Mildred Ash and a gravestone mystery

Mildred Ash, 1931, Plymouth, Michigan

Mildred Ash, 1931, Plymouth, Michigan

UPDATE: Family has updated us that Mildred passed away on November 2, 2013. She was 99 years old!

This is Mildred M. Ash, she’s about 17 in this photo of the Plymouth, Michigan High School class of 1931. Born on February 23, 1914, her parents were William Ash and Hulda Esch. William and Hulda had 4 children, Lucile (1912), Mildred (1914), Ethel (1920), and Edward (1923). It would appear that Lucile and Mildred never married or had children – or if they did the documentary evidence eludes me. Ethel and Edward did, however, have families. I’m hoping that there will be some nieces and nephews out there excited to receive this photo.

A little more background, William and Hulda lived in Wayne county, Michigan all their married lives. William was a farmer who lived until 1964 and Hulda didn’t die until 1983 – she was almost 100. The whole family (with the exception of Lucile whose burial location I haven’t identified) appear to be buried in Riverside Cemetery in Wayne County. The odd thing about Mildred’s grave is that it only has her birthday on it, February 23, 1914. There’s room for a death date but it’s blank. Could she still be alive? Her mother did live to be almost 100! Maybe she was the last of the siblings to pass away with no one to fulfill her burial wish of being buried with the family. I do wonder about these graves that seem to leave us hanging.

13 thoughts on “Mildred Ash and a gravestone mystery

  1. Maybe Mildred’s parents left a will, that will give a small indication if she was alive at the time of their death. Also, reports of the parent’s death, such as an obituary. Did you check the cemetery records? Also do a Social Security Death Index check for Mildred. She was so pretty in 1931, I have to hope she did marry and have a family. Good luck, and I hope you find lots more information.

  2. Doing a search using, I was redirected to There she is listed as Mildred M Ash, age 99, Livonia, MI. Maybe they round up the age when the next birthday is close. I agree that she was pretty. I hope that she is making the guys appreciate having her around in some retirement home.

  3. Actually, Mildred is still living in a Seniors Home in Northville, Michigan. She is my father’s cousin. Hulda was my grandfather’s sister. I met them when they still resided in the old farm house on Haggerty in Livonia. My high school history teacher wanted to interview her for his book about Livonia, Michigan, and in particular about Elm School on Middlebelt Road between Plymouth an Schoolcraft Roads. He had found Hulda’s and my grandfather’s names on the school’s rosters for the 1890’s. Hulda gave my teacher, Mr Paris, a discription of the school and how they’d ride by a horse-drawn cart from their house at Clarenceville (8 Mile and Middlebelt area) to school and home again. Some of her description is in Mr. Paris’s book. A few years after the interview, the golf course opposite Hulda’s house on Haggerty had the farmhouse condemned so they could expand on the golf course. We tried to fight it. The house was in excellent condition, put together with pegs rather than nails, all wood inside was meticulously polished by Hulda and Mildred. The house had been used as part of the underground railroad. But they demolished the house anyway. Hulda and Mildred moved to Plymouth, where they remained until Hulda passed away. Eventually, Mildred ended up in Northville. Thank you so much for sharing this picture of Mildred.

    • Dolly – that is wonderful to know! Thank you so much for sharing that history. The story of the house is quite sad. It sounded absolutely beautiful and have such a history too. So sorry to hear that. If you have a chance to speak with Mildred again, tell her that her 17 year old self is making a comeback!


  4. What a great story!! Thanks, Dolly. And thanks Jodi for starting this. Such a shame that house was torn down – some folks just don’t have a true appreciation for beauty and history like that. I was still looking for more information on Mildred on line in my spare time and had found her address in Northville. I checked out the web-site for the facility and saw where, earlier this month, they had a party for all the residents there that are turning 100 this year. There were 13 of them!! I think I may have to look into moving there when the time comes! I hope she is enjoying good health and companionship there.

  5. It’s really great to read this blog and the replies. Amazing detective work that took notice from a relative to give a positive answer. I agree it’s sad the golf course couldn’t have kept the house as an attraction. They could have had the course go around the house.

  6. Hello! I knew a lady named Mildred Ash back in about 1962. She was a social worker, I believe worked for the State of Michigan. Would a relative know if she may be the same Mildred Ash spoken about here? Would greatly appreciate a reply. Janis.

  7. Mildred did not work for the State. She was alive and well at the time of this original post. Mildred passed away in November, 2013 at the age of 99. She was a cousin. Her father and my husbands grand father were brothers.

  8. An email from a relative has provided the following details:

    “She was a wonderful individual who lived a long life to the age of 99, passing away November 2, 2013. However, there are a few thingsmentioned in the article that I need to clarify. Mildred’s sister, Lucile, was also married and had a family. She is also buried at Riverside Cemetery not far from her parents William and Hulda and her sister Mildred. Mildred’s headstone is now engraved with her death date. The reason Mildred’s headstone was not engraved until May of 2014 is because in Michigan the weather is too cold in the winter to allow for the engraving. Engraving can damage the headstone if done when the weather is too cold. The winter season following her death was extremely cold and snowy.
    Hence the delay until the Spring.

    The family farm was a 130 acre dairy farm, located in Livonia at Haggerty and Six Mile Road. My parents took our family to visit the farm every weekend to visit the family. The farm also produced Hay, Straw, Corn, Oats and Wheat. There is a golf course across the street from the farm but the property and the house were never part of the golf course (as mentioned by our cousin, Dolly). The property was sold
    to a developer and now contains a residential subdivision and a few businesses
    on the corner. The house was beautiful and very large. We were sorry to see it
    destroyed along with barns and other out buildings on the property. The house and
    barn were over 100 years old at the time they were torn down. The farm
    was rumored to be used as a stop on the underground railroad with slaves being
    hidden under the living room floor, although we have not been able to confirm
    that information. The Ash family did not live there during the civil war but
    occupied the property for 70 years before moving to Plymouth Michigan in 1978. In
    2005 Mildred moved to a Senior Center in Northville Michigan. During her life,
    Mildred also worked for the Burrough’s Corp at the Plymouth plant for 35 years before retiring.”

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