Rest in peace, Lorna Wolf

My Aunt Lorna, Dad’s sister, passed on to her eternal life on Friday, March 18 at the age of 93 years and 6 months. She was an inspiration to her family and friends, inclined always to look for the positive in life. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday at the Congregational Church in Sheridan.

Lorna Elsie Springsteen was born at DeWitt, Michigan on September 18, 1922 and moved as a girl with her family to a farm just south of Sheridan. She graduated from Sheridan High School in 1940 and was an active participant in school reunions for students of the former school, which joined with Stanton to create Central Montcalm Public Schools in 1963. Lorna has also been instrumental in carrying on the Case/Springsteen family reunions that were so important to her mother.

Clockwise from left: Siblings Lorna Wolf, Harold Springsteen, Madge Pontius and Edwin Springsteen, July 2015
Clockwise from left: Siblings Lorna Wolf, Harold Springsteen, Madge Pontius and Edwin Springsteen, July 2015

Old-timers in Sheridan will remember the drive-in restaurant that Lorna opened south of Sheridan in the 1950s. In later years she operated a bed and bath boutique in Traverse City where she lived for many years. Lorna retired to the area of Boynton Beach, Florida, where she remained active in life. She moved to Big Rapids, Michigan several years ago to live closer to most of her extended family.

Lorna’s obituary is posted on the web site of the Mohnke Funeral Home in Big Rapids.

Glimpses of Rachel Dennis

Marie Kidder, Idell Fisher, Rachel Dennis and Lois Kidder
Marie Kidder, Idell Fisher, Rachel Dennis and Lois Kidder

Rachel Dennis was my my mother’s mother’s mother’s mother, my 2nd-great grandmother. She was born as Rachel Powell on 11 February 1854 in Mill Creek Township near West Unity, Williams County, Ohio. Williams County is in the northwestern corner of Ohio on the border of Michigan and Indiana. Rachel was the seventh known child of Joseph Powell and Amy F. Clifton, who were both born in New Jersey. Amy died on 5 March 1854, less than a month after Rachel’s birth. Joseph and Amy apparently moved to Ohio between the birth of their daughter Mary in New Jersey about 1844 and the birth of their son Arthur in Ohio about February 1846. After Amy’s death, Joseph remarried and had eight additional children with his wife Louisa. Joseph and his wives raised a farm family that was undoubtedly kept quite busy.

Rachel married one of my Civil War ancestors, John Samuel Dennis, on 13 October 1872 in Ransom Township, Hillsdale County, Michigan. At the time of their marriage John was a resident of Ransom and Rachel lived in Mill Creek, Ohio where John had previously lived. John served in the 111th Ohio Infantry from August 1862 to June 1865. An earlier post reviewed his service.

John and Rachel were the parents of two sons and seven daughters:

  1. Joseph Clinton Dennis (1873-1897)
  2. Mary Amy Dennis (1875-1968) married William Silas Bailey
  3. Hannah Dennis (1878-1951) married Kelso George Blackford
  4. Charlotte Dennis (1880-1978) married Olla Leroy Moyer
  5. Clara May Dennis (1883-1957) married Charles Lesley Schoonover
  6. Florence Idell Dennis (1885-1934) married Clyde Myron Fisher
  7. Anna L. Dennis (1888-1953)
  8. Arthur John Dennis (1891-1951) married Josie Charlotte Wilkinson
  9. Grace Ellen Dennis (1894-1988) married Charles Dewey Abell
Hannah Blackford, Amy Bailey, Idell Fisher, Lottie Moyer, Grace Abell, Rachel Dennis, Anna Dennis and Clara Schoonover at the Blackford home, Findlay, Ohio
Hannah Blackford, Amy Bailey, Idell Fisher, Lottie Moyer, Grace Abell, Rachel Dennis, Anna Dennis and Clara Schoonover at the Blackford home, Findlay, Ohio

John Dennis filed for divorce from Rachel in the Circuit Court of Hillsdale County, Michigan on 27 September 1897. A 1900 U.S. Census enumerator recorded Rachel living in Seneca Township, Lenawee County, Michigan with five of her children. She was listed as married but John was not present in the household. At the time of the 1910 U.S. Census John was living with his son-in-law and daughter Olla and Charlotte Moyer in Hudson Township, Lenawee County where he was listed as divorced. Apparently John and Rachel’s divorce had not been finalized, as John filed again for divorce in the Circuit Court of Lenawee County on 21 December 1914 on grounds of desertion. A divorce decree was granted on 21 Jun 1915.

John married Sarah Aminda “Minnie” Russell Keefer on 9 July 1915 in Morenci, Lenawee County, which is near the Ohio state line. John died on 9 July 1926 at Morenci. His wife at the time of death was identified as Mary Dennis.

Ordination Certificate, Rachel Dennis
Ordination Certificate, Rachel Dennis

In the 1920 U.S. Census enumeration of Hillsdale, Hillsdale County Rachel was listed as an evangelist. She was ordained as a Minister of the Gospel by the Assembly of God at the Gospel School in Findlay, Ohio on 16 June 1930.

Rachel died at Morenci, Medina Township, Lenawee County on 11 April 1937. The informant for personal information, William Bailey, identified her mother as Mary Borton. Who was she?

I hope to learn much more about Rachel. She grew up in a large family and never really knew the mother who gave birth to her. She raised a large family of her own and apparently remained close to her daughters after separation from her husband. Why did John and Rachel part ways?

The Dennis family held well-attended reunions for many years, which I am guessing was a reflection of Rachel’s daughters’ dedication to their family. I attended the Dennis reunion with my family at least once when I was young. My grand-uncle Waldo Fisher was an active participant in these reunions. I think that Dennis descendants still gather on the same day as the annual reunion of my father’s family.

Who can tell me more about Rachel?