Category Archives: Westward Expansion

THE LOVE FAMILY SAGA, FROM ATLANTIC TO PACIFIC IN SEVEN GENERATIONS, PART II: Lorenzo and Lois Love; George and Hannah Love; Olin and Mabel Love

The Love Family Saga tells the story of seven generations of the Love family, from the first immigrants to American shores in the eighteenth century, to those living in the first third of the  twentieth century.  In Part I of this Saga, I recounted the lives of the first four generations of Loves in America:    Generation I:  Adam and Mary Love, Generation II:  Sgt. Robert and Sarah Love, Generation III:  Robert and Susanna Love, and Generation IV:  Levi and Eunice Love.

I also identified themes that recur through the generations and connect them.  In each generation, some of the children left home and moved to new lands and farms farther west.  This migration pattern was not unique to our family, but was part of a larger movement of New Englanders moving westward as lands were appropriated from Native American residents and opened for homesteading.

Another unifying theme concerns the character and personality of many of the Loves:  these men were entrepreneurial, bold, and adventurous, but they were not always able to make their  big dreams come true. A third pattern involved the wives of these seven generations of Love men:  these women came from their own long lines of American settlers and pioneers, and their diverse heritages enrich and expand the Love family story.

Part I of the Love Family Saga, covers the first four generations (click here).  Part II carries the Love narrative forward through generations five, six, and seven.


Lorenzo (1814-1901) and Lois Hale (1815-1886) Love: From Bridgewater, NY to Newton Township, Michigan

Lorenzo Love was born in Bridgewater, NY, the fourth child of Levi and Eunice Waldo Love. When he was fifteen, he moved with his family to Hartland, NY, where he helped them clear new land for farming. At age 21 he left home and moved fifteen miles away to Yates, NY, where the next year he married Lois Lorain Hale. While there, he raised a company of the state militia and was its captain for three years.

Calhoun County, Michigan

Calhoun County, Michigan

In 1843, Lorenzo, Lois, and their two children, Almon Dwight, age 4, and Lorenzo Homer, age 2, left New York and moved 450 miles west to Calhoun County, located in south-central Michigan.  They made this journey just a few months after Lorenzo’s parents, Levi and Eunice Love, also left New York to settle in Waukesha, Wisconsin.  Lorenzo’s in-laws, the Hales, left New York as well, and settled near the Loves in Kalamazoo County, Michigan.




The migration of New Englanders to Western New York and the Great Lakes States

The migration of New Englanders to Western New York and the Great Lakes States, early 19th century.

When the Lorenzo Love family arrived in Michigan, it had been a state for six years. Michigan opened for extensive settlement in the aftermath of the War of 1812, when the federal government, in treaties with the local Ojibwa, Ottawa, and Potawatomi tribes, removed them to lands farther west. The Erie Canal provided a route from New England and New York, and thousands of New Englanders moved into the lower third of the state to create homesteads in the Michigan wilderness.



Ceresco:  The Grain Company

Westwind Mill, Linden, MI, est. 1837. This large mill may have been similar to the J. Wallingford 5 story mill that Lorenzo Love managed in Ceresco, MI, in the 1840s. Photo source:

Westwind Mill, Linden, MI, est. 1837. This large mill may have been similar to the five story mill that Lorenzo Love managed in Ceresco, MI, in the 1840s. Photo source:

The Loves settled in a town called Ceresco, which its founders named by combining the name of the Greek grain goddess, “Ceres” with the abbreviation for “company”. So the name means Grain Company. Lorenzo took employment at J. Wallingford’s five-story grain mill, located on the Kalamazoo River, and became its general manager.   The mill processed grain from a large surrounding region and shipped its products to markets as far away as Chicago and New York.







Historic ad for Kellogg's corn flakes

Historic ad for Kellogg’s corn flakes

The region was well-suited for growing cereals; later in the 19th century this agricultural fertility attracted the Kellogg brothers, who established their health sanitarium and breakfast cereal company in nearby Battle Creek.  The Loves and their neighboring farmers probably sold wheat and corn to this food-processing company.






The Underground Railroad

The largest monument to the underground railroad in the country is located in Battle Creek. It shows Harriet Tubman, local "conductors," and runaway slaves. Sculptor: Ed Dwight. The Kellogg Company commissioned the monument in 1993.

The largest monument to the Underground Railroad in the country is located in Battle Creek. It celebrates the role of Harriet Tubman.  Like Sojourner Truth, Tubman was an ardent abolitionist, and she is especially remembered for her leadership and bravery in the Underground Railroad.   Sculptor: Ed Dwight. The Kellogg Company commissioned the monument in 1993.

In the early 1840’s, about the time that the Love family arrived, Calhoun County became renowned for its fervent support of the Underground Railroad. In one instance, a fugitive slave family had settled there and a group of Kentuckians arrived to return them to slavery. The residents of the County refused to surrender the family to them, and later raised donations to pay a fine imposed on the citizens by a federal court.   In 1857, Sojourner Truth, famous African-American abolitionist and women’s rights activist, settled in Battle Creek, the county seat of Calhoun County, because of its strong abolitionist efforts.  We have no record of specific involvement of the Love family in the Underground Railroad, but like Lorenzo’s grandparents, Robert and Susanna Love, who attended the church of anti-slavery advocate Rev. Levi Hart,  they were embedded in an Abolitionist milieu, and it would have been a pervasive topic and preoccupation.

Descendants of Austin Love, Lorenzo Love's uncle, in Adrian MI, late 1800s; Photo courtesy of Judy Love

Descendants of Austin Love, Lorenzo Love’s uncle, in Adrian MI, late 1800s; Photo courtesy of Judy Love

Immigration and Family Separation

After several years working at the mill,  Lorenzo bought a farm, and he and Lois became  full-time farmers. In addition, Lorenzo  served the area at various times as postmaster, clerk, and justice of the peace for the Township.  During these years Lorenzo and Lois had two more children, Harriet Lorain, born in 1847, and our ancestor, George, born in 1850.

Lorenzo had one relative in Michigan, his uncle Austin Love.  Austin had been raised in Bridgewater, NY and moved to Michigan in 1835.  He and his large family lived in Adrian, about 60 miles away from the Lorenzo Loves in Burlington, and it is possible that the families were able to visit occasionally.

Historic Firestone Farm at Greenfield Village, Dearborn, MI, showing an 1876 reaper recently invented to reduce the physical labor of harvesting. Photo source:

Historic Firestone Farm at Greenfield Village, Dearborn, MI, showing an 1876 reaper recently invented to reduce the physical labor of harvesting. Photo source:

However, Lorenzo was separated from his parents and the family he grew up with in Bridgewater.  His brothers and sisters were scattered throughout Canada, New York, and Wisconsin. At this time, transportation was difficult, and very few farm families could afford either the time or money to travel long distances for family reunions. Family historian Dorothy McKillop quotes from a letter that Lorenzo, in his old age, wrote to his nephew, Charley Love, in Wisconsin,  which expresses the loss he felt at having so little contact with his family.

“As I had not heard of the death of my brother [DeLoss Love] until you informed me, I must say I feel much obliged to you for your kindness toward me. I have never seen DeLoss but once since father [Levi] moved to Wisconsin in 1843. He was then a boy some 16 or 17 years old. I wrote him a letter once but he never answered it. Well, out of a family of 14, only 5 remain.” (McKillop, p. 65)

Lorenzo retired from farming in 1888, after his wife’s death, and lived in the homes of his children until he died in 1901 at age 86.  According to his obituary, written by his sons, “ he was an active, vigorous man and was always strictly honorable in his transactions.”

Lois Love Tombstone, Burlington Cemetery, Burlington, MI. Photo Susan Whitelaw 1995.

Lois Love Tombstone, Burlington Cemetery, Burlington, MI. Photo Susan Love Whitelaw 1995.

Lois Lorain Hale, Lorenzo’s wife, was descended from New Englanders. Her parents moved from Vermont to Yates County as part of the large migration of New Englanders to western New York after the Revolutionary War, and moved to Michigan in parallel with Lorenzo and Lois in the 1840s.   Lois died on the home farm in Burlington in 1886, at the age of 71.

She and Lorenzo lived to see the family begin to move away from rural life into occupations more closely associated with towns and cities.  One of their children,  Lorenzo Homer, known as L.H. Love, became locally prominent as the publisher of a small-town newspaper, the Athens Times, and George, our direct ancestor, also explored alternatives to traditional rural life (See below.)

Lois and Lorenzo Love are buried at Burlington Cemetery, Burlington, Michigan.  The Calhoun County Genealogical Society has recognized Lorenzo Love as a Calhoun County Pioneer (one who settled in the County before 1861)  and has officially verified our family’s descent from him and Lois, his wife.


George Winslow (1850-1918) and Hannah Maria Lewis (1854-1946) Love: From Newton Township, Michigan to Livingston, California.


Love Family, 1886, Michigan. Left to right: Ralph, Lewis, George, Charles, Hanna, Olin, Ruth.

George and Hannah Love Family, 1886, Michigan. Left to right: Ralph, Lewis, George, Charles, Hannah, Olin, Ruth.

George Love was born in Ceresco, Newton Township, Michigan, where his father operated a flour mill. He was the youngest of four children. Soon after his birth, his father left the mill and bought a farm in the area, where  George grew up and attended local schools. In 1874, at age 24, he married Hannah Lewis, who lived on a nearby farm, and whom he had probably known since childhood.   The couple settled down on farms in Calhoun County and had four sons and a daughter between the years 1876 and 1886:  Charles George, b. 1876; Ralph Emerson, b. 1877; Ruth Carrie, b. 1880; Lewis D., b. 1883; and Olin Wayne, b. 1886.

Starting in the 1890s, the Love family and their children made a series of moves that took them from farms to towns, from Michigan to the west coast, and from farming to leadership in farming cooperatives, and to business and professional careers.

Benton Harbor, Michigan

Eden Springs amusement park miniature railroad, early 20th century, Benton Harbor, MI

Eden Springs amusement park miniature railroad, early 20th century, Benton Harbor, MI

By 1894, the family had moved to Benton Harbor, a town on the shore of Lake Michigan, about 85 miles west of Newton Township. Benton Harbor was a rapidly growing town in the 1890s. The construction of a canal had drained its swamps and also provided a port on the Lake, so that agricultural products could be shipped out to Chicago and other markets.  Sawmills, fruit canning companies,  manufacturers, and a tourist industry all grew quickly in this late nineteenth century boom town.  The 1900 Federal Census lists George Love’s  occupation in Benton Harbor as “carpenter,” and  it seems likely that he worked on construction projects in this growing municipality.  Judging from his later activities on the west coast, he may also have been interested in land speculation.

Hanna Love, 1901, age 47, a few years before she left Michigan and moved to Oregon

Hannah Love, 1901, age 47, a few years before she left Michigan and moved to Oregon,  Source:  Fran Bryanton photo archive


Real Estate in Woodburn, Oregon

In 1905, George and Hannah, in their early 50’s, and two of their now-adult children (Ralph and Lewis),  moved 2,300 miles west to Oregon. They left  behind Hannah’s mother, Rachel Freer Lewis, and their oldest child, Charles, and his family.  Two of their children remained in the midwest and came to Oregon later.  Ruth was a nurse in Chicago; she married Millard Seitz, a lawyer, in 1907, and they moved to Oregon in 1908.  Olin was still a teenager when his parents left; he was working in Indiana but joined the family in Oregon a few years later.





Love Real Estate Brochure, about 1911, Woodburn, Oregon

Love Real Estate Brochure, about 1911, Woodburn, Oregon

The Love family settled in Woodburn, Oregon, in the heart of the fertile Willamette Valley, a town of about 2,500 people. George and Hannah bought a 50 acre farm, but farming does not seem to have been their primary occupation.  George and his  sons opened a real estate office, hoping to speculate successfully in the growing demand for the rich farm land in the area.

Both farming and real estate were short-lived ventures, however, and in 1912 George and Hannah moved to Livingston, California, another area of potentially highly productive farm land.  George was probably interested in continuing to speculate in real estate, and apparently found the prospects desirable, as the children, Lewis, Ralph, Olin and their families, also left Oregon over the next several years and joined their parents there.  Ruth did not move to Livingston.  Her husband died of drowning on the Oregon Coast in 1912.  She and her young son, William Love Seitz,  returned to Chicago where she studied music at the Chicago College of Music.  She then established a career as a piano teacher in Anaheim, California.


The California Agricultural Revolution

Family Picnic, July 4, 1914, Livingston, California. Far left, Ralph Love; center, Hanna and George Love; others are Ralph's wife, Edna McCoy and her relatives.

Family Picnic, July 4, 1914, Livingston, California, two years after the Loves arrived there.   Far left, Ralph Love; center, Hannah and George Love; others are Ralph’s wife, Edna McCoy and her relatives.  Source:  Frances Morton photo archive.

The town of Livingston was named after the famous explorer of Africa, Dr. Livingstone (the final “e” was inadvertently omitted from the application for a post office, so the town name officially became Livingston). Land speculators advertised the area nationally, drawing settlers from as far away as the mid-west.  However, as in Oregon, the Love family did not prosper in real estate there, and instead they turned to wheat ranching.

Grain thrasher, Lewis Love ranch, Livingston, California, about 1920

Grain thrasher, Lewis Love ranch, Livingston, California, about 1920. Source:  Stan Elems photo archive.

When the Love family arrived, central California was in the midst of an agricultural revolution, and the Loves discovered that wheat farming there was very different from that practiced on their Michigan farm. In California, the farms were called ranches, because the wheat fields were large, flat, nearly empty expanses of land.  Scientists developed new strains of wheat compatible with dry farming, so wheat could survive in arid areas.  Unlike the small family farms characteristic of Michigan, California ranches replaced intensive human labor with giant farm machinery and large teams of horses, both of which were well adapted to the flat, empty terrain. A single rancher, with the help of hired “hands”, could grow much larger crops than was possible in the mid west.  To get a sense of the change in scale, compare the huge harvesting machine shown here with the reaper used by Michigan farmers pictured in the previous section on Lorenzo Love.


Farmers utilize a team of 14 draft animals to harvest wheat. Source: OSU photo archives.

Farmers utilize a team of 14 draft animals to harvest wheat. Source: OSU photo archives.

The Loves embraced this new method of wheat-growing with enthusiasm. Lewis formed a partnership with a local banker, who provided the capital for them to jointly purchase 1,000 acres, one of the largest ranches in the area.  Lewis was in charge of the actual farming.  George and Ralph also had ranches.   Son Olin joined the family in 1918 and also bought a ranch.   My mother, who lived on her father’s ranch for a few years as a child, remembered that her Uncle Ralph, who had lost an arm while working at a saw mill in Oregon, was renowned for managing teams of twelve horses with his one arm.  Twelve-horse teams would have been unheard of, and not useful, in Michigan.

“Death to All Rabbits” (Livingston Chronicle, March 9, 1917)

Lewis Love, seated on horse on left, leading a jack rabbit drive, about 1918. Photo from the Livingston Chronicle, Oct. 12, 1933.

Lewis Love, seated on horse on left, leading a jack rabbit drive, March, 1917.  Photo from the Livingston Chronicle, Oct. 12, 1933.

Lewis Love was a popular local figure. Over the years he was elected to be the first director of the Merced Irrigation District, the president of the Livingston farm center, an officer in the Livingston chamber of commerce, and justice of the peace. He was most remembered, however, for being the organizer and leader of a series of massive jack rabbit sweeps.  Jack rabbits were so numerous that they seriously threatened the crops. In one sweep, Love organized a thousand men, including contingents from the Japanese, Chinese, and Portuguese communities, for a drive covering ten square miles, with an estimated kill of 6,000 rabbits.  (Note:  Many thanks to Stan Elems, grandson of Lewis Love, for locating and scanning all newspaper articles in the Livingston Chronicle on the Love family, and for much other help in doing research on the Love family in California.)

George Winslow Love, about 1915, Livingston, California

George Winslow Love, about 1915, Livingston, California.  Source:  Roger Schartzer photo archive.

George Love died at age 68, in 1918, unfortunately by suicide, after learning from his doctor that his heart was failing. He became despondent, and hanged himself from a rafter in the barn.   Although his method of dying was not made public at the time, I have chosen to do so here  because currently we understand suicide to be a symptom of depression, which, like many other mental and physical disorders, can have a physiological base. It is useful for those in the Love line to know if they might have a genetic susceptibility to depression.




George and Hanna Love, soon after arriving in California, 1914.

George and Hannah Love, soon after arriving in California, 1914.

Hannah Lewis Love survived her husband by many years. She lived to see the end of World War II.   During her widowhood, Hannah divided her time between Livingston and Los Angeles, at the home of her daughter, Ruth.  She returned to Michigan once that we know of, in 1918, to visit her mother, then in her 90s, and her son Charles and his nine children. Hannah died in 1946 at the age of 92 and is buried next to her husband in Turlock Cemetery, near Livingston.

Hannah’s ancestry includes very early immigrants to America. Her mother was Rachel Freer.  Rachel was born in New Paltz, NY, the home base of the extensive Freer family, who were Huguenots fleeing persecution in France.  Through her father, Adna Lewis, Hannah was a descendant of Thomas Lewis, an early settler to Dutch New York, and by his marriage, to several of the early Dutch families there.   Click here.   Through her paternal grandmother, Hulda Nye Lewis, Hannah was also related to the Nyes and other Puritan settlers of the Cape Cod town of Saugus in the 1600s. Click here.

Hanna Love's loveseat, which she brought from Michigan to California, now in the Historical Museum, Livingston, California

Hannah Love’s loveseat, which she brought from Michigan to California, now in the Historical Museum, Livingston, CA.  Photo Susan Whitelaw, 2009.

Ruth Love Seitz, California, 1930s

Ruth Love Seitz, nurse, California, 1930s.  Source:  Fran Bryanton photo archive.

George and Hannah’s children continued the trend that began a generation earlier of transitioning from farming to urban occupations.  Charles was a musician and piano tuner in Michigan his entire adult life.   His expertise was recognized by opera singer Helen Traubel, who always insisted that he tune the pianos that would accompany her performances in the area.  Lewis left ranching after several years to become a justice of the peace in Livingston.  Ruth had obtained professional education in two fields:  music education and nursing, and, as a single mother, was able to support herself and her son in these professions.  Olin tried a number of occupations and was a farmer only briefly (see below).


Charles Love, piano tuner, Michigan, perhaps about 1935

Charles Love, tuning a piano at the Grinnell Brothers Music Store, Lansing, MI., probably the 1920s.  Source: Courtesy Lori Love Smith.

Lewis Love, Justice of the Peace, courtroom, Livingston, CA, 1933

Lewis Love, Justice of the Peace, in his courtroom, Livingston, CA, 1933.  Source:  Stan Elems photo archive.


Olin (1886-1930) and Mabel Goulet (1889-1963) Love: From Newton Township, Michigan to Portland, Oregon

Olin Love, Oregon, 1925

Olin Love, Oregon, 1925

Olin Love was born in 1886 in Burlington, Michigan. According to his daughter, Alvis, he was originally named Leland Stanford Love, after the railroad industrialist, but the name was changed to Olin Wayne when he was five or six, for reasons that are now obscure. “Wayne” may be a reference to “Mad Anthony Wayne,” a military leader of the Revolutionary War, who later helped win Michigan and the Northwest Territory from Indian and British influence.

Olin was the youngest of five children born to George and Hannah Love, and spent his earliest years on their farm in Burlington, Michigan. During his childhood the family moved to Benton Harbor, on the coast of Lake Michigan. This was the first of many moves that were to characterize his peripatetic life. A 1912 book of biographical sketches of self-made men in Oregon details Olin’s restless energy. At the time the book was written, Olin was 26 years old.  He and others like him took advantage of the opportunities open to ambitious young men attempting to leave the farms homesteaded by their ancestors and move into the modern world.

Early 20th century cigar sign, Spokane, Washington. Photo by Larry Mann. Source:

Early 20th century cigar sign, Spokane, Washington. Photo by Larry Mann. Source:

“[In Benton Harbor, Michigan] he pursued his education in the common schools until he had attained the age of thirteen years. He then laid aside his textbooks and apprenticed himself to the cigar maker’s trade, which he followed in twenty-six different states. He subsequently located in Elkhart, Indiana, engaging in business there until 1908. In February of that year he disposed of his establishment and joined his father, who had previously purchased a ranch of fifty acres near Woodburn [Oregon]. Soon thereafter he went to Spokane, Washington, where he followed the cigar business for a year, but at the end of that time he returned to Woodburn and together with his brother Louis D. opened a real-estate office. Although they have been engaged in this business for only a brief period, they have become very well established and have every reason to feel most sanguine regarding its future success.” (Joseph Gaston, 1912)

Olin, Alvis, and Mabel Love, Woodburn, Oregon, 1912

Olin, Alvis, and Mabel Love, Woodburn, Oregon, 1912

Olin Love married Mabel Goulet of Woodburn in October, 1910; their daughter Alvis (my mother) was born a year later. The family moved to San Diego in 1917, but then moved to a ranch in Livingston, California, in the San Joaquin Valley, joining Olin’s parents and siblings.  During this time, Olin became interested in organizing farmers and was involved with California’s Farm Bureau.





Traveling Salesman

A postcard Olin, traveling salesman, sent from Washington to Mabel and Alvis, 1923.

A postcard Olin, traveling salesman, sent from Washington to Mabel and Alvis, 1923.

In 1921, Mabel’s poor health caused the family to move back to Woodburn, where they could be near Mabel’s parents. Olin took a position as a salesman for a firm producing food supplements for livestock, the Economy Hog & Cattle Powder Company. This large Iowa company distributed its products nationwide. Olin, as company sales representative in the Northwest, traveled continuously through Oregon and Washington.

Postcard of Carnation Milk Company, 1909

Postcard of Carnation Milk Company, 1909

He was recognized as a top salesman for the Company in 1928 and 1929, and was described in the firm’s newsletter of July, 1930, as “one of the most energetic, as well as capable salesmen ever to represent the Economy Company.” The May, 1930, edition of the newsletter reported that: “Mr. Love had the faculty of being able to approach big men with large business firms. He was the man more responsible than anyone else in getting the business from the Carnation Milk People,” a large dairy farm operation with over 1,000 head of Holstein cows.

Olin (far left) and Mabel (seated under the awning) on their boat with friends, Willamette River, 1929

Olin (far left) and Mabel (seated under the awning) on their boat with friends, Willamette River, 1929

The family moved to Portland in 1925, so Alvis could attend a Portland high school. Olin was determined that she would have a good education and attend college, a somewhat unusual ambition to have for a daughter at that time.   During these Portland years, Olin became owner of a boat with which he entertained his family and his clients for the Economy Company on fishing trips along the Columbia and Willamette Rivers. A fellow salesman wrote in the company newsletter (May, 1930) that he “had the pleasure of riding with Mr. Love in his house-boat on the Willamette and Columbia Rivers of Oregon. Mr. Love was a splendid entertainer and host. . . . [He] loved to fish, hunt; he enjoyed out-door life and was especially fond of being on the water.”

Olin Love and his car, about 1918.

Olin Love and the Courtland, about 1918.

Olin Love died unexpectedly and prematurely of complications from surgery on duodenal ulcers in 1930 when he was in his early 40’s. Unfortunately, he died just as he was becoming financially successful, and had not had time to provide for his wife and
daughter. This was before the days of Social Security, so his death caused both his wife and daughter to struggle financially. His daughter, Alvis, remembered him as a kind and devoted father, but one who was a rolling stone, always eager to try a new job or see a new part of the country. During his lifetime, he lived in numerous states and tried many different occupations. The ones he seemed to like the best involved constant travel.

Alvis Love Whitelaw, 1971, Portland, OR

Alvis Love Whitelaw,  Associate Director of Metropolitan Family Services, 1971, Portland, OR

Mabel Love outlived her husband for many years, supporting herself as an apartment house manager.  I have written about her here.    Her mother, Florence Beach, was the daughter of Amos Beach, Civil War Veteran (click here).   Her father was W.H. Goulet, son of French Canadian pioneers S.A. and Marcellisse Goulet (click here).  Olin and Mabel’s daughter, Alvis Love Whitelaw, (my mother) continued the family trend of moving from farming to an urban way of life.  She obtained a college degree in 1933 and had a career in social service.  I have written about her here. 




Endings and Beginnings

Roger Schartzer, swearing-in ceremony to Coast Guard (grandson of Charles Love) center, with parents Ruth and Vernal Schartzer on right and Coast Guard staff on the left, 1979, Phoenix, AZ. Photo archive of Fran Bryanton. Courtesy Roger Schartzer.

Roger Schartzer (grandson of Charles Love) center, with parents Ruth and Vernal Schartzer on right, swearing-in ceremony as Chief Warrant Officer of Coast Guard, 1979, Phoenix, AZ. Photo courtesy Roger Schartzer.

The death of Olin Love in 1930 marked the 200th anniversary of the arrival of Adam and Mary Love in America in 1730.  As the generations progressed through these two centuries, some patterns gradually ended. The movement westward came to a stop, as the descendants of George and Hannah Love ran out of land on the shores of the Pacific Ocean; instead, they moved north and south, up and down the coast from Washington and Oregon to California and back again.  The pattern of small scale family farming as the normative occupation for Love families also ended, as it did for the country as a whole.



Fran Bryanton, grand daughter of Charles Love, retired auto worker. Photo taken on her 90th birthday, singing with her nephew, Bill Love, Lakeland, FL, 2008

Fran Bryanton, retired auto worker, and daughter of Charles Lov. Photo taken on her 90th birthday, singing with her nephew, Bill Love, Lakeland, FL, 2008

The sixth and seventh generations ushered in new ways of life, with a growing urban orientation.  The Loves took advantage of windows of opportunity to move out of agriculture to pursue occupations and careers, for example, by working for agricultural industries or taking leadership in farm organizations.    Their big dreams didn’t always work out, but their willingness to take risks and their sense of adventure helped these families to see and profit from opportunities in towns and cities.



Alvis Love, third from right, Atwater School, Livingston, CA, about1918

Hazel Love (Lewis Love’s daughter), fourth from right, and Alvis Love, (Olin Love’s daughter), third from right,  Jordan-Atwater School, Livingston, CA, about 1918.

The lives of the  great-grandchildren of George and Hannah Love reveal another emerging trend, the increasing importance of education.  Among their descendants are Ph.D’s, college professors, and physicians.  This trend occurred for women in the family as well as men, as the girls in these families were likely to receive as much or more education than the boys.



Nancy Whitelaw, Ph.D. and Vice President, National Council on Aging, Olin Love's granddaughter; with Evie Elems, and Stan Elems, M.S., biology professor, and grandson of Lewis Love. Photo by Susan Love Whitelaw, Livingston CA Historical Society, 2009

Nancy Whitelaw, Ph.D. and Vice President, National Council on Aging, Olin Love’s granddaughter; with Evie and Stan Elems, M.S., biology professor, and grandson of Lewis Love. Photo by Susan Love Whitelaw, Livingston CA Historical Society, 2009

The photos that appear throughout this post of George and Hannah Love’s descendants  are intended to suggest the wide range of occupations they found as they adapted to life in urban, industrial America.  The children and grandchildren of George and Hannah Love forged pathways for themselves in many fields, including music, the ministry, public administration, social service, sales, health care, manufacturing, the military, and small businesses.




References for Lorenzo and Lois Love

Underground Railroad Monument, at;  Ceresco, at;  Rosenstreter, Roger L. (1980) “Calhoun County”  Michigan History, Vo. 64, no. 3, p. 7-10;  Calhoun County Genealogical Society, Pioneer Certificate for ancestor Lorenzo Love, Marshall, MI; U.S. Federal Census 1840, Orleans County NY; U.S. Federal Census, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, Calhoun County, MI; History of Calhoun County Michigan (1877), Philadelphia:  L.H. Everts & Co., p. 174;  Newton Township, (1873) Atlas of Calhoun Co. Michigan, New York:  F.W. Beers, p. 57; Love, L.H. & G.W. (1901)  Death of Lorenzo Love, The Athens Times, Athens, Calhoun Co. Michigan, August 3, p. 1. ; Lorenzo Love and Lois Love Gravestones, Burlington Cemetery, Burlington, MI; Berrien, Michigan death certificate (1901), Lorenzo Love; McKillop, Dorothy & Love, Mary Anne, eds. (1991)  Love Family HIstory, MS and DVD/CD Rom reprint, Seattle, WA, p.. 76.; Waldo LIncoln (1902)  Genealogy of the Waldo Family, Worcester, MA:  Press of Charles Hamilton, p. 490.  Sources for Hale family, all on  Vermont Vital Records, Benjamin Hale, born 4 Marcy, 1787; Findagrave Benjamin Hale,  died Jan. 1866, Mountain Home Cemetery, Kalamazoo, MI; 1830 U.S. Census, Royalton, Niagara, NY,Benjamin Hale; 1840 U.S. Census, Yates, Orleans, NY, Benjamin Hale; 1850 U.S. Census Index, Portage, Kalamazoo County, MI, Benjamin Hale; 1860 U.S. Census, Oshtemo, Kalamazoo County, MI, William Hale (mistake for Benjamin Hale?).

References for George and Hannah Love

1860, 1880 U.S. Census, Newton, Calhoun, Michigan; 1900 U.S. Census, Benton Harbor, Michigan; 1910 U.S. Census, Woodburn, Oregon;  Death of Lorenzo Love, The Athens Times, Athens, Calhoun Co., Michigan, August 3, p. 1; City of Benton Harbor – History, available online at; Gaston, Joseph (1912).  Olin Wayne Love.  Centennial History of Oregon, 1811-1912, Volume III; Biographical Sketches, Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1912, pp. 546-547; Olmstead, Alan L. and Rhode, Paul W.  The Evolution of California Agriculture, In California Agriculture:  Dimensions and Issues, p. 1-28, Giannini Foundation, 2011, available online at;  G.W. Love Dies at his Turlock Home, Aged 64.  Livingston, CA, Livingston Chronicle, Feb. 22, 1918; Death Certificate, George Winslow Love, 1918, Stanislaus County, CA; Marriage Record, certified:  Love-Lewis,  State of Michigan, County of Calhoun, December 1, 1874;  Whitelaw, Alvis,  Oral History, Recorded by Susan Whitelaw, Oregon and Michigan, from 1990-1996; Stanislaus County, CA, Death Certificate for George Love (1918); Los Angeles County, CA, Death Certificate, Hanna M. Love (1946); Death Comes Peacefully to Judge L.D. Love, True Friend, Community Leader, The Livingston Chronicle, October 12, 1933, p. 1; Calhoun County, MI Death Certificate, Rachel (Freer) Lewis, 1920.

References for Olin and Mabel Love

Gaston, Joseph (1912). Olin Wayne Love. Centennial History of Oregon, 1811-1912, Volume III: Biographical Sketches. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1912. pp. 546-547; Love Buys Home Ranch (October 24, 1919), The Livingston Chronicle, Livingston, California; O.W. Love. (May, 1930) The Livestock Reflector, a publication of the Economy Hog & Cattle Powder Co., Shenandoah, Iowa. Vol. II, No. 1. p. 16 and p. 31; O.W. Love Succumbs (March 20, 1930). The Woodburn Independent, Woodburn, Oregon, p. 1.; State of Oregon, Center for Health Statistics. Certificate of Death, Orin W. Love. (Note typo on certificate: Orin instead of Olin). March 14, 1930, Portland, Multnomah, Oregon.; State of Oregon, Center for Health Statistics.   Certificate of Marriage, Olin Wayne Love and Mabel Clara Goulet, Oct. 26, 1910, Woodburn, Marion, Oregon;  U.S. Federal Census. (1900). Ollin W. Love. Benton Harbor, Berrien County, Michigan; Whitelaw, Alvis. Oral History. Recorded by her daughter, Susan Whitelaw, from 1990 to 1996, in Oregon and Michigan.

THE LOVE FAMILY SAGA: FROM ATLANTIC TO PACIFIC IN SEVEN GENERATIONS, PART I: Adam and Mary Love, Sgt. Robert and Sarah Love, Robert and Susanna Love, and Levi and Eunice Love

Andrew Greeley Go West Young ManThe entrepreneurial spirit and the quest for greener pastures, passed down through the generations of our Love family line, resulted in a two hundred year, seven-generation migration from Northern Ireland, across the Atlantic to the eastern seaboard of the American Colonies, through Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Ontario, Michigan, Wisconsin, and finally the West Coast states of Oregon and California.   The Love family exemplifies a common American migration pattern, with each succeeding generation migrating further west.

Our Love family line is male, going from father to son as follows: Adam Love, Sgt. Robert Love, Robert Love Jr., Levi Love, Lorenzo Love, George Winslow Love, and Olin Wayne Love, my grandfather.   Olin had one child, my mother, Alvis Ruth Love Whitelaw.

Westward Expansion of the United States

Westward Expansion of the United States

The records we have on these men reveal another pattern passed down through the generations: as a group, the Love men appear to have been personable, capable, risk-taking, and adventurous. They were also dreamers whose big plans didn’t always work out, and the records are punctuated with bankruptcies and broken dreams.

The marriages of the generations of Love men formed a third pattern. As it happens, they tended to marry women whose families had been in North America for a very long time, often back to the earliest European settlers on North American shores. I have written about some of these early families in previous blog posts, and will give links to these earlier posts as each wife appears in the generational narrative. In this way, the reader can make connections among the various early branches of the Love family and form a coherent picture of the extended Love family tree.

As the families moved through history, they interacted with events of their time.  This narrative will interweave these economic, political, and social events with the individual life courses of our Love ancestors, from colonial days to the twentieth century.

Historical Background

The migration of New Englanders to Western New York and the Great Lakes States

The migration of New Englanders to Western New York and the Great Lakes States after the Revolutionary War.

In this two-century, multi-generation migration, the Love family was part of the larger migration patterns in the U.S. Many descendants of families who came to New England in colonial times moved westward, following the retreating frontier. The end of the Revolutionary War opened up territory in Western New York, and the War of 1812 expanded the American frontier to the Great Lakes states. The Erie Canal, built in 1825, made travel accessible for large numbers of families with their livestock and household supplies, as they moved from the depleted farms of New England and  eastern New York to virgin lands around the  Great Lakes.


Automobile Routes 1907

Automobile Routes 1907

The California Gold Rush and opening of lands in the Willamette Valley in Oregon encouraged the children and grandchildren of those earlier pioneers to continue the generational movement westward in wagon trains on the Oregon Trail.   After the Civil War, railroads built across the west provided a fast and safe mode of transport from the east clear to the Pacific shore, and shortly after the railroads were built, the age of the automobile made travel even easier.


The work of homesteading required large families, but when the children were grown, they needed to establish farms of their own. Source: North-wind picture-archives. Hand-colored woodcut of a 19th-century illustration.

The work of homesteading required large families, but when the children were grown, they needed to establish farms of their own. Source: North-wind picture-archives. Hand-colored woodcut of a 19th-century illustration.

The spirit of adventure and the promise of economic security through homesteading large tracts of wilderness were undoubtedly motivations for these migrations. By the early nineteenth century, some lands in New England had been cultivated for almost two hundred years and had lost productivity.   Families were large, and the farms were often divided among the children as they came of age, so the farms became smaller over the generations. While some siblings would stay on the home farm, others would move to new lands and opportunities further west. In this way adult children became geographically separated from their parents and from one another. The permanent separation of families and social isolation of individuals  are other recurring themes in our family saga.

Sources:  Two family histories provide much of the material for the narratives here.  William Deloss Love, Jr. (1851-1918) wrote Love Family History (1918) based on notes of his father and his own research.  He was the great-grandson of Robert and Susanna Love; his grandfather was William Love, a brother of our direct ancestor, Levi Love.    William Deloss Love, Jr.’s  work is the main source of information for Adam and Mary Love, Sgt. Robert and Sarah Love, and Robert and Susanna Love.  Dorothy Love McKillop (1943- ),  and Mary Anne Blaisdell Love  (1948-) descendants of Levi and Eunice Love, wrote another Love Family History in 1991, bringing the narrative forward.  Their book is the main source  of information for Levi and Eunice Love.   These and other sources are listed in the Footnote section at the end of this essay.


Adam (1697-1765) and Mary (1702-1776) Love: From Northern Ireland to Rhode Island

Sea Routes on the Atlantic Ocean. The Times Atlas, new edition, 1900, pub. London.

Sea Routes on the Atlantic Ocean. The Times Atlas, new edition, 1900, pub. London.

Adam and Mary Love and their young daughter emigrated from Northern Ireland to Rhode Island in about 1730. According to a family story, Mary gave birth to their second child, our ancestor Robert, on ship. The Loves traveled with Adam’s brother Gabriel, part of a larger movement of farmers leaving the economic hardship in Antrim County, Northern Ireland, for the promise of economic opportunity in the new world.






Jury duty in colonial Rhode Island often meant convening a temporary court at the site of the crime, so the jurors could examine the evidence.

Jury duty in colonial Rhode Island often meant convening a temporary court at the site of the crime, so the jurors could examine the evidence.  See the outdoor court in center of picture.

Adam and Mary homesteaded in a wilderness area about ten miles west of the town of Warwick, Rhode Island. A consortium of settlers had purchased this land from the Narragansett Tribe of Indians in 1642.   Over the years, the Loves helped to create the town of Coventry. Public records show that they bought and sold various farms and paid taxes that were above the average for the area. Adam was elected as a jury man several times, and also served as town constable.  In colonial America, in resistance to British oppression, juries fulfilled an important political function of protecting individual liberties.

rhode island map.netHowever, the records also show that Adam was sued or otherwise involved in legal problems.   Adam was forced to declare bankruptcy at one point. According to family historian W. D. Love, the bankruptcy resulted from his effort to secure farms for his adult children: “The gifts he had made to his sons, were, however, more generous than he could afford” (p.26).   Adam was in his early 60s at the time; he spent his remaining few years living with his wife on the property of his son, William. He died at age 68 in 1765. Adam and Mary Love had two daughters and three sons; all but the oldest daughter were still living at the time of Adam’s death.  Mary lived for another 11 years, and is buried by her husband in Riverside Cemetery (also known as Oneco Cemetery), Sterling, Connecticut.

For more on Adam and Mary Love, including a discussion of their legal issues, click here.


Sgt. Robert (c. 1730-1809) and Sarah Blanchard (1743-1771) Love: From aboard ship in the Atlantic Ocean to Coventry, Rhode Island

 Robert, the oldest son of Adam and Mary Love, was born about 1730, probably on the ship that brought his parents from Northern Ireland to America. He grew up helping to clear the family homestead farm in the wilderness in Coventry, RI. In 1753, when he came of age, his father gave him a portion of the homestead farm, about 80 acres. As a young adult, he farmed this land and also probably worked as a blacksmith.   Over the next fifteen years, he suffered such serious financial hardships that his farm was in danger of being repossessed for back taxes.  Fortunately, his mother, Mary Love, satisfied the claim by relinquishing one of her silver spoons to the sheriff.

Silver spoon, c. 1780, made in Philadelphia from melted down silver coins

Silver spoon, c. 1780, made in Philadelphia from melted down silver coins

During these years, Robert married three times.  He had a daughter by each of the first two wives; both women died in childbirth, and their daughters were raised in the homes of grandparents.

Robert married for a third time in 1762, to our ancestor, Sarah Blanchard (born 1743 in Rhode Island), whose family’s farm adjoined that of Robert Love. She died in 1771, at age 28, leaving three children, including our ancestor Robert Love, Jr. She was “a woman of excellent family and character, and her death was a serious loss to the family circle” (W.D. Love, p. 71). Her parents were Anne Whaley and Moses Blanchard, whose families were early settlers in Rhode Island. Sarah Blanchard’s great grandfather was Theophilus Whaley, a mysterious historical figure; I have written about him here.

Soldiers at the siege of Yorktown, 1781, by Jean Baptiste Antoine DeVerger. The Black soldier wears the uniform of a Rhode Island regiment.

Soldiers at the siege of Yorktown, 1781, by Jean Baptiste Antoine DeVerger. The Black soldier on the left wears the uniform of a Rhode Island regiment.

In 1773 , his oldest daughter, Olive, by his first wife,  moved from the home of her grandmother, Mary Love, to that of her father. She was  16 years old and assumed the duties of managing the household and her three younger half-siblings, probably with the help of her grandmother, Mary Love. Sgt. Robert Love left her in charge of the household and enlisted in a Rhode Island regiment in 1777, to serve in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.  He remained in service for three years and three months, as verified by the database of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).


Colonial blacksmiths forging arms during the Revolutionary War

Colonial blacksmiths forging arms during the Revolutionary War

Over the years before and after the War, Sgt. Robert Love sold off the property he had inherited, much of it to his brother, William.   During his later years he lived on property that his children by Sarah Blanchard had inherited from their maternal grandfather, Moses Blanchard. According to W.D. Love, he built a blacksmith shop on this land.  He married for a fourth time in 1791; there were no children from this marriage.  Robert Love died in Coventry in 1809. In assessing his character, W. D. Love wrote:

“Sergeant Robert Love seems . . . to have been a man of unusual energy. He was industrious, resourceful and patriotic, tenacious, doubtless, of his rights and very likely careless in the management of his affairs – a man whose life passed amid a variety of experiences and was repeatedly broken up by affliction, but a man who had that courage and perseverance which have characterized so many of his descendants.” (W.D. Love, p. 70)

Robert had three daughters and two sons; all were living at the time of his death except his oldest son, Alexander, who died a soldier in the Revolutionary War.  According to W. D. Love, he is probably buried in the Riverside Cemetery (also known as Oneco Cemetery) near his parents and other kindred, but his gravestone has not been found.


Robert (1767-1836) and Susanna Austin (1766-1842) Love: From Coventry, RI to Bridgewater, NY

This picture shows General Washington in Rhode Island in 1780. However, according to W.D. Love, Washington passed the Love homestead in either 1776 or 1781 (p. 36).

This picture shows General Washington meeting the French General Rochambeau  in Rhode Island and traveling to Yorktown  for the definitive battle of the Revolution.  This could have been the cavalcade that young Robert Love observed from the family farm.

Robert was born in 1767 in Coventry, RI, and grew up on his father’s farm. His childhood was disrupted by the death of his mother, Sarah Blanchard, when he was four, leaving him and his two older siblings in the care of his father and later of his older half-sister, Olive Love.  When Robert was ten, his father and older brother, Alexander, left home to fight in the Revolutionary War for three years, and his brother never returned, having  died in service.  The War was a pervasive presence close to home; a family story states that Robert watched General Washington and a contingent of soldiers pass by the family farm during military maneuvers. After the War, when Robert was sixteen, the family was permanently broken up when Olive got married and left home, and Robert’s father, Sgt. Robert Love, sold the family property to his brother, William.

Young Robert, now out on his own, worked as a laborer for several years, and then made his way about thirty miles west to Preston, Connecticut, where he continued to work for others. There is no record that he owned land in Preston, but he did have an interest in land back in Coventry, RI. This was the farm that his grandfather, Moses Blanchard, had left to his children. Sarah, Robert’s deceased mother, had inherited a one/sixth share of her father’s estate, and this share was divided among Sarah’s two surviving children. This was too small a parcel to support Robert and his family, and in 1785 he sold it to his father, and left Rhode Island for good.

Susanna Austin Love and the Congregational Church in Preston, Connecticut

John Gano, Baptist minister, baptizing George Washington at Valley Forge. The authenticity of this alleged event is much disputed.

John Gano, Baptist minister, baptizing George Washington at Valley Forge. The authenticity of this alleged event is much disputed.  It is certain that George Washington was baptized  as an infant in the Episcopal Church..

In 1788, at age 21, Robert married Susanna Austin in the Congregational Church in Preston.  The pastor was the Rev. Levi Hart, a prominent and influential preacher in Connecticut.

The family’s involvement with this church began a generation earlier,  in 1762,  when Susanna’s parents, Benjamin and Sarah Burdick Austin, came to Preston from Rhode Island.  Sarah was descended from founders and leaders of the Seventh Day Baptist Church in Rhode Island, dating back to the 1600s (click here).  A key tenet of the Baptist Church was adult, not infant baptism.  Therefore, it was very significant when, in 1768, Sarah broke with this tradition,  formally joined with Rev. Hart’s  Congregational Church , and had all six of her children baptized.

One of those children was our ancestor, Susanna.  Susanna, in her turn,  formally joined the Church after her marriage to Robert and later had her children baptized there, including our ancestor Levi.    In those days, joining the Congregational Church was a major commitment, and not undertaken lightly.  Robert did not join, but, like many others, was part of the larger church family.

Design of the medallion created as part of anti-slavery campaign by Josiah Wedgwood, English potter, 1780.

Design of the medallion created as part of  the anti-slavery campaign by Josiah Wedgwood, English potter, 1780.

The Loves’ involvement in Rev. Hart’s church put them in the center of one of America’s great social reforms, the Abolitionist  Movement.  Historian Peter Hinks called Rev. Levi Hart  one of the “most important critics of slavery to emerge in Connecticut during the years of the American Revolution.”  In 1775  he preached a sermon that pointed out the hypocrisy of fighting for freedom from Britain while maintaining slavery:

“Could it be thought then that such a palpable violation of the law of nature, and of the fundamental principles of society, would be practiced by individuals and connived at, and tolerated by the public in British America! . . . .

What have the unhappy Africans committed against the inhabitants of the British colonies and islands in the West Indies, to authorize us to seize them, or bribe them to seize one another, and transport them a thousand leagues into a strange land, and enslave them for life?” ( Liberty Described and Recommended, 1775.)

AntiSlaverySermonEdwards2After the war, he helped form the Connecticut Society for the Promotion of Freedom and the Relief of Persons Unlawfully Holden in Bondage, organized in 1790.  In addition to lobbying the legislature to abolish slavery in Connecticut, the Society assisted African-Americans, both slave and free, from the terrible threat of kidnapping and being transported to slave-holding states.

Robert and Susanna Love were actively involved in the Church during the years of Rev. Hart’s public leadership to abolish slavery and no doubt heard many sermons on subject.  Their devotion to Hart is shown by the naming of their first son after him, our ancestor, Levi Love.  We don’t know their personal views on slavery, but the record clearly shows that as participants in this church, they were embedded in the social and moral environment of the New England abolitionists.

Migration to Bridgewater, New York

Oneida County, New York

Oneida County, New York

In the spring of 1794, when Robert was 26 years old, he and Susanna and their three young children left Preston to follow a migration trail to Oneida County, New York, a distance of about 220 miles.   This land became available for settlement after the Revolutionary War, as a result of U.S. conquest and treaties with the Iroquois Confederacy of Native American tribes, who moved to reservations or to areas further west.


How life might have looked in Bridgewater at the time of settlement

Early stage of settlement in the wilderness, showing how life might have looked in Bridgewater in the 1790s.

This new “promised land,”  included potentially fertile farm land in the wilderness along the Umadilla River.  At the time that the Love family arrived in Bridgewater, it was no more than a clearing in the forest consisting of about two dozen families.  The migration from New England to western New York was largely a phenomenon of young families wanting to build an economic future for their children.  At Bridgewater in 1800, 400 of the 1,000 residents were under the age of 10 and most of the rest were their parents.  Only 77 people were over the age of 45.

Western New York farm

Western New York farm several years after first settlement.  Source:  Pioneer History of the Holland Purchase of Western New York (1850)

Over the next few years, the Loves incrementally bought land, which comprised a total of 135 acres in 1811. But then the fortunes of the Love family declined quickly. Love invested in locally raised cattle with the expectation that they would be driven to Albany to be sold for export. This was potentially quite profitable, but the looming War of 1812 intervened. An embargo was placed on exporting beef, causing the price to fall steeply. Love lost heavily, and his homestead was sold for debt in August, 1811.

A farm in Western New York Source:

Western New York farm in a later stage of settlement.  Source:  Pioneer History of the Holland Purchase of Western New York (1850)

According to W. D. Love, Robert “grieved for years over his ill fortune and never fully recovered from its discouragement”. However, he enlisted briefly in the military to defend Sackett’s Harbor during the War of 1812.  After the war, he was slowly able to acquire farmland again, partly by buying properties belonging to his now adult children. He died on his farm in Bridgewater in 1836, at the age of 69.

Robert and Susan Love tombstones, with medallion for service in War of 1812. Fairview Cemetery, Bridgewater, NY. Photo by Judylove1157 at

Robert and Susan Love tombstones, with medallion for service in War of 1812. Fairview Cemetery, Bridgewater, NY. Photo courtesy of Judy Love.

His wife, Susanna Austin Love, died in 1842. According to W. D. Love, she was a strong influence in the family.   She was consistently mentioned in letters with “respect and affection” and was remembered for her many good deeds. She was particularly interested in the religious education of her children and grandchildren. Susanna was buried beside her husband in Fairview Cemetery in Bridgewater.

The Loves had eleven children, only one of whom (Alice Love Steele) remained in Bridgewater. The rest of the children scattered throughout New York, Michigan, Wisconsin and elsewhere in the Midwest, continuing the Love’s multi generational migration westward.


Levi (1790-1875) and Eunice Waldo (1791-1867) Love: From Preston, Connecticut to Waukesha, Wisconsin

Levi Love was born in Preston, Connecticut in 1790, the second of eleven children. His parents, Robert and Susanna, named him after Rev. Levi Hart, the Abolitionist pastor of the Congregational Church in Preston, which they attended.  Levi immigrated to Bridgewater, New York with his family when he was three years old.  Young Levi grew up helping on the family farm, and attending the local village school and Congregational Church.

Eunice (Dimmock) Waldo Love

Woodcut of a Woman in the Revolutionary War, 1779

Woodcut of a Woman in the Revolutionary War, 1779

One of his childhood companions was Eunice Waldo, whom he married in Bridgewater in 1808 when they were 17 and 18 years old, respectively.  Eunice’s ancestry traces back to the earliest pilgrims. Among her maternal predecessors were the famous Governor of the Plymouth Colony, William Bradford and his wife, Alice Southworth Bradford.  Two other ancestors were involved in the Revolutionary War.  Her grandfather, Jesse  Waldo, fought with a Connecticut regiment of the Continental Army from 1774 to 1777.  Her mother’s mother, Phebe Turner, as a young widow with four daughters to raise on her own, nonetheless lent the State of Connecticut over 117 pounds, a sum that represented more than half the value of her estate, for the war effort.  The debt was still outstanding at the time of her death (Daughters of the American Revolution database).  Through her Waldo line, we are also distantly related to Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams, and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Eunice had immigrated to Bridgewater as an infant with her parents, Ephraim and Eunice (Dimmock) Waldo.  Family historian Waldo Lincoln recorded an account of the journey the Waldos, along with two other families, made from their home in Mansfield, Connecticut into the wilderness of western New York in about 1791:

Postage Stamp commemorating the role of the ox cart in American settlement

Postage Stamp commemorating the role of the ox cart in American settlement

“They came by way of Albany, up the valley of the Mohawk to Whitesboro and from thence by the way of Paris Hill to Bridgewater.  From Paris Hill they were obliged to make their road as they progressed, following a line of marked trees.  Their team consisted of two yoke of oxen and a horse and the vehicle of an ox sled.  They arrived on the 4th of March.  The snow at this time was about one and one half feet deep but soon increased to the depth of four feet.  They had two cows which, with the oxen and horse, subsisted, until the snow left, upon browse alone.  Upon their arrival they erected a shanty of the most primitive style.  Four crotched sticks set in the ground, with a roof of split basswood overlaid with hemlock boughs, with siding composed of coverlets and blankets, formed the first dwelling house ever erected in the town of Bridgewater.  The three families continued in this miserable apology for a house until midsummer, when two of them, having more comfortable dwellings provided, removed to them while the other remained for a year.” (Lincoln, pp. 326-328)

Exploring the Great Lakes Region

Levi and Eunice Love settled to a life of farming in Bridgewater.   The War of 1812 disrupted the family; Levi’s father, Robert, went bankrupt and both Robert and Levi joined the army for the defense of Sackett’s Harbor on Lake Erie. Eunice’s father, Ephraim, was killed in the War.

great lakes areaWhen they were nearly forty years old, Levi and Eunice followed the Love family pattern of  each generation moving west; they moved three times in the next fourteen years, starting in 1829.   The Loves were part of a tide of New Englanders who rapidly populated the territories around the Great Lakes, which started to open for settlement after the War of 1812.


Niagara County, New York

Niagara County, New York

Their first move was in 1829, soon after their twelfth child was born.  In that year the family left Bridgewater and moved about 200 miles west, to Hartland, a farm community in Niagara County, New York.  Eunice’s parents had moved there many years earlier, so the Loves were certainly familiar with the region.




A passenger barge on the Erie Canal.

A passenger barge on the Erie Canal.

A great spur to their migration was the completion of the Erie Canal in 1825, which went from Albany, NY, on the Hudson River, west to Buffalo, NY, on the shores of Lake Erie. The Loves and their twelve children almost certainly traveled by barge along the canal to their new homestead in Hartland.  Although barge travel was crowded, dirty, and uncomfortable, it was much faster and easier than the journeys the Loves’s parents had made by foot and ox cart a generation earlier from Connecticut to the wilderness of Bridgewater, New York.

Waukesha, Wisconsin

Waukesha, Wisconsin

After seven years in Hartland  and the birth of two more children, for a total of fourteen, the Loves were on the move again.    In 1836, Levi traveled with his brother, Robert, to Waukesha (then called Prairieville), Wisconsin, on the western shore of Lake Michigan.  Earlier in 1836 the Federal Government, having removed the Native American residents who had been living there, created Wisconsin Territory, surveyed the land, and opened it for settlement.  No doubt the Loves, like many other New Englanders, wanted to be among the first to claim homesteads in this potentially very fertile agricultural region.

Robert Love and his family stayed and homesteaded in Wisconsin, but Levi returned to Hartland.  We don’t know what his intentions were for the trip to Wisconsin – whether he was simply going to reconnoiter, or whether he had hoped to homestead there like his brother, and for some reason did not.

Map of Western New York and Ontario, Canada

Map of Western New York and Ontario, Canada

Whatever the reasons for his trip to Wisconsin, it is clear that the Levi Love family was planning to leave Hartland permanently, because they did so soon after Levi returned.  Instead of Wisconsin, they moved moved 170 miles west across the Niagara River into southern Ontario, Canada, not far from the northern shore of Lake Erie.  We would like to know more about the reasons for the decision to move there, but unfortunately I have found no information on this.

The move to Canada also proved to be temporary, and in 1843 the family moved for the third time, to their fourth and final location.  After a brief return to Hartland, the Loves joined Robert, Levi’s brother, in Waukesha, Wisconsin. By this time several of the older children were grown and out on their own, and only eight of their  fourteen children, ranging in age from 8 to 32, accompanied their parents to Wisconsin.

To the eight year old Julius Caesar Love, Levi and Eunice’s youngest son, the journey was an adventure.  Years later he recounted his experiences:

“We started with two sleighs and two teams of horses, with wagons set on the sleighs and the wheels fastened onto the loads. I think I rode about half of the distance on the wheels and that part of the reach that extended beyond the wagon.

Ox cart in snow, Vincent Van Gogh, 1884

Ox cart in snow, Vincent Van Gogh, 1884  The ox cart was indispensable in pre-industrial societies throughout the world.

The wagons were loaded with household goods and provisions . . . . . We stopped three times to cook up a quantity of food and every night we stayed all night at a tavern (NO liquor tavern.) When night came on we would run out in the road to see if we were coming near to a tavern. We were cold and hungry and a sign of a tavern was welcome. They always gave us a room to prepare our own food.

When we were going through Northern Indiana the snow went off and we sold our sleighs and started the remainder of our journey on wagons. But, when we reached Southport [now called Kenosha] we found deep snow. Father hunted around to find sleighs and found a man who wanted to send a sleigh to Milwaukee, and trusted Father to deliver it. Father also bought one sleigh. We arrived in Milwaukee on March 23, 1843, at 8 o’clock, pm. They were having the “River and Harbor Celebration.” Father went to look for his brother, Robert Love, and found him upon the platform, one of the speakers. (Dorothy McKillop, p. 67-68)

Waukesha, Wisconsin, 1857

Waukesha, Wisconsin, 1857, fourteen years after the Love family homesteaded on a farm near the town.

Levi and Eunice bought a 243 acre homestead claim from Levi’s brother, Robert. The land had only a log cabin, 16 by 20 feet. Levi, Eunice, and their eight children all lived there for the first two months, along with another brother of Levi’s, Henry Love, who arrived from Milwaukee with his family of four. Then the family built a large addition, where the family settled permanently.   According to Julius Caesar Love, “For this new home Father turned in one team and wagon in part-payment, and we traded one horse for a yoke of oxen and a cow and bought another yoke of oxen and paid off that by plowing and I was usually one of the drivers and not yet nine years old.   (Dorothy McKillop, p. 68)

Eunice died there in 1867. Levi, now age 77, remarried almost immediately. His second wife, Elizabeth, also predeceased him. Levi died at age 85, in 1875, by drowning when he slipped and fell into a spring where he was dipping his pitcher for water. According to his obituary, “his temperate life had enabled him to escape many of the infirmities of so great an age.” He is buried by his first wife, Eunice, in Prairieville Cemetery.  His obituary refers to him as “Deacon Love;”  the title implies that he had a leadership role in a church, quite likely the Congregational Church founded by his brother, Robert Love.

Part 2 of the Love Family Saga is forthcoming.  It will follow the Love family line from Levi and Eunice’s son, Lorenzo Love,  to George Love, and then to my grandfather, Olin Love. 


Adam and Mary Love:  Jones, Maldwyn A. (1980)  Scotch-Irish.  In Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups, ed. Stephan Thernstrom, Boston, MA:  Harvard University Press, p. 896;  Love, William DeLoss, Jr. (no date, but prior to 1918)  Love Family History.  Hartford, CT:  Unpublished manuscript; A Brief History of Warwick, Rhode Island, available online at, accessed 2016; Dialogue on the American Jury:  We the People in Action, available on line at, accessed 2016.

Sgt. Robert and Sarah Love:   Love, William DeLoss, Jr.  (no date, but prior to 1918)  Love Family History.  Hartford, CT:  Unpublished manuscript, p. 67; DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution), Robert Love Ancestor No. A071843.

Robert and Susanna Love:  Love, William DeLoss, jr.  (no date, but prior to 1918) Love Family History.  Hartford, CT:  Unpublished Manuscript;    U. S. Federal Census, 1790, for New London, Connecticut, Robert Love.; Connecticut Town Marriage Records, pre-1870 (Barbour Collection),, database on line, Provo, UT, accessed 2006;  Connecticut Church Record Abstracts, 1630-1920,, data base on line, Provo, UT, accessed 2013; The United Methodist Church, What’s the difference between infant baptism and believer’s baptism?  Available on line at, accessed 2016; Hinks, Peter P.  Early Anti-Slavery Advocates in 18th Century Connecticut.  Available online,, accessed 2016;Editors of the Encyclopedia Britannica, Iroquois Confederacy, available on line at, accessed 2016; U.S. Federal Census, 1800, 1810, 1820, 1830 for Bridgewater, Oneida County, New York, Robert Love.

Levi and Eunice Love:  Love, William DeLoss, jr.  (no date, but prior to 1918) Love Family History.  Hartford, CT:  Unpublished Manuscript;  Lincoln, Waldo (1902), Genealogy of the Waldo Family, Charles Hamilton Press:  Worcester, Mass.; Connecticut Church Record Abstracts, 1630-1920,, data base on line, Provo, UT, accessed 2013; Daughters of the American Revolution, Jesse Waldo, Ancestor No. A120688, and Phebe Turner, Ancestor No. A036936; Jones, Pomroy, (1851) Annals and Recollections of Oneida County, Rome, NY:  Published by the author, pp. 125-127, as quoted in Lincoln, Waldo (1902);  Turner, O. (1850), Pioneer History of the Holland Purchase of Western New York, Buffalo:  Jewett, Thomas & Co.;  Love, Dorothy, and Anne Blaisdell Love (1991), Love Family History, Seattle:  Unpublished manuscript; U.S. Census, 1830, Hartand, Niagara County, NY; U.S. Census, 1850, 1860, Pewaukee, Waukesha County, WI.; “Death of Deacon Love”, Waukesha Freeman, Nov. 18, 1875, as quoted in Love, Dorothy, p. 70.

SAMUEL GOULET (1816-1906) and MARCELLISSE (DUVAL) GOULET (1822-1911): French-Canadian Pioneers in Michigan and Oregon

Marcellisse (Duval) Goulet (1822-1911)

Marcellisse (Duval) Goulet (1822-1911)

Samuel Antoine Goulet (1816-1906)

Samuel Antoine Goulet (1816-1906)

Our French-Canadian ancestors were adventurous travelers. Their journeys across North America were dangerous and difficult. Yet, they were also a quiet, self-effacing people who have left little personal record of their lives, and they have faded into history, largely forgotten. In this they resemble the narrative of French-Canadians generally in this country. French-Canadians were French speaking Catholics, and were among the first Europeans to explore widely the vast wilderness of North America.   Although farming was always a component of French-Canadian life, as “voyageurs” they also traveled the rivers and Native American trails in pursuit of beaver and other animal skins for the lucrative European fur trade. They trapped and also traded extensively with Native Americans, then sold the furs to European companies. As the fur trade declined in the 19th century, French-Canadians gradually settled down to farming and businesses, and before long they had blended in with their American neighbors. Today, French-Canadian heritage societies and the many French place names across the country remind us of the important French-Canadian influence on the early history of this country.


The Duvals and Nadeaus

Our family’s French-Canadian story starts with the 17th century migration of French peasants from the Paris area and other parts of France, to the lands bordering both sides of the St. Lawrence River in what is now Quebec, Canada. Our ancestors the Goulet, Nadeau and Duval families were among these immigrants to the New World.

Map showing the water route of migration from Montreal to Detroit

Map showing the water route of migration from Montreal to Detroit (Google Images)

After several generations of farming and trapping in Quebec,  the Nadeaus and Duvals joined the stream of French-Canadian migrants who traveled down the St. Lawrence River, through Lakes Ontario and Lake Erie, and up the Detroit River to Detroit. The French government had established Fort Detroit in the early 1700s to solidify the French claim to the Great Lakes area and to counteract British encroachment there. They offered free land and farming supplies to French-Canadians willing to come. At the time the Duvals and Nadeaus arrived, in the 1780s, the city was officially part of the United States, but the population of Detroit was still predominantly French (DuLong, 2001).

Riviere aux Raisins

Map of Monroe, MI ribbon farms, including those of Marcellisse's grandparents. The upper black arrow shows Antoine Nadeau's 539 acre farm; the lower black arrow shows Ignace Tuot Duval Sr.'s 346 acre farm. Original map located at the Monroe Historical Society.

Map of Monroe, MI ribbon farms, including those of Marcellisse’s grandparents. The upper black arrow shows Antoine Nadeau’s 539 acre farm; the lower black arrow shows Ignace Tuot Duval Sr.’s 346 acre farm. Original map located at the Monroe Historical Society.

The French Canadian immigrants settled all along the Detroit River, and the Duval and Nadeau families soon moved south from Detroit to the Riviere aux Raisins (named for the wild grapes on its banks), an area then called Frenchtown, now Monroe, Michigan.  Like their fellow immigrants, they established “ribbon farms,” a settlement pattern in which homesteads had a narrow frontage on a river and then, in a long, narrow ribbon, went inland until they ended in an indefinite border in the wilderness. This pattern allowed the settlers to use the river for transportation, fur trapping, and a source of food to supplement the produce from their farms. During these early years of the 19th century, the French were the predominant ethnic group in this area. They trapped, traded, and farmed, maintained good relations with their Native American neighbors and fur trading partners, and tried to stay out of the conflicts among Britain, the United States and Native American confederations over control of the Great Lakes territory. (For more on the War of 1812 in Monroe, Michigan, and the role of French-Canadians living there, click here.)

Marcellisse (Duval) Goulet (1822-1911)

Marcellisse Duval Goulet in younger years. (from Munnick, St. Louis Church Records, vol. II, courtesy Louise Manning Giles)

Marcellisse Duval Goulet in younger years. (from Munnick, St. Louis Church Records, vol. II, courtesy Louise Manning Giles)

Our ancestor Marcellisse Duval was born on such a farm in 1822, to Michael and Agatha (Nadeau) Duval, and was baptized in the Catholic Church. French-Canadians tended to have very large families, and Marcellisse was the third of ten children.   She grew up to marry a new-comer to the French-Canadian settlement in Frenchtown, Samuel Goulet. He and Marcellisse led remarkable lives, but left no personal records. In recounting their stories, I have relied on their Obituaries, written by close relatives,  public records, and the memories of their great grand daughter, who was my mother.  These  sources are listed at the end of this essay.

Samuel Antoine Goulet (1816-1906)

Samuel Goulet was born in Montreal, Canada in 1816 to Pierre and Marie Goulet (Munnick, 1981).   He received a good education there, and then, when he was about 17 years old, he migrated to Monroe, Michigan. He probably traveled the usual route of French-Canadians, down the St. Lawrence River and through Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. At the time he arrived, Monroe was a growing agricultural center. It was a hub for newcomers from the East arriving in Michigan territory via the Erie Canal, and heading to the interior to homestead.   A few years after Samuel arrived, in 1837, Michigan became a State. Samuel, a carpenter by trade, also worked on the newly developing local railroad system. In 1842, at about age 26, he married Marcellisse, then age 20, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, in Monroe.

California Gold Mines

Map of the trails to California during the Gold Rush.

Map of the trails to California during the Gold Rush (Google images).

In 1852, after living in Monroe for 19 years, Samuel and two of his brothers headed west to California, lured by stories of the Gold Rush. Marcellisse remained in Monroe and worked as a school teacher to support the couple’s three children. The Goulet brothers took a cross country route with a contingent of horses they planned to sell to the gold miners. Samuel is listed in the 1852 California Census as a resident of Calaveras County, where gold had been discovered in 1848.

“Land-Looking” in Oregon

He remained there only briefly; by April of 1853 he was in Marion County, Oregon, registering a land claim. It is likely that getting a foothold in the fertile Willamette Valley of Oregon, recently opened for homesteading by the territorial Oregon government, had been the plan all along.  Samuel remained in Marion County, Oregon for two years and was on the tax rolls there. We don’t know why he stayed so long.  One source says he spent his time in the west mining and “land-looking.” Perhaps he needed to build a house or make other improvements in order to validate a successful claim. He may also have been working to save money for the return trip home.


Sailing Around the Horn

The clipper ship Northern Light

The clipper ship Northern Light  on which Samuel Goulet traveled around Cape Horn in 1855 (Google images)

Samuel left the West coast sometime in mid 1855. He made the return journey coming around Cape Horn, at the southern tip of South America, on the clipper ship Northern Light, made famous by sailing from San Francisco to Boston in a record-setting 78 days in 1853. A passenger list shows him as boarding the Northern Light in Punta Arenas, Chile, with the point of origin of his trip being the U.S.A. This suggests that he took a different ship from San Francisco to Chile, then transferred. He arrived in New York on January 14, 1856.  By the time Samuel returned home in early 1856, he had been away for four years.


Map of frequently travelled routes to California gold fields (Google images)

Map of frequently traveled routes to California gold fields (Google images)

In the 19th Century, ships sailing around Cape Horn carried world trade from Australia to Europe, and also passenger and trade goods between the coasts of the United States.   It was a recognized route for those going to the California gold fields.  Though popular, the route was also extremely hazardous, and many ships foundered.


Wagon Train to Oregon

The Oregon Trail (Google Images, Microsoft Maps)

The Oregon Trail (Google Images, Microsoft Maps)

In 1859, Samuel and Marcellisse left their home in Monroe, Michigan for Oregon, which became a State that same year. Samuel organized and led a wagon train consisting of French-Canadians and other Monroe families, Samuel’s two younger brothers who had accompanied him on the first trip west, and “many sturdy young men, from Monroe and vicinity who were anxious to seek their fortunes in the promised land.” (The Monroe Democrat, 1912). The three Goulet children accompanied them: Phillip, age about 14, Fred, age about 10, and Mary Ellen, age 8. We don’t know what route the wagon train took, but probably they crossed through Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois on established routes, and joined the Oregon Trail in Iowa or Nebraska. They were on the trail for six months.

Giving Birth on the Trail

Still shot from the 1923 movie "The Covered Wagon"

Still shot from the 1923 movie “The Covered Wagon”

Marcellisse must have been as brave and adventurous as her husband. She was pregnant when the pioneer caravan left Monroe, and gave birth, as she must have known she would, on the trail, somewhere in Iowa. The new baby, named William Henry Goulet, was our direct ancestor and my mother’s grandfather. The circumstances of his birth must have been harrowing. According to the story told to my mother,

“The wagon train stopped only a few days for the birth. My great-grandmother lay in the wagon with her arms stretched out grasping the sides, to steady herself from the jolting wagon, so she wouldn’t inadvertently crush her baby lying beside her. The baby was very small at birth, and the Indians followed the wagon train for several days trying to trade for the baby, whom they thought was special because of his extremely small size.” (Alvis Whitelaw oral history, 1992).

French Prairie

Frency Praire Map (Munnick, frontispiece)

Frency Praire Map (Munnick, frontispiece)

The pioneers settled on homesteads in an area near Salem, Oregon, just east of the Willamette River, called French Prairie. The area got its name from the French-Canadian trappers who had worked for the Hudson’s Bay Company in earlier years and had now retired to farms there. Samuel and Marcellisse had one more child, Minnie, born in 1862, and remained on their homestead near Gervais for the rest of their lives. They were considered to be ethical, upright people by their neighbors. Samuel’s Obituary says that he was

“a man of strict probity, of quiet disposition and a determined will, always busy at something and never satisfied until he had finished that which he had begun. He was a good neighbor, generous to a fault, and delighted in shouldering the burdens of others. He was a great mathematician, had a remarkable memory and had good presence of mind just prior to passing away. He built a number of houses in this section and was conscientious in the performance of duty.”


Mathias Goulet (1827-1903). He accompanied his brother Samuel on all of his travels and settled nearby in French Prairie, Oregon.

Mathias Goulet (1827-1903). He accompanied his brother Samuel on all of his travels and settled nearby in French Prairie, Oregon.

Samuel Goulet and his younger brothers, Mathias and Peter, uniquely among our ancestors, traveled throughout the entire Western Hemisphere. They journeyed by boat, horseback, and wagon train over vast distances from Quebec to the tip of South America, and from the West to the East coast of North America. In spite of these achievements, Samuel was a quiet, hard-working, thoughtful man; his brave and adventuresome explorations of the New World sat modestly on his shoulders.


William Henry Goulet (1859-1924)

Alvis Love with her grandparents Florence Beach and William Henry Goulet, Woodburn, 1916.

Alvis Love with her grandparents Florence Beach and William Henry Goulet, Woodburn, 1916.

William Henry, born on the wagon train, was the fourth of five children of Samuel and Marcellisse. He is my great-grandfather. Unlike his parents, he lived his entire life within a few miles of the family home, mainly in Woodburn. He was known for his élan and for his dedication to horses.  He had a livery stable in town for many years, which was a hub for Woodburn transportation. He raced teams of horses at the county fair. He was the trusted town veterinarian, and was called “doctor”, though he had no formal medical training, and he was a Marion County Commissioner for many years.


His mother never learned to speak English, so French was the main language of his parents’ home, and he spoke it well. He converted to Protestantism at the time of his marriage to Florence Beach, a woman of British background. In this he had the acceptance of his parents, who were always kind and welcoming to his bride. He and Florence spoke only English in their own home, and he did not teach his children French. However, he did not change the spelling or pronunciation of his name, although his older brother attempted to Anglicize his name to Gouley.

Mary Ellen Manning (1851-1937), daughter of Samuel and Marcellisse Goulet, and a favorite great-aunt of my mother, Alvis Love Whitelaw.

Mary Ellen Manning (1851-1937), daughter of Samuel and Marcellisse Goulet, and a favorite great-aunt of my mother, Alvis Love Whitelaw.

William apparently identified with his French-Canadian background but did not feel that he had to maintain the language or culture. General assimilation was common in 19th century small town America, and the Goulets, like other French Canadians who settled in the Woodburn area, seem to have left behind much of their cultural heritage within a generation or two. Today educational displays at Champoeg State Park in the Willamette Valley preserve some of the cultural heritage of the French-Canadians who were among the first homesteaders there.  (For more on William’s wife, Florence Beach Goulet,  click here.  For more on his daughter, Mabel Goulet Love, click here.)

How You Are Related to the Goulets, Duvals and Nadeaus

Go to your personal fan chart, and go back from Alvis Whitelaw.


Susan, Nancy and John Whitelaw at the gravestone of Michael Duval, the father of Marcellisse Duval Goulet. St. Antoine Old Burying Ground, Monroe, MI. 2011.

Susan, Nancy and John Whitelaw at the gravestone of Michael Duval, the father of Marcellisse Duval Goulet. St. Antoine Old Burying Ground, Monroe, MI. 2011.

Bartolo, Ghislaine Pieters, and Reaume, Lynn Waybright (1988).  The Cross Leads Generations On:  A Bicentennial Retrospect of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception formerly known as St. Antoine at the Raisin River.   “Remaining Tombstones in Old St. Antoine/St. Mary Burial Ground on North Monroe Street”   (Tappan, NY:  Custombook Publ.).  p. 96-98.

California Census, 1852.  Calaveras County.

Death of Samuel A. Goulet (Jan. 11, 1906).  Woodburn, OR:  The Woodburn Independent, p. 1.

Denissen, Christien (1912, revised 1987)  Genealogy of the French Families of the Detroit River Region 1701-1936.  (Detroit, MI:  Detroit Society for Genealogical Research). Vol. I.

Dr. W.H. Goulet called by death (Oct. 1924)  Woodburn, OR:  The Woodburn Independent, p. 1.

DuLong, John P. (2001)  French Canadians in Michigan.  (East Lansing, MI:  Michigan State University Press.)

Hines, George H.  (1919)  Death List of Oregon Pioneers, “Gouly, P.P.”  (Oregon Historical Quarterly, Vol. 20, April-May).

The Late Samuel A. Goulet. (1906)  The Oregonian, Jan. 11.  p. 6.

Marriages Paroisse L’Assomption de Windsor, Ontario 1700-1985.  Societe Franco-Ontariene d’Hubire et de Genealogie.  Ottawa, Canada.  No date.

Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections.  (Lansing, MI)  Vol. 10, p. 536-537 and p. 601-613.

Mortuary, Mrs. Antoine Goulet (Jan. 12, 1912).  The Monroe Democrat, Monroe, MI, p. 12.

Munnick, Harriet Duncan (1981).  Catholic Church Records of the Pacific Northwest. (Portland, OR:  Binford and Mort, publisher.)

New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [database on-line].  Ancestry. com, Provo, UT.  2010

Oregon Historical Society, Portland, OR,Index Collection:  Territorial and Provisional Government Papers Index.  retrieved from Goulet, Samuel A., tax assessmet roll, Marion County, 1854, 1855.

Oregon State Archives and Records Center.  Oregon Death Index 1903-1998.  database:

Portrait and Biographical Record of the Willamette Valley (1903). “Phillip Peter Gouley” (Chicago,Ill:  The Chapman Publishing Co.) p.985.

Pioneer Woman Passes Away at Gervais (Dec. 26, 1911).  The Oregonian, p. 6.

Rejected Applications, Oregon City Land Office.  Genealogical Material in Oregon Donation Land Claims, abstracted from Rejected Applications Vol. 4, 1967, (Portland:  Genealogical Forum of Portland) p. 25.

Russell, Donna Valley (1982).  Michigan Census 1710-1830.  (Detroit, MI:  Detroit Society for Genealogical Research),  p. 51 (Michigan Census, 1782),  p. 66 (1796 census of Wayne County, MI) p. 76 ( 1802 Tax List),  p. 80 (1802 Tax List for Wayne County) and p. 175 (1830 Michigan Census).

U.S. Census, 1840.  Frenchtown Township, Monroe County, MI.  Martin Nadeau; Michael Duvall.

U.S. Census, 1850.  Monroe Township, Monroe County.  Michael Duvall; Antoine Goulard.

U.S. Census.  1860.  Fairfield, Marion, OR.  S.A. Goulet.

U.S. Census.  1870.  Marion County, OR.  S.A. Goulet.

U.S. Census.  1880.  Woodburn, Marion, Oregon.  Samuel Goulett.

U.S. Land Office (1936)  Monroe Harbor, Mich.  Map Prior to 1820.  (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers).  Map rev. by Michael M. Dushane, April, 2012 and retitled “The First Land Claim Owners Along the River Raisin.”   Dushane states that “Most owners possessed the claim prior to July, 1796.”  The original map is at the Monroe Historical Society, Monroe, MI.

Williams, E.Gray and Ethel W.(1963).  First Landowners of Monroe County, MI.  (Kalamazoo).

BERTHA BELL WHITELAW (1872-1964): “The Most Remarkable Woman I Ever Knew.”

My paternal grandmother, Bertha Bell Whitelaw, was in many ways ahead of her time. Born in 1872, she bridged the 19th century world of intensive home labor on small family farms and the subordinate position of women, with the emerging modern world of education for women and the possibility of a career. Her life story illustrates how she was able to meld these contradictory forces to achieve what she herself described as a “meaningful life.”

Bertha Bell Whitelaw, age 90, holding a newspaper for which she had recently written an article. (Goodell, 1962)

Bertha Bell Whitelaw, age 90, holding a newspaper for which she had recently written an article. (Goodell, 1962)

Bertha encompassed other disparate qualities. She lived in small farming towns in the Midwest, which generally lacked libraries or other cultural amenities. She was a full partner with her husband, John, in the hard daily work of farming. Church, community, and neighborly activities occupied much of her free time. Yet embedded as she was in the rural daily round, she also transcended it, by maintaining an active intellectual life. She could read both Greek and Latin, and had an enthusiastic interest in current affairs, both local and national. In her later years she defied gender and age stereotypes by maintaining independence and economic self-sufficiency through her own labor almost until her death at age 92.

How did she do it? Unfortunately she did not write very much about herself, and there is no indication that she thought she was in any way remarkable. Quite the opposite, in fact. But we have some of the letters she wrote weekly to her children over the course of twenty-five years, and we also have newspaper articles written about her in old age, as her community began to recognize that she was, as Pansy Penner, one of her neighbors, put it, “the most remarkable woman I ever knew.” (Penner, 1964.)

Pioneer Girl

Bertha was born on a homestead farm in Iowa soon after the Civil War. Her parents were of Scotch and Scotch-Irish background. Martha Gordon Bell, her mother, had grown up on a farm and taught in one-room rural schools before her marriage to Alexander Bell. He was an immigrant from Northern Ireland, a Civil War veteran, and a widower with two sons.

Front row: Alexander and Martha Bell with a grandchild; Back row, left to right: Bertha, her sister Eudora, and her brother Gordon. Springfield, Missouri, 1897

Front row: Alexander and Martha Bell with a grandchild; Back row, left to right: Bertha, her sister Eudora, and her brother Gordon. Springfield, Missouri, 1897

During the last months of her life, Bertha reminisced about her earliest years.

 “Feb. 1, 1872 was my birthday. Bertha Elizabeth Bell, fourth child, 2nd daughter of Alexander Bell and 2nd daughter of Martha Ann Gordon Bell. Elizabeth for my grandmother Gordon – maiden name Elizabeth Ferguson – who knitted me a pair of white stockings with blue stripes. Born on a farm 3 ½ miles south of Earlham, Madison County, Iowa. Baptized at an early age in the Union United Presbyterian Church 7 miles distant.

Started to school at 5 years, walking two miles. Once lagged behind the older children and returned home. Repeated this and was returned to school by an irate mother. Later my sister and two brothers and I were taught by a neighbor young lady and a farm helper – and still later attended another school – also 2 miles away. Neighbors were distant and playmates few. Occasional visits to relatives, church and Sabbath school were our recreations. Reading aloud at home and a magic lantern pleased us. Also games.”

This memoir, brief though it is, sets key themes of Bertha’s life: challenging physical environments and a strong emphasis on education and religion.

Pictured: Bertha at graduation from Drury College; 1895, Springfield, MO

Pictured: Bertha at graduation from Drury College; 1895, Springfield, MO

Her parents, unusually for their time, were determined that Bertha and her sister would have a college education. After attending rural schools and a high school boarding academy, the girls were enrolled in Drury College, in Springfield, Missouri, where the family was now living. Bertha majored in Latin and classics, which prepared her to teach in institutes and academies, the equivalent of today’s high schools and community colleges. She graduated in 1895 as class valedictorian. Years later, Bertha recollected:

 It wasn’t hard to get into college in those days because not many persons wanted to attend college. I had just grown up with the idea that I would attend college. I heard my mother talking to a young woman when I was quite young. They were talking about the woman’s having recently graduated from college. I liked the sound of that word “graduated” and decided I wanted to do it too.” (Enthusiasm for Life, 1962)



Bertha Bell about 1899, when a teacher

Bertha Bell about 1899, when a teacher

Bertha taught classics and Latin for eight years (1895-1903) in two different institutes in Missouri. There is a family story of Bertha as a teacher. One day she called on a large boy at the back of the class. He said he hadn’t prepared the lesson because this was his last day of school. Bertha responded, “All the more reason to study now.” This story highlights Bertha’s belief in the intrinsic value of learning.

While teaching at Kidder Institute in Kidder, Missouri, Bertha met John Whitelaw, who worked at the family hardware and implement business. She may have met him at the Congregational Church, which his family had helped to establish and where she was the Superintendent of the Sunday School. They got married in 1903, when she was thirty-one years old. As was the almost invariable custom of the time, she quit work to devote herself to the domestic sphere.

John and Bertha had four children, one of whom died shortly after birth. The family moved from Kidder to Lawrence, Kansas in 1910, where they began to farm. They grew wheat and other grains; kept ten horses which they used for plowing and other farm work, and had pigs and chickens. The farm also held a herd of dairy cows, which they milked themselves. Daily John or Bertha would drive a horse-drawn wagon with 20 or 30 gallons of milk to the nearby railroad station so they could be taken to the dairy in Kansas City.

The Whitelaw children at the one-room Franklin School, Lawrence, Kansas, 1916. John, my father, is seated at the far left. His sister, Eleanor, is in the second row, second from left, and his brother, Neill, is on her left.

The Whitelaw children at the one-room Franklin School, Lawrence, Kansas, 1916. John, my father, is seated at the far left. His sister, Eleanor, is in the second row, second from left, and his brother, Neill, is next to her, third from left..

In 1919 the family moved from the farm to nearby DeSoto, Kansas, so that their oldest child, Neill, could live at home while attending high school there. (Many farm children did not attend high school, or had to board with a family in town.) They bought a small house in DeSoto, where they lived, and a farm about two miles distant. During the 1920s all of the Whitelaw children finished high school.   With the strong encouragement and support of their mother, they each were valedictorian of their class. Although the family farm provided little income beyond supplying the basics of life for the family, John and especially Bertha were determined that their children would attend college. Her children credited her determination and encouragement for the fact that they all graduated from college and obtained master’s degrees. One son, Neill, obtained a Ph.D. in physics and became a professor.

Pictured: Neill, Eleanor, John Jr., Bertha and John, De Soto, Kansas, in 1937.

Pictured: Neill, Eleanor, John Jr., Bertha and John, De Soto, Kansas, in 1937.



In order to help finance college, Bertha, then in her fifties, started working part time as a reporter.  She recounted:

“It was 1923. . . our children were off to college and, as any parent knows, that always means extra cash from the parents.   We had lived near Lawrence, near Noria in Franklin community, before moving to DeSoto in 1919. We had read the Journal-World since 1910 and my first thought was to add to the family coffers by reporting.” (DeSoto Writer, date unknown.)

She was the local correspondent for the DeSoto News, the Johnson County Democrat, and the Lawrence Journal-World, and continued as a reporter for 39 years, only retiring when she was 90. During that time, she never missed sending in her weekly reports.

She reported on local happenings and events in people’s lives. A long time friend recounted: “It wasn’t just curiosity which prompted her favorite saying, “Know any news?” She was vitally interested in people and she converted that characteristic into newspaper correspondence . . .”

Bertha, in the dark suit, at a workshop for correspondents of the newspaper.)

Bertha, in the dark suit, at a workshop for correspondents of the newspaper.

In an interview, she said that she considered that her specialty was writing about the doings of people who had been residents of De Soto and were still well-remembered but now lived elsewhere (Goodell, 1962). Just as her own children left town when grown, so did many others of that generation, so this was a rich field for her news-gathering.

She was able to get information for her reports easily because she was very active in the community. She was a member of the school board for many years, was a founding member of the Athenaeum Club, a local cultural organization, and a member of the De Soto Chapter of the Grange, an organization for farmers.   She was a very dedicated member of the Methodist Church, where she taught Sunday School, and was a member of the women’s society and of a quilting society.

Reflections on Old Age

In her later years, Bertha continued to defy stereotypes about age and gender. She remained active both physically and mentally almost until her death at age 92. “She out quilts and out walks us all,” said a member of her quilting club (Kroh, 1958).

Bertha at her kitchen table, where she wrote her newspaper articles on a manual typewriter.

Bertha at her kitchen table, where she wrote her newspaper articles on a manual typewriter.

Bertha believed strongly in maintaining economic self-sufficiency even in old age, and refused to be dependent on her children in any way. She and her husband, John, had only their savings from selling the farm as income. Social Security became available to farmers in 1955, but the Whitelaws were not eligible for benefits because they had not had the opportunity to pay into this social insurance program.  After she and her husband gave up farming, she earned money by taking in roomers, babysitting, selling eggs and chickens, and of course by continuing to write for newspapers. She and her husband maintained a vegetable garden and a cow for dairy products. She made most of her own clothes and bought very few products of any kind. She walked to town every day (about 8 blocks), refusing rides even in rain or snow.

Bertha with grandsons John Whitelaw  (on left) and Bill Whitford, 1940, De Soto, Kansas

Bertha with grandsons John Whitelaw (on left) and Bill Whitford, 1940, during a family visit to De Soto, Kansas

She also remained very active in the community, keeping up her membership in all of her organizations. She taught her adult Sunday School class continuously for 44 years. She never stopped reading, particularly newspapers and the Bible. She said she enjoyed crossword puzzles and word games because they made her think. She also enjoyed stamp collecting and yard work. She maintained a frequent correspondence with her three children, all of whom lived in other states.

She described a typical week in a letter:

“A week ago Tuesday was our bazaar – we served two meals that day and cleared $400. Last Thursday was club – yesterday we met to make out the Athenaeum club books, today I went to Bible class and this forenoon I ironed, washed my hair and worked down some butter, of course besides the incidentals – but I feel well and not really tired.”   (Whitelaw, 1951.)

She may have enjoyed old age as a particularly fulfilling time of life. On the occasion of her 81st birthday she wrote to her children:

“Maybe you think you dread being 81 – probably think you will never reach that age – neither did I and would have supposed life would hold nothing at that age but sitting around and waiting to die. However that is not the way I find it – as to health I feel as well as ever, perhaps, better than at many times, my enthusiasm is I believe up to par, and my interest and enjoyment of opportunities and pursuits still keen. Problems and worries are fewer and with an ever growing faith in God’s promises I can meet them better. So my testimony is that I am as happy or happier than at any time of life. Pardon me for devoting so much of this letter to talking about myself and taking from your time to read it all; but I thought that perhaps you might like to know something of how I feel when I am an old old woman. Take courage for yourselves and do not mind the added years – YOU need not really be OLD.” (Whitelaw, 1953)


DeSoto Writer Has Record on Her Job (1958). Lawrence Daily Journal-World, Lawrence, Kansas, date unknown but about 1958.

Enthusiasm for Life Keeps 90 year old DeSoto Resident Active, Youthful. (1962) The Daily News, Feb. 24, p. 5.

Goodell, Jane.  (1962)  Reporter, 90, Aids the J-W.  Lawrence Daily Journal-World, Lawrence, Kansas.  May 24, p. 12.

Kroh, Sarah. (1958) Quilting Bee Links the Decades. Kansas City Star, Kansas City, Kansas. About April 27, 1958 (date is blurred on the photocopy.)

Penner, Pansy (1964) Tribute. De Soto News, Johnson County, Kansas, September 3, Vol. 44, No. 47, p. 1.

Whitelaw, Bertha Bell (1951). Letter to Children and Grandchildren. Nov. 13, 1951. Reproduced in her Biography by Susan Love Whitelaw (see below).

Whitelaw, Bertha Bell (1953). Letter to Children and Grandchildren. February 6, 1953. Reproduced in her Biography by Susan Love Whitelaw (see below).

Whitelaw, Susan Love (2007). Bertha Bell Whitelaw: 1872-1964, A Documentary Biography with an Appendix of Family Documents. Chelsea, MI.

For More Information, click here for the blog entry on Bertha’s husband, John Whitelaw, Jr.  Click here for a complete copy of Susan Whitelaw’s biography of Bertha Bell Whitelaw.

How You Are Related to Bertha Bell Whitelaw  On your personal fan chart, Bertha Bell Whitelaw is either in the third ring (if you are her grandchild) or fourth ring (if you are her great-grandchild) out from your name in the center.