In search of Henrietta

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52Ancestors in 52 Weeks topic this week is Challenge

One of my biggest challenges has been trying to find my 2nd great-grandmother, Heneretti.  My great-grandfather, Carl Desen’s, death certificate listed his parents as John Desens and Heneretti Gressiers.[1]  I found John living in Clark County Wisconsin around 1900.[2]  He owned a farm and was killed by his neighbor in 1907.[3]  His son, Herman Desens owned the farm next to John, and Herman was accidently killed by a gunshot wound to the chest in 1901.[4]  The United Church of Christ East Cemetery Index lists Herman’s parents as John Desens and Henrietta.[5] I do not find Heneretti with them in Clark County Wisconsin.  My assumption is that she died prior to John buying the farm since she cannot be found in Wisconsin.   I do not know where John lived before buying the farm in Wisconsin,  however,   I assume it to be Illinois, since all his children lived in Illinois.  I searched different spellings of first and surnames that I could think of such as Henrietta, Henrietti, Heneretti, Henriette, Gressier, Gressiers, Gressens, and many more variations.   All the searches resulted in a dead-end.  Sometimes I feel I am getting close only to find out that it is someone else with the same name or similar name.  I found a Henrietta Desens living in Michigan married to a John Desens and they had a son Carl.  When I first saw this I thought it was my great-grandfather’s parents, but the Carl Desens in Michigan had a different birth date then my great-grandfather.  Once I found my 2nd great-grandfather, John, in Wisconsin, I knew that the John and Henrietta living in Michigan were not my 2nd great- grandparents.  I have wondered if Heneretti was a middle name that she used, and records have her first name. But without more information about Heneretti, it is like looking for a needle in haystack.  I will continue to search for Heneretti and hoping one day to finally break this brick wall.

Copyright © Gail Grunst 2019

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[1] Standard Certificate of Death, State of Illinois, Cook County, Forest Park, Registration Dist. 3104, Registered no. 1050. Health Department Record, City of Chicago.

[2] Grantor Index Book, Clark County Wisconsin 1905 1/2 – 1911 ½ Vol 8, page 117, notes from mortgage: Paid off September 26, 1900.  Filed at Clark County Courthouse, Recorder of Deeds, 517 Court Street, Room 303, Neillsville, Wisconsin 54456. 

[3] Neillsville times(Neillsville, Clark County, Wis) July 11, 1907.

[4] Wisconsin, Clark, Greenwood, Greenwood Gleaner, 25 October 1901.

[5] United Church of Christ East Cemetery Index(formerly the German Immanuel Evangelical & Reformed Church) Warner Township, Clark County, WI, Compiled by Stan and Janet Schwarze.

 

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On the Farm

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks theme this week is on the farm.

I only have three ancestors that farmed and I have already written about all three.  However in previous posts I wrote more about their lives and very little about their farms. Today, I will focus on John Desens my 2nd great grandfather’s farm.  John owned a farm near Greenwood, Clark, Wisconsin.[1]  A few years ago I made a trip to the court house in Neillsville, Clark, Wisconsin to research John. At that time I did not have paper proof that he was my 2nd great-grandfather and that was the purpose of the trip.  I was searching for his probate file, land records, and the criminal file for the neighbor who killed himI didn’t get everything I wanted that day, but I was able to search the Grantor and Grantee books.  I knew his death date so I started with the Grantor books for 1907 and found the sale of the farm in Sept of 1907.  I did not recognize the name of the man who purchased it.  Next I wanted to see the title and get a legal description.  So I copied down the information of the book and page number the title should be in.  The clerk took me to the basement of the court house where they kept the books. The book shelves were covered with plastic tarps.  She pulls a tarp back, pulls out the book and opens to the page.  I was able to write down the legal description.  Then next to that title was one for his son.  I wrote down that legal description too.  It appeared that they each owned 40 acres next to one another.  The clerk asked me if I would like to know where the farms were today.  She anticipated my next question!  We went back upstairs to look at the current plot book. By the legal description we were able to find the farms and the roads that they are on today.

The legal description of John’s farm read: NE quarter of Sec 6 Township 26 range 2W of the fourth Principle (40 acres).[2]  Farm today is located at SE corner of Rock Creek Road and Resewood Road from the current plat book.

John Desens Farm (2)_LI

Satellite View of John’s Farm today.  Google Earth Photo.

The legal description of Herman’s (John’s son) read: NW quarter Sec 6 Range 2W of fourth principle (40 acres).[3]

Grantor Index, Clark County Wisconsin 1905 1/2 – 1911 ½ Vol 8, page 117, notes from mortgage: Paid off September 26, 1900. [4]

Herman died in 1901 and John inherited his son’s 40 acres.[5]

According to John’s probate file when he died in 1907 his equity included the following:[6]

1 grey house

80 acres of land

1 boy horse

36 chickens

1 cook stove and pipe

1 shovel

1 spade

1 buck saw

1 screw driver

1 inch chisel

2 sacks of flour

2 tin pails

2 Axes

1 Plow

1 harness

1 trowel

1 lantern

4 chairs

1 oil can

1 bob sled

1 wood splitter

½ acre of grown peas

1 ½ acre of rye

3 ½ acres of oats

1 acre of potatoes

2 acres of grass

7 bushels of oats

1 clock

I could not make out the hand writing for some items on the list. The grand total came to $1356.81. 

It looks like John was a poor farmer.  From what I can tell he had only been farming in Wisconsin for about 8 or 9 years at the time of his death.[7]  He was 74 years old when he died.[8]  It must have been hard for him to farm by himself in his late 60’s and early 70’s.  Perhaps when he and his son bought their farms, he thought his son could do a lot of the heavy work, unfortunately his son, Herman died in 1901 at age 30.[9]

After finding the location of the farm, my husband and I drove out see it and here are some pictures of the way it looks today. 

Desens Farm

John’s Farm from the corner of Resewood Road and Rock Creek Road, Clark County, Wisconsin.

 

The farm was sold to Edwin H. Wood in September 1907.[10]

I did find proof that John Desens was my 2nd great-grandfather in his probate file.[11]

Copyright © 2018 Gail Grunst

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[1] Grantor Index Book, Clark County Wisconsin 1905 1/2 – 1911 ½ Vol 8, page 117, notes from mortgage: Paid off September 26, 1900.  Filed at Clark County Courthouse, Recorder of Deeds, 517 Court Street, Room 303, Neillsville, Wisconsin 54456. 

[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ancestry.com. Wisconsin, Wills and Probate Records, 1800-1987 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc, 2015.  Original data: Wisconsin County, District and Probate Courts.

[6] Probate file for John Desens filed in the McIntyre Library at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, 103 Garfield Ave, Eau Claire, WI 54701

[7] Ibid.

[8] Death Record of John Desens, Pre -1907 Wisconsin Death Record County Clark, Volume # 01 Page # 438. Filed at the State Historical Archives of Wisconsin, Miroforms room, 816 State Street, Madison, Wisconsin 53706

[9] Clark Co., Wis. Internet Library Home Page

[10] Grantor Index Book, Clark County Wisconsin 1905 1/2 – 1911 ½ Vol 8, page 117, notes from mortgage: Paid off September 26, 1900.  Filed at Clark County Courthouse, Recorder of Deeds, 517 Court Street, Room 303, Neillsville, Wisconsin 54456. 

[11] Probate file for John Desens filed in the McIntyre Library at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, 103 Garfield Ave, Eau Claire, WI 54701

Misfortune

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John and Herman Desens farm on left side of road as it looks today.

Misfortune seems to have followed John Desens around. About six years before he was killed by his neighbor, Fred Zell, his son, Herman,  was killed when he accidently shot himself.

The latest victim of careless handling of guns is Herman Desens, a man about thirty years of age who lived with his father across from Fred Zell’s place west of town (Greenwood, Clark Co). Friday evening, Oct. 18, 1901 as the two were about to leave the clearing where they had been working, the young man went after his shot gun, which he had left nearby standing against a log. He seized the gun by the muzzle and drew it toward him, and in doing so the hammer cocked, discharging the load of one barrel into his breast. The father hearing the shot, looked up, but noticing his son standing thought nothing of the shot and stooped to his work, when he heard his son give an exclamation and saw him start for the house. The man only went a few yards when he dropped to the ground dead. The funeral occurred at the cemetery on the West Side Sunday afternoon. Deceased, with his father, came to Greenwood about two years ago and have lived together on their small clearing.[1]

Another account is from Marshfield Times October 25, 1901.

img138 (2)

Family story was they were killed by Indians.  It looks like the family stories were wrong.

Copyright © 2018 Gail Grunst


[1] From website: http://www.wiclarkcountyhistory.org/warner/history/Pioneers/indexY.htm