Ancestor #11 – Ida Mae (Barber) Montran Fisher Holdsworth Knight (1874-1953)
When I decided to look at Ida Mae’s life, I realized that my source work regarding Ida Mae was woefully inadequate. Most of the work I did regarding Ida Mae was done several years ago, and I wasn’t as good about creating source records that were complete and stood on their own. Some of the source citations were entirely in my Family Tree Maker for Mac and were corrupted during various upgrades (FTM 4 Mac 2 to FTM 4 Mac 3 was particularly painful).
I decided to redo everything regarding Ida, that is to say, pull together my physical copies/printouts, look through my computer for relevant files, confirm sources in FTM & Ancestry and build new source citations and documents.
One thing I did realize in this process is that when you attach media to a source, FTM allows you to link to existing media or to copy the media into FTM. I was inconsistent in my approach. I did both. I found that over the years where I linked to existing files the linkage was often broken. I know that copying it into FTM duplicates the file and my “duplicate file finder” will spit out long lists of duplicates, but, it will be worth doing so in the future.
After I cleaned up my sources for Ida, I did some new research and found several items regarding Ida’s early marriages.
Bio – Ida Mae Barber (1874-1953)
She grew up in Albion, Calhoun County, Michigan, which is a small town about 100 miles west of Detroit which is the home to Albion College. In the 1880 Census, she is six years old living with her parents and her younger sister Eva.
I believe that sometime in 1892 Ida married John Montran. John is identified by name several times and when Ida marries the second time she indicates that she had been married before and that her name was Ida Barber Montrani. The “Montrani” name is new in my research (I had always looked for Montran and Montram previously) so, it gives me a new area of research.) I had long believed that Ida had Madonna out of wedlock, but now I suspect that she did marry John.
Ida’s daughter, Madonna, was born 20 Feb 1893.
Ida married her second husband, Max E. Fisher on 21 May 1897 in Detroit Michigan. Fred E. DeGaw, J. P. performed the wedding; Frederick Mullau and Herman Schcontt, both of Detroit were the witnesses. According to the marriage register, Ida was from Albion and Max was from Detroit so, their marrying in Detroit makes sense.
Oddly enough, the 1900 Census shows Max, Ida, and Madonna Fisher living at 374 Third Street. Manistee, Michigan. I say “oddly” because Manistee is on the opposite side of the state from Detroit; it’s on the coast of Lake Michigan. Google Maps does not have street views of Manistee, so I can’t tell if where they lived is still there. Also, Google Maps doesn’t indicate the address in Manistee but rather that 374 Third Street is across Manistee Lake in East Lake.
Her husband, Max, apparently died because Ida married Jos (Joseph) A Holdsworth in Essex, Ontario, Canada on 16 Aug 1904. Essex is a small town about 20 miles across the river from Detroit. The marriage information indicates that Holdsworth was from Minneapolis. The record shows Ida as a “ditto” for where she lived, so it may be that she spent some time in Minneapolis before they were married. The record also indicates that she was a widow. (I’d like to find a death record for Max to confirm that.) Ida divorced Holdsworth before the 1910 census was taken in April. In the 1910 census, Ida was the head of the household with 17-year-old daughter Madonna and her 62-year-old mother Sarah Barber living with her. It appears that Ida wasn’t working, but Madonna was a saleswoman at a dry goods store. Living with them was a “boarder,” Harvey Knight. They lived at 418 Clay Ave, near Russell Street. Detroit renumbered many of its streets a few years later, so it is difficult to determine if the building they lived in is still there. Most likely not, The intersection of where Clay and Russell would meet is now taken by the Chrysler Freeway (I75).
Ida and Harvey Watson Knight were married on 27 Aug 1910 in Detroit. It is interesting to note that the marriage performed by Justice Fred E DeGaw, the same person who performed her marriage to Max Fisher. Frank G Schilling and Winnifred Andrews both of Detroit as witnesses.
Ida & Harvey moved to a new home at 628 Lawndale in 1914. I assume that they built the house and were the first owners.
Ida and Harvey’s only child together, Harvey Milton Knight, was born on 20 November 1915. Sadly, Harvey Milton died at ten months of age from accidental poisoning of mercury dichloride. Oral history indicated that Milton died from getting poison from under the sink and ingesting it. His story is a reminder that children need to be protected from access to dangerous chemicals.
In 1917, Ida’s only sibling, sister Eva, died from
tuberculosis. Eva was married to Adelbert
Goff and lived in Farmington, MI. Ida’s
grandchildren recall visiting an “Uncle Del” when they went to Walled Lake in the 1930s and 1940s. Farmington would have been about a half-mile off the highway to Walled Lake. Both of Ida’s grandchildren assumed that “Uncle Del” was just a friend that was called “Uncle.” I believe A-DEL-bert was “Uncle Del” as location, names, and oral history all fit.
In 1918, Harvey registered for the draft. That document shows still living at 628 Lawndale.
The 1920 census finds Ida and Harvey living along at the Lawndale house. Daughter Madonna is on the road in the vaudeville comedy show “Chin Chin.” However, Madonna is listed in the Census living in an apartment in New York with her widowed grandmother, Sarah.
In February of 1923, Madonna, now “Donna” registers a song with Variety. In that registration, she indicates her address as 1456 Lawndale. I was at first confused by that as it is unusual for people to move eight blocks up the street, particularly from a new (only nine years old at that time) home. A comparison of neighbors showed that the Knights had the same neighbors in the 1920 and the 1930 censuses. Without a doubt, they didn’t move; rather the street was renumbered to fit a larger system sometime between 1920 and 1923.
In 1930, the 47-year-old Ida was still living at 1456 Lawndale with her husband, Harvey. Ida and Harvey remained in that house until Harvey’s death in May of 1942. The 68-year-old Ida would have been left alone, except that her 14-year-old grandson came to live with her and help out.
Ida died of an acute coronary thrombosis at her home of nearly 40 years on 13 Oct 1953. She was buried with her husband Harvey Watson Knight and her son Harvey Milton in Plot 154, Oak Ridge Section, Woodmere Cemetery in Detroit.
Because this is my mother’s mother’s mother I carry Ida’s as well as her mother, Sarah Blackhurst, and her mother, Fanny Taylor’s Mitochondrial DNA. My sister’s daughter is the only person who will carry their mtDNA (Haplogroup T2b) on to future generations.
Areas for New Research
- Search for Montrani instead of Montran in the usual places.
- Research what may have been at 374 Third Street, Manistee.
- Research actual date for street renumbering in Detroit.
- Ancestry.Com – Census Records 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930,
- Ancestry.Com – World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,
- Ancestry.Com – Ontario, Canada Marriages, 1801-1928 – Jos
A Holdsworth – Ida Fisher.
- Ancestry.Com – Ontario, Canada Marriages, 1801-1928
- Family Search – Michigan, Marriages, 1868-1925 – Harvey Knight
- Family Search – Michigan, Marriages, 1868-1925 – Max E Fisher
- Michigan, Department Of Heath, Certificate of Death, Ida Mae
Knight. Wayne County, Michigan, Detroit. (Personal copy in my possession)
- Social Security Application – Donna Montran Kees, Form SS-5 (Personal copy of document)
(Originally published 18 March 2014.)