Wondering about Martha Lane

We have a weekly event at work called Reminiscing Thursday. Our seniors are invited to bring something from their past to share. There isn’t an agenda, and we have no idea where the discussions will lead. Since I am the ringleader, the pressure is on for me to bring something interesting each week. Even though I have a lot to choose from, I’m usually searching around the night before for that perfect item.

This week was more of the same, I was searching through a couple of boxes and came across a school register for my wife’s grandmother. It’s called the Welch’s System of Classification, Gradation and Close Supervision. Zella (McConnell) LeVan attended a one room school house in Kalamo Twp., Eaton Co., MI. This register shows the group of students as they proceed from one year to the next “to each succeeding teacher”. It contains class curriculum, as well as grades and teachers notes for each student.

Zella grew up to be a teacher. She taught in Charlotte, MI. I’m not exactly sure how she obtained this book. In 1913, Zella was in the 5th grade at Hinkley School. That school year is on the first page of the register, and it ends with the year 1920.  It may have been her love of teaching that prompted someone to give the register to her.


That year, Hinkley School had 19 total students in grades 1 through 8. Five of Zella’s  classmates were her cousins from nearby farms. Her teacher that year was Martha A. Lane. An interesting side note is that in each succeeding school year in the book, there was a different teacher.

Hinckley School with Martha Lane and her class – 1913/1914

As I was finding this register in the box, I also came across a formal portrait of Martha Lane. On the back of the picture holder Zella wrote , “Martha Lane. Our Hinkley teacher when I was 9 years old, in the 5th grade. Obviously she was a favorite teacher and a special person in Zella’s life. She may have even inspired her to become a teacher.

Martha Lane – c.1913

I wondered about Martha Lane. What had become of her? Where did she go after that one year at the Hinkley School? Was someone that mentored Grandma as she began her own teaching career?

I looked her up on Ancestry.com. Luck would have it, I found her. And, there was another picture. And there was something unexpected – a death date of April 7, 1919. According to Ancestry, Martha was born on January 27, 1894. This would have made her only 19 when she began teaching school that year at Hinkley. She also married a man named Victor Schinkez.

So, what had happened? How did she die? There is a great repository of Michigan death records called Seeking Michigan. I searched and up came her death certificate. She had died of tuberculosis at the age of 25. Martha is buried in Maple Hill Cemetery in Charlotte, MI.

I wish Grandma was still alive to ask more about Martha Lane.

Zella would have been only 15 when Martha passed away.


Tuesday Treasure | November 3, 2009

My wife’s grandmother, Zella (McConnell) LeVan, started this memory scrap book as she was graduating, in 1924, from Michigan State Normal College (now Eastern Michigan University) in Ypsilanti, Michigan.


The book contains pages full of well wishes from classmates and clippings of various school events. In later years, she added newspaper obituary clippings.




Zella taught 2nd grade in Munith, MI schools. She and her husband Elmo (Bill) lived in Waterloo Township.


Zella (McConnell) LeVan | May 11, 1904 - November 19, 1992

This Week’s Family Anniversaries | July 12 – July 18, 2009

George Harvey – Born July 15, 1834 in Kesteven or Holland, Lincolnshire, England. He and his wife, Elizabeth Lowden, farmed in Leoni Township, Jackson Co., MI. He died on February 20, 1901 and is buried in Harrington Cemetery, Henrietta Township, Jackson Co. George is my wife’s 2nd great grandfather.

Helen Alice Heim – Born July 15, 1917 in Sylvan Township, Washtenaw Co., MI. Helen and her husband, Wayne Harvey, owned a farm on Harvey Rd. in Jackson Co., MI. She died on April 20, 2000 in Chelsea, Washtenaw Co. and is buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Chelsea. Helen is my wife’s grandmother.

Nelson Alonzo Harris – Born July 16, 1822 in Greenfield, Saratoga Co., NY. Nelson, his wife, Louisa Cleveland, and their family came to Cato, Manitowoc Co., WI from Indiana in the early 1850s. He engaged in mill business in Cato and Forest Junction. He moved to Florida in 1884 and died in Waldo, Alachua Co. He is buried in Laurel Grove Cemetery in Waldo. Nelson in my 2nd great grandfather.

Dorothy Louise Harris – Born July 17, 1900 in Appleton, Outagamie Co., WI. She was a primary school teacher in Clintonville, Waupaca Co., and Appleton before her marriage to Russell Bernard Weller in July 15, 1929. They lived in Clintonville and owned Weller Hardware. Dorothy died on August 13, 1972 in Clintonville, and is buried in St. Rose Cemetery, Clintonville. Dorothy and Russell are my grandparents.

Joseph Cleveland – Born July 18, 1689 in Chelmsford, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts Bay Colony. He and his family lived in Canterbury, Windham Co., CT where he died on March 11, 1766. Joseph is my 6th great grandfather.

Jonathan Kimball and Lydia Day – Married July 15, 1698 probably in Massachusetts. They are my wife’s 8th great grandparents.

Charles Russell McConnell – Died July 12, 1898 in Michigan. He is buried in Spaulding Cemetery, Bellevue Twp., Eaton Co., MI. He married Sophia Laib in 1859. Charles is my wife’s 2nd great grandfather.

William Bradford, II – Died July 15, 1591 in Austerfield, Yorkshire, England. He married Alice Hanson in 1584. William is the father of William Bradford, Governor of Plymouth Colony. He is my 10th great grandfather.

Katherine Protz – Died July 15, 1910 in Brillion Township, Calumet Co., WI. She was born in Germany and came to America with her husband, Leonhard Seybold, on June 2, 1857. They farmed in Brillion Twp. Katherine is buried in Forest Home Cemetery, Calumet Co. She is my 2nd great grandmother.

This Week’s Family Anniversaries | July 5 – July 11, 2009

Elmo “Bill” Linal LeVan – Born July 11, 1903 in North Greenfield, Zane Twp., Logan Co., OH. He came to Michigan and worked clearing the land for the Ford plant in Ypsilanti. He later worked in a saw mill in Waterloo Township. He married Zella Bradley McConnell on March 28, 1925. Elmo died on February 7, 1978 and is buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery, Waterloo Township, Jackson Co., MI. He is my wife’s grandfather.

Lysander Ormsby – Born July 5, 1815 in Westhampton, Hampshire Co., MA. He came to Michigan in 1837, settling in Blissfield, Lenawee Co. and then Summerfield Township, Monroe Co. He later moved to Deerfield, Lenawee Co. and bought a stave mill and opened a grocery store. He died on January 23, 1911 and is buried in Deerfield Township Cemetery, Deerfield. Lysander Ormsby is my 5th cousin, 4 times removed.

Alexandre Voiland – Died July 7, 1801 in Essert, Belfort, France. Alexandre is my 5th great grandfather and our oldest known Voiland ancestor.

Mathias J. Heller – Died July 9, 1899 in Princeton, Green Lake Co., WI. He came to America from Prussia in about 1865. He engaged in farming. He married Frances Swiderski in 1868. Mathias is buried in St. John the Baptist Cemetery, Princeton, Green Lake Co. He is my 2nd great grandfather.

This Week’s Family Anniversaries | May 10 – May 16, 2009

Laurentius “Lorenz” Hela, his wife Elizabeth Flemming and their children Anna, Andreas and Rosalia arrived at Castle Garden in New York City on May 16, 1866, on the bark Johanna from Prussia.

Zella Bradley McConnell – Born May 11, 1904 in Carmel Twp., Eaton Co., MI. She married Elmo Linal LeVan on March 28, 1925 in Wayne, Wayne Co., MI. Zella died November 19, 1992 in Plymouth, Wayne Co., MI and is buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery, Waterloo, Jackson Co., MI. She is my wife’s grandmother.

Frances Laurina (Rena) Weller – Born May 12, 1890 in Royalton, Little Wolf Twp., Waupaca Co., WI. She married Robert John Neely on September 4, 1917. Rena died on January 24, 1982 in Clintonville, Waupaca Co., WI and is buried in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Bear Creek, Waupaca Co., WI. She is my great aunt.

Benjamin Kimball – Born May 16, 1697 in Bradford, Massachusetts Bay Colony. He married Mary Emerson November 10, 1741 in Haverhill, Essex Co., MA. Benjamin is my wife’s 7th great grandfather.

Thomas Ormsbee and Mary Fitch – Married May 11, 1667 in Taunton, Bristol Co., Plymouth Colony. They are my 7th great grandparents.

James Benjamin – Died May 12, 1772 in Worthington, Hampshire Co., MA. He was born on April 3, 1727 in Preston, New London Co., Connecticut Colony. James is my 5th great grandfather.