Town Names and Family Pride

Not everyone can make the prestigious claim of a town bearing their family name. The Amos Boys can. In fact, through their mother’s maternal side, they can actually claim ownership of two towns—two, if you allow a bit of embellishment. And since embellishment is often what family history is all about, we’re going to do just that.

A few miles east of Lansing, near I-69 and Woodbury Road in Shiawassee County, is the has-been Irish community of Corktown. Even though there are Corktowns wherever the Irish have gathered, and even though ours is so small it doesn’t even make the map, we can still puff with a little bród Éireannach.

Corktown was settled by our ancestors, the Corcorans, who came from Roscommon, Ireland in 1838. The Corcorans farmed on Corcoran Road and being the community-minded folk that they were, they donated land for the Corcoran School, the Corcoran Cemetery and a Catholic church.

Looking at our family tree, we find names such as Bartlett Corcoran; who begat Patrick, who immigrated to the United States; who begat Owen; who begat Anastasia. (Anastasia is such a cool name—I really think one of you millennials should name your baby girl Anastasia.)

Now, let’s go seven miles up the road to the small town of Laingsburg. With a population today of 1283, this cozy, little community is actually listed on the map. Laingsburg was settled by our ancestor Peter Laing, who, in 1836, moved to the area from New York and set up a tavern.

From the Laings, we can boast Scottish roots. We have John Laing, who immigrated from Annondale, Scotland in 1773; who begat William; who begat Peter, who founded Laingsburg; who begat Paisley.

Let’s now connect these two families.

In 1870, Paisley Laing and Anastasia Corcoran married. They settled on Stoll Road, south of Laingsburg and raised this great family of five children, one of whom was Maggie Francis Laing, the Amos Boys’ grandmother.

Paisley Laing Family

Paisley and Anastasia Laing Family
Standing, l-r: Nellie, Phoebe, Maggie
Middle: Paisley (holding Hazen, baby of John and Fanny Hart), Fanny, and Anastasia
Front: Joseph B. Gulick (Nellie’s husband), John Hart (Fanny’s husband) and Earl Gulick (Maggie’s husband). Missing from the photo is Paisley and Anastasia’s son Peter, who perhaps was the photographer.

Paisley Laing House

Paisley and Anastasia’s farmhouse as it is today, 10060 Stoll Rd., south of Laingsburg.

So here we have a summarized version of our family on the Amos Boys’ mother’s maternal side. In two weeks, we’ll take a further look at Laingsburg and its founder Peter Laing. In the meantime, be sure to read Dave’s comments. He’s a super sleuth and found interesting data on the Laings.

What are your plans for the upcoming reunion on June 16? We’ve got great ideas formulating, including a self-guided road trip to Laingsburg, Corktown, Williamston, and all the family farmhouses and cemeteries in between. Let us know so Elaine, Jan, Shelley and Jerri Lynn have an idea of how many are coming. Be there!

Genealogy information gathered by Jerry from the Michigan State Library, Corcorans and Burts, by Paul Burt, 1983; The Hill and Below, by Birdie Colby and Emma Jane Wright, 1976;; and U.S. Census Records. Also included is some of Jerry’s speculation, which he claims is his specialty.

Happy Birthday Jerry!

Art by Ryan Menary

Art by Ryan Menary

It’s birthday time again!

Tomorrow, March 24, is Jerry’s birthday and he thinks he might be mowing his lawn. Surely, that doesn’t happen often. But this year our Midwestern weather has been unseasonably warm and Jerry’s got a large lawn to mow.

Here’s how Bruce starts this week’s conversation with Jerry (after the usual talk of weather):

“So, how old you gonna be this week, brother?”

“Seventy-six. But I’ll have to check with Elaine. I can never remember.”

“You’re catching up to the old guy (Duane). And now, this week we get to talk about the runt.”

Which makes everyone laugh.

Jerry, 1940

Here’s Jerry, about 4-years-old. Isn’t he cute? And look, red hair!

Jerry, 1940

“They always called me the runt,” says Jerry. “I was smaller because they continually pushed me away from the table and ate my food.”

Oh, such brotherly love. And according to Duane, this is love they showered with great abandon.

“Bruce, do you remember the day Jerry was born? We were tossed out of the house. It was cold outside and we were mad, so we stood there throwing rocks at the house,” says Duane.

But that’s okay. As the story goes, all was well inside the house as the boys’ Aunt Laura assisted the intoxicated, old doctor H.M. Smith to deliver Gladys’ third baby boy.

So Jerry may have had a “rocky” start. He may have been small. And for many years of his childhood he may have missed out on the “good influence” of his older brothers. But he certainly didn’t lack for adventures of his own.

Maggie and James Adams

Here’s a picture of the boys’ Grandma Maggie and her second husband, James (JR) Adams, (remember Jerry lived with them until he was 12). Take notice of that white building in the upper right corner. It’s a grain elevator.

“The farmers would bring stuff there and get it ground for their animals,” says Jerry. “My buddy Vern and I used to go there at night. There was a crawl space underneath, about three feet high, and a lot of grain would filter down through the floor. It was full of rats. We would climb in there with our flashlights and BB guns and shoot rats. It was really fun.”

In spite of this UN-appetizing story, it’s important to note that food is a topic that always comes up when talking about Jerry (his wife says anyone who eats with him wonders how he can be so skinny).

This takes us to Elaine.

At a junior high dance, Jerry met this cute girl named Elaine Hotchkin, and from then on life was never the same. He and Elaine dated through junior high, senior high and college—how’s that for longtime sweethearts!

Jerry & Elaine 1951

Jerry & Elaine, 1951

“I would check with both moms (his and Elaine’s) to see what they were having for dinner. Then I’d take my pick,” says Jerry. “Elaine’s mom was a real good cook.”

And what’s this? Jerry’s report card? It’s been said Gladys didn’t try to raise brain surgeons. Obviously, she didn’t overshoot her expectations. Yet, in spite of this illustrious academic career, Jerry did go on to college.

“I remember in the 10th or 11th grade, I was talking to an older guy at Benny’s, and he was asking what I wanted to do,” says Jerry. “I was kind of interested in carpentry.”

The man agreed Jerry would always have work in carpentry, but if he went to college he would have more options later if he changed his mind. So after graduating high school in 1954, Jerry then went to Michigan State College (now MSU). Initially, he studied conservation.

Jerry 1954

Elaine 1954

“During my freshman year of college, they had a bunch of people come in that worked for the conservation department,” says Jerry. “I heard that when everyone else was hunting and fishing, you’d have to be working, and job opportunities didn’t look that good. So I switched over to education.”

I wondered what attending college was like back then—like how much was tuition and how did Jerry pay for it?

“I lived at home with mom and commuted back and forth because it wasn’t very far,” says Jerry. “Back then I could make enough money in summer working at the Capital City Lumber Yard—I worked in the mill room—I could make enough to pay for my books and tuition.”

Get this: Tuition then was $55 for all the credits you could handle.

Jerry & Elaine's Wedding, 1957

While Jerry went to college, Elaine worked as a payroll clerk for the Lansing School Board.  On June 22, 1957, before Jerry’s senior year, they were married.

Jerry graduated in 1958 with a bachelor of science degree in education. He’s had an interesting career teaching everything from shop, industrial arts, state and world history, and science, to 7-12th grade students.

His first teaching position was at Lyons-Muir, northwest of Lansing, and his salary was $4200. From there, he taught in Paw Paw, Lake Fenton, and finally at Waverly, where he taught for 24 years before retiring in 1989.

During all these years of teaching, Jerry and Elaine’s daughters Jerri Lynn and Jenny were born—Jerri Lynn on March 21, 1959, and Jenny on August 9, 1961. And in 1965, the family bought a big farmhouse on 33 acres in rural, northwest Lansing.

Jerry Lynn & Jennifer, 1967

“It was exciting for us and the girls to be out in the country,” says Jerry. “We had pigs and cattle. We had a pony that was smarter than we were. We called him Chocolate Drop because of the things he left behind in the field.”

Jerry and Elaine’s daughters feel the same. Of course, what they write about Jerry says so much more than anything I’ve written. So let’s take a look.

Jerry, Jerry Lynn, Elaine, 1980

Jerri Lynn

When I was a kid I used to brag to my friends “MY dad can fix ANYTHING!” It was a perfectly legitimate brag as he really can fix anything. I also used to irritate my friends by countering things their comments with “well, MY dad says…” and “MY dad knows everything!” Now that might have been a slight exaggeration (at least at that early point in his life) but it certainly seemed like he knew everything. Other people were always coming to him for advice, he could answer all sorts of questions and explain all kinds of things, and even get family members out of scrapes.

My dad also knew how to play all kinds of wonderfully fun things. He was always a lot of fun. He put on magic shows, entertained people with his silly antics and jokes, ran around outside playing kick the can after dark, and spent a lot of time on the floor timing my sister and I in wrestling matches. He was always coming up with ideas for projects to throw ourselves into like shooting a frame-by-frame movie of us kids scooting around on our bottoms pretending to be race car drivers.

Both my parents made growing up a lot of fun. We were allowed to do all kinds of things—from remodeling the granary into a playhouse to climbing around on the beams way up high in the barn, to camping out in the field for days on end. They were very supportive of any idea I had. They were behind me even during times when other parents would have put their foot down—instead they were helping me make these things happen: running an underground newspaper, dropping out of high school, starting my many businesses. It made me feel like my ideas and priorities were respected and important. It made me feel smart and competent. (I was brought back down to earth later, but it was a great feeling and still shapes my willingness to try new things.) My dad was always a great advocate for womens’ rights. He was very clear when we were growing up— girls should be able to do anything that boys can do.

Some of my earliest memories of my dad are from our house in Lake Fenton where we lived until I was through kindergarten. It seems like he was always working on that house. When I was real young I remember following him around repeating over and over like toddlers do “What are you gonna do dad, what are ya gonna do?” I loved to go with him to the lumber yard and the hardware or his shop classroom. I love the smell of fresh-cut wood and those are still my favorite sorts of shopping.

I remember him taking my sister and I somewhere where there were farm animals and he had to hold us both up high because a mean billy goat was charging with his horns down. I think he pinned my dad to the barn but we were safe. I remember him fighting a grass fire there in the field across the street with lots of neighbors. (That together with our family putting up hay every summer with the Wells family and my mom organizing our little town’s chicken bbq’s has instilled in me a longing and love for situations where I am part of a group of people working hard on a project together.)

My mom and dad always had lots of friends and our house was full of friends and relatives. There were big meals around the table and always some exciting project going on. My dad and Harry Wells were always buying animals of some sort at the auction (experimenting at being farmers as I know my dad grew up a city boy.) They were also always buying men toys like tractors, dump trucks, front loaders. My dad and another science teacher John Winn were always staying up late planning out new ways to teach their middle schoolers science with all kinds of neat little hands-on activities. They also put a lot of energy into thinking up mischevious little tricks to play on administrators and colleagues.

As I got older my favorite times with my dad were when we were working on a project together – building his canoe or roofing an outbuilding. He taught me how to cut in when painting, how to drywall, shingle, build walls and wire switches. He helped me remodel the day care centers and work on my houses. We don’t really do many projects together like that anymore. He thinks I’m too busy. Perhaps if I retire soon enough we can work on projects again.

My other favorite thing to do with my dad is discuss ideas, science, politics, religion etc. He is very well informed – he spends half his time reading and writing little notes, I think! There aren’t a lot of people that like to discuss those things so it is always a treat.


Jenny and Pete’s Wedding, 1984, with Hillary (Shelley’s daughter) and Jerren (Jerry Lynn’s son)

From the young skinny kid living on the wrong side of the tracks pursuing the cute confident girl from the other side of town, to the hard-working teacher supporting his wife and two girls, my dad always keeps things fun and interesting.

Dad was forever telling stories. When we were little he told us he had an alter ego and that by day he was a mild mannered schoolteacher but at night he became Chicken Man. He would make up stories about his escapades as Chicken Man to keep us entertained. I remember telling my friends not to believe anything he said. To hear him tell it, he is part American Indian. This supposedly explains why he has no hair on his chest. Dad also told me that at night our neighbors in Lake Fenton would hang their ten kids on the hooks in their hallway because they didn’t have enough beds to go around. Every time I went over to their house I looked at the line of hooks and wondered how they ever got any sleep.

Growing up our house was always full of people. Mom made it an inviting atmosphere with a nice comfortable house and good food and Dad was the entertainment. From his stories to his magic tricks (glass through the table, floating ghosts, going though walls) he was always a hit. Our birthday and Halloween parties were always the greatest. In the summer we would have picnics in the yard and cool off in the horse tank that dad had converted to a swimming pool. In the winter we would build snow forts, have snowball fights and ride the manure skid. Dad was the biggest kid of all.

I remember at bed time never wanting to go to sleep so Dad would be wrestling around with us causing mom to complain that now we would never go to sleep. But dad would carry us off to bed, tuck us in and sing to us.  His favorite was Old Black Joe. We would drift off to sleep thinking of our new adventures for the coming day while listening to Dad’s renditions of his favorite songs.

Growing up Dad was always there to support us. If we wanted to try something new he encouraged us. He was always at all of the school functions and sporting events cheering us on. He has done the same things for all of his grandsons.

Not everything was great though. Dad was always the one to get up with us on school days. He thought it was funny to start our day with that army wakeup song usually played by a trumpet. He would loudly imitate the trumpet sound with his mouth and then yell up the stairs that breakfast was ready. Now, in high school I just wanted to drink a Carnation Instant Breakfast and be done with it. But oh no, we had to have a full breakfast to start our day off right. It seemed like once a week we would have to..….wait for it…….choke down liver and onions. Are you kidding me???? For breakfast??? It was the worst. I think I am still emotionally scarred from that.

Dad always has a big project going that incorporates creative thinking and a lot of old fashioned hard work. Like taking an old farm house without electricity and heat upstairs and lots of work needed on the out buildings and making it the perfect place to grow up.  He was already great at the rehab stuff from his Industrial Arts degree and work experience but he also learned a lot about farming and the care of livestock and other farm animals (castrating bulls, fighting mean roosters, training biting ponies, corralling escaped cows, etc.). It was always fun and interesting living on the farm.

Some of his other projects included, building a racquetball court on the lower loft of the barn, starting me in the asparagus business to pay for my schooling, and one project that is still in the planning stages: converting the top of the old silo into a sky observatory.  Maybe he’ll start that in his 80th year. He has instilled in my sister and me the notion that anything is possible as long as you work hard and stay positive. That attitude has given me the confidence to undertake things in my professional life that maybe I wasn’t really qualified for but knew if I put in the work that I could succeed.

Jerri Lynn and I also got our love of learning and reading from him. He is always interested in learning more by reading and doing. I think that is what has kept him so young in mind and spirit. When he started to get interested in health and nutrition he not only changed the family’s eating habits (out went the Hostess Cupcakes, Twinkies, ice cream, white bread and pasta) and got us interested in physical fitness (paying us to run in 5 and 10K’s) but also decided to start a health food store on the farm. He really goes all out.

One of the things I admire about my dad is that he can talk to anyone. He told me once that the secret is to ask the right questions. He is great at starting a conversation and making anyone feel at ease. He is knowledgeable about a multitude of subjects so he is an interesting guy to converse with. I think his secret is that he is a great listener and he has a very open mind.

Dad has always been the go-to guy for questions on how to fix or repair anything. My husband Pete has made use of dad’s knowledge on a lot of our home improvements. He is always ready to lend a helping hand and has traveled to Illinois numerous times to help us with projects.

Dad has been the starring character in a lot of my boy’s papers and stories for school. We would travel to the farm to visit grandpa and grandma quite a lot when the boys were growing up. We would drive over to Lansing in the summer or on school breaks. One time after we got back to our house from a visit, I glanced outside and saw Kyle peeing on the neighbor’s flowers. I ran outside and asked Kyle why he hadn’t come in to use the bathroom. He said that he and Grandpa had done it on the farm behind the barn so why couldn’t he do it here?……..Thanks Dad. After another trip, one of the boys had to write a few paragraphs on what they had done over spring break. His response: “On my spring break my grandpa taught me how to play Craps.” I received a very interesting note from his teacher after she read that assignment.

I love his outlook on life and his continual quest for new knowledge.  Like he says, “I’ll try anything…..twice”.

And here’s a special word from Jerry’s grandson, Kyle:

I’m Kyle, Jerry’s grandson (Jennifer’s son). I’m twenty-three years old and I work in research in the Psychiatry department at the University of Minnesota. I graduated from Minnesota in 2010 and will be pursuing a Ph.D. in clinical psychology this fall at either the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill or Arizona State University.

Ever since I was a child, my grandpa has always been one of my favorite people to talk to. He always has something interesting to say because he is always acquiring new knowledge. I don’t know anyone else who highlights and takes copious notes while reading for pleasure like he does. I’ve also never known anyone as curious and open-minded as him, especially at his age. Most people are set in their ways after a certain point and have their opinions and attitudes firmly in place, but my grandpa would never let that happen. He believes that there is always an opportunity to learn something new, no matter how much you know already.

Most adults treat children as intellectually inferior when speaking to them, which in some ways they obviously are. However, I vividly remember having many conversations about politics, science, and philosophy with my grandpa when I was a child. He had to dumb down the subject matter so that I could grasp the ideas, but what was unique about our conversations was that he expected me to contribute rather than simply absorb what he was telling me. He would ask my opinion of something or pose questions that made me think critically, something that most adults don’t do with children. I think that those conversations helped to spark my interest in philosophy, science, and academics in general. I’m certainly going to try to follow his example when I have children and grandchildren of my own one day.

And finally, isn’t that AWESOME artwork from Jenny’s son, Ryan? Check out more of his work here.


Getting to Know Those Gulicks

George and Amanda Gulick and Family

The George and Amanda (Capen) Gulick Family
Standing, l-r: John, Elmer, Perry, Bert, Joseph (Joe Sr), Annette, Grace
Seated: Amanda (Capen) and George Gulick 

So last week we discussed the Gulick’s migration from Germany, to the Netherlands, to New York City and finally to Williamston, MI.

Let’s get to know George and Amanda Gulick a bit, since they’re the ones who really got the family started in the Williamston area. On New Years Day, 1853, George and Amanda were married in her parents John and Fanny (Holcomb) Capen’s home in Oakland County, in southeastern Michigan (like the Gulicks, the Capens, also spelled Chapin, had previously lived in New York before moving to Michigan in the mid-1800s).

In March of that year, George and Amanda moved northward to land located in Ingham County, between Williamston and Lansing. According to George’s obituary (if you can read it in last week’s post), he and Amanda cleared the land, logged the timber, built a log cabin home and farmed 80 acres of land.

Over the years, their acreage grew and their family grew. By time their children were adults, George and Amanda owned enough land to give farms to all seven of them (four more children died in infancy and childhood). According to a newspaper article written by Lula Howarth, their son Joe lived on the original farmstead and his family stayed on the farm long enough for it to become a centennial farm.

So, looking at the family photo above, aren’t those some dapper dudes? Okay, maybe John, the cheery guy on the left is dapper. He went on to become a doctor in Illinois. The rest of the siblings stayed on their given farms or settled in the general community.

It’s interesting to see a layout of this area. Click here and check out the map Jerry made for us. You’ll see a whole neighborhood of Gulicks and Gulick-in-laws all living within a few square miles. This is family togetherness at its best.

Or perhaps its worse.

According to family lore, some were a bit of a raucous crowd. At night, the men gathered together to raid chickens from neighboring farms, and during the day, one wife hung a quilt on the clothesline to signal a male acquaintance that her husband was gone. I wonder, is this what they refer to as “dirty laundry”?

Our guy is the more serious Perry, third gentleman from the left (surely, he didn’t participate in any of the above behavior). On November 26, 1878, Perry married Fidelia Walton, whose family, interestingly, had also come to Michigan from New York.

Perry and Fidelia (Walton) Gulick

Perry and Fidelia (Walton) Gulick, 1878

Perry and Fidelia (Walton) Gulick, record of their wedding

Perry and Fidelia took up farming on the land his parents gave him on Gulick Road. They had two sons; Glen Maynard, born in 1882, and Bryon Earl (who went by Earl), born in 1886.

Earl and Glen Gulick, circa 1890

Earl and Glen Gulick, circa 1890

So now we’re getting to a time period relative to people we know—or should I say people that people we know knew. Does that make sense?

In 1905, when Earl was 19, he married Maggie Francis Laing, age 17. In the early years of their marriage, Earl and Maggie (who sometimes is recorded as Margie) lived next door to his parents on Gulick Road. In 1906, their first child Ralph was born. In 1911, their daughter Gladys was born.

That’s right. Our Gladys. And her mother Maggie is the same Grandma Maggie to the Amos Boys who raised Jerry during his childhood.

In some ways, these Gulicks are just names and faces. We see them listed in historical data and on, but we don’t really know who they are. Thankfully, Jerry can help us with that. While they were still alive, Jerry spent time talking with these older generations and he has recollections of them from his childhood. Through Jerry, we can know a bit about Glen and Earl.

Glen Gulick, circa 1900s

Glen Gulick, circa 1900s

Jerry remembers his great-Uncle Glen to be a soft-spoken, charming, gregarious guy who loved to hunt, fish, gamble and drink. He never was married, although rumor has it he once courted Nellie Able, a relative of R.E. Olds.

“I don’t think he or Earl were ever real interested in farming and they never accumulated much property or savings,” writes Jerry. “Glen went blind in his old age and became cranky, especially when Gladys had to take him to the rest home, known to him as the “County Home” or “Poor House,” near Okemos.”

Jerry remembers his grandfather Earl as a jokester who enjoyed a good laugh. He tells the story of Earl rebottling used whiskey bottles with burnt sugar water and selling them to unsuspecting people in Jackson. When the census enumerator came to his house in 1936 and asked the necessary vital questions, Earl answered that he was married to Gloria Swanson. By then, he and Maggie were divorced and his second wife’s name was Clara Swanson. So, humorous guy that he was, Earl Gulick is forever down in history as living with Gloria Swanson, the very famous actress. So much for the credibility of the U.S. Census!

“Earl was a conductor for the Lansing Urban Line and later a house painter around Lansing,” writes Jerry. “They used to mix their own paint in washtubs with white lead and linseed oil, and then take a leak in it to keep it from separating while drying.”

Jerry says Earl must have had a soft and caring side. He and Glen cared for their father Perry when he had severe dementia before dying in 1922. Earl then quit his job to care for his mother Fidelia before she died the next year. Over time he was there for other relatives as well.

Earl Gulick, Jerry Lynn Amos, Jerry Amos, 1961

Three generations: Earl Gulick, Jerry Lynn Amos, Jerry Amos, 1961

Earl Gulick

Earl Gulick obituary

So here you have it—nearly three hundred years of Gulick genealogy all wrapped up into two weeks of blogging. Life truly is a journey! And 100 years ago, this land between Williamston and Lansing is where the Michigan Gulicks happened.

I’m thinking we need to take a family trip and visit the area. Anyone game?


Tentatively June 16, 2012

Elaine, Jan and Shelley are planning a family reunion!
More information soon to come!

Begats and Other Intricacies of Genealogy

George and Amanda (Capen) Gulick's Family Bible

Genealogy can be tricky. On one hand we have oral stories passed from generation to generation, each woven through the viewpoint of the person telling it. On the other, we have historical data such as census records, newspaper articles and Bibles, all factually recorded in days gone by.

The stories bring life to the data. The data brings credibility to the stories. And once in a while, the fine thread separating the two becomes extremely ragged.

But I’m sure that never happens in our family, right?

This week, we’re going to look at the Gulick side of the family. Gulick was Gladys’ maiden name (Gladys being Duane, Bruce and Jerry’s mother) and her family farmed in rural Williamston, MI, during the 1900s.

Jerry has gathered extensive information on the Gulicks from the State of Michigan Library, including the book Gulicks of the USA, by David E. Gulick. Interestingly, what he found corresponds with information that Joel (Duane’s son) found online, entitled Gulick Family Papers, Princeton University, NJ.

I’ll summarize, but it’s probably worthwhile to read the book or online version.

In a previous blog post, Jerry told us the name Gulick originated in the Dutchy of Julich, which is located in northwestern Germany, near the border of the Netherlands (Holland). As Germans, prior to 1350, our ancestors spelled their name Gulich or Guliche. When they moved westward into the Netherlands, they adopted the Dutch spelling of Gulick.

Duchy of Jülich

In 1653, Hendrick and Geertruyt Gulick immigrated from Amsterdam, Holland, to New Amsterdam, which is now New York City. They came with their two sons Jan (John) and Jochem.

It’s interesting to note that in 1687 Jochem took the oath of allegiance to Great Britain (remember, America was still under Britain’s rule) and was a captain in King’s County militia. He also purchased 85 acres on Smokey Point, Staten Island. Can you imagine the value of that land today?

Jochem’s the guy we’re interested in. Jochem begat Pieter; who begat another Jochem; who begat Willem; who begat Peter; who begat George Washington Gulick, who as a child moved with his parents to Michigan.

We’ve now just covered 200 years (and it feels like we’re reading Genesis 5 from the Bible).

Are you keeping track of all this? Maybe you’re currently expecting and looking for baby names? You know, it’s always good to go with a good, strong family name. Here are the women that go along with these men— Jacomyntie, Eva, Cornelia, Eleanor, Mary and Amanda. Each of them had maiden names beginning with Van, meaning we truly are a dutchy family (except for Amanda, who traces back to Hungary).

Let’s jump ahead to 1853, when George Washington Gulick and his bride Amanda (Capen) built a log cabin on Epley Road, near Williamston. This area, about 15 miles southeast of Lansing, is where the Michigan Gulicks flourished. In fact, there’s even a Gulick Rd. And it is here that George, according to family lore, could cut logs and build a cabin in one week.

George and Amanda had this great family of 11 children, seven of whom were living as of the 1900 U.S. Census.

George and Amanda (Capen) Gulick

The George and Amanda (Capen) Gulick Family
Standing, l-r: John, Elmer, Perry, Bert, Joseph (Joe Sr), Annette, Grace
Seated: Amanda (Capen) and George Gulick 

So here we have a start to the Gulick genealogy. There’s more to come—another 100 years—so stay tuned.

Discussing the Gulicks with Duane, Bruce and Jerry is an interesting reflection on their childhood. Duane and Bruce don’t know much about this side of the family because, as they mentioned, they didn’t spend much time with them when they were growing up.

Jerry, on the other hand, did. He maintained his relationship with Gulick relatives into his adult years and heard many stories. It’s Jerry who has a lot to pass along to us, including George and Amanda’s family Bible, shown above. He also provided George and Amanda’s obituary articles, shown below, which are glued to pages within the Bible.

And lastly, Jerry sent the picture of a house, shown below, that may be the house George and Amanda built on Haslett Road.

Thanks Jerry!

George Gulick obituary

Amanda Capen Gulick obituary

Gulick home

Jobs, Driving and Happy Days


So in last week’s post, it seems we missed a few interesting jobs in Bruce’s career. Some of them were random, such as working for Lansing Drop Forge, REO Truck Plant and Cook Coffee.

When Jerry comments that Bruce gained lots of experience from these jobs, Bruce replies, “Well, no one would keep me very long.”

And then there were other jobs that, in retrospect, formed a great plot in the timeline of Bruce’s life and those of his brothers. So from here, we’re going to take the story into a reverse chronology, just like they sometimes do on TV.

Before Bruce began delivering mail for the post office, he delivered milk for Lansing Dairy on N. Cedar Street. He was among the last of the horse-drawn deliverymen.

“My route was between Saginaw and Willow Streets, from Capital Avenue on up to the Beltline,” says Bruce. “We loaded on at 4:30 in the morning, and Bill Roggow, from our neighborhood on Beech Street, worked there also. He and I used to leave the dairy at the same time and race down Shiawassee Street to the (restaurant) so we could have breakfast.”

Jerry wants to know about the accident Bruce had with a milk truck (the truck he drove before he was relegated to the horse-drawn wagon).

“Well, I was just going down a gravel road, a washboard type road. And I was driving a little too fast, and bounced around a little too much off the shoulder of the road, and rolled the truck,” says Bruce. “When I rolled, a bunch of milk bottles broke and I got pieces glass all over my back. And because you rode around in those trucks with the doors open, I got thrown out into a ‘muck’ field. They wouldn’t even put me into a room in the hospital, they left me out in the hall.”

Jerry is a true younger brother and brings up important points that perhaps his brothers “have forgotten.”

He asks, “Duane, you drove a truck at one time too, didn’t you?”

This then, forces Duane to admit that he too once rolled a truck—a gravel truck. Gravel…milk…they’re all a shifty loads, aren’t they?

Jerry says he never tipped over any trucks, but he did run into the side of Benny’s Drive-In on Michigan Avenue with his 1940s Chrysler.

“There would be a carload of us guys and we’d drive around the drive-in and look through the windows to see if there were any girls in there,” says Jerry. “I ran right into the side of the building doing that.”

Which brings us to Benny’s…

Benny’s Drive-In was a big part of the Amos Boys’ teenage life. Duane and Bruce both worked there during their high school years (when the restaurant was called Matthew’s). Jerry worked there during his high school years as well, and it was the place to hang out for teens and young adults. The Amos Boys’ stories make the place sound just like Arnold’s from the TV sitcom Happy Days (although if you heard what they did behind those kitchen doors, you probably wouldn’t have eaten the food).

“Benny’s is where Duane met your mother,” Bruce tells me.

Apparently, Bruce and Coyla Jean had had a spat. So when Bruce and Duane went to a party, they took other girls. After the party, they dropped the girls off at their homes and cruised on down to check out the scene at Benny’s Drive-In.

“We were driving around Benny’s and Coyla and her friends were parked there,” says Duane. “We got out and talked to them. Bruce and Coyla made up and that’s when I met your mother. She was friends with Coyla and was visiting from Henderson for the weekend.”

And the rest is history. How cool is that?