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Memories of William Henry Clear and Emeline Stillwell
As recalled by their granddaughter, Julia May Clear
 
 
Grandpa Henry Clear was blind in one eye. The story is that Aunt Cal, his sister, dropped him on a stove when he was a baby. He lost the sight of his right eye. He had typhoid fever when he was 21 years old. He had black hair, but after he got the fever his hair was white.
Anyway, Henry Clear met Emma Medora Stillwell from Springfield, Ohio. They were married and lived in or near Grover Hill, Ohio. All of their children were born there. They were farmers. (After Dick and I were married we went to Ohio with Mom and Dad, in 1946. Dad showed us where he and his family had lived and the row of huge walnut trees that Uncle Oscar had planted.
About 1911 the family - Henry and Emma Clear - moved to a farm near Carp Lake, Michigan, which was quite an undertaking in those days. I believe they took the cows and horses on the train. They lived in a log cabin that was already on the farm they bought, until they could get their new house built. Grandpa copied it from a house in Ohio that he had liked.
 
Grandma didn't like the house too well. For one thing, it had a trap door in the floor in the kitchen to get down to the cellar. And, this door was right in front of the outside kitchen door. A watchman was needed when anyone went down to the cellar. Grandma Clear was a big woman and it is a wonder that she never fell in there. But, the door held up all those years. It smelled wonderful in the cellar of potatoes, apples, etc., that were stored away for the winter. And, lots of canned fruits, vegetables, and meats and wild game. They made huge crocks of sauerkraut and did their own butchering and made sausage. I remember huge crocks in the old log house full of sausage curled around and around to fill it. They made butter from the cream and sold butter and eggs to regular customers in Mackinaw City. (I remember going with Grandma and Florence to the old Stimson Hotel - to sell butter, I suppose. It seems like someone was combing my hair back in a huge room of the hotel. I was little. The storekeepers used to give people a bag of chocolate drops when they got their groceries.)
 
Henry Clear, seated in center, with family on porch of home he built in Carp Lake, Michigan
 
Grandma baked all of their own bread, pies, cakes, etc. She could sure make wonderful biscuits. They had a wood cook stove in the kitchen and I remember getting up about daylight in the winter time. It would be bitterly cold and Grandma would be getting breakfast with the outside door standing wide open. They would have pancakes and sausage, possibly fried potatoes and lots of goodies for breakfast. But, the men had done half a days work by the time they got the cows milked and the morning chores done. They were hungry people by that time.
On Sundays in the summer time they would make a big freezer of ice cream. You can't buy ice cream like that today. The kids would get to lick the beaters. It was yellow just the color of butter. Yummy! The freezer would be in a big wash tub full of cracked ice. (I wonder where they got the ice?) There seemed to be lots of people around all the time on Sundays, us included, and all of us kids had fun playing hide and seek and pushing a big horse buggy around the yard. This took place early 1920's and during 1932 and 1934. 
 
Ned and Colonel were the names of Grandpa's horses. The country was pretty wild when Grandpa moved up north. Lots of wild animals - deer, bear, coyotes, etc.. And a kind of wild cat called a lynx. They said it sounded like a woman screaming. You didn't go outside to find out what it was though. 
We lived near Grandma's, by the Hebron School where Junior [Charles Jr.] was born, for a couple of years before she died. I stayed over there quite a bit, I guess. Florence was still living with them. She and I would go upstairs to bed and lay there and talk and giggle until we would hear Grandma yell at us. We knew we had better be still then. And, we always got up before daylight, it seems. I remember watching the sky get light in the East from the dining room window.
Before I had started at school I was at Grandma's one day in the winter time. Dick and Florence came home from school and the snow was so deep that Florence was getting stuck down by the barn. She yelled at Dick to come back and help her. I visited the Hebron School about this time and John Leonard, the teacher, let me pull on the rope to ring the bell.
 
 
[Note: The Florence referred to in this story is Florence Ruth Clear, daughter of Clarence Raymond Clear and his second wife, Jessie Lillian Taylor. Florence was born June 24, 1916, at the home of her grandparents William Henry and Emma. She lived there after her mother died in 1921, and stayed there until the death of Grandma Emma in 1934.]
 
Florence and I used to curl our hair with a curling iron that was heated by holding it in the lamp. Sometimes we walked 3 or 4 miles to Carp Lake to Church. Sometimes we rode in a sleigh drawn by horses. We had blankets and hot bricks or soap stones to keep us warm. Also, we used to walk over to see Lois Armantrout in the winter time. It was all of 4 miles one way. I was always cold so I would have my mittens on plus Florence's. Her hands were toasty warm.
Grandma Clear had long hair as most women did back then. She had it cut one day and I was sitting on Grandpa's lap and was the first to notice it. This had to be early 1920's. Perhaps 1924 or 25.
Grandpa always wore a huge mustache and used a mustache cup to drink from. One day Uncle Oscar was shaving Grandpa and accidentally on purpose, cut the mustache off and Grandpa looked so strange. But, it grew back again.
 
Another memory I have of Grandpa Clear is one time we were at their house when the men had been out hunting and had brought in a bag full of rabbits, pheasants, etc. I guess Florence and I got into them. I wanted the ring around the pheasant's neck. I thought it came off, I guess. Grandma said something to him, probably when he got after us, and Grandpa hit Grandma over the head with a dead rabbit. We lived in Mackinaw City then and Mom laughed all the way home.
We used to love to sit around the big wood stove in the front room and listen to Grandpa play the violin. 'After the ball is over' was one of the tunes.Also, the men would tell ghost stories and we would be so scared. Grandpa wanted our David to have his violin. It was given to Dave when Grandpa died in 1938. But, it burned when Dad's house in Birch Run burned to the ground in 1943. David was named for his great Grandfather, David Clear. 
 
 
After Grandma Emma died in 1934 Grandpa stayed with his son Oscar Clear who lived just a short distance from Grandpa's old home. He, Grandpa, had cancer and spent the last ten months of his life in Hubacker Hospital in Cheboygan. After Grandpa died in 1938 his farm was sold to someone up north. Then, the State bought the right of way for the new highway. Apparently, the house was all that was left standing. It was on the right of way. Someone bought the house for one dollar and tore it down for lumber.
Oscar and Dena Clear sold their farm up north and bought the one next door to where we live now. They moved down here in the spring of 1946. We lived here side by side until January of 1960 when they sold this place and bought the little house on Sheridan Road in Burt. We bought this farm in July of 1947 and moved here from Detroit in April (the 29th) of 1950.
All of the Clears are gone now, except Fern Clear, of that generation. Mom will be 89 years old next month. There have been a lot of changes over the years. We used to have lots of people around, places to go and things to do. Now, we are getting old, too, and I know this place will be sold someday and a lot more changes will take place here. Right now today it is pretty around here. Everything is getting nice and green. The tulips are starting to bloom and the forsythia bushes are so bright and yellow looking. We also have daffodils in bloom.
I guess that is about the end of my story of the Clear's.
 
Julie May Clear, April 22, 1987
 
 
 
 
Memories of William Henry Clear and Emeline Stillwell
As recalled by their grandson, Charles C. Clear Jr.
 
 
I was only 2 years old when my grandmother died, and I was only 6 years old when, in 1938, my Grandpa Henry died.
We were living in either Wayne or Garden City, Michigan. As my mother and father were leaving to go to the funeral in Carp Lake, MY brother David and I used to jump on the running board of the car and ride out to the street. Well this day as I was running to jump on the running board, I slipped and my left leg went under the wheel, and it went over my left leg.
My mother got all excited, and she was going to stay home. The sand was soft in the driveway, and my leg seemed okay. My older sister promised to take care of me, so everything turned out all right. I will remember that day!
I do remember the house and farm that Grandpa Henry and Aunt Emma built in 1912/13. After we moved back to Carp Lake, every Sunday we would take a long car ride, and we would always go by the old homestead. Someone lived there at the time. But what I noticed on the barn, way up in the corner, was 'Wm-Henry Clear' painted in large letters. Their house, I thought, was really large for that time period. I thought how great it would be to live on that farm as my father did.
 
After my father died, his 12 gauge shotgun came to me. He always said it belonged to his father William Henry. I also have William Henry's pocket watch and my grandmother's family Bible. I also have a large picture of my Aunt Arwilda Clear-Truitt holding this very Bible.
 
 
For more memories of Henry Clear, click here.