A strong woman
Every once in a while, I have one of those days that remind me that no matter what I am going through, I come from a long line of very strong women. I have shared the stories of some of these woman throughout my blog. These women would probably never have been given international awards or medals of honor. However, they were each strong and incredible woman in their own right. We often celebrate the heroes in our genealogy research, most of which are men. Today I want to celebrate the woman in my genealogy that struggled, loved, and survived in order to allow me to live the life I do today.
Sarah (Belden) Burt (1682 - 1749): Taken captive by Indians on February 29, 1704. She was 8 months pregnant at the time with her first child. She and her husband Benjamin, not only survived captivity but lived long enough to be rescued. Sarah gave birth to her first child Christopher. On the voyage home to Massachusetts, Sarah gave birth to her second son Seaborn. You can read more about Sarah (Belden) Burt, in the blog post: Benjamin Burt and His Family: Captives of the Deerfield Massacre
Mary Catherine (Clunas) McKenzie (1785 - 1857): Mary Catherine Clunas married Donald McKenzie in 1812 in Scotland, that same year they traveled almost 3,000 miles to Nova Scotia, Canada and then on to Malahide Township, Elgin County, Ontario, Canada to homestead in a new and untamed land. You can read more about Mary Catherine (Clunas) McKenzie in the blog post: Donald McKenzie, Talbot Settler of Elgin County, Ontario, Canada
Elizabeth (Miller) Faught (1845 - 1871): A young mother, suffering from a life-threatening disease. She fought with everything she had to find a cure that would allow her to stay with her husband and newborn daughter. You can read more about Elizabeth (Miller) Faught in the blog post: Elizabeth Miller and the hope of a cure
Sarah Ann (Healy) Hawley (1851 1924): Sarah Ann Healy, my 2nd great grandmother, left her home country of Ireland about the age of 16 to set off on her own to a new home in America. Once she arrived in America, she found her way to a small lumbering town called Alpena. She raised seven children and outlived all but two of them. She then made the long trip from Northern Michigan to Bellflower, California and then back again after her husband's death. You can learn more about her life on her timeline page or from one of the many blog posts I have written about her and her family.
Mary Anna (Faught) McKenzie (1870 - 1929): Mary Anna Faught, my 2nd great grandmother, overcame many struggles in her life, from losing her mother before the age of five, separated from her father and raised by her grandparents. Mary Anna grew up and married Alexander McKenzie. Alexander passed away at the age of 56, leaving Mary Anna with seven children to raise. Learn more about the tough woman by reading the blogs shown on her page.
Lavina (Hawley) Burt (1889 - 1953): Lavina May Hawley, my great grandmother, was the youngest of 10 children and grew up in a family with meager resources, to say the least. She was the mother of six children, four of which passed away before reaching the age of 3. For this alone, I consider her a strong woman. However, one of the things I respect most about her is her willingness to care for a home and raise children on her own in order to allow her husband Ernest Burt to work as a Missionary in the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I truly believe that this sacrifice played a large part in myself and my family being a part of this church today.
Vera (Mason) Royer (1903 - 1982): Vera Ellen Mason, my great grandmother, was born around the turn of the century and married at 21. She raised five children through some of the most horrible and wonderful events in history. In her lifetime, she witnessed four wars (WWI, WWII, The Korean War and The Vietnam War), lived through the great depression, saw woman gain the right to vote and the end of racial segregation. Most of her life she survived with a 7th-grade education. Until, at the age of 76, she went back to school to earn her high school diploma. I am proud to call this strong woman my great grandmother. Read more about this in the blog post: It is Never too Late to Learn....
Grace Elizabeth Ann (Brock) Royer (1931 - 2000): Grace Elizabeth Ann Brock, my grandmother, did not have an easy life, and like all of us, did not always make the best choices. However, there are two things about her that stand out, her faith of her will to fight. Her faith was always evident, whether through her years of service as a soldier in the Salvation Army Church or the buttons she wore and the stickers she proudly displayed on her cane. Her will to fight was obvious through her determination to finish high school. Grace started taking night classes around 1972 and continued to do so over the next 20 years until in 1991 she accomplished her goal and graduated, at the age of 60, with her high school diploma from Herbert Henry Dow high school in Midland, Michigan. Read more about this in the blog post: It is Never too Late to Learn....
Edna Jean (Burt) McKenzie (1927 - 2013): Edna Jean Burt was my grandmother. It is hard to summarize her strength because she is one of those people that made such a huge difference in the lives of so many . Born the youngest daughter of a minister, she grew up to raise five wonderful children. Throughout her life, she was the glue that held our family together. It was her quiet but constant strength and faith that my McKenzie family is built upon. She not only cared for her family but all those around her. Her love and courage were contagious and I for one am proud to say that she is my grandmother.
My hope is that someday, my life can also be an inspiration to my daughter and her daughters. Not, because I did miraculous things or the millions that I won't make, but because life itself is tough, and the normal day to day things, like raising children and working to provide for a family, take strength. Although I have highlighted the strength of these nine women in my family history, I am well aware that there are so many more. I will continue to research and discover their lives and share their strength through my blog posts.
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I previously wrote a blog post called Mary Anna Faught: One Tough Lady, about my 2nd great grandmother Mary Anna (Faught) McKenzie. In that blog post, I outlined the life of Mary Anna. Since then I have come across more information that helps to tell the story of Mary Anna's mother Elizabeth (Miller) Faught.
In my previous post, I mentioned that I was under the assumption that Elizabeth (Miller) Faught passed away sometime between the date the 1870 census was taken, on July 7, 1870 and the when the 1880 census was taken on July 15, 1880. My assumption was based on the fact that she was included on the 1870 census, but not the 1880 census. In the same year, her daughter, Mary Anna was living with her grandparents in Long Rapids, Alpena, Michigan. However, at that time, I did not have definitive proof of Elizabeth's death.
Recently I attended a McKenzie Family reunion, and while I was there I was given two letters written by members of my Faught family. One of these letters was written by Elizabeth (Miller) Faught to her husband George Faught.
The letter was written on Tuesday, October 18th, 1870. The letter was sent from Lakeport, St. Clair, Michigan. The letter itself is very fragile and seems to have been unfolded, read and refolded many times over the years, as it is now held together with tape at the creases. The letter is beautifully written and definitely pulls at the heart strings.
Scanned images of the letter written by Elizabeth (Miller) Faught to her husband George
Because the letter is difficult to read, I have transcribed it into the document below.
Lakeport is an unincorporated community on the shore of Lake Huron. It appears as if Elizabeth and her daughter, Mary Anna Faught, who is now 9 months old are living with Elizabeth's parents Phillip and Sarah Miller. I was able to find Phillip and Sarah living in Burtchville, St. Clair, Michigan near the Lakeport post office. Elizabeth's husband George still seems to be living and working as a farmer in Bridgehampton, Sanilac, Michigan, about 50 miles north of Lakeport.
Reading the letter from Elizabeth, it appears that Elizabeth was very ill. The letter does not clearly state what the cause of the illness was, however, she hints towards an issue affecting her mouth and causing her great pain and discomfort.
I am some better in strength but my mouth is not any better yet and I feel it never will. The doctor is quite discouraged with it.
Elizabeth speaks of a letter she received from William and Sarah (Miller) Faught, her brother-in-law and sister, living in Alpena, Michigan.
Also we received one from William in Alpena stating their sorrow of my illness. They say if I had went a year ago the mineral water would have cured me and they think it might help me yet as it is doing miracles in the shape of cures of all kinds. She says again that there is a doctor there his like is not known. The doctor provides and if he does not cure then he will not charge them anything.
Here, Elizabeth speaks of "mineral water" in Alpena. She is referring to what was commonly referred to as the Magnetic or Mineral Springs of Alpena.
There are several very interesting first-hand accounts of the "curative powers" of the Magnetic well in Alpena in this book, if you should find the time to explore.
Elizabeth goes on in her letter to plead with her husband to come to her so that they can travel to Alpena to find a cure for her illness by using the mineral water.
They want you to come and fetch me and they will spare no pains to make us comfortable. They say they has plenty of everything and their house is large so as we need not pay any rent. They say you can get lots of work. There is a great demand for men, they are going in the woods just as quick as he gets his logs down. They are twelve miles above the mill and he is waiting of rain. Father thinks the best thing you can do is to go up there. I feel quite encouraged since I got her letter. Thinking probably, you would go.
She goes on in her letter, giving him instructions on how he should handle matters at home before coming to get her.
O, George if there is one hope why not grasp it there is nothing to keep us here when everything ?burnt?. So you can dispose of what livestock you have up there for something and if you can sell the safe for ten dollars take it but do not take any less . The stove if you could sell for fifteen or so might sell that but do not give them away for you cannot sell when for something worthwhile. I want you should bring it down. She might have something for the care of me. Bring the bedding and dishes and all the things you cannot sell. You can sell the cow here for thirty dollars and that with what you can sell up there will take us up comfortable.
Elizabeth closes her letter with one final plea
Now George do not listen anything for it is hard for me to think of dying and leaving you. If you know I love you very dearly. I have no more to say. I leave all to your decision. Be quick dear husband for it is getting late in the season. Good bye dear George from your ever loving wife Lizzie.
As I stated, this letter was written on October 18, 1870. The second letter that I was given was written from William Faught to his brother George Faught on August 21, 1871. He addresses the letter "to you dear brother and sister George and Lizzie Faught". William writes in his letter about his life in Alpena and his logging work. William seems to be again asking George and Lizzie to come to visit them. He writes:
There is 3 boats running here from there and I think you might all come up and pay us a visit now. Give our best respects to all inquiring friends. If you come up I will give you a great excursion on Thunderbay.
It appears that Elizabeth never made it to Alpena to visit the mineral springs and get her chance at a cure, because on the homestead records for her husband George Faught, their daughter Mary Anna (Faught) McKenzie states that her mother passed away in 1871 and that her father never remarried.
This letter that I found, written by my 3rd great grandmother, Elizabeth (Miller) Faught, filled in some gaps in the story of her life. However, most of all, it allowed me a glimpse into who she was and the heartbreaking events that she endured during the last few years of her life. I can't even imagine being a new wife, a new mom, with a baby less than a year old and having to face the fact that she wasn't going to live to see her grow up. I can understand why she was grasping at any chance she could for a cure. My heart goes out to her, as well as, my appreciation for her allowing me to share her story through the letter she left behind.
Thank you for following me on my journey!
Genealogist on a Journey
Rebecca J. Walbecq
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George Faught, my 3rd great grandfather, was born on July 12, 1837 in New York, the youngest child of Lawrence Faught and Bridget Fogarty. By June 11, 1860 George was living with his mother Bridgette and two older siblings William and Ann in Lexington, Sanilac, Michigan. George's father Lawrence had passed away sometime before this.
Seven years later, on Mary 17, 1867 George married Elizabeth Miller, the daughter of Philip and Sarah (Barton) Miller in Delaware, Sanilac, Michigan. Just as a side note, four years earlier, George's older brother William had married Elizabeth's older sister Sarah on January 13, 1864.
A few years after they were married, George and Elizabeth became the parents of their first child, of a daughter named, Mary Anna Faught, my 2nd great grandmother. Mary Anna Faught was born on January 18, 1870 in Bridgehampton, Sanilac, Michigan. From all the records I have found thus far, Mary Anna would be their only child.
On July 7, 1870 George, Elizabeth and Mary Anna are living in Bridgehampton, Sanilac, Michigan. George is working as a farmer.
By June 15, 1880 the family's situation has changed dramatically. George is listed on the 1880 census as a widower living in Forester, Sanilac, Michigan. He seems to be living in a household with a couple of other families. He may have been living in a boarding house of some type. This means that Elizabeth has passed away in the last 10 years. Mary Anna Faught, now 10 years old, is living with her maternal grandparents Philip and Sarah Miller in Long Rapids, Alpena, Michigan.
In June of 1884, George is found still living in Forester, Sanilac, Michigan. He is again living in a household with other families.
This is were the trail goes cold for a while. I have yet to find George in the 1900 Census living in either Sanilac County or Montmorency County, Michigan. I was unable to locate George Faught again until his death in 1905. George passed away on June 24, 1905 in Briley Township, Montmorency, Michigan. His death certificate provides the following information:
My search for the burial sight of George Faught started the weekend of July 4, 2015 during a trip back to Michigan. My family and I searched for his headstone or any sign of his burial at the Briley Township Cemetery with no luck. Last week, I contacted the Briley Township Office, inquiring about his burial record. My assumption was that he had been buried without a headstone, most likely due to the fact that he passed away while living in the Poor House. However, the township office had no records of a George Faught ever being buried in the cemetery. The Clerk suggested that I check with Avery Township and Loud Township in Montmorency County. I have sent correspondence to both offices but have not yet received a response.
My curiosity is piqued, where is George Faught buried, if not in the Briley Township Cemetery where his death certificate states. As a note, George's daughter Mary Anna (Faught) McKenzie and her husband Alexander Orlando McKenzie are buried in the Briley Township Cemetery. So this location would make sense.
Although, my goal was to write this blog post and be able to provide a conclusion to this mystery, the case remains open. So in the meantime, I will share what I know.
Thank you for following me on my journey!
Genealogist on a Journey
Rebecca J. Walbecq
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My name is Rebecca Walbecq. My maiden name is McKenzie. My Genealogy journey began about 15 years ago after talking to my grandma about her family. The spark was lit and since then genealogy has become my passion!