Carroll LeValley and his two brothers were separated at the Coldwater Michigan Orphanage and sent to separate families. He spent much of his life trying to locate his relatives. He found one brother. Descendants of the Peter LeValley family (originally from Rhode Island) and the Prosper LeValley family (originally from New Jersey) remember being contacted by him. This letter to Beatrice LeValley Hajet (a descendant of Peter) survives:
[Postmarked August 7, 1974]
In response to your request, Through contact with my Daughter In Law, Mrs. Fred LeValley in Detroit, Am rather reluctant as I find only a Miracle of a long waited period of Time would solve the intrinsic Truths, an facts I've pursued an sought for, due too the limited Authenticy an knowledge of Our Family Tree. How ever I can only convey my personal attempts as follows. I possess a Birth-certificate from a Town in Ontongon Co. registered Choate, Mich. 1896 12 day, 6 mos. My Parents: Fathers name Pony, and Mothers name Anna, which after period of yrs of search an inquiring I rec'd a letter from the Dr who states only Briefly he Delivered 3 Sons to the above LeValley Family mentioned. But as They later moved too the lower pennsulas he lost trace of the Family. But any way from the Orphanage at Coldwater Mich I was placed in a Foster home in Gratiot Co. where I was rasied Through an by a redemption procedures of two respective Homes relatively close together. In a Photostate of my past experience from 1900 too 1919, fortunately I found a Bro in 1916 by Coincidence which we both excepted [accepted?] a very Loyal devotion due to our resemeblance, an nature, which blended in Both our past Life and corralated with the concrete information of our past But Thus far have no definite authority of the Intrinsic Familys original existance. My Daughter in Law Mentioned if memorie serves me you had some contact with a Family or about too from Cairo Mich. Well I wrote a Family at Cairo also some time ago But with a Blunt response from Them. Tho I had a photo an editorial announcement of his expiration [probably the widely publicized death of Orlando LeValley in 1948] He had a close resemblance of Both of us Boys. Well hoping this will be favorable an fruitful in your request an search of Fact's Truths you so hope an desires May be so granted as Ive also long to learn the Truth myself. Im hopeful its Gods will to answer Prayer in near future for All most conserned.
417 1/2 4th st. N.W.
I appreciate any favorable response or contacts you so choose to Grant me.
Two letters written to Paul LeValley (descended from Peter) by Carroll's daughter, Elsie Van Dam, shed more light on the family's history:
Jan. 14, 1991
Dear Mr. LeValley:
I have at hand two letters you wrote my brother Fred LeValley, who lives at Union City, Mi. I am the oldest of the family. My name is Elsie E. (LeValley) Van Dam. I live in Colon, Mi. fourteen miles west of Union City.
Fred ask me about the letters, and I like him are far from finding anything about the LeValley Family.
Our Father did find a brother by accident, and when they met would have pasted for twin's. This was back in 1918. Both of them had been adopted from the Michigan State Public School in Coldwater. At this time they were living 50 or 60 mile's apart.
Dad passed away in Apr. 1978 and my uncle Fred [Woods] in Sept of the same year. We were very close to my uncle & aunt. They had no children.
Dad was always looking and writing, but could never find out any thing about his family....
I feel like, in the back of our minds we have all wondered where we fit in this puzzle.
We want to thank you for writing, and if in the future we can be of any help, will be happy to talk to you.
Elsie (LeValley) Van Dam
Colon, Mi. 49040
Feb. 25, 1991
Dear Mr. LeValley:
Sorry for the delay of this letter.
I do want to thank you for answering my letter. This Frederick LeValley is the one you talked to some twenty yr's ago, and those names you have are his son's. I ask his wife Ruth to give me the correct Birth dates & addresses, but I don't have them as yet. They are away visiting and won't be back for a month or six weeks. I will remind her when they get home. They have four daughter's also.
You mentioned in your letter my Dad's Father's name being Pony and his Mother Anna LeValley. Dad didn't know where he was born, only as adopted parents told him, when they got him from the Coldwater orphanage. Dad must have written the orphanage in 1909 for his correct Birth date. this was over the Thanksgiving vacation. He got a letter from the State School Sup't John S. Montgomery. He sent a short letter wishing him well in his home & also in school. The birth date was June 17, 1896, no birth place or parents. Back in 1942 Dad had to have a Certified Copy of Birth Record for a Social Security No. Now on this Birth Record the day of birth June 12, 1896, the birth place was Choate Mich. The Father's name Pony--Mother's name, Ida Orn LeValley. I wonder if Orn is a maiden name?
I have another letter written to Dad 1917 from a county ag't. who had a M.D. after his name on the envelope. He said he wasn't sure but thought his father died before they were sent to the Coldwater orphanage, and the mother had died several year's later in lower Mich. But he gave no parents names. He also said there were three boy's, but at that time didn't know where the other two were. I think it was 1918 when Dad found Uncle Fred (LeValley) Woods. He had been over sea's in world War I in France until 1918. The man told Dad one of the boys was born June 13, 1896.
Since Dad passed away Apr. 1978 his second wife gave me these letters and papers (all the poor man had to his name that ment nothing to him) She just passed away in 1989 at the age of 94, her name was Bernice LeValley. She did live for a while in Greenville, Mi. with her grandson.
Our Mother was Izettia P. (Fry) LeValley, born Aug. 2 1894 - died Oct. 1966. Mother & Dad were married Apr. 5, 1919.
Yes some of the names you sent are of our family. My Brother Amos his children of the Grand Rapids area.
Me being the oldest, Elsie LeValley born Aug. 1, 1920 I married Henry L. Van Dam in Sept. 9, 1947. We have two daughters and twin son's. Henry died in July 1976.
Sister - Ruby Arlene LeValley born Feb. 9th 1923 died July, 1946, not married.
Brother Amos Orbra LeValley Born Feb. 18, 1924. Married Ruth G. Hoyt 1942. (Ruth died 1966.) [Much additional information on living descendants is not posted.]
[There is no mention here of her next younger brother Frederick 1926-95, who married Ruth Grant.]
My sister is in Victorville Ca. Harriet Almina (LeValley) Kunkel Kossler. there were eight children [of Harriet's]. Her first two were twins - my twins were my last. her 4th child died in Vietnam War 1967 - Her husband died & she remarried a Frank Kossler. All of her family live in and around the Los Angeles area. Harriet was born May 11, 1928, in Lansing Mi. But we four were born in Gratiot Co. Ithaca, Mi. My Mother was born in Ithaca too -
Im sending you the address of this Lady from Detroit, who wrote to me back in 1983 about the LeValley name. Laurie Sharoian [address deleted].
Hope this information will be of help to you, trust you'll be able to sort it out.
Elsie Van Dam
Carroll's great grandson, Jamie LeValley, sent this e-mail to Paul LeValley:
May 15, 2004
i dont know if i am mailing this to the right place
but i am the grandson of carroll levalley
for months i have been trying to figure out who "pony levalley" was after many many hours on
the net by both my wife and i we found out pony was joseph lavalle!! son of prosper born 1859
in qubec canada.josephs wife was ida orn from kent county mi i have more info please write
back ty jamie
Paul LeValley then contacted the separate LaValley group at RootsWeb--most of whom trace their ancestry to Quebec:
August 21, 2004
One of the lingering mysteries in LeValley research has been the large family descended from
Carroll LeValley (b. 1896 Choate Michigan) who was separated from one or
two brothers at the Coldwater Michigan Orphanage around 1900. One
brother Fred (b. 1894) went by his adopted name of Woods, but had no children.
Carroll located the family doctor, who identified his parents as Pony LeValley
and Ida Orn. Every researcher since has been suspicious of that name,
A few months ago, I received a brief message from Carroll's great grandson, saying he had discovered that Ida Orn married Joseph LaValle (b. 1859 Quebec), the son of Prosper. My requests for documentation have gone unanswered. Does anyone on this list recognize those names?
Let me also note that there is equal mystery about a different Dr. Prosper "Pete" LeValley of St. Simon, Quebec, who traveled to Africa before settling at Vincentown, New Jersey by 1853. He also has many descendants.
That group's co-ordinator, Jann LaValley, responded:
August 21, 2004
That is very interesting new information.
The only information I can offer is for a Prosper Lavallé(e) son of Michel Amable [Lavallee] and Judith Falardeau. He was born Feb 19, 1823 and baptized the next day in Sainte-Geneviève-de-Berthier, Québec. Do you think that he might be a good prospect?
He was one of 14 children and I have further information for most of them but nothing for Prosper. I have often found in the past that it turns out that the individual left the area of the family home and usually went south or west.
There is another Prosper François Lavalle who was born around 1823 but I have no son Joseph for him and he stayed in the Sainte Victoire area so I don't think he could be a prospect.
The first-named Prosper had a brother named Joseph. Both can be
found in Jann's database:
This Prosper's ancestry is known for several generations back. But no solid connection to the orphanage family has been made yet.
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