29 April 2010

Arthur and Friend

Arthur Elsworth Raymo
Chattanooga, 1918

28 April 2010


Roger D. Raymo and Chester T. Raymo
Chattanooga, 1918

27 April 2010


From Charlotte Raymo's 1976 recollections:

[In July 1917] our family moved to Chattanooga so that our father could help build and operate the Southern Ferro Alloys Company, which would manufacture ferro silicone for use in ammunition to be used in World War I.
There had been a big flood in Chattanooga in March 1917, and it was difficult to find housing that had not been damaged by water. So the first year, 1917-1918, we lived in the St. Elmo area and attended public school--I was in the 5th Grade.
In the spring of 1918, we moved to [212] Baldwin Street, about 6 blocks from Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church and Notre Dame School (a 12-grade school). My three brothers and I enrolled in Notre Dame in September 1918 and became acquainted with the Dominican Order of Sisters--marvelous teachers and disciplinarians.

212 Baldwin Street, Chattanooga, Tennessee, c.1918

26 April 2010

The Kids

Arthur J. Raymo, Roger D. Raymo, Chester T. Raymo and Charlotte A. Raymo

25 April 2010

The Merrow Ancestry

In Charlotte's papers, she had pieced together very little about her grandfather (and my great-great-grandfather) Joseph Daniel Merrow. She notes he was the son of John Joseph Mereaux and Angeline Burdenau. He had an older brother Alexander and a younger brother named William. His grandfather Joseph, was a brother to his wife Josephine's grandmother Rachel, which made them second cousins.

Charlotte also notes that the Merrow surname had gone through several changes over the years; Merrow, Mero, Mereaux, Miraux.

Apart from that, little else was known of his ancestry. Today, I can take advantage of the huge amount of available online genealogical databases to push the Merrow family history a little further back. Here's what I've been able to uncover so far.

I've found Joseph and his parents John and Angeline in the 1870 U.S. Census, living in Detroit, Michigan.

The listed ages are a little bit off, but that is not unusual for early censuses. Here their surname is spelled Miraux. Older brother Alexander is there, as is younger brother William.

I have not found yet any further records relating to this specific family, but if we accept the account that John's father Joseph was a brother to Rachel Amireau, Josephine's grandmother, that would mean he would most certainly be Joseph Amireau (b. 1792). The Amireau/Amirault family is well studied Acadian family that goes back many generations to the early days of the French settlement of what later became Nova Scotia.

With this connection made, here is what the Merrow's direct ancestral line would look like:

Joseph Daniel Merrow (1851-1922)

John Joseph Miraux (c.1815-    ) + Angeline Burdenau (c.1811-c.1880)

Joseph Amireau (1792-    ) + Sarah Stockwell (c.1796-    )

Jean Baptiste Amirault (1755-1835) + Marie Archange Desmarais (1768-    )

François Marin Amirault (1720-1799) + Cécile Bourg (c.1729-1795)

Joseph Amirault (1689-1774) + Marguerite Laure (c.1695-    )

François Amirault dit Tourangeau (c.1644-c.1726) + Marie Pitre (c.1666-    )

François Amirault, born in Tours, France, apparently arrived in Port Royal in 1671 aboard the ship L'Oranger. He was a soldier, who once his service was finished, remained in the New World as a settler of Acadia.

His descendants were forced from their homes during the expulsion of the Acadians during the French and Indian War of 1754-1763. Thousands of Acadians died as a result of this upheaval at the hands of the British. Some deported Amiraults managed to escape to Quebec and later Ontario, and from there eventually some became the Mirauxs/Meros/Merrows of Detroit.

24 April 2010

Joseph and Josephine

Margaret Merrow's parents were Joseph Daniel Merrow (1851-1922) and Josephine Gertrude Greusel (1861-1938). They were married on 3 August 1881 and are shown here photographed shortly afterwards. Joseph and Josephine were second cousins, both being great grandchildren of Jean Baptiste Amirault, a French Canadian of Acadian descent. The surname Merrow is an anglicization of the original Amirault.

In the span of twenty years, Joseph and Josephine had sixteen children, only half of which lived to adulthood.

The children of Joseph and Josephine, reconstructed from census records and Charlotte A Raymo's notes:

  • Margaret Angeline Merrow, b. 11 October 1882, d. 21 December 1946
  • Clarence Charles Merrow, b. 10 April 1883, d. sometime after 1920
  • Joseph Daniel Merrow, Jr., b. 20 December 1884, d. 1886
  • Vivian Merrow, b. 19 December 1886, d. September 1887
  • Twin boy, died in infancy
  • Twin boy, died in infancy
  • Girl, died in infancy
  • Josephine Gertrude Merrow, b. 23 December 1891, d. 6 October 1949
  • Marie Stella Merrow, b. 3 April 1893, d. sometime after 1949
  • Rachel Irene Merrow, b. 2 August 1894, d. September 1983
  • Flavious Joseph Merrow, b. 10 June 1895, d. 29 September 1918
  • Unknown child, died in infancy
  • John Merrow, died in infancy
  • Florence Virginia Merrow, b. 23 February 1898, d. 2 December 1992
  • Caleb Merrow, b. January 1900, d. probably died in infancy
  • Hazen Alfonso Merrow, b. 7 July 1901, d. 6 December 1978

23 April 2010

The Merrow Family

Margaret Merrow's parents and family, photographed in Summertown, Tennessee, c.1915.

FRONT ROW: Uncle Edward Greusel (1853-1934), Margaret's mother Josephine Gertrude Greusel (1891-1938), Margaret's father Joseph Daniel Merrow (1851-1922).

BACK ROW: Jim & Reba Becket (unknown relation), sister Rachel Irene Merrow (1894-1983), sister Marie Stella Merrow (1893-    ), brother Flavious Joseph Merrow (1895-1918), sister Florence Virginia Merrow (1898-1992), and cousin Joseph Greusel.

22 April 2010

Out on a walk

Arthur Elsworth Raymo and his children, c.1916, Mount Pleasant, Tennessee

20 April 2010

19 April 2010

The Kids

The four children of Arthur and Margaret Raymo with their grandmother Emma Handeyside, Dearborn, Michigan, 1911.

A year later in Mount Pleasant, Tennessee -- Arthur, Chester, Roger and Charlotte.

18 April 2010

Chester Theodore Raymo

My grandfather, Chester Theodore Raymo (1909-1974), aged 3 months, photographed in June 1909 in Dearborn, Michigan. He was born on 27 March 1909, a little over 101 years ago.

Chester again, in 1910, with his aunt Josephine Merrow (1891-1949). Margaret's sister, Josephine, as per the census record taken that year, was living with the Raymos in their house on Garrison Avenue in Dearborn.

17 April 2010

Holes Filled

Elaine, a granddaughter of Arthur and Margaret, has kindly sent me some scans of photos from the Dearborn era, which I was missing. Here is a photograph of Charlotte (aged 1½) and Arthur (aged 3) during the summer of 1909 in Dearborn, Michigan.

14 April 2010

Memories of Mount Pleasant, Part Five

Another memory of my father, is watching him re-sole and mend out shoes. With four active children in the family, someone's shoes always needed repairing.

My mother cut the hair of my father and brothers all the while we lived in Mt. Pleasant, and for a number of years after we moved to Chattanooga. I wore my hair in long curls until me senior year in high school, when “bobbed” hair became fashionable and Mother cut off my curls, shedding many tears in the process.

My childhood memories are very happy ones. Our family was affectionate. We were taught to be courteous and mannerly. Always respectful to our parents and anyone older than ourselves. Our talents were encouraged; we were urged to read and appreciate good literature.
-- Charlotte A. Raymo, 1976 

13 April 2010

Memories of Mount Pleasant, Part Four

My father was superintendent of the phosphate mines in Mt. Pleasant. It takes lots of water to mine phosphate hydraulically, and a beautiful stream ran through the mining property. During the summer months the Negro churches would ask permission to have “Baptizings” in the stream on Sunday afternoon. It was great fun to attend these gatherings and see the men and women get dunked in the water and come up with shouts of “Hallelujah!”, “Praise the Lord!” or “Amen, Brother!”

12 April 2010

Memories of Mount Pleasant, Part Three

Our houses were heated with fireplaces and stoves; and we cooked on a four-burner kerosene oil stove. Our father was a very good carpenter and made many pieces of furniture—chests, dressers, tables, chairs. He also made much of our play equipment—merry-go-round, see-saw, swings, climbing bars, doll houses, sleighs, kites, scooters, etc.

Dad played the violin, harmonica and organ and the entire family was encouraged to sing and enjoy music. Our most cherished possession during this period was probably our Edison Phonograph. The wax records were cylindrical, and the needle was a diamond that never needed changing. Records cost 35 cents each or 3 for $1.00. We bought 6 records each month—patriotic, humorous, classical. We children learned to recite Lincoln's Gettysburg speech and “Paul Revere's Ride” by listening to the records.

11 April 2010

Memories of Mount Pleasant, Part Two

More of Charlotte's recollections of her childhood.

Mother was a Catholic and we children had all been baptized in Michigan. But there was no church in the area of Mt. Pleasant. Mother invited the priest stationed at Columbia, Tennessee to say Mass in our home once a month, and he did. Then Mother found about six or seven Catholic families in the area who had not been to church in years and whose children had not been instructed in the Catholic faith. So she had these families come to our home EVERY Sunday, and she conducted Catechism classes and prepared the children to make their First Holy Communion.
My oldest brother (Arthur) and I began our education in the public school (Hay Long Elementary School). When we lived in town, we were one-half mile from school. When we lived in the mining area, we walked more than 2 miles to school.

Charlotte and Arthur

10 April 2010

Memories of Mount Pleasant, Part One

In 1976, Charlotte A. Raymo wrote down some of her memories of growing up in rural Tennessee sixty years prior.

My family lived in Mount Pleasant, Tennessee, a small mining town in middle Tennessee. I have vivid memories of these years. My mother made all my clothes and hers, and many things for my brothers (like pajamas, play clothes, “Buster Brown” suits, etc.) Whenever she made me a new dress, she would make one just like it for my largest doll. Mother was a good cook and we celebrated birthdays and holidays with special food and decorations—she made life exciting for her children.

Roger and Chester


08 April 2010

Emma Visits

In 1913, Arthur's mother Emma Handeyside, the sixty year old widow of Theodore Raymo, visited her son and family in their new home in Mount Pleasant, Tennessee.

Emma with Roger and Charlotte.

Emma with her son Arthur and grandchildren eating Cracker Jacks.

07 April 2010

First Day

Arthur Joseph Raymo, on his first day at Hay Long Elementary School, Mount Pleasant, Tennessee in September, 1912. Scanned from a 4x6 inch glass plate negative.

06 April 2010

Gone South

In 1911, Arthur Elsworth Raymo and his family moved from Dearborn, Michigan to Mount Pleasant, a small mining town in central Tennessee. Arthur accepted a new position as the superintendent of the Rhum Phosphate Mining Company.

This c.1912 portrait shows Arthur and Margaret with their four young children; Arthur, Charlotte, Chester and Roger.

05 April 2010

Filling in the holes

There is very little in the "Charchive", either photos or documents, from the period of time between Arthur and Margaret's marriage in 1905 and their move to Tennessee in 1911. I have been able to piece together a few bits from other sources which give us a glimpse at their early married life.

The young couple had four children in quick succession:
  1. Arthur Joseph Raymo, born 3 July 1906
  2. Charlotte Alma Raymo, born 28 November 1907
  3. Chester Theodore Raymo, born 27 March 1909
  4. Roger Daniel Raymo, born 19 August 1910
I've looked up the birth registrations for the four children of Arthur and Margaret in the microfilmed records of Wayne County, Michigan. This microfilm (FHL 1377681) is available through the Family History Centers run by the LDS Church.

Arthur was born in Nankin. Charlotte, Chester and Roger were born in nearby Dearborn. On Arthur's birth registration, his father's occupation is given as "farmer." By the time Charlotte was born, Arthur Sr. was a "bookkeeper" and living in Dearborn.

The family also appears in the 1910 United States Federal Census of Dearborn, Michigan.

Arthur, Margaret and their first three children (Roger was not born at the time they were enumerated) are living in a rented house on Garrison Avenue in Dearborn. This is before the automobile boom so Dearborn is still a small township. In addition, Arthur's occupation is listed as bookkeeper for the Electric L(ight?) Company.

Also living with them is Margaret's 18 year old younger sister Josephine Merrow. The rest of the Merrow family had moved to Tennessee a few years prior. Josephine would later become a nurse for the U.S. Army.

The family's stay in Dearborn was brief as Arthur soon accepted a new job which also brought him and his family to Tennessee.

04 April 2010

The Newlyweds

Margaret Merrow grew up in Detroit. Her father, Joseph D. Merrow, was a tug boat captain on the Great Lakes. He retired from that profession in 1894 and moved his family to Swift's Corner, north of Wayne. There, Joseph ran a general store and was a postmaster. It was there, presumably, that Margaret met Arthur.

Margaret A. Merrow married Arthur E. Raymo on 2 Aug 1905 at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Wayne, Michigan.

For their honeymoon, they travelled to where else? Niagara Falls!

03 April 2010

The Raymo Farm

This 1897 photograph in Nankin, Michigan shows Emma and Theodore Raymo with their entire family; all their children, their spouses, and grandchildren. Emma and Theodore are seated in front.

From left to right are:
  1. Herbert Avery and wife Evalena Raymo with their two sons, Leland and Ray.
  2. Hazel Raymo
  3. William Ralph Raymo and his wife Fannie Norris
  4. Arthur Elsworth Raymo
  5. Charles Hayes and wife Nora Ann Raymo with son Theodore
  6. Leslie Theodore Raymo with wife Edith Smith
    The Raymo farmhouse was on a 120 acre parcel of land that was divided equally between Theodore and his brother Owen Raymo after their father Mitchell died.

    In the 20th century the farmland was eventually all sold away and was subsumed by the creeping Detroit suburbia. The Township of Nankin became part of the city of Westland in 1966.

    Here is, approximately, where the farmhouse stood today, as seen in Google Street View:

    View Larger Map

    02 April 2010

    Emma and Theodore

    Arthur Elsworth Raymo's parents were Emma Handeyside and Theodore Raymo, shown here in a 1895 photograph. They were married on 20 March 1870, when Emma was only 17 years old and Theodore was 28.

    Emma was the daughter of English immigrants, Rodger and Ann Handeyside from Yorkshire. Emma grew up on a farm down the road from the Raymo home in Nankin, Michigan.

    Theodore was the son of Mitchell Raymo and his second wife Margaret Denniston. Theodore was descended from many generations of Québécois. He lived his whole life in Nankin, maintaining the family farm and also serving as a school teacher.

    Together, Emma and Theodore raised six children:
    1. Evalena Raymo (1871-1906)
    2. William Ralph Raymo (1872-1951)
    3. Nora Ann Raymo (1874-1907)
    4. Leslie Theodore Raymo (1876-1932)
    5. Arthur Elsworth Raymo (1880-1926)
    6. Hazel E. Raymo (1886-1974)

    01 April 2010

    Arthur Elsworth Raymo

    My great grandfather Arthur Elsworth Raymo was born in Nankin, Michigan on 19 January 1880. Nankin was a small farming community west of Detroit. Arthur was born on the farm of his parents, Theodore Raymo (1841-1906) and Emma Handeyside (1853-1936).

    This photograph, a tintype, was taken c.1885 in the same Detroit photographer's studio that the portrait of his future wife Margaret was taken. As seen here, it was common for the photographer to hand tint the cheeks of his subjects after capturing their image.