Calvert Malcolm Coleman
Sarah Elizabeth Westfall


Calvert Coleman and Sarah Westfall were married on December 24, 1863.  During most of their married life, they lived in the vicinity of Belleville, Michigan.

Calvert and Sarah had eight children.  The first, William Henry, was born on September 24, 1864, exactly nine months from the day they were married.  The last, Arthur Roy, known as Roy, was born on October 22, 1884.

They were a farming family for the first two decades of their marriage.  In 1877, their property was sold at an auction due to a mortgage default.  In 1880, their son William left home at the age of 16, leaving Calvert short one farm hand.  By the end of that decade, the family had moved to Detroit where Calvert worked the railroads and docks as a laborer.

Sarah and Calvert separated sometime after 1890.  In 1892, the Detroit City Directory listed her as a widow (which she was not) and living in Detroit with four of her adult children.  Arthur Roy, then only eight years old, was no doubt living with her and his siblings too.

The 1910 census lists Calvert as being divorced.  Since Calvert had a longstanding problem with alcohol dependency, this may have contributed to their separation and divorce, as well as to his apparent estrangement from his children.

Sarah married James Renton in April 1910.  Apparently, Sarah and James were sweethearts in their youth but Sarah met Calvert and so she and James did not marry.  They reconnected after she and Calvert separated.

James died in 1918.  Calvert's daughter, Addie, recalled that when her dad heard of the death of James, he exclaimed: "That's one funeral I don't mind going to." 

Sarah died in 1922.  Addie's husband, Bill Skerrett, recalled that Sarah once said that all she ever got out of her marriage to Calvert was eight children.

Sarah is buried in an unmarked grave at Woodlawn Cemetery in Detroit.  Calvert is buried in an unmarked grave at Hillside Cemetery in Belleville.


Links to Documents


Marriage Record


Mortgage Default Notice


Historical Account by Clarice Coleman