On Saturday, June 5, 2021, Susan Militello and her husband stopped at the museum. Susan was seeking information on her grandfather, Frank Wood Ring. The name seemed familiar to me but I could not place it. She said family history indicated that Frank had owned a hardware store and at some point in time been the Village mayor. I told her I would see what I could find and give her a call.
I began by looking on the Find A Grave website (www.findagrave.com). Find A Grave is a website that indicates the names of the people buried in a cemetery. Included on the individual person’s page are that person’s birth and death dates and where they were born and died. Also included can be that person’s parents, siblings, spouse, and children.
I found that Frank was buried in Ferguson Cemetery. Having his birth and death dates and locations, I went to Ancestry.com and found a family tree for the Ring family, which included a number of additional sources. Following theses sources and several more that I found on my own, I discovered the following:
Frank Wood Ring was born January 25, 1890 in Hamlin, Monroe County, New York to William Follansbee Ring (1859-1905) and Evelyn M. Wood (1862-1938). While growing up his father worked as a cooper (barrel maker) and carpenter. His only known sibling is a brother, Walter Harry Ring.
It is not known if Frank graduated from high school but by 1910, he was living in Hamlin, Monroe County, New York and working as a telephone operator for the railroad.
On June 25, 1913 in Hamlin, Frank married Leona Mae Holbrook. Leona was born December 2, 1892 in Parma, Monroe, New York to Marshall D. Holbrook (1871-1948) and Helen “Nellie” M. Bradt Holbrook (1871-1912).
Sometime after their marriage but before June 1917, Frank and Leona moved to Almont. He was working as a grain and bean dealer. He signed up for the draft on June 5, 1917 in Almont. Charles B. Scully, Almont’s future state senator, signed the draft card. By 1920, they were living on East St. Clair Street in a home that they owned (it had no mortgage). Frank was working at the elevator as an independent grain and produce dealer.
Sometime in the 1920s, Frank partnered with Uriah Shoemaker to purchase the Almont Hardware Store from Charles D. Ferguson (1888-1966). The store was on the southeast corner at the four corners. On Super Bowl Sunday in 1992, the hardware store building and the two located to the south of it were destroyed by fire. The space is now part of Fountain Park.
Frank and Leona had only one child. Daughter Helen Evelyn Ring was born September 23, 1923 in Almont. Helen graduated with the Almont Class of 1941, along with Uriah Shoemaker’s son, Robert Morin Shoemaker, “The General.”
Frank was elected president/mayor of the Village of Almont for at least the years 1930 and 1931. As the Depression worsened in the early 1930s, Frank and Uriah agreed that the store could not support two families. Uriah went back to running his family 80-acre dairy farm at the corner of Shoemaker and General Squier Roads. Frank continued to operate the store. In 1935, Frank Ring and Harry Bowman helped organize the “1935 Almont Community Homecoming.”
He was a life member of the Almont Lodge No. 51 F & A.M. and a member of the Almont Chapter No. 76 Royal Arch Masons. He was a member of the First Congregational Church in Almont.
In 1944, Uriah Shoemaker sold the farm and moved his family to the west side of the state. It is assumed that he also sold his interest in the hardware store at the same time. At an unknown date, Frank Ring sold his interest in the hardware store. This could have been at the same time as Uriah Shoemaker moved in 1944.
After selling the hardware store, Frank went to work for the N.Y. Central and Michigan Central Railway as the station agent in Dryden. Sometime in the late 1950s, Frank retired from the railroad.
In the early 1960s, Frank and Leona were living in a house at the northwest corner of Stone Street and Van Dyke—the house no longer exists.
Frank Wood Ring died on May 23, 1965 at the Almont Community Hospital in Bruce Township, Macomb County. Leona Mae Holbrook Ring also died at the Almont Community Hospital but on January 1, 1968.
Frank’s grandfather, Harry Harvey Ring (1829-1911), served in the Civil War in Company M of the 3rd New York cavalry. His great-great-grandfather, William Ring (1749-1826), was a Revolutionary War patriot.
Frank’s sixth great-grandfather, Robert Ring (1615-1691), as part of the “Great Migration,” arrived on April 24, 1638 aboard the vessel “Confidence” and settled in what would become Salisbury, Massachusetts. He was listed on the passenger list as a “servant,” which may have been done to provide his friend, John Sanders, with a way to increase his land holdings. Robert shortly after arrival was given his freedom. He started out poor but was considered to be wealthy at the time of his death. He was a cooper or barrel maker.
He returned to England in 1643 and remained nine years. While in England he got married and had two daughters. He returned to America in 1652. The delay in returning was probably the result of the English “Civil War,” which was occurring in the mid-to-late 1640s. Immigration to America from England nearly ceased during this time.
After returning, Robert’s family continued to grow. Frank’s fifth great-grandfather, Jarvis Ring, was born in February 1657 in Salisbury, Massachusetts. Jarvis would die there on December 1, 1727.
In 1692, Jarvis was a witness at the “Salem Witch Trial” for Susannah Martin, which resulted in the death of this innocent woman.
Copies of the Almont Historical Society’s Homecoming book, “Remembrances of Almont 2020”can be purchased by contacting Jim Wade at 810-796-3355 or firstname.lastname@example.org or stopping by the museum on Saturdays from 1-4 p.m.