Tuesday, April 22, 2014

52 Ancestors- #16 Mary Jane (Dumprope) Clark

Mary Jane- Who Was She?

Mary Jane was my paternal great-great grandmother. I was always fascinated with this photograph of her. "She had a hole in her nose because she liked to chew and sniff snuff", my grandmother would tell me. The actual cause of death on her death certificate was "stomach cancer due to gene debility", but she lived until she was 83, so it did not seem to shorten her life considerably.
But you can see the suffering in her face.

Mary is the subject of some controversy in our family. We were always told that "her mother was an (American) Indian", and some people say you can see it in her features. A cousin who did some research years ago concluded that "Mary was an Algonquin Indian, her mother was a full-blooded Indian named Barsheba Seokie". Unfortunately, my cousin died soon after giving me this information, and I have been able to discover what her source for this information was. 

It has since been established that Mary Jane's mother was Barsheba Delong, and her family's American roots date to 1671 when Aryan Fransen came from Amsterdam, North Holland to America, settling in Kingston, Ulster, New York. There he married Rachel Jansen Pier, and their descendants remained until 1831, when Barsheba's parents, Henrick and Margaret (Joslin) Delong moved to Ameliasburg, Ontario. This information is established through records, so here is the version I believe to be true:

Mary Jane's Biography

Mary Jane was the youngest of seven children born to John D. Dumprope and Barsheba Delong. She was born at Ameliasburg, Prince Edward county, Ontario, Canada on 20 September 1830. Mary Jane's father died just before her 14th birthday, and within the next couple of years she married Sanford Jeremy Clark.

Sanford and Mary Jane joined most of her family in their move to Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin about 1848. They began their family with the birth of my great-grandfather in February 1850, followed by Barsheba Jane, Charles Rogers, Simon Edward, Ann, Wilhemina Agnes, Jeanette Sarah and Charlotte Beatrice. According to the 1900 census, Mary Jane reported that she had born 13 children, 6 of whom were still living at that time. The loss of children, at whatever age, is heartbreaking.

Sanford and Mary Jane moved to Door County, and farmed in the Clay Banks area until his sudden death in 1892, when Mary Jane returned to Sheboygan. She lived with her children for the rest of her life. In 1900 she was living with her daughter Charlotte (Lottie) and Theodore Lorenz. Five years later she is listed on the 1905 Wisconsin state census at Ahnapee, just south of Clay Banks, living with her son Edward's family and son Charles. Within the next 5 years she returned once more to Sheboygan. 

I found once reference to her in the Sheboygan Press of April 17, 1913, where it reported on the fall and serious injury of her grandson, Sanford Edward Clark in Sturgeon Bay:
SANFORD CLARK INJURED IN FALL (Sheboygan Press, April 17, 1913, page 5)

"Word reached here last evening by Mrs. M. J. Clark (Mary Jane) that her grandson, Mr. Sanford Clark, was seriously injured when he fell from a steamer at Sturgeon Bay. Mr. Clark was a former Sheboygan young man and is known in the city. His condition at the present time is alarming as he is not expected to recover. Mrs. M. J. Clark and Miss Grace Clark left for Sturgeon Bay this morning."
As I wrote in another article, Sanford made a full recovery, but his grandmother died 11 months later, on 20 March 1914. She is buried at Wildwood Cemetery in Sheboygan, on her daughter Minnie Feld's lot, but does not have a headstone.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

52 Ancestors #15- Sanford Jeremy Clark

Sanford Jeremy Clark

My paternal grandfather, Sanford Edward Clark, was a namesake of his grandfather, Sanford Jeremy.

Who was my great-great grandfather? I admit that he, like so many other forebears, is a bit of an enigma. All I have are tidbits of information, clues for future research. Here is what I do know:

Sanford Jeremy Clark was born on 24 December 1821 in Fort Erie, Welland County, Ontario, Canada. My original source for the information on this branch of the family gave his father's name as Jeremiah Roger Clark, but his mother is more elusive. Also unknown is where Jeremiah was born, and when and why he went to Canada. The same source suggested Ireland, as she found that written on several photos, but according to the 1880 census listing for Sanford, his father was born in Vermont and his mother in Canada.

Sanford (standing) and Jeremiah (seated) Clark, Mary Jane (seated) with two of their daughters

Married Life

Sanford married Mary Jane Dumprope, daughter of John D. and Barsheba (Delong) Dumprope. Mary Jane was born on 20 September 1830 at Ameliasburg, Prince Edward County, Ontario. Prince Edward county is on the northeastern shore of Lake Ontario, just west of the head of the St. Lawrence River. Wellend County, where Sanford was born, is 210 miles to the west and south around the western shore of Lake Ontario. Fort Erie is across the border from Buffalo, New York, where the Niagara River empties into Lake Erie. 

Sanford and Mary Jane Clark

However they met, Sanford and Mary Jane were married about 1847, as their first son William David was born about 1848-1850. Soon after their marriage, they joined several others of the Dumprope family in their move to Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, where they farmed at Sheboygan Falls for the next thirty years. Their children were all born here.

Their next move was to Door County, where they settled in the Clay Banks community known as Foscoro, along the Lake Michigan shoreline. Thus Sanford became the first of many Clarks (and associated families) who have called Door County home for almost 150 years. 

A painting depicting a farm at Clay Banks, reportedly built by Sanford and Mary Jane's oldest son William David, for his daughter Hannah and Oscar Tollefson.

Clay Banks and Foscoro

Today nothing remains of the once-bustling settlements that grew out of the country's need for lumber. Clay Banks once had a huge sawmill, at least six businesses, three schools, a telegraph terminal, and four post offices. Foscoro, named for the three owners of it's sawmill (Foster, Coe and Rowe), had a sawmill at the mouth of Stoney Creek, telegraph station, post office, and a number of stores. A 1,000-foot pier was constructed at Foscoro to ship lumber products to cities to the south like Milwaukee and Chicago. The length was necessary to keep ships off the shallow offshore reefs and boulders that litter the bottom of the lake. Many ships succumbed to the shoreline's treacherous waters. In later years, several tugs operated from this pier, to aid sailing vessels in entering the Sturgeon Bay ship canal. 

The March 30, 1883 issue of a local newspaper, the Weekly Expositor Independent, reported the following incident on page 2:
Samuel Wilson and Sanford Clark, of Stony Creek, both prominent grangers in that locality, were in town Monday. They brought in a wild cat scalp, but failed to get a bounty on it within the 60 days prescribed by law. Those having the scalps of such animals must recollect the law says within 60 days instead of 90.
The only other references to him I have found contain details of his death on July 12, 1892.

"The Republican" reported on July 21, 1892:
 "Two deaths have occurred in our midst of late, vis, Mrs. Nels Vista and Mr. Clark...The cause of death of Mr. Clark is unknown, he having been found dead some distance from his house."
  The "Door County Advocate" of July 16th reported on page 5:
SUDDEN DEATH. "William Clark (should be Sanford), whose home is in the southern part of Clay Banks, died very suddenly on Tuesday. He was out in the barn attending to some chores, and not returning on time Mrs. Clark began to look for him, and on entering the building she was almost paralyzed to find her husband lying dead on the floor before her. Heart failure is supposed to be the cause of the sudden taking off."
The "Algoma Record Herald" of July 14th contained a one-line obituary:
Clark, Sanford, from Foscoro, leaves wife and 6 grown children.
His memory card reads: 
In Loving Remembrance of Sandford Clark, 
Died July 12, 1892.
Aged 70 Yrs, 6 Mos, 18 Days
Sanford and Mary Jane

Saturday, April 5, 2014

52 Ancestors- #14 Amelia Dorothea (Liebe) Clark

Amelia Dorothea (Liebe) Clark

Amelia Liebe was my paternal great-grandmother. I never knew Amelia, as she died 16 years before I was born. This is her biography according to the story view produced at her Ancestry.com page:

When AMELIA DOROTHEA LIEBE was born on March 29, 1861, in Mosel, Wisconsin, her father, CARL, was 29 and her mother, WENDELINA, was 24. She married WILLIAM DAVID CLARK on October 30, 1882, in her hometown. They had eight children in 19 years. She died on November 6, 1934, in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, at the age of 73.
These are the bare facts of her life, but who was the person?

Growing Up in Mosel

Amelia was the fourth of fourteen children born to German immigrant parents. According to 19th century German naming patterns, at baptism children were given two names. The first was a spiritual or saint's name in honor of a favorite saint. Therefore, several children in the same family could have the same, or similar, first name. The second or middle name was the name the person was know by withing the family.

According to her baptismal record, Amelia's given name was Emilie Dorothea, not to be confused with her sisters named Emilia Minna (who went by the name of Minnie) and Amalia Therese (who was known as Molly). 

The thirteen Liebe children grew up in the two-room cabin built by their father Carl soon after his arrival at Mosel in Sheboygan county. The upstairs loft was lined with the children's beds. There was always work to be done, in the house and on the farm. Since the first boy was not born until after the births of eight of his sisters, the girls must have had a hand in farm chores as well as in the house. The house was simple, but known for always being spotless and brightened by geraniums. There would have been a garden to tend and harvest, and meals to prepare, probably using old family recipes handed down for generations. The Liebe cabin was covered in grapevines and ivy, which no doubt served to keep it cool in the summer, but there was a separate summer kitchen, built of stone, where Wendeline and her daughters would cook in the hot days of summer.

The community of Mosel was made up of other first-generation German immigrants. In fact, in 1875 the population of the town was 1,100- all German with the exception of one Englishman and two Irishmen. The family attended the Evangelical Lutheran Church just down the road. Amelia was confirmed there in 1875.

Emilia Dorothea Liebe, daughter of Carl Liebe and Wendeline born Schaf, born 29 Mach 1861 (original in German)

 Marriage and a New Home

When Amelia was 21, on 30 October 1882, she married William David Clark. He was a 35-year-old farmer from Sheboygan Falls who was now farming in Door County:
William Clark (Father- Sanford Clark/Mother- Mary Dawppebpl), and
Emilie Dorothea Liebe (Father- Moritz Liebe/ Mother-Wendeline Schaef)
Farmer- Town of Claybanks, Door Co., WI (Residence)
BP- Sheboygan Falls, Sheboygan Co., WI
Ceremony- by rites at Evengelical Lutheran Church.
Wittnesses- Carl Moritz Liebe and F. Schick; Minister- Martin Deumminger (Mosel)

Cert. Oct 30, 1882; Reg. 4 Nov. 1882
Dave and Amelia Clark

The move from her home in Mosel to Clay Banks in Door County was 100 miles in distance, but there were no highways or automobiles to make the trip in today's hour and a half. There is a good chance that Amelia did not often get to see her parents after her marriage. Her oldest sister Thekla "Hulda" Braunsdorf, and brothers Gustave and Adolph also resettled in Door County. The reunion of her surviving seven siblings at the Liebe homestead in 1940 did not include her, as she had died six years earlier.

William "Dave" and Amelia had seven children, 4 sons and 3 daughters. Another daughter, Daisy, was born when Amelia was 42, and died soon after her birth.

Amelia was 14 years younger than her husband, and stories have been told of how she had to endure his bad temper. My Dad recalled one incident when she was bending over to tie his grandfather's shoes. She must have tied them too tightly, and he swore and kicked her.

Amelia (left) and Dave (right) with daughter Hannah (just behind Amelia)
and her children, and granddaughter Lucille (right of Amelia)

Amelia and Dave spent most of their married life at Clay Banks. They lived for a short time with my grandparents, son Sanford and Eva. The last few years were spent with their daughter Charlotte "Lottie" and Chan Schuyler in Sturgeon Bay. Amelia died 6 November 1934 of Myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle), due to Asthma. She was buried at the Clay Banks cemetery.

Amelia Clark


Death Certificate

Obituary from Door County Advocate

Thursday, March 27, 2014

52 Ancestors- #13 Wendelina Augusta Friederike (Schaaf) Liebe

No immigrant ancestor would be complete without his wife- after all, they're really the beginning of a family in the New World. So allow me to introduce you to the wife of Carl Moritz Liebe

Wendeline Augusta Friederike Schaaf

Wendeline was born to Lorenz and Ernestine (Nickolai) Schaaf on 18 August 1836 in Eischleben, Sax-Gotha (Thuringia), Germany. She was one of about 8 children.

The family immigrated to America and settled in the Sheboygan town of Mosel. I have not yet found the immigration records, but dates reported by family members on various censuses range from 1853-1856. Wendeline's obituary says 1854, and that is consistent with what she told census takers in 1900 and 1910.

Wendeline was eighteen when her family settled at Mosel. Not far from the Schaaf homestead lived another German immigrant who had arrived the previous year, Carl Moritz Liebe. The two were married on 22 April 1856. Here is a transcription of the marriage record:

Charles Moritz Liebe and Wendeline Auguste Friedrike Schaf
Married 22 Apr. 1856 in the Town of Mosel, Sheboygan, WI. 
Reg. 30 April at 10 o'clock AM.
Justice of the Peace- Geo. Ramming.

Charles (farmer)- Father-John Gottlab (te) Liebe/ Mother- Christiana Liebe

Wendeline- Father-Lorenz Schaf/ Mother- Ernestine Schaf

Carl and Wendeline had 14 children during the next 25 years, including one daughter, Lizette, who lived for only one month, and my great-grandmother, Amelia Dorothea:

  • Thekla "Hulda"
  • Emilia "Minnie"
  • Augusta "Ida"
  • Amelia Dorothea
  • Rosalia Laura
  • Amalia Therese (Molly)
  • Ernestina Marie
  • Elisabette (Lizette)
  • Carl "Otto"
  • Ernst Ferdinand
  • Laura Theckla Paulina
  • Gustave Adolph
  • Bertha Louise
  • Adolph Carl Johannes

The Liebe Cabin

Wendelina & Molly Liebe in front of their ivy-covered cabin

I already mentioned the construction of the 2-room cabin Carl built for the family. The house was 1 1/2 stories, with  a loft upstairs where the children slept. I was able to take a peak inside during the 1970's, shortly before its collapse. It was then only a shell of the home that sheltered Carl and Wendelina's large family. 

 Natalia Athorp, daughter-in-law of Carl and Wendelina's daughter Ernestine, was the Liebe family historian. In 1970 she shared these memories of the cabin, which was Molly Liebe's home for most of her life:

"The house was beautiful in the summer time- outside was covered with grape vines, which helped to cool it. Flowers grew everywhere. The inside of her house was so comfy, even tho' it had only 2 rooms. The windows were filled with red geraniums and ivy. The table was in the SE corner against the wall, but when company came- it was pulled out and every one loved to sit on that old bench. Rocking chairs were always in use.
A trap door led to a basement where goodies were kept. The old wood stove baked the best "kucken" (coffee cake) I have even eaten.
I wish you could have seen the big feather cover on her bed. An upstairs room had an old fashioned rope bed...Aunt Molly lived here until about 1945- when she was 80 years of age. She had lived alone for at least 30 years.
13 children grew up in this home (another died as an infant). The first baby was born there on Sept. 8, 1859, so it must have been built that year (110 years ago- one of that family still lives- Aunt Bertha is 90).
I'm sure many of you remember the old summer kitchen. Aunt Molly had one too- built of stone (It's too bad, the roof has fallen in.)"

Aunt Molly at the summer kitchen

Later Years

Carl, Molly & Wendelina Liebe

 One by one, the children grew up and left the homestead, until only Molly and Bertha were left. Bertha moved away and worked for families in Oregon and Chicago before returning to Sheboygan County for her last years. Molly remained at home caring for her aging parents. 

Carl died in 1906, and Wendelina followed 10 years later, on 3 Feb 1916. She was buried next to her husband at the Evangelical (now Immanuel) Lutheran Church cemetery at Mosel.

Here is Wendeline's obituary from a Sheboygan county German newspaper, possibly the "National Demokrat" which was published at this time. Using Google Translate, I was able to come up with a pretty good translation. Thank you, Google:

At 3 February 8 o'clock in the morning, blessed Wendeline Auguste Friederiche Liebe, nee Schaaf, the (Zeitliche) in the town of Mosel. The (deceased) was born in Eischleben, Saxony-Gotha, Germany on 28 August 1836. In 1854 she (came) here with parents and siblings and (liefzen) they settled in the town of Mosel. Later, she entered with Mr. Moritz Liebe in holy matrimony, and lived there until her death (down there) at the farm. The marriage produced 14 children, one of whom died at a tender age. At 10 March 1906 her husband died. She suffered with a heart ailment for the last several weeks, and the Grippe (flu) hastened her end. She reached an age of 79 years, 5 months and 5 days. Two brothers and 13 children survive: four sons and 9 daughters, 49 grandchildren and 28 great-grandchildren. The funeral will be on Sunday afternoon at (2:30?) from the funeral home to the Evangelical Lutheran Church (officiated) by Pastor M. Denninger.

For the warm participation at the funeral for our beloved mother, Mrs. Wendeline Liebe, furnish we hereby all dear friends our intimate thanks. Likewise, the support for their service of love; same of the undertaker Mr. Nidel, and Mr. Martin Denninger for his comforting words. 
Amalie Liebe and siblings.

Wendeline Augusta Friederike (Schaaf) 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

52 Ancestors- #12 Carl Moritz Liebe, Immigrant Ancestor

The immigrant ancestors of my family cover a wide span of years. Quite a number of them were a part of early colonial America, while others made their way across the water two centuries later. All of them arrived before Ellis Island became a part of the immigrant experience.

From my observation, our immigrant ancestors were of adventurous, hard-working, sturdy stock. After all, look what it took to leave friends and family behind, survive the months-long journey to blaze a trail to an unknown life in the new world.

Carl Moritz Liebe, Immigrant Ancestor

The first immigrant ancestor I will consider is my paternal great-great-grandfather (my great-grandmother's father), Carl Moritz Liebe. 

The name "Liebe" means love in German. Carl seems to exemplify this quality, though I never knew him. After all, he fathered fourteen children, thirteen of whom lived to adulthood. Of those thirteen, eleven went on to have families of their own, extending Carl's legacy for generations to come. And that legacy includes long life. Carl lived to be 74 year old, two of his children lived to age 66, three lived into their mid-70's, seven into their 80's, and one made it to 91. The combined lifespan of these thirteen children is an amazing 1,032 years.

Carl (Charles) Liebe was born on 17 November 1831 in Sachsen, Germany, to John Gottlieb and Christiana (Muller) Liebe (although I have yet to locate them in German records). I don't know what his childhood was like, how many brothers or sister he had, or whether he was an older or younger child in the family.

Life Between Deck

The first reference to him is in February of 1853, when at the age of 21 he departed from Bremen, Germany aboard the barque "Kosmos", bound for America. He was listed as a "smith", and as a passenger "between deck", the area immediately below the main deck which was used to accommodate passengers travelling on the cheapest class of ticket. Passengers in this area were "offered only the most basic amenities, typically with limited toilet use, no privacy", and "miserable food dealt out of huge kettles into the dinner pails provided by the steamship company." 

The ceiling height of the between deck was 6-8'. The double-deck bunks, made of rough boards, were set up along both sides of the ship, with only a small corridor between bunks. Each bunk was intended to hold 3 to 6 persons, and these were often called family bunks.
The bunks had straw mattresses, which was often home to lice and fleas. Passengers spent most of the two-month voyage in this dark, crowded, smelly room. The only light and fresh air came from the hatch, then entrance from the deck. During rough weather, this hatch had to be covered to prevent water pouring in, making the air barely breathable.

Making the New World His Own

Carl arrived in the port of New York City on 22 April 1853, with his destination listed as "Wisconsin". He wasted no time getting there, probably traveling up the Hudson River, through the Erie Canal to Lake Erie, and sailing to Wisconsin without having to travel over land. He settled in Sheboygan County in the township of Mosel, where "Moritz Liebe" purchased the original 40 acres of his homestead for $192 on 19 July 1853, just three months after his arrival in America.

Mosel was largely inhabited by German immigrant families. One of these was the family of Lorenz and Ernestine Schaaf, from Eischleben, Sax Gotha. Carl fell in love with their oldest daughter, Wendelina Augusta Friederike, and they were married on 22 April 1856. 

Carl built a two-room, "wattle-and-daub" cabin on his homestead. It was built without nails, of logs, clay and straw, and the original roof was thatched with rye straw. Like the other hard-working German immigrants, Carl farmed the fertile soil. By the 1860 census, the couple had three daughters, the value of their real estate was $300, and their personal estate was $230. Ten years later, his real estate was valued at $1200, and personal estate at $575, and there were now 7 daughters: (Thekla Hulda, Emilia Minna, Augusta Ida, Amelia Dorothea (my great-grandmother), Rosalia Laura, Amalia Therese, and Ernestina Marie. The eighth, Elisabeth, lived for only one month). By 1882, two more daughters and three sons would complete Carl and Wendelina's family of 14 children: (Carl Otto, Ernst Ferdinand, Laura Theckla, Gustave Adolph, Bertha Louise and Adolph Carl). 

Carl & Wendeline with daughter Amalia (Molly)
In front of their vine-covered cabin

Some of the Liebe children and their families
On February 4, 1940, the surviving seven children were the subject of a cover article of the Milwaukee Journal. This picture was featured, and the title read: 
The "Youngest" of This Family is 57; Add Them Together- 767 Years

Rosalia Laura, Amalia Theresa, Ernestine Marie, Carl Otto, Ernest Ferdinand, Laura Thekla Paulina, Bertha Louise.

I don't know whether Carl ever became a citizen of his new country, but the 1900 census states that he had applied for his papers. On 10 March 1906, Carl Moritz Liebe passed away, and was buried in the Emmanuel Lutheran Church Cemetery at Mosel.

In Memory of Chas. M. Liebe

Sunday, March 16, 2014

52 Ancestors- #11 William David Clark

William David Clark

My great-grandfather, William David Clark, was born 14 November 1847 at Sheboygan Falls, Sheboygan County, Wisconsin. He was the oldest child of Sanford and Mary Jane (Dumprope) Clark, who were married at Ontario, Canada and shortly thereafter moved to Wisconsin. William was known by many as "Dave", and to nieces and nephews as "Uncle Bill". 

On 30 October 1882 he was united in marriage to Amelia Liebe of Mosel, Sheboygan County. Soon after their marriage, the couple moved to Claybanks, in Door County, Wisconsin, where they farmed for over 25 years.
Dave & Amelia Clark

Dave and Amelia were parents of eight children, seven of whom lived to adulthood: Sanford, Charles "Charlie", Charlotte "Lottie", Hannah, John, Georgianna "Georgie", and James. Their youngest, Daisy, died soon after birth.

Children of Dave & Amelia Clark:
Sanford, Georgie, James,
Lottie, John & Hannah
Sanford, Charlie & John Clark

Dave with son Sanford and granddaughter Helen
The one recurrent description I have heard of my great-grandfather was that he had a bad temper, and wasn't always known to treat Amelia kindly.

Later in life, Dave and Amelia lived for a time with my grandparents, Sanford and Eva on their farm; and after Amelia's death, Dave lived with their daughter Charlotte and Chan Schuyler for his remaining year. 

William David Clark passed away on 26 November 1935, and was buried next to his wife of 52 years at the Claybanks cemetery. It is a peaceful little cemetery, high atop a hill overlooking Lake Michigan.

Clay Banks Cemetery

Obituary from Door County
Advocate, 29 Nov. 1935

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

52 Ancestors- #10 Sanford Edward Clark- At Home on Land and Sea

This week is dedicated to my paternal grandfather, Sanford Edward Clark.  I partially considered him in week two in connection with his marriage to my Grandma Eva, but I don't feel that coverage did justice to his interesting life. Included this week is an example of what a wealth of knowledge is being made available through digitization of records previously unknown or hard to access. Our local newspapers were recently digitized and put online,  and through a search for my grandfather's name, I found several news items that helped to fill out my knowledge of his earlier life.

The Grandpa I Knew

Grandpa was 66 years old when I was born, so my knowledge of him was as an older little man who milked a small herd of cows and smoked a corn-cob pipe. He was known by his friends as "Sandy". He could swear like a sailor (which he was), and was deathly afraid of snakes. He was only 5' 5" tall, and appears to have been the shortest in his family of siblings, boys and girls. He was also noticeably shorter than Grandma, and I grew up with the impression that she was the one who wore the pants in the family. She bossed him around, and he would grumble, often with a twinkle in his eyes. Grandma forbade him from smoking his Peerless tobacco in the house, so he would either fill the enclosed porch with blue smoke, or stand outside an often open window, the smoke curling into the kitchen. In cold weather, Grandma would scold, "Sanford, get in here and get a coat on!". He would come in grumbling, put on his jacket, then sit down and stay inside. I remember him reaching across the dinner table to spear something with his fork, and Grandma asking him, "Don't you have a tongue?". He grinned, "Sure, but it doesn't reach that far." They were a constant source of amusement to me and my cousins, but I always wondered what he was like in his younger life. After all, he had won young Eva's heart.

Early Life

Sanford's parents, William and Amelia (Liebe) Clark, were married at Mosel, Sheboygan County, Wisconsin in 1882. Soon after their marriage they moved up the Lake Michigan shoreline to the town of Ahnapee, Kewaunee County, Wisconsin, where Sanford was born the following year, 20 September 1883, the oldest of eight children. He was named for his paternal grandfather, and was baptized at his mother's family church at Mosel the following June. 

In 1900 Sanford was a farm laborer on the family farm, but by the time of the 1905 Wisconsin State census, 21-year-old Sanford was already experiencing the "lure of the lake". He was listed as a deckhand (employed 7 months during the past year), while his younger brother Charlie, age 19, was a fisherman. 

Brothers- Sanford, Charlie & John Clark

On the 4th of July 1906, Sanford married Edith Celia Tollefson of Sturgeon Bay, Door County. Two daughters, Lucille and Helen, were born to the couple. Edith was expecting their third child in 1912 when she became ill with Bright's disease and required surgery for a "twisted and adhesive bowel". She spent a month in the hospital following surgery, during which time their son was born prematurely. Baby Sanford died within a couple of days, and Edith died about three weeks later. Edith's family helped to raise the girls.
Sanford with his father, William "Dave" and daughter Helen

A Surprising Discovery

Three months after the death of his wife and infant son, Sanford suffered another misfortune.

Sanford was now employed at the Leathem & Smith stone quarry at Sturgeon Bay. In the fall of 1912 the company purchased the "Adriatic", a 23-year-old former three-masted schooner that they repurposed by cutting it down to a stone barge, and fitted as one of the first "self-unloaders". It carried crushed limestone from the quarry to cities on the Great Lakes for use in paving roads. 
Stone barge "Adriatic" being towed by its tug, "John Hunsader"

A few years ago I found an article from the Sheboygan Press, dated 17 April 1913, page 5:

"Word reached here last evening by Mrs. M. J. Clark (Mary Jane) that her grandson, Mr. Sanford Clark, was seriously injured when he fell from a steamer at Sturgeon Bay. Mr. Clark was a former Sheboygan young man and is known in the city. His condition at the present time is alarming as he is not expected to recover. Mrs. M. J. Clark and Miss Grace Clark left for Sturgeon Bay this morning."

(Sanford's grandmother was Mary Jane Dumprope who married Sanford Jeremy Clark. She was an 83 year old widow living in Sheboygan Falls, WI. Grace was the daughter of Mary Jane's brother, Charles Rogers Clark and Anna Brown.)

Another account was recorded in the Sturgeon Bay Advocate, Thursday April 17, 1913:


Meets With Accident Friday While at Work on Tug John Hunsader. Face Crushed By Fall.

"Sandford Clark was seriously injured on Friday while at work on the tug John Hunsader, of the Leathem & Smith fleet, and lies at the hospital in a precarious condition.
Sandford was assisting in the work of putting together some of the machinery on the tug and had carried an iron strap weighing probably forty or fifty pounds into the engine or boiler room, which was to be put in place on the machinery. He put the heavy piece of iron onto a shelf or support above him and was about to climb up himself when in some way he lost his footing and fell backward. Grabbing for something to keep from falling, he pulled the iron strap down. This struck an obstruction and then fell on Clark as he struck the bottom of the boat, hitting him squarely on the nose. This organ was smashed beyond any resemblance of a nose, and the skull above the right eye was fractured. He also suffered other bruises and conditions of a minor nature.

The injured man was hurried to the hospital, where his hurts were attended by Dr. Hilton. For several days afterward it was doubtful whether he would survive as the injury to the skull was a severe one, causing no end of anxiety.

   Mr. Clark last winter lost his wife, and has been exceptionally unfortunate in the way of illness. He will be disfigured for life if he recovers from the injuries, as the bones at the base of his nose are all crushed to a soft substance. The organ is being looked after by Dr. Robb, who makes a specialty of this line of work."

Survive he did, and went on to live a long and full life. Interestingly, none of his children had ever heard about the incident. They just knew that he carried a scar on his nose. 

Sanford (on right atop the snow pile) at work at Leathem & Smith yard

Sanford, Eva & the Adriatic

Three years later, 32-year old Sanford fell in love with 16-year-old Eva Jane Mapes, who had helped to care for his first wife and daughters during her illness. Sanford was by now working as a steam engineer on the "Adriatic",  captained by his cousin Albert Braunsdorf. When the Adriatic left Sturgeon Bay on Thursday, August 3, 1916, Eva was also on board. Later that day when they docked at the port in Manitowoc, they walked to the court house and got married. Albert and his wife Ella, the ship's cook, accompanied them as witnesses. Eva remained on the Adriatic for the rest of that sailing season, and by the next year she was expecting their first child.

Sanford, however, did return to the lake the next season. In the fall he experienced another close call when gale winds washed the Adriatic ashore near the Sturgeon Bay canal. Here is the account as described in the October 12, 1917 issue of the Door County Democrat, page 1:


Adriatic and Glasgow of Leathem & Smith Fleet Ashore Near Lily Bay.


Tow Line Parts When Tug Hunsader Tries To Enter Canal With Tow— Wind and Sea Carries the Two Craft Onto the Beach.

While endeavoring to enter the canal Saturday evening at seven o'clock in a heavy sea and wind from the south, the tow barges Glasgow and Adriatic of the Leathom & Smith stone fleet, broke away from the tug Hunsader and are now on the beach near Lily Bay, about three miles north of the canal.

Capt. Serface of the Hunsader had brought his tow up the lake from Milwaukee and Manitowoc, both stone barges being light. When abreast of the canal and about a mile out in the lake, the tow line between the tug and first barge was shortened up so as to be able to enter the canal in the heavy sea that was running. After the line had been shortened and the tug started to straighten out the tow, the line parted. The wind was blowing a gale, and in the big sea that was running, it was impossible to pick the barges up and Capt. Serface went into the canal with the tug .and reported the loss of his tow to the captain of the Coast Guard.

After parting of the line the Adriatic and Glasgow were at the mercy of the wind and sea before which they drifted toward shore. At one time the sea brought them together, but fortunately they drifted apart with no serious damage. When nearing shore Capt. Olsen of the Adriatic dropped the anchors, but they would not hold in the storm and the two craft drifted into the surf and finally struck bottom. The tow line that held the Glasgow to the Adriatic was cast off and the sea carried the Glasgow in, shore about 76 feet further
than the Adriatic, the former being about 200 feet from the beach.

The coast guard crew took off Chas. Wilmer and L. E. Thorstenson, the two sailors on the Glasgow, at eleven o'clock, it being a difficult and dangerous job in the dark and high running surf. 

The Adriatic being a better boat and not in danger of going to pieces the crew were not taken off until early the next morning. It will be a night, however, long remembered by the six members of the crew, seas sweeping over the craft, making it not only most uncomfortable but dangerous. The members of the crew were Capt. Chris Olsen, Sanford Clark, Tolllf Tollifson, Julius Helsen, Tom Pallistor, and Mrs. Ervine Devoe, the cook. All night long they were exposed to the storm and it was a great relief to them when they were taken off the stranded craft in the morning by the Coast Guards.

The first attempt to release the barges was made Monday afternoon, when the Hunsader got a line to the Adriatic and succeeded in moving her quite a distance, but the sea was running so high that the attempt had to be given up.

It is doubtful if the Glasgow can be saved. She is an old boat and the wrecking job would be quite expensive. The Adriatic is a more valuable craft, being equipped with self-unloading machinery for the purpose of handling crushed stone.

Stranding of the boats is a heavy loss to the company at this time of the year. They have considerable stone to deliver at different ports along the lake, and it means a loss of business, if deliveries cannot be made.

Sanford and son Raymond at work on the farm

Eva and Sanford had seven children.  For a time they owned a farm at Juddville with his brother John and his wife Tressie. In the early 1920's Sanford moved his family to a place along Lake Michigan,  south of Sturgeon Bay. Eva found that it was too isolated a life for a young mother with three little children, so while Sanford was away sailing, she moved the family into town.

In 1929 they purchased property just south of Jacksonport, and moved an old store building to the farm for their house. Sanford farmed for the next thirty years, but throughout the years he also worked at the ship yards and occasionally returned to the lake for seasonal employment. During the Depression, he found work with the WPA, building roads and planting trees in Door County. 

Sanford & daughter Amelia

Sanford with sons Raymond & Frank

Sanford & his favorite horse, Babe

Sanford & daughter Doris haying
Sanford & son Herbie, who died in 1931
of Scarlet Fever, at the age of 18 months


In 1959, 76-year-old Sanford found he could no longer get up and down from his milking stool. He made the difficult decision to sell the farm, and he and Eva moved to Sheboygan to live their last years together. In the city Grandpa loved to work in his vegetable garden and go for long walks. In 1966 they celebrated their 50th anniversary with friends and family. Sanford passed away on 6 July 1970 at the age of 86. He is buried at the Jacksonport Town Cemetery in Door County, just a few miles north of the farm where he and Eva raised their family, and where she would join him eighteen years later.

Sanford's work on the Great Lakes

(For more photos and a discussion of their life on the farm, see week #2 .)