The Fellows Family Land Records, Newaygo County, Michigan

This entry is part 70 of 99 in the series Deeds in the Family

I recently outlined the land transactions of Belle Lamunion and Henry Fellows, Belle Lamunion and Charlie Tinker, and some of their descendents in Wexford County, Michigan. Belle and Henry, and later Belle and Charlie, lived a large portion of their lives in Wexford County, Michigan, but had previously lived in other locations.

In genealogical research, the best practice is to search from what is know to what is unknown, from the present into the past in successive steps. If this method is not used, it is possible to spend many years researching the wrong ancestor; I have heard painful accounts of researchers who inadvertently jumped to conclusions which lead them down the wrong path. With common names like John Johnston and (believe it or not) Henry and Erastus Fellows in our families, I make every attempt to avoid doing so.

Henry and Belle were Papa’s great grandparents, and had previously lived in Newaygo County, Michigan. In 2003, I traveled to Newaygo County to survey the records available there for the family. I have previously published a transcription of a deed which was central in settling the estate of Erastus G. Fellows, Henry’s father. Erastus G. Fellows died of disease at Lookout Mountain on 15 March 1865; he was a Union soldier. I wrote a little about Erastus and about our visit to his grave some time ago.

Reviewing that transcription provides information on a suspected relationship between these individuals:

  1. Henry H. Fellows, selling land as guardian of the minor children of Erastus G. Fellows.
  2. Joel B. Fellows of Clyde, Sandusky Co., Ohio, purchaser of the land.
  3. Henry H. Fellows, minor child of Erastus G. Fellows.
  4. Joel B. Fellows, minor child of Erastus G. Fellows.

A biography of Henry H. Fellows which is printed in an old county history gives his parents names as Erastus Fellows and Ruth Smith.1

I have since discovered a biography for Peter J. Fellows of Lake Odessa, Ionia County, Michigan which lists his parents as Erastus and Ruth, and also states that Peter first came to Newaygo County, Michigan from Ohio, and then moved on to Ionia County. It also names other children in the family of Ruth and Erastus, but only the living ones. My Erastus is not named, darn it.2

These old biographies are not completely accurate, they tend to, “Put the best face on bad facts”, to quote Papa. More to the point, I have found inaccuracies and errors of omission, but have never found one with outright lies. So, with the biographies indicating that Peter J. and Henry H. Fellows had the same parents, one of which names Henry H. as Peter J.’s brother, and with both Henry H. and Peter involved in the affairs of the estate of Erastus G. Fellows, my search for the family of Erastus G. Fellows has a little more life. I also have Ohio census records which add the census locations of several Fellows siblings in Seneca County, Ohio in various homes, the cemetery clue, and other evidence which is beginning to stack up.

The older Henry H. Fellows, who I suspect is a brother of our ancestor’s father, was a well known, and perhaps a little better off than our more average ancestors. He was heavily involved in land transactions in Newaygo County, Michigan. There were actually so many deeds with the surname Fellows, that I gave up before I had abstracted the information from all of them.

However, I will examine and post those which I have over the next weeks, as I look for more clues about the Fellows family. I am following my instincts, and searching from what I know, into the unknown.

  1. Chapman Brothers, Portrait and biographical album of Newaygo county, Mich., containing portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county … also containing a complete history of the county, from its earliest settlement to the present time. (Chicago, Illinois: The Chapman Brothers, 1884), page 283, The University of Michigan. Michigan County Histories and Atlases. : accessed 2 November 2009.
  2. Chapman Brothers, Portrait and biographical album of Ionia and Montcalm counties, Mich. (Chicago, Illinois: The Chapman Brothers, 1891), page 447, The University of Michigan. Michigan County Histories and Atlases. accessed 30 March, 2010.
Series NavigationFenton Family Land Records, Wexford County, Michigan Liber 114 page 227 & 228Fellows Family Land Records, Newaygo County, Michigan Liber 5 page 101

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