Mary May Kimball
a.k.a. "Lula Weaver"
(1873 – 1950)
Mary May Kimball was born 27 March 1873 in the Village of Hesperia, Michigan, according to family records. This village lies on the Oceana and Newaygo County line and thus lies in both Newfield and Denver Townships. Her birth was not recorded in either county, but because her parents were living in Newaygo County as late as 1870, it is probably safe to assume that her birthplace was in the east side of Hesperia, in Denver Township, Newaygo County. Her parents were Benjamin Henry Kimball, a Civil War veteran, and Lucy May Dickinson. She was their youngest child because her mother died at or shortly after her birth. Her older siblings were: William Arthur Kimball (b. 1866); George Ezra Kimball (b. 1868); and Leota Nellie Kimball (Mrs. George E. Whitman) (b. 1870).
Mary’s father married Lydia J. Dorwin on 3 July 1873, when she was 2 months old. Her maternal aunt, Mary E. Dickinson, and her husband, Philip Henry Weaver, raised her. It must have been confusing to have two Marys in the same household; at any rate, little Mary was nicknamed “Lula”, in honor of her mother Lucy, and is often referred to as “Lula Weaver”. She had five cousins/foster siblings as well: Emma A. (Weaver) Seymour (1857 – 1928); Ella L. (Weaver) Husband (1858 – 1941); Angeletta “Lettie” (Weaver) Wilson (1860 – 1932); Dr. Leland S. “Lee” Weaver (1863 – 1941); and Mabella F. “Mable” (Weaver) Boyle (1879 – 1902). Mary and Philip also had one other child who died young.
On 23 November 1892, Lula married Angelo Merrick Robbins, Sr. in Hesperia, Newaygo County. He was a schoolteacher, so they lived in various areas of Newaygo County, wherever he could find a teaching job, such as Denver, Woodville and Ensley Townships. Their children were: Floyd, Lloyd, Bill, Reva, Angelo, Jr. and Donald. A stillborn son was born 11 July 1906. See the bottom of this page for more detailed information on these children's lives.
Lula saw many sorrows in her lifetime. Her eldest son Floyd died at the young age of 22 after contracting pneumonia. Her sons Lloyd and Bill faced the dangers of chemical warfare in the trenches of World War I. Her only daughter Reva suffered from mental illness and was placed in Traverse City State Hospital, Grand Traverse County, Michigan, where she later committed suicide. Her husband Angelo died as a result of a burst appendix on 16 July 1923. At this time, they were living in their own house at 1130 Reynolds Street in Ward 3 of Muskegon Heights, Muskegon County, Michigan.
Happier days came later, when, on 4 December 1928, Lula married a widower, Orlando Horace Kenfield in the City of Muskegon, Muskegon County. For many years they lived at 2782 East Broadway Avenue in Fruitport Township, Muskegon County. When Lula became an invalid, Orlando cared for her as tenderly as any nurse. She died of a stroke on the 27th of December, 1950 at home, and was buried three days later in Mona View Cemetery, Muskegon Heights, next to her daughter Reva and her first husband Angelo. She outlived three children, but enjoyed knowing many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. (obituary)
Floyd Arthur Robbins was born 12 June 1893 in Newfield Township, Oceana County, Michigan. At the time, his parents were residents of neighboring Denver Township, Newaygo County, where his father was teaching. In 1914 Floyd married Flora Liefers. He died 4 April 1916 in Ensley Center, Ensley Township, Newaygo County. The family story is that he died after eating some wild mushrooms, and to this day, many Robbins family members refuse to eat wild mushrooms for fear of accidental poisoning. However, his official death record states his cause of death as pneumonia. He and Flora did not have any children.
Lloyd R. Robbins was born 12 August 1894 in Michigan, probably in Oceana County. When he was 16 years old, he lived with his uncle and aunt, Edwin and Emma (Coy) Robbins in Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan. The enumerator got nearly everyone's name wrong - Edwin was listed as "Edward" and Lloyd was listed as "Floyd", although it was apparently by his age that is truly was Lloyd! He served in the U. S. Army in France during World War I. On New Year's Day 1920 he married Josephine Rebecca Huff. They lived with his parents and siblings at 1130 Reynolds Street in the City of Muskegon, Muskegon County when the 1920 Federal Census was taken. At the time, he was a carpenter. Later, he and Josephine lived in Comstock Park, Kent County. They did not have any children of their own, and perhaps this is why Josephine was a family historian. Much of the known Robbins family history is due to her hard work and research done in the days before personal computers and the Internet! Lloyd and Josephine used to spend their winters in Lake City, Columbia County, Florida. The last few years of their lives were spent in Plainfield Township, Kent County. Lloyd died 30 March 1978 in Grand Rapids, and was buried two days later in the Plainfield Cemetery. Josephine also died in Grand Rapids, on 26 July 1987, and was buried next to Lloyd.
William Bryan Robbins - my great-grandfather
Reva L. Robbins was born 6 September 1898 in Michigan, the only daughter of Angelo and Lula. Hers is a tragic story. By the time she was 21 years old, she was committed to Traverse City State Hospital in the City of Grand Traverse, Grand Traverse County for mental illness. She was a danger to herself and others, and had on at least one occasion tried to attack someone with a knife. Traverse City State Hospital was the same hospital in which her father's aunt Emeline C. Robbins had been committed for "mental incompetence"...what today would be called a developmentally disabled or retarded person. In those days, the mentally disabled and mentally ill unfortunately were often housed together in institutions. Emeline had died in the state hospital in 1917. Reva remained at the state hospital until her death by suicide on 29 July 1926. Her body was brought back to her family and buried on 2 August 1926 in the family plot near her father's grave in Mona Vista Cemetery, Muskegon Heights. She never married or had children. (obituary)
Angelo Merrick Robbins, Jr. was born 12 September 1904 in Woodville, Newaygo County. In 1930, when the Federal Census was taken, he was living with my great-grandparents (his brother) William and Marie (Lewis) Robbins in Norton Township, Muskegon County. He was working as a truck driver for a construction company. Angelo, Jr. later married and had two sons. He lived most of his life in the City of Muskegon, where he was employed by the packaging department of Bennett Pump Company. He retired in 1966, and died 16 December 1982 in Muskegon Heights of cancer. He was buried December 18 in Sunrise Memorial Gardens in the City of Muskegon. (obituary)
A stillborn son was born to Angelo, Sr. and Lula on 11 July 1906 in Ensley Township.
Donald Charles Robbins was a "bonus baby", born 10 years after Angelo and Lula's previous surviving child, and was thus just a few years older than several of his nephews. He was born 20 March 1914 in Ensley Center. Donald married and had seven sons, including Dennis M. Robbins (1942 - 1965) who died young of Hodgkin's Disease. Donald served in the U. S. Navy during World War II. He lived most of his life in the City of Muskegon, where he was employed with the City Police Department. He served as the Police Chief for Muskegon Township, and was also employed by the Muskegon Fire Department. He was a member of the Muskegon County Masonic Lodge. He died 22 January 2000 in Muskegon; his cremains were interred in Sunrise Memorial Gardens three days later. (obituary)
Thanks to Dad and Grandpa for the stories. Photos courtesy of Bob Robbins, except for grave photo, which is courtesy of Toni Falcon of Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness. Top photo: Lula and two of her great-grandchildren, c. 1945. Bottom photo: Lula and Orlando, seated on porch, with Angelo, Jr. and two of Lula's grandchildren, c. 1946.
created: 7 Oct 2003
updated: 19 Aug 2005
© Miriam Midkiff, 2003 - 2005