"MARK (3) ARDIS, STANDING IN AN
ORANGE GROVE", probably in Tampa,
Florida USA, circa 1930. Photo courtesy The ARDIS Collection, Evart
Public Library, Evart, Michigan USA.
Mark (3) ARDIS
Born: October 20, 1843
Place: Newtownhamilton, County Armagh, Northern Ireland UK.
LOOKING FOR... FREEDOM
By the time he was seven (7) years old Mark (3) ARDIS had already experienced hunger and famine, military occupation, and
political and religious oppression. When he was twice this old he was on his own... formal education over,
supporting himself as a clerk... until he would come to the United States.
During this time there was a family that he would become acquainted with by the name of Phillip REDMOND. His wife was Mary
HAMILTON and they resided in Kilmore, Northern Ireland UK. The fourth child of this union was Annie Bell REDMOND, later to become Mrs. Mark ARDIS.
As I have researched this family and talked with many family members there are always two main questions that arise:
1. How did this family come to the USA, and where did they disembark?
2. What prompted them to go directly to Michigan? It was as though someone was already there and had said, "get over here NOW."
The answers have eluded us. However, I keep finding little tidbits of information that definitely need to be researched.
I have a hand-written list of descendents for the REDMOND family, given to us by Jennie (4) [ARDIS] CREITH, daughter of Mark (3) ARDIS and Annie Bell [REDMOND] ARDIS. She wrote this in 1942, and I received it from Colby (6) ARDIS Jr. (Great-Grandson of Mark (3) ARDIS). I mention this at this time for a couple of reasons:
1) We see from Marks biographical sketch that Annie Bell REDMOND lived with her sister, Minnie [REDMOND] ANDERSON in Brooklyn, New York USA, and that is where Mark (3) ARDIS went to marry Annie after he was settled in Evart, Michigan USA. We also have the same information stated in the written history of the REDMOND family. This was done by Jennie (4) [ARDIS] CREITH and given to me by Colby (6) ARDIS Jr.
"JANNICE 'JENNIE' HAMILTON (4) [ARDIS] CREATH, IN
SOCIETY GARB", probably circa
19XX. Photo courtesy The ARDIS Collection, Evart Public Library, Evart, Michigan
.2) In the hand-written History of the REDMOND Family we find an interesting notation of the sixth child, "David REDMOND lived at Evart many years - died in Brooklyn N.Y. and Buried at Evart 11/26/1926 at age 79 - no children."
There is the possibility that that the REDMOND Family may hold the answer to many of our questions. Other names that are associated with the REDMOND family are:
- Elizabeth [REDMOND] BARRETT, who lived in Canada
- Maria [REDMOND] STEINBORN, who lived in Evart and married there
- Emily [REDMOND] PAUL
Much research is left to be done in this area.
MARK (3) ARDIS COMES TO AMERICA
Exactly when Mark (3) ARDIS came to the United States is uncertain. However we do know that he reached Ionia, Michigan USA, in January of 1867.
KEEPING THE BOOKS
In Ionia Mark ARDIS worked with the Fred Hall Insurance Brokerage office as a bookkeeper. He stayed there until the fall of 1867.For some reason he then moved to Hersey, Michigan USA, which was the county seat of Osceola County, working as a salesman for
the "James Kennedy Mercantile" store.
Mark ARDIS was then employed by D.A. BLODGETT in 1871. BLODGETT had
founded Evart, Michigan USA, and was already the "lumber
baron" of Northern Michigan. He would become extremely wealthy as
his extensive timberland holdings would supply the material to rebuild
Chicago after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 October 8.
That same fall of 1871 Mark ARDIS set out on his own, opening his first mercantile business.
Located in Evart, Michigan USA, and encompassing nearly a city block,
this store was able to operate with a running inventory of $15,000, a
considerable sum for that era. How this was financed, we do not know.
RETURN TO NEW YORK
In early 1872 Mark (3) ARDIS traveled back to Brooklyn, New York USA, where he took Annie Bell REDMOND as his wife. They then returned to Evart, Michigan USA to make their home, raise their family, and make their fortune.
THE MERCHANT'S LIFE
Mark (3) ARDIS would make his living the rest of his life selling clothing, hardware and home furnishings. As Evart began to grow and become a village, Mark began to implement the teachings of D.A. Blodgett, his former employer, who was by then a real estate
and lumber millionaire. Mark (3) ARDIS began to buy virgin timberland and then lumber it off. At one time he owned more than 1000 acres in Osceola County. He then started his own bank and began to loan, save, collect, and broker. This business later became the Evart State Bank. The business has been sold and resold over the years, but the building is still there… empty today. Across the street is the
former Mark (3) ARDIS store.
REMEMBERING MARK (3) ARDIS
To the best of my knowledge there are no surviving letters that Mark (3) ARDIS wrote. I do not have his handwriting and there are very few pictures. My Mother, Helen Maxine (5) [ARDIS] BROOKS was a mid-teenager at the time of Mark's death in 1932. She has fond memories of Mark. He was quite elderly by this time and living alone. His home was close to the high school and Mom would leave school and run to "Uncle Mark's house" (actually Great-Uncle) to see the rabbits that he raised, then run on downtown to her father's store, where she would work until dinner.
A DISTINGUISHED LINE
The descendents of Mark (3) ARDIS and Annie Belle [REDMOND] ARDIS are as follows:
[NOTE: Please feel free to leave any comments, additions, or corrections on the
"Check In" page.]
1) Minnie E. (4) ARDIS, who married James H. THOMPSON
2) Jannice "Jennie" Hamilton (4) ARDIS, who married Horatio C. CREITH
3) Emma Maria (4) ARDIS, who married first BATEMAN, then Joseph FARNUM.
4) William Fredric Scott (4) ARDIS, who married Bessie COLBY
5) Walter Redmond (5) ARDIS, who never married.
MINNIE E. (4) [ARDIS] THOMPSON
The first child, Minnie E. (4) ARDIS, married James H. THOMPSON. Mr. THOMPSON, according to the
Evart Review, had been the Superintendent of Schools in Evart for several years. They were married in the Presbyterian Church in Evart, Michigan USA, on a Wednesday evening. I have also noted that in my research that there was mention of a THOMPSON that was in banking at this same time. Also Robert (3) ARDIS makes mention of a "Mr. Thompson" in one of his letters dated in the 1880's. There seems a good possibility that this could be of the same family.
Again, the Evart Review states that in 1913 the THOMPSONs are residing in East Lansing, Michigan USA. This is most interesting, because this is the headquarters of the Oldsmobile Motor Company and the home of Ransom E. Olds, the Founder and President. It is some time after 1913 (possibly around 1923) that the
Evart Review states the following:
"Mr. And Mrs. James H. Thompson and little daughter Charlotte, arrived from
Olsmar, Florida, for a few days visit with Mrs. Thompson's Father, Mark Ardis. Mr. Thompson is closely identified with
R.E. Olds' extensive interests in Florida, and will return there after a brief sojourn here and at Lansing and a day in attendance at the National Conclave of the Thirty-Third Degree Masons at Philadelphia."
Olsmar is north of Tampa, Florida USA, near Spring Hill.
of Olsmar, Florida USA
I am sorry that I have not found a date on this article as of this time. However, it states that they "visited her father". Annie Belle
[REDMOND] ARDIS died in 1913, so I feel it would be after that, otherwise she would have been mentioned. The Thompson's had only one daughter, Charlotte
Ann THOMPSON, who never married. Colby (6) ARDIS Jr. remembers her
fondly from his younger days. She was an extremely good friend to his
mother. Christopher (6) CREITH, a "long-lost second-cousin" to
Colby (and to Mark A. ARDIS), indicates he remains in touch with her today. She is well into
her 90s (1999 April) and is living in an assisted care facility in Tampa, Florida USA.
JANNICE "JENNIE" HAMILTON (4) [ARDIS] CREITH
The second child of Mark (4) ARDIS was Jannice "Jennie" Hamilton (4) [ARDIS] CREITH who married Horatio C. CREITH and resided in Columbus, Ohio USA.
We have recently learned that Horatio CREATH was in the lumber
business. The family continued to operate his sawmill and lumber
yard in Columbus into the early 1990s. "Jennie" has left us a hand-written history of the REDMOND family and the Mark (3) ARDIS family. She was married at home
in Evart at twelve noon on a Wednesday with only family and close friends attending, according to the
Evart Review. Interestingly a family minister friend from Grand Haven, Michigan USA, Reverend James A. Kennedy, performed the ceremony. There was one son born
to this union, H. Ardis (5) CREITH, of Columbus, Ohio USA. He had one son,
Christopher (6) CREITH, who is also of Columbus.
EMMA MARIA (4) [ARDIS] [BATEMAN] FARNUM
The third child was named Emma Maria (4) [ARDIS] BATEMAN. It is my feeling that this marriage did not last a long time. The BATEMANS were from Brooklyn, New York USA and the couple left Evart, Michigan USA and went to New York City. Something that I thought was strange was that both Emma and Jannice were married at home at twelve noon on a Wednesday with a visiting minister from Grand Haven. There definitely was enough money for a big wedding. There were plenty of friends that would like to have been there. Some things are just left to ponder. Perhaps James Bateman died. There were no offspring to this marriage and the next we hear is that Emma is married to a Joseph FARNUM and they are living in Beverly Hills, California USA! To this union was born Robert FARNUM, and we have no other information of this line.
[NOTE: A Joseph FARNHAM, also credited as "Joe FARNUM", was a prolific movie actor,
writer, and editor from around 1919--1930. We have so far been unable to determine if this is "our" Joseph FARNUM, but the Beverly Hills connection is intriguing.
The "Joe FARNUM" in the movies would have been nine (9) years
younger than Emma; he died in 1931, at age 47.
It is also interesting to ponder whether Emma ARDIS' move to California influenced her uncle, Samuel Boyd (3) ARDIS, to go to California, or vice versa.
In addition to Emma (4) ARDIS and Samuel Boyd (3) ARDIS there were other "ARDIS
Pioneers" in early Twentieth Century Los Angeles, California USA. These include Mark (4) ARDIS, who worked for Samuel Boyd (3)
ARDIS there, and William BURK, brother to Katherine BURK, wife of Samuel George (4) ARDIS of McBain, Michigan USA. All three (3) men were members of the First Presbyterian Church
in Los Angeles, California USA.]
Link to "Joe
FARNUM" page at Internet Movie Data Base
"WILLIAM FREDRIC SCOTT (4) [ARDIS", probably circa
1890-95. Photo courtesy The ARDIS Collection, Evart Public Library, Evart,
WILLIAM FREDRIC SCOTT (4) ARDIS
The fourth child of Mark (3) ARDIS was a boy. Possibly they had many favorite relatives and couldn't quite settle on a name. He was named William Fredric Scott (4) ARDIS; a very dashing young man, slightly over six foot, with wavy dark hair, and with those "ARDIS eyes". He had to be quite a favorite, being the youngest… and the first boy, after three girls.
"WILLIAM FREDRIC SCOTT (4) [ARDIS, ON A
TWO-WHEELER", probably circa
1890-95. Photo courtesy The ARDIS Collection, Evart Public Library, Evart,
We have a number of newspaper articles talking about the travels of Fred (as he was called). He literally traveled around the world. We have no information of his working in his father's business or during his travels. I want to share an article from the
Evart Review which concerns the horrible 1906 San Francisco Earthquake… our Fred was in the middle of it!
"Mark ARDIS has heard from his son Fred, who escaped injury during the terrible experience of earthquake and fire at San Francisco. We are permitted to quote from a letter written by him to his mother, on the day of the disaster April 18 as follows.
Badly shaken up but not injured at all. I have used the word 'awful' lots of times, but never knew the full meaning before. The shock was distressing and terrifying enough, but the fires that have started are surely awful, water supply practically cut off on account of upheaval. Streets filled with people (and their personal belongings) some because their homes are demolished, but mostly because they are afraid to stay in doors, and with such blanched faces, and such looks of terrible expectancy, streetcar, telephone, telegraph, gas and electric services all out of business. But it is a wonderful experience, surely worth a trip across the continent, but I'm satisfied with one experience. Think the danger is all past, though the earth keeps trembling some.'"
So the Village of Evart, Michigan USA and the Evart Review had their "man on the scene" some 2500 miles away, got the scoop, and never paid a penny for the story! You can't top that!!!
The next story is surprising to say the least. I quote -
" September__ 1910, Mr. And Mrs. Mark ARDIS received notice of the marriage of their son, W. Frederick to Miss Bessie Colby of New York, which occurred in London, England, early in September. Mr. And Mrs. ARDIS are traveling on the continent for a few weeks and are at present in Italy."
Now this is quite interesting that the paper would say that the wedding took place in early September in London England. Fred's sister, Jennie CREITH, writes in the family history that the wedding took place in Crail, Scotland UK on 1910 October 14. In talking with William Fredric ARDIS' grandson, Colby Valcourt (6) ARDIS Jr., he throws out a possible solution in that it could have very well happened as both accounts stated in that there were relatives in both places.
After the wedding they still traveled quite a bit and according to Colby Valcourt (6) ARDIS Jr., his Grandfather, William Fredric
Scott (4) ARDIS, was in real estate and made his home in Flushing, New York USA.
WALTER REDMOND (5) ARDIS
The last child mentioned in the family history is Walter Redmond (5) ARDIS. Walter never married and
perhaps didn't have the "splash" that his brother William Fredric (4) ARDIS had.
He did, however, obtain a college education and distinguished himself as a judge in Cadillac, Michigan USA. He finished his life living in Cleveland, Ohio USA.
THE SUCCEEDING GENERATIONS
To the marriage of William Fredric Scott (4) ARDIS and Bessie [COLBY] ARDIS would come males that would carry on the Mark (3) ARDIS line.
Colby Valcourt Fredric (5) ARDIS and Alan Edric (5) ARDIS. Colby had two children: Colby Valcourt Fredric (6) ARDIS Jr. and Gail H. (6) ARDIS.
Alan had two children, Ann Kelso (6) ARDIS and Mark Alan (6) ARDIS.
In turn, Colby (6) ARDIS Jr. had three children; Deborah Ann (7) ARDIS, Colby Fredric Valcourt (7) ARDIS III and Mark Edward (7) ARDIS. Mark
Alan (6) ARDIS had two boys; Eric Mark (7) ARDIS and Paul Alex (7) ARDIS.
I have found in the 1880 census a listing for a William H. ARDIS that was born to Mark
(3) ARDIS and that is the last mention that I find anywhere. There is no death certificate, no grave on the family plot and no mention of his existence in the family history.
AN ENDURING LEGACY
This Mark (3) ARDIS Line is quite a family… with a tremendous legacy, for all of us to be proud of.