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Bridging the Gap Between Generations

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A newspaper article from 100 years ago is helping to fill the gaps in one Grass Lake family’s history. Each week, the Grass Lake Times publishes a column called 100 years ago. These articles are gathered by Linda Lockwood Hutchinson, who has the original newspapers from 100 years ago in her hangar in Grass Lake. These newspapers were being thrown out several years ago by the library and Linda did not want to see them lost she once told me.
The June 29th edition of the Grass Lake Times was distributed to every household in Grass Lake and surrounding areas, including Matt Morrissey, who lives northwest of Grass Lake on Seymour Rd. Matt Morrissey was perusing the paper when he read through the 100 years ago column and noticed the names were quite familiar, those of his grandparents, Lola Updyke and William Morrissey.
The 100 years ago for that week, which was actually from the May 17, 1917 edition of the Grass Lake News, reported on a unique double wedding. “As interesting event as well as exceedingly pretty one was the double wedding which was solemnized at St.John’s Catholic church at 9 o’clock Tuesday morning when Miss Grace Glenn and Nereus Quigley and Miss Lola Updyke and William Morrissey were united in marriage, Rev. John Wall singing the nuptial mass. Both the brides reside in Leoni township and both grooms come from Grass Lake. Miss Glenn wore a fetching traveling suit of bronze cloth, while Miss Updyke was attired in a modish traveling suit of blue, and each carried an arm bouquet of roses in a delicate tint of pink. At the home of Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Updyke in Leoni township a large wedding reception was given for the brides and grooms Tuesday evening for 200 guests. The house was effectively decorated for the event and during the evening elaborate refreshments were served. Many beautiful gifts, including cut glass, silver and china were presented to the two brides. The couples left later for a short wedding journey.”
Matt Morrissey is one of 14 grandchildren of William and Lola. William and Lola had two children, Lola Ellen (Morrissey) Borener and James (Bill) William Morrissey. Each of the children married and had 7 children each. Two of the grandchildren still reside on the original Morrissey land on Morrissey Rd (off of Mount Hope) in Grass Lake. The grandchildren in order of age; Theresa Borener, Betty (Borener) Coppernoll, Bev (Borener) McEntire, Matt Morrissey, Laura (Borener) Sands, Ed Morrissey, Paulette (Borener) Pancerz, Mike Morrissey, John Morrissey, Patsy (Morrissey) Brundage, Marianne (Morrissey) Titler, Anna (Borener) Ramey, Marcia (Morrissey) Beerbower, Art Borener.
Matt’s sister, Marianne Titler has two of the wedding gifts mentioned in the original article. “I always knew they were my grandmother’s however I wasn’t sure they were from their wedding.” She has a cut glass vase as well as a Chocolate Set, or as Marianne referred to it as a Cocoa Set. The Chocolate Set included a pitcher and cups from Japan. For those, myself included, who have not heard of a Chocolate Set, they “harken back to a more elegant era and gracious time. After a formal dinner, the men would adjourn to the smoking room for cigars, whiskey and manly conversation while the ladies enjoyed a cup of rich and thick hot chocolate served in fine porcelain cups and the latest gossip” according to Tim, a Certified Fine Art and Decorative Art Appraiser. This particular set is decorated with the “Dogwood” design and was produced circa 1900. Matt keeps a turn of the century clock on his mantle that he also believes to be a wedding gift. The clock was his grandparents and he inherited it when his parents passed away.
William was a farmer along Morrissey Rd, farming over 500 acres that extended to south of where the current I-94 freeway exists. He farmed dairy cattle, hay and corn along with cutting wood. Marianne, who grew up next door and now lives on the other side of her grandparents home has lived on her family farm her whole life with the exception of when she went to Eastern Michigan University. “We always thought of our grandparents as simple, poor farmers, however the article seems to indicate that may not have been the case” she said. “Over 200 guests in attendance and an article in the paper. Quigley and Morrissey were cousins explained Matt, that is probably the reason for the double wedding of the couple.
The article generated more talk about our grandparents than we could have imagined said Matt. We have learned a lot in the last couple of weeks. William Morrissey Sr died in 1959, having lived his entire life on the land. Lola Morrissey died in 1973.

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