Tag Archives: Millesrsburg

Errett Allison: Double Cousin

Errett Allison (1885-1952)

Trying to figure out cousin relationships makes me feel like I’m tripping over my shoelaces.

That is why I may mention a cousin peripherally when I’m talking about an aunt or uncle or great aunt or great uncle, or to explain some remote relationship, but mostly I let somebody else worry about whether a cousin is a first cousin twice removed or a second cousin once removed, or not removed at all, and if so, removed from what???

Cousin Chart

Cousin Relationship Chart, borrowed from the Family History 4U website.

I’m making an exception for Errett Allison, whom Ancestry.com defines as a first cousin two times removed (although I think our relationship is even more complicated than that). He just seems like a great guy–a hard working, handsome youth and who led an interesting and varied life, although like many farm boys of his time, he only finished 8th grade.

His mother was Ada Brink Allison, sister of my great-grandmother Mary Brink Anderson and also of Sarah Jane Brink Anderson, another great-grand aunt. I talked a bit about the Dutch Aunts and my great-grandmother–descended from Brink and Middaugh–in my discussion of Mary Brink Anderson. (I’m sure that Dutch aunts are not stern and lecturing like Dutch Uncles!)

At any rate that means that my great-great-grandfather is Errett’s grandfather.

Okay so far.

cousin Errett Allison

Errett Allison, 1909. Detail from Guy and Vera Anderson family picture

I don’t recall ever meeting Errett Allison when I was growing up in Killbuck, Ohio, but I did hear him mentioned and mother pointed him out in the big Anderson/Stout family picture.  All she said, however, was that he was my grandfather’s (Leonard Guy Anderson’s) cousin, and that Errett and his wife worked on Guy’s farm.  He looks very young and handsome with that square jaw and straight gaze in the picture. Errett and his second wife, Aletia (Leta), both 23 in May 1909, had only been married a year when this picture was taken.

wife of cousin Errett Allison

Aletia (Leta) Larimore Allison (1909)



Although the couple looks touchingly young in this family picture, he had been married before, and experienced the grief of losing a wife.  In 1904, when Errett was only 19, he married Zelpha Lisle, who was 17.  In early April 1906, Zelpha gave birth to Amy Ada Allison, but days later Zelpha died of “childbed fever.”

Zelpha was the grand daughter of my great-grand aunt, Margaret Anderson Lisle, so that is why I say I am related to Errett–and their daughter Amy Ada in more than one way.  Ancestry says Zelpha would be my 2nd cousin once removed. (the reverse of the cousin relationship with Errett) It also says that Amy Ada would be 2nd cousin one time removed, and I’m not going to get a headache by trying to figure that out.

After Guy Anderson moved off the farm and tried his hand on business in Killbuck, Errett went on to many different jobs. He and Aletia had three children between 1912 and 1915–Bernice Eloise, William Elton and Gordon Basil. In 1917 when Errett filled out his WWI draft registration card, he was working as a carpenter for the Pennsylvania Railroad. They probably had moved directly to Millersburg, Ohio from the farm, because in 1920 they are living on Clay Street in the county seat.

One of the things that people who lived through the Great Depression could take great pride in was being able to work through those lean years.  My father never tired of saying that he was never without work–even though it might have been temporary and lowly labor during those years. My mother also was proud of the fact that her teaching salary sustained her parents and brothers when the men had a hard time getting work.

Errett was another of those hard working people willing to do anything to make ends meet. According to memories by a descendant, Errett worked at various jobs, including as a dog catcher during the depression.

“Also in the rubber plant in Millersburg, was a carpenter. dog warden during the depression, and was the only one in the family with a job.”

In 1930, Errett is still working as a carpenter, but now building houses rather than working for the railroad, and the family has moved to a different house. They move again, this time to Washington Street in Millersburg, by 1935.  An interesting career change by 1940 has him working as a deputy sheriff for Holmes County, probably a political appointment.

I don’t know when the stint as a deputy sheriff started, but by 1942, when my cousin filled out the draft registration form for WWII, he had a job with Republic Steel in Massilon Ohio, which involved a commute from Millersburg.

 cousin Errett Allison, game warden

Errett Allison, game warden. 1940s. Photo added to Ancestry.com by Patricia Willison

According to notes by the same descendant quoted above, Errett Allison worked as a game warden from the late forties until he died in 1952.  I’m guessing that was his favorite job of all, because his descendant writes: “Loved fox hunting , fishing, dogs, played baseball until in his 40’s.” And judging by the photographs, he maintained that square jaw all his life.

This is the last person I will feature from the large Anderson family picture. Next week, I will recap all of the people in that picture, and then we will move on to another branch of the tree.


Information about Errett Allison comes from from death records, obituaries, census records, draft registrations and marriage records obtained from Ancestry.com; and from the recorded recollections and photo albums of my mother, Harriette V. Anderson Kaser (1906-2003). I am grateful for the sharing of stories and photos by descendants of Errett Allison and for the website from which I borrowed the cousin chart. (Click on the image to see more explanation of cousin relationships.)

This has been a weekly post in the 52 Ancestors/52 Weeks Project started by Amy Johnson Crow at “No Story too Small.” Check out her weekly recap showing the list of participants for some ripping good stories.