1378     JOHN OATMAN


John (Eli6, Darius5, Benjamin4, George3, John2, Johannes1), son of Eli and Eltha (McCollow) Oatman, was born near Tillsonburg, Oxford County, Ontario, 6 August 1848, and died 18 March 1930 at the age of 83 years, at Tillsonburg; he is buried in New Road Cemetery there.


He married:  1) 18 May 1873, Dereham Township, Oxford County, Ontario, Rosetha (Rozalthia) Barnum, who was born in September 1855 and died 7 July 1875, daughter of Solomon and Eliza Jane Barnum;  2) Jannette Cooper, born 1859 and died 25 May 1945.  Rosetha is buried with John in the New Road Cemetery at Tillsonburg, Ontario.


John's early life was spent on the homestead farm, and he became a carpenter in early life.  After the birth of their first child, Annetta, Rosetha died of complications and was buried in the Oatman plot in the New Road Cemetery outside of Tillsonburg.  John is said to have remarried (although no marriage registration has been found in Ontario), and after a few years he and Jannette moved to Michigan where, on 23 May 1889, he purchased 84 acres of land north of Cumber, Austin Township, Sanilac County.  Annetta, John's daughter, had been living with her grandmother Eltha in Tillsonburg, but now moved to Michigan with her father and stepmother.


On 10 October 1892, John sold his farm near Cumber to purchase ten lots from Robert Smith in the village of Tyre, the sale being completed 19 April 1893.  John lived in Tyre for the next two years, while his daughter moved to the Bay City area where she worked in a boarding house which served as home for many of the railway personnel.  On 19 August 1895, John sold his lots in Tyre, and moved his family back to Tillsonburg, where he lived for 35 years, dying there on 18 March 1930.  His obituary, as printed in the Tillsonburg Observer of 27 March 1930, reads:


"A wide circle of friends heard with regret of the demise on Tuesday, March 18th. of John Oatman, of the Eleventh Concession of South Norwich, in his 83rd year, following a long illness.  He was the oldest son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Eli Oatman, and was born on the New Road, later moving to the Oatman homestead on the Eleventh concession.  He was by trade a carpenter and worked on many of the buildings of the community and surrounding country.  He is survived by his late wife and six children, Mrs. Knight, of Michigan, Mrs. James Stover of Rosanna, Mrs. Summerville of Fort Frances, Milo of Port Rowan, Melvin of Toronto, and Alvin at home, also several grandchildren.  Two brothers and three sisters are living, Lorne Oatman, Springford, William Oatman of this community, Mrs. James Rogers and Mrs. M. Hicks, Tillsonburg, and Mrs. William Tilton, Vancouver.  The funeral was held on Friday afternoon from his late home to New Road Church, where an impressive service was conducted by Rev. Mr. Thompson of the Free Methodist Church, and a very comforting address was delivered by the Rev. Mr. Marlatt, a former pastor and family friend, now at Port Rowan.  Interment was in the family plot at New Road Cemetery.  Six nephews were pallbearers; James Oatman, Tillsonburg; Roy Oatman, Cornell; Earl Rogers, Charles Singer and Verne Hicks, Tillsonburg, and John Pettinger, of Courtland.


Mrs. Knight, of Michigan, is spending the week with her mother, Mrs. John Knight, of the eleventh concession." 


Jannette died in Tillsonburg on Friday, 23 May 1945, and was buried Monday, 28 May in the New Road Cemetery.

Children of John and 1) Rosetha (Barnum) Oatman:


3228    Annetta, b. 6 Jul 1874, Tillsonburg, Oxford Co., ON; d. 6 Jul 1943, Reed City, Osceola Co., MI; m. John Solomon Knight, 1895.  Picture


Annetta's mother died shortly after her birth, and she was raised in the home of her grandmother, Eltha Oatman.  During this time she attended the Methodist Church on New Road, and later the Free Methodist Church of which her grandmother was a member.  At about age 15, she moved to Michigan with her father and stepmother, living with them for a few years before finding employment in Bay City, Michigan, in one of the boarding houses for the growing number of railroad men needed for the expanding railroad system.  This is probably where she met John Solomon Knight, who was employed as an engineer with the Michigan Central Railroad.  She and John were married in 1895; she was about 21.  John was b. 6 February 1866, d. 25 February 1939.


Sometime after the wedding, they moved to Gladwin and then to Highwood, a settlement about 12 miles out of Gladwin, but still in Gladwin County.  In Highwood they raised their family, and in Highwood, John died in February of 1939.  Annetta then sold the farm to her eldest son and moved to Lansing to live with and care for the children of her deceased daughter, Grace Knight Goodwich.  After several years she purchased a small home in Gladwin, where she lived until her death in 1943.


"Annette Knight, born at Tillsonburg, Ontario, July 6, 1874, died July 6, 1943, at Reed City, Michigan.  She came to Bay City, Michigan, in early life and later married J. S. Knight, to which union were born nine children.  The husband and three of the children preceded her in death.  She was converted in middle life and became a member of the Free Methodist Church.  She lived a faithful, kind and consistent life.  Her passing was triumphant -- she saw her Saviour waiting to receive her.  Interment in the Gladwin Cemetery; funeral conducted by her pastor, Ralph Milks, from the Gladwin Free Methodist Church." (The Free Methodist, 6 Aug 1943)


Children, surname Knight:


A         Wycliffe Roland, b. 1896; d. 1980


B         Dewey Clyde, b. 1898; d. 1976


C         Roseltha, b. 1903; d. 1929


D         Mary Marie, b. 1906


E          Grace Albena, b. 1908; d. 1941; m.       Goodwich


F          George Edmund, b. 1909; d. 1970


G         John Melvin, b. 1910; d. 1911


H         Ruth Evangeline, b. 1912


I           Ruby Ella, b. 1913






Children of John and 2) Jannette (Cooper) Oatman:


3229    Lovina/Lavinnia, b. 26 Apr 1885, South Norwich, Oxford Co., ON; d. 22 Jul 1972, Tillsonburg, Oxford Co., ON; bur. 25 Jul 1972, Tillsonburg Cem.; m. James Stover, 14 Nov 19  , Springford, ON.  He d. 16 Mar 1969 in Tillsonburg.  At the time of her death in 1972, Lovina had 11 grand-children and 13 great-grandchildren. 


NOTE: In papers from the Norwich Archives, Norwich, ONT, Ruby Stover Smith, daughter of Lovina, states of her mother, Jannette Cooper Oatman:


"Harriett (Cowell) Livingstone -- Grandma Oatman's daughter before marriage to John Oatman.  Harriett's father Israel Cowell wanted to marry Grandma [Jannette], she refused, so he married Grandma's sister Bessie and they raised Harriet.  This is the story I was told.  She died May 14/1945 in 67 years.  She was married to Wes Livingston, he died May 6/1963 in 83 years."


We later find that “Israel” was actually “Ezra” and “Bessie” was “Elizabeth.”  Jannette became pregnant with Harriett (above) in 1880, after Ezra married her sister, Elizabeth, 12 Nov 1879 in St. Catharine’s, Lincoln Co., ON.  Obviously a very embarrassing situation, Ezra and Elizabeth raised the child, Harriett “Hattie,” as their own. 


3230    Milo, b. 29 Aug 1888, Tillsonburg, Oxford Co., ON; d. 18 Jun 1962, Simcoe, ON; m. Margaret Towns, 20 Apr 1921


3231    Melvin William, b. 14 Feb 1895; d. Dec 1959, Toronto, ON; m. Garnett Aleatha Hazen


3232    Rhoda, b. 19 Apr 1896, Oxford Co., ON; m. Thomas Burns Summerville, 30 Mar 1921, Avondale Manse, Tillsonburg, Oxford Co., ON


3233    Alvin L., b. 18 Jan 1904 (per Tillsonburg Liberal, 19 Jan 1905); d. 9 Oct 1987; m. Gladys Bartlett


Sources:           Family records; Kathleen Oatman, Tillsonburg, ON; Lori Oatman; London, ON; Tillsonburg cemetery records; The Free Methodist, 6 Aug 1943;

Bennett, Rolland, Foliage on Ontario Branches, 1982; Tillsonburg Observer, 29 May 1873; 27 Mar 1930; 28 Feb 1907; Tillsonburg Liberal, 19 Jan 1905; Various Tillsonburg newspaper articles and obituaries; 1911 census, Tillsonburg, Oxford South, Ontario; Records of Marriages, District of Oxford, Item #1172; Items and information from Norwich Archives, Norwich, ON; 1881, 1901 census, South Norwich, Oxford Co., ON



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