Presley Twining France was born on June 29, 1873 in Deshler, Henry County, OH, the son of John C. and Rhoda (Van Horn) France.
As a boy, Presley lived in Deshler.
When he was about the age of five, circa 1878, he and his family went to Grelton, Henry County, remaining until he was age 15. Then in 1887, his parents migrated again, to Mungen, Wood County, OH. In 1892, they were on the move again and relocated to Continental, Putnam County, OH.
On Dec. 21, 1895, in nearby Paulding County, OH, 22-year-old Presley married 21-year-old Mary Iona Robinson (1874-1945), a resident of Oakwood, OH. The ceremony was performed by Rev. Henry Provant.
The Frances were the parents of nine children -- Lyman Lanor "Lynn" France, Ruth Leona Jewell, Rhoda Ellen Steiner, Flossie Faye Donaldson, John R. France, Essa Knoblauch, Lois Steel Riley, Robert France and Mildred Koyle.
Presley and Mary were longtime farmers. Immediately following their marriage, they lived on a farm near Continental. In an interesting twist, one of Presley's distant cousins lived in Kalida and Continental in Putnam County in the late 1800s and early 1900s -- the family of Joseph and Mary Jane (Courtney) Miner.
By 1900, the Frances had relocated to Michigan, where Presley worked as a teamster for a logging company in or near the town of Stanton. Seen here is a photograph showing Presley -- standing third from left on the railcar bed -- in logging operations in Michigan. (Click to see an enlarged version of this image, which was our "Photo of the Month" for December 2003.)
Within a year or two, Presley and Mary and young family moved back to Continental. Their old farm house was located along the Paulding-Putnam County Line Road, was just north of the Nickleplate Railroad (now Norfolk Southern Railroad).
Then, in about 1918, Presley moved the family back to Michigan, settling for good in Michigan Center, where they remained for the rest of their lives.
The federal census of 1920 shows them living on Cross Road in or near Napolean, Jackson County. During the decade of the 1920s, they relocated to Leoni, Jackson County, with Presley employed as a teamster performing odd jobs in 1930.
Mary passed away in Michigan Center on Sept. 2, 1945. She was age 71.
Presley outlived her by 12 years. He died as a result of an automobile accident, on March 23, 1957. He is buried with Mary at Woodlawn Cemetery in Jackson.
~ Son Lyman Lenor "Lynn" France ~
Son Lyman Lenor "Lynn" France (1897- ? ) was born in 1897.
As a 23-year-old in 1920, he was employed by a spring factory in Napolean, Jackson County, MI. Then in 1930, still a bachelor, he dwelled with his parents in Leoni, Jackson County, earning a living as a machinist in a gear factory. He continued his work as a machine operator for years.
On Aug. 25, 1934, Lynn entered into marriage with Evelyn Crabtree (June 25, 1916-2002), daughter of Charles and Nola (Creason) Crabtree of Kentucky. Their wedding ceremony was held in Leoni, Jackson County, by the hand of justice of the peace J.D. Ballard.
One son was born to the union, Dale France.
The couple made their home in 1937-1940 in Michigan Center, MI.
When the federal census enumeration was made in 1940, with Lynn working in a factory.
Lynn died in 1985.
Evelyn survived for another 17 years as a widow.
She passed away in Michigan Center on April 6, 2002.
Son Dale Eugene France (1935-2017) was born on Nov. 27, 1935 in Michigan and grew up in Michigan Center. He served in the U.S. Air Force. Dale was joined in wedlock with Janet Lagow (1939-2017), daughter of Everett T. and Millie B. (Meador) Lagow Sr. They were the parents of Kathy Sue France, Karen Dean, Kerry France and Kip France. The family dwelled in Michigan Center, where Dale was employed by Clark Equipment/Ingersoll Rand and the Michigan State Department of Corrections. He liked to fish and hunt as well as work with wood. Sadly, Janet and Dale died within a few months of each other in 2017. She passed away first, on March 19, while in Henry Ford Allegiance Hospice, and he followed her on July 21, as a patient in Highland Assisted Living and Memory Care. Obituaries were published in the Jackson Citizen Patriot.
~ Daughter Ruth Leona (France) Jewell ~
Daughter Ruth Leona France (1899-1951) was born in 1899 in Putnam County, OH. As a young woman, she resided in Continental, OH.
On Sept. 7, 1918, she was united in holy matrimony with farmer Walter Bryan Jewell (July 18, 1897-1928), son of William and Ida (Purke/Perk) Jewell. Justice of the peace E.F. Weiser led the wedding ceremony. At the time, Walter made his home in Groverhill, OH.
Two children born to this marriage were Illa "Faye" Young and Harold Walter Jewell.
The Jewells appear to have established their dwelling in Leoni, Jackson County, MI. There, Walter was employed as a machine operator for Reynolds Spring Company.
Grief blanketed the family when Walter was diagnosed with serious heart valve disease. He passed away in Leoni on Aug. 31, 1928, at the untimely age of 31. His remains were interred in Woodland Cemetery.
When the federal census enumeration was made in 1930, Ruth headed a household in Leoni, Jackson County, MI which included her two children.
Her residence in 1937 was in Michigan Center, Jackson County, MI, and she remained there as of 1940. Sometime during the 1940s, she relocated to California.
She succumbed to death in Huntington Park, Los Angeles County, CA at the age of 53 on Sept. 30, 1951. The body was shipped cross-country to sleep for all time in Woodland Cemetery.
Daughter Illa "Faye" Jewell (1919-2004) was born on April 21, 1919 in Paulding County, OH. When she was age 21, in 1940, she lived in Michigan Center, Jackson County, MI. At that time, she worked in a cafeteria for the federally funded National Youth Association, a "New Deal" agency created under the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt to train, employ and educate young adults. In 1950, she entered into marriage with Horace Marshll Young (1923-1998). The brood of sons they bore together included Robert Howard Young Sr., Brien Young and Kenneth Young. The Youngs apparently lived in or near Hodgenville, Larue County, KY. Illa was a member of the Barren Run Baptist Church. A cousin once wrote that their home was "within spitting distance of Abe Lincoln's birthplace." Sadly, Horace died in 1998. Faye lived for another six years. Toward the end, she became a resident of the Kensington Manor Nursing Home in Elizabethtown, KY. There, she died on Aug. 13, 2004. Rev. Bruce Underhill presided over the funeral service. Burial was with her husband in Vermont in Park Lawn Cemetery in Bennington, VT. An obituary was printed in the Bennington Banner.
Son Harold Walter Jewell (1920-2005) was born on July 13, 1920 in Jackson County, MI. Circa 1940, he was enrolled in college. During World War II, he joined the U.S. Navy. He served as a pharmacist mate aboard the heavy cruiser Louisville. He wedded Helen Marian Henwood (Sept. 29, 1920-2006), a native of Grass Valley, CA. They stayed together for an extraordinary 60 years. Their only child was Pamela Renee Jewell. During the postwar years, he settled in West Sacramento, CA and received a master of arts degree from Sacramento State College in May 1955. He went on to teach for four years at West Acres Elementary School in West Sacramento, CA and at Joaquin Milloer Junior High School for 26 years. He is known to have received a $250 fellowship in 1958 to attend a west coast summer science conference, held at Oregon State College. He was an active bowler and raised Scottish Terriers. Helen spent three decades of employment with the California Department of Mental Health. In her free time she liked to shop and knit. Their address in 1993 was on Park
~ Daughter Rhoda (France) Steiner ~
Daughter Rhoda Ellen France (1900-1944) was born on Sept. 5, 1900 in Stanton, MI.
At the age of 22, Rhoda married 38-year-old Dr. Benjamin Harrison Steiner (1884-1952), son of Andrew Thomas and Lantha (Crow) Steiner. Their nuptials were held on Dec. 23, 1922.
Benjamin was a veteran of World War I. He was a veterinarian and later a federal government meat inspector with the Val Decker Packing Company.
Their two sons were James Presley Steiner and Earl Thomas Steiner.
The Steiners moved to Piqua, OH circa 1936 and moved to a residence on Washington Avenue in Piqua in late 1941 or early 1942. Rhoda was a member of the United Brethren Church and its Women's Missionary Society.
Sadly, she passed away at age 44, on Dec. 23, 1944, "on their 22nd anniversary of their marriage," said the Piqua (OH) Daily Call. She was buried in Monroe Cemetery in Continental.
Benjamin married again in 1945 to Minnie Ellen High ( ? - ? ) of Piqua. She brought three children from a previous marriage -- Virginia Denman, Orville High and Ernest High.
He spent his final years in their home at 1046 Bellefontaine Avenue in Piqua. He died at home, at the age of 68, on or about May 15, 1952. Following a funeral in the Piqua Evangelical United Brethren Church, he was laid to eternal rest in the Forest Grove Cemetery in Continental. In his obituary, the Lima News noted that he was a cousin of "Dr. David L. Steiner."
Son James Presley Steiner (1925-1999) was born on July 16, 1925 in Greensburg Township, Putnam County, OH. He never married. James was a World War II veteran of the U.S. Navy, having served as a net layer in the Pacific. He studied forestry at Purdue University. He became a forest ranger in 1953 when he became employed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. He worked at the Snoqualmie Reservation in Washington State, the Mescalero Apache Reservation in New Mexico, and the Fort Apache Reservation and the San Carlos Reservations in Arizona. Sadly, he was subjected to a government "reduction in force." He retired to Phoenix, AZ in July 1989 and earned a living in maintenace with the Gila County Hospital. He spent more than a decade helping organize Phoenix's Medieval Renaissance Festival. His residence in 1993 was in Globe, AZ. Death swept him away in 1999. His remains were transported to Ohio for interment in West Monroe Township Cemetery in Continental, OH.
Son Earl Thomas Steiner (1927-2010) was born on Nov. 8, 1927 in Hillsdale County, MI. He graduated in 1945 from Piqua Central High School. He went on to join the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He was an alumnus of Ohio State University and the Air Force Institute of Technology. At the age of 26, on June 12, 1954, he married Phyllis J. Fackler ( ? -2006). Together, they put down roots in Piqua, OH and became the parents of Thomas Steiner, Ellen Steiner and Susan Collins. Earl was employied by Cargill in Findlay, OH followed by work at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, OH, retiring in 1992. The family belonged to the Evangelical United Methodist Church and Piqua Baptist Church. Earl conducted extensive research into the France-Van Horn branch of our family. He also was the official photographer for the Miami County (OH) Historical and Genealogical Society, affiliated with the Ohio Genealogical Society. He also held memberships in the Gideons of Piqua and the Warren lodge of the Masons. Earl was an early contributor to this website and shared much of his knowledge for its benefit. Sadly, Phyllis died on Oct. 16, 2006. He outlived his bride by almost four years and passed away on June 22, 2010, in Piqua, OH. Rev. Donald R. Wells preached the funeral sermon, followed by burial in Forest Hill Cemetery. His obituary appeared in the Dayton Daily News. Click to read Earl's family history memoirs -- Beginning (1996), Grampa France, Michigan Center (1997) and A Life's Resume.
Great-grandson Kevin Walter Collins (1990- ? ) was born in 1990 in Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus, OH.
Great-granddaughter Emily Rose Colllins (1993- ? ) was born in 1993 in St. Ann's Hospital in Columbus, OH.
~ Daughter Flossie "Faye" (France) Donaldson ~
Daughter Flossie "Faye" France (1902-1937) was born in about 1902 in Perrysburg, Wood County, OH.
She married Raymond Leroy Donaldson Sr. (1902-1945), born in Continental, Putnam County, OH.
They bore two children -- Raymond Leroy Donaldson Jr. and Naomi May Keesler.
The Donaldsons resided in Jackson, Jackson County, MI and later moved to Lima, Allen County, OH in about 1936. Their home in Lima was at 477 Ewing Avenue, but their stay there was cut short.
Tragedy rocked this family when Flossie died at the age of 34 on New Year's Day 1937, "in her home after a short illness," reported the Lima News. Interment was in Monroe Cemetery in Continental, Putnam County. Rev. David F. Helms led the funeral service.
Raymond married again to Goldie L. ( ? - ? ) and remained in Lima. He was employed by Westinghouse Electric Corporation as a tool and die maker. The couple's address was 410 McPherson Avenue.
Son Raymond Leroy Donaldson Jr. (1922-1992) was born on Christmas Day 1922 in Van Wert, Van Wert County, OH. In 1940, he made a home with his parents in Lima, Allen County, OH. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II and was deployed to the South Pacific. In 1945, he was posted to Washington, DC. For meritorious military service, he received a presidential citation. He entered into marriage with Elaine Elizabeth Wening (1923- ? ). They together produced three offspring -- Randall P. Donaldson, Michael R. Donaldson and Shelley Elizabeth Lafler. After the war, he owned an industrial supply company, serving as its president. Circa 1984, Raymond and Elaine relocated to California, settling in Granite Bay. They belonged to Roseville's First Presbyterian Church. He died in Roseville Hospital at the age of 69 on Aug. 22, 1992. An obituary was published in the Roseville (CA) Press-Tribune and Sacramento Bee. Burial was in the memorial park of Mount Vernon Church of the Valley.
Daughter Naomi Mae Donaldson (1925-1996) was born on Feb. 16, 1925 in Leoni Township, Jackson County, MI. She earned a living in young womanhood as a Kodak photograph finisher. On Nov. 26, 1949, when she was 24 years of age, she was joined in wedlock with 36-year-old farmer Ralph Girard Keesler (1912-2000), a resident of Putnam County, OH and the son of Sylvester and Lena (Kneubluer) Keesler. They produced an only son, Kevin Ralph Keesler. They were living in Leslie, MI in the 1990s at 3361 North Meredian Road. She surrendered to death on Nov. 15, 1996. A short death notice appeared in the Lansing State Journal, which stated that no funeral services would be held. Ralph lived for another eight years and died in Leslie on Sept. 9, 2000.
~ Son John Robinson France ~
Son John Robinson France (1905-1976) was born on Oct. 26, 1905 in Oakwood, Paulding County, OH.
He spent his young manhood in Michigan Center, Jackson County, MI, where he earned a living as an auto body finisher.
At the age of about 20, on June 1, 1926, he was united in holy wedlock with 22-year-old nursemaid Fannie Rosella Burdick ( ? - ? ), daughter of Frank and Mary Burdick, and a resident of Jackson, MI. Rev. L.W. Stone officiated.
The couple appears not to have reproduced.
They resided in Michigan Center in 1935-1940. His occupation in 1940 was as a delivery truck driver for a wholesale gas company.
Then on April 18, 1942, at the age of 37, he wedded 26-year-old Iva (Riley) Carson (1913-1984). She was a native of Sandstone Township and the daughter of Richard and Nellie (Whitney) Riley. Their nuptials were held in Grass Lake, Jackson County, officiated by Rev. Robert E. McLean, pastor of the Methodist Church. Stephen and Lois Riley, of Michigan Center, were witnesses. In an interesting twist, John's sister Lois wedded Iva's brother Stephen.
Evidence hints that they adoted a son at some point.
John passed into the realm of eternity in Leoni, Jackson County on May 21, 1976.
Iva outlived her spouse by eight years. She succumbed to death in 1984.
~ Daughter Essa "Essie" (France) Knoblauch ~
Daughter Essa M. "Essie" France (1908-1989) was born on Feb. 17, 1908 in Ohio.
She grew up in or near Monroe, Putnam County, OH and then in Napolean, Jackson County, MI. She was employed as a clerk in her late teens.
At the age of 18, on April 22, 1926, Essa married 23-year-old truck driver Carl G. Knoblauch (1904-1973), a native of Michigan and the son of Ferdinald Knoblauch. The wedding took place in Jackson, Jackson County, by the hand of Rev. L.W. Stone.
Two known sons born to this union were Keith Karl Knoblauch and Paul Knoblauch.
They lived in Jackson circa 1937 and Michigan Center, MI in 1940. Carl made a living as a shipping clerk in a local factory.
By the early 1970s, they moved to Leslie, Ingham County, MI.
Carl died on Nov. 11, 1973.
Essa survived as a widow for more than 15 years. She succumbed to the spectre of death at the age of 80 on Jan. 16, 1989. A short notice was printed in the Lansing State Journal.
Son Keith Karl Knoblauch (1939- ? ) was born in about 1939 in Michigan. On Jan. 23, 1960, Keith wedded Gene Ellen Hamilton (1937-2016), daughter of Phil Braith Hamilton of Woodmont Road near Detroit. News of their pending ceremony was printed in the Detroit Free Press, planned to take place in St. Paul's Memorial Church. The pair put down roots in Leslie, MI. Together, they bore three sons -- Carl Braith Knoblauch, Brian Keith Knaublauch and Kenneth Gene Knoblauch. Gene was active over the decades with the Mason Chapter of the Order of Eastern Star. One of the high points was being named as Grand Soloist for Michigan. Sadly, she died at the age of 79 on Nov. 26, 2016. Her obituary was published in the Lansing State Journal.
Son Paul Knoblauch (1943- ? ) was born in 1943.
~ Daughter Lois Lodena (France) Steele Riley ~
Daughter Lois Lodena France (1911-2000) was born on Jan. 24, 1911 in Putnam County, OH.
At the age of 19 in 1930, single, she resided at home in Leoni, Jackson County, MI and worked as a ringer in a spring factory.
Lois was twice-married. Her first spouse was 24-year-old David Steele (July 25, 1908- ? ), also of Jackson County and the son of Fritz and Ida (McLease) Steele. The nuptials were held in Indiana on Sept. 22, 1932.
How the first marriage ended is not known.
When she was 24, on June 22, 1935, she married 24-year-old farmer Stephen A. Riley ( ? -1959), a native Michiganer and the son of Richard and Nellie (Whitney) Riley. Their wedding ceremony was held in Grass Lake, Jackson County. Rev. H.J. Salmon presided, with Lois' sister and brother-in-law Mildred and Ernest Koyle serving as witnesses.
The pair's only known sons were Walter Riley and Douglas Riley.
Circa 1937, their home was in Detroit. By 1940, the federal census enumeration shows the young family in Piqua, Miami County, OH. As of 1940, Stephen earned income as a helper in a gasoline filling station and Lois as a casings inspector in a meat packing plant.
The Rileys migrated back to Michigan. In 1944, at the death of Lois' sister Rhoda Steiner, she and Stephen were near Clark Lake, MI, about 11 miles south of Jackson, Jackson County.
Sadly, Stephen passed away in 1959.
Lois remained in Jackson and in 1993 was living on Steward Avenue.
At the age of 89, Lois died in Lansing on Nov. 13, 2000. She sleeps for all time in Roseland Memorial Gardens in Jackson. A flat bronze plaque marks their burial site.
Son Walter Riley (1936- ? ) was born in 1936 in or near Detroit.
Son Douglas Riley (1945- ? ) was born in 1945. He entered into wedlock with Helen (1945- ? ). Their three children were Joy Cal Riley, Stephen Arthur Riley and Dee Jay Riley.
~ Son Robert Henry France ~
Son Robert Henry France (1913-1987) was born on May 20, 1913 in Hartsburg, Putnam County, OH.
He lived in Michigan Center, Jackson County, MI in 1936 and was employed by Reynolds Spring Company. From 1937 to at least 1951, he was in Jackson, Jackson County.
Evidence hints that he was married twice. His first bride, whom he wed when he was age 22, was 24-year-old Marion Baker (1911- ? ), daughter of Charles and Louise Baker. Their nuptials were held in Detroit on June 6, 1936, by the hand of Rev. W.F. Bostich. At the time, Marion worked for Trenton Garment Company.
Their home in 1940 was in Michigan Center, Jackson County. Robert's occupation in 1940 was as a molder for a spring company.
At the age of 38, on Nov. 21, 1951, he wedded again to 41-year-old Lucile M. Curry ( ? - ? ), of Jackson, and the daughter of Daniel J. and Margaret Jane (Caston) Curry. The wedding was held in Jackson.
He may have married a third time to Nancy Monroe ( ? - ? ). She brought children to the union who are said to have "adopted" Robert as their father.
His final home was in Leoni, Jackson County.
Robert surrendered to the angel of death on April 20, 1987. Interment of the remains was in Woodland Cemetery in Jackson.
~ Daughter Mildred Ila (France) Koyle ~
Daughter Mildred Ila France (1915-1987) was born on June 13, 1915 in Ohio.
She grew into adulthood in Michigan Center, Jackson County, MI and in 1934 was employed with Reynolds Spring Company.
On July 21, 1934, when she was 19 years of age, she married 25-year-old machinist Ernest Maynard Koyle (May 20, 1909-1985), a native of Turner, MI. He was the son of J.W. and Pearl May (Clough) Koyle. Their nuptials were held at Grass Lake, MI, by the hand of Rev. Henry J.B. Marsh of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Ernest stood 5 feet, 10½ inches tall, weighed 168 lbs. and had brown hair and brown eyes.
Two known offspring born to this couple were Howard Maynard Koyle and Janet Mae Koyle.
In 1937-1944, they resided in Jackson, MI, at 139 West Robinson Street. Ernest was employed in 1940 as an attendant at a gasoline filling station. Then circa 1942, he earned income as a lathe operator.
The couple eventually migrated to Southern California and put down roots in Los Angeles. With a long interest in raising birds, Ernest was a parakeet breeding instructor for two years at the California State Vocational Rehabilitation Center for the Handicapped. At the same time, their son Howard studied to become a veterinarian but learned that he was allergic to fur, but not feathers.
Ernest and their son jointly opened Koyle's Aviaries and Bird Hospital in November 1955. Their first facility was a single room measuring only 12 feet by 17 feet. They later moved to a larger facility at 4851 Clara Street in Bell, CA. They were pictured in a feature story in the Long Beach (CA) Independent on Aug. 3, 1958, headlined "This Hospital's for the Birds." The article said that father and son "have successfully treated parakeets, parrots, canaries, pheasants, finches, quails, owls, ducks, peacocks -- and barnyard chickens. They perform a variety of operations, including those for the removal of tumors and other growths. Howard does the surgery [while his] father administers the anesthetic, and oxygen when necessary."
Ernest died on March 3, 1985. His remains were shipped to Michigan to be interred in Roseland Memorial Gardens in Jackson, MI.
Mildred outlived her spouse by two years. Death carried her into eternity in Los Angeles on Aug. 26, 1987. Her body likewise was transported back to Michigan for burial.
Son Howard Maynard Koyle (1936-2008) was born on June 8, 1936 in Jackson, MI. At the age of 23, on Nov. 25, 1959, in Los Angreles, he wedded 21-year-old Lois Patricia "Pat" Lyons (1938- ? ). Together, the couple produced a brood of four children -- Danita Muller, Kathleen Pilco, Sheila Rene Evensen Falejo and Kenneth Koyle. In 1955, he and his father owned and operated a hospital for birds in Bell, CA. Then for two decades, he was employed as a correctional supervisor with the Utah State Prison system. He passed away in Pleasant Grove, Utah County, UT on Nov. 15, 2008. Burial was in Orem City Cemetery.
Daughter Janet Mae Koyle (1939-2013) was born the day after Christmas in 1939. She entered into marriage with (?) Ghan ( ? - ? ). Her two known daughters were Tina Smith and Barbara Mills. She is believed to have made her last residence in Vancouver, WA. Janet succumbed to death on Jan. 2, 2013. Her obituary was published in The Columbian.