Mason County History Companion
Old Places Familiar Faces
Would you like to help transcribe or collect information?
Would you like to help transcribe or collect information? Mail to: Dave Petersen
MASON COUNTY: A TALE OF EARLY TIMESMASON COUNTY: A TALE OF EARLY TIMES by C.G. Wing Ludington Daily News September 27, 1920 The primitive doings and successive stages in the development new settlement in this country are quite apt to be unrecorded and lost. Whenever any local event of former years happens to become the subject of inquiry the other particulars are often found much easier to recall than the exact date of the occurrence. In the life of the nation and the state, the main facts in its progress are accessible in authentic histories and can be found with a readiness quite out of comparison with the difficulty of ascertaining the exact time and particulars of any local or neighborhood event. I have sometimes been puzzled and quite unable to settle the date of former transactions in which I was myself a participant and well acquainted with all parties connected with them. I have heard other people differ before now about the date of even well known events, such as, for instance, what year the Pere Marquette railroad reached Ludington, and the exact date of the great fire of 1881. To me, at least, the chronology of local events of former years has been a confused jumble with no authority, no record, no help of any kind to clear up a doubt. I have somehow lately fancied that the obligation falls to me to write out in their chronological order those happenings in the development of this, county which I remember or can learn of from still existing sources. This fancy has been pampered by my ownership of a great share of all the newspaper files of the local publications so far as they survive the destructive fires of early years. At one time I thought of shifting the custody of these dusty and perishable memorials of the past to the public library but found on investigation that the library could not furnish storage room for such bulky literature. This fancy has come to assume the form of a "call" to this performance, as a sort of pious duty to the community with which my adult life is identified, partly because of the probability that these files will continue to be lost and wasted and partly because no one else of my generation seems likely to undertake a task so unrenumerative. I was not one of the pioneers but I arrived before the scattered clearings had made much impression on the solidarity of the primeval forest. In number there were not so many but that I came to know them all. I had some personal acquaintance also with every manufacturer of lumber from George W. Ford and Charles Mears down to the conqueror of the last pine tree. The men are few who have taken a prominent part in the business life of Mason county whom I have not personally known. There are quite a number of survivors, some of them earlier residents than myself, who could from memory and personal experience add much of vivid interest and of neighborhood history to my proposed array of bare statistics. My expectation is that such original sources of history will be stimulated to action by the necessity of amending and correcting my story as it is published in The Daily News. The publication will be weekly whenever the story is ready. But the demands of other avocations and possible absences from home may result in the publication of installments at longer intervals before my job is finished. ORGANIZITION OF MASON COUNTY Any formal.recital of events in Mason county must start with the year 1855. Maps of the State of Michigan carried the name and showed .the location long before 1855, and, in fact, since the date of the original United States survey. Surveyors gave it the name of Stevens T. Mason, who came from Virginia as a youth of 19 under an appointment as secretary of the then territory of Michigan. He was twice elected governor of the state after its admission to the Union in 1837. Previous to 1855, the county of Ottawa was the seat of government for the section of unorganized territory which Mason and adjacent counties are located. Deeds and mortgages of land in this county were sent to Grand Haven to be recorded. In case of an arrest, the respondent was taken to Grand Haven for trial. There court writs were returnable and suits tried, and Ottawa county prior to 1855 bore the same relation to this county which this county after that date bore to the county of Lake The legislature which assembled at Lansing January 3, 1855, provided for the organization of an independent county government for the counties of Mason, Manistee, Gratiot, Manitou, Emmet, Midland and Oceana. About that particular session of the legislature one feature was quite unique. It completed its work and went home in just seven weeks. FIRST COUNTY OFFICERS In pursuance of the directing statute, Mason county held its first election April 2, 1855, at which a total of 41 votes were cast in the entire county, and the following list of county offers was declared duly elected: Judge of Probate‑‑Burr Caswell Sheriff‑.Daniel Homes Clerk and Register‑George H. Roys County Treasurer -Elbridge J. Farahum Coroners‑ Wm. Quevillon, John P. Sedam Fish Inspector‑‑Burr Caswell THREE ORIGINAL TOWNSHIPS The county was originally divided into three townships. This was the natural division and was in harmony with the realities of the three settlements. It was also in, conformity with the division of territory made by the three rivers of the county‑‑.then the only possible highways of travel away from the shore of Lake Michigan. Pere Marquette township took in the tier of townships through which the rive runs and all of the county lying between the river and Oceana county. Little Sauble township took in the territory drained by the Little Sauble river, together with a little of Pere Marquette township, so as to include‑the mouth of the river. Free Soil (then written as two words) embraced the northern tier of townships now Grant, Freesoil and Meade, drained by the Big Sauble river. SUPERVISORS' MEETING The first meeting of the board of supervisors was held in October, 1855: and the minutes of the entire session as contained in Volume I of Supervisors Proceedings, read as follows: Minutes of Board of Supervisors' annual meeting at Little Bauble, October 1855. THOMAS CAINE WAS CHOSEN CHAIRMAN Ordered that $27 be borrowed of Charles dears by an order on the treasurer at 7 per cent interest from date to be paid to Jacob Barnes at Grand Rapids for bill of books for the register of deeds of Mason county. Ordered that Timothy Fletcher of Grand Haven be engaged to transfer the records of this Mason county from the books of Ottawa county, provided he will credit this county until there shall be money in the treasury and that he will do the business for a reasonable price, not to exceed the fees allowed by law to such service. Adjourned till first Monday in January, 1856. George B. Roys Clerk of Board of Supervisors. FIRST WHITE SETTLER The first bona fide white settler of Mason county was undoubtedly Burr Caswell. Others were here before, him but they were transients. He came first in 1845 but moved his family here in 1847. His children were Helen, who married Sewell Moulton; Mary, who married Richard Hatfield; George A. Caswell, who died in 1868, and Edward B. Caswell, who followed the plumbing trade in Ludington until he moved to California. Burr Caswell's homestead was on the lake shore south of Buttersville. He kept the Big Point Sauble light in the early seventies and later moved to Dakota. In 1850 Charles Mears began lumbering operations at Little Sauble, afterwards called Lincoln. Richard Hatfield, Daniel and Delos Holmes, Jeremiah f. Phillips, Wm. Quevillon and William Woodard settled in Pere Marquette. From 1851 to 1855 the mills at the mouth of the Pere Marquette and the mouth of the Little Sauble gave employment to a few men in summer, who when winter came followed fishing. SUPERVISORS' SECOND MEETING At the second meeting of the board of supervisors the principal business was the allowance of $24 to Richard Hatfield "for having taken and killed three full grown wolves," citing Chapter 57 of the Revised Statutes. For three years wolf bounties made up the heaviest item in the list of county expenses. THIRD MEETING OF SUPERVISORS On November 11th, 1856, at its third meeting, the board of supervisors located the county seat. The location as described in the order is the Northwest Quarter of the Southeast Quarter of Section 27 in Township 18 North of Range 18 West. This parcel of land lies on the west side of the highway just south of Buttersville and is now the property of Mr. and Mrs. Herbert M. Gerard. POSTAL ROUTE ESTABLISHED A postal route, the first in the county, was established along the shore as far north as Manistee in the year 1855. The name of the contractor was Metcalf. He carried the mail on the back of one pony and rode himself on the back of another. The channel through which the Pere Marquette river flowed into Lake Michigan was at that time close to the bluff at Buttersville and the mail when it arrived was taken with the carrier in a boat, letting the ponies swim behind. There was no post office in the county. The mail was left at the mill store. FIRST SESSION OF COURT No session of the circuit court was held in the county until September 21, 1858, when Hon. F.J. Littlejohn as judge held a term and the court journal shows the allowance of $15.37 to Jeremiah F. Phillips for the burial expenses of a deceased stranger. Wm. H. Parks was appointed prosecuting attorney for the county. The jail at Grand Haven was designated as the jail to be used by Mason county for the confinement of prisoners until otherwise ordered. John W. Miller; upon application, was admitted to the bar. He was appointed circuit court commissioner. For the year 1859 the board of supervisors appropriated the sum of $80 to cover the expense of circuit court. The salary of the prosecuting attorney was fixed at $100 and the salary of the clerk and register was fixed at $200. SUMMIT TOWNSHIP ORGANIZED On the petition of Washington Weldon and 16 others, the new township of Summit was organized and George A. Caswell, Washington Weldon and Wm. Quevillon were appointed to hold the first election of the township in April, 1860. In 1859 and for some 11 years following, Charles Mears was the most important business man of the county. Be was the largest employer of labor. The mill, built in 1849 by Baird & Bean at the mouth of the Pere Marquette river, he operated a portion of the time, but his mill and store at the mouth of the Little Sauble was the center of most of the business and the source of most of the supplies of the settlers in this entire region. Almost everyone, including the township and county officials, were at times each year his hired men. The board of supervisors was then made up as follows: Pere Marquette‑‑‑George A. Caswell Little Sauble ‑‑‑Wm. T. Croxon Freesoil ‑‑‑A. D. Hopkins REMOVAL OF COUNTY SEAT The absolute control of a majority of the board by Mr. Mears is shown by the minutes of the special meeting of the board on February 16, 1860, when $158.52 was voted by the board to Charles Mears as compensation for taxes in the previous year which were considered excessive, and the sum of $6 was also voted to him to cover his costs in an action begun to enjoin a levy of the tax. Mr. Mears was not at all satisfied with the location of the county seat, which would be more convenient for him on many accounts if the county offices were at his store in Little Sauble. It followed, almost as a matter of course, that at a session of the supervisors held on May 14, 1860, a resolution passed submitting to‑voters the question of removing the county seat from Burr Caswell's farm to Section 4 in Little Sauble township. At the general election in November, 1860, the measure carried. From this time forward the name Little Sauble disappears from use, the name of Lincoln, the president elected in November of the year 1860, being substituted, at first for the settlement only, but gradually afterwards for the Little Sauble river also. The township of Hamlin was organized in 1861. The contract for the construction of a county jail at Lincoln was awarded, almost as a matter of course, to Charles Mears for the sum of $500. At the annual meeting of the supervisors in October, 1862, the membership of the board was as follows: Freesoil ‑‑‑Wm. Mosler Hamlin‑‑‑Richard G. Peters Lincoln‑‑‑Newton L. Bird Pere Marquette ‑‑‑Richard Purdy Summit‑Thomas Caine The valuation of the property of the county for the purposes of taxation was determined by the board to be: Freesoil $23,434.54 Hamlin 9,836.09 Lincoln 17,729.54 Pere Marquette 76,656.58 Summit 13,981.47 Lake County 46,638.24 The first recognition of the Civil war on the county records was made at this session by an appropriation of $200 as a relief fund for the families of volunteers. CHARLES MEARS AS FIRST CITIZEN The attitude of Charles Mears as the leading man, the largest landholder and captain of industry towards the welfare and development of Mason county is indicated on various pages of the public records of the county. This instance of the erection of a jail is one. Early in the season he had contracted with the board of supervisors, a majority of whom were his employees, to construct a building of specified size for $5OO, as just stated. A special meeting of the board was called in the month of November, 1862, to accept his job and make payment of the price. The official minutes of the session read verbatim as follows: "In the matter of accepting the jail for Mason County. In this matter it appearing that the jail is now completed except hanging the doors and putting on the locks and that the time allotted Mr. Mears by the terms of his contract is December 1st and not wishing to make any more expense than necessary to the board after fully examining the building do order that the same be and hereby is accepted and Mr. Charles Mears freed from any further responsibility or liability and that orders in amount to suit the convenience of Mr. Mears be drawn for the sum of $500 that being the contract price." Charles Mears was not by any means a man of wrong intentions. He had his own ideas of thrift which he often took considerable pains to inculcate in the minds of his workmen. The practical outcome of his example and his talks to mill hands, loggers and river drivers was in some cases a scarcely concealed mockery of his theories. If now, in paradise, he is cognizant of matters on earth it is safe to believe he would like the chance to change this record so that it would show that he finished his job before he demanded his pay. THE FERRY Until the October session of the board of supervisors in 1863, no one had stood responsible for ferry transportation across the mouth of the Pere Marquette river. Travel was increasing every year and some one had generally stood ready to carry travelers across by some means and charged what the traffic would bear. The board issued a license for the ferry to Wm. Farrell, who gave a bond to keep the necessary equipment and to carry teams and passengers across at the rates prescribed in the license, and to be ready at all times for such service. The fees prescribed were: Single person‑‑5 cents Person and horse‑‑15 cents Horse and vehicle‑‑25 cents Double team‑‑35 cents Animals‑‑10 cents each THE CIVIL WAR The strain of the Civil war was much the same in the woods of Mason county in the month of October, 1863, as elsewhere in the land. For the relief of the families of volunteers $500 was appropriated. Two months later in December, 1863 in order to fill the quota of volunteers, 14 bonds of $155 each, bearing 10 per cent interest were issued and R. G. Peters, then county treasurer, was authorized to negotiate their sale. When the war ended in 1865 Mason county stood credited, according to the adjutant general's report, with 59 enlisted men. In bounties to volunteers, $2,535.97 was paid. Relief furnished the families of soldiers aggregated $3,200 and $807 was expended for other war purposes. The war, while it lasted, took the vitality of the county and other activities halted. Before its close James Ludington, a capitalist of Milwaukee, had succeeded George W. Ford in the management and ownership of the mill and lands adjacent to and at the mouth of the Pere Marquette river. At the point where, up to 1861, all maps carried the legend, Pere Marquette, a postoffice was established and given the name of Mr. Ludington. LUDINGTON The settlement consisted of the sawmill and a group of small buildings near it, one of which was used as a store. Jacob Staffon took his place as a clerk in the store in 1865. James Foley had already been here a year. In 1866 F. J. Dowland began work as bookkeeper and L. H. Foster as superintendent for Mr. Ludington. A plat of 360 acres was surveyed and divided into streets and town lots. P. M. Danaher and Robert Kasson erected dwellings on Ferry street. The building known since as the Big Store, located on Ludington Avenue and what was then Main street (now Gaylord avenue) was completed in 1867. In that year also Wm. Farrell's hotel was opened, occupying part of the present site of the city park. Dwellings were erected by Mr. Foster, Mr. Dowland and also by George W. Clayton. Mr. Clayton began the publication of a weekly newspaper, the Mason County Record, using the second story of his house for a printing office. The first number came out in September, 1867. OUTPUT 0F LUMBER The cut of lumber in the mill for the season of 1867 vas as follows: Lumber 22,037,180 Square Timber 2,678,190 Lath 2,800,000 Cedar Posts 242,000 FOUR NEW TOWNSHIPS At the October meeting of the board of supervisors in 1867 the township of Grant was organized and authority given to William Freeman, George W. Annis and Meritt N.Chaffee to conduct an election on the first Monday of the following April, the election to be held at the river house of Charles Mears. The township of Sherman was authorized, the election to be held at the residence of Fred Wiedmer by W. V. LeGraff, Charles Lensen and Ethan A. Shelley. The township of Amber was authorized, its first meeting to be held at the Burnett schoolhouse, with N. B. Wallace, Daniel Prindle and Jesse Nida in charge of the election. The township of Victory was organized, its first election to be held at the Bird schoolhouse, under charge of Ambrose T. Coflan, J. M. Sweetland and Austin A. Harsell. Riverton was organized a year later in, October, 1868. In the river and harbor appropriation bill passed in February, 1868, the amount designated for this harbor specified the place as Pere Marquette. Ludington was the authorized name of the postoffice only. Richard Rayne now kept a store at Victory Corners. Silas Slaght also sold goods and was postmaster there. Michael Engleman, of Manistee, was running a line of steamers to Milwaukee, giving this port good service. CONGRESSIONAL CONVENTION On the 4th day of August, 1868, the Republican convention of. this congressional district was held at Ludington end Thomas W. Ferry was nominated for his third term in Congress. Mason county was then in the Fourth district with Kent, Ionia, Ottawa, Muskegon, Oceana, Montcalm, Newaygo, Mecosta, Manistee, Grand Traverse, Chegoygan, Machinaw, Manitou, Lelanau, Antrim and Barry counties. PERE MARQUETTE LUMBER COMPANVY The year, 1869, was an eventful time for this place. The principal advantage accruing was the advent of the Pere Marquette Lumber company. James Ludington was no great success as a lumberman. He was drawn into the business by his loans to George W. Ford rather than by any liking for it. A corporation was formed, the stockholders being Delos L. Filer, of Manistee; James Ludington, of Milwaukee; John Mason Loomis, of Chicago; L. H. and E. A. Foster, and to this corporation Mr. Ludington sold the town site, pine timber, mill and store for $50,000. The new concern began with ample capital, practical experience and a first‑class reputation which was never impaired. It put new live into the place from the start. The rivalry was now keen between Ludington and Lincoln. Lincoln was the county seat, had a sawmill, and the trading advantage of possessing the only grist mill in the county. A propeller was built there and was launched in 1869, the dimensions of which were as follows: 184 feet in length; beam, 29 feet; depth of hold, 13 feet; 584 tons burden. But Ludington was now growing at a pace which did not yet show so much to the eye; in expectation, however, it was great. There was open hostility in regard to the county seat between the rival populations. A daily stage ran between the places, driven by L. W. Steffy. The sawmill of Danaher & Melendy and a still larger mill built by Capt. E. B. Ward of Detroit both began operations in 1870, the former sawing 80,000, the latter 100,000 feet of lumber a day. Ludington now had a barber, Frank Kuhli; two groceries, 10 saloons, wagon shop, machine shop, drug store and four general stores, a planing mill and a shingle mill. The township of Branch was created by the legislature in 1871. Towards the close of 1872, the second and largest mill of E. B. Ward and also the new sawmill of George W. Roby & Co., were in operation. A steady stream of about a hundred million feet of pine lumber each year was now passing out of the mouth of the Pere Marquette river and a still greater amount out of the Muskegon and Manistee rivers toward the treeless prairies of the west. Ludington, as the name of a town, came to my notice first in February, 1873. It was involved in a proposition that I should spend the coming season at Ludington as the agent of the United States engineer in charge of the work of Harbor improvement. I was then in the law department at Ann Arbor. The name was too new to be found on maps. Pere Marquette was still the name at the mouth of that river. Col. Mansfield was the officer in charge of all harbor improvements on the west side of the State of Michigan, with his headquarters in Detroit. The job might last six months, more or less. The pay would be $4 a day, $28 a week from the time I started to go there until the work stopped. Ludington was said to be a new, growing town with some prospect of having a railroad. I was then a student of the law, 27 years of age, brought up at Franklinville Cattaraugus county, New York. My father, Elnathan Wing, was a manufacturer of agricultural implements. He died and the establishment was sold during the Civil war. I was absent at the time, serving in the Gulf squadron of the navy. I was discharged at the Brooklyn navy yard in 1865. In 1866 I entered the University of Michigan, graduating in 1870. The next two years I was principal of schools at Manchester, Washtenaw county, Michigan. My time for mastery of the law had been short but I was expecting to earn my living in that line. The idea of going to Ludington struck me favorably. I figured that the people of a new town would nearly all be just starting or starting over again and that on the ground floor with others of that kind was where I naturally belonged. My only possession of actual value at that time consisted of a private understanding with Miss Jennie G. Poole, who had been my assistant in the high school at Manchester. I went to her home in Sharon, Michigan; we were married and made our wedding trip to Ludington, arriving April 15,1873. INTO THE FOREST Ludington as it looked on that day from the deck of our incoming steamer was not ideally beautiful, yet it was a busy place and was made to seem tolerable by the genial reception of one person unquestionably glad to see us come. Duncan Dewar, the harbor contractor, with his crew of workmen was waiting impatiently for my arrival in order to be able to begin his season's work of pier extension. He gave us a hearty welcome. He began work the next morning with a crew of perhaps 20 men, framing a crib near the log slide of the Pere Marquette company's sawmill. Mr. Dewar's reputation as a boss over jobs of this character was already well established. No place under him was ever called a soft snap yet good workmen sought his service. His gang often included the pick of the workers. His relations with his men is shown by one incident of the first day. A workman dropped his sledge into the water there some 15 feet deep and ice cold. Mr. Dewar spoke in an under tone to John Hadler, another of his workmen, who stepped promptly from the crib to the dock, stripped himself naked, dove to the bottom of the harbor, recovered the sledge, climbed back on the dock, hustled into his clothes and was at once busy again at his job as before. This was in April. Banks of ice still clung to the piers. The incident was never to my knowledge ever mentioned afterwards. It was not so important as to be worthy of mention. It was all in the day's work. I asked John Hadler in 1919 if he remembered his cold bath in 1873? "Yes," he replied, "Dewar allowed me $2 for that day's work," The going wages were probably $1.50 or $1.75. Mr. Hadler died in 1919. The last crib of Mr. Dewar's 300‑foot pier extension was set in August. Long before that time my anxiety as to whether in this line of work, new to me, I should prove competent for the job had disappeared. The length of every timber and place for every bolt was shown by blue print drawings. My part was simply to see that the plan prescribed was followed and to report the measurement of timber and stone and the weight of iron used in the work. In the dredging one measurement of the scows in which the sand lifted from the channel went out to be dumped in deep water gave the number of cubic yards excavated. It was on the part of the contractor that skill was required and Mr. Dewar knew it all by heart. Framing cribs and towing them into position was safe work. The risk was in setting the crib. The requirements were a calm sea and plenty of stone. When the work of setting the crib started there was no stop day and night until it was loaded with a weight of stone sufficient to hold it undisturbed by the force of wind and waves. Against the north side of the north pier where our work was done and where in 1873 the barge, Colin Campbell, moved freely about with a cargo of stone brought from Washington Island, Wisconsin, it is now solid land formed since that time. Even the harbor of Ludington was then a place of comparative activity. The freighting was done by sail vessels and rival tugs towed them in from Lake Michigan and towed them out again when loaded. There was often a race between tugs when vessel was sighted, the first to reach her taking the tow line. The traffic was a one‑way traffic; incoming vessels were mostly light. Delos L. Filer was one of any earliest acquaintances at Ludington. He had a habit of walking about the mill yard and dock and sometimes took a seat with me for a little talk. Mr. Filer was then by far the most influential parsonage of the place. He had already won his financial independence at Manistee where his large interests were then managed by his sons, Warren and Golden, under the partnership name of D. L. Filer & Sons. His interests were also large in the iron works of Filer, Stowell & Co. of Milwaukee. He had come to Ludington three years before as president of the Pere Marquette Lumber company which owned most of the town site and was either through the store, mill or woods in business relations with most of the inhabitants. His favorite theme at that time was the future of Ludington and his plans for its development. His vision of its coming greatness was on a scale not yet realized. Yet there was some visible basis for optimism. LUDINGTON BECOMES A CITY One week before my arrival the city government had begun to function under a charter passed by the legislature barely in time to hold its first election of city officers‑; at the regular spring election In April, 1873. There was need enough of it. Saloons and toughs were plenty but even if the County of Mason, through its sheriff, or the Township of Pere Marquette, through its constables, were able to keep good order, neither was adequate to deal with the streets, sidewalks and other facilities of the expanding settlement. Until April, 1873, Ludington was the authorized name of the postoffice merely. No municipal corporation had before that time existed. Plats had to be sure, been on file for several years entitled as additions to the "village" of Ludington but the village never in fact existed. But now certain territory of the township of Pere Marquette with prescribed limits was an actual city‑‑its destiny in its own hands. That was one advantage. There was another. REMOVAL 0f COUNTY SEAT On April 22, 1873, not then so many days back, the board of supervisors convened at Lincoln for the last time. They canvassed the vote cast earlier in 'he month on the question of removing the county seat from Lincoln to Ludington and declared the total vote of the county to be 1,024, of which 860 were for and 164 were against the removal. Before proceeding to any further business the board then adjourned to meet at Staffon's hall in Ludington. They made an arrangement the next day with Charles Blain, whose store was provided with a brick vault, to furnish room for Charles T. Sawyer, clerk and register of deeds, until the court house could be made ready. This removal of the county seat ended a rivalry which had been unpleasant in its effect upon the county as a community. A third and visible basis of optimism was that in June, 1,873, over 100 buildings were in process of erection in various parts of the city, the new court house being one of them. OUR DESTINY FIXED In June we found ourselves without any other plan or prospects except to remain as permanent residents of Ludington after my job on the harbor ended. Our first home in the city was the Hanson House, afterwards called the Elliott, then new, with "Pap" Elliott in charge‑‑a very good hotel. Having reached the decision to remain Mrs. Wing and myself started housekeeping in a little house then standing on the northwest corner of Main and Court streets rented to us at $8.00 a month. The establishment was put into operation with about thesimple equipment of furniture and utensils often found in g hunter's lodge. CIRCUIT COURT The first term of the circuit court held at the now county seat opened September 1st on the second floor of the Pere Marquette Lumber company's store. As the prospective arena of my future professional activity it was naturally of much interest to me and the object of my constant attention. Shubael F. White was the judge. He had been elected in April previous and had since then held court in the other counties of the judicial district which, at that time, consisted of Benzie, Manistee , Mason, Lake, Osceola,and Wexford. White ran as the regular nominee of the Republican party. His competitor, also a republican, was David S. Harley, of Lincoln, running on what the regulars called a bolter's ticket. The estimate held of the candidates in Mason county, where both lived and were best known, is indicated by the official figures of the vote; 677 for Harley, 373 for White. The calendar was made up of four criminal cases, 19 issues of fact and six chancery cases. Samuel D. Haight was prosecuting attorney; Ewell & Wheeler, Fitch & Newcombe, Isaac Gibson, W. F. Kenfield, George Westcott and H. A. Sutherland were the members of the bar. Two names were added to the list before the close of the term. L. B. Gibson, son of Isaac Gibson, was admitted on examination and C. G. Wing admitted on motion and the presentation of his diploma from the law department of the university. "Two more lawyers: What is to become of us?" was our greeting from the Ludington Appeal, a new weekly paper just starting. This term of court left me as a spectator call to all contested trials and as a prospective lawyer at the bar of Mason county in a humble frame of mind. I certainly could not elicit the relevant facts from witnesses and leave untouched the irrelevant as skillfully as Isaac Gibson, for instance, did without apparent effort. I knew some book law and as a student for two summer vacations in the office of Austin Blair at Jackson I had attended at one or two sessions of court, but it is doubtful whether all the time I had previously watched court proceedings put together amounted to the hours I passed in the court room at this session of the circuit court. I then realized that for me, at least, the road to any degree of success in the profession of the law was an uphill and rocky road. Before I could with perfect self‑confidence give help as a lawyer to those in trouble, I must pass through a brimstone purgatory of experience. If, at this time, the offer of a very moderate but sure salary for my services had come to me I should unquestionably have accepted it joyfully and without the slightest hesitation. SCHOOL MEETING About this time the annual school meeting took place. It was held at the school house on the southwest corner of James street end Ludington avenue. Two city lots were occupied for building and playground. The main discussion was concerning the proposition to bond the district for $20,000 for a school building. The existing building, erected by Edmund Gaudette in 1867 and plenty large enough at the time, was now bulging with children. Enoch W. Marsh and others urged the necessity of more and better room. Dr. George W. Roby, speaking for the mill owners. opposed the measure. Outsiders, he argued, would be kept away from coming to locate here if taxes were high. It was finally arranged that L. H. Foster should add a room to the building, the cost to be $150. The silent opponent, uninvited but present in this discussion and in the public discussion of every project of local improvement of that period, was the recognition of the destructive character of the lumber industry, the profits of which, supporting every voter present, came from the removal of forests, the growth of centuries and irreplaceable. Would there really be any need of school houses after the pine was cut? The doubt in some minds was an honest doubt. Altogether the city schools occupied six rooms and employed seven teachers. CEMETERY LOCATED A few days later voters were called upon by the city government for authority to issue bonds for two distinct purposes. One was the purchase of fire apparatus for $6,500, the other the purchase of land for cemetery purposes for $1,500. The fire project failed, the land purchase carried. A committee, consisting of Charles L. Resseguie, L. F. Foster, George E. Tripp, Samuel D. Haight and Milton D. Ward selected the site of the present cemetery and the land, 54 acres, was bought of Charles Mlears for $1,080. My job on the harbor was to close October 15, and when that day arrived a new sign with gold letters on a ground of black hung over the Charles street entrance to the second floor of Horace F. Alexander's new building, bearing the legend, "Newcombe & Wing, Lawyers." The building was the first construction of solid brick in Ludington and stood where the city hall now stands. Silver gray as to age, in appearance refined, Mr. Newcombe had recently come to Ludington from his former home at Eagle Harbor on Lake Superior, having been anointed deputy collector of this port in place of S. F. White, elected judge. When, during the summer, Mr. Newcombe had suggested a partnership to me. I was well pleased to accept and the more so as he had quite a law library and I had not more than a dozen books. Now began some months of watchful waiting. Until navigation closed an occasional vessel captain called on Mr. Newcombe for his clearance. We also heard the footsteps of clients on the stairs and in the hall as they walked past our doors to the law office of Isaac Gibson next beyond ours. Whenever Mr. Gibson was sober his callers were many. If one opened our door it was usually to inquire when Mr. Gibson would be in his office. In the three months following I extended the taxes on the tax rolls of four supervisors and that was all the work that came my way. The work was, of course, clerical merely and the pay meager, but no money I ever received gave me more pleasure. It was the first money earned in the line of my profession. DEBATING SOCIETY I now busied myself with the organization of a literary society which proved to be of considerable public interest. It enlisted the participation of the bar, the clergy, the able women of the city and, supplemented with home dramatics and home music, left no perceptible lack of entertainment during a winter of isolation, the city being for about five months without a steamboat, without a railroad, end in the worst weather without a mail. Not that my part, either in the organization or in the public debates of the society, was at all conspicuous either as an actor or as an officer. But I advised about appointments on the program and saw that the places of delinquents here all filled, acted as press agent and gave performers their measure of fame. On one occasion, however, I read a poem. In it the shade of Pere Marquette figured as guardian of the town now growing up in the vicinity of his first burial place at the mouth of the Pere Marquette river. As poetry it vas mere "vacant chaff well meant for grain.." As a lyceum exercise before my assembled fellow citizens, it was undoubtedly acceptable. Recently a lady told me of her carefully preserved copy of the poem as published at the time. I brought in a real poet, however on one occasion. Will Carleton recited his "Over the Hills to the Poor House" and other poems at Andrew's hall in December, 1873. COURT HOUSE The dedication of the new courthouse took place January 14, 1874. It was of one story, the lower story of the building removed in 1920 from the site just east of the county jail. One half was a court room, the other half was divided between the county treasurer and the clerk and register‑‑then united in one officer. The building committee of the board of supervisors, who had charge of the construction, were N. L. Bird, W. A. Bailey, F . F. Hopkins, Malon Abbey and B. J. Goodsell. Its cost was $6,127.11. On this important occasion Judge White led the speaking. He set up the claim of the city of Ludington to a history of 200 years, that is, since the burial of Pere Marquette in 1675, as a history entitled to be known and recognized by the world. His argument seemed belated. The opportunity to preserve that rich heritage was one year previous when the city charter was presented to a public meeting for discussion and ratification before it was sent to the legislature for enactment. If then the original name of the place had been insisted upon and inserted in the charter we might, by perpetuating the name, share the prestige of the great Jesuit explorer. Since Judge White, himself, as one of the committee to prepare the city charter, had at that decisive point acquiesced in the deliberate substitution of the name of James Ludington for that of James Marquette, his ornate claim appeared that of the lawyer rather than one becoming to a judge. The other speakers were Messrs. Fitch, Haight, Wheeler, Ewell, L. E. Foster and Daniel Prindle. The one speaker to sound a note of triumph was Luther H. Foster and rightfully so. Both the new court house and the new judge were trophies of his victory. In the struggle for supremacy between Lincoln and Ludington he had borne the brunt of the fight, first as superintendent for James Ludington, and since 1869 as secretary of the Pere Marquette Lumber Company. OUR FIRST LAWSUIT The first contested lawsuit in which the firm of Newcombe & Wing vas retained was that of Murphy vs. O'Brien. One day in January Michael O'Brien entered the office, laid on the table a summons just served upon him together with $5.00 in money, and without taking a seat left with our assurance that we would be on hand at the appointed hour. The summons was issued by Levi Shackelton, justice of the peace, in an action of assumpsit in which Stephen Murphy was plaintiff. At the hour named in the writ Mr. Haight appeared for Murphy and a jury was empaneled. The evidence tended to show that O'Brien, a frequenter of Murphy's saloon, had sold Murphy a horse for five dollars and a quart botttle of whiskey. When, the next morning, Murphy went after his horse he found the horse there in the barn as represented but the horse was dead. O’Brien's testimony was that the horse when he saw it last was alive and that Murphy, under the terms of the sale assumed the entire risk of its term of life, but that in any event the horse, either dead or alive, was worth all Murphy paid. Since 1870 Mr. Haight had been prosecuting attorney and almost daily was conducting trials before Justice Shackelton. He was efficient and rapid in bringing out the testimony of witnesses on his side. My part as junior counsel was to act only as requested by Mr. Newcombe. Our side seemed to be getting the worst of the fight and. Mr. Newcombe, hesitant and not yet warmed up to the degree of quick action. I waited impatiently for signs of a thaw but finally broke loose and took the lead, both in the examination of witnesses and in argument to the jury. The verdict gave Murphy a judgment for $5.00. The value of the whiskey was not recoverable under the existing law. The next day when we were both seated and alone in the office Mr. Newcombe lectured me with the appearance of being deeply indignant. In substance he asked me to bear in mind that he was the senior member of the firm and that in the trial of future cases he would let me know when he needed my help I merely announced that our partnership was ended and left the office. The next day when I went back to the office for my books Mr. Newcombe's indignation had subsided. He offered a restoration of previous relations and perfect freedom on my part. In the most friendly way I explained to Mr. Newcombe that our attempt to work in double harness was a mistake and that each of us would be better off working alone Six years later in the Garfield campaign the republican politicians, under the leadership of 0. 0. Stanchfield, united in a memorandum of assurance to Jay A. Bubbell, then our congressman, that if he would find a political berth for Mr. Newcombe at Washington, Mason county would agree to ask nothing further of the Garfield administration. Notice soon came to Mr. Newcombe of his appointment to a position in the pension office at Washington where he remained for the rest of his life. JUDGE WHITE RESIGNS Judge White now announced that he was about to resign the office of circuit judge in favor of Mr. Ewell, his former partner. A petition for Mr. Ewell's appointment was circulated and the duty fell to me as one of a committee of the bar to present the petition to members of the Manistee bar for endorsement. At Manistee we found Fitch and Haight already on the ground with a vigorous protest against Mr. Ewell's appointment for which they secured vigorous endorsement. A majority of the bar at Manistee and at Ludington endorsed Mr. Ewell, but the opposition was emphatic. Mr. Haight declared he must quit the circuit if Ewell took the bench. WHEI.LER MADE JUDGE Mr. Ewell entrusted the mission to Lansing to his partner, Mr. Wheeler, who left with Ewell's petition for presentation to the governor. Mr. Wheeler had spent the previous winter at Lansing as state senator from Bay county and was well acquainted with Governor John J. Bagley. In a few days Mr. Wheeler returned to Ludington, bearing a commission for the new circuit judge but the name written in the sealed instrument was not that of Marshall D. Ewell but of Harrison H. Wheeler. At first it looked like treachery. The situation at Lansing was simply that Governor Bagley declared the appointment of Ewell, in view of the strong opposition of a part of the bar, was out of the question. He offered the place to Wheeler who, after some hesitation, accepted. The appointment of Mr. `Wheeler to the bench was, under the circumstances, satisfactory to the entire bar except Mr. Ewell. His disappointment was keen. In addition to the ordinary considerations it had one peculiar basis. He expected to become a law writer and as the author of text books he coveted the title of circuit judge. NEW PARTNERSHIP Mr. Evell in March, 1874 offered me a partnership with the understanding that he would be absent most of the time. This offer I accepted. We soon had our office arrangements perfected in the Alexander building, the only place considered safe from fire. SAWMILL BURNS DOWN One afternoon late March the Pere Marquette Lumber company mill burned to the ground. Fires were of the most frequent occurrence. Almost every structure was of pine and there was no fire protection whatever except what could be accomplished by carrying water in pails. But no previous fire had made such disturbance with labor. The old mill, built in 1849 by Baird & Bean, had been run by George V. W. Ford, had been operated for two years under lease to Charles Mears, from about 1860 by James Ludington and since 1869 by the present owners. Work began at once on a new mill, built it was claimed within the limit of $30,000 insurance paid for the loss of the old one. MAYOR DANAHER PROVIDES P. M. Danaher was elected in April the second mayor of the city, Charles .E. Resseguie being the first. He appointed Mr. Ewell city attorney, who accepted with the understanding that the duties of the office would be performed by me. He was under contract with Little, Brown & Co., law publishers of Boston to prepare a new edition of Blackwell on Tax Titles and left at once to spend the summer in the state library at Lansing. CORONER' S INRUEST One of my first cases as the acting city attorney was to conduct a hearing before the jury of a coroner's inquest on the body of a dead Indian, shot by Levi B. Wightman, city marshal. It was then quite common for a company of Indians to appear in Ludington, bringing in baskets and whatever they had to sell and they often camped on the edge of town with their square and ponies for a day or two. At night there was always a big fire, plenty of whiskey, noise, dances and Indian forms of entertainment. John Daniels, the dead man, had been killed while in the attitude of attack upon the marshal. The coroner's jury acquitted Mr. Wightman of criminal intent but public opinion regarded the violent act was probably avoidable and unnecessary. There were then 20 saloons in Ludington selling liquor to every description of persons without limit and John Daniels was known to be a well behaved man when sober. When, a year later, the Indian town reservation was opened to homestead settlement and Indians thereby lost their tribal relations and became voters, the Indian vote numbered about 300. They were quiet, unprogressive people but harmless when sober. TOO MANY FIRES Because pine lumber composed every building and sidewalk and pine sawdust composed the only kind of street pavement so far in use, the town was highly inflammable. At the alarm of "Fire" the habit had been for every man to grab a pail and run to help put it out. A line was quickly formed from the nearest pump and pails of water were passed to be thrown by the last man upon the fire. And many fires were thus extinguished. But when the alarm came at night and help was delayed, utter destruction was the rule. Organization was felt to be necessary. A meeting was held. Louis E. Morris was the chairman; .F. A. McConnell was secretary. The following persons were soon enlisted and, with the approval of the council, comprised the LUDINGTON FIRE DEPARTMENT Chief ‑.B. J. Goodsell. Assistant ‑ M. J. Danaher. Hook and Ladder Co. Hose Co. L. T. Southworth, F. B. Piatt, Wm. Cushway, E. N. Dundass, L. E. Morris, F. A. McConnell, W. G. Hudson, E. H. Dowling, W. S. Cooper, Joseph Sharples, Jason Gillett, Thomas Ward, W. F. Fairbanks, Frank Filer, L. E. Andrews, L. P. Powers, C. Marble, J. E. Darr, Wm. Young, G. S. Johnson, James Foley, I. Gibson, Robert Dundass, Geo. W. Minchin, B. B. Gibson, W. B. Cole, Jr., R. M. Bowes, J. E. Wallingford, H. H. Allen, C. E. Durkee, George N. Stray, E. N. Fitch, C. G. Wing, Chas. Wilkins, Wm. Gerard, Jos. Loner, Wm. Courtney, Thomas Ford, Joseph St. Peter, Charles Tripp, N, S. Mcconnell, George Coffin, Wm. Danaher, Frank Hammond. W. R. Dewar, J. Staffon, Neil Brown, John Crowley. The council appropriated $300 for the purpose of sinking wells in the street and a hand engine with a suction hose to pump water from the wells was bought for $500. This was a vast improvement over nothing. The Fourth of July was celebrated in due form in 1871,. The new Ludington cornet band was the showy feature. There was a great procession of citizens. City Marshal George Weimer was on horseback, wearing a red sash, with Crowley and Dewey, his aids, also mounted. Mayor P. M. Danaher introduced 0. 0. Stanchfield to preside; Rev. Joseph B. Pritchard, the Episcopal minister, offered prayer; Frank A. Foster read the Declaration of Independence and Rev. H. B. Dean of the Congregational church, gave the address. Almost everybody attended. THE FORD CASE In August, 1874, the circuit court held a special session for hearing the threatening claim of George W. Ford against James Ludington, John Mason Loomis and the Pere Marquette Lumber company. Back in the fifties Ford owned and operated the mill and held title to most of the land on which the City of Ludington stands. Loomis and Ludington had furnished him money for the purchase of pine lands and for running the mill. Ford was addicted to drink. A decree in the United States court under date of January 3, 1859, determined the amount due from Ford to Loomis and Ludington at that date to be $69,849.71, the judgment to draw 10 per cent interest. A settlement was afterwards made, Ford transferring to Ludington the mill and adjacent lands and receiving from Ludington a considerable sum of money in addition to the judgment. In the pending suit Ford set up the claim to certain unsatisfied equities in the property which he asked the court of chancery to determine and further claimed that the most valuable 40 acres of the city plat was not included in his sale to Ludington but was reserved as a homestead for himself. The answer of the defendants gave the history of Ford’s operations with them, denying his claim. They admitted the omission of 40 acres from his deed, not observed at the time of transfer, but asked the court to correct the error by giving the 40 to Ludington as was intended by the parties at the time of the transfer. The case had been in course of preparation for some two years, during which Ford had become a familiar figure on the street, spending considerable time at the office of E. N. Fitch, his local attorney. Much of the evidence had been taken and was now in the form of written depositions. An array of counsel appeared on each side. Ray and Mitchell of Chicago for Ford and Mariner of Milwaukee for Ludington being the leaders. Judge Turner of Owosso occupied the bench. When all sides had been heard and a final decree was made it was not afterwards altered or disturbed in the supreme court. It dismissed the prayer of both sides. Its effect was to place in Ford the title to 40 acres, the equivalent of 12 blocks, or 120 city lots. As described in the pleadings it was the northwest quarter of the southeast quarter of section fifteen in township eighteen north range eighteen west. It is bounded on the north by Ludington Avenue, on the south by a parallel between Foster and Danaher streets; on the east by a line through the middle of the court house block, and on the west by Charles street. SUITS AGAINST FORD Ford, hitherto regarded as a pretender or mere claimant, was now a person of financial responsibility. There was very little delay in the most practical recognition of his newly acquired responsibility. Many suits were commenced against him. E. N. Fitch obtained a judgment for ten thousand dollars as the consideration still due for his services as Ford's attorney. Judgments were recovered in other and smaller claims. Levies on the lots and sales followed. There was a speedy gathering up of old tax titles against the forty. EJECTMENT SUITS By such means a formidable barricade was soon built up as a defense in the hands of the Pere Marquette Lumber company against the attack of an ejectment suit brought in the United States court at Grand Rapids by John A. Roach of Goshen, Indiana, the purchaser of the entire Ford interest. Judge Shubael F. White single‑handed, made a brilliant defense against an array of able counsel in these later suits. There were some indications that what Roach had to show for his investment after his rights were determined and all titles were settled did not make him very rich. AN UNVISITED GRAVE Long before the settlement was finally concluded George W. Ford died and his remains were brought to Ludington for burial. He was laid to rest in the city cemetery, where he sleeps in an unmarked grave. A HORSEBACK CAMPAIGN In September and October, 1874, I was able to satisfy my curiosity as to who my neighbors were. I made a horseback tour of most of the county and put myself in touch with the pioneer life of the woods. I met most of the settlers, but took especial pains to draw out the personal experience of the old residents. The excuse and ostensible reason for my travel was the fact that the republican county convention had nominated me for the office of prosecuting attorney. The political part of my errand was usually mentioned at the introduction, but my recollection is that the people I met did most of the talking and that my understanding of the inhabitants and the kind of life they were leading was more definite than any particular knowledge of how they were likely to vote. AWFUL ROADS Roads, cut through the woods without drainage, were full of bogs and marshes. Ox teams were mostly used. Some townships did not contain even one team of horses. Many houses were made of logs, but indications of civilization and taste ‑ flowers, window boxes and trellised vines and all the characteristics of a good home ‑ were as likely to appear at log houses as at those of more pretentious architecture. FREESOIL Among the men who had helped to make "the Sauble Settlement" of Freesoil, a fine community were: David Darr, Wm. Baxter, Volney Sanford, Wm. Black, Henry S. Austin, Richard Baxter, John Gray, Wm. Freeman, Wm. F. Hukill, Philip Riter, J. Edwin Smith, Henry W. Smith, Nathan Tobey, Ephriam Teeple and other pioneers whose farmsteads gave evidence of thrift and permanency. SHERMAN TOWNSHIP Along the Lincoln river in a region of slow development, but destined to become one of the richest sections of the county were: Wm. Reek, Joseph Mills, Eathan Shelley, Hiram and Frances Nash, Wm. V. LeGraff, Charles F., George W., and Silas Genson, James Drowns, Patrick McElroy and many later comers. AMBER PIONEERS Scattered widely on the north side of the Pere Marquette river were the farms of James H. Conrad, Charles Hackert, John A. and Eli Chinnery, Charles Dahn, Michael Moore, Jeese L. Towns, Eugene Schreiner, Charles Wolf, James and Isaac Flora, Theodore H. Wright and, of course, many others. RIVERTON FARMERS South of the Pere Marquette river the men who had done much to open up the woods to the light of day were Richard Hatfield, Benjamin Hall, Peter Bressau, Rufus Pardy, Mason P. Winters, Charles Williams, Pierce Butler, John McGrath,, Russell B. Morton, John Salzgaber, David Beebe and other more recent arrivals. LAKE SHORE SETTLERS Along the shore of Lake Michigan south from Ludington were Jeremiah F. Phillips, Wm. G. Dunham, Henry F. Robinson, Delos Holmes. Peter Labell, Charles King, Wm. Quevillon, Elihu Nickerson, and an increasing number of very superior fruit farmers. John Sladig and Henry W. Nordhouse were well known pioneers of Hamlin. Mr. Lampman, was at Weldon Creek and Benjamin F. Barnett, just settled at Branch. CARR SETTLEMENT As a guest in the hospitable home of Charles Carr in the southeast corner of Mason County, I slept soundly in a chamber where the peeled hemlock rafters touched the head when sitting up in bed. The Carr Settlement was then, as it is today, with its streams of pure spring water, one of the beauty spots of the earth. At the breakfast table the talk ran on the line of the early experience of the family and the isolation of the settlement. For years there was no wagon road through the woods to Pentwater, the nearest trading post. A footpath was the only way of approach from the shore of Lake Michigan to the settlement. All the family supplies were carried on Mr. Carr's back, some 22 miles from the store at Pentwater. Mrs. Carr recalled one incident of their timidity in respect to the Indians whose reservation they were obliged to cross. She said one warm summer day Mr. Carr was due from Pentwater with a sack of flour and other things of weight, about all one man could carry. She knew he would be as dry as a fish and there was no good water near the path. She fixed up a nice bottle of home brew and went some miles down the path and left the bottle where Mr. Carr would be sure to see it and take a good drink. When Mr. Carr arrived with his load she inquired how he liked his bottle of beer. He answered that he saw the bottle but was afraid it was an Indian trick to injure him and so left it untouched in the path. LOG SCHOOL HOUSES MOSTLY In regard to educational conditions in the townships of Mason county in 1874, Freesoil had two schools; Grant, two; Hamlin, one; Lincoln, two; Victory, five; Sherman, four; Amber, four; Pere Marquette, one; Summit, three; Riverton, four; Branch one. Altogether there were 29 rural schools in the county. POLITICALLY VANQUISHED When the votes were counted in the November election of 1874, E. N. Fitch, my opponent on the democratic ticket, was elected prosecuting attorney by a majority of 31 votes. To the unsophisticated candidate the pain of political defeat is sharp. It was not mitigated in this instance, as it should have been, by the full knowledge of the fact that Mr. Fitch was the more experienced lawyer. But while sharp, the sting is mercifully transient. It is made obsolete partly because people who come in contact with the sufferer cannot remember after a few days who was defeated and many more never noticed that he was in the fight. RAILROAD REACHES LUDINGTON In November, 1874, when the Flint & Pere Marquette railroad track was nealy completed to Ludington, Governor John J. Bagley came over the line on a tour of inspection. As became the visit of the chief executive of the state he received the most distinguished mark of attention Ludington could bestow. He rode from and to his railroad car in the only covered carriage up to that time ever owned within the borders of Mason county. Mr. Filer's black carriage horses conveyed him about the town and he was kept over night as a guest of the Filer residence which was in the center of the present city park. The first regular passenger train over the road began to run on December 6, 1874. Mr. EWELL RESIGNS Towards the close of the year my law partner, Mr. Ewell returned from Lansing with the purpose of moving to Evanston, Ill. He had contracted with Callahan & Co., law publishers of Chicago, for his services in book making and then began a career as a law writer which brought him a considerable measure of fame. He forwarded to the governor his resignation as judge of the probate court and added a request for my appointment to fill the vacancy. My confidence was not implicit that his request alone would weigh heavily with the governor without some reenforcement from the dominant party influence of the county and I, therefore, walked down to Mr. Filer's office to see if he would write a letter to the governor in my behalf. Mr. Filer informed me that he had already made known to Governor Bagley his wish to have Judge White occupy the position of probate judge and he gave me good and sufficient reasons for his preference. The coveted judicial distintion when I left his office seemed a bauble as far beyond my reach as the distant moon and I dismissed the subject from further consideration. OFFICIAL GREATNESS The early months of 1875 passed, however, without any action on the part of Governor Bagley in regard to the probate appointment. March, April and May passed and the place was still vacant. By June the need of a probate court for some delayed matters became pressing. On the first day of July I was astonished to receive by mail from the executive office at Lansing a commission as judge of the probate court for Mason county. What considerations determined the matter and thwarted Mr. Filer's supposed understanding with the governor I never knew. It was the greatest piece of good luck I ever experienced. Not that the salary counted so much. I already had a fair business and was the retained attorney of the Flint & Pere Marquette railroad. But it liberated me from a certain hesitating fear that my professional career might turn out to be a fizzle. I am not now saying that it was entitled to have such an effect. I am simply asserting that it did have it. EDEN TOWNSHIP ORGANIZED At the election in the month of April, 1875, the Indian reservation, consisting of two townships of land, was organized as the township of Eden in pursuance of a resolution of the board of. supervisors passed the previous October. The Indians had received their allotments and the remaining lands were now subject to homestead entry. The tribal character of the Indians ceased and they became citizens and voters. HOMESTEADERS The opening of the reservation to white settlers quickly filled the remaining Indian lands. Even residents of Ludington entered homesteads. Two lawyers, S. D. Haight and Wm. F. Kenfield and also Dr. Lorenzo T. Southworth, settled on lend in the northern half of Eden, a territory organized four years later as the township of Custer. The new settlers brought an infusion of life end energy into that backward section and gave the county a strong reinforcement of many intelligent families. Some were veterans of the Civil war. Roswell P. Bishop was one of them: H. G. Ransom vas another. Inasmuch as the soldier's military service was allowed to apply on his term of residence on the land as the condition of acquiring title, Mr. Bishop's time in the woods was short. He came to Ludington in 1875 and was elected prosecuting attorney in 1876. As long as these two townships of land were reserved for Indians no improvements beyond a little clearing took place. Some of the Indians could read and write. At least two of them had been educated at Carlisle by the government. A school had also been maintained by the government on the reservation. As log drivers on the river Indian help was used. But the Ottawa Indian as he existed in this county, whether educated or not, seemed to possess no needs which the forest and streams failed to satisfy. At one time I owned some land on Section 36‑18‑16 with Indian neighbors and going and coming in the saddle I sometimes called on John Smith, the head man of the reservation. He was well educated, had the frame and dignity of George Washington, but he disclosed no wish for any "uplift" for his people nor even any occupation for his own idle hours. The smallpox was at one time a scourge among them. They were quite disposed to sell out and go north. Their number diminished very fast after the first white men began to settle amongst them. There is now no more trace left of the Indian than there is of the bear or the deer. PUBLIC LIBRARY The public library, an institution created and sustained by the voluntary efforts of its membership, now possessed between 400 and 500 volumes of the best books in the English language. It was kept in a small building between the ferry and the Pere Marquette Lumber company store. Under the circumstances it was, perhaps, the truest existing mark of community endeavor as its cost value represented the total net profits of most of the local entertainments of every sort in previous years. In 1875 its official board eras made up as follows: President ‑ D. L. Filer Vice President ‑ C. G. Wing Secretary - Emma Stanchfield Treasurer ‑ James E. Danaher Librarian ‑ Barbara Danaher Assistant Librarian ‑ Mrs. G. N. Stray Directors ‑ Maria F. Hutchins, B. B. Dean, G. N. Stray, George Westcott, S. D. Haight. The library was kept open at certain hours by the unpaid service of the librarian and her voluntary aides. Its prospects and its usefulness were improving every year. To make it more convenient to the public it was finally moved up town to Temperance Hall and was swept out of existence without insurance by the great fire of 1881, Its creation and maintenance was a. notable achievement. THE CITY SCHOOLS Inclusive of the year 1876, the development of the facilities for education can be recalled only to the extent of naming the persons who had, up to that time, been active in the work either as teachers or school trustees. School District No. 3, of Township of Pere Marquette was organized November 10, 1864, embracing the same territory that is now included in the limits of Union School District No. 1 of the City of Ludington, and the first school was taught in the district the succeeding summer by Miss Sarah Melendy, in a shanty at the rear of the Pere Marquette Lumber Co.'s mill, which continued to be the only building used for school purposes in the district until the building of the first part of the present Central school building in the fall of 1867. Previous to that time the terms of school had been short and intermittent ‑the school being kept up summers only; but from the month of February, 1868, the schools have been kept up during the whole of the school year. In the year 1870 the former School District organization was changed to a Union or Graded School organization with six trustees, instead of three officers retaining, however, its old name of School District No. 3 till the organization of the City of Ludington, at which time the district changed its name and was created by the name of Union School District no. 1, of the City of Ludington. The first school was taught in the summer of 1865, and the following is the list of teachers, arranged in chronological order: 1865 ‑ Sarah Melendy. 1866 ‑ Katie Mitchell. 1867 ‑ Nellie Mills. 1868 ‑ Mary Mills, Principal; Nellie Mills. 1869 ‑ Mary Mills, Principal, one term; J. Edwin Smith, Principal, reminder of year; Hattie Hutchins. 1870 – J. B. Brown, Principal; Hattie Hutchins. 1871‑2 ‑ E. C. Woodward, Principal; Emma Stanchfield, Hattie Hutchins. 1872‑3 ‑ Austin Barber, Principal; Alice Kinnie, Nellie Green, Sarah Melendy, Melissa Holliday, Orenzo Rice. 1873‑4 ‑ Geo. C. Bannon, Principal; Emma Stanchfield, assistant in high school; Elsie A, Stuart, Melissa Holliday, Georgiana Rogers, Robert Garner, Lydia Garner, Mary H. Sherman. 1874‑5 ‑ W. P. Sutton, Principal; Emma Stauchfield, Elsie A. Stuart, Melissa Holliday, M. F. Hutchins, Georgiana Rogers, Nancy A. Chase, Lota A. Sutton, Lydia Garner. 1875‑6 ‑ John N. Foster, Principal; Emma Stanchfield, Elsie A. Stuart, Melissa Holliday, M. F. Hutchins, Georgians. Rogers, Nancy A. Chase, Fannie J. Foster. 1876‑7 ‑ John N. Foster, Principal; Emma Stanchfield, Fannie J. Foster, assistants; Elsie A. Stuart, grammar grade; Melissa Holliday, M. F. Hutchins, Georgians. Rogers, Julia Cleveland, primary grade. MEMBERS OF THE SCHOOL BOARD 1865 ‑ Geo. A. Caswell, Director; .R. G. Peters, Moderator; D. A. Melendy, Assessor. 1866 ‑ Geo. A. Caswell, Director; R. G. Peters, Moderator; D. A. Melendy, Assessor. 1867 ‑ Wm. Allen, Director; S. F. White, Moderator; D. A. Melendy, Assesssor. 1868 ‑ Luther H. Foster, Director; S. F. White, Moderator; George Clayton, Assessor. 1869‑70 ‑ Luther H. Foster, Director; S. F. White, Moderator; W. T. Wixson, Assessor. 1870‑ 1‑ Peleg Ewing, Director; S. F. White Moderator; S. D. Haight, Assessor; Wm. Frye, L. H. Poster, Geo. Weimer, trustees. 1871‑2 ‑ P. Ewing, Director; S. F. White, Director; Wm. Frye, Assessor; S. D. Haight, Geo. Weimer, L. H. Foster, Trustees. 1872‑3 - P. Ewing, Director; S. F. White, Moderator; S. D Haight, Assessor; L. H. Foster, Geo Weimer, I. J. McCollum, Trustees. 1873‑4 ‑ I. H. McCollum, Director; S. F. White, Moderator; Geo. W. Roby, Assessor; L. H. Foster, P. Ewing, Geo. Weimer, Trustees. 1874‑5 ‑ I. H. McCollum, Director; S. F. White, Moderator; Geo. W. Roby, Assessor; L. H. Foster, H. M. Newcombe, Peleg Ewing, Trustees. 18,75‑6 – I. E. McCollum, Director; P. Ewing, Moderator; Geo. W. Roby, Assessor; L. H. Foster, C. E. Resseguie, E. N. Fitch, Trustees. John N. Foster, superintendent, published the following list pf pupils as entitled to be on the roll of honor for the month of February, 1879: HIGH SCHOOL Emma Burns, Jennie Patterson, Eva Smith, Lillian Williams, Alice Bennett, Annie Surplice, Nellie Patterson, Ida Packard, Metta Weimer, Leonard McCullough, Bernie Voight, Eddie Voight, Fred Clayton, Annie Carter, Hattie Wheeler, Allis Foster, Galan Merrill, Robert Wilson, Wilbur Aiken, Louise Saeger, Robbie Arnott, Frank Kittridge, Minnie Fogg, Bina Gale, Cora Harvey, Allie Maxim, Jennie Burns, Nellie Wheeler, Maggie Collins, Mike Danaher, Howard Williams, Mortis Hudson, John McKenzie, Frankie Tolles, Donald McKenzie, Willie Moulton, Peter Young, Peter Peterson, Vila Gaudette, Stillman Moulton, Arthur Butler, George Saltzgaber, Laura Saltzgaber, Nettie Trall, Della Northrup, May Danaher. CENTRAL GRAMMAR SCHOOL John Hilton, Eddie Legendre, Robbie Dundass, Nelson Heysett, Warren Cartier, John Gebhardt, Mary Hansen, Maggie Rohrig, Fannie Moulton, Ida Patterson, Maud Stephenson, Bert Olney, Willie Stitts. CENTRAL SECOND PRIMARY Anna Collis, Mary Moulton, Edith Hall, Stinnie Stephenson, James Butler, Robert Patterson, Eddie Mathwig, Francis Harper, Harry Brown. FOURTH WARD GRAMMAR SCHOOL Elmer Slusser, Eugene Tangney, Henry Oleson, Louis Peterson, Charlie Swanson, Bernie Hergesell, Mary McKenzie. FOURTH WARD PRIMARY Minnie Henry, Milton Kibbey, Frank Yenore. THIRD WARD Dezra Cartier, George Cartier, Julia Danaher, Flora Gale, Ida Hilton. FIRST WARD Bertie Wilson, Frank Cilley, Charlie Clayton, Walter Magoon, Theopulous Abair, Frankie White, Clara White. THE FOSTER TRAGEDY In the assassination of Luther H. Foster on the 29th day of June, 1876, the community suffered a loss perhaps more deeply felt than any other in its history. Hearing a burglar in the house after midnight, he gave chase out of the house and into the street when the burglar turned and fired a shot that killed him instantly. Mr. Foster was unarmed and in his nightclothes. He was a man utterly devoid of the sensation of fear. Mr. Foster had lived in Ludington about ten years. He handled the city lots and was the outside man of the Pere Marquette Lumber Company. He was active in city politics and foremost in church work. He and his family organized the first Sunday school in Ludington. The four related families, that of Luther H. Foster, that of his brother, E. A. Foster, those of his two sisters, Mrs.Joshua Allen and Mrs. Maria F. Hutchins, widow of a Bowdoin college professor, all products of the state of Maine, composed a group of persons of social importance who undoubtedly infused into the life of the community a tinge of New England culture. L. H. Foster was equally at home in a political contest or as organist in the church. As a singer he was usually a participant in musical entertainments. His accomplishments in that line were apparently dedicated to the public. His type of willing worker may be better appreciated if I am permitted to observe that it has been in a measure perpetuated in the generous career of his niece, Mrs. Fannie Allen Latimer, so far as musical services to the people of this city are concerned. His assassin was never discovered. His home, the most beautiful of the city, was on the corner west of the city park. LUMBER OUTPUT POR 1876 The amount of lumber manufactured and the cut of each mill in the season of 1876 was as follows: Danaher & Melendy Co. 25,348,917 Geo. W: Roby & Co. 11,600,000 Mrs. C. L. Ward, north mill 17,000,000 Mrs. C. L. Ward, south mill 13,000,000 P. M. Lumber Co. 11,250,000 Sweet & Taylor 10,000,000 Foster & 8tanchfield 12,909,446 Pardee, Cook & Co. 11,000,000 C. Mears 5,000,000 Total 117,108,363 An idea of the magnitude of the pine forest growth tributary to the Pere Marquette river may be formed from figures published showing that the Pere Marquette Lumber company from 640 acres cut 9,800,000 feet and the Ward mills from 6,240 acres out 152,443,006 feet, ‑ that is an average of above 15,000 and 24,000 respectively to the acre. Mason county at this time still contained 66,000 acres of unsold land of the grant to the railroad company as an inducement to build the road from Flint to Ludington. MANY FAILURES IN 1877 When the year 1877 began the presidential election of the previous year was still undecided. Whether Mr. Tilden or Mr. Hayes should be president was determined by a court organized for that purpose. Mr. Hays was seated in the White House and coincident with his inauguration but not, of course, as a result of his election, depression was felt in the lumber industry. It reached most other industries at an earlier date. In May, the Lumberman's Exchange bank made an, assignment to D. W. Goodenough. Its liabilities were about $9,000 and its alleged assets about the same. I. H. McCullom was the proprietor and he afterwards paid all or about all its debts. This honorable effort absorbed his income as an insurance agent for many subsequent years. Charles Blain also conducted a bank, but so restricted that it could scarcely be termed a banking business. When trouble appeared he continued to take deposits but did not loan any money except his own. The money entrusted to him by others he kept in his vault until it was called for. He took no chances of failure. On the 20th of July, 1877, the Danaher & Melendy Company made an assignment to George N. Stray. Its liabilities were $276,539 and its assets of uncertain value. It resumed business in October as a bankrupt under Mr. Stray as trustee. Its general store, located on the northwest corner of Charles Street and Ludington Avenue, under the able management of George W. Stray, had become the leading mercantile concern of the city. The largest sawmill was also owned by this firm. Before the month of July closed Oliver O. Stanchfield, mill operator with a store, made an assignment for the benefit of his creditors to S. F. White. His liabilities were $76,206 and his assets figured at $79,000 There were many smaller failures and business of every kind was reduced in volume.
Copyright 1998-2011 All Rights Reserved
Note to researchers, I do not maintain information on families outside of my own at this time, Your best chance to contact other family researchers and find information is going to be in posting some of your family information on the Mason County Boards. Volunteers and lookup materials can be found in the "lookups" category. -I routinely check the postings if I have information or can steer you in another direction I will contact you. I do not provide research services. Historic White Pine Village can help you in that area.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED: The information you have found on this website is protected by the US Copyright Law, Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998. See; http://lcweb.loc.gov/copyright/ Individual genealogists may copy and use the information found on this website for personal use "ONLY".
It is not to be copied or altered in any way for commercial use nor for use on another webpage without the written permission of the webmaster. You may link freely to this website using the following http://www.ludingtonmichigan.net Where information has been provided by someone other than the webmaster, written permission must be obtained by the submitter to copy the information. Every effort has been made to insure the information found here is accurate, you are however encouraged to check the primary source for accuracy as mistakes are made by all of us.Mail to: Dave Petersen