Bill and Emily Brook Family Information

A History of Bill Brook and Emily Coleman Brook


HISTORY from Emily's writings


HISTORY from Michaelson's book


Coleman Ancestry
Amelia Weissinger Recalls 98 Years of History

Mrs. Amelia Weissinger, Swiss girl who earned $1 a week on an Alpine farm will be the center of attention Sunday at a quiet 98th birthday celebration in Haslett.

The day will bring together many of five children, 16 grandchildren and 31 great-grandchildren. One granddaughter, Maxine Smith, will also celebrate her birthday Sunday.

The family will meet at the home of Mrs. Sophie Smith, 1536 Haslett Rd., a daughter. Mrs. Weissinger is a long time Haslett area resident.

She was born June 17, 1855 near Zurich, Switzerland and traveled at the age of 24 to begin a pioneer life in Central Michigan.

She met a German boy who understood her native language and a year later married him and moved onto a farm new Haslett.

The newlyweds cleared an acre to plant potatoes and the second year added two acres of wheat. After 10 years the couple had cleared and cultivated 40 acreas using oxen to pull out the stumps.

Five of six Weissinger children were born in their log cabin.

The children include Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Emma Coleman, Mrs. Albert Arliss (sp?) and Albert Weissinger, all of Haslett and Mrs. Adna Conn of 1135 Hillsdale St., Lansing. A son, Fred died in 1950.

Mrs. Weissinger can recall the rigors of early Michigan farming for she often worked from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. harvesting grain with hand flails. She recalls the hand-crank washing machine as a "good improvement". The Weissinger cabin say many winter snows and leaked under heavy rains.

One of her most exciting experiences was a visit back to Switzerland before World War I. She had to return shortly as threat of was appeared.

Limited sight prohibits sewing, which she enjoys but she is active in the Haslett Baptist church.

With here comparatively good health, her smile and charm, she is a lively as every and is the idol of her large and admiring family who will pause Sunday in tribute.

The State Journal ... June 17, 1956

My grandmother Weissinger was born in Switzerland, her maiden name was Mierhoff. Her family sent her to America to make a better life. My Grandfather Weissinger was born in Germany. Both of these persons met while living on farms in the Bancroft area. I never knew my grandfather, he died before I was born. There were six children in my mother's family: Albert, Flora (Conn), Louise (Amiss), Emma, Fred, and Sophia (Smith). My mother, Emma, was born in Haslett on Oct. 3, 1891. While they were growing up they lived in a log cabin on a small farm on Raby Road; later they built a conventional home. The only language that they spoke at home was German; learning English when they started school. My grandmother never did learn to write English. My grandmother learned to read English when her youngest child, Sophia, went to school. Mother told me that her father was always dreaming up an easier way to get his work done--so usually he was far behind on his farm work. Grandmother Weissinger was an accomplished quilt maker as well as an expert with knitting needles and seamstress. She used to make all our mittens while we were children. Grandma Weissinger said that as children in Switzerland, they would knit while walking to school. She could knit and not miss a stitch, all the while talking with the family.

My father's father, Wilmer Coleman, was born in Howell, Michigan. My father's mother, Hattie Ione Jefferies, was also born in Howell. There were six children in his family: Louise (a nurse who never married), Laura (Tripp), LeRoy Coleman, Lelia (Peterson) and my father, Charles Leo, who was born on Sept. 27, 1890. Grandfather Coleman was a farmer, raising crops, milking cows and tending a large apple orchard. They used to take apples to Lansing to sell at the City Market, and also barrels of cider. Dad told us that one time he remembered taking cider, and it was beginning to age. The cork in the barrel blew off. It was no longer sweet cider, but "hard" cider. In the fall, they would put apples in a pit covered with straw to preserve them until they could be sold.

My father attended Michigan Agriculture College for one year. He wanted to teach math, but couldn't find the money to attend a second year. My mother went to County Normal School and trained to be a teacher. She taught in a country school in Onondaga until she was married.

My mother and father were school classmates during their school years.

Mother said that she got a cookbook for a wedding present. She was going to try all the recipes in the book. Fine--until she came to one for fried radishes. They then decided all the recipes weren't for them. One day, a group of gypsies camped in the church yard next door, and came to the house to beg some food. Mom gave them some biscuits, but being a new bride, the biscuits lacked something. Anyway, those gypsies never came back to that house for food. (Word traveled fast!)

My parents lived in an old spacious home, which burned when a fire started in the chimney during the winter. Helen and Leora were quite young. All of the neighbors came and helped to salvage as much as possible of the belongings, by throwing things out of the windows. My grandmother Coleman helped to take as much as the canned foods from the basement, to help to feed the extra persons throughout the winter. Most of the furniture was lost as were the dishes. They did manage to save a few of the photos in a trunk. The house was a total loss. They then built a small home with 3 bedrooms, living room, dining room and kitchen. Two of the bedrooms were upstairs.

Lee Ancestory

We are descended from the Lee's of Virginia. Susannah Lee, who married Eri Coleman, was a fourth cousin of Robert E. Lee.


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