THE EIGHTH GENERATION
ORRIN JAY ORCUTT was born November 1, 1883, in Bellaire, Michigan.(1) He was the only child of ORSON B. ORCUTT and ADELINE KAUFFMAN.(2)
It is likely that he attended school at Bellaire’s first brick school, which was constructed in 1891.(3)
He grew into a man of medium height and medium build. He had brown eyes and black hair.(4)
On June 20, 1907, Orrin married HATTIE MARIE WILKS, daughter of NATHANIEL WILKS and EMMA M. EOFF of Mancelona, Michigan.(1) She was born May 25, 1882, in Lapeer County, Michigan.(6)
The Wilks Family
Hattie was among the third generation of Wilks’ to live in America. WILLIAM WILKS came from England, immigrating to New Brunswick, Canada, where he married MARY ELIZABETH MALLORY/MALLERY, also of English descent, on December 30, 1822.(7,8) “In the new land, they had valuable property with fine buildings. In 1849, the year that their ninth child was born, the father died. The mother and boys sold out and went by boat to New York, then to Lapeer County, Michigan. From there two boys went to the Civil War. The rest of the family moved to the much advertised Grand Traverse region, landing at Antrim City.”(7) Antrim City was a small village on the shores of Lake Michigan, established in 1861 when Wood, Pearl and Company began shipping operations there. The town had a post office from July 21, 1862, to April 19, 1882. Wood, Pearl, and Company moved their operations to Norwood by 1867, the mill closed, and many families moved on, including the Wilks, who went east to Jordan Township and to Mancelona.(7,9,10)
Meanwhile, three more Wilks boys went to serve in the Civil War. All of them returned, but Noah died of illness contracted during the war.(7)
Elizabeth lived many years as a widow. She died March 3, 1887, at age 88.(11)
One of the nine children of William and Elizabeth was NATHANIEL WILKS, born in December, 1849, in New Brunswick.(13) On December 5, 1871, in Lapeer County, Michigan, Nathaniel married EMMA M. EOFF, daughter of shoemaker and farmer HORACE EOFF. Emma had been born December 29, 1853, in Dryden, Lapeer County.(14, 15) The children of Nathaniel and Emma follow:
CARRIE M. WILKS born May 10, 1874.(11,15)
FRANK DEXTER WILKS born November 19, 1875.(15,16)
GEORGE F. WILKS born June 25, 1878.(15)
CASSIE WILKS born March 23, 1880.(15,17)
HATTIE WILKS born May 25, 1882.(6,15)
ARTHUR HENRY WILKS born April 20, 1897.(15,16)
Like his father-in-law, Nathaniel was a shoemaker and farmer.(11,18) Emma preceded him in death, passing away from paralysis on April 3, 1916. Nathaniel died in 1921. Both are buried in Fairview Cemetery in Mancelona, Michigan.(11)
With the exception of a ten-year period in early retirement from farming, Orrin and Hattie lived in the Bellaire area for the remainder of their lives. They lived on a farm in Custer Township, next to the farm of Orrin’s parents.
Orrin and Hattie became the parents of two daughters, both born at home on the farm:
MYRTLE BELLE ORCUTT, born October 22, 1908.(12)
IVA MARIE ORCUTT, born August 3, 1910.(12)
Between the end of World War I and the Great Depression, America’s obsession with the motorcar blossomed. Orrin took advantage of that by owning and operating the Orcutt Garage for eight years.(1) Ads appeared frequently in the Antrim County Record.
Following the high school graduation of their daughters, Orrin and Hattie explored for about ten years.(1) The 1930 census, conducted April 7, 1930, shows the 46-year olds living in Traverse City, Michigan. Orrin’s occupation is shown as proprietor of a garage. Living with them in their rented home were 19-year-old daughter Iva, who worked as a bookkeeper for auto-sales; Hattie’s sister Cassie, an unemployed shop tailor; and a roomer, Sydney T. Koontz, a jeweler.(20) A line in the July 23, 1931, issue of the Antrim County Record said that they were from Cadillac, visiting Bellaire on business.(21) These were the years of the Great Depression in the United States. Did that motivate their change of residence?
When they returned to Bellaire, Orrin and Hattie sold the farm and purchased Lot 10 of Block A in the Briggs and Adams Addition to the Village of Bellaire.(1, 22)
They paid $100 for this land on which Orrin first constructed a large garage that served as their temporary living quarters while he built their charming small home.(22) The garage later included a large woodshop, which supported Orrin’s work as a self-employed carpenter.(1)
Orrin was a member of the F. and A.M. Lodge No. 398 of Bellaire, a life member of the Grass Lake Grange, a member of Rebekah Lodge No. 247, and a member of I.O.O.F. Lodge 98 of Bellaire, a membership he carried for 62 years. He served the lodge deputy for the last 10 years of his life and was also past Grand.(1)
Hattie also was a member of the Rebekah Lodge.(6)
Orrin and Hattie celebrated their 50th anniversary in 1957.
Orrin died November 18, 1967, at Charlevoix Hospital after a brief illness. He was laid to rest at Fairview Cemetery, Mancelona, near the graves of his parents.(1)
Hattie continued to live in the home that her husband had built for her. After a brief illness, she died at Meadow Brook Care Facility in Bellaire on October 4, 1970.(6)
(1) Obituary of Orrin J. Orcutt, from files of Bellaire Historical Society, Bellaire, Michigan.
(2) Biographical history of northern Michigan, containing biographies of prominent citizens …[Indianapolis]: B.F. Bowen & company, 1905. (database online). Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Library, 2005. http://name.umdl.umich.edu/BAD6022.0001.001.
(3) From files of Bellaire Historical Society, Bellaire, Michigan.
(4) Ancestry.com. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 (database online.) Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc. 2005. Original data: United States Selective Service System. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 19177-1918. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. M1509, 4,582 rolls. Imaged from Family History Library microfilm.
(5) From files of Bellaire Historical Society, Bellaire, Michigan.
(6) Mrs. Hattie Orcutt Passes at Bellaire, obituary from newspaper. From files of Barbara Sugden.
(7) Grace Hooper’s Pioneer Notes By Trek and Sail to Grand Traverse Bay. Text c1993 Beulah Hooper King. Cover art c1993 Betty Beeby. Published by Fen’s Rim Publications, Inc., Elk Rapids, MI.
(8) “New Brunswick Provincial Marriages 1789-1950,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVBF-JNMW : 6 March 2015), William Wilkes and Elizabeth Mallery, 30 Dec 1822; citing , , New Brunswick, Canada, p. 144, Provincial Archives of New Brunswick, Fredericton; FHL microfilm 845,798.
(9) (Old) Antrim City Cemetery. http://www.ole.net/~maggie/antrim/oldcem2.htm. Accessed July 16, 2016.
(10) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banks_Township,_Michigan. Accessed July 16, 2016.
(11) Ancestry.com. Michigan, Death Records, 1867-1950 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: Death Records. Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics, Lansing, Michigan.
(12) From files of Myrtle Orcutt Vargason.
(13) Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census (database online.) Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc. 2004. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census, Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1900. T623, 1,854 rolls.
(14) Ancestry.com. Michigan Marriage Records, 1867-1952 (database online.) Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952. Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics.
(15) Find A Grave. http://findagrave.com.
(16) Ancestry.com. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 (database online.) Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc. 2005. http://www.ancestry.com.
(17) Ancestry.com. Social Security Death Index (database online.) Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc. 2009. http://www.ancestry.com.
(18) Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census (database online.) Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 2010. 1880 U.S. Census Index provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Original data: Tenth Census of the United States, 1880. (NARA microfilm publication T9, 1,454 rolls. Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.
(22) Antrim County Land Records, Recorder of Deeds, Antrim County Courthouse, Bellaire, Michigan.