ASA BARNEY AND LILLY “MAY” VANCE BIGELOW
Asa Barney Bigelow (sometimes known as “Ace”) was born on 12 June 1868 at North Shade Township, Gratiot County, Michigan. His parents were Lewis and Martha Ellis Bigelow. Asa was named after his Grandfather, Asa Barney Bigelow who was born in 1806 in Fort Ann, Washington County, New York and who died on 13 August 1873 in North Shade Township, Gratiot County, Michigan.
Asa married Lilly “May” Vance on 10 December 1891 in Lebanon, Clinton County, Michigan by Minister L.M. Garlick. May was born in April 1865 in Lebanon, Clinton County, Michigan; her parents were Emmet and Mary Millis Vance.
Asa and May's children were
Alton Grant Bigelow was born on 27 October 1895 in Lebanon, Clinton County, Michigan. He married Clara Bell Schaub.
Meryl Vance Bigelow was born on 29 January 1900 Jackson County, Michigan. He married Ellen Kohlschmidt.
In 1913, Asa and May were living in Ashley, Gratiot County, Michigan. Alma, St. Louis, and Owosso Sugar Factory had their Field Headquarters in Ashley, Michigan. Asa Bigelow was a manager for the St. Louis office.
While living in Ashley, Asa and May belonged to the following organizations: Asa was the R.S.S. Officer in the I.O.O.F. Ashley Lodge No. 233; May belonged to the Rebecca Lodge No. 108; Asa was the S.W. Officer in the F. & A.M. Masons Ashley Lodge No. 399; and Asa served on the Ashley School Board.
By 1918, Asa managed the Holland-St. Louis Sugar Beet Company Farm, formerly the Thomas Doyle Farm, and also known as the Section Farm in Lakefield Township. The Section Farm was in Section 11 and consisted of the entire square mile, 640 acres, which was bordered by Merrill, Roosevelt, Chapin and Swan Creek Roads. The farm in 1919 had 15 horses and 32 cows located on it. Asa, also, owned 85 acres of land in Lakefield Township in 1919.
In 1920, people who owned their homes and properties around the Section Farm were: Niel Langlois, Moses LeBaf, Mrs. Dodson, Fred Watson, Philip Potvin, Patrick Burns, L.J. Pratt, Dan H. McLeod, H.B. Allen, Henry Cooper, Ed Jubb, W.F. Wilson, Floyd Cooper, F.H. Cooper, and Jesse C. Baker.
The Book”Lest We Forget” written by Myron F. Gulick, states the following: “People making Merrill grow and prosper included … Asa Bigelow. These persons have passed on, but Merrill is better off for their being here. We are all better to have known them.”
By 1930, Asa and May were living with their son and family; Merle, Ellen, Doreen, Eston, Robert, John, and Donald Bigelow in Greenbush Township, St. John's, Clinton County, Michigan.
Asa died on 18 October 1956 and May died on the 15, July 1956, they are both buried in the North Star Cemetery, North Star, Gratiot County, Michigan.
SOURCES: 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940 Federal Census; Asa Bigelow's birth record; Asa and May Bigelow's marriage record; Asa WWI and II Draft Registration, Gratiot County, Michigan Historical, Biographical, Statistical County Book written by Willard D. Tucker in 1913 pages 1088, 1091; 1092, 1093; Asa Barney Bigelow information from the New York Yates County Swann Vital Collection; Meryl Bigelow WWI Draft Registration: Find A Grave Website; Saginaw News newpaper article of the Thomas Doyle Farm in 1968; and Richard Clark; The book “Lest We Forget” written by Myron F. Gulick, pages 124 & 125; Merrill, Michigan Directory.
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