Letter of Elizabeth Jane (Swayze) Darling – Kalamazoo First Methodist Church

Darling
Transcribed by Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Another article discovered on Genealogy Bank
that provides insight into the lives of the Darling family of Kalamazoo during the mid-1800s. The Darling’s and the Swayze’s were involved with the First Methodist Church of Kalamazoo.

Kalamazoo Gazette (Kalamazoo, MI) – August 14, 1916, Page 6

Pioneer’s Letter Tells History of Kalamazoo first Methodist Church

MISS EMMA DARLING FINDS
EPISTLE PENNED BY HER MOTHER YEARS AGO.

Kalamazoo Gazette 14 August 1916, Page 6.

In looking through some treasures in her desk the other day Miss Emma Darling*[1] came across, a paper in the handwriting of her mother, who had jotted down a few incidents in the history of the First Methodist church that are of moment and are certainly not known by many today though familiar facts In pioneer days.

Miss Darling’s parents and grandparents were pioneers and did much to make history for this section of Michigan. And today Miis Darling resides on a portion of the land purchased by her father Rufus H. Darling*[2] when he came to Michigan in (hose days when hardships were aplenty and luxuries a. thing unknown.

Of the Methodist church Mrs. Darling*[3] writes:

“My father’s family came here in the spring of 1840 and united with this church by letter. This Methodist people were then holding- service in a little old schoolhouse on ‘ South Rose street where the Jewish synagogue now stands. Mr., Richards came here as pastor the next, fail after we did and.the church then began plans for building a church.

Gen’l Burdick Gives Lot

“Their means were limited for their number was small and they met with many discouragements. The sister churches thought we never could build and pay for as large a church as we planned to have. But these things only made us more persevering.

General Burdick gave the church the lot where the Dutch Reformed church now stands and, Mr. Wiseman*[4] drew the plan for the church hut he died before the church was completed. But he made a request that they would use hie Bible at the dedication.

“Mr. Richards stayed hero two years in all and Rev. Range followed and the church was completed during this time, for the church was dedicated in the year 1842. If was not entirely free from debt until 1850.

“Mr. Watson preached the sermon at the dedication.’ There was only one class at this time, led by my father, David Swayze*[5], and father and sister, Emily*[6] led the singing.”

The late. George Torrey in his history of Kalamazoo says in regard to the Methodist church: “The first sermon preached in the town, was by Rev. James Robe, who was appointed to the Kalamazoo mission by the Indiana Conference, in “1822; and who is, now, a resident of the place. (This history was published to 1867).

Service in Titus Bronson home

The service was held in the house of Mr. Titus Bronson after whom tho place was named. The first-class was organized in the Year 1832 and was composed of eight members of whom Harrison Coleman was leader.

“The first board of trustees was organized at the house of Mr. C. Walters, on February 8th, 1841, and consisted of, David Swayze, C. Walters, Luke Olmsted. Isaac Tewkesbury, Amos P, Bush, Isaac Wiseman, William E. White, and David J. Davidson.

The 1842 Methodist Church on Academy St. – Photo Courtesy of the Kalamazoo Public Library

“The first church edifice was dedicated in 1842 on the church square, Church and Academy streets, and was occupied until the spring of 1866 when it was sold to the Dutch Reformed church.

“The society are now erecting what is intended to be one of the largest and most costly churches In the state, which will be completed during the year. They have flourishing Sunday school of about 250 scholars under the superintendency of Mr. Geo. H. Lyman, and a membership of nearly three hundred communicants, under the pastoral, care of Rev. Charles Shelling. The Kalamazoo District is In charge of Rev. R. Sapp, presiding elder.”

Facts:

  • The [Swayze] family came to Kalamazoo in the spring of 1840.
  • David Swayze led a class at the church (ca. 1842)
  • David Swayze and Emily [Emily Ann Swayze] lead the singing at the church (ca. 1842).
  • David Swayze was a member of the first board of trustees for the First Methodist Church in Kalamazoo in 1841.
  • Isaac Wiseman was a member of the first board of trustees for the First Methodist Church in Kalamazoo in 1841.

Sources:

  • Image: The Methodists’ 1842 building on Academy. Map of Kalamazoo, Michigan. H MAP 912.77417 M6475 1858 | Source: “First Methodist Church — Kalamazoo Public Library”. 2019. Kalamazoo Public Library. Accessed December 19 2019. https://www.kpl.gov/local-history/kalamazoo-history/religion/first-methodist-church/.

*Endnotes – Relationships

[1] Emma Darling, my wife’s 2nd great aunt.
[2[ Rufus H. Darling, my wife’s 2nd great grandfather.
[3] “Mrs. Darling” refers to Emma’s mother, Elizabeth Jane (Swayze) Darling, my wife’s 2nd great grandmother.
[4] Mr. Wiseman refers to Elizabeth Jane (Swayze’s) first husband, Isaac Wiseman.
[5] David Swayze was my wife’s 3rd great grandfather.
[6] Emily Ann Swayze, my wife’s 3rd great aunt.

 

Step 2a – Newspapers – My Favorites

Using “Step 2a” to Research Rufus Harry Darling.

After I had done my initial research on a person, (Birth, Marriage, Death, Censuses, and “happen upons,” during the individual’s life, I begin my Phase 2 research. In the case of my wife’s great-grandfather, Rufus Harry Darling, I found many key points in his life. His life was complicated. He appears to have lived in Kalamazoo until he was about 30. Then as a “railroad man,” he lived in many locations, Chicago, Kansas City, and Texas. He may or may not have lived in Buena Vista, Colorado or Kittanning, Pennsylvania, where he married his first and second wives.

Where Rufus Harry Darling lived during known events in his life.

  • 1857 (Born), 1860, 1863, 1864, 1870, 1877, 1895 1911, 1917 (Death) – Kalamazoo, Michigan
  • 1876    Kalamazoo, Michigan – 12 Cedar
  • 1880    Kalamazoo, Michigan – 42 Rose
  • 1887    Kalamazoo, Michigan – 209 Edwards
  • 1889, 1907      Chicago, Illinois
  • 1890    Buena Vista, Colorado
  • 1891, 1896, 1900, 1910 – Kansas City, Missouri
  • 1894    Texas
  • 1907    Kittanning, Pennsylvania

I consider it possible that a person could have located to a new location the day after the previous event and the day before the next event in their life. With day in mind, I develop a search plan.

I also look for the first name, first name with middle initial, first name with middle name, and first and last initial in the newspapers. Also, when I know a person’s address, I search for the address also. Finally, I also search the name in a last name first format. So, in the case of Rufus I have the following searches to do.

  • Rufus Harry Darling
  • Rufus H Darling
  • Rufus Darling
  • Darling, Rufus
  • Darling, Rufus H (unnecessary if no “Darling, Rufus” results are found.
  • Darling, Rufus Harry (unnecessary if no “Darling, Rufus H” results are found.
  • 12 Cedar
  • 42 Rose
  • 209 Edwards

All during the appropriate years and locations.

The Dates and Locations are:

  • Buena Vista, Colorado 1889-1891
  • Chicago 1887-1910
  • Kalamazoo – 1857 to 1907 – It is possible that Rufus was in Kalamazoo anytime from his birth to his death.
    • Kalamazoo at 12 Cedar 1857 to 1880
    • Kalamazoo at 42 Rose 1876-1887
    • Kalamazoo at 209 Edwards 1880-1889
  • Kansas City – 1890-1911
  • Kittanning, PA – 1906-1908
  • Texas – 1891-1895

For this search I have three source search categories.

A.  My favorite sites.
B.  Location sites.
C.  Sites of Sites.

My Favorite Paid Sites

 My Favorite Free Sites

In my browser, I have all of the above entries in a single folder of Genealogy/Newspaper bookmarks. I hover “Newspaper” right click then open all and all 12 of the sites are opened. I then work through each of the web sites for my search criteria.

Discovery – Marriage Clarification

For some time, I’ve had two marriage dates for Rufus and his first wife, Ida.

  1. June 1889 – When Rufus married Anna (Hannah) McAllister he indicated that he had been married previously, in June 1889 and that his first wife died in September 1898.
  2. September 1890 – Rufus H. Darling married Ida Ready in Buena Vista, Colorado.

The Michigan State Census of 1894 shows the Elizabeth Darling household included two of her daughters, Mary and Emma, her son, Rufus H, and her daughter-in-law Ida. That census is what told me that Rufus’ wife’s name was Ida. So, when I found a Rufus H. Darling marrying an Ida Ready, I ascribed that to my Rufus. I hypnotized that the June 1889 marriage was a mistake of some sort, either by the clerk or, possibly, Rufus said the name he began living with Ida and not the date of their actual marriage.

I always had a bad feeling about that marriage location and date. Nothing in my research, other than Rufus H. Darling marrying Ida Ready, suggests that Rufus was ever in Colorado.

That was before I found an interesting article during this search. On page 5 of the September 27, 1889 Kalamazoo Gazette[iii], it said:

Kalamazoo Gazette – 27 September 1889, page 5, via Genealogy Bank.

“The Chicago Herald of a recent date states that the police of that city are looking for Mrs. Rufus Darling, a runaway wife. It is claimed that she left her husband at St. Louis to come to this city, but nothing has been heard from her since her departure. Darling is having great times with his wife and other women since he left here.”

That Mrs. Rufus Darling appeared to be a “runaway wife” and learning that Rufus had “great times” with other women since he left Kalamazoo seems to fit with his personality.

The article confirms that Rufus was married in 1889, So I now believe that it was a different Rufus H Darling who married a different Ida in 1890.

UPDATE: Marriage: June 1889 Rufus Darling to Ida LNU.

Marriage: September 1890 was removed and added as a note of unlikely possibility to the June 1889 marriage notes.

Discovery 2 – A “Happen Upon”

During my search for Rufus on Hathi Trust, I happened upon a Report of Accidents for Michigan during the year 1887. Under “Injured” I found an entry which read:

“March 5. Rufus Darling, brakeman, Northville, fell from engine, shoulder blade broken.”

Commissioner of Railroads Report – 1888, Page 380 via Hathi Trust.

We know that Rufus was a “railroad man.” Also, search for Darlings in Northville, Michigan failed to yield any Darlings living in the township.,” As such, I’m pretty sure the “Northville” reference is to where the accident occurred. Even though the railroad was the Flint & Pere Marquette Railroad Co., I suspect that this was our Rufus. Today, Northville is a suburb of Metropolitan Detroit.

Also, such an injury might have been the prelude to Rufus becoming a clerk for the Midwest Central Railroad shortly after that. I added a new “tentative” event:

NEW Event: 5 Mar 1887 – Rufus Darling, a brakeman, fell from an engine and broke his shoulder blade.

Conclusion

It is always a good genealogy session when I can clarify a fact, learn a new fact, and can add a specific search for further research.

Future Actions

Specifically search the Chicago Herald in September 1889 for mentions of Rufus and his runaway wife.

Continue my newspaper searches using “state newspaper sites.” (Step 2B)

Using the “Sites of Sites” to determine if I’ve missed any appropriate newspapers that should be searched. (Step 2C)


Endnotes

[i] I generally have a subscription to two Newspaper subscription services at a time and rotate between several newspaper services.  Currently, I have Genealogy Bank and Newspapers.Com subscriptions.

[ii] Chronicling America is searched when you do an Elephind search. I often skip using Chronicling America and only search Elephind, particularly if there are few hits for newspaper articles.

[iii] This article was repeated on page 3 of the October 4, 1889 Kalamazoo Gazette. See Genealogy Bank.

My Worst Christmas: 1961

My History
By Don Taylor

I’ve seen several blog posts from folks about their best Christmas family experiences. So, I thought that I’d go against the grain and write about my worst Christmas. It was 1961.

It had the potential of being the best Christmas ever. My mother married Budgar on December 8, 1961, and the two returned from a short honeymoon on December 10th. For Christmas, we were going to have a family get together. Budgar’s daughters, my new stepsisters, were coming and my grandmother was cooking a turkey with the fixings. Eleven-year-old me, had a hard time waiting until my stepsisters got to our house, but we waited so we could open presents together.

We opened our gifts and everyone was pleased. I’m not sure I remember exactly what my big present was. It might have been a “Paladin gun with holster,” maybe it was a toy “Rifleman cap gun,” I’m not sure which year I received which. I’m sure though I received new army men to play with; I received army men every year for several years. My stepsisters, ages 11 and 10, were especially excited about their new Barbie dolls and a Barbie game – The Barbie Game: Queen of the Prom – “A fun game with real-life appeal for all girls.”

After a short while, my stepsisters wanted me to play their new game with them. I said, “No.” I was 11 and enjoyed playing with my toys by myself, as I had done in previous years. Besides, I wasn’t about to play a “girlie game.” They insisted and then whined to their father, Budgar, that I needed to play with them because the game “wasn’t any good for just two.” They needed at least three players. So, Budgar took me away from my new toys and made me play the Barbie Game with his daughters. I was mortified.

Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and my grandmother’s cake put me in a better mood later that afternoon. She was an excellent cook and an amazing baker.

 

 

Rufus Darling and the First Train in Kalamazoo

Darling
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Finding stories about the lives of our ancestors is always a joy. In this story, my wife’s 2nd great aunt, Emma Darling, relates the story of the arrival of the first train to Kalamazoo.  The sound of the shrill whistle, certainly heard for the first time by many of the townspeople, created excitement that emptied the churches on a Sunday. Besides that story, more information about my wife’s 2nd great grandfather, Rufus Holton Darling and there is even a brief mention of my wife’s 3rd great grandfather, David Swayze.


Kalamazoo Gazette (Kalamazoo, MI) 9 July 1916, Page 6

Transcription by Don Taylor

Miss Emma Darling has invitation sent her father for Railroad banquet in 1846 

“On the Southeast corner of Main and Burdick streets was the old and well-known dry good stand of Goss and Darling (with the Gazette office upstair)” so says the late George Torrey in his history of Kalamazoo. Continuing Mr. Torrey states “next was the dry goods store of Clark and Kendal, (Foster and Underwood, tailors upstairs; father down was Farrell’s shoe store; then came Benj. M Austin’s jewelry shop; next to the Wolverine exchange kept by the indomitable Col. Hosea B. Huston with Patrick’s restaurant underneath it; next east was the “New York store,” kept by Camp and Company I think.” 

All this was in September 1844 when the Michigan Telegraph, edited and published by Henry B. Miller made its first appearance. These were early days in the history of Kalamazoo and it is only a few who now remember that the first store built in Kalamazoo was that of Goss and Darling on Main and Burdick street, built by Rufus H. Darling and David Swayze. This corner was at that time only a wooded spot.

Within a short time, this corner will meet another change when the present brick buildings will be razed that a handsome new building may be erected for the First National bank.

Miss Emma Darling, who still resides on a portion of the land purchased by her father, Rufus H. Darling, at Cedar and Rose streets has many interesting souvenirs of the early days of Kalamazoo.

Has Railroad Contract.

“My father,” said Miss Darling, “had the contract for building the Michigan Central railway from Michigan City through to Grass Lake and on its completion a banquet was given for which I have the original invitations sent to my parents. I had it framed that it might not be destroyed and it reads thus:

Kalamazoo. February 5, 1846

Sir

The Central Rail Road having been completed to Kalamazoo, and our citizens being desirous to furnish to its friends a supper. You are respectfully invited at the Kalamazoo House, on Wednesday Evening, Feb 11th.

Committee of Arrangements

      • A. Edwards             M Binsddill
      • Anthony Cooley    S. Trowbridge
      • D. S. Walbridge     Milo J. Goss
      • S. B. Davis               J Burdick
      • I. Moffatt, Jr.         Chas. E. Stuart
      • D. B. Webster         R. S. Gage

“Nearly everyone has heard the story of the arrival of the first train in Kalamazoo on a Sunday,” said Miss Darling “and of how everyone on the toot of the whistle jumped from their seat at church service and went to investigate the noise.”

First Train Arrived.

In connection it might be well to quote from the diary of Alex. J. Sheldon, many of his notes being included in the Torrey History:

Tne “St. Joseph” — First Train to travel from Detroit to Kalamazoo.

Monday, February 2, 1846 — A most lovely day. This morning the cars, which came in on Sunday (yesterday) commenced their regular trips. I forgot to mention that a car was run upon the wood to this place last Sunday week. At about half-past two o’clock p. m. on that day, just after divine service had commenced in the churches, the shrill, loud and prolonged shriek of the coming locomotive startled the congregation, producing a sensation of the liveliest character. The sanctity of the day and the place, the eloquence of the preacher, were in a moment forgotten in the excitement of the occasion and the yearn which possessed the heart of every villager to see “the cars”– and took but a short time to transfer the audience from the sanctuaries to the show-ground, where the locomotive, “St. Joseph” and a single car stood revealed to the astonished and delighted people. This afternoon and old barn near Sheldon’s bookstore was fired but Ghoh Glynn and myself put it out. Aleck Sheldon and Clem McNair went around this evening and got a call signed for a fire company.”

Feb. 11–Railroad celebration and supper at Kalamazoo House.”


Facts:  

  • 1845 – Rufus Darling had the contract for building the Michigan Central railway from Michigan City through to Grass Lake.
  • 5 Feb 1846 – Rufus Darling was invited to attend a railroad banquet on February 11, 1846.
  • 1844 – the Goss and Darling dry good store was the first store built in Kalamazoo.
  • 9 Jul 1916 – Emma Darling lived at Cedar and Rose streets.
  • 2 Feb 1846, the first train arrived in Kalamazoo.

Sources

Article: Kalamazoo Gazette (Kalamazoo, MI) 1916-07-09, Page 6 – “Darling has Invitation sent her father for Railroad Banquet in 1946.” Accessed 18 Dec 2019 via Genealogy Bank.

Train image. “Kalamazoo Railroads, Interurbans, Buses, and Transit History,” 2019. Migenweb.Org. Accessed 19 December 2019. http://www.migenweb.org/kalamazoo/railroadsinterurbThe back of this photograph identifies the subject as a locomotive built in 1836 that was the first steam engine to run from Detroit to Kalamazoo…. Date and location of the photo not given.”

The Haley Brick Wall

Roberts/Scott/Haley
By Don Taylor

I hate to ever admit it but, I think I may have hit a brick wall on my Haley line. I think I’ve followed all the reasonable paths and I’m down to speculation and looking to see if I can find any evidence to support or conflict with my speculation.

My Speculation

1860 Census[1]

The 1860 Census indicates that living with my third-great-grandparents (Andrew & Malinda Haley) were Benjamin and Nancy Haley (ages 81 and 70 respectively) were both born in North Carolina. Andrew as only 23-years-old during 1860, so it is unlikely that Benjamin and Nancy are his parents. More likely, they are his grandparents; but they could be related in some other way. Through this post, I’ll consider facts that may confirm or refute this speculation/hypothesis.

1850 Census[2]

An Ancestry search of the 1850 Census resulted in finding four individuals named Benjamin Haily (or Haley or Hailey) who were born in North Carolina. Ancestry indicates birth years for the four as, 1802, 1805, 1818, and 1830. None of these seemed to fit my Benjamin Haley. I then searched Family Search using the same criteria. There, the same four individuals were presented, however, the one identified as born about 1830 is identified as being born about 1780 which fits my Benjamin Haley. Looking at the image carefully, it is not clear if the entry is 20 or 70. In my opinion, many of the other twos on the page support the idea that this entry is a 70. If this is the case, then the household would consist of

Clay County, Kentucky – Enumerated 24 Aug 1850 – Dwelling & Household 383, Lines 30-36.

  • Elizabeth Haily       Age 44 North Carolina (cannot read or write)
  • A??zy  Jr.                    Age 14 Tennessee
  • Edward                       Age 12 Tennessee
  • Solomon                    Age 8   Tennessee
  • Sarah                           Age 5   Tennessee
  • Asa                               Age 7/12 Kentucky
  • Benj.                            Age 70 North Carolina (cannot read or write)

It is my sense that this is my Benjamin and he is living with his daughter-in-law and her five children.

1840 Census

My Benjamin Haley should be about 60 years of age during the 1840 Census. A review of the census indicates there are two Benjamin Haley’s enumerated in Tennessee. One was in Madison County and appears to be between 30 and 40 years of age[3]. This is clearly not my Benjamin Haley.

The second Benjamin is in Henry County[4]. He is between 20 and 30 years of age. Clearly not my Benjamin Haley either. So, the question is, is he with a son and daughter-in-law or could he still be in North Carolina.

Conclusion

I feel I’ve come against a brick wall. I am not finding any records which are shedding light upon any of these individuals. I think I’ll set this family line aside for a while and come back to it afresh later.

My speculation is that the parents of Andrew J. Haley (1836-1905) are unknown. I believe Andrew’s grandfather was Benjamin Haley (1779-c.1860). I suspect that Benjamin’s apparent wife, Nancy,  during the 1860 census is a second wife and not Andrew’s biological grandmother.[5]

If you have evidence which supports Andrew J. Haley’s parentage or evidence with contradicts this conclusion, I’d love to hear about it.  Please use the comment form below. Continue reading “The Haley Brick Wall”