Over the past several weeks, my brain has been immersed in the surnames Smith - Mead - Curtis - Palmer. Branches of my maternal grandfather's family who trekked from Massachusetts to Vermont to Ohio and finally to Michigan. More detail than I possible could have imagined - learning about their births, marriages, deaths, estates, land transactions...the list goes on! Truly fascinating research for a special project that has stretched my genealogical skills to the max.
At one point, I felt like a private investigator calling obscure libraries in search of obscure, defunct local newspapers in teeny-tiny local libraries in parts of Michigan I've never even seen. I owe a debt of gratitude to the power of genealogical serendipity (mentioned before HERE). One final, magical detail of this research project emerged last week in the form of a sweet librarian in Coopersville, Michigan who voluntarily found the following obituary on microfilm, scanned, and emailed a copy to me for free. Now, that's just wonderful in my book.
The following is the obituary for one of my 3rd great-grandfathers on my mother's side of the family - Joseph C. Mead (1828-1905). The daughter of Joseph Mead, named Emeline "Cora Bell" Mead, is the grandmother of my mother's father. How's that for confusing? Anyhow, I have been so very excited about my research into this side of the family, because until a few months ago, none of us knew a terrible amount past the 2nd or 3rd generation. We now have 8 generations of information and a greater understanding of their role in early America.
Joseph C. Mead was, later in life, a minister in the fledgling Methodist Episcopal Church. In their local community in DeKalb County, Indiana, the church developed (as I understand) out of the United Brethren church and was a precursor to the modern-day United Methodist Church in America. Joseph was a circuit preacher in Ohio/Indiana/Michigan. After his parents' passing in the 1870s, it appears that he moved his immediate family to Ottawa County, Michigan and was affiliated with the M.E. church in Coopersville and Polkton. I have found several newspaper articles showing his membership in the church, donations of money for the beginning of a seminary in Waterloo, Indiana, and marriages, funerals, and other services he conducted. One of my favorites - from the Waterloo newspaper - cites how he "filled the pit" with people for one of his preaching sessions. He must have been quite a speaker!
Here is a transcribed version of his obituary:
Joseph C. Mead was born in Franklin County, Vermont, September 28, 1828 and died at the home of his son, Eddie in Coopersville, June 25, 1905. The deceased spent his early childhood in Vermont. When but a boy he moved with his parents to the state of New York and from there to Ohio, later to Indiana where he was married to Elizabeth Palmer October 27, 1850. To them were born five children: three sons and one daughter surviving him.
In 1897 his beloved wife was called to her reward, and four years later his eldest daughter. The last seventeen years of his life he has lived in or near Coopersville.
He was converted in early life and has been a worthy efficient member of the M.E. church for about fifty years and has been a local preacher in the M. E. church nearly forty years. The funeral services were held in the M.E. church, Coopersville, conducted by his pastor S. B. Ford June 27, 1905.
Coopersville Observer – Obituary, Joseph C. Mead
7 July 1905, pg. 76