Carlo’s Family

Carlo and family, Vergennes Township, Kent County, MI, July 1893

Above we see Carlo the Dog resting on the ground in the foreground while his family poses around him. I was unable to find Carlo’s vital statistics or any other information about him. From all appearances, he was a good boy. Carlo’s identity and the identities of his family members are inscribed on the reverse of the photograph, along with the date.

Standing to Carlo’s far left is Otis Bailey (1848-1920) and standing in the doorway is Amy Parker (1852-1907). Both were born in Vergennes Township, Kent County, MI and married there in December 1870.

Otis and Amy had two daughters. First born was Nellie M. Bailey (1872-1927) who is standing to Carlo’s immediate right. She married Frank A. Gould (1871-1945) in December 1891 and their first child, Mary Amy “Matie” Gould (1892-1977), who is sitting on the blanket to her mother’s right, was born the following September. Matie married Oscar U. Rivette (1888-1925) in 1912 and they had two children, Zeona Avon Rivette (1916-2001) and Gould Oscar Rivette (1995). Matie’s siblings were Zeona Gould (1894-1982) and Howard O. Gould (1898-1963).

Standing to Carlo’s immediate right is Otis’s and Amy’s other daughter, Grace E. Bailey (1882-1939). She married Bela C. Cowles (1880-1961) in 1912, divorced him in 1916, then married Anthony Baldus (1880-1930) in 1917.

The lady standing near the front porch steps is identified in the photograph’s caption by the apparent nickname “Auntie Duggy.” Assuming that Auntie Duggy was a member of the familly, I imagined that I would find her in an obituary, but the newspapers in and around Kent County are not well digitized. I got lucky in that one of the very few newspaper articles associated with this entire project was this one:

Belding Banner (Belding, Michigan) · Thu, May 21, 1896 · Page 3 Downloaded on Jan 1, 2022

On this slim evidence, I am confident that Auntie Duggy refers to Clarissa T. “Clara” Mason (1835-1907), the only child of Benjamin Mason (1811-1884) and Mary Tompkins (1817-1885). When the photograph was made in 1893, Clara was the widow of Jerome A. Duga (1833-1887), though it appears the marriage had failed earlier because Jerome had married Miranda “Mattie” Griswold in 1880. Clara and Jerome had three children: Henry A. Duga (1856-1916), Josephine Duga (1860), and William C. Duga (1861-1919). Henry had one son who married twice, William J. Duga (1930-2004), but there were no grandchildren.

On 24 November 1900, Clara was honored as a pioneer of Grattan, MI, having moved with her family to the community from New York around the time of its founding in 1844. The Belding Banner observed that the guests spent time eating oysters and chicken pie and

[R]ecalling all the tender memories of those pioneer days when show and pride counted for nothing. When false appearances covered with broad cloth, silk or rich apparel made none famous. When we lived heart to heart, visited our neighbors, knew all their sorrows–like one family, confided in one another and loved one another too. I earnestly ask: are those virtues lost and past, must we ignore plain common sense, or the teachings of conscience to become popular, or is it the glamour of mistaken ideas peculiar to this day and generation, throwing a dazzling unreal over the real, pure and true that our old eyes cannot just at present penetrate?

Belding Banner (Belding, Michigan) · Thu, Nov 29, 1900 · Page 3 Downloaded on Jan 1, 2022

The setting of the photograph was the home of Amy’s parents, Sheldon B. Parker (1827-1912) and Mary Jane Dickson, (1831-1892), both of whom were born in York County, Canada. Below is an 1876 map showing the location of the Parker farm on what is now Bailey Drive Northeast in Kent County. Also shown is the farm belonging to Otis’s parents, Smith Bailey (1818-1884) and Miriam “Mary Ann” Wait (1820-1924) who were both from upstate New York. Use the Vergennes Church on the left and the Flat River on the right as reference points.

Detail of a 1876 Map of Vergennes Township, MI
August 2021 GoogleEarth view of the above detail

If anyone can identify the small wooden structure to Otis’s left, please let me know. I suspect it might have something to do with an underground water cistern. Here is a detail:

Detail of an unidentified structure
The reverse of the photograph

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