Last time, you met Gard - this is his wife, Fannie (McGRIFF) WITHERELL and my great-great grandmother.
Fannie McGRIFF was born to Archibald (Archie) McGriff and Isadora (Dora) Erway on 9 September 1889 in Midland County, Michigan (1). She was the sixth child out of eleven. I would think growing up in a family of such a size would be a lot of fun! There would always be someone to play with or to entertain you. I can’t imagine it to ever be boring!
In the 1900 census, she is still living in Michigan with her parents and six brothers and sisters. Although her father was a farm laborer, he did not own a farm and they lived in a house. From this census, I get the idea that money was probably a bit tight. Her oldest brother was also a farm laborer at 18 and her 16-year old sister was a dressmaker. The rest of the children were too young to work yet and were in school (2). I assume that most children at this time left school as soon as they were able to support their families at home and begin their own life.
By the 1910 census, Fanny had done just that. She was now living with her husband, Gard, of 4 years and has two sons: Glenn and Ray (a nickname for Jack) and lives in Saginaw(3).
Her very large family has moved by this point and I would imagine it was disappointing and a bit lonely. By 1910, Archie and Dora had packed up their youngest remaining four children and left for Washington State (4). This was right after their fourth son, Archie – who was born 2 years after Fanny, had passed away from cerebral meningitis. He was only 14 at the time and I can only imagine how devastating that was. He died in 1905, which is either the year of or the year before Fanny was married and moved to Saginaw (5). I can only imagine how tough those years were to lose your young brother and then to have the rest of the young ones all go to Washington State!
Now, why did everyone go west? I really do not know. I do know that Fanny’s three older brothers were also already in that direction. By 1910, her three oldest brothers were either in Oregon or Washington state and had moved there between 1907-1909 (6-8) – In fact, her parents lived next door to their first born, Wesley. So maybe her parents wanted to be with them or there was some good job prospects out west? Logging seemed to be the jobs they had once they moved but I’m not positive if that’s why they moved.
One of her sisters had married and stayed in Michigan but in Grayling which is over 100 miles away so I doubt they saw each other much (9).
So, by 1910, Fannie was by herself with her new family. I would hope it was an exciting time as well as a bit scary with your entire large family going very far away.
In 1919, tragedy struck many in the United States. The Spanish flu had struck and swept across most of America. Fanny, sadly, had caught pneumonia following the flu and died on 28 Jan 1919. She was only 29 years old and had three young boys at home.
Her obituary shows that quite a bit happened between 1910 and 1919, when she died (10). One, there is another child listed that wasn’t in the 1910 census- Thomas, who was born in 1911. And there are two siblings missing from the obituary: Nellie and Soloman. According to family tradition, Soloman died in Washington state and there is a grave there with a Soloman McGriff stone but no date of birth or death is listed (11) so I can’t confirm this is him as of right now. Because he’s missing from the obituary, one can assume he passed away before Fanny. Nellie had married a Charles Audnick (12) in 1896 but then disappears from records. I haven’t gone in search of her but I know she is dead or no longer a part of the family by 1919 because Fannie’s obituary does not mention her.
Fanny M. Witherell – Mrs. Fannie M. Witherell died at her home 208 North Sixth street Tuesday afternoon at 2:45 of pneumonia following influenza which she had been ill about a week. She was born in Midland County September 15, 1889 and has lived in Saginaw 10 years. She also lived in Gladwin at one time. She leaves three children, Glenn, Jack, and Thomas Witherell, four brothers, Wesley McGriff, Arizaon; Sylvester McGriff, Oregone; Glenn and Leslie McGriff of Saginaw, and three sisters, Mrs Harry Hume, Grayling; Mrs. Wora Gaqbensack, Seattle; and Mrs. Blanche Evans, Evart. The body was taken to Frazee’s from which place services will be held later.
An odd thing to note here – her husband was not mentioned. I find that odd. Her death certificate was witnessed and filled out by her mother who by that time lived in Saginaw again (they moved quite a bit). Maybe they came back because of the sickness? I’m not sure. But why wasn’t Gard mentioned? I would think that if there was bad blood between Gard and the McGriffs that they would have taken the three boys with them as they seemed very family oriented. But they didn’t, so maybe it wasn’t an intentional thing to be left out. Either way, it seems very odd. And because I know of the off-relationship between Glenn and his dad, I wonder if it would have been better for the three boys to follow the McGriffs out west. Of course, I wouldn’t be here if they had and who knows what was really going on at that time.
Also, it was Dora Rubenack and Mrs. Harry Hum. A few typos there.
I have this picture in my collection of Fanny and Nellie. They look so much alike, don’t they? It makes me sad that I couldn’t seem to find much information on Nellie’s whereabouts especially since this picture makes them seem close. (I have no others of Fanny with her siblings but I do have pictures of the youngest, Leslie.)
*UPDATE: This picture is NOT of Fanny and her sister. This is most likely Lillie Witherell as discussed here.
The McGriffs were quite the movers in their time. They have been interesting to follow and because they are such a large family, I have discovered quite a bit of the research on them has already been done, not to mention that the cousins are very nice and willing to share pictures and information as well. Maybe this will draw out a few more? :)
1) “Michigan death records 1898-1920,” digital images, SeekingMichigan.com, Fanny M Witherell, registered no. 88, state no. 536.
2) 1900 U.S. Census, Gladwin County, Michigan, population schedule, Butman Township, ED 95, SD 10, sheet 4A (penned), 17 (stamped), dwelling 57, family 58, Fannie McGriff; digital image, Ancestry.com(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 Jan 2014), citing National Archives microfilm publication T623, roll 711.
3) 1910 U.S. Census, Saginaw County, Michigan, population schedule, Saginaw Ward 1, ED 47, SD 3, sheet 26A (penned), 26 (stamped), dwelling 503, family 528, Fannie Witherell; digital image, Ancestry.com(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 19 Jan 2014), citing National Archives microfilm publication T624, roll 672.
4) 1910 U.S. Census, Snohomish County, Washington, population schedule, Sultan River District, ED 364, SD 1, sheet 7B (penned), Archie McGriff; digital image, Ancestry.com(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 Jan 2014), citing National Archives microfilm publication T624, roll 1669.
5) a“Michigan death records 1898-1920,” digital images, SeekingMichigan.com, Archie McGriff, registered no. 3, state no. 14.
6) 1910 U.S. Census, Snohomish County, Washington, population schedule, Sultan River District, ED 364, SD 1, sheet 7B (penned), Wesley McGriff; digital image, Ancestry.com(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 Jan 2014), citing National Archives microfilm publication T624, roll 1669.
7) 1910 U.S. Census, Coos County, Oregon, population schedule, South Marshfield, Eastside City, ED 66, SD 1, sheet 2B (penned), dwelling 29, family 31, Sylvester McGriff; digital image, Ancestry.com(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 Jan 2014), citing National Archives microfilm publication T624, roll 1280.
8) 1910 U.S. Census, Coos County, Oregon, population schedule, South Marshfield, Eastside City, ED 66, SD 1, sheet 3B (penned), dwelling 45, family 48, Soloman McGriff; digital image, Ancestry.com(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 Jan 2014), citing National Archives microfilm publication T624, roll 1280.
9) 1910 U.S. Census, Crawford County, Michigan, population schedule, Grayling Township, Village of Grayling, ED 87, SD 10, sheet 7B (penned), dwelling 158, family 159, Clara Hum; digital image, Ancestry.com(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 Jan 2014), citing National Archives microfilm publication T624, roll 636.
10) Fanny M Witherell Obituary, Saginaw News Courier, Saginaw, Michigan, 29 January 1919, p 12, column 3.
11) Find A Grave, Inc., Find A Grave, digital images (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 25 Jan 2014), ”gravestone for Soloman McGriff (unknown-unknown), Memorial No. 37557314, Records of the Grand Army of the Republic Cemetery, Snohomish, Washington.”
12) ”Michigan, Marriages, 1868-1925,” digital images, FamilySearch.org (http://www.familysearch.org : accessed 25 Jan 2014), entry for Charles Audnick and Nellie McGriff, 10 Jan 1896.