Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Bessie Merrell

Bessie Merrell was born February 1891, in California according to the 1900 census.[i] She was the daughter of Charles H. Merrell and his wife Nellie. Bessie also had a sister Bertha who was born in Feb 1889, in California.

Charles H. Merrell died 18 Sep 1913, in Shasta County, California. His will is scanned and available at Ancestry.
Nellie I. Merrill died 11 Jun 1927, in Shasta County, California. This according to the California death index.

Bessie Merrell was first married to Aubrey Vestal on 7 Jun 1911, in Muck Valley, Lassen County, California. They divorced before 1916.

Bessie Merrell then married Dennis Montgomery Desmond on 8 Jun 1916, in Shasta County, California. There is a photo on the U.S. Passport Applications for this couple.

Bessie and Dennis are located on the 1920 census living in Oakland, Alameda County, California.[ii]

On 21 Jan 1926, there is a newspaper article about an impending divorce for Bessie and Dennis Desmond.[iii]

It was difficult to find Bessie in the 1930 census. Even though she was born in 1891, she told the census taker she was 29, inferring she was born in 1901.[iv] All other information remained the same as in previous censuses.

In 1932 Besse M. Desmond was living at 1502 Jackson St., Alameda, California. She was a Beauty Operator.

In 1936 Mrs. Besse M. Desmond was living at 1375 California, San Francisco, California and she was an Operator.

And then nothing. Nothing further was found for Bessie. No marriages, not recorded as dying, just no longer found in the records.

She is possibly the person recorded in the California Death index as Desmond, died in San Francisco, California on 11 May 1938, certificate number 32299.

[i] 1900 US census, Lassen County, California, population schedule, Enumeration District (ED) 
#51, page 119 (stamped), sheet 13A, dwelling #175, family #179, Charles Merrill household; 
digital image, ( : accessed 15 May 2018); National Archives 
and Records Administration (NARA) microfilm #T623, roll # not noted by Ancestry.

[ii] 1920 US census, Alameda County, California, population schedule, Oakland, Enumeration 
District (ED) #33, page 218 (stamped), sheet 1A, dwelling #1, family #1, D.M. Desmond household; 
digital image, ( : accessed 15 May 2018); National Archives and 
Records Administration (NARA) microfilm #T625, roll #87.

[iii] Mrs. Bessie Desmond, Auburn Journal, (Auburn, California) 21 Jan 1926, page 8 column 2; database with images, ( : accessed 15 May 2018).

[iv] 1930 US census, Alameda County, California, population schedule, Oakland, Enumeration 
District (ED) #83, page 133 (stamped), sheet 2B, dwelling #14, family #250, Besse M. Desmond 
household; digital image, ( : accessed 15 May 2018); National 
Archives and Records Administration (NARA) microfilm #T626, roll #not provided by Ancestry.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Harriet McConnell autograph

“Be good, sweet maid, and let who will be clever;
Do noble things, not dream them, all day long,
And so make life, death, and that vast Forever
One grand, sweet song.”
Harriet McConnell
Sutter Creek, Cal
April 2, 1884

[Note from Lizzie Dunlap: My teacher in Sutter Creek]

Harriet McConnell was listed as a single woman, School Teacher, born in Vermont, age 35 (born about 1845) on the 1880 census. She was living in Stockton, San Joaquin County, California. In the autograph album Harriet’s signature follows that of Mary Nickerson.

Harriett McConnell is found in the FindAGrave site. It notes from her headstone that she was born in 1845 and died in 1890. She is buried in the Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, Alameda County, California. Her headstone is cut the same way Mary Nickerson’s headstone is.

The obituary appeared for Miss Harriet McConnell: [i]

I believe that Harriet McConnell and Mary Nickerson were siblings.

[i] Miss Harriet McConnell obituary, San Francisco Chronicle, (San Francisco, California) 25 Nov 1890, page 3 column 5; database with images, ( : accessed 28 Nov 2017).

Mary Nickerson autograph

Mary Nickerson
Sutter Creek, Cal.
April 3, 1884

[Notes from Lizzie Dunlap: Died 1888; Neighbor-several lots blocks from us.]

Lizzie Dunlap’s family was located on page 9 of 25 in Sutter Creek, Amador County, CA in the 1880 census. Mary Nickerson’s family was located on page 21 of 25 in Amador County, CA in this same census. Lizzie had lined through blocks and rewrote lots. From what the census shows, it leaves this transcriber thinking she should have left the word blocks!

Mary Nickerson was 41 in 1880 (born about 1839). The census tells us she was born in Vermont and married to Charles Nickerson.

There are two Mary Nickerson’s in California who died in 1888. One is Mary Nickerson, born 1839, died 1888, buried in Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, Alameda County, CA. The other is Mary Nickerson, born Unknown, died, 1 Mar 1888, buried Old Oroville Cemetery, Butte County, California. Her husband is not buried with her as far as I can tell.

Upon further investigation I find that Mary Nickerson had a death notice in the San Francisco Bulletin.

I believe that Mary Nickerson and Harriet McConnell were sisters. Both are buried in the Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, Alameda County, California.

Nina Summers autograph

Dear Friend,
While passing through life’s field of action
Lest we part before its end,
Take within your modest volumn
This memento from a friend.”
Yours in sincerity
Nina Summers
Sept 25, 1889
[Note from Lizzie Dunlap: Died March, 1891]

There is a photo of Nina V. Summers headstone at FindAGrave.[i] The headstone confirms the death date we have from Lizzie. Nothing further has been discovered about Nina Summers.

[i] Find A Grave, Inc., Find A Grave, database ( : accessed 28 Nov  2017), entry  for Nina V. Summers (5 Jul 1871-17 Mar 1891), Memorial No. 57579831, Records of the Modesto Citizens Cemetery, Modesto, California; page created by Ed Smith, 23 Aug 2010.

Maggie - autograph

Dear Lizzie,
In memories casket
Drop one pearl for me.
Your friend,
[Note from Lizzie Dunlap: Died 1885]

With no surname I have nothing to search for. Deaths in 1885 might have been recorded in the newspaper but I’d need the surname to locate the notice. Sadly, Maggie died a full 20 years before the California death index was started.

Mattie Y. Brown autograph

Dear Lizzie,
“May the pearls you gather
On your voyage o’er life’s sea
Serve as gems to set resplendent
In a crown above for thee.”
Your Sincere Friend,
Mattie Y. Brown
Sutter Creek, [California], April 20th, 1884
[Note from Lizzie Dunlap: My music teacher in Sutter Creek]

We don’t know if Mattie Y. Brown was a Miss or a Mrs when she signed the autograph book in 1884. I ran all the searches for Mat* Brown, living in Amador County, California. There was one Matilda Brown who did live in Amador County but was married in 1879. That Matilda Brown was quickly eliminated as she would have signed the book with her married name.

If anyone recognizes the signature of this Mat* Brown, please let me hear from you. Let’s compare the signature you have to this one and verify if we have found a match. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Raymond Powers

To Lizzie,
True friends like diamonds,
Precious but rare;
False ones like autumn leaves
Found every where.
Yours Truly,
Raymond Powers
Bieber, Cal.
April 11, 1888
[Note from Lizzie: Went to school it [with] me in old Cedar Run School Dist 1884-5]

I am unsure if this Raymond Powers is actually Harry Raymond Powers, son of Louis Powers and Sarah Jenkins. Harry Raymond Powers did live in Big Valley, Lassen County, California during the 1880 census. He was born about 1870 in California.

If anyone has the obituary of Harry Raymond Powers that might be helpful. He died 3 October 1949, in Shasta County, California. Or, if you have a signature on another document of Harry Raymond Powers that too could be helpful.