Happy 131st Birthday, Cousin Seymour!


It was 131 years ago, 7 October 1888, in Southfield, Oakland County, Michigan, that my first cousin, 3 times removed, Seymour Arthur Jenks was born to Oliver Torrey and Evelyn Roselia Seymour Jenks.

From the his mother’s notes to the Jenks Family Reunion in 1923:

“He started school in the old stone schoolhouse in September, 1895, attended but a few weeks as he was taken sick and unable to go through the winter. In the Spring of 1896, we moved to Birmingham and he attended school there until about a year after his father’s death (1901). He passed the 8th grade, but after that he worked at whatever he could get to do, and done his best to help his widowed mother along. While with W. W. Collier of Bloomfield Hills, he worked up from all around chore boy to private chauffeur. After he left Mr. Collins, he was for a while with the Welch Motor Works at Pontiac. While there, he accepted a position as private chauffeur for Mrs. Jerome Croul of Detroit and held the position until shortly before the aged lady’s death. While in her employ, he spent one summer at Grosse Isle, Michigan, and another at Watkins Glen, New York. When coming back to Detroit, the family motored to Buffalo where they took an early train for Detroit and left Seymour with the auto to come on the evening boat. If I remember rightly, it was his 21st birthday. Anyway, he wrote me that he was his own boss, he sure was for that one day at least. He was alone in a strange state – in a strange city, where there was not one familiar face. And he had the auto and the whole day to run the streets of Buffalo. After leaving Mrs. Croul, he was in the employ of Miss Jacklyn Stevens, and with the family spent the season at Pride’s Crossing, Mass. – Mrs. Stevens’ beautiful summer home. He did not lack company there for there was Mrs. Stevens’ chauffeur, coachman, her housekeeper, and several nice looking maids. He was also chauffeur for Roy D. Chapin – President of the Hudson Motor Company until after Mr. Chapin’s marriage and the new lady set him at housework. So, he took the job of running Tom Stevens car for him. As Mr. Stevens’ home was out in Grosse Pointe Farms, and his own was in Detroit, and he was away from his family so much night and day, he secured a job of Motor Bus driving in Detroit. He is now and has for several years been driving one of the double deck motor buses.”

Seymour married Erma Pauline Tranzow on 28 April 1915, in Imlay City Michigan.  And, of course, Seymour’s mother dutifully reported it to the Jenks reunion the next meeting:

“The St Paul’s Lutheran Church at Imlay City was the scene of a pretty wedding Wednesday noon April 28, 1915, when Miss Erma Pauline, daughter of Mr.  & Mrs. Frederick Tranzow was united in marriage with Seymour A. Jenks of Grosse Pointe.  The bride wore white silk crepe de chene trimmed with iris lace.  Her veil of trille was fastened with orange blossoms and she carried a shower bouquet of white roses and lilies of the valley.  Miss Rose Tranzow, who attended her sister as maid of honor, wore pale green crepe de chene and carried pink and white sweet peas.  Miss Helen Dawson, niece of the bride, and Miss Elna Moore, niece of the groom, who also wore gowns of pale green crepe chene and carried sweet peas were bridesmaids.  Little Miss Frieda Tranzow, the bride’s niece, was flower girl and was dressed in white.  She carried the ring in a basket of roses and sweet peas.  Mr. Frank Tranzow attended as best man.  The ceremony was solemnized by Rev. A.  Grietzlaff.  After the wedding a dinner was served to forty guests at the home of Mr.  & Mrs. E. H. Dawson, Calkins St, where the guests were received by Mrs. Clayton Conrad of Detroit.  Music was rendered by Miss Ethel Titus and Miss Pearl Dawson sang two pretty solos.

“The out of town guests were Mrs. Eva Jenks, mother of the groom, of Birmingham, Mr. & Mrs. C. W. Moore and Miss Elva Moore, Mr. & Mrs. J G Jones and Miss Ellen Jones of Pontiac, Mr. & Mrs. C. E. Jenks and daughter, Marian, of Square Lake, Mr. & Mrs. G. E. Jenks of Redford, Miss Rose Tranzow, Miss Marie Gutchesee, Mr. & Mrs. Clayton Conrad and daughter, Margarette, of Detroit, Miss Mabel Acker of Lansing and Mr. & Mrs. Frank Tranzow and daughter of Durand.  Among the many beautiful and useful presents were a check for $100 from Mr. & Mrs. R. D. Chapin, the groom’s employer.  Mr. and Mrs. Jenks will make their home at 3600 Jefferson Ave East, at Grosse Pointe Park.”

Seymour and Erma Pauline were the parents of five children: Pauline Evelyn (1916). Aileen Helen (1919). Betti Jane (1922), John Seymour (1925). and Mary Ellen (1929).

Seymour Arthur Jenks died in October, 1970.

About Pat Shaul

Genealogist / Family Historian; Blog started as a record of my Grandfather's post card collection which ran for 15 months. Then, in June, 2017, I changed over to reporting and commenting on notifications from the ANCESTRY app "We're Related" I then started to provide snippets into ancestor biographies on the dates that were significant anniversaries.
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