|Originally Spaford School #3, when it was built in 1838 on Samuel's land on section 5 in Elba, it was given its ungainly name two years later when the district was reorganized (35). William's children all attended this school. In 1841, Clarissa Palmer, age 4, is listed as attending 25-1/2 days. The 1850 list records that she attended 81.5 days in that year. (Her father's name is among those of visitors to the school in 1866, long after Clarissa had married and left home). Later, along with some other young girls of the neighborhood, Kate attended the academy at Leoni in Jackson County, where, in Jane's words, "they fitted themselves out for teachers." The academy was the forerunner of Adrian College. Jane wrote that "they boarded themselves to save expense." This seems to have meant that they lived together and did their own housekeeping. "One of the Loucks twins was in the group, and it was said she baked the bread, which was extraordinarily good. She used a starter and, if it got slow, she added a little whiskey." On 12 Oct 1859, less than a week after her twenty-second birthday, Kate married Benjamin F. Reynolds, an enterprising young man who sold wool from the sheep he raised on his father's large farm in Franklin Township in Lenawee County, just south of Manchester Township. As newlyweds, Jane wrote, the couple lived on the road that runs from U.S. 12 (Michigan Avenue) to Tipton, known then as Wall Street. Across the road from their house was a quarter-mile track, where people used to try out their promising horses and "have gay times." Kate told Jane a story||
Clarissa Celesta Palmer
Benjamin Frederick Reynolds was born in Franklin Township in 1836. He was the son of Hiram Reynolds and Mary (Maria) Valentine Reynolds, whose family came to Michigan from Saratoga Co. NY. Hiram Reynolds was a Lenawee County pioneer, coming from Washington Co., NY, in 1829. His log house was the site of the first township meeting. Benjamin's biography in Memoirs of Lenawee County reports that Hiram "eventually became the owner of the entire east half of section 9, and here he developed a valuable farm." In 1870, Ben, the only surviving son, bought the farm from his father. (Hiram died in 1883 in Clinton, where he was living with an unmarried daughter. Mary, his wife, had died in 1861. The couple is buried in the cemetery at Reynolds Corner.) The farm was known thereafter as "Ben's farm." Ben became a prosperous dealer in wool and livestock, specializing in buying and shipping sheep, especially Merino sheep, which he drove as far as Iowa and shipped to Texas. Later he was a popular auctioneer. In 1880, he moved his family to a rather elegant house in the village of Tecumseh. The house is among the noteworthy old houses in Tecumseh pictured and described in Beyond the Boulevard. At some point Ben moved the carriage house up beside the house itself, and he and Kate occupied that smaller house till they died. He died in 1913; she died in 1925, while staying at her daughter Minnie's house.
Kate and Ben had four children, all daughters: Minnie L., born in 1860, Myra A., born in 1862, Lora Lee, born in 1864, and Nellie R., born in 1866. All were born in Manchester, presumably in their grandparents' house on section 16.
Minnie was the fun-loving one. She told Jane how she once threw the harvesters' rakes down the well there and how her young uncles then lowered her into the well in the bucket to retrieve them. In 1878, not quite 18, she married Adelbert Cairns of Tecumseh. They lived on a farm three miles west of Tecumseh on the road to Adrian. After Dell died in 1914, Minnie continued to live there until her death in 1944. Minnie and Dell had only one child, a daughter, Lora. She too married a Tecumseh farmer, Floyd Billington, with whom she lived the rest of her life on a farm very near where she had grown up. The couple had no children.
Myra was the daughter who married well. We have no stories about her. She married John Brown Whelan, a member of a large Lenawee County family who became a lawyer and then a judge and an officer in a customs house in Detroit. They reared their two children, Reynolds and Ruth Marie, in a substantial house in Detroit. After John died in 1918, Myra sold the Tecumseh property, which her father had given her in 1907, and moved to Florida, where she remarried. Reynolds married Minnette Sands (or Evans). We have no record of any children born to them. Ruth married David S. Horace. They had a daughter, Barbara, and a son, James David.
Lora Lee, a milliner as a young woman in Tecumseh, married Levi Bowen Stevens, a printer in the same town. They bought a house there and then, still a very young couple, moved to Detroit, where Levi worked as a compositor (or linotype operator) at the Detroit News and its predecessors. Lora had the financial head in the family, encouraging moves to a succession of houses while keeping the former ones as rental properties. The couple had four children, but only two lived to maturity and only one of those had children. The Stevenses' first child, Hazel, died in infancy, a second child, Benjamin Alger, at seven years, both before the second pair of children, Esther Marguerite and Catherine Marie, were born. Esther died at age 33. She had not married. Catherine married Stanley Duncan MacDonald in 1925. Catherine and Stanley had three children: Mary Lee, Stanley Duncan Jr, and Patricia Ann. Lora Stevens died in 1942, Levi in 1952. Catherine and Stanley both died in 1992.
Nellie, the last of Kate and Ben's four girls, married George Stanley, a farmer. The couple lived on Ben's place. Kate later wrote to one of Nellie's sons that his mother had always looked on the bright side of life, but hers was the tragedy of the family. In 1899, she had four boys (including twins) and one little girl and was expecting a fifth child. One day her little girl fell into the cistern in the kitchen. Nellie, the only one home with her, jumped in after her and apparently fainted-the water was only four feet deep and both drowned. Although one of the boys came home, discovered what had happened and ran to the fields for his father; it was too late (32). Nellie was 33, the little girl, Minnie, only two. The family was split up after that. B. Fay, the oldest child, went to live with his father's brother; Lawrence, went to live with his father for a while; and the twins, Hugh and Guy, were adopted by their father's sister. George Stanley remarried twice, only to end his days in 1934 at the Nevada Hospital for Mental Diseases.
The Stanley line stops with Nellie's four boys, since they had no sons. B. Fay Stanley married three times: With his first wife, Ethyl Adams, he had one child, Beatrice. There was no issue from his other marriages, to Emma Aurille Schwartz and to Louise Harris. Lawrence married Minnie J. Winterberg. They had three children: Nellie, Ida and Alice C. Guy D. Stanley Clark married Effie Tucker. They had two children, Anna Eunice and Irma. Hugh Edgar Stanley Clark married Alice Vernon Smith. They had three children: Barbara Alice, Mary Joan and Margery Jill.
Kate and Benjamin F. Reynolds are buried in Brookside Cemetery in Tecumseh, in the plot bought by George Stanley and Levi Stevens when Nellie and her little girl died. Buried there too are two of their three other daughters and the daughters' husbands and children: Minnie and Dell Cairns with Lora and Floyd Billington and Levi and Lora Lee Stevens with Hazel, Benjamin and Esther Stevens and Catherine and Stanley MacDonald.