1873 - 1966 (93 years)
||Tottie Clarabelle Moyer |
||20 Mar 1873
||, England [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]
||, Ontario, Canada
||scandal, story |
||Lottie Moyer |
||Tottie Clarabelle Springer |
||Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada 
||Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada 
||Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, United States 
||San Diego, San Diego, California, USA
||San Diego, San Diego, California, USA 
|Eby ID Number
||6 Aug 1966
||San Diego, San Diego, California, United States [3, 4]
||Angelus Rosedale Cemetery, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, United States
||6 Oct 2020 |
||Cyrus E. Moyer, b. 11 Jul 1849, Waterloo Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada , d. Yes, date unknown |
||Elizabeth "Lizzie" Springer, b. 5 Jul 1851, Waterloo City, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada , d. Yes, date unknown |
||9 May 1872
||Waterloo City, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada 
||Group Sheet | Family Chart
||Moses S. "Mose" Springer, b. 22 Dec 1859, Waterloo City, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada , d. 1 Apr 1902, San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA (Age 42 years) |
||Sacramento, Sacramento, California, United States 
||7 Oct 2020 |
||Group Sheet | Family Chart
- Tottie tried to claim a portion of the estate of a Samuel Church of Newfoundland as others had tried before.
CARPENTER HEIR TO MILLIONS
Owner of Newfoundland Estate Located in Brooklyn.
NEW YORK Dec. 17.-(Special.)-The heir to an estate romantically rated at $85.000.000 which is alleged to have been causing the British government, the Duke of Marlborough and the Duke of Devonshire all sorts of trouble, has been found, It is said, in the person of Joseph Coila, a Brooklyn carpenter, 65 years of age. New York attorneys stated today that Coilas is beyond doubt the man sought.
The estate is in Newfoundland, and consists of several miles of water front, rentals, interest and a fishing industry. The income has been a source of much wrangling in England and some of it has been going to Lady Elizabeth Churchill.
It is explained that one Samuel Churchill went to St. Johns 75 years ago and laid the foundation of the great fortune. He had two daughters, Elizabeth and Clermont, and one son, Nicholas. Clermont married the captain of a fishing vessel and was disinherited. Nicholas was taken by pirates while on his way to London, and forced to walk the plank. He left a will bequeathing his share of the estate to Clermont. About that time Coilas married a Churchill and the two sisters dying without issue the Coilas became the direct descendants and heirs to the estate. Samuel Churchill was of the Marlborough-Churchill family and the Duke of Devonshire comes into the comes through a blood connection. Coilas family consists of his wife and two daughters, Mrs. Katherine Green of Rochester and Cora B. Coilas.
The Gazette Times 18 Dec 1911
From Churchills in Newfoundland genealogy.com
I am trying to locate information about my great grandmother, Tottie Clarabelle Moyer Springer.She claimed in the Los Angeles Examiner and throughout her life to her children and grandchildren to be the granddaughter of Samuel Churchill of Newfoundland.
Los Angeles Examiner, January 28, 1912:
"It is explained that Samuel Churchill went to St. John's seventy-five years ago and there laid the foundation of the great fortune.He had two daughters, Elizabeth and Clermont, and one son, Nicholas.Clermont Churchill married the captain of a fishing vessel and was disinherited."The piece goes on to quote my great grandmother:"'I believe I am the daughter of Cleremont Churchill."It then goes on about her recollections as a child.[She claims her mother was killed and that she was kidnapped and sent to an orphanage in Galt where she was adopted by Cyrus Erb Moyer and Elizabeth "Lizzie" Springer.]
There is a similar piece in the New York Times, March 23, 1912:"Churchill Heirs to Meet."That article states that Samuel Churchill, d. 1785, had two daughters, Claremont Churchill (m. Thomas Bolin) and Elizabeth Churchill (m. John Haffyard).No mention of Tottie here, though.
Another source I found that I can't find again lists Samuel Churchill's daughter as "Clarimond" who married Maurice Bolan.
Does anyone have any information about children (documented or rumored) of Clermont, Cleremont, Claremont, or Clarimond Churchill and Maruice Bolan or Thomas Bolin?
Churchills in Newfoundland - Genealogy.com. (2016). Genealogy.com. Retrieved 24 September 2016, from https://www.genealogy.com/forum/surnames/topics/churchill/2501/
Moses S. "Mose" Springer
This is really the story of Mose and his wife, Tottie--well, mostly her, because my great-grandfather, Mose, died young.
Orphaned as a young girl, Tottie Clarabelle Moyer, according to her own account, was born in England in 1873. (More on that in the Random Stuff I Learned tab.) She was taken into the home of Cyrus Moyer and Elizabeth "Lizzie" Springer, where she grew up in a well-to-do neighborhood in Berlin (now Kitchener), Ontario.
I haven't been able to locate guardianship records for Tottie and I don't know how old she was when she joined her new family, but she was living with the Moyers when she was 8 years old, according to census records. Tottie had a difficult relationship with Cyrus and Lizzie, especially as she grew older. At one point, probably as a teenager, she ran away and worked for awhile in a department store in Toronto before being brought back home.
Lizzie was Mose Springer's older sister, so Mose and Tottie probably knew of each other from the time she first entered the Moyer household. However, their age difference makes it unlikely that they would have known each other well. According to the 1900 U.S. Census, Mose immigrated to the United States in 1879 (seventeen years before Tottie would emigrate from Canada in 1896), where he worked as a telegraph operator for the Associated Press in California.
Mose and Tottie were married in 1896, in Sacramento, California. He was 36 years old; she was 23. In 1897, their first child was born, a son whom they named Lawrence Moses. During this time, Mose and Tottie moved from Sacramento to Los Angeles. A second son, Charles "Charlie" Christopher, was born in 1898. Their third son was born in 1900: Leonard Wood.
Photographs from this period and information in the 1900 U.S. Census (which states that Mose and Tottie had a live-in servant, Jinnie Bankhead) show a family living with comfortable economic means. However, all of this soon changed. Mose and Tottie were only married for six years before he died in 1902. He had been a heavy binge drinker for many years and died of what was thought to be a heart attack.
Upon the death of her husband, Tottie took her sons back to Canada, where they all lived for a time with the Moyers in Berlin. At some point, Tottie's strained relationship with Cyrus and Lizzie caused her to return to the United States, leaving her children behind in their care. However, the three young boys missed their mother and their native California and soon returned home to Los Angeles, despite the Moyers' attempts to keep them in Canada.
It was undoubtedly a difficult time for Tottie, a young widow and mother of three small children. She became involved with spiritualists who encouraged her to make unsound investments in dubious enterprises and the money that Tottie had been left upon Mose's death quickly disappeared. As a result, perhaps around 1908, she temporarily placed her sons in a Catholic orphanage in Los Angeles, managed by the Sisters of Mercy, called Home of the Guardian Angel, while she went to work in states as far away as Colorado and Washington for the Sunset Telephone Company as a chief long distance operator. In 1909, at the age of 12, Lawrence contracted polio and was nursed back to health by the sisters. All of Tottie's children stayed at the orphanage through 1910, although letters show that Lawrence and Leonard stayed on into at least the early part of 1911.
Tottie was unemployed in 1920, according to the U.S. Census of that year, but all three of her sons were still living at home with her. She never remarried. Voter registration records from 1922 to 1936 show that her occupation alternated over the years between "housewife" and housekeeper/hotel maid. She later worked for the Pacific Building Company for many years and lived with her son, Charlie, until she was 91 years old.
My great-grandmother died in 1966. Shortly before she died, Tottie is reported to have said, "How beautiful it is, and there's Mose."
Moses S. "Mose" Springer. (2019). Springer Genealogy. Retrieved 3 August 2019, from https://springergenealogy.weebly.com/moses-s-mose-springer.html
Part of what got me interested in doing genealogical research was the fact that my father told me growing up that he was descended from a man named Charles Christopher ("Karrell Christofferson") Springer. Charles Christopher Springer was--according to his own account in a letter written to his mother--kidnapped on his way home to Sweden from London, England (where he had been studying), and taken to America. He worked as an indentured servant in Virginia before earning his freedom and heading north, where he was taken in by fellow Swedes who had settled along the Delaware River in what was then known as "New Sweden." There, he served as lay reader in the absence of a minister at Cranehook Church for several years and was instrumental in securing funds for the building of a new church, Holy Trinity ("Old Swedes"). He married and had a number of children. This is all very interesting and true.
Jumping ahead a few years to 1882: the enterprising duo of George W. Ponton and Charles H. Bierce--both aliases, it turned out--devised an inheritance scam in London, Ontario. This is it, in a nutshell: they drew up papers saying that Charles Christopher Springer's estate was valued at $100,000,000 and that the city of Wilmington, Delaware, had agreed to pay his heirs $20,000,000 to release itself from the claim. One of these men (Ponton) claimed to be an agent representing the Springer heirs, each of whom would receive $90,000; the other man (Bierce) claimed to be an heir. The whole scheme unraveled when it was revealed to be a scam to get people to loan money to the pair, with the promise of repayment once Bierce got his settlement. So, the men were arrested and that's the end of that story.
Except it isn't. The "Fabulous Springer Estate" remained alive and well in the imagination of Springers everywhere, not just among the Canadian Springers. People wanted to perpetuate the idea that they were somehow related to Charles Christopher Springer because...well, what if there was some truth to that huge estate claim? So, random Springers started making family histories that listed themselves as descendants of Charles Christopher Springer. Among my ancestors, my gg-grandfather, Moses Springer, appears to have been the main culprit. As a public figure, there was a lot written about him, most of which included a passing reference to Charles Christopher Springer as his gg-grandfather David's ancestor. Unfortunately, sometimes genealogists mistake--quite honestly--secondary sources for primary sources; however, just because something is published, doesn't necessarily mean it's true.
"Springer Hoax". (2019). Springer Genealogy. Retrieved 3 August 2019, from https://springergenealogy.weebly.com/springer-hoax.html
- [S158] Census - ON, Waterloo, Berlin - 1881, Div. 2 Pg. 76.
- [S1592] Census - ON, Waterloo, Berlin - 1891, Section 1 Page 56.
- [S2173] Find A Grave, Tottie C. Springer (1873 - 1966) - Find A Grave Memorial. (2016). Findagrave.com. Retrieved 9 October 2016, from https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=75600313&ref=acom.
- [S2162] California, Death Index, 1940-1997, ark:/61903/1:1:VGRG-6PH : 26 November 2014.
- [S1835] Census - U.S. Census Population Schedule, 1900 12th Census, Precinct 73 B Los Angeles city Ward 5, Los Angeles, California, United States sheet 19B, family 476, NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,240,089.
Moses S. Springer 46 b. Canada
Tottie C. 27 b. England
Lawrence 3 California
Charles C. 2 California
Leonard 0 California
- [S2096] Census - U.S. Census Population Schedule, 1940 16th Census, San Diego, San Diego, California; Roll: T627_453; Page: 25B; Enumeration District: 62-111.
Tottie Springer 69 b. England
Charles Springer 41 b. California, Occ: photograph engraving
- [S2037] Census - U.S. Census Population Schedule, 1930 15th Census, San Diego, San Diego, California; Roll: 193; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 0200; Image: 803.0; FHL microfilm: 2339928.
- [S4] Vit - ON - Marriage Registration, Vol 26 pg 314.
Cyrus Moyer, 22, Manufacturer, res. Berlin, b. Waterloo Twp., son of William and Mary, married Elizabeth Springer, 20, res. Waterloo, b. Woolwich Twp., daughter of Moses and Barbara, Witnessed by: Menno Springer and L. Morningstar, both of Waterloo, 9 May 1872 at Waterloo
- [S2324] News - Sacramento Daily Union Newspaper, Volume 91, Number 148, 24 July 1896.
Yesterday Moses S. Springer and Miss Tottie C. Moyer of Ontario, Canada, were married in this city, Rev. M. D. Buck of the Sixth-street M. E. Church officiating. The happy couple departed in the aftenvoon for San Francisco, but will return in two weeks. The groom is telegraph operator for the Associated Press in this city
|Born - 20 Mar 1873 - , England
|Birth - - , Ontario, Canada
|Residence - Methodist - 1881 - Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada
|Residence - Methodist - 1891 - Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada
|Married - Jul 1896 - Sacramento, Sacramento, California, United States
|Residence - 1900 - Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, United States
|Residence - 1930 - San Diego, San Diego, California, USA
|Residence - 1940 - San Diego, San Diego, California, USA
|Died - 6 Aug 1966 - San Diego, San Diego, California, United States
|Buried - - Angelus Rosedale Cemetery, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, United States