Special guided tour for Lars in Norway

Posted on September 14, 2010


You would be astonished at all the byways a person can travel while on the trail of Civil War veterans.  There I was, reading the posts on a genealogy forum for Antrim County, and a question popped up that I had an answer for.  I love that. 

It seems that a genealogy buff in Norway is following up on a twig on the family tree: one Josie Reppen, who went to live in northern Michigan, of all places, and ended up right here in Antrim County.  She lived out along the Flat Road with her first husband, Godfrey Simon; a few years after his death she remarried, this time to Clyde Baker.  Did anyone over in the wilds of Antrim know anything about either of them?  Well, yes, a little–and then the coincidences began.  They always do.  Once a person has caught your attention, you see, you run into that person everywhere.  

First of all, Lars?  Here’s a photo of the gravestone for Josie and Clyde over in Lakeview Cemetery. 

That’s Kurt Koerber, who helped me find the stone.  One of his jobs is to take care of the cemetery, and he pretty much knows where everyone is.  Near Clyde and Josie’s graves there’s another for Clyde’s brother Stub (Nelson, really, but nobody ever called him that).  Clyde and Stub’s parents, William Baker and Ida Harrington Baker, are there, too, in an older part of the cemetery.

If I had grown up around here, instead of in Rhinelander, the Home of the Hodag, I would have known Clyde Baker.  Everyone knew Clyde.  Anyway, I have been inside his childhood home, because it belongs to Barb Higgins now, and she operates Simply Hair out of the front room of the old Baker place. 

I was over at the Wilkinson Homestead museum looking for more photos of Civil War veterans when I ran across one of Clyde Baker as a young man.  Handsome, isn’t he!  He’s posed in front of one of those painted backdrops photographers used to use to add a little atmosphere to the shot.  I didn’t find one of Josie, though.  I’ll keep my eyes open.

Then, because Lars really wanted to know exactly when and where Josie died, I did a little detective work.  It turns out that she had a severe heart attack and died at the Little Traverse Hospital in Petoskey on January 17, 1965.  I am too frugal to pay the Emmet County Clerk for a copy of the death certificate, but I found a little obituary in the Central Lake Torch, January 21, 1965, page 8. 

A few months later, a death notice for Clyde Baker appeared in the Torch, page 7.  He had died on October 24.

Over in Kathy Windiate’s office at the Township Hall–she’s the Township Clerk, Lars–there was a ledger recording all the burials for that period.  Here’s a copy of the pages showing a burial record for each of the Bakers, signed by John Smith, who was the Sexton in 1965.  We are unaccountably missing the burial permits, but these things happen, Lars.

So, that’s about it.  If you want to see what Josie’s new home was like, browse around here on Torch Lake Views a little.  In a lot of ways, we haven’t changed much.  Lots of lakes, lots of woods, lots of rolling farmland.  I’m pretty sure she liked it here, Lars.  I hope you enjoy your visit, too.