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Parnier to Pernia: An early history of the
William Pernia & Cora Leonard family
his book is the result of an assignment in high school to make a family tree. My father came from a family of nine children. The information required for the assignment was to much for one sheet of paper. I used a file card system to store my information. This was acceptable as long as I had the required data. I have continued to add the births, weddings, and deaths.
Encouraged to write a story just for fun, I collected stories. It's amazing all I discovered in my search. People are accustom to my taking notes at family functions. My husband is use to my getting up in the middle of the night. I must write things down or check out some material while it's fresh.
It's been a joyous journey searching courthouse records, libraries, and writing letters. I had the most fun when stirring the gray matter and getting people to talk about the past. My sincere thanks to those who shared. I treasure all of it.
The most exciting discovery was the two hundred pages from Washington, D.C. Among them was my great grandfather Daniel Pernia's military and pension papers. The military and pension papers contained the name of Daniel's father. I also found the date of his wife's death. This enabled me to find information that otherwise would have been overlooked. Guidelines for genealogical research suggest little personal history is in the military records. It may sound strange, we are fortunate Daniel's health and habits were poor. Most of the information came from doctors and court records. They include: A personal interview in 1891, character references and the results of physicians' examinations. The rest I got from history books and vital statistics' records, and the dark recesses of the mind.
I traced Pernia history back to 1763; a family named PARNIER in France. I confirmed names and dates from our family to some under Parnier. I followed clues and learned our family name changed about 1900. A big factor in doing genealogical research in Monroe County is the courthouse burned in the late 1870's or early 1880's. Rumor is the records did not burn with it, where they went is a mystery. Another draw back is the 1890 Census burned in Washington D.C.
When you read this keep in mind the material is my interpretation of what I found. When researching family histories' one cannot be sure it is one hundred percent correct.
Dedicated to Tootsie, my friend and companion
o date Charles Parnier, resident of Malzeline, Lorraine, France, is the oldest known ancestor. The family was Catholic and belonged to St. Martin parish. Charles' wife was Jane Meline. Their two sons came to Canada before 1763. The oldest son, Martin, married that same year leaving no record of where he settled.
The second son JOSEPH, married Catherine Lariviere in 1764. They lived near the Ecorse River in Wayne County Michigan. They had 11 children: Catherine (1765); Joseph; Paul; Mary Louisa; Philip (1772); Mary Magdelene (1774); Josette (1776) all born in Grosse Pointe; LOUIS (February 20, 1778) born North East Coast of Detroit; James (1780) Detroit; Francis (1784) Windsor; and Peter (1786) Detroit.
Our family descends from Louis, the eighth child. Louis was married at age 20 to Mary Frances Revau, November 29, 1798, in Detroit. They had one child, a daughter Mary Louisa born in 1800. Mary Frances died and was buried April 13, 1805, in Detroit. On April 30, 1805, Louis married Veronica Le Beau in Detroit. There is record of four children born to Louis (Lewis) and Veronica. Regina (December 1805); LOUIS (May 14, 1808); Francis (1810); and Isabelle (1812). Louis and Veronica lived near the Ecorse River when she died. Louis died on October 4, 1813, at Assumption Sandwich, Ontario, Canada.
Louis, their second child is the father of DANIEL my great grandfather. I was born three months short of 100 years after Daniel.
hat was Michigan like in 1840 before Daniel was born? That is only three years after Michigan became a state.
The Revolutionary War left the United States without money, and many soldiers needed to be paid. They received "Bounty Lands" instead of money. The Michigan Territory was part of the land used. The Territory Inspector General considered the land worthless swamp. Immigration was slow; no one wanted to settle there. The soil was poor for farming. The climate unhealthy and it was difficult to reach. Travel was long, considered dangerous, unreliable, expensive, and accommodations were poor. To come in by the lake was long, hard and slow. Much of the land was a dense forest of hardwood, white and yellow oak, hard and soft maple, ash, beech, basswood and some walnut. The soil was sandy, with some swamp and marsh. Indian trails covered the area, often only wide enough for walking.
For years the land remained wild. The French came to establish fur trade and slowly the land west of Lake Erie became home to thousands. It was ideal for the French farmers who lived very simple lives in the virgin land.
Entertainment was spelling bees at the school, quilting bees, cabin and barn raising, and corn husking parties. The church played an important part in the lives of these French settlers. Most of the people were illiterate because the few teachers were English. Language is the reason it's hard to find information. When doing business or filing vital statistic records, people gave their names and clerks spelled them as best they could. Many immigrants' names changed because of that reason. Often information is over-looked while it's right under my nose. Occasionally another piece of the puzzle falls into place.
LOUIS AND BRIDGET
aniel's mother, Bridget Robidou, was born March 22, 1811, in Monroe. Bridget married her first husband, Basil DeShettler, St. Antoine/St. Mary Monroe in 1826 when she was fifteen. They had five children, Basil Leon (ca 1827); Louis (1828); Samuel (1830); and Adella (1835); and infant (ca b 1838 - d 1839). Basil, the husband died April 19,1838.
There is an incomplete record of marriage between Pernia and Robeioure. The record is between March 2 and April 7, 1840, at St. Joseph in Erie MI. This is the only thing on a marriage for Bridget and Louis Ponier (the spelling on land record). A search at Monroe County Courthouse for a marriage of Louis and Bridget turned up nothing.
The earliest reference to Lewis was in 1842. St. Joseph Church records in Erie show LEWIS VICUS PERNIE godfather for several children. Bridget and her children are in the 1850 census Monroe County Township of Erie. In the marriage records at the Monroe County Courthouse I found John Trabbic, age 25, and Adella DeShettler, age 15, on February 5, 1850; Samuel DeShettler, age 20, and Mary Bodin, age 17, on August 10, 1852. Witness to both marriages was LOUIS PERNIER. Basil Leon DeShettler married 12 April 1847 to Lucinda Keller. Louis DeShettler was witness at his brother's marriage. The ceremony was at St. Joseph in Erie.
he land records in Monroe County show the estate for Basil Deshettler settled until 1851. By that time the sons were of age and the daughter married. Those days a woman's name did not hold property. It belonged to the oldest son or if she married to the new husband. In 1851 some of Basil’s property went to the sons and husband of Adella, and Lewis husband of Bridget. The property sold the same day it went to Lewis. After the dates on the land record I found no more on either Louis or Bridget. I surmise they died in the early 1850's and were buried in Erie at one of the first two St. Joseph Cemeteries.
There have been three cemeteries in the history of St. Joseph. The first was along the south side of Bay Creek midway between what's now Bay Creek Road and I-75. Burials were there from 1816, if not sooner, until 1852. The second cemetery was across the street from the present church (now a parking lot). The third cemetery was ready in 1872. The bodies were re-buried in the present cemetery; and the old sites abandoned.
aniel was born on July 18, 1840, in Erie, Michigan. I found the date on the military records. There was a birth record from St. Joseph Catholic Church dated 1914. A search at St. Joseph didn't find the original when searching with Father LaVoy. Searching church records at the Ellis Library in Monroe County I found record on micro film for the baptism. Which suggests the original at the church disappeared after the filming. The next I found Daniel was in the 1850 Erie census. The records from Washington suggest he worked rafting logs on Ten Mile Creek in Lucus County, Ohio. Ten Mile Creek is now the Ottawa River. Daniel pinched his leg between some logs. The injury so serious he needed several days' before he went back to work. The papers from Washington did not mention Daniel's parents. This leads me to believe they died while he was a child. He told of living with his half sister, Adella, and her husband. I confirmed this in a 1860 census where Daniel was with her family. Adella was five years older than Daniel.
In October 1861, Daniel age 21, enlisted as a soldier in the Civil War Army. Daniel enlisted in Toledo. His assignment was to the sixty-seventh Ohio Infantry, Company "B" under Captain Hyatt Ford. Letters from Daniel's family said he was sound in mind and body before going into the army. Like any child he suffered only the usual childhood diseases.
What possessed Daniel to join the army? In history books are copies of posters and ads from newspapers that tell ways' men might have been recruited. An example might read "$402.00 to Veterans, $302.00 to all others for volunteering." Some ads were by drafted men hoping to pay someone to take their place. They read, "Wanted-two SUBSTITUTES over 35 for which a liberal price paid." History tells that men were passionate about politics and wanted to sign up. They thought at first the war would be over in a very short time.
aken from Ohio in the War, a history of the Sixty-Seventh is next in the life of Daniel.
"After organization of the regiment and a training period, they left for Columbus, Ohio in January 1862 going into western Virginia. Except a march to Bloomrey Gap most of February was spent at Pawpaw Tunnel. On the 5th of March the regiment marched to Winchester, Virginia where skirmishing was frequent. On March 22 they drove the enemy as far south as Kearnstown, Virginia. They lay on their arms all night and the next morning was first to engage the enemy. The infantry fighting had been fairly open; then the men reinforced a brigade. To do this it was necessary to pass an open field for three-fourths of a mile, exposed to the enemy's fire. The regiment moved on the double and came into action in splendid order, fifteen men died. Until the last of June they endured the hardships of marches up and down the valley, over mountains and back. In Virginia they went from the Potomac to Harrisburg, from Manassas to Port Republic from Alexandria to Front Royal and Fredricksburg."
I found Daniel was a patient at St. Paul Hospital in Alexandria, Virginia on June 28, 1862. On September 24 he transferred to the Baptist Church Hospital in the same city. The cause of Daniel's hospitalization was debility. This was common among the soldiers because of the exposure and hardship they endured.
After six month's confinement Daniel returned to duty in North Carolina.
"From there the Sixty-Seventh moved to Hilton Head, South Carolina, February 1, 1863. The regiment shared in the Charleston expedition, landing on Coles Island on April 2. For seven months they heroically endured all the hardships, privations and danger of siege. Then they took part in the attack on Fort Wagner, sustaining a heavy loss. Eventually, relieved they had a few days rest before an expedition to Florida."
Daniel re-enlisted and returned to Ohio in February 1864. After his furlough he returned to Bermuda Hundred, Virginia, May 1864.
"On the 9th the Sixty-Seventh was guarding the right flank of the Tenth Corps going to Petersburg, Virginia. A section of the artillery was with the regiment and on the turnpike with orders to hold that position. Reinforcements arrived during the night and the next morning the Rebels made an attack. The Sixty-Seventh maintained position presenting an unbroken front to four successive charges. A section of the artillery fell but recaptured. The 10th of May is a sad but glorious day by the Sixty-Seventh. Sixty-six officers and men killed in the battle.
"On May 20 a part of the lines fell to the Rebels. With the help of others it was re-captured but sixty-nine killed or wounded. On August 16, four companies charged the rifle-pits of the enemy at Deep River. At the first volley they lost a third of their men, but before the Rebels could reload the pits captured. On the 7th, 13th, 27th and 28th of October the regiment engaged with a loss of over a hundred men.
"From spring to fall of 1864 the Sixty-Seventh confronted the enemy. It's said that during the year it was under fire two hundred times. No movement was without danger. Firing continued for days, and men wore their accouterments for weeks at a time. Of the six hundred muskets taken to the front in the spring, three-fifths lay aside during the year because of casualties."
The military records show Daniel was with the ambulance corps in January and February.
I found a picture of an ambulance used during the Civil War. It was a mule with a stretcher attached to it's back. With this method the injured could be carried in very steep and narrow places. It was especially useful in canyon and mountain regions.
"In the spring of 1865 the Sixty-Seventh was in at the assault on the rebel works below Petersburg. On the second of April, they were in the charge on Fort Gregg. At Appomattox Courthouse, they were in at the end bearing their battle flag proudly in the last fight the forces made against the army of Northern Virginia.
"On the fifth of May the regiment reported to the district of Southern Anna, Virginia. There, they secured that part of the state."
Daniel's discharged was on August 22, 1865. He was now 25 and returned to Monroe County. After the war, Daniel worked for several farmers in Erie and Newport.
hen Daniel returned from the war he worked as a hired laborer in Monroe County. While working in the northern part of the county he met Elizabeth Murphy.
The Murphy's are a mystery. Clues to Elizabeth's life and family are scarce. I found one family, in the 1850 census for Monroe the third-ward (anything north of the River Raisin) that might be our Murphys'. A THOMAS MURPHY, age 38, was born in 1812. There was nothing listed under value of property on the census therefore I assume they were renting. Thomas was a farmer. The wife was Jane, age 24, was born in 1826. Both were list as born in Ohio. There are three children listed with Thomas and Jane. They are Elizabeth age five born in 1845, James age two, and Samuel age one, all born in Michigan.
Looking in the 1860 census, I found a Thomas Murphy, age 47, but he had no family. What happened to Jane, age 34, Elizabeth, age 15, and James, 12? Are Thomas and Jane the parents of Daniel's wife Elizabeth? A further search found a Samuel Murphy, age ten, a member of the Nicholas Peltier household, but was he the same? I did not find a James and Elizabeth in 1860. In the 1870 census there was a Thomas Murphy with a family. He was to old to be our Thomas. In the 1880 census for Berlin township I found a Thomas Murphy age 57, no family. The age is close enough so I think this could be our Thomas, but no proof. The 1880 Exeter census shows a James Murphy age 36, wife Ellen age 35 and child Walter age 16. Are these our families?
Years ago the age of people wasn't as important as today. Records for men, as well as woman changed from census to census. The records of family members we know information about; wasn't correct in census and other records. The fact that ages are not as we think they should be does not mean this is not our family. So the search goes on.
I found a Samuel Murphy when I first started hunting for Daniel’s military records. I kept a copy of the state record thinking it might be Elizabeth's brother. Nothing that was ever found confirmed or denied this. At a later date I decided to get Samuel Murphy's military record. This time the record didn't tell me a thing about the family. Were the two Samuel's one and the same? In 1864, census Samuel would have been 14, when the military Samuel 18. This fact hasn't convinced me they aren't the same person. History books tell of young men lying about their age just to be able to go off to the big war. So, now, after years of research I still find the Murphy family a puzzle.
n the military records from Washington, a personal interview with Daniel suggested he and Elizabeth were married in Monroe. I confirmed that they were married at Monroe County Courthouse by Justice of the Peace John G. Rother on March 16, 1867. Witnesses were Frank Boudine and Louis Frielmlug. (Possible spelling Boudrie and Friedenburg.) The marriage record has the age of Elizabeth 22 and Daniel 27. Since I have found Daniel's birth record I know he wouldn't have been 27 until July of that year. The marriage record is hand-written and legible except for the day of the wedding. In the record the name was PERNIE.
know seven children were born to Daniel and Elizabeth between 1868 and 1883. The children were: William (Guillium) Kneisley; Elie Samuel; Frank (Francois) Josephium; Levi; John (Jean) Baptiste; May (Mariam) Matilda; and Rosella.
The records at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Newport is where I found five of the children. The records are in Latin. I was not able to find Levi (research currently in process). I interpreted Grandpa's name was Guillium Knisley. When I first started my search Aunt Ethel told me people in Newport knew Grandpa as "Knisley" when he lived there. She found out that information when she was dating. Some one asked her if her father was Knisley Pernia.
In the 1870 census Samuel was less than a year old. His baptism and burial were at St. Charles. His name is listed as Elie Samuel and he died 1872. The infant Rosella was born in LaSalle 1 April 1883 and died 22 August 1883. Her birth and death records are in the Monroe County Courthouse. I couldn't find a place of burial. My feeling was she might be in the Cooney Cemetery. The cemetery was close to where the family lived. Since finding the newspaper notices of Elizabeth's death, I wonder if Rosella now might be in the LaSalle Township Cemetery? She may have been baptised at St. John in Monroe.
LIFE AND DEATH
aniel supported his family at various jobs. He worked as a farm hand, chopped wood, worked in a shipyard and as a carpenter. Verbal account says the family lived on Strasburg Road at the corner of Wood Road.
A form with Daniel's pension papers, stated Elizabeth died 26 April 1884 (age 38) from suicide. I didn't find a death certificate or burial record for her. I found an account of her death in two Monroe newspapers.
MONROE, MICH., THURSDAY MAY 1, 1884
The wife of Daniel Poigneau of LaSalle, concluded last Saturday that she had seen enough of this world and with the aid of a piece of sheep twine attached to a rafter in the garret of her house shuffled off the mortal coil. She was a great sufferer with the asthma, her domestic relations were not the pleasantest and she had several times threatened to take her life. Last Saturday her husband went to Vienna and shortly after dinner she sent her children to play with those of a neighbor. On their return about two o'clock they found their mother hanging in the garret. The body had apparently been hanging about two hours and the cord had nearly cut the neck off. The woman was about 40 years old and leaves five children. An inquest was held and a verdict rendered in accordance with the above.
From: The Monroe Commercial May 2, 1884 p.5 c. 2
Our neighborhood was thrown into great excitement last Saturday evening over the report that Mrs. Elizabeth Perniea, who with her family resided in the tenant house of Mr. John Conlisk, had committed suicide by hanging herself. On reaching the place it was found that the deed had really been committed by using a piece of common twine, such as farmers used in tying wool. After placing it around the neck, she tied the other end around one of the rafters in the upper part of the house, which was not plastered. Apparently death had been instantaneous, as there was no sign of a struggle whatever, and the chair which she had used as a trap still stood erect, supporting one of her limbs while the other barely touched the floor. Justice A.D. Anderson was called to act as coroner, and after examining several witnesses who had found the body, the jury which had been called rendered a verdict that the deceased had come to her death by her own hands. No other reason could be found that should cause her to end her life, than that she has had poor health for the last four years, and was a victim of despondency. She was 36 years of age, and leaves a husband and five children, the youngest but four years old. The body was buried in the township burying ground. (LaSalle TWP Cemetery)
A search of the LaSalle Township Cemetery didn't find her grave site.
aniel's health rapidly failed after Elizabeth's death. His half brother Louis DeShettler pursued admission for Daniel in a soldier's home. Daniel was totally disable. Unable to do manual labor he couldn't support himself because of epilepsy. First, they tried to get him into a home in Dayton, Ohio. Louis finally succeeded in getting Daniel in a Soldiers Home in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In this time frame there's an absence of facts about the children. They were all under 16 years old. Daniel became a resident of the home in January, 1888 at the age 47. Life in these homes was like the army.
When Daniel went into the hospital Louis applied for an invalid pension. Letters of testimony didn't prove Daniel's illness was war related. In June 1890, Congress passed an act that gave veterans of Civil War service a pension of $12 per month. This was for disabilities, not the result of their own vicious habit. Daniel went on this list. A second request for an invalid pension didn't qualify Daniel either. It tried to prove that epilepsy was the result of the exposure and hardship he suffered during the war.
It is sometimes hard to believe things have changed, so much in 100 years. Starting in the 1880's a man didn't need a doctor's certificate. He only needed to register as a doctor with the state. The papers from Washington contained copies of letters from people who knew Daniel in 1891. The personal opinions varied, making very interesting reading on Daniel's life. The opinions ranged from his being a hard worker to a cripple with rheumatism. One letter reported Daniel was a notoriously hard drinker. The stories were he was like his father with a quick and excitable temper. Most writers agreed drinking was against Daniel, when he wanted work; he wasn't dependable. He could be a good worker if he left liquor alone. Several people suggested Daniel's intemperate habits caused his wife to hang herself. Elizabeth's poor health (asthma) made matters worse. The responsibility of the large family was more than she could cope with.
Some letters gave personal accounts of seeing Daniel experience a spell. Louis said Daniel had fits when from he came home from the war. The fits grew worse until Daniel couldn't support himself. Still, others said they had no knowledge of the spells until later years.
The personal interview with Daniel himself, said he felt at a disadvantage. He wasn't able to read or write. He felt misinterpreted because his disease had affected his memory. First, he said he began to feel rheumatism in his back, legs and arms right after he left the hospital while in the service. Then he said he had diarrhea and rheumatism in the summer of 1862, and was sent to the hospital. Asked if he had ever had fever in the service he said no. Then in the same breath, said he did seem to remember having fever in the field after he was out of the hospital. (Daniel periodically suffered from fever'n'ague, i.e., malaria.) He mentioned living in LaSalle when his wife died and spoke of his half brothers and half sister. My interpretation of the whole interview- 'Daniel was a very confused person.'
The doctors agreed Daniel's condition was part pathological, and influenced by his consumption of intoxicants. Many men drank while in the army, and after reading of the hardships they endured it's no wonder. I read in several places that the manufacturing process of liquor caused epilepsy in many men in the Civil War.
When comparing the physical descriptions of Daniel by several physicians it made me laugh. It's an example of how accurate all this material is. They varied Daniel's height from five foot four, to five foot eight. His eyes were either hazel, blue or black. They agreed his weight was about 140 pounds. Another thing they agreed on was his complexion- dark.
Daniel was a resident of the soldiers home for four years. While there, his record stated his character was honest. By 1892, his health was stable, he was discharge. Six weeks later he was re-admitted a very sick person, the old habit of drinking returned. The re-admittance record showsthat Mary Pernia was his wife and next of kin. This was either anerror of the home or Daniel's poor condition. It was most likely about his daughter, May who would have been about 13.
During the next few years Daniel was in and out of the home. Several times he was brought back for treatment of severe colds and weakness. His seizures and mental health reached a low in 1895. The records in Kalamazoo State Hospital show Daniel being committed after being declared mentally incompetent. He was there as a state charge. The probate judge ordered money from Daniel's pension to be used for the care of May. Daniel's state of mind made many problems for his appointed guardian, L. G. Rutherford. These accounts are in hospital records; also in a report from Mr. Rutherford.
The first year in the asylum, Daniel had more than 100 letters written for him. The letters went to his guardian, the governor, and anyone who might help get him released. Mr. Rutherford found Daniel wasn't particularly troublesome while under treatment. Mr. Rutherford knew it would be dangerous if Daniel had access to intoxicants. He didn't want the responsibility of having him released.
Daniel's son wrote he had lost one of his team and wanted $30 to buy a new horse. In one instance William and Frank visited Mr. Rutherford. William wished to take his father home and wanted some money. Frank, out of money, requested some for a week's board. Mr. Rutherford agreed but paid the boarding house directly.
Mr. Rutherford thought neither son would put the money to good use if it were released to them. Daniel's needs were few; clothes, shoes, tobacco, and pipes were some items listed. The balance in Daniel’s account was about $200. Daniel made it known that he wanted to return to the soldiers home and the letter writing began again. Mr. Rutherford wrote and suggested to Daniel that his money be put to good use by securing a home for May. He suggested educating her for a better position than household servant. Daniel demanded an investigation to determine if Mr. Rutherford was embezzling the money. An investigation of the matter found Mr Rutherford not guilty.
The medical superintendent of the asylum wrote to the probate judge. He said Daniel was much the same as he had been the past months. "He was so well, he resided with the most comfortable class of patients in the asylum. Daniel was allowed the freedom of the grounds and made no unnecessary trouble. Occasionally he had an epileptic convulsion and was confused for a few hours. The superintendent at the asylum thought Daniel could return home and live a comfortable life”.
Mr. Rutherford, having once been on the board of directors at the home, knew how easy it would be for Daniel to get liquor still wouldn't release him. Daniel kept saying he wanted his money to help his children, especially a daughter living near Detroit with her aunt. (I couldn't find who this aunt might have been.) In 1896, May the youngest child, was 17. Daniel filed a resolution for the removal of his guardian. Trial proved Daniel was sane, fully restored to mind. Daniel was discharged and he went to live with his son William.
The following is a story related to me about Daniel while he was living with William and Cora. Dates from Kalamazoo and the story show the event happened during this time. Daniel was drunk and climbed on top of a shed carrying a pitchfork. He threatened anyone who came near him. On November 26, 1889 Daniel was takenback to the Kalamazoo hospital. He was there the rest of his life. When admitted Basil Trabbic, the son of John and Adella Trabbic was the guardian.
I found a copy of a letter written in 1908 by Frank to the Bureau of Pensions about the use of the pension money. The bureau wrote back it assumed the money was for the ward once it goes to the guardian. After years of fighting, in 1912 Frank became guardian of his father.
An act passed by Congress increased Daniel's pension to $25 per month. The approval came in February 1914. Sixteen months pay amounted to $400. There's a record of $25 received for the months of February and March. That leaves the question of the retroactive $400??????????
aniel died on April 24, 1914, at the age of 74. Cause of his death was arteriosclerosis with contributory cause of epilepsy and bronchial pneumonia. Daniel's body went to Harrington Chapel. Mass was at St. Augustine Cathedral. Father Frank O'Brian conducted the service. Burial was at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Kalamazoo. A check of the cemetery records gave no location of a grave. It was probably an unmarked grave designed for the indigent and not recorded. William and Frank traveled by train for the funeral. Frank applied for reimbursement of the funeral costs. He had a difficult time proving the expenses and decided that he would let the matter drop.
KALAMAZOO GAZETTE April 26, 1914
Daniel Parmigea; 75 years old, died at the Michigan State hospital Saturday morning. He was committed to the institution from this city 18 years ago. He is survived by two sons, neither living in Kalamazoo. The funeral will be held at 8 o'clock Monday morning from St. Augustines's church. Burial will be made at Mt. Olivet. Friends may view the remains at Harrington's chapel Sunday afternoon.
WILLIAM PERNIA and CORA LEONARD
illiam's birth and death record have conflicting dates on his birth. Baptism record says April 20, 1868, and the death certificate 1867. I have to believe the church record is correct. I did not find any record that William went to school, other than he was on the census at school in Newport and possibly at Yargerville in LaSalle. Verbal history about the family is consistant with the times that William and Cora were bilingual. They used French when they didn't want the children to under stand what they were saying.
William, was just 16 when his mother committed suicide. The family lived in a house belonging to John Conlisk, at the corner of Strasburg and Wood Roads in LaSalle. The house no longer exists.
There is little information on the early years of William and his siblings. Before marriage William lived on Stein Road about a mile west of Telegraph, working as a farm hand.
On October 22, 1895, William married Cora Belle Leonard. Her birthday is January 22, 1877. Grandma is the second child and first daughter of Daniel and Margaret Leonard. The family rented a house on West Rauch Road, Erie, Michigan; the exact location is not known.
Recently I located Cora in the 1880 census for Berlin township with her grandparents. I could not find the rest of the Leonard family in Monroe County. Where could they be???? One Sunday just on a hunch John and I took a trip to Toledo Public library. I thought what have I got to loose. Maybe the Leonards were in Toledo. Sure enough within 15 minutes in the microfilm room, we found Daniel Leonard, wife, Maggie and children, Nicholas and Florence Theresa, known as Tressa. They lived in Sylvania Township at the time of the 1880 census. I wonder now did the family stay in Ohio until after the death of Margaret in 1893? Remember there is no 1890 census.
In 1895 Cora and her brothers and sisters went to Wood School on Wood Road. It is still standing today although it has been converted to a house. I have an autograph book that has a verse written by Cora. The book belonged to Delbert Wood's father. The date on the book is 1895.
Loran Wood was one of the earliest settlers in LaSalle. He was the great grandfather of Delbert Wood, who married Gladys one of William and Cora's daughters. Clellia or Clara Wood, granddaughter of Loran Wood taught at Wood school.
The Leonard family also was fluent in French and English. In later years Cora taught French songs, phrases and other things, such as counting to her children.
Cora in 1893, was fifteen when her mother died during childbirth. Being the oldest daughter, Cora had all the responsibility caring for the younger children.
Cora was 18 when she married William who was 27. William and Cora were married at St. Joseph Catholic Church, in Erie Michigan. The ceremony was performed by Father Emil Wolfstyn. I have a certified copy of the marriage record issued in 1941.
In Canada, if a girl married by age 14 her husband could get a parcel of land. Likewise, if a man married by a certain age he could get acreage too. This could have contributed to the trend of early marriages. It also encouraged the population to move into unsettled areas of the wilderness.
William and Cora lived in a rented house at 14236 South Dixie Highway, LaSalle, Michigan. For seven years' children born to them did not survive. The first born were twin boys. The babies were premature, born alive with a doctor in attendance. Cora told that they moved a little but were just too small to survive. William buried them under an apple tree near the house. The house is still standing today.
Next born was Hilda or Helilia E. as recorded in Monroe. She was born on October 2, 1899, and baptized October 20, 1899, at St. John in Monroe. She lived until October 23, 1899. The cause of her death was malnutrition. She is buried at St. Joseph Cemetery in Erie.
In the early 1900's, the couple moved to 1910 West Stein Road to a house found just east of Strasburg Road at Yargerville Road. It was while living here that a son, Curtis or Custice, was born on October 12, 1900.
I found Curtis's death certificate. Service was from St. John Catholic Church of Monroe and burial in Cooney Cemetery. The cemetery is half a mile east of Strasburg on Stein Road. Abandoned for years, it grew over with bramble and weeds. Now the cemetery is under the care of St. John in Monroe. Some of the markers in the cemetery are still clear enough to read. There is no marker for Curtis. I was told he is in the southeast corner of the cemetery.
The early years of the marriage were very sad years for the couple, loosing their babies was a real burden. A story passed from Cora to her daughter and then on to me convinces me Cora was embrassed not having children. Before a child survived Cora had few dirty clothes. So the neighbors would see her lines full she wet and hung up clean sheets. I wonder if in years to come she ever laughed when there were 9 children to wash for.
It was a happy time in 1902, a daughter was born and survived. Her name is Pearl Ruth. Four more children were born while the family lived in this house. Gladys Mary (May) (1904), Raymond Daniel (1906), and Arthur John (1907).
In 1907 William bought a farm, at 1366 West Stein Road, less than a mile west of where they had lived. It now belongs to my mother, Dorothy Pernia Zimmerman. (She rents it to a family with 6 children. The old home is still a place for children to live.)
The first owner of the eighty acres farm that William bought was Purchase Roberts and his wife Patience. They received a grant from the United States in October 20, 1830. Andrew Jackson was the President; Michigan was still a territory. On a copy of the title search, I found a long list of owners and mortgage holders. I haven't been able to translate all of it, but William bought the farm at an estate sale. The mortgage for the farm was for $3,600.
Five children were born at the home - Nicholas Lester (1908), Ethel Elizabeth (1911), William Sylvester (1912), Thalia Irene (1915) and Donald Irving (1917).
In 1912 William had the house moved. Originally the buildings were on the back half of the eighty acres. There was a half mile road that ran east and west between Stein and Yargerville Roads. William reasoned that if the buildings were closer to Stein Road the children wouldn't have so far to walk to school.
The Pernia children received their primary education at the Yargerville School on Strasburg Road. The school is about a mile from the present site of the buildings.
William moved the house, barn and other buildings about a quarter of a mile south, closer to the road. The Hutting Moving Business of Ida did the job.
Dad explained how big jacks raised the building; then wooden skids were put under it. Once ready; a large screw was put into the ground. On the screw was a winch with four poles sticking out at right angles. Horses supplied the power to wind up the winch. Once finished the screw moved ahead and the process was repeated. They moved the house in two sections, middle and back, the front part was added later.
Until the late 1940's or early 1950's there was no basement under the front part of the house. Today there's a full basement, but I can't recall the work being done. I do remember work being done on the basement under Aunt Glad and Uncle Delbert's house on Cemetery Road.
In 1976 after Dad’s death Mom decided the barn was not safe because of its poor condition. Dismantling the barn turned out to be a dangerous job. In the end my brother Gilbert used a tractor to pull it down. It took two pulls to do the job. It really raised dust that took several minutes to settle. Bats flew out everywhere terribly upset. They let it be known by their screaming. That evening they were still flying around unsettled.
One of the beams in the barn measured 60 feet. It broke when the barn fell. I would have liked to see how the beams were put into place years ago. The beams were all hand hewn. The barn's rough cut oak frame had notches that fit together and were held by wooden pins. The wooden pins are about twelve inches long. Trying to salvage and reuse some wood it was necessary to drill a hole before pounding a nail. It must have been a challenge moving such a huge thing for the convenience of the children.
I should mention, when it came time to move the chickens; the children carried them to the new location. I wonder how many trips the kids made to carry all the chickens?
The old location of the house was on a sand hill in the back forty. We found bits and pieces of dishes and litter in the field at the original location of the buildings. Dad said there was a well; todays its location is lost to time.
It was after the house was moved that grandpa, Daniel died. William and Uncle Frank took the train to Kalamazoo for their father's funeral in 1914.
During prohibition, William rented the basement to people that made liquor. The people moved from location to location hoping not to get caught. I looked around to see if any thing was still around. No luck, although once there was part of a still up in the attic.
The following story might be a warning to some young folks. One night the Pernia boys went to bed in a rowdy mood. I must call attention to the fact that my father was the oldest. Dad told the story that after going up stairs to bed, a riot developed. He said time and time again Grandpa hollered for them to settle down. Then more noise and a pillow fight started. Suddenly, one of the boys hollered, 'No fair someone pulled my hair.' Someone turned on the lights; who was found sitting on the bed, but William. Quiet was the word for the rest of the night.
One spring when it was time for plowing, lunch time was called by the dinner bell brought a tale of a nest of bees in the ground. The young farmer asked his Pa what he should do about the bees. His Pa told him to take a jug of water, set if by the opening, take a stick and stir the bees. They'd go right into the jug of water . . . When we had trouble we burned them out at night with gasoline.
An event that really got Grandpa excited was when he took his youngest son to the store. The little fellow fell into a deep sleep. Grandpa could not wake his son and became alarmed. Never very experienced at driving, he was all over the road on the way home. When he got home they lay the little fellow out under a tree. After some time he woke up. The little boy told how he and his sister had been drinking wine from the barrel with straws.
William sold the farm in the 1930's and the family moved to Ida at 8148 Oak Street. The house is still standing and looks much the same. This was during the depression. The buyer was unable to come up with money, the family returned to the farm.
William died February 13, 1936 in his home. He had been in ill health for about three weeks; he was 69 years old. He lay in state in the family home. Services were in St. Joseph Catholic Church, Ida, Michigan. Grandpa was buried in the church cemetery.
An obituary tells that Grandpa William worked for the Monroe County Road Commission for ten years before his death.
Grandma Cora was 51 when Grandpa died; she continued to live on the homestead. We lived with her until she moved. I remember one spring when some baby pigs were born too early or there was a runt in the litter. The pigs were put by the heat and hand-feed until there was a chance they would survive. I remember helping churn butter, and working the water out with a wooden paddle. Right now I can almost smell and taste a piece of potato cooking on top of the wood cooking stove. (Excuse me; I burned supper!)
These things happened before Grandma and Uncle Bill moved to 806 Fourth St. Monroe in 1947. When she moved I was heartbroken. She left her goldfish for me to take care of. I don't know if the fish died from a broken heart or too much care by their new owner.
I used to stay with Grandma for a week in the summer. I remember the pillow she made for my doll bed from a button and red ribbon. The family had a painting bee in 1951 to paint the outside of her house.
St. Joseph Catholic Church was within walking distance of her house. Grandma used to spend some evenings there playing bingo. We had fun playing pegs when we went to see her. The pegboard had holes drilled in it and the object of the game was to get your pegs home before the other person, by rolling dice. You needed a six to get your peg started, but the most fun was when you wanted a hole that the other person had a peg in he had to go home. I still have a peg board my children and I played with.
At age 77 Grandma's health began to decline. Following a long illness she died in the home of her daughter in Erie. Her funeral was at St. Joseph Church in Monroe, with burial in St. Joseph Cemetery, Ida beside William.
Special to The Evening News
LA SALLE, Feb 14 - William Pernia, 68 years old and a lifelong resident of Monroe county, died at 10:30 p. m. Thursday at his home on the Stein road, two and a half miles west of Telegraph road. He had been ill about three weeks.
Mr. Pernia operated a threshing machine for the last 13 years in addition to his active farm work. He served La Salle township as highway commissioner for ten years.
Mr. Pernia was born in Berlin township April 20, 1867(8). He was married to Cora Leonard in 1895 and she survives him in addition to nine children, nine grandchildren and a brother, Levi Pernia of Toledo. The children are Mrs. Clarence Segur and Mrs Delbert Wood, both of Erie; Mrs. George Poupard of Monroe; Nicholas and Thalia of Detroit; Raymond, Arthur, William and Donald, living at home.
Funeral services will be held at 9:30 a. m. Monday at St. Joseph Church in Ida with the Rev. Fr. Charles Dohring officiating and burial will be in St. Joseph cemetery. The body was taken to the Alore and Beam funeral home in Monroe and will be returned to the Pernia home this afternoon.
Mrs. Cora Pernia
Of Monroe Dies
In Daughter's Home
Mrs. Cora Pernia, 77, of 806 E. Fourth St. died Sunday in the home of her daughter, Mrs. Delbert Wood of Erie. She had been ill for two years and seriously ill for the last two months. She was with her daughter for the last month.
Born Jan. 22, 1877, in LaSalle Township, she was the daughter of Daniel and Margaret Drouillard Leonard. She was married to William Pernia in 1895 in St. Joseph Catholic Church at Erie. the Rev Emil Wolfsyne performed the ceremony. Mr. Pernia died Feb. 13, 1936. Two children died in infancy.
She is survived by five sons, William of Monroe, Arthur of Toledo, Raymond of La Salle, Nicholas of Livonia and Donald of Dayton; four daughters, Mrs. Wood, Mrs. Ethel Poupard of Monroe; three brothers, George and Clifford Leonard of Toledo and Nicholas of Abilene, Tex.; 28 grandchildren, and nine great grandchildren.
Services will be at 9 a.m. Thursday in the Allore & Holcomb funeral home and at 9:30 in St. Joseph Catholic Church, Monroe. Burial will be in St. Joseph Cemetery, Ida. Rosary will be recited at 8 each night in the funeral home.
BITS FROM HERE AND THERE
he stories I have heard are fun to hear. Please keep in mind that some material is second and third hand, so I don't know truth from fiction.
One time three little girls were playing house. They decided the littlest one would be sick. They fixed up some medicine using raw egg and barn salt and fed it to her. The same person who survived the treatment told me about the time the little ducks fell down the out house. She had to go down the hole to rescue the ducks since she was the smallest.
I heard about races the kids had in the pasture. Good thing they ran in their bare feet so as not to ruin their shoes . . .Oh! The smells and feel of fresh cow pies.
The custom Christmas Eve was, for the children to put a card with their name at their place on the table. In the morning was an orange, nuts, candy, or maybe a toy. One person told me about the time she got up too early and found a doll and doll bed, since no one else was up she ran back to bed until called. I heard there was no Christmas tree until she was old enough to go to Monroe and bring back a tree while hanging on the back of the electric car. The children made paper decorations and put candles on the tree.
One cousin told about when she learned there was no Easter Bunny. She didn't want to believe her parents. She ran outside only to see a big old rabbit run across the yard. I forgot to ask if she still believed in the Easter Bunny.
The families exchanged visits for the holidays.
Charles Shire and Addison Barron were proprietors of two general stores in the area. Grandma would trade butter and eggs for needed items. One story was told about when a mouse fell into some cream being used to make butter. Alas! The mouse drown. The house wife knowing the cream was still good made the butter. The more she thought about it the more it bothered her. The housewife decided to bring the butter to the store and trade it. Hearing the tale of woe the storekeeper obliged. Later the housewife learned she got her own butter back only in a different crock.
It may be a good thing the buildings were moved closer to the road. One spring Uncle Bill went to school barefoot; this wasn't uncommon. The interesting thing is when he came home he had to walk through the snow. I found record of a freak snowstorm on May 9, 1923 in Monroe County. Talk about crazy Michigan weather.
The Pernia's were and still are a great bunch for playing cards. It was the rule that the losers had to go down in the basement to draw wine from the barrel.
One person told me how one game of pinochle took all winter to play; it was such an interesting game they hated to stop. They got together night after night to continue the game. He told me when he was little he thought there were two people with the same name, one a drunk and the other sober.
On weekends the neighbors took turns hosting a dance. The host family would furnish sandwiches, cake and coffee. Ticket money was used to pay the band that belonged to Lucian Miller.
It was exciting when the store owner came around in a peddler cart. The children could trade an egg for candy. Personally, I'd like to see the cart come back as I HATE going to the store. One general store was at Yargerville and Wood Road. It's thought there was a creamery and blacksmith there also.
Halloween was really fun for the boys when they were big enough to go out. They tipped privies over, and it wasn't unheard of to put someone's buggy up on the barn roof.
We inherited Grandma's weakness for the embarrassing ability to wet our pants when we giggled. It so happened that one time Cora and her sister were visiting and had a little nip of wine. Let's say they were feeling silly; they got to laughing and as it happened Cora was sitting on a cane bottom chair when she had her accident. Another time two young girls were standing up pumping on the swing and started to laugh; it was almost like rain.
One day one of the boys came home from school with the following story: He had to get up in front of the class and speak on some subject. He told of how he was shaking so hard from fright, the tie he had on turned all the way around his neck.
Humor wasn't the only type of stories I heard. Cora almost lost two of her sons to accidents. In 1937, my Dad almost died. A shotgun went off accidentally and ricocheted. The shot hit Dad from behind in both legs. He said he walked to the porch before falling. The deputy sheriff took him to the hospital in the back seat of a car. When they took off his boots, blood poured out of them. He was unconscious for several days.
After Dad recovered he told about a dream he had. In the dream he was on a cart on his stomach looking through piles of bones. It was so frustrating. He looked and looked and just couldn't fine the one he wanted. In the dream it seemed like forever. After a long search he found his bone. It was then he gained consciousness and started to recover. It was a long time before he walked, and then he was on crutches for almost a year. The rest of his life the effects of the accident caused discomfort, especially when he was on his feet for long periods. At the time of the accident the doctors determined not to remove all the shot. To removed all of it there wouldn't have been any meat left. The rest of his life shot worked to the surface and he massaged the skin until the shot was out. He never suffered infection as far as I knew.
Two uncles were in the army during World War II. Uncle Arthur (Art) was reported missing in action. When finally found he had a wound in his head. He spent a long time in Battle Creek Veterans Hospital. Doctors put a metal plate in his skull to replace the missing bone. Uncle Art received the purple heart.
There are pictures Uncle Donald sent home while he was in Egypt. In the picture he was on a camel with the pyramids in the back ground. He also visited the Holy Lands. I have a rosary he brought back from Rome blessed by the pope of the time.
There are many of stories from and about the cousins. I just can't resist telling about one before Grandma moved to Monroe. When some cousins were visiting, we were playing hide and seek. The little boy of whom I speak decided to hide in the closet. Sneaking a peak he saw a little hump that would be a good seat on which to wait. He went in and made himself comfortable. To his surprised he learned his seat was 'A basket of eggs.'
It's apparent to me from these stories that when Pernia children were little they always had fun and continue to do so after they've grown.
One of my aunt's told me about her future husband courting her. He was so proud of his automobile, but was plagued with flat tires. Hoping to impress Miss Pernia he called the garage to fix the tires instead of doing it himself. Hard luck regarding the car plagued him insistently. After their marriage, they took a trip to California. The brakes on the Model T burned up. They spent one night in the car along the road fearing someone would steal the car. This is the uncle and lucky fisherman who lost a pole in Lake Erie. He returned to shore, drove home, got a rake and went back out to retrieved his pole.
I heard about the time two aunts went to church, only to start laughing so hard about nothing they had to get up and leave. Another aunt went to church and studied a hat the little girl sitting in front of her had on. She went home and made one just like the girl had.
These stories come from the one and two generations after Grandma and Grandpa. There was a story about one cousin on vacation up north. Several relatives rented a cottage. The owner had one room in the center of the place locked. My cousin's curiosity got the best of him. He just had to get in the room to see what was there. He couldn't stand it and finally got the door open. Looking in he almost had an accident in his pants. Opposite the door was hanging a moose head, he was just not prepared to see that.
My father and several uncles co-owned and operated the Hickory Park Hall during the 1940's. It is still on Lewis Avenue at Rauch Road. Recent years it's been the American Legion Hall. Mom told me I used to sleep in the back room listening to the music of Frankie Billmaier's band and him calling square dances.
One set of parents told me about how dirty their young ones got playing. One day the father told the kids to have a contest to see how dirty they could get their faces but not their hands. The next day the children were determined to win decided to wear gloves all day long. Before the day was over they rubbed their faces with coal.
How embarrassed can one be? The winner of this prize must surely go to the parents of the child who told the teacher that he didn't get his homework done because his mother had twins. He even went so far as giving them names.
There was one guy who always tried to be so serious. He never laughed at anyone's jokes but his own. I caught him when I asked if big green tomato worms turn red when they were ripe.
My dad was a great one for trying to stump the boys. On one visit he was discussing the amazing feat of how a fly in flight would manage to land upside down on the ceiling. Shortly after his death we found an article on that very subject. The answer: The front feet raised above the head clinging to the ceiling and the body does a roll, landing upside down on the ceiling.
I have to admit that the story about the two aunts is the wildest. They were in a cabin up north afraid to go to the outhouse because of bears in the area. They wet on the floor and then mopped it up.
One cousin told me after a sneak preview of this story a better title would be - Pernia Fruitcakes or Funny People. I wonder did I make a mistake?
he second son of Daniel and Elizabeth was Francois Josephium. His baptism was on 22 April 1872, at St. Charles in Berlin Township, Monroe Michigan. Everyone called him Frank. Facts about Frank and his brothers and sister are scarce. Until after Elizabeth’s death the only information is in the census records. Frank was twelve years old when his mother died in 1883.
How the children survived after Elizabeth’s death is only an assumption. Undoubtedly, the boys worked as farm laborers. I first found Frank in the 1900 census living and working in Erie. I noticed that in the house next to where he lived was a Evangeline M. Duclo. She worked and lived there. Eva was his future wife. I suspect that is how they met. After they were married, they lived in Erie, Michigan.
Eventually they had two daughters. First born was Olive Elyzabeth (Ollie) born June 3, 1906, and Vivian Rosella, born February 24, 1911. Both were born in Erie Township. Olive married Jack Spencer. They had two children, Barbara and Douglas. I found nothing about Vivian.
Frank was a barber for many years; he owned a large building not far from the family home. Around 1916, William and his family would go to Erie and attend dances that were held in Frank's building. The family spent the night after the dance. Aunt Glad told me about an event that took place in Erie. William’s children would go to the dances too. Then at bed time Aunt Eva made the children kneel and say their prayers. She did this because she knew they'd forget when they got to her house to go to bed.
I remember there was a fiddle in the attic at home. When I started to do family research, I learned that Frank played that fiddle. My father, who was Frank’s nephew inherited the fiddle when Frank died.
Eva died following surgery at a hospital in Toledo, Ohio about 1927. Frank died in April of 1928 from suicide. Distressed over the death of Eva, Frank hung himself. Their burial is in St. Joseph Cemetery in Erie, Michigan.
From: The Monroe Evening News
April 23, 1928 p. 1 c. 2
MAN’S BODY FOUND IN STORE BASEMENT
Sheriff Conducts Investigation Into Hanging Of Frank Pernia
The body of Frank Pernia, aged 57 years, was found hanging in the basement of the William Gilday hardware store on Manhattan road in the village of Erie, 10 miles south of Monroe, at noon today, the building was owned by Mr. Pernia.
The discovery was made by Mr. Pernia’s daughters, Oliva, aged 21 years and Vivian aged 17 years.
Mr. Pernia, who lived in Erie, left his house about nine o’clock this morning. He had been dead about two hours when the body was found, the attending physician said.
Sheriff Joseph Kinsey and Coroner Bernard Rupp went to Erie this afternoon to conduct an investigation into the death. Mr. Pernia had lived in Erie for many years. At one time he conducted a soft drink parlor in the village.
Several months ago Mr. Pernia underwent a serious operation in a hospital in Toledo and since that time he had been in ill helath.
Besides his daughters, he is survived by a brother, William Pernia, of LaSalle. His wife died about a year ago.
Funeral arrangements have not been completed.
From: The Monroe Evening News
October 20, 1927
Mrs. Frank Pernia, aged 55 years, and a resident of Erie township for more then 40 years, died in St. Vincent’s hospital, Toledo, Wednesday afternoon at 3:30 o’clock. Mrs. Pernia is survived by a husband, Frank Pernia, and two daughters, Misses Olive and Vivian Pernia of Erie. Funeral services will be held at St. Joseph’s Catholic church at Erie, Saturday morning at nine o’clock.
he third son, Levi, might have been born in Trenton, Wayne County, Michigan on January 10, 1874. A clue to this is found in his military pension papers from Detroit. Originally I thought all the children of Daniel and Elizabeth were born in Berlin Township, Monroe County, Michigan. I found baptism records of William, Samuel, Frank, John and May (Mary) at St. Charles in Newport. Not one to give up easily, I repeatedly went over the records looking for Levi’s baptism. I had a birth date from an obituary and death certificate. The order of birth of the children listed in census records fit, but no Levi at St. Charles. Where was he born? Why wasn’t he baptized? The only fact known was the calculation Levi was not quite eleven years old when his mother died.
In the mean time I sent to Detroit for his military or pension records. I wrote Detroit since I found a clue that Levi was at Fort Wayne when his brother, John died in 1907. It is a known fact Levi served in the Spanish American war. I found that record in Ohio. Also, Levi received a service medal at the time of his discharge from the Army. My father’s sister, Gladys had it and gave it to me.
After waiting about six months the papers arrived. At last another clue! Their record shows Levi Pernie was born at Trenton, Michigan, January 10, 1874. Now I will search other churches, my task for the immediate future.
To track Levi’s life, records suggest in 1898 at the age of twenty-four he volunteered as a soldier during the Spanish American War. He was a barber at the time of his enlistment. Levi served with Company "L" 30th Infantry Regular Army from Ohio. (Documentation found in Ohio.) I suspected this was the first enlistment for service while in the Spanish American War.
The war began on February 15, 1898. A ship, on a peaceful trip to Cuba, was hit by two explosions. Two hundred sixty men died. The Cubans had been struggling for independence. The sinking of the Maine in Havana Harbor was the straw that broke the camel's back. Less than four months after the start of the war, Spain agreed to a cease fire. Guerrilla warfare lasted until July 1902.
According to the pension papers Levi allegedly enlisted January 28, 1901 at Grand Rapids, Michigan. Again, I have to go on assumption that Levi reenlisted after discharge for service in 1898. He was discharged December 20, 1912 at Angie Island, San Francisco, California at Fort McDowell. The time spent in the service covered four, 3 year consecutive enlistments. Eventually, Levi came back to Monroe County area. He never married. Family stories tell of Levi and Nicholas Leonard hoboed around the United States. Maybe after his discharged in 1912 is the time when Levi and Nicholas wandered.
An act passed June 5, 1920 declared a pension for persons, who served in the War with Spain, Philippine Insurrection and China Relief Expedition. August 13, 1920 Levi applied for and qualified. The amount received was not in the reported. Information said age of the person was factor determining the amount received. Levi may have received between $12 and $30 per month. The report said Levi was suffering from a mental and physical disability of a permanent character. His disability was not the result of his own vicious habits; but he was unable to support himself. He suffered from malaria fever at various intervals and severe headaches and rheumatism. Men with physical disabilities (missing limbs, loss of sight etc.) received from between $60 and $100.
The next record found about Levi is from Toledo State hospital. He was admitted in 1937.
When I asked a family member what they remembered about Levi, they told me he liked to go up in the hay barn and look at the pussies. From what I learned it is apparent he had some problems that eventually lead him to the Toledo State Hospital. He spent the last seven years of his life at that institution. Levi had symptoms of severe psychological problems, a disintegration of personality and an inability to relate to others. Levi was there until he died on April 26, 1944.
Since Levi was a member of the V.F.W. Egbert Camp #10, when he died there was a U.S. flag on his coffin when he lay in state. At the burial the flag was presented to the family, it is now in my possession. Burial of Levi is in Calvary Cemetery, Toledo, Ohio.
Monroe Evening News
Levi Pernia, Spanish War veteran and former resident of Monroe County died Wednesday night in Toledo Hospital. Funeral services will be held Saturday at 3 p.m. from the Gardner funeral home in Toledo. He leaves a sister-in-law, six nieces and seven nephews.
THURSDAY APRIL 27, 1944
PERNIE-LEVI, age 74 years, Weds Members of the Egbert Camp No. 10, U.S. W.V., will conduct services at 2 P. M. Saturday. Harvey L. Gardner Mortuary in Ashland Memoral.
ohn known as Jack, was the last of the sons born to Daniel and Elizabeth. According to the baptism record at St. Charles his name is Jean Baptiste, born in November 1876, Berlin Township, Monroe, Michigan. He was six years old when his mother died.
At age 20, John married Ella (Ellen) Finn. She was the daughter of Irish emigrants, William and Ellen Buckley Finn of Ida, Michigan. Ella was born on July 21, 1878. John and Ella married 4 October 1898, at St. John Catholic Church, Monroe, Michigan. They establish a home on Goet Road in Petersburg, Michigan. Goet Road is the same as Rauch Road west of Petersburg Road.
The first of their three children was John Earl, called Earl born December 27, 1898. They lived on Goet Road until the death of Ella's sister-in-law, Margaret Pitts Finn. Her brother Lawrence’s wife died and left three small children who needed a mother. John and Ella moved to Raisinville Township with her brother to care for the children. It was while living in Raisinville that Ella became pregnant with their second child. On August 13, 1903 a son William Lester was born. He died in 1905 from spinal meningitis. He is buried in St. Joseph Cemetery in Monroe, Michigan.
John and Ella moved to Dunbar Road in 1906. In the winter of 1907, John at age 30 came down with pneumonia and died on January 13. He is buried in St. Joseph Cemetery in Monroe next to his son. Ella delivered a son on March 5, 1907. His name is John Bernard and known as John or Jack.
Next I found that Ella moved to Monroe and ran a boarding house at 420 Union Street. In a few years Ella married John Schmidt one of her boarders in the 1910's. I was given a photo of Ella, John Schmidt and her children.
John Schmidt died in 1941. Ella lived to be seventy years old and died on August 13, 1946 in the house on Union Street. Her death certificate said the informant was a daughter-in-law Mrs. Earl Pernia. Ella is buried at St. Joseph Cemetery in Monroe between her two husbands. Once the two sons’ John and Jack lived in Detroit. Now I have found evidence they may have lived in Toledo.
I found John Earl Pernia died in Grand Rapids, MI December 1970. The search goes on.
From: The Record-Commercial
January 24, 1907 p.2 c.1
The many friends of John Pernea were grieved to hear of his death at Strassburg Jan. 13Th.
From: The Monroe Democrat
January 18, 1907 p. 11 c.2
John Pernia passed away Sunday afternoon after an illness of nearly four weeks with pneumonia. The deceased was thirty years of age. He leaves a wife, son, one son preceeding him in death a year and a half ago, and a host of friends and relatives to mourn his early departure. Funeral services were held Wednesday morning from St. John’s church, Monroe.
From: The Monroe Democrat
January 18, 1907 p. 12 c. 4
John Pernia died at his home in Strasburg Sunday afternoon, aged thirty years and two months. The funeral services were held at St. John’s church Wednesday, Rev. Fr. Crowley officiating. He leaves a wife, one son and three brothers, William, of Yargerville; Frank of Erie; and Levi, with the U. S. Infantry stationed at Ft. Wayne at Detroit.
'POLICE FIND WOMAN DEAD IN APARTMENT.’
hese words about Aunt May's death brought the question of what happened to May Pernia. She was last heard about in 1910.
The first daughter of Daniel and Elizabeth was born on September 18, 1879 in Newport, Michigan. The record at St. Charles shows she was named Mariam Matilda. She was about 3 1/2 when her mother died.
First mention of May was in Daniel's papers. In 1891, she would have been about 13 and living in Detroit with an aunt. Papers from Washington called her Mary. I did not find who the aunt might have been. Someone thought May enrolled at the young lady's seminary in Monroe. I am still looking for a record. I found that May lived with her father for a short time, in Grand Rapids, MI. She was in Monroe in 1895; she's in the wedding picture of William and Cora.
May was 30 years old when last seen. She disappeared and not was not heard from again. At the time of her death May lived in Atlantic City, New Jersey in the Riviera Apartments. The apartments are at Raleigh Avenue and Boardwalk. The superintendent of her apartment building discovered that May’s newspapers were being left outside of her door. He called the police, they found her dead her dead on July 24, 1959. A balance of $600 for three months rent was due when she died.
Word about May came as a surprise to members of William's family. Later, it was learned the daughters of Frank had known of May's whereabouts and never let anyone else know.
Police Find Woman Dead In Apartment
Mrs. Mary P. Frank, 80, was found dead in her apartment at 115 S. Raleigh Ave. yesterday. Police say death was due to natural causes.
The discovery was made after Harold Washington, superintendent of the building, told police that newspapers for two days were untouched at Mrs. Frank's door.
A.C. Press 7/24/78
he last child of Daniel and Elizabeth, Rosella, was born in LaSalle, Michigan. Records of her birth and death are at the Monroe County Courthouse. In the record the last name spelled PARNYEA. Rosella’s birth date was April 1, 1883 and her death was August 22, 1883. Cause of death was diarrhea. She died in LaSalle, resulting from neglect. At first I thought that she died after her mother. Since I have a date for Elizabeth’s death I can only assume her death was from neglect due to Elizabeth’s poor health. It must have been a sad situation.
The next pages are about the parents, brothers and sister of Cora.
DANIEL LEONARD and MARGARET DROUILLARD
newspaper obituary in Grandma's scrapbook shows Daniel Leonard was born on February 16, 1850 in LaSalle, Michigan, to Alexis Leonard and Victoria Barren (Barron).
Daniel was the first of their seven children. He married Margaret Drouillard at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Erie, Michigan in 1874. Daniel was 24 and Margaret was 19.
Margaret was the daughter of Dominic Drouillard and Margaret LaPointe. Margaret had a famous relative. Her first cousin twice removed was George Drouillard. His story is later in these pages.
Margaret, known as Maggie had 11 brothers and sisters all born in Erie, Michigan. Daniel and Maggie settled in Erie to raise their own large family of eight children. I located a medical history on Nicholas, the oldest son. He remembered his mother as having a good nature. She was always kind and gentle. She made friends very easy. Nicholas said both his parents had a very limited education.
Daniel worked as a farm hand, in the early years of their marriage. As far as I have learned they never owned any property.
Maggie died at the age of 43. Her death was from complications after the birth of a son on May 19, 1893; the child also died. They are buried in St. Joseph Cemetery, Erie, in a lot belonging to her brother John Drouillard.
Daniel and Margaret’s other children were Nicholas (1874), Cora Belle (1877), Tressa (1878), Alfred (1883), George (1887), Vernon (1890), and Clifford (1891). There is an absence of facts for the children other than they attended school at Wood School in LaSalle.
Several years after Margaret’s death Daniel married Sarah Kurtz in 1905. She was a widow who had known the family for many years. A child was born to them in 1907, but did not live. I found the record of the child in Monroe County. His name was Joseph Dennis, no place of burial.
Daniel and Sarah moved to Oak Harbor, Ohio after 1907. Daniel worked in a basket factory there.
Death came to Daniel on November 19, 1928 in Toledo, Ohio. They were in Toledo to visit some of Sarah’s children when Daniel’s death occured. Services were in the Grace Lutheran Church. Burial is in Oak Harbor.
Sarah married a third time to a Mr. Glosser. She kept in touch with Daniel's children until her death in 1935.
DANIEL A. LEONARD
Daniel Amos Leonard, son of Victoria Barren and Alexis Leonard, was born at LaSalle, Michigan, in Monroe County, February 16, 1850. In the year of 1874 he was united in marriage to Margaret Draullaird. By this union was born eight children, seven of whom are living; Nicholas, of Oakdale, La., Mrs. Wm. Pernia, of LaSalle, Mich.; Mrs. P. A. Duston, of Toledo; Alfred, of Pontiac, Mich., George, Vern and Clifford, of Toledo.
On April 3, 1905, he was married to Mrs. Sarah Kurtz. They made their home in Oak Harbor. By this marriage was born one child, Joseph Dennis, on July 10, 1907, deceased.
He went to Toledo to visit his step-daughter, Mrs. Bessie Schwarz, and died at 4:15 a. m., Nov. 19, 1928, after a short illness.
He leaves to mourn his death, his wife, Mrs. Sarah Leonard; two brothers, Dennis Leonard, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; C. L. Leonard, of Detroit, Mich., and one sister, Mrs Agnes Gunn, of Hollywood, Calif. seven children, eight stepchildren, Mrs. Louis Miller, Mrs. Geo. Leonard, Mrs. A. W. Steinmetz, Mrs. Dan Schwarz, Norton Kurtz, William Kurtz, of Toledo, and Chester Kurtz, of Port Clinton; thirty grandchildren and six great- grandchildren.
The funeral services were held last week Thursday afternoon, at the M. E, Church. Rev. A.A. Hundley, pastor of the Grace Lutheran church, officiated. Burial took place in Union cemetery.
NICHOLAS L. LEONARD
he first child of Daniel and Maggie Leonard was Nicholas. He was born November 4, 1874 in LaSalle, Michigan.
Medical records from the hospital where Nicholas died gave information on his life. Nick started having epileptic seizures at the age of 12. Vaccinated for small pox he suffered a severe reaction. His entire body became swollen and his arm was three times the normal size. He probably had blood poisoning that brought on the epilepsy. He suffered with it for the rest of his life.
Nick quit school at age 13, after completing the fourth grade, because of his health. Before the vaccination he had been a good student. He easily passed the needed subjects for advancement.
Nick was 19 when his mother died in 1893. He was in Monroe County in 1895, as he was present for his sister, Cora's wedding picture. With Levi Pernia as a companion Nick traveled about the United States after 1898. Levi is William's brother.
Nick married his wife Mattie before 1928. They married in Louisiana. This is where Mattie and her five children from a previous marriage were living. Mattie and Nick were about the same age. In 1928, Nick was living in Oakdale, Louisiana. Later they moved to Dousette, Texas, that is fifty miles from Louisiana.
Nick told the medical board he had typhoid fever in 1910. The record showed once he got drunk and was put in jail for fighting at a ball game.
Nick earned a living working at a sawmill and as a farm hand. In July 1937, his poor health caused him to be admitted into Abilene State Hospital. His mind and body were suffering the effects of epilepsy. He was financially unable to care for himself. Nick and Mattie had been living in a three-room house with no running water. When Nick went in the hospital, Mattie went to live with her brother.
At the institution Nick was in the medical section of the hospital. He underwent surgery for bleeding in his stomach and removal of his appendix. Next he received medication to control the seizures. Nick then went into the home section of the hospital. Records show Nick lived out the rest of his life in the home except for another spell with his stomach that called for hospitalization.
Nick managed quite well once he was on controlled medication for the epilepsy. He lived to be 83 years old, but his mind had become very confused. Heck, sometimes at my age, I'm confused. Nicholas died on May 25, 1957. Nick is in Dallas, Texas at the Atomical Board Cemetery.
A member of the family received his only personal possession after his funeral. I have that item. It is a small penknife.
Mattie died before Nick. Where or when remains unknown.
TRESSA FLORENCE LEONARD
aniel and Maggie’s second daughter Tressa, was born September 30, 1878. Tracing this family in the census records proved a challenge. All evidence both written and oral indicated the Leonards always lived in Monroe County (Erie and LaSalle) until after the death of Maggie. In the 1880 census I found Grandma Cora age 3 registered with her paternal grandparents in Monroe County, Berlin Township. Where were her parents and brother Nicholas and sister Tressa? Finally after years of frustration I convinced myself they had to be in Ohio. We took a trip to the Toledo Public Library. Starting with the 1880 Lucas County soundex, within a couple of minutes we found the Daniel Leonard family. Listed were his wife Maggie and two children Nicholas and Florence Tressa. They were living in Sylvania Township. After some 15 years I found the family 30 miles from where they were supposed to have been. In the 1880’s by horse and buggy or even by train this is quite a distance for a weekend with Grandma. Why was Grandma Cora with her grandparents?
As far as I can determine Florence Tressa, Tress as she was know as was the only child of Daniel and Maggie born in Ohio. Tress was 14 when her mother died. Tressa and Cora were very close.
Aunt Tress, married November 30, 1897 to Pinto (Mike) Duston. They had one daughter, Hazel, born on October 7, 1898 in Temperance, Michigan. Hazel was born before Cora had a child survive.
Hazel told me, of happy memories of her childhood. I remember visiting Uncle Mike when he lived in Luna Pier, Michigan. When I showed Hazel a picture of her father, she called it his Popeye face, when he took his teeth out. Mike was a happy person and enjoyed life. He converted a truck to a bus and carried passengers from Temperance to Toledo. Tress died on May 30, 1936 in Toledo, Ohio. Mike died January 2, 1945. Tress and Mike are in Toledo Memorial Cemetery in Toledo, Ohio.
Hazel, the only child married Clarence Aubry and had three sons. Hazel was a gracious host when I went to visit her. Hazel has since passed. Her family lives in the Toledo area.
ALFRED A. LEONARD
lfred was born September 25, 1883, in LaSalle, Michigan, the fourth child of Daniel and Maggie. He was ten years old when his mother died.
Alfred married Chloe Perry. She was the mother of his two children. The relationship ended in divorce. The boys were Emery and Fred. For a short time Emory and Fred were placed in the Toledo Miami Children's Home. I can only guess the reason why. Over a time the boys grew to manhood. Emery married Veronica Hennan, they had 12 children. Emery died in 1966 and is buried in Toledo Memorial Park Cemetery. For years Fred, the younger son lived in Toledo. Recently I learned he is living in Temperance (1995).
After Alfred and Chloe divorced, Chloe married Joe Smith. She died January 28, 1961.
Alfred lived in Pontiac, Michigan, but was living in LaSalle with a niece Pearl when he became ill. He went to the old Monroe Hospital on Maple Boulevard where he died on March 20, 1933 after heart surgery. Their burial is in St. Joseph Cemetery Ida, Michigan.
GEORGE D. LEONARD
he fifth child born to Daniel and Maggie was George, born on April 12, 1887. He was six years old when his mother died.
George married Agnes Kurtz, born on February 5, 1894. She was the daughter of Charles and Sarah Kurtz. Daniel married Sarah after the death of both their first spouses.
I remember when my parents went to visit Uncle George in Toledo, Ohio. He was a small person with very big blue eyes. I'll never forget the parrot that he had. George and Agnes had two children, George Jr. and Katherine.
George and Agnes knew each other for about 70 years. Agnes died on November 14, 1963, and George followed on July 18, 1964. The burial is in Union Cemetery Oak Harbor, Ohio.
he sixth child of Daniel and Maggie Leonard was Vernon (called Vern), born May 6, 1880. He was two when his mother died.
Vern married Irene Lavagine. The marriage ended in divorce. There were no children.
Vern died when he was 45. Cause of death was from injuries sustained in an automobile accident in August 1935. He died about two hours after the accident. Burial was on August 31 in LaSalle, Michigan Township Cemetery.
CLIFFORD DENNIS LEONARD
lifford Leonard was born on October 16, 1891, the seventh child of Daniel and Maggie. He was about 18 months old when his mother died. Cora, his sister, cared for him until she married. About this time Clifford lived with or was adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Cousino but he retained the name of Leonard.
On November 17, 1914 Clifford married Agnes Stein, born on August 6, 1885. She was the daughter of Daniel and Eliza Evans Stein. Agnes' s mother died when she was about 11. A family by the name Dusseau adopted her in 1906.
Clifford and Agnes met at Toledo Beach in 1913 and married a year later. They first lived with his parents and in 1915 moved to Toledo, Ohio. He worked for Willy's Overland for three years. He quit there and started working for the Toledo Transportation System. Over the years his duties covered every facet of the organization-from sweeping streets to driving a trolley.
Clifford and Agnes had eight children, Irene, Patricia, Raphael, Mildred, Rosemary, Laura, Marcella and Joseph. I remember Uncle Clifford. He like many other members of the family enjoyed playing cards. He enjoyed it so much that he said he wanted a deck of cards buried with him.
Clifford retired and they moved from Toledo back to LaSalle to the home where he grew up. In 1964, Agnes died. Services were from St. Joseph Catholic Church in Erie. She rests in Roselawn Cemetery LaSalle.
Clifford married a woman named Celia in 1968; they lived in Toledo. On March 28, 1972 Clifford passed away, survived by his wife. Burial was next to Agnes in Roselawn Cemetery.
y search for family found a cousin, an Indian fighter and guide for the Lewis and Clark exploration. One day Dan brought home a book that had some events of the journey and gave account of George Drouillard's help in the success of the trip. The book was Adventures of Lewis and Clark by John Bakeless in 1966.
I now own a book entitled George Drouillard of THE LEWIS AND CLARK EXPEDITION and FUR TRADER 1807-1810. I found the book by accident. Writing to the editor I found a second hand copy was in the rare book section and I could buy it. The book is no longer being printed.
The 350 pages supplied me with an idea of what George, my first cousin five times removed, was like. George's father, Pierre was a British subject who resided in Detroit. He was an official interpreter of the Huron language.
Pierre age 29 had marital relations with an Asoundechris FLATHEAD or SHAWNEE Indian girl. In December 1773, a son, was born in Detroit. He became know as Peter or George. It's possible that the mother died in 1775. I found a baptism record in Assumption Sandwich, Canada (Windsor) for the child.
November of 1776 Pierre or Peter Sr. married Angelique Descamps in Detroit. That marriage produced several children. A letter in my book suggests George found acceptance in the home of his stepmother. He formed a strong attachment with his half brothers and sisters.
It appears that George had the benefit of some schooling. He studied reading, writing, and possibly ciphering. George received more education than the average person of his day. This was probably because of his father's position in the government. George traveled extensively with his father. Peter Sr. died in April 1803, he was buried in Detroit.
Thomas Jefferson always had an immense curiosity for the land west of the Mississippi River. When he became president the task of having it explored was a possibility.
As Jefferson began to organize his plan, he chose to head the project with a young man named Meriwether Lewis, the son of an old family friend. Lewis chose for a co-leader William Clark, younger brother of George Rogers Clark. George Clark was a soldier in the Revolutionary War and a frontier fighter. His victories helped win the Northwest Territory for the United States. Lewis had met Clark when the two men were in the army. They had a close friendship that was to continue for a lifetime. The two spent almost two years preparing for the trip. The goals set, were to explain to the Indians that their "White Father" lived in Washington. He wanted peace among all Indians. No harm would come to Indian nations cooperating as allies of the United States.
They were to record in great detail the Missouri River County. Explore unknown mountain regions and the westward flowing Columbia. The most important objective of the trip was to record journals. The explorers wrote down Indian vocabularies and made collections of biological and zoological discoveries. They wrote reports on flora and fauna. Their job was to show the world, the wilderness.
George was in St. Louis, Missouri when hired by Lewis and Clark. His knowledge of Indian ways and sign language was extensive. George took the job for $25.00 a month.
The explorers were always in search of people to help translate with the Indians. French fur trappers helped communicated with the local Indians until they reached North Dakota. There they met a half-breed French Canadian and his Indian wife Sacajawea. Sacajawea who was kidnaped years earlier, knew the language of the Indians in the West. They enlisted both husband and wife as interpreters to secure her help. If the explorers found a fork in the river they left messages on sticks for the others to follow.
On trips in the wilderness people had to stick together and strict discipline was enforced. A person deserting was considered the worst crime. The first record of George Drouillard was when three men deserted and were hiding in an Indian village close by. George and three other men captured the deserters. The deserters had to run the gauntlet. The gauntlet is a method of punishment where two lines of people bearing weapons beat the victim who must run between the people. They are then sent back to St. Louis in disgrace, while the expedition stayed the winter in North Dakota.
When the group traveled down the river several men would scout ahead. They left indications on which way to follow. One man rode along the bank and led the horses; while the explorers were able to travel by raft. The terrain they were in determined the number of horses the explorers had. When they needed more they would trade with the Indians for them.
A man who had been with the horses was missing for twelve days. Found, he had survived on wild berries. The man still had gun powder but was out of bullets. He had whittled a wooden bullet and managed to kill a rabbit. As he grew weaker he turned one horse free, keeping the other to ride, and if worse came to worse he had planned on eating it. George and two other men found the man. The missing man went back to the main body of explorers with George. The other two were to walk back with the horse. When they finally reach the others some Indians had stolen the horse. George went out and scoured the prairies until he found the horse. It was roaming free it was set lose by the Indians.
The deeper into the wilderness the explorers went the more grizzly bears they found. Bears had no fear of the white man and often entered the camp. One time it took Clark and George ten bullets to kill a young bear that was only five hundred pounds. It took a while before the men learned only a bullet in the brain could stop a charging grizzly and keep him from attacking. Even the experienced hunter George couldn't make one shot stop a bear.
George and Sacajawea used sign language when the explorers met strange tribes. They were sent out first to try to make friends'. When there were signs of Indians but no contact, the explorers would leave simple drawings in obvious places. They hoped to make the Indians understand they came as friends.
In 1805 Lewis, George and two other men were out tracking Indians, when the two other men became ill. They were to wait for the main party, while Lewis and George continued on. Suddenly George had a fall. It was so serious he couldn't walk. It was hours before they could go back to the other two at the river. Unknown to the four, the boats were having a hard time pushing upstream. Lewis, now in the best condition, walked upstream and left a note on a pole along the river bank. He made the mistake of cutting a pole of fresh wood and the beavers made short work of his message. When Clark reached the fork in the river, he chose the wrong one and missed Lewis and the ill men. By pure luck George feeling better, was out hunting and stumbled upon Clark, bring the team back together.
When they reached what is now Grayling, Montana, Lewis, George and two men were searching for fresh meat. It was a chore that took much time as game was scarce in the area. While hunting they found some Indian foot prints, left a note and followed the trail. The footprints faded and Indian pony tracks were seen. George went back to leave a second note. They thought that these Indians were Sacajawea's people.
When George returned the four men split up, Lewis and one man went ahead while George and the other flanked each side. For a mile they found nothing then Lewis spotted a red man unaware of them.
Advancing the distance, Lewis tried to speak some Indian words. The red man halted and watched Lewis spread his blanket on the ground. Just then George came through the underbrush. The Indian thought it was a trick and ran away. Slowly Lewis advanced to within about fifty feet and offered trinkets and beads. The Indian rode off again then stopped. Again, Lewis advanced and got to about fifty feet; he exposed his upper arm to show white skin. Immediately, the Indian whirled his horse and disappeared. After a desperate search the four men failed to find the frightened Indian again. They could only follow the trail.
Picking conspicuous spots and acting as friendly as possible the men prepared their meals and hung gifts at the camp sights. This location today is known as the Continental Divide.
The next day two squaws and a warrior fled when Lewis tried to shout an Indian word that he thought meant friend. The men began to move at a slower pace. Silently, they discovered an old squaw, young squaw and little girl. The young girl fled, the old, fearing death but knowing she couldn't get away, sat down with the child and waited death.
Lewis walked to the woman and held her hands; George told her to call back her companion. They tried to reassure her that they meant no harm and only wanted to be friends. Soon the young woman returned delighted to receive her share of gifts. Lewis painted everyone's face with vermilion, that was the symbol of peace. George then asked the women to take them to their camp.
After about two miles, they met a war party on the way to drive them away. The women displayed their gifts, and showed they were safe. Finally the Indians felt more at ease and asked the explorers to take part in the circle of council and smoke the peace pipe. Once in camp, the Indians took off their moccasins as an act of faith and trust.
Lewis indicated that the men were hungry. The Indians told Lewis they had no meat. George went out and in a short time returned with two deer. The Indians made fast work out of the deer including some innards and softer parts of the hoofs. They even kept the hoof to make glue.
Some Indians went back to the river to meet the rest of the explorers. Half of them became frightened and ran away. Clark hadn't reached the river and last note yet, when Lewis got back to the river. The white paper and black marks impressed the Indians. The written message, to them looked like strong medicine. George went downstream with another note urging Clark to hurry. Two hours later the explorers arrived. Entering the main camp Sacajawea found her brother and other members of her family.
The explorers told Sacajawea she could stay with her family. She insisted on going the next few hundred miles that would bring them across the continent. Several ships were going to try to meet the explorers at the mouth of the Columbia; but even staying through the winter there was no ship. When the explorers reached home they found that after they left the mouth of the Columbia, a ship did come and found messages they had left.
During the three years of their exploration only once did the men have to fight for their lives. One man died from biboius colic, which might have been appendicitis. The journey lasted from October 1803 to September 1806. It began and ended at the mouth of the Mississippi River. Crossing the country they had written records, assembled Indian vocabularies, collected scientific specimens. They opened the way for expansion of vast new territories.
Upon completing the trip, George's pay amounted to $833.33, 1/3 for thirty-three months. The amount was doubled by Congress later. George also received two quarter sections of land, as did others in the expedition. I wasn't able to find where George's land was.
Journals of the trip said George proved himself often. He was the most reliable of all those who served the expedition. The energy and enthusiasm George displayed plus the hardship he endured as a member of the expedition suggests a person with a generous amount of vitality. There was only one blot on the character of George who so much depended. During the fall or winter following the trip George helped establish fur trade in the West. What happened was a man deserted, and George went to bring him back dead or alive. Gone for about an hour, George came back to say that he had wounded the deserter and couldn't bring him back to camp alone. Four men went to get the injured man, but he died the next day.
When George returned to St. Louis, the authorities arrested him on charges of manslaughter. This was from a man whom George once had a quarrel with. The man was hoping to get even with George and thought this was his chance.
When the trial came he acquitted, but this event must have lain heavy in his heart. George wrote to his sister in Detroit saying that he hoped the misfortune wouldn't make too much grief on the family. He was very sorry and mortified and hoped not to lose his family.
No sooner was George free, he was confronted for nonpayment of an outstanding bill over four years old. To make payment he turned over the land he was given by Congress.
George contacted Clark about changes and corrections to the original map after he returned. Later exploring found that the changes were correct.
In the spring of 1809, George was on the second of his fur trading ventures. This time in history,some Indians were in a state of unrest. It was very dangerous to go out in groups, let alone by yourself. This caused a standstill in establishing trade with the Indians.
After several days close to camp, George said he would go out for a try instead of sitting and do nothing. His first day out was short he had no contact with the Indians. First, George was the only one who would ventured out, but after a week they all decided it was safe for short trips out. After a couple of weeks, they thought the Indians had left the area or were going to leave them alone.
In early May, George was alone and heard a noise. A yip? A yell? He jerked his head from the direction of the sound and a band of feathered Indians was swooping down on him as fast as their horses could. No where to go, he got down from his horse. He used his rifle until it was no longer of use as he couldn't reload. He used his pistol, with his horse between him and the enemy. Next, he had to use his tomahawk, the butt of his gun, his knife. There were too many of them. This material came from a man who was nearby and heard his shooting but escaped by hiding in the grass.
There in the prairie wind that he loved, George died in a horrible manner; his head cut off, his stomach torn open and his body hacked to pieces. A quotation from the book- "If George's life hadn't ended untimely he might have lived to have his dream come true -- the establishment of a fur trading post somewhere on the Missouri."
arlier I stated my interest began in school and continued growing. The homework assignment led me to visit with Aunt Glad. Dad never seemed to remember much about the past. I've learned some people just don't have recall and then you're lucky and find yourself an Aunt Glad.
Aunt Glad knew Grandpa's first name was Daniel. He was a Civil War soldier and Aunt Glad thought he died in an old soldier home. Grandma was Elizabeth Murphy and she hung herself. Aunt Glad thought the spelling of their name was different from the way we spell Pernia, maybe Parnyea. Only 14, I put aside that information and forged ahead. Little did I know the headache names were.
I did not uncover anything new except for the descendants' of Daniel and Elizabeth. I added names and dates of the newest baby, records of marriages and deaths. When I was married and lived out of state, Mom recorded new entries.
When our children were in school I decided to find more about Daniel. I wrote letters and began an intense search. As data started coming in, I learned it was possible to go to courthouses and search vital statistic records. That's where I found Rosella Pernyea and a landslide of material. The name was a key to over two hundred years of Pernia family history. I have history as far back as the 1500's on families married into the family.
Most of the data I found in records from the Catholic Church, in a book at the Monroe County Historical Museum. The book gave names of French families who settled in the Detroit River region. The records are from St. Ann's in Detroit, a collection by Christian Dennison a Catholic priest.
The mailman brought to my life some real highs and lows. I experienced a thrill from a death certificate. I found papers, so poorly written they are studied for hours to find a little sniff of the life of some ancestor. When our sons brought in the mail they put the good stuff on the bottom or after I went through a stack of bills they removed a long awaited letter from their pocket. Ha ha!
When the mail brought something exciting I felt a great urge to share and talk to someone. Being home alone presented a problem. The Pernia's are long distance phone calls; I got some awful phone bills. One year for lent I give up all long distance phone calls except for emergencies and to call my Mom once a week.
John and the boys experienced weird excursions. They trampled through old cemeteries, rubbing tombstones with chalk to read them. A strange habit I have that John will testify to. Riding down the highway, my head automatically does a 180 degrees turn to catch sight of an old half-hidden cemetery.
We made a trip to Detroit on a chance of finding the last of nine baby pictures in time for a reunion display. That trip was fruitful. Two years running, on the Saturday before the Pernia Reunion, the mail brought in new data. Then it was a rush to rearrange the display. John made many trips into work. He copied documents and developed pictures. It might be worth while for him to build a darkroom and get me a copy machine.
I enjoy visits with relatives we seldom see and some I never met before. Our visit usually has a session in the picture box or a forgotten scrapbook that was in the attic. Sometimes people give me pictures. Most of the time I get permission to have negatives and pictures made. Several times I've given life to old scrapbooks. I'd hope people will remember me before they throw them into the garbage. It turns my stomach to know what some people have thrown out. John II and Dan both have brought home goodies. Some documents, photos, and memorabilia I have are hanging on the wall. The most valuable is a 24 by 36 inch peacock tail chart three-fourths filled. (At this date John II is working on a computer program to reproduce the chart I made by hand in 1979.)
A big highlight meeting people was the results of corresponding with Father Lambert LaVoy. He is the former pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Erie, Michigan. Father LaVoy is an avid genealogist and author of a book on his family.
Knowing Father LaVoy enabled me to see records at the church in Erie. I feel privileged to have seen them. Many records were in French and Latin; but with the help of my son John, we translated enough material to learn a few facts and verify others. I could have spent weeks in the records! (Now, church records are available on micro film at the library in Monroe.)
I have a copy of Father's book, and although it is already autographed I insisted he sign it while I watched. I learned Father LaVoy and I have some of the same ancestors. One is George Drouillard. Father didn't know about George and delighted in the information I had.
Once talking with a family member I was asked why I want to keep all those papers. I said, "Just think of all the people I'll know when I go to heaven." They chuckled and said, "What if?" and pointed down. I said, "Okay, I’ll know plenty of them too."
Maybe there's a purpose to my hobby. One uncle noted that my English has improved since I've been doing all this writing. One of my best friends is the dictionary. This is really an education. I've been through hundreds of history books. Studied maps, and licked, so many stamps and picture corners that one time I had an allergy attack from the glue.
My project started by collecting information on the Pernia family. Later I added data on Mom's Chapman family. Seeking information from the Detroit Public Library lead us to two paying jobs in 1985 and 1987. It was an opportunity we never dreamed of. We helped prepare two books for print. First, the GUIDE to the MANUSCRIPTS in the BURTON HISTORICAL COLLECTION DETROIT PUBLIC LIBRARY. It has about 350 pages. The other book is GENEALOGY of the FRENCH FAMILIES of the DETROIT RIVER REGION 1701-1936. Vol. I and II. The genealogy involved one whole summer typing and editing about two thousand pages. Not once, but several times. The genealogy is the same source of Parnier family history I discovered years earlier. This came about when writing to Detroit library. I inquired if the book was still in print, I learned they were about to revise it and have a new printing. A couple of years later I received an invitation to join in editing the revision. One thing lead to another and our two jobs.
Along with the two books, I help family members publish collections of poetry and journals.
Fourteen years ago I became Vice President of The Chapman Family Association. John is the President. (The Chapman Association is 16 years old.) We publish The Chapman Heritage, a family newsletter twice a year. The Heritage contains articles written by various members of the family. We print pictures, family trees, and other items of interest. We're always on the look out for material. Occasionally we visit folks to encourage donations to the cause. Sometimes folks will talk into a tape recorder and I prepare an article. All the adventures we encounter have been enjoyable. Each one valuable and appreciated.
The past two year's I became editor for the Genealogical Society of Monroe County. The publication, the Record, published four times a year, contains aids for genealogist and information found in the county.
My collection of family memorabilia is still growing. The file cabinets are full to over flowing. The house, despite one son moving from home is full too. Both boys are claiming the records when I'm gone. I’ve got news for them; I'm not going !!!!!!!!
The experience over the years is a real education. Aided by the computer, my writing skills have vastly improved. I still find time to do a little "Rooting." I spend time writing and reading letters. A good part of the time is spent at the computer preparing material for print.
Rules and guides to research remained the same. Determination is on the top of the list, being an attentive listener is important. To be successful one has to weight each clue carefully.
There are still avenues open and new information found. I'm holding my breath for information on a whole new line of PURNIA'S. I'm still waiting by my mail box!!!!!!!!!
The Canada Company - Thelma Coleman, County of Perth & Cumming Publisher, Stratford, 1978
Bay Settlement of Monroe County, Michigan - Lambert M. LaVoy, 1972
Cousineau Sur La Baie - Loretta Alice, 1958
Genealogy of the French Families of the Detroit River Region, 1701-1911 - Rev. Fr. Christian Denissen, Detroit Society for Genealogy Research, 1976
Official Roster of the Soldier's of the State of Ohio in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1866 - Akron, Ohio, The Werner PTG and MFC Co., 1887
Adventures of Lewis and Clark - John Bakeless, 1966
George Drouillard of the Lewis & Clark Expedition and Fur Trader 1807-1810 - The Arthur H. Clark, Co., Glendale, California, 1964