Esther Jenks was born in Southfield, Oakland County, Michigan on 24 October 1832, to Morris and Almira Botsford Jenks. From The Reunion Papers of the Jenks Family by Eva Seymour Jenks: “Esther Jenks, grew in the homestead in the woods to girlhood, of handsome face and figure, sweet disposition, and a pronounced character marked by industry, thrift, and uprightness. At about the age of 17, she went to Detroit and, staying with her Aunt Mary Botsford Cook, she attended the old Cass School for two or three terms. At the close of her school days – often interrupted by the general community conditions common to pioneers, she emerged a young woman of rare intelligence.”
Great Great Grandmother Lee married Charles Norton Lee on 25 December 1855 in her father’s home in Southfield. It is this same home which she and GG Grandfather Lee would later own and is the home in which she is standing in the above photograph taken in 1916. The children of Charles and Esther included Emmer Estelle (1856), Effie Clarissa (1859) [my great grandmother], Lewellyn (1862), Hannah Almira (1864), Marietta (1870), and Ora (1874).
On the occasion of Great Great Grandmother Lee’s 85th birthday, her children gave her a new black silk dress as a her gift and all posed in front of the Jenks’ Place [aka Deer Lick Farm]:
Esther Jenks Lee passed away on 10 February 1918 and was laid to rest next to her beloved Charlie in the Southfield Cemetery.
For those of you keeping track, yes, Great Great Grandfather Lee died yesterday, the day before Great Great Grandmother Lee’s birthday. This is one of the earliest recordings of what has become a spooky family tradition. My maternal grandmother died on my mother’s birthday. My paternal grandmother died the day after my father’s birthday. Needless to day we give birthdays a side glance in our family.