Happy 209th Birthday, Aunt Pru!

Prudence Jenks, my third great grandaunt, was born 209 years ago, 29 November 1812, in Caroline, New York, to Laban and Prudence White Jenks.  Aunt Prudence was the thirteenth child of fourteen and the seventh daughter.  At around the age of 8 or 9, her parents and many of her siblings migrated from New York and settled in the new lands made available in Oakland County, Michigan.

On 25 August 1830, Prudence married Calvin Herrick, the son of Nathan and Lucy Morely Herrick.  The two became the parents of only seven children: Francis Austin (1831), Augusta Louisa (1833), Laban (1834), Mary (1836), Cornelia (1838),Hattie (1840) and Harvey (1843).

From The Reunions of the Jenks Family of Oakland County, Michigan – 1911-1927 by Evelyn Seymour Jenks, p 164-167:

“Youngest daughter of Laban and Prudence White Jenks was born at Caroline, NY, November 29, 1812.  She came to Michigan with her parents in 1820 and was married August 25, 1830, to Calvin Herrick.  She died in Pontiac, Michigan, November 12, 1850.  I think they first lived in Holly, or near there as the Oakland County History says that Calvin and Nathan Herrick were early settlers in Holly township from 1832 to ‘39 and that Nathan Herrick made the first entry of land in Holly, September 16, 1830, on the old Saginaw Trail (but whether they were brothers, or father and son, was not noted).  It also said that the first town meeting was held at the home of Calvin Herrick, April 6, 1835, agreeable to the act of legislative council, passed March 17, 1835, creating the township of Grandland, where he was elected constable and collection and also inspector of schools.

“Later they must have moved to Pontiac for it was mentioned that, in the great Pontiac fire of April, 1840, Calvin Herrick lost his building on the West side of Saginaw St with entire stock of groceries, loss $300 (buildings and provisions must have been some cheaper in those days, I think).  Their family consisted of four children – three sons, Francis Austin, Laban, and Harry, and one daughter, Hattie.  Austin, as the eldest son was called, was born October 30, 1831, was married November 26, 1859, and died in Birmingham, Michigan, May 17, 1884.  He very much resembled, in looks, his cousins, Frank W Jenks, Frank Thayer, and Oliver Torrey Jenks.  His wife, Almira Torrey Herrick was born November 29, 1832, and died in Birmingham, Michigan, November 15, 1886.  She was a lady beloved by all who know her for her quiet disposition and gentle ways, and her sudden death from heart disease was a sad shock to her many friends as well as to her sorrowing family.  The first few years of their married life was spent in California, and to them were born two children, Flora and Grace.  As the climate was too much for Mrs. Herrick, she returned to Michigan with her children.  Austin, following some years later, was a perfect stranger to his little daughters who thought their grandpa Torrey was the only one that had a right to control them and for a time was considered their big papa and interloper.  The daughters, Flora and Grace, are both living in Birmingham at the present time.  Flora is the wife of Charles E Mudge and their son, Earle, is the only living grandchild of Austin and Myra Herrick.

“Of Laban, the second son of Calvin and Prudence Jenks Herrick, born May 7, 1834, I have almost to depend on newspaper clippings.  His wife was Miss Sabra Torrey – sister of his brother, Austin’s wife, and as I remember, a very handsome woman.  Their only son, Charlie, died at the age of 14 years.  The following was clipped from a Pontiac paper and was copied from the Aspen Daily Times, of Aspen, Colorado:

““Laban J. Herrick is candidate for county treasurer.  He came to Aspen, August 11, 1879, and has resided here ever since.  He has been mining 43 years and knows the trails miners are often subjected to, and his sympathies consequently have always been on the side of labor.  His character as a man and citizen is well and favorably known.  His long residence here is enough for voters to determine for themselves whether they can support him in this election.  He is a staunch Silver man, ever hopeful in its darkest hours.  As a city treasurer, he gave universal satisfaction, courteous, kindhearted, and friendly.  He earns a fine reputation as the friend of the people.”

“He was afterward elected Judge and bore that honor at the time of his death, May 14, 1902.  The obituary notice read as follows:

““Judge Laban J. Herrick, one of Aspen’s oldest and most prominent citizens was laid to rest at old Aspen Grove Cemetery beside the remains of his deceased wife.  Services here held at the residence, 112 E. Cooper Ave, where he lived for so many years.  It was a mark of respect that the old pioneers should be accorded the position of honor in the long funeral cortege which formed at the residence after the services were over and slowly wended its way to the cemetery.  Judge Laban Herrick was ever prominent in mining circles in Aspen, and was at one time quite a factor in local politics.  He served as Justice of the Peace and was later elected to the office of City Treasurer.  Aspen was then a flourishing city and either of the above offices were much sought after.  Coming west to seek his fortune in the early days he found hope for realization of the desired, and in Aspen, he engaged in mining and accumulated considerable property.  Adversity then darkened his door, and later the silver panic fell on all Colorado with a heavy hand.  Leadville and other western slope mining camps, and Aspen in particular, received a back set that rendered mining an occupation of doubtful reward.  And Judge Herrick left of mining in his declining years.  He will long be remembered by Aspen’s old-timers.  He was one of them and was loyal to the city of his choice to the last hour.  And the profound sympathy of the entire city is extended in this sad hour of bereavement to the sorrowing daughters Hattie, Bessie, and Daisy.”

“Harvey Herrick, the third son of Calvin and Prudence Jenks Herrick, was a well known citizen of Oakland County and was a very popular man.  He was a member of the G.A.R.  He was a resident of Pontiac for a number of years after moving to Detroit and thence to Pittsburgh, Pa. where he died of heart failure, December 28, 1904.  The interment was at Adrian, Michigan.  His wife was Miss Hattie Kromburg, and their family consisted of six children, Prudence, Fred, Lulu, Maud, Minnie, and Bertie.

“Hattie E Herrick, the only daughter of Aunt Prudence, was born December 7, 1840, and I know very little indeed for her history.  I believe she is still living in Seattle, Washington, though I may be mistaken.  She was married to Mr. Thomas Day and has two children, Alice and Amy Day, who would now be middle aged, but whether married or single I know not.  I remember being at the Pontiac Fair in the fall of 1879, with my sister, her husband, and Flora and Grace Herrick, street cars were unknown in those days and Railway trains were not very close together, so we had to kill time from six till near midnight.  So we called at Laban Herrick’s, had a fine visit and supper, then went to Harvey Herrick’s and spent the rest of the evening.  He had to crawl under or over the bumpers of a freight train to get to the depot.  It was a long time ago, and I wonder if Flora and Grace have forgotten — their father and mother, Austin and Myra Torrey Herrick, their Uncle Laban and Aunt Sabra Torrey Herrick, their Uncle Harvey Herrick, my sister, Julia and her husband, Frank W Jenks, have all crossed the river, and even the old Fair Grounds have disappeared forever from the face of the earth.

As Eva Seymour Jenks stated, Aunt Prudence died on 12 November 1850, in Pontiac, Oakland County, Michigan, just shy of her 38th birthday.  Uncle Calvin continued until 21 September 1861 and is interred next to Aunt Prudence in the Oak Hill Cemetery in Pontiac, Oakland County, Michigan.

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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