My previous post about native American ancestry featured a framed portrait of Amanda and Thomas Green. Amanda was one of the reputed carriers of native ancestry in our family. Thomas and Amanda were the parents of Dad’s Grandma Case, born Cynthia Loretta Green. The framed portrait undoubtedly hung in the home of Edwin and Loretta Case and remained in that house as successive generations of Cases made it their home. Ed and Loretta’s youngest child Theodore Harry “Pete” Case and his wife Pearl lived there for decades in my younger years. Pete and Pearl’s son Burgess lived there until his death in 2010. I took the photo of Thomas and Amanda’s portrait on Burg’s living room wall when I visited him with Dad, my uncles Mick (Donovan) and Hud (Harold), and my cousin Rodney in January 2005.
Harold Springsteen’s family is now the custodian of the Greens’ portrait. If I remember correctly, Hud’s son-in-law Steve Fish did some restorative work on the frame. Steve has asked me more than once for information about the people in the portrait, so I will explore that question here.
As an aside, my brother Ed married Wendy Butler back in 1971 shortly before Dee and I were married. Ed and Wendy’s family have been particularly close to Mike (Hud’s son) and Betty Springsteen’s family. They invested together in a primitive cabin, the Old Berry Homestead, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Mike’s sister Sue is one of Wendy’s closest friends. Sue married a fellow named Steve Fish, so Wendy’s friend is her aunt cousin Sue. Ed and Wendy’s daughters are related to Sue and Steve’s sons on both sides of their family. Over the years there has been a lot of campfire guitar music in all of these families. When Wendy’s dad Jim Butler died recently, a recording of one of Jim’s favorite songs was played before his service: “I’m My Own Grandpa”. It seemed somehow appropriate.
Hey, I can tell a story like a Springsteen. Let me give you some background on an incident that happened last week. Back in the primeval mists of time … but I wouldn’t want to digress, would I? Returning to Jim’s brother-in-law Steve’s question: who were Thomas and Amanda Green?
Thomas M Green was apparently born in Genesee County, New York on November 17, 1830. His enlistment papers dated February 29, 1864 state that he was born in Wyoming County, New York, but Wyoming County wasn’t created from part of Genesee County until 1841. His enlistment papers also state that he was 34 years of age, which is not consistent with other records. The 1900 US Census states that he was born in November 1830, and Thomas’s death certificate found at SeekingMichigan.org gives his date of birth as November 17, 1830. Elizabeth Green, Thomas’s second wife, identified Thomas’s father as Thomas Green and did not know who his mother was.
Thomas Green’s parents were identified as E. Green and Cynthia Ames in Montcalm County marriage registrations for 1907, found on FamilySearch.org. Other researchers have identified Thomas’s father as Esac or Esick, but I haven’t yet found evidence to support that claim. I have found census enumerations for an Esick Green, Isaac Greens, and E Greens in western New York, so one of them might be Thomas’s father.
Thomas and Amanda were easily found in US Census records from 1860 onward, but where was Thomas before 1860? Census records prior to 1850 list only the head of household by name, so I needed to look for Thomas in the 1850 census. Searching on Ancestry.com, I found a potential listing for our Thomas Green in Holland, Erie County, New York, just west of Wyoming County. The Daniel Dodge Jr household included a Thomas Green, 19, born in New York. Other household members were Daniel Dodge Jr, 77, born in Massachusetts, Seyntta Dodge, 45, born in Vermont, and Amos Dodge, 10 or 16, born in New York. Might this Thomas have been more than a boarder? Family relationships weren’t recorded in US census enumerations until 1880. Could Seyntta Dodge be Cynthia Ames? Searching in the 1860 US Census on Ancestry, I found Cynthia Dodge, 54, born in Vermont and Amos Dodge, 19, born in New York living in North Plains Township, Ionia County, Michigan. It appears that Thomas Green and Amos Dodge were half-brothers, sons of Cynthia Ames. Thomas’s grandson Avey Case would later marry Amos’s granddaughter Gladys Teed. Avey and Gladys were second cousins before they were husband and wife.
Amanda’s early history is also unclear. Amanda’s death certificate states that she was born February 5, 1838 in Ohio. Thomas, the informant for personal information, gave Amanda’s father’s name as James Brown but he apparently had no knowledge of her mother. Family legend suggests that Amanda’s mother might have been native American, but DNA evidence does not support that speculation.
An obituary for Amanda Green, probably published in either the Stanton Weekly Clipper or the Montcalm Herald, provides a few clues of her early life. The obituary states that she was born in Medina, Ohio, perhaps referring to the county rather than to the city within the county. It further reports that Amanda moved to Michigan with her parents around 1840. The obituary states that Thomas and Amanda, married in 1855, were the parents of seven children, with a son and four daughters still living.
Who were Thomas and Amanda’s seven children? That, too, is not entirely clear. We can follow their family household in the population schedules of federal census enumerations:
- 1860: In Bushnell Township, Montcalm County, we find George R Green, age 1, born in Ohio, living with Thomas and Amanda.
- 1870: In New Haven Township, Gratiot County, we find the following children with Thomas and Amanda:
- Julia M Green, 13, born in Michigan
- George R Green, 11, born in Ohio
- Cynthia L Green, 7, born in Michigan
- Emma M Green, 2, born in Michigan
- Rowena Green, 6 months, born in Michigan
- 1880: In Bloomer Township, Montcalm County, we find Emma Green, 12, born in Michigan
- 1890: Almost none of the population schedules for the 1890 Census remain as the result of a fire.
- 1900: In Fairplain Township, Montcalm County, their nest is empty.
We haven’t accounted for seven children. Perhaps two were stillborn or died in infancy. Are these five Amanda’s survivors? Where was Julia in 1860? Stay tuned for a further look at Thomas and Amanda Green’s family.