Friday, October 23, 2009

My Search for Mrs. J.H. Belote

In 1908 Sarah Ann Camfield received a letter from Mrs. J. H. Belote. Initially I assumed that the J. H. would be her husband’s initials. I know, assume makes an ass out of u and me! I don’t know why I’d make such an assumption as both Sarah Ann and Anna always used their initials rather than their husbands when they signed letters.

So my incorrect assumption found me wasting a bit of time trying to find a likely candidate for the author of the letter.

Some other assumptions I worked with:

The letter was written 10 Feb 1908 and referred to letters and cards Mrs Belote had received for a recent birthday.

Mrs Belote said that she was a quarter century from the Sarah Ann’s age of 90, making her age about 65 in 1908 so she was born about 1843.

When she was 10 years old she lived in Buffalo, NY, so probably born in New York.

Many of Sarah Ann’s correspondents, other than family, lived in Branch County, Michigan as Sarah lived there many years prior to Mike’s death. So that is where I started looking.

[Note that links are to census images at and you will not be able to view them unless you have a subscription]

On the 1910 census I found Jeanette Belote, age 67 born Wisconsin, wife of Lewis W. Belote.

On the 1900 census I found Jeanette H. Belote, age 57, born Jan 1843, Wisconsin in Sherwood, Branch, Michigan. She was the wife of Lewis W. Belote.

Sherwood, Michigan jumped out at me as Sarah had received birthday letters of her own. Sarah Ann's letter dated 12 Oct 1903 mentions receiving a birthday letter from Bell Plant’s mother-in-law of Sherwood.

On the 1910 census of Bronson, Branch, MI I found Bell Belote, age 36 wife of Horace E Belote, age 40. And on the 1900 census of Matteson, Branch, Michigan is Belle C Belote, born May 1874, wife of Horace E. Belote, born May 1870.

Mrs Belote’s letter also said, “When I was 28 years old (then a wife and Mother of two boys)……” which fit perfectly with the family’s 1880 census record, where they are found in Colon, St Joseph, Michigan: Lewis Belote age 43; Jeanette age 37; James L. age 6; and Horace E. age 1/12.

So I am fairly sure that Mrs. J. H. Belote was Jeanette H. Belote of Sherwood, Michigan. But what was her maiden name?

I first looked at some public member trees at and found a tree named Pacific Northwest Necrology, owned by genehisthome. This tree had Lewis Waldo Belote, born about 1836, prob. Colon, St. Joseph, Michigan, died 19 Mar 1919 Tebonsha, MI. He married about 1865, Helen Jeanette Currier who was born 1843 and died 1919.

An online index to St. Joseph County, Michigan marriages has: C-421 Lewis W. Belote to Jannette Currier.

My next stop was Seeking Michigan where I found Jennette’s death certificate. It gives her birth as 29 Jan 1843, New York; daughter of Rufus Currier and Mary Hunt.

On the 1860 census I found Rufus Currier, age 54, born NH; Mary, age 48, born NH; Janet, age 17, born WI; Sarah, age 12 born NY; and Oscar, age 7 born NY.

The census records I’ve found all agree that Jennette Helen Currier Belote was born in Wisconsin. The family didn’t stay there long and based on Jeanette's birth and her letter they must have relocated to Buffalo, NY for a time before moving to Michigan.

I have not located any of these families on the 1850 census but I have found more than enough to satisfy my curiosity about a woman I am not related too! Now I will contact those that have trees that include Jennette to let them know that one of her letters survived.


Judy said...

I was very happy to discover your post today, which refers to Bell (Plant) Belote.

My 2nd great-grandmother, Arabella "Bell" (Moffett) Wilmot was the daughter of Harriet Plant. Two of Harriet's brothers, Harrison and Morgan Plant, removed from Genesee Co., NY and settled in Burr Oak, St. Joseph Co MI in the mid-1800s.

The Belle C. Plant who m. Horace Belote was the daughter of William and granddaughter of Harrison.

My interest in the Plant families of St. Joseph County MI was created by the discovery of Bell Wilmot's old photo album, filled with mostly unidentified photos from about 1850 to 1874. At least four of these photos were taken in Sturgis, Michigan, and I believe they are photos of my Bell Wilmot's first cousins, all Plants.

Belle Wilmot died in April 1874. Belle C. Plant was born in May 1874, and I have speculated (but not proved) that she was her namesake.

I would love to discuss this further with you. If you think you might be able to help me identify the Plant families in my photos, I would like to e-mail them to you.

Thanks very much.
Judy Davison

Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...

Hi Judy,

I am happy you found this post. I am not related to the Plants, at least I haven't found a connection. Maria Watson Plant was a friend of the family and wrote letters to both Sarah Ann Wisner Camfield and her daughter, Anna Camfield Carlisle. I haven't worked with the letters in awhile but Maria and Anna were close in age. In Sarah's letters to Anna she often included snippets of local gossip, including mention of the Plant family. I am hoping you will find the letters interesting or perhaps know a family member who would. The letters on my blog have been resized and I would be happy to make full size copies available. Your best bet for finding just the ones about the Plant family is to use the search box on the right side. (I still have at least one, maybe more that I have not published yet)

I'm afraid I couldn't help you identify any of the Plant family. I could help you get them online with the hope that someone else would find them and could identify them. If that interests you, please contact by email - Apple194 at gmail dotcom.