100 Years Ago – Ida Mae Barber Knight – (1873-1953)


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23 December 1914 – Ida Mae Barber Knight

Ida Mae Barber Knight

One hundred years ago Ida Mae Barber (Montran) (Fisher) (Holdsworth) Knight was living with her husband, Harvey Watson Knight, in their new home on Lawndale Avenue in Detroit, Michigan. At the time it was 628 Lawndale[1]. In 1923, Ida’s daughter Madonna (Donna), registered a song “Beautiful Mother of Mine” and indicted her home address as 1456 Lawndale. At first I thought this was very confusing, that Harvey and Ida would move eight blocks away on the same street. Then, when I looked at their neighbors, I saw that many of the neighbors also moved the eight blocks with them[2]. That made me realize that the street was renumbered sometime between Feb 1920 (Census Date which said 628 Lawndale) and Feb 1923 (Donna’s song registration which said 1456 Lawndale.)

The Knight household in 1914 consisted of Ida and her husband Harvey. Ida’s daughter from a previous marriage(?), Madonna (aka Donna), was in California working in the movies and working as a Mack Sennett bathing beauty. Ida’s father, Franklin, had died previously. Harvey’s parents are believed to still be in Chatham, Kent, Ontario, Canada. (There is no evidence that I have found that puts them anywhere else.) Ida’s Mother, Sarah H Blackhurst (Barber) had been living at 1419 Clay Avenue in 1910 with Ida, Madonna, and “Boarder” Harvey Knight. According to the 1920 Census, Sarah was living in Manhattan with Madonna who was on the road in a Vaudeville act. So in 1914, it is possible that Sarah was living eight miles away from Ida on Clay Ave or possibly living with Ida and Harvey on Lawndale. Ida’s sister, Eva Louisa Barber Goff, was probably living with her husband and daughter, about three and a half miles away on 15th Street.

Harvey Watson Knight’s
WWI Draft Registration
Thanks to Ancestry.Com and the
National Archives and Records Administration.

It doesn’t appear that the 40-year-old Ida worked outside of the home and is presumed to have been a housewife. Her husband, Harvey, was an engineer. In 1914 he probably worked for Ireland Matthews at Beard & Chatfield Aves., which is about 1 mile away. (He was working there in 1917 for certain – See WWI Draft Registration.) Today, that site is the location of the Roberto Clemente Academy a Pre-K to 5th grade which was built in 2001[3].

Of course the international news of the day was about the war in Europe. On this date, 23 December 1914, was the beginning of the now famous “Christmas Truce.” A German soldier, Karl Aldag, reported that both sides had been heard singing hymns in the trenches. German troops coming into the lines bring Christmas trees. Some men begin to place them on the parapets of the fire trenches. Local truce on the front of 23rd Brigade.[4]

Nationally, the country was still talking about the Boston Braves. A newspaper article in the New York Tribune on December 20th described how mid-season trades made by Boston Braves manager George Stallings helped the team move from last place to first place. According to Wikipedia, the 1914 Braves are the only team to have been in last place on the 4th of July and go on to win the pennant. The Braves continued on to be the first team to sweep the modern World Series. In 1953 the Boston Braves moved to Milwaukee.

Detroit Front” by W. G. MacFarlane – Postcard.
W.G. MacFarlane, Publisher, Buffalo, N.Y. Toronto.
Scanned Postcard, dated 1914.
Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

The Detroit Tigers finished 4th in the American League in 1914; however, their famous outfielder, Tyrus Raymond “Ty” Cobb, took the batting title with a .368 season. Movie goers were anticipating the release of Mary Pickford’s “Cinderella” The Campus Martius Park was opened. See Photo on right.

Also in 1914 Detroit the “inter urban” cars of the Detroit, Almont, Northern R. R., which linked Detroit with Almont, about 50 miles to the north began service.

Endnotes
[1] 1920 Census, Ancestry.com, 1920; Detroit Ward 20, Wayne, Michigan; Roll: T625_812; Page: 19B; Enumeration
District: 613; Image:. Harvey Knight

[2] 1930
Census, Ancestry.com, Year: 1930; Census Place:
Detroit, Wayne, Michigan; Roll: 1061; Page: 11A; Enumeration District: 0716;
Image: 77.0; FHL microfilm: 2340796.
[3] See
it to believe it Detroit Public Schools http://detroitk12.org/schools/clemente/
.
[4] “The
Christmas Truce of 1914” – http://www.1914-1918.net/truce.htm

————Disclaimer ————-

Bio – Ida Mae Barber (1874-1953)

52 Ancestors #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 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 a influence on
 young Ida’s upbringing.
Woodcut in the Public Domain (via Wikimedia)
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 this 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 actually 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. The wedding was performed by Fred E. DeGaw, J. P.  and the witnesses were Frederick Mullau and
Herman Schcontt, both of Detroit. 
According to the marriage records, Ida was from Albion and Max was from
Detroit so their being married 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. 
The former Essex County Courthouse, built in 1855
it is where Ida & Joseph would have been married.
Photo by C Hanchey via Flickr – Some rights reserved.

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 she 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 renumber 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 new home at 628 Lawndale in
1914.  It is assumed that they built the
home and/or were the first owners.   
Harvey Milton Knight
died at 10 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 10 months of age from accidental poisoning of mercury
dichloride. Oral history indicated that Milton died from getting a 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
tuburculous.  Now, 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 9 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.
Marker for Knight Family
Harvey & Ida (Milton is on right side)
Photo by Don Taylor via Find a Grave
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.

Discover yourself at 23andMe
       [Disclaimer]

Areas for New Research

Search for Montrani instead of Montran in the usual places.
Search harder for Montran – Barber marriage records.
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)
Michigan, Department Of Heath , Certificate of Death (In my
possession).

Social Security Application – Donna Montran Kees, Form SS-5  (Personal copy of document)