Remembering Our Cemeteries and Knowing Us Amos’s

Margie (Maggie) Francis Laing Adams, Rose Lawn Cemetery, Perry MI

Here in Wisconsin, there’s a country cemetery up the road from our house that my husband’s family has maintained for more than 40 years. Every year on Memorial Day we gather with the ever-aging cemetery board members and discuss things like burning burdock along the fence line or increasing plot fees from $75 to $100. (I wrote about these exciting meetings here in my maternal grandmother’s blog.)

Anyway, planning for this year’s meeting has got me thinking about traveling to Michigan in three weeks for the Amos Reunion and the cemeteries we’re going to visit as part of our historical road trip. I’m getting so excited! In fact, we’ve now given the road trip an official name—the Gulick-Laing Legacy Tour, or, simply the Legacy Tour, since we don’t want to appear overly ostentatious.

Here’s what’s planned for the Legacy Tour

On Saturday, June 16, at 9 am., we’ll meet at Cinders Grill in Laingsburg. We’ll enjoy a dutch treat breakfast. We’ll go over route maps and handouts that Jerry is putting together. And best of all, we’ll raucously reconnect with those we haven’t seen in years!

After breakfast, we’ll all take off in our cars for the Legacy Tour. We’ll drive past homes where our ancestors lived. We’ll see sites where important buildings once stood. And we’ll visit cemeteries where our family members are buried. The tour may take 3-4 hours, depending on our speed. Join us whenever you wish, stay as long as you can stand us.

But the best comes after the Legacy Tour!

Duane and Jan’s house is where the real action will be! I hear they’ve even put in a horseshoe pit. The reunion starts at 2 pm. Come whenever you can, but for sure be there by 5-6 for the delicious dinner!

But wait, I’ve been thinking…

For some, it’s been decades since we’ve seen each other. Others of us haven’t even met. How will we know we’re Amos’s?

Joel came up with identifying clues. We need you to add to them!

You know you’re an Amos if…

  • You sing the special Happy Birthday song
  • You’re always late
  • You can never find your glasses
  • You can never find your glasses, and you look in the mirror and they’re on your head
  • Pickles are a required food for every gathering

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