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The Salt City of the Inland Seas

Anniversary Number of the Manistee Daily News
Historical and Industrial Record of the Great Salt City
Published May, 1899

E. Golden FILER

My arrival in Manistee for the first time dates back to a mild night in the month of October, 1853. In company with my father, mother, brother and two sisters, I landed from a vessel's yawl on a slab dock at what is now the Canfield and Wheeler Company's lumber dock, at the hour of twelve, midnight, after a stormy passage on the schooner Louis C. Irwin from Racine, Wisconsin. The only means of communication with what was called the outside world was by sailing vessel. There were no roads or paths leading to or from Manistee, except into the deep, dark forests surrounding it on three sides, and the only highway leading to Manistee was Lake Michigan.

Vessels of the time were very small compared with those that come to Manistee at the present time. The average lumber carrying capacity being about 70 M feet. These small craft were too large to enter the shallow river. There were no docks to confine the water and deepen the channel, and it was quite shoal. The outlet of the river was about half a mile north of the mouth of the present harbor. Vessels, not being able to enter the river, came as near to the mouth as was deemed safe, and anchored. Lumber was towed out to them in rafts by means of vessel yawls, with sailors pulling oars for motive power. It was necessary to have smooth water for loading, and work was kept up night and day until loading was finished, or storms put a stop to it. It often happened that storms came up suddenly, and prevented men who went from the shore to load vessels from getting back, and that necessitated letting go of the rafts, with the result that the lumber was washed ashore and scattered along the beach and there was much loss in this way. The men remained on the vessel, and often had a long trip lakeward, for if the storm was very severe, vessels could not safely remain at anchor for fear of being driven on shore, and had to "slip and run." The most exciting occurrence was that of "working a vessel off the shore," and there were many narrow escapes from going on the beach, and much fame was earned by captains and crews by taking their vessels into safe water. It sometimes happened that the vessel got so close to shore that the seas broke over her, and that the men who stood at the helm had to be lashed fast, and that the remainder of the crew went into the rigging to keep from being washed overboard. I have lain behind logs on the beach, to keep the driving sand from filling my eyes, and watched vessels wallowing in the surf, portions of their canvas being blown to shreds, with almost certain destruction awaiting them, when night, dark and terrible, shut them from view, there was fearful foreboding for the morrow; and when the patrol sent along the beach to watch for the coming ashore of the vessel, returned reporting that she had weathered the storm safely, there was much rejoicing. Early in the fifties, a dam was built across the river at a point about a half mile from its outlet, where it made a bend at an obtuse angle to the north, and a ditch was cut across a narrow beach between the river and Lake Michigan, and the course of the river changed and made straight. The water was confined at the mouth by slab docks, and the channel deepened sufficiently to allow the small vessels to come into the harbor, which they did.

At this time there were five saw mills in Manistee. Two owned by ROSWELL, CANFIELD & Company, located on the present site of the CANFIELD & WHEELER company mill; two owned by Joseph SMITH, located at the junction of Manistee lake and river; and one at Old Stronach on the little Manistee river about one mile from Manistee lake. Before the channel of the river was deepened, lumber was brought in rafts from mills of STRONACH and SMITH, through Manistee lake down the river to vessels, a distance of six miles. When vessels began to come into the river it was necessary to devise some means for getting them up against the strong current. They could sail in, but could not sail up the river, unless the wind was just right, and this was seldom the case. Joseph SMITH built a slab dock on the north side of the river, extending from Manistee lake, down the river to a point nearly opposite of the present water works building. Oxen were used to tow vessels up the river, and the dock answered for a tow path. When coming down the river, vessels came stern first and dragged an anchor to check their headway. Vessels bound for Stronach sailed up and down Manistee lake. Contrast this method of shipping lumber with the present one of a boat going under her own steam from Lake Michigan to the head of Manistee lake, taking on 500 M feet of lumber in 10 hours, and steaming out without assistance, as compared to the old way of loading 70 M feet in a week or more.

In the year 1856, our citizen, Captain Charles GNEWUCH, brought a small tug named Boole to Manistee from Milwaukee, and began towing vessels, displacing the primitive ox team; thus paving the way for a large fleet of fine tugs that followed, and which he commanded eventually. The mills of 1853 were crude affairs compared with those of the present time. The best mills contained two muley saws and siding mill and a single saw edger. They were operated day and night. It will give an idea of the capacity of the muley saw to state that one moderate man wedged the lumber apart, adzed the stub end off, loaded it on travois at the foot of the slide, carried lumber to be edged, and piled it at the side of the mill, ready for the horse to haul it to the water to be rafted, and for James Dempsey, Sr., to edge, and was not overworked to handle twenty-four hours output in twelve hours. The working day has grown shorter since than, and wages and commissariat are much improved.

The only settlements in Manistee County were near the mouth of the river, junction of the river and Manistee lake, and Stronach. Forests came close to these settlements, and there was not a building east of the high sand hill until Manistee lake was reached. The white population of the county was very small, probably less than five hundred; Indians out-numbering the whites. It was a custom of the Indians to to spend fall and winter in Manistee and live on their planting grounds in the summer. It was interesting to see the Indians depart and arrive in their mackinaw boats, which were invariably rowed in and out of the river by squaws. On the lake, sails were used, except in calms. The Indians did not allow the squaws too many privileges, and managed the boats when under sail. In the winter they hunted, trapped and fished. They brought with them on their return from their planting grounds in the fall the crops they had for sale, consisting exclusively of "Opins," the Indian word for potato. They also made maple sugar in granulated form, which was put up in birch bark packages called "Mococks," containing about thirty pounds each. The sugar had a smoky taste, but was quite palatable, notwithstanding the tradition that Indian dogs were regularly boiled in the syrup from which the sugar was made. Indians had large numbers of dogs, and were generally credited with making food of them. Game was plentiful at this time, and it does not seem that they should have preferred dog meat to venison, rabbits, partridge and fish. I may add that Indians were the only agriculturists in the country, and vegetables were very scarce. Horses and cattle for work about the mills and woods were brought from Wisconsin and Illinois by vessels, and lowered over the side into Lake Michigan and started for shore, vessels not being able to enter the river. They sometimes refused to swim away from the craft that had been a stable to them for days, and had to be chased away by men in a boat. When they once scented land, however, no more urging was needed, and they hurried to get on it. I can testify to the good swimming qualities of horses, having ridden many across the Manistee river. I learned how to swim horses soon after coming to Manistee, and was in good demand for getting them across the river. I never expected or received compensation, other than the sport it afforded. The principle craft for going about on the river were Indian canoes, in the handling of which most of us became quite proficient. The amount of skill required to stand up in a dinky (small canoe), and pole it in a straight line, or reasonably so, without getting a bath, will never be realized without accomplishing the feat. Bataux were used for getting supplies to logging camps up the river. They were constructed with runways on the top side, and men walked along these runways and forced the boats with poles. This method gave way later to the using of teams for supplying camps, as roads were cut into the wilderness.

Whisky was plentiful. There was no common council to prescribe rules for drinking, and the only limit placed on it, was the quantity one could hold.No screens were at windows and one who could not drink with the crowd and in the open, was in danger of being hurt. Sunday was the convivial day of the week. There was no day or Sunday schools, no churches or preachers; and when a funeral occurred, rites were simple. My father officiated by reading a passage of scripture and singing a hymn at the grave. Most burials took place on the large sand hill west of the water works building. The winters in Manistee were much as they are now, so far as weather conditions are concerned, but vastly different in most respects. As stated previously, there was no way of communicating with the civilized part of the country except by way of Lake Michigan, and navigation closed about December 1st, and did not open until the forepart of April, residents of Manistee were shut in during this time, and it was necessary to get enough supplies on hand before the close of navigation to last until vessels could come in the spring, or in the case of failure to do so, pay the penalty of going without, and it sometimes happened that we were short on rations. The variety was very limited, too, and at the present day one could not keep house on it. We managed to thrive on the fare, and I for one do not wish to obliterate from my memory, the privations of early times. There are a number of people now living in our midst who will recall the anxious watching every spring for the white winged messenger, that would bring needed supplies, and with what pleasure the sight of her sails on the horizon was greeted.

There was no mail route in Manistee. During the season of navigation, mail came and went by vessels, and when the last vessels sailed away in the fall, no mail came until they returned in the spring. We were really a little world within ourselves. About the only amusements were card playing and dancing. The games and dances were not so aesthetic or frequent as at the present time and the orchestra did not consist of as many pieces as our present Elite Orchestra, but I am sure there was as much genuine fun derived from dancing and cards as now, and I should be competent to judge, having participated in the past and present. Our Orchestra is still living near High Bridge on the Manistee river, in the person of "Jim Siverly." The dress of the present day is not fashioned after that of Manistee in 1853. The swallow tail, and patent leathers would not come out of the rough and tumble fights incident to most dances of that time, in as good condition as a red flannel shirt and moccasins, and this may, or may not be the reason for not wearing them in the early days.

The first steam craft to ply regularly between Manistee and Milwaukee was the propeller J. Barber. She steamed into Manistee early in 1866, and loaded a cargo of lumber belonging to FILER & TYSON, for Milwaukee, and came back the property of Nathan ENGLEMAN. This was the beginning of a line of fine boats placed on Lake Michigan by Nathan and Michael ENGELMANN, some of which formed a daily line between Manistee and Milwaukee, and which resulted in great benefit to Manistee.

The professions were not represented in the population, and law, order and medicine were not a part of us. As we advanced in civilization, the professional men found us out, and came to minister to our necessities, and as I understand the first among them to come is to contribute to early reminiscences of Manistee. I think I shall do wisely by letting him begin his story at about this stage of the civilizing influence which advanced Manistee to a place in the front rank of Michigan cities. I might relate personal anecdotes that would amuse old residents, but they would not be interesting in an historical sense. Many pioneers are gone forever from our midst, but not from memory, and I often bring them to mind when recalling early experiences in Manistee.


In the year 1860, passing on the Indian trail, following the crest of the sand bluffs about half way between Bear Lake and Portage one's attention would have been arrested by the remains of a log cabin. Near it stood a large hemlock tree upon which, beautifully carved, were the words "Capt. J. PATTERSON, died Nov. 15th, 1835." The cabin was erected to accommodate the crew of a boat wrecked at that point, belonging to Newberry of Detroit. The crew were saved but the captain being the last one to leave the boat was so chilled and exhausted that he died and was buried near the tree. There were sufficient supplies saved from the wrecked boat to keep the crew during the winter and in the spring they found their way to St. Joseph. This was probably the first settlement of any kind made by white men in the county. Two years from this time, in 1837, parties sought to obtain water power for milling purposes on the Manistee river and built a house on the river below the mouth of the south branch which stood for many years and was spoken of as "The Old House." This house was built to accommodate a crew who were to work on a dam and much timber was taken out for construction of the dam. Captain Humphrey sailed a vessel and brought it into Manistee river but had difficulty in getting over the bar and that fact together with the apparent cost of constructing the dam discouraged the enterprise and it was abandoned.

Henry Wadsworth, one of the four justices of the peace of the Territory of Michigan, whose jurisdiction extended from Grand Rapids north to the Straits, told of coming on "The Old House," a few years after its construction and, to his great surprise finding it occupied by a number of men who exhibited great nervousness at his approach and appeared very ill at ease in the presence of a stranger among them. As he glanced about the cabin he saw evidence of tools for making counterfeit money and he afterwards learned that counterfeit money was made here and sent by means of Indian ponies to other parts of the country for circulation.

The first circuit court in these regions was held by Flavius Joseph LITTLEJOHN, author of the "Legends of Michigan." He was a man remarkable for his versatility of talent, the charm of his conversation was irresistible and his great, good heart made him beloved by all who knew him. In his judicial capacity one found him ever tender with the criminal and averse to giving pain. He held court in the danceroom of any available hotel. During his first term of court no lawyer was located at Manistee but lawyers from Newaygo or Grand Haven accompanied him and picked up what business they could during the court session.

The first attorney settled here during the winter of '59 and '60. He came through Grand Haven to Manistee with a horse and a cutter following an Indian trail. As he neared the town he found himself at the foot of a steep hill well nigh impassible from the icy condition of the road. The attorney stood in great perplexity wondering how he would ever succeed in getting his cutter loaded with his law books up to the summit of that hill. He had about resolved to carry his books up, an armful at a time, and then help his horse to pull the empty cutter up, when a sound of drunken shouting and boisterous merriment reached his ears and he was accosted by a band of men who had been spending the profits of a successful shingle steal in the saloons of the town. At first they stood by amused by the predicament of the young attorney, when one of them by chance called out, "What is your name?" At the reply he turned to his fellows with a beam of satisfaction and the hearty exclamation: "Scotchy, by George, let's give him a hand." When he reached the town the young lawyer found many who were ready to give him a hand. Until his advent the processes of the law were an inscrutable mystery, the methods of its procedure unknown, it was more often the strong who prevailed. For instance, he found a certain Stillman STUBBS confined in a jail on a criminal offence, namely, a breach of trust, having failed to live up to a contract which he had taken for clearing land for a man named WALKER. The justice found that WALKER had trusted STUBBS to clear land, which STUBBS had not done. STUBBS must therefore be guilty of breach of trust. Another man walked from Traverse to Manistee to get a writ of habeas corpus to let him out of jail, not appreciating the fact that habeas corpus could do no more for him than he had done for himself. Still another complained to the attorney that he could not collect a debt owing him from the justice of the peace for the justice had garnished himself and so claimed that it would be contempt of court should he pay the bill.

One evening the attorney and a young friend, wishing to cross the river, called across to a man in a canoe on the opposite bank asking him to take them over; but the man showed no intention to oblige them. Thereupon, the friend suggested: "Tell him it's the lawyer that wants to cross." When these magic words were shouted across the river the man jumped up with the utmost alacrity and goodwill, it must be confessed much to the lawyers surprise, as he had not before appreciated the majesty of his calling.

The chief argument of the place was a free all around fight every Sunday, which could be most easily started by one man's boastfully asserting to another, "I am a better man than you."  The merits of the two individuals were quickly put to the test with the eventual participation of the bystanders. A group of small pine trees at the mouth of the river stood stript of their bark where it had been knocked off by the heels of kicking and fighting men. Of one logging crew nicknamed " The Fighting Crew," each individual had one or two ears bitten off. When finally this Sunday fighting became intolerable to the better class of citizens, a subscription was taken by James McGINLEY, from whom this army post is named, to buy a horse to bring a Catholic minister from Grand Haven. Thus came Father TUCKER, a fine looking Prussian, the happy possessor of good muscular Christianity, well equipped to deal with these men. At his first services Father TUCKER was moved to take a drunken man by his collar and the seat of his trousers and throw him down stairs, at the most effective means of teaching him not to thus pollute the divine sanctuary. Father TUCKER staid and held services long enough to break up Sunday fighting.

Often for the lack of an ordained minister some laymen would be called upon to officiate at funeral services. On one such occasion the gentleman in charge gave forth as the hymn, "Brother, thou art mild and lovely, gentle as a summer breeze." The inappropriateness of the sentiment as applied to the deceased, a man nicknamed "Mexico", of the roughest type, who had died cursing, was so apparent, that the hymn in spite of the solemnity of the occasion, became absolutely ludicrous.

In the early days the inhabitants hailed a vessel from Milwaukee as the pilgrims of Massachusetts a ship from England; they knew that his vessel brought to them fresh eggs and perhaps fresh vegetables - a welcome change after their daily fare of salt pork, salt beef, dried apple pie, and prune sauce. At that time the only means of reaching the outside world was by means of a sailing vessel to Milwaukee, in summer, taking anywhere from nine hours to four days, or by sleigh to Grand Haven in winter. We may still consider ourselves remote from the world but at least every day is a mail day and one does not need to take a trip by a sailing vessel to Milwaukee to get one's hair cut.

Mrs. L. E. W. HALL

"My first visit to Manistee was during the latter part of my summer vacation in 1876. While visiting in Iowa, I received a very cordial invitation from Mr. and Mrs. R.G. PETERS to visit them on my return. The friendship was through Mrs. PETERS youngest sister, Miss Fannie TIBBITTS being a classmate and a dear friend, lovely in character, charming in manner and a girl of marked ability, having borne off the honors in both her Greek and Latin class at Oberlin, a fine conversationalist and thorough musician. She was Manistee's first music teacher. She died within the year. At the time of her death she was to have been married to a prominent young man, who is now one of Buffalo's most prominent  lawyers. Miss Mary TIBBITTS taught the first select school.

Manistee seemed charming indeed with her lakes and river, her lovely sun sets, her mills and whistles, her fields with thickly dotted stumps, her sand, her saw dust, and at that time the lovely drive from Manistee to Filer Town through the evergreens. Every one came by boat and the next arrival proved very interesting for it brought a young man who had been on a visit to Niagara Falls, Mr. G.G. RUSSELL, a cousin of the family. There was a continuous round of boat rides, drives and dinner parties in which Mrs. Lide RAMSDELL was the principal factor, and to which the minister and his wife, Mr. and mrs. FISKE, were always invited.

The next year Dr. MEAD and his wife moved to Manistee, Jennie MEAD being a classmate and dear friend, I accepted another invitation to Manistee.

It was the fall of 1871 that the great fire occurred. Laughable and sorrowful incidents of the fire are re-called. Looking glasses were thrown from windows, white pillows and clothing were carried out: dresses without overskirts and overskirts without dresses and sashes without either; trunks of useless articles saved, while those of value were left behind. Mr. J.G. RAMSDELL was mourning and would not be comforted for he had lost Carrie (now Mrs. Henry MARSH) and Ella; they had fled to the north side and the bridge had burned. Dr. FISHER was crying, for he had lost his wife. Mrs. MEAD and I took the first boat down the shore stopping two days at Ludington for a storm, then to Muskegon, the nearest telegraph station and found telegrams asking if we were alive and in need of clothing.

The next year I accepted a position in the Manistee schools. A liberal school board and superintendent, patrons who appreciated the work, and pupils  that were easily disciplined have left the pleasantest of memories. Edwin RUSSELL was the superintendent and brought his bride that September. It was a new experience. Coming from a school board adverse to amusements and attending a dancing party where the quadrille was composed of members of the board, Mr. E.D. WHEELER, T.J. RAMSDELL, Charles SECOR and Mr. W.B. HORTON; Mr. Michael FAY the absent member.

On meeting Mr. Henry MARSH he kindly informed me "that none of the young men were way up in etiquette but that they would make good husbands."

Manistee had her little theatricals. The hall was on Water street in the building now used for storing dry lumber. The star actress was Mrs. N.W. NELSON. Next came Emma SOMERVILLE (now Mrs. Geo. WOOD.) Martin MORRIS a promising young lawyer, was the tragedian, the Edwin Forest of the company. In this hall the dancing class received their lessons from a Milwaukee dancing master every two weeks on Friday night, that the teachers might attend.  From this class arose the Sons of Adam club, which was so largely attended that the German hall was engaged. Girls were so scarce that five or six young men frequently came without partners. Then off on Saturday night to some camp for a sleighride where fun and wit ran high. It was a common occurrence to be present at a game of "seven up" to see who would escort you home, and toss pennies to see who would take who. The "soon" girls were those who lived in town and did not require a carriage. The "far girls" were those who lived on Black Bird Island, Misses Ella and Helen MAGILL, and the Filer girls at Filer Town. Dry wood was scarce that winter. General CUTCHEON had a large pile of dry edgings which my roommate, Ella RUSSELL, and I looked at longingly. One cloudy night Mr. James MEE and Joe WALLACE went calling with us; we returned by way of the wood pile and each one took all they could carry for kindling. Each young man that called was given a stick to whittle. Martin MORRIS proved the champion, so he was called B.B.W., "Best Boy Whittler." That winter the "Lightning Boarding House" was opened. It stood nearly opposite the DUNHAM House. You readily knew the members of the house for each one wore a tall silk hat, the old fashioned "stove pipe" hat. One of the rules of the house was that no young man should call or take a young lady twice in succession without explaining his intentions and if any of them exhibited a weakness or seriousness the others immediately broke it up. Finally Mr. E.P. CASE took for his life partner Belle RANDAL. There was mourning for thirty days; picture frames, chair backs, sugar bowls and creamers were draped in black. Finally the epidemic spread until eighteen were gone. Engagement rings were so plenty that the less fortunate ones wore rubber bands. They were comforting in one way, they were not binding. When Harry MEE took Ella MAGILL for his bride without inviting the young people Will HALL and Henry MARSH resented it by attending the wedding and they were very kindly treated though not invited guests. One who contributed largely to the happiness of the young people was Mrs. Clara MARSH, who was spending the winter with her son and daughter, at the home of her brother, Mr. John CANFIELD. At these social gatherings Mr. MAUZY was authority on all matters of etiquette. The handsomest, brightest and wittiest one that moved into society was Mary BUCKLEY (nee Mary RUGGLES). W.H. WILLARD was the last to take on matrimony. Chaplain LAIRD being fond of society, often invited the young people to his favorite game of "Muggins." John, Harry and Walton MEE and Jennie JOHNSON were the favorites in the game. The holiday trip down the shore to teachers outside was always one of gaiety, leaving Manistee at ten o'clock in the evening, reaching Ludington in time for the early morning train. The sleigh was always full of passengers and the songs, stories and the occasional tip over relieved the monotony of the distance. These rides were not without danger from falling trees. It is a well remembered trip coming up the shore with Mr. LOVELL and MORRIS, then a young law firm. Five trees were down, night rapidly advancing, the trees too large to cut: so the horses were detached and the conveyance carried over and around, reaching Manistee at nine o'clock, hungry and tired. As I glance back at the happy times and happy faces that are gone I find that reminiscences are unpleasant to write and it makes the figure of my age look older than I feel."


To be reminiscent concerning things occurring during the early history of Manistee suggests much more than can be put into such an article as this. Even now there come cherished memories of those who acted their part well in the formative period of historical Manistee. We remember them gratefully and obey the mandate "De mortuis nil, nisi bonum." We have no ill to say or think of them. These early first friends are not all dead, but living they are remembered and cherished as constant friends now, after a period of nearly forty years. It is indeed a supreme pleasure to feel that the prime period of my life was filled by such friendships. I think of the period to which I shall in the main limit myself, few communities can claim a better company of men and women. Coming as they did from older communities west of the lake, they brought the habits, the social amenities, the gentility and Christian activities not always present in new lumbering towns, and I am sure that in these interests I should not put the women of the time in the background.

Early in November, 1860, with my family I sailed from Chicago on the then most commodious fast sailing and popular craft entering the port of Manistee - the schooner Wm. Jones, commanded by Capt. Thomas, as popular as his boat. I shall never forget that trip-time three days-beating against head winds off clay banks, whose every feature I thought I should always remember. Like other ills soon forgotten. By this trip I missed my chance to vote for Abraham Lincoln the first time he was elected. Landing thus I am brought into the scenes concerning which I am to write.

By no means do I date the beginning of things at my coming. There were strong men there before me, men who were casting the mold for the future of Manistee; men who were to be the pioneers in the financial, intellectual, social and religious development of the future city. I shall allude to a few of them, knowing that I cannot do full justice to the merits of all and fearing that I may not say just the words that ought to be said. Landing at "the mouth," I naturally begin with that vicinity. Old residents will remember Mr. CANFIELD's store, on the flat now occupied by by a new and great enterprise. That store was the leading mercantile establishment of the region, supplying goods for homes, the mills and the pineries. Mr. CANFIELD, though seeming a frail man, was, as ever, a man of great activity whose ever vigilant eye and active mind reached every detail of his widely extended business. That care could not be kept up without exhausting any possible measure of vitality. From it he was in after years obliged to desist. Early residents will remember him as frequently mounted on the superb black horse which he rode before buggies were at all practical in Manistee. Even in such a busy life he always found the right position on all questions affecting the welfare of the community.

At that time D. L. FILER had just left the service of Mr. CANFIELD and had control of the Bachellor mill standing on or near ground now occupied by the Manistee Iron Works. That mill was especially valuable, fitted for sawing long stuff and it goes without saying was a mint of money to Mr. FILER. I well remember those lads who came from the plain home of Mr. FILER, a house southwest of mr. CANFIELD's store. They scarcely carried with themselves the promise of what they have become, but whoever knew the mother that gave birth to and trained these lads would know that they held something in store for the future - that the quiet influence of a woman supremely devoted to her home was greater than the most vociferous  expletives. In her was illustrated the truthful saying, "Whoever would grow rich must first ask his wife." The field for acquiring wealth in those days about Manistee was like a prolific gold mine to him that had the energy to open it. This brings to mind an early settler who in a large measure spent his life making others rich. Robert RIEDOW, though in those days of rough exterior, possessed traits of kindness and generosity, which were more manifest in his later years when he came under the refining influence of the good woman who became his wife. He was indeed a character in early Manistee, but no being was justly his enemy, except the dogs. Between him and them there was no friendship. Out of the abundance of material wealth at hand he had a competence in his later and invalid years.

Hon. T. J. RAMSDELL had just made Manistee his home and had located his office on the brow of the hill overlooking the mills at "the mouth." I think he passed the first winter in Lansing, representing in the legislature a large part of the northwestern portion of the lower peninsula. His industry and adaptability found a wide range, and his success has fulfilled early promises. Some will still remember his as schoolmaster and disciplinarian in a small unpainted schoolhouse in which transpired many things that constitute history in early Manistee. Mr. RAMSDELL was always foremost in advocacy of the largest possible improvement of the public schools and the system owes much to him. He built the first building on the site of the present high school at a time when all material cost highest war prices, and that building came near costing his life. I will remember the anxious days by by his bedside when life hung by a frail thread. With him Mrs. RAMSDELL has been a joint laborer and wise counsellor in the success he has in after life attained.

Alluding to the old weather beaten school house brings to mind some who were then and have been since faithful adherents to the church. The pioneer Methodist church was then ministered by the younger of the Rev. STEELE. There is one name that ought to be placed high on the scroll, if the early history of the Methodist church at Manistee is written. I well remember Reuben CLARK's hearty christian greeting of me, made hearty because he was so enthusiastic in christian experience and earnest in the service of his Master. His wife, a sister of the SECOR's, was in thorough sympathy with him. But the space allotted to me is almost all occupied yet there are many incidents that come to mind and many individuals worthy of mention. David SECOR lived at the mouth and was in Mr. CANFIELD's employ. Charles SECOR ran the ferry at the foot of Maple street. Edwin SECOR was lumbering. William MAGOON, jovial, story loving and generous, lived two miles south of Manistee. M. ENGELMANN who gave us all a sumptuous Thanksgiving dinner at the old boarding house, true to his generous impulses, was the superintendent of the McVICKER mill, situated where the GOODRICH dock now is, with H. N. GREEN and G. J. DARR as assistants. Louis SANDS was putting in logs in a modest way from grounds now occupied by the country house and farm. Among young men Mr. Eugene SHORES, a boy of 17, who ran away to join the army, and saw four years of hard service and returned unhurt. Henry MARSH, ever trustworthy in his uncle's interest. "Jim" SHRIGLEY, the popular politician of the day. "Nels" SALLING, a straight and open faced boy, I remember as scaling logs for Mr. ENGELMANN, that were put into the river along west River street.

James McGINLEY honors the Manistee post of the G.A.R. Early one April morning as I was busy in the yard of premises known as the ENGELMANN home, McGINLEY came along with a small bundle in his hand. After the usual salutation he told me he was going to Grand Haven to enlist, to travel afoot and alone one hundred miles through forests and along the beach to answer the impulses of his soul to rush to the rescue of his imperilled country. No drum beat, or enthusiasm at home need be added to the sound that came from Fort Sumpter. After long years of faithful service he fell to occupy an unknown grave, but to enable and rescue a perilled and purified nation.

Thinking over all these I have delighted to dwell on them, but I must close sending greetings to those who formed our company in the years '60 and "61.

(Dr. Lathrop S. ELLIS was living in Chicago in February of 1892.)

Christian HAUSER

I came to Manistee on the 22nd day of April, 1853, in a small schooner called the Lewis Irwin, and commanded by William HIGGIE. The schooner was one of two owned by Canfield & Sons. At that time what is now the city of Manistee was simply a hole in the woods, with plenty of fever and ague to satisfy everyone, and the mosquito a permanent resident.

During the milling season all of the mills were run night and day, the crews changing every six hours commencing Sunday evening at six o'clock and running to Saturday night at six. Thus all hands had Saturday night to themselves. However, as there were neither churches, schools or theaters it was sometimes uphill work to pass the time from Saturday to Sunday evening. As about nine-tenths of the population unmarried men it was rather lonesome for some of us until John O'Neil started a boarding house and bar across the river opposite the Canfield mill. By a little crowding the ball room could be made to accommodate three sets, providing we were able to secure enough of the female persuasion. Every Saturday night till broad day light we danced, and the program was carried out weekly from about the first of May until New Year's. The orchestra consisted of one violin played by a highly accomplished musician, Dexter F. BEARD, who also did the calling for the different numbers, and on the week days for recreation put in his time as millwright at SMITH's mill. I came very near forgetting the most interesting feature of these rare social functions, the evening dress. Ladies dressed in muslin, lawn, gingham, silk or any other fabric that suited their taste of matched their complection, and the mode was a mere matter of individual fancy, but the ball gowns were not abbreviated as they are now. Among the men the evening dress was arbitrarily prescribed. It consisted of a pair of light dancing shoes, black pants unsupported by suspenders and a white bosom shirt over which a red flannel shirt with collar turned under to expose the white linen beneath, which was further ornamented with several dozens of pearl buttons. Of course on account of the liquid refreshments mentioned above there were occasionally slight misunderstandings, and as it was not the custom to deal much in futures at that time the boys were accustomed to adjourn to the back yard of the O'Neil place and arbitrate the difficulty by means of a fist encounter. These encounters were considered a mere incident to the dance and did not interrupt the progress of the ball. When the fight was over the matter was considered as "closed" and no more was thought of it by anyone. Feeling was not supposed to enter into these minor tiffs, and was discountenanced by all hands.

November 7, 1999.

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