Ancestor Biography – Stephen Blackhurst (1801-1869)

 [Brown]/Montran/Barber/Blackhurst Line
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.As I have begun to get to know my Blackhurst heritage, I am amazed. It is an incredible group of people descended from 19th century English immigrants, Stephen and Fannie (Taylor) Blackhurst. Fifty years after Stephen’s death family reunions began. Their descendants include many community leaders including a superintendent of schools for St. Charles, Missouri. It is more amazing because until I began investigating this family line I had not hear of any Blackhurst ancestors.  It was a name neither my mother nor her brother recalled ever hearing. They both remembered hearing about their great-grandmother Sarah Barber, who died when my uncle was only one year old, but neither recalled hearing Sarah’s maiden name.

Of course, I wonder what caused my line to appear to have become estranged from the remainder of Blackhursts.  I have my suspicions, but need to do a lot more research to prove them. In any event, in introduce you to my third great-grandfather, Stephen Blackhurst.

Roberts-Brown-2017 – Ancestor #62

List of Grandparents

  1. Grand Parent: Madonna Montran
  2. 1st Great: Ida Barber
  3. 2nd Great: Sarah H Blackhurst
  4. 3rd Great: Stephen Blackhurst
  5. 4th Great: Stephen Blackhurst

Stephen Blackhurst (1801-1869)

Birth

Birth years are often contentious and Stephen’s birth year is no exception. He was certainly born sometime between 1799 and 1804.

  • 1799 – His death in 1869 at the age of 70 suggests that he was born in 1799.
  • 1800 – The 1860 Census indicates his age as 60, suggesting a birth year of 1800.
  • 1801 – His marker displays 1801. Because there is no definitive source for his birth year, 1801 is the year I prefer to use.
  • 1802 – The 1841 England Census indicates his age of 39, suggesting a birth year of 1802.
  • 1804 – The 1850 US Census indicates his age as 46, suggesting a birth year of 1804.

Other records indicate he was born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England.

Childhood

I believe Stephen was the child of Stephen Blackhurst and Lydia Ellen Cochran. I know nothing of Stephen’s childhood nor of his siblings.

Marriage

Relationship of Sheffield and Rotherham in South Yorkshire

Stephen and Fanny Taylor married on 26 Dec 1825 in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, England. Rotherham is the district immediately east of Sheffield.

Adulthood

It appears that the couple may have moved between Sheffield and Kingston upon Hull. Records indicate that their first child, Ellen, was born in Kingston upon Hull and five of the other children were born in Sheffield. There are two children that I don’t have any details on their birth locations and, of course, Ellen’s birth location is single sourced and may be incorrect.

In any event, by 1841 the Blackhursts had located to Kingston upon Hull (known as Hull today), Yorkshire, England.

Coming to America

The 1855 New York Census indicates that Stephen had come to America seven years earlier (1848) while his wife and three of his children had come to America five years earlier (1850). The family, Stephen and Fannie, with six of the children (Elizabeth, Mary, William, Eleazer, Ann, and Sarah) were settled in Auburn, Cayuga County, New York during the 1850 Census. Their oldest daughter, Ellen, married on 4 July 1850 and the census enumeration occurred on the 8th of August. The 1855 New York Census still shows the family in Auburn.

Move to Michigan

It appears that the Blackhursts came to Michigan in 1859. The 1860 Census shows Stephen and  Fanny along with the three youngest children, William, Louise, and Sarah living in Sheridan Township, Calhoun County, Michigan. The Blackhurst farm appears to be about four miles north of Albion. So, over the ensuing years various documents indicate they live in Albion and Sheridan (Township).  There were some apparent conflicts in the 1860 Census that I addressed here.

Death

Marker = Stephen Blackhurst
1801-1869

Stephen Blackhurst died on 24 December 1869 of “Dropsy of the Bowels” (Ascites) in Albion, Calhoun County, Michigan. He is buried at Riverside Cemetery in Albion.

Story

54 years after Stephen Blackhurst’s death, his descendants got together for a family reunion at a park in nearby Jackson, Michigan. See: Blackhurst Family Reunion – 1923 for details.

Children:

Stephen Blackhurst and Fanny Taylor had the following children:

  1. Ellen Blackhurst was born on 19 Oct 1829 in Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire, England. She died on 17 Feb 1905 in Sheridan Township, Calhoun County, Michigan. She married Henry Clough on 04 Jul 1850 in Auburn, Cayuga, New York.
  2. Elizabeth Blackhurst was born on 21 Oct 1831 in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England. She died on 14 Feb 1915 in Calhoun, Michigan.
  3. Mary Blackhurst was born on 20 Dec 1833 in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England. She died on 14 Feb 1900 in Springport, Jackson, Michigan. She married Royal Baldwin on 11 Jan 1857 in Calhoun County, Michigan.
  4. William Stephen Blackhurst was born on 13 May 1835 in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England. He died on 10 Mar 1914 in Avalon, Livingston, Missouri. He married Emily M Vase on 05 Sep 186417 in Calhoun County, Michigan,Usa. He married Sarah Elizabeth Hinkley sometime between 1875-1886.
  5. Louise Blackhurst (aka “Eleazer” and possibly “Louisa”) was born on 14 Aug 1840 in England. She died on 17 Mar 1927 in Albion, Calhoun, Michigan at the age of 88 Years, 7 Months, 3 Days.
    1. She married Samuel Sanders about 1862.
    2. She married Champion Eslow on 03 Sep 1872 in Albion, Calhoun, Michigan.
    3. She married Francis Magennis on 15 Aug 1882 in Albion, Calhoun, Michigan.
    4. She married Charles Henry Peck19 on 21 Dec 1898 in Albion, Calhoun, Michigan. It was the 4th marriage for Louise and the 2nd marriage for Charles.
  6. Phoebe Anna Blackhurst was born on 15 May 1842 in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England. She died on 17 Aug 1929 in Chicago, Cook, Illinois.
  7. Sarah H Blackhurst was born on 29 Dec 1847 in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England. She died on 08 Aug 1928 at home at 1456 Lawndale, Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan. Stephen White, Justice of the Peace, performed the marriage ceremony for Sarah and Franklin E Barber on 08 Nov 1869 in Sheridan Township, Calhoun County, Michigan.

Sources

Further Actions / Follow-up

  • Trace Stephen Blackhurst’s life in England before his coming to the United States.

Bio – Ida Mae Barber (1874-1953)

Brown-Montran-Barber

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)

Ida Mae Barber was born on March 24, 1874, in Michigan, the first of two daughters of Franklin (Frank) and Sarah Blackhurst Barber.
Albion College, founded in 1835, 
would have been an influence on
 young Ida’s upbringing.

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.

Photo by C Hanchey via Flickr - Some rights reserved.
The former Essex County Courthouse, built in 1855. This is where Ida & Joseph would have been married.

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.

Harvey Milton Knight died at ten months from mercury dichloride.

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.

1456 Lawndale Today – Screenshot courtesy Google Maps

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.

Knight Marker – Harvey & Ida (Milton is on right side) Photo by Don Taylor

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.

       [Disclaimer]

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.

Sources:

  • Ancestry.Com – Census Records 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930,
    & 1940.
  • 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.)

page formatting updated
12 May 2019