Sepia Saturday: The Grandfather I Never Knew

Although I saw quite a bit of my maternal grandfather, my dad's father died when I was a year old, so aside from the odd photo of their family back in Michigan, I never met him. However, my father wrote copiously (very copiously, if that's not redundant) about his own childhood, and so I got more details and a pretty good picture of what George Nelson Bentley (same name as my dad) was like. Eventually through my genealogical truffling I got some more photos from the East Coast side of the family.

George had been a school teacher and principal in Livonia, Michigan (and a brief stint in Colorado, where he met and maried one of his high school students). He was later a member of the school board and general upstanding citizen, and the above photo is from a Bentley High School tribute.

This is a youngish George (the tall one) with his brother Clyde (a very colorful character also to be immortalized in my father's writing).

George in Cripple Creek.

Upon returning to the Detroit area George and Clyde went into business for awhile.

Eventually Clyde took over and relocated the business, and this was a landmark for decades.


  1. There's definitely a family resemblance Sean. And George has a knowing look in the eyes.

    I could just about read the text in the last image and who wouldn't be happy to with the title of 'Turkey King of Michigan'?

    Nice post. I enjoyed it a great deal.

  2. I love "the Old Mill" What kind of a business was it? It looks like a bar or restaurant. I see that they sold eggs.
    Interesting post.

  3. Wow, that Old Mill is outstanding! What an interesting post.

  4. I love the use of your word "truffling". So apt. George looks like a man witha sense of humour.

  5. Both the Bentley Bros. store and the Mill were general stores... groceries, dairy, produce, hardware, "sundries." Although Clyde was an unashamed capitalist, George was renown in the community during the Depression for letting customers charge up huge tabs if they didn't have money to pay for food.

  6. Wonderful pictures...and I love the Dutch Mill.
    I was very amused by your expression: genealogical truffling. Did you coin that phrase? It's so appropriate.

  7. You are so lucky that he wrote things down. I too had no living grandfathers to know about. They were not too noteworthy and one was a mystery of maybe a bad demeanor. No one left to question his character. Great blog.

  8. Excellent pictures. So there really is a "Cripple Creek". I never knew that.

    I want to know more about the Clyde, the "colourful character".


  9. Another wonderful Sepia Saturday contribution from you. Like Kat I was intrigued to discover that there really was a Cripple Creek. And the photographs - they are so atmospheric.

  10. Thanks for the comments and kudos, all! I replaced a link in the articles so you can read a little piece about Uncle Clyde. Click "colorful character" above.