Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mining Some Details From Old Documents

In discussing the marriage, the other day, of the daughter of August C. Cook and his first wife, Catherine Flannigan Cook, there was scant detail provided in the transcription of the marriage record. However, by some quirk of internet search capabilities, a digital copy of a county record now surfaces, providing more information.

At the time the marriage license was applied for, evidently the groom in question, William H. Crago, was actually living in Duluth, Minnesota. Though he had been a resident of the same Upper Peninsula town as his bride for many years, it seems his career has opened up new possibilities in Minnesota’s Saint Louis County region. The Return of Marriages in the County of Macomb in Michigan, the place where the wedding was to take place, shows a young Mr. Crago listed as a mining engineer. And indeed, that is what he will continue to do in the Duluth area and elsewhere, according to newspaper reports as late 1947.

But for now, the year of his marriage to Catherine J. Cook, he is a twenty-eight year old man living in Duluth, Minnesota, who has courted a young lady from his former home town. She, likewise, has moved away from home. Though twenty-five year old Catherine is not listed as claiming any career—the usual “at home” designation fills the spot for “occupation”—she is now living in Mount Clemens, a town in the Michigan county of Macomb. I’ve puzzled over why she is in Mount Clemens to no avail—perhaps her small inheritance from her uncle in Chicago bestowed her with a measure of  independence to settle in such a tony locale—and at this point I just accept it at face value. She will not be remaining here for long.

The wedding takes place at Saint Peter’s Church in Mount Clemens. Witnesses to the ceremony are Thomas Rowan of Yonkers, New York, and Margaret Dillon of Iron Mountain, Michigan. While the Iron Mountain designation shows a maid of honor from bride Catherine’s former home, the name doesn’t match any of Catherine’s relatives—unless there are cousins whom I’ve yet to discover. The name of the best man likewise seems a mystery at this point.

It will take more work to find the trail from this wedding celebration in Mount Clemens, to the Crago home in Duluth, Minnesota, and eventually to the same town in Colorado where Catherine’s cousin Clement Flannigan finally settled—Colorado Springs.

Photograph: panoramic view of Duluth, Minnesota, circa 1898; courtesy Wikipedia; in the public domain.


  1. It is great that you found that old document! It appears to be really helpful...and also raises a few more questions!

  2. Jacqui--
    These last several posts are exemplar in demonstrating the research and thought you've put into your search. The death of children, as you described earlier, was so common and so sad, it's a wonder our ancestors stayed sane. I find lots of religious overtones in many of my relatives' letters as the way they made sense out of the senseless. Thanks for sharing. -- And I'll consider that bubble above Sam's head in the weird photo! Yes, he seems puzzled by why he's asked to sit through this whole process! Thanks for dropping by.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...