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 John D. Withrow

John D. Withrow

Grant Township, Huron County, Michigan, USA
Death 8 Oct 1978 (aged 82)
East Lansing, Ingham County, Michigan, USA
Burial Okemos, Ingham County, Michigan, USA
Plot Section 5
Memorial ID 65833388 · View Source
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JOHN D. WITHROW was born July 31, 1896 in the now almost completely vanished section of Grant Township, MI called Rescue. (All that's left as of 2017 is Rescue Road.) On June 23, 1917, JOHN married ELLA ACRE and found work as a purchasing agent at Motor Wheel Corporation in Lansing. ELLA had worked as a teacher in Ypsilanti, MI before she was married and a bookkeeper after that. The couple had two children -- a daughter, MARJORIE, in 1918 and a son, CARL, in 1921.

At the time of Marjorie's birth, the Withrows lived at 511 S. Hosner in Lansing. By 1922 they had moved to 812 Johnson Avenue in Lansing.

CARL died only eight days after his birth in 1921 due to an underdeveloped cranium. His birth and death as John's "defective" male heir sparked John to leave Ella and seek a different mate.

The "official" reason, as put down in court records, was because Ella became "very jealous in nature" and "verbally and physically abused him" (due to his wandering ways). She was officially "adjudged insane" and on August 15, 1922 an order was issued for her commitment within the Michigan State Hospital for the Insane at Kalamazoo, Michigan. Thirteen months later, on September 17, 1923, Ella was declared "of restored soundness of mind."

Ella admitted striking John when "deliberately or unreasonably provoked" but denied being jealous or making her husband's life miserable because of the "attentions of other women." She claimed counter cruelty and extreme abuse by John. According to Ella, John had a violent temper and "forced her down on sharp objects."

Mabelle Person of Lansing was appointed Ella's guardian.

During the divorce proceedings, it was claimed that Ella had been "adjudged insane" on December 6, 1913 and sent to the psychopathic ward at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor. Ella denied ever being adjudged insane, explaining that she'd been sent to Ann Arbor for treatment of spinal meningitis and had been released fully recovered.

Separation was granted on November 29, 1921 and the divorce granted on April 28, 1922. Ella won custody of Marjorie and of John's estate. However, in 1924, John sued for custody of Marjorie and won it. At the time, his salary was $140 per month. On Thanksgiving Day, 1925, John married Athol Beadle. As for Marjorie, he placed her in a foster home -- a farm, actually -- outside of Lansing run by a couple known as the Harts (first names unknown). Marjorie apparently remained there until she entered college. John and Athol produced a son, Jack.

In 1927 Ella entered the Michigan Asylum for the Insane, which was part of Kalamazoo State Hospital on Oakland Drive in Kalamazoo, MI. She stayed there for 12 years, two months and two days -- until her death of "acute cardiac failure and aspiration pneumonia (10 hours)" with a "contributing catatonic stupor (10 hours)" on September 9, 1939. But was that true? Reportedly, the autopsy reveled feathers stuck in Ella's throat. Had she been suffocated with a pillow? No follow-up investigation took place -- so we'll never know if Ella Acre Withrow was murdered at the age of 45.

John and Athol spent their married life in a perpetually neat and tidy home in East Lansing, MI, where he was employed at Motor Wheel, a firm which suppiled parts to General Motors. John's son Jack eventually became an executive at General Motors. After John's death in 1978, Athol moved into an assisted living facility until her passing in 1990.

The middle photo on this page show John with Ella; the lower photo shows him with Athol.

Family Members






  • Created by: Gary Theroux
  • Added: 18 Feb 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 65833388
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for John D. Withrow (31 Jul 1896–8 Oct 1978), Find A Grave Memorial no. 65833388, citing Glendale Cemetery, Okemos, Ingham County, Michigan, USA ; Maintained by Gary Theroux (contributor 46560228) .