, my father had told me that his father had been in love with a young woman who became ill and was moved to a sanitarium with terminal tuberculosis. According to these legends, my Grandfather would sit on a bench outside of her window and read to her. He was not allowed to be with her for fear of infection.   It was only because of  the internet that I found proof that a marriage had in fact occurred.  Jane Ellen Agens died in March of 1919.  Following her death, George moved to Cook Co., Chicago, IL.

Mrs. Agens Hess dies from News Palladium 7 March 1919 part 1Mrs. Agens Hess dies from News Palladium 7 March 1919 part 2funeral of Jane Agens Hess from 10 March 1919 News Palladium

jane agens and george kellogg hess, sr..png

Note that George registered between 1917 and 1918 for the WWI draft and stated that he should be exempt because his wife was an invalid.

George Kellogg Hess, Sr. 1917 1918 WWI draft registration

It was in Chicago, that George married Henrietta Spruhan (my grandmother) on June 29, 1921. At the time of the marriage he was 29 years old and Henrietta was 27.  They would go on to have two children together.  Their sons were George Kellogg Hess, Jr., my Uncle and Robert Lawrence Hess, my father.  This is a link to my blog on Henrietta Spruhan Hess  http://wp.me/p7gsef-2P

In 1930 the the George Hess Sr. family was living in a rented apartment in Chicago on N. Neva Ave.  The census states that they owned a radio!  George’s occupation is listed as Electrical Engineer. I don’t know how to figure this into my information, but in the same year 1930, there was also a published city directory that lists George and Henrietta living at a conflicting address of 832 S. Maple Ave. At this time, George was 7 years old and my father was 5 years old.  The 1930 census must have been taken just prior to my father’s health crisis and burst appendix.  The doctor’s cautioned George and Henrietta that my father’s only hope for recovery was to move from the city to the country.  Although this advice seems quite odd from modern day perspective, it was the advice given and my father did survive!  Therefore, it was also in 1930 that the George Hess, Sr. family returned to the farm of Juan Hess recently deceased.

As a farmer, George was also quite active in political affairs pertaining to grower’s rights, taxes, labor camps, and pipelines.  (See a few examples- there are so MANY news articles on George K. Hess, Sr. that I have not begun to gather all of them!) N

George Hess, Sr. from 30 Dec. 1939 News Palladium Benton HarborNews Palladium Benton Harbor 31 Oct. 193925 March 1949 opposes pipeline

George and Henrietta lived on the Hess Farm pictured here: (note: my father told me many times how his father had sold the horses in order to use tractors on the farm- not generally a practice in this area at this time)

 

George and Henrietta moved to St. Cloud, Florida as their retirement residence in approx. 1958.  I visited there once.  The home was modest but set on land that had whispering pines and the lake.  One of the curious things that I noted there was a full fledged underground bomb shelter!

George Kellogg Hess, Sr. died on January 10, 1969, in St Cloud, Florida, at the age of 77, and was buried in Kissimmee, Florida.  His wife Henrietta did not die until 1984 and was never remarried.

George Hess Sr. on window sillGeoge Hess Sr. with arms crossed

There are only a handful of photos with me and my grandfather pictured together.  This photo was taken at my home in Ann Arbor, MI.  I remember that he had visited us there prior to getting his cataract surgery at the U of M Hospital which is located in Ann Arbor.

Mary Ann and Linda Claire Hess with their grandfather George Kellogg Hess, Sr.

Death Notice:

George K. Hess death notice

 

 

More articles:

26 July 1939 – A Mad Apple Grower

26 July 1939 A Mad Apple Grower

From 3 March 1949

Big Little Inch by George Hess, Sr.

25 March 1949 News Palladium (Benton Harbor)

25 March 1949 opposes pipeline

 

 

Robert de Montel Hess 1882-1907

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When Robert De Montel Hess was born on April 8, 1882, in Benton Harbor, Berrien Co., Michigan, his father, Juan Hess, was 31 and his mother, Dorothy (Dora Bishop), was 25.

Robert de Montel and my grandfather, George Kellogg Hess, Sr. were brothers. They had two other siblings (also children of Juan and Dora) that had died as very young children.  According to Michigan death records these two Hess children died in 1880 of diphtheria.  They were Hattie (4 years old) and Perry Hess (2 years old).

Hattie and Perry Hess death records

I do not know why an obituary for Juan Hess written many years later on January 15, 1929, states that he only had 2 sons.  Perhaps, it was the “fashion” at the time not to mention children who died in their youth?

This is the 1929 obituary (below)  for Juan Hess (father of Robert de Montel Hess)

death of Juan Hess from Jan. 1929 obit

I chose to write this blog because I was intrigued that Robert de Montel may have been a namesake for my own father. There were 2 generations of the Hess family that had a child “George” and a child “Robert”.  My father was Robert Lawrence Hess and his brother was George K. Hess, Jr.  My father did not recall much about his Uncle Robert de Montel Hess, (the subject of this blog), because his uncle had been deceased for many years before my father was born in 1924. Even so, my father did believe that this was the relative that may have inspired the name “Robert.”  If this is true, it also makes me wonder why my father was called only by his middle name “Larry” (short for Lawrence) as a child.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Quick reference review of the names George and Robert:

Juan Hess and Dora Bishop’s children included  Robert de Montel Hess and George Kellogg Hess, Sr.

George Kellogg Hess , Sr. and his wife Henrietta Spruhan then had George Kellogg Hess, Jr. and Robert Lawrence Hess.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

The deaths of Hattie and Perry had happened before my Grandfather’s birth in September of 1891.  But, sadly, my grandfather George Kellogg Hess, Sr. would know death of loved ones (other than these two older siblings) again soon being only 13 years old when his mother, Dora Bishop Hess, died and only 15 years old when his only remaining brother, Robert de Montel Hess, died.

Robert de Montel Hess, married Alice Susanne King on October 19, 1904, in Benton Harbor, Michigan. They had one child during their marriage. He died on January 18, 1907, in Berrien, Michigan, at the age of 24 from a liver abscess due to appendicitis.  He was buried in Berrien County, Michigan.  As stated, his death, was in part attributed to appendicitis.  This is interesting to me as my father had a burst appendix at the age of 5 years old and made a rather amazing recovery.

At the time Robert’s marriage to Alice he was 22 years old.  More surprising, is the fact that Alice was a mere 16 years old when they wed.  This would make Alice only 19 years old when she became a widow.  There seems to be a date conflict.  All census records indicate that Alice was born in 1888.  However, the News article pictured below, states that she was a graduate of Benton Harbor College in 1904-shocking considering that she was only 16???  Or…was someone trying to make Alice “older” than she really was??

So, Robert’s mother Dora died on October 15, 1904.  He married Alice 4 days after his mother’s death on October 19, 1904.

22 Oct. 1924 Robert Hess marries Alice King 20 years ago

https://books.google.com/books?id=E8VRAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA51&lpg=PA51&dq=alice+king+and+hess+higbee&source=bl&ots=I9_szOmwoV&sig=r7SPS7YZ041R2_4S-kQBVstEjSE&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwid0bvWzdzUAhVJ7GMKHemzAZoQ6AEIKDAA#v=onepage&q=alice%20king%20and%20hess%20higbee&f=false

The news photo below is from 8 May 1929 – It highlights events from”25 years ago” and tells how Mrs. Juan Hess and son Robert (a college senior) entertained the Juniors at the Hess farm.  Printed in 8 May 1929 in the News Palladium.  This party took place 6 months before the wedding of Robert and Alice and 6 months before Dora’s death.  08 May 1929. 25 years ago Mrs. Juan Hess and son Robert

 

The child born to the marriage of Robert de Montel Hess and Alice King Hess was Hattie Lenore Hess.  (Her first name being the same as Robert’s sister who had perished as a child).  She was born on 17 September 1905.

Robert de Montel did not live long enough to be part of the 1910 census.  Alice is in the 1910 census living with her parents in Michigan and her 4 year old daughter who is now going by her middle name  Hattie “Lenore” Hess.  In 1910, Alice states that she is a sales lady in a furniture store in Benton Harbor.  Then, also in 1910, Alice would go on to marry a man named Harlow A. Hansley and live in Los Angeles.  She died in 1957 in Los Angeles, CA. Her daughter Hattie Lenore Hess had been living with her mother and step-father in Los Angeles.

In the 1920 census, Alice and Harlow are still in Los Angeles with Alice’s daughter who is now 14 years old and using the name  “Lenora”.

Please write and let me know if you have any other information on Robert de Montel Hess or the Hess family!