She had a need for speed…

This image is from a scanned newspaper image, so it is not the greatest.

When Abram Rosa came back from his time in prison after the Civil War, he came back to an empty home. His wife, Jennie, had left him, taking their two daughters with her. At this time we are not aware of an actual divorce having taken place between the two of them, but they both did marry to other people a few years later.

Abram’s second wife was a woman by the name of Harriet Emerson. They married in October of 1869. Over the 4oish years of their marriage they had two known children, both boys, Alby and John Nelson. So now my gg grandmother Carrie had two half brothers, both of whom she never met or knew about, as far as we know.

John Nelson did marry, at least 3 times, but never had children. His brother Alby married several times also, but he did manage to have two daughters with his first wife Dora Ritter, Erma and Loral. Erma never married. Loral married a gentleman by the name of Willis C. Servis in 1921 in Benton Harbor, Michigan. They had one son Dean C. Servis before they divorced, Loral married again to Ethemer Emery in 1932 and together they had about 6 children.

So what does all this have to do with speed?

Loral, the actual subject of this post and pictured above, was not your usual grandmother type. Somewhere in her genes was a speed demon waiting to come out.

While trying to find out more about the Abram’s second family and his descendants, I found this awesome newspaper article:

Edwardsville Intelligencer August 2, 1958 page 6.

The caption that is with her picture above reads:

Equally at ease in matter pertaining to ministering professional care for the aged at the Madison County Nursing home in Edwardsville or when behind the wheel in stock-car racing is Mrs. Loral Emery a resident of East Alton who contends she is “completely sold” in piloting jalopies at the Alton Speedway in Godfrey.” The 57 year old grandmother of 11 was recently presented a trophy symbolic of being the eldest driver at the nearby oval.

I wonder if her interest in racing was influenced by her first husband, Willis, who was a garage mechanic? She definitely had cool written all over her.

Racing, like all sports where men are involved, was a vey sexist sport. In the 1940s, when racing clubs were first starting in the U.S., a woman’s role was as either ‘eye-candy’ or ‘sandwich and coffee provider’ for all the manly men doing the racing, or working in the pits. This continued into the 1950s, although now there were a few women starting to get their game on and competing in their own right. So when Loral was heading out to the track to satisfy her speed need, she was doing it at the time women were coming out of the woodwork and showing the men they had what it took to race, contrary to popular belief. (Although, there are still plenty of dumb bunnies out there today who are satisfied being nothing but eye candy.)

After this article was published in 1958, Loral went on to live another 25 years. She passed away in 1985:


Loral appears to have been a pretty interesting lady. (She was my half 1st cousin 3 times removed.)

Is Delany, Lena?

I’ve been working on this particular genealogical problem for at least 10 years, is the Delany who is entered in Garrett Rosa’s death record as his mother, the same women called Lena who married Abraham Rosa in Coxsackie, Greene County, New York.

When first researching Garrett’s ancestry I ran across a book that had been compiled on the Roosa line and found the following entry for my Garrett and his parents:

“2177. Abraham Roosa (son of Guert) was b.1759 Coxsackie, Greene Co., NY and was bpt. 6 May 1759 in the Coxsackie RDC. He served in the New York Line during the American Revolution. Abraham d. 7 Jan. 1855, at the age of 85. He m. Eleanor van Loon in NY. Eleanor d. 17 Oct. 1845.
3741. Guert Roosa (son of Abraham) was b. 1790 in Coxsackie, Greene Co., NY, and was bpt. 19 Sep 1790 in Coxsackie RDC. Guert d. in Wadsworth Flats. He m. Clara Gass. Her last name could be “Grass”, or “Crass” (as it appears in one source).”*
* You will notice that not one single source is provided for the data in this book, just the mention of a vague one.

First off, I know that Garrett died in 1869 in Kalamazoo County, Michigan, and I have no idea where ‘Wadsworth Flats’ are; the entry should have been made more clear when they compiled the book. This ‘error’ makes me immediately leery of this resource as a reliable one. Well, that and the fact that there are very few sources listed. Garrett’s first wife’s name was Clarissy/Clara Cross. I know this from the death records of two of his sons. So at least that much information sort of matches the book. Again, no source as to how they know his wife’s name. As a resource the book is questionable, and that means I have to start from, mostly, scratch for at least a few generations.

When Garrett died his death registration had both parents listed: Abraham and Delany Rosa. His second wife, Lucinda, is most likely the person who provided the information for the record and who knows if the clerk wrote it accurately. His mother’s name, Eleanor, from the ROOSA book could be construed as Delany, maybe, but it does seem a stretch.

Garrett Rosa’s death registration entry in the Michigan records.

To expand my research I decided to pursue the possible pension record for his, believed to be, father Abraham. I did find one in Cortland County and decided to request a copy from NARA, but as I was only speculating that this record was for the correct Abraham I didn’t get too excited.

According to this pension Abraham was born in the year 1760 at Coxsackie, he lived there until he entered into the service. Later he moved to Greene in Chenango County, then Manlius in Onondaga County, then Locke in Cayuga County and lastly he settled in Homer in Courtland County, all in New York state. His son Rufus testified that his father was married twice: the first time in 1783, and then after his wife died in 1802, to his second wife Sarah _____. Rufus also stated that he was the only child of the first marriage and his sister, Amanda, was the only child of the second marriage. At no time did he name the wives and we only know Sarah’s first name because she is still around during the pension application process; thank you for nothing Rufus!

Nothing in this pension would lead me to believe that this Abraham was the father of my Garrett Rosa. That is until I started perusing the Coxsackie Reformed Dutch Church (RDF) records, which are online (transcribed, not originals). These are the same records that are used as sources in the Roosa history book.

Here are some intriguing entries:

1. 1790 September 19 Abraham Roos and Lena Roos (parents) — Guert (child being baptized) — sponsors Guert Roos and Geertruy Roos (brother and sister to Abraham)
2. 1793 March 3 Abraham Roosa and Lena Roosa (parents) — Rufies (child being baptized) — sponsors Rufies Schipart and Antje Schipert (brother -in-law and sister to Abraham)
3. 1795 February 7 Abraham Roose and Lena Vn Loan (parents) — Abraham, (child being baptized) December 24 1795 — no sponsors listed
4. 1798 July 7 Abraham Roosa and Eleanor Vn Loon (parents) — Anna (child being baptized)

This Guert/Garret was born pretty much the same time as my Garrett. He had a brother Rufus, there is a Rufus, son of Abraham (of Coxsackie), in the pension record. The records are in Coxsackie, the same place as is mentioned in the pension. The wife’s name in the baptismal records is Lena (or Eleanor, which is possibly an error on the part of the minister entering the data and assuming Lena was a diminutive of Eleanor). Lena and Delany seem to be a closer match.

Rufus could have misunderstood the question about children, as all the other siblings were off in other states, or counties making him and Amanda the only ones left with their dad, or he just outright lied, hoping to cash in on a little pension money without having to spread it around to the rest of the family. The Rosa’s, remember, were not known for their upstanding behavior in Michigan, it could have been a family trait.

The research is slowly putting itself together, helping me to feel more comfortable about his mother being Lena and this line of descent being correct. That’s not to say I won’t change my mind.

I will be doing more research in Salt Lake on Abraham and his various moves using land and court records. By putting together a timeline of Abraham and Garrett I am hopeful of making the proper connection between the two. Wish me good luck.