Well, I cold-called and spoke with Bessie Finch Frederick's son, James, a very nice 74 year old gentleman who lives in Washington state. It was a wonderful conversation. I couldn't believe I was actually speaking to a member of my great-grandmother's family. I'd been stymied for so long, it felt surreal.
I promised him a packet (oh dear), and he's promised to send me copies of pictures of Bertha Estelle Wilder Finch, his grandmother, and Bessie Finch Frederick, his mother. I can hardly believe I found him. He said, "I thought I was the last bump on the log," which I thought was very cute. He didn't know he had any family left. And after all this time, I thought Bessie Finch Frederick was a figment of my imagination.
I told him about the very long lives of the Lewis women and he was very interested. I told him about his being the 5th great-grandson of Bernard Romans, which wasn't very exciting to him as he doesn't know who Bernard Romans is. He did say that no one else in his family is interested in genealogy, which makes my finding him all the more magical, in my opinion.
Uncle Dick, are you proud of me?
My uncle, Richard Paul Lemon, my father's twin brother, was the one who started me on this quest for the Lemon family back in 1997. Without his groundwork, I'd have nothing to go on. He found Bernard and Calista Wilder, the parents of Eva Wilder Lemon, but that's all he had; their names. I'm so excited to be able to accomplish so much for him because all of this is dedicated to him.
So, Isaac Lemon, the young boy from Canada, went down to Michigan with a brother and a sister, John M. Lemon and Mary Ann Lemon and worked the forests of virgin timber. He and John worked in the woods and Mary Ann kept house for them. All of them give the date of their arrival to Michigan as 1870, but I'm not sure that's correct because Isaac Sr., their father, was still alive and they were living in Goderich, Huron County, Ontario, Canada at the time of the 1871 census. Their mother, Ann Hepzibah Tiffin Lemon, had died there in January of 1871 and their father died there in 1873.
Isaac Jr. grew into a man and married Eva Bell Wilder, the daughter of Bernard Charles and Calista Marie Lewis Wilder in Macomb County, Michigan. Bernard was a blacksmith. I can't find much about them other than stray facts here and there. Calista owned land in Macomb County, some of her siblings and her mother were living near her, and Eva was their only child born in Michigan.
Isaac and Eva had 7 children, my grandfather being their youngest. They had 5 sons and 2 daughters before Eva died tragically in a kitchen fire on April Fools day of 1906. According to the newspaper account it took her hours to die and was horrible. Isaac then married a Danish woman, Axelina Johnson, who was a widow with several children of her own. The families combined and one of the daughters of Isaac ended up marrying one of the sons of Axelina. That must have been interesting. And if Isaac and Eva hadn't given their youngest son the maiden name of Isaac's mother, I'd never have known where our Lemons came from.
There's a lesson here for future generations: give your children names that have history and family significance.