A Face to a Name in a Graveyard

Jim Garrity went off to war.

Garrity family _EyersJim was a farm kid from rural Clare County, Michigan, a poor, sparsely populated county in mid Michigan. According to family history, Jim enlisted in the navy in Nov. 1917 joining his cousin Arthur Looker at the Naval Training Academy in Illinois.

Jim Garrity went off to war but never saw combat. He died barely two months later while in training of the Spanish flu, a pandemic that would kill an estimated 50 million to 100 million worldwide before disappearing. Many of the flu’s victims were young men, like Jim—and like Arthur who also died of the deadly virus one week earlier.

So instead of coming home proud veterans, Jim and Arthur came home in wooden boxes. Jim was buried in his family’s small cemetery on a knoll in Hamilton Township. Arthur was buried in Gladwin cemetery.

2013_August_Harrison_Gerrity Cemetery2So two sisters grieved their two sons. It was a tragic bond they now held with a third sister who had also lost her son from the flu the year before. Ervin Reed had been at Fort Wayne near Detroit. Reed too is buried in the small Garrity Cemetery.

Last year, Jim Garrity, Arthur Looker and Ervin Reed were just names. They became the subject of a blog post because I wanted to tell the story of their brief lives.  That post caught the attention of Marianne Eyer, a direct descendant of the Garrity’s, who lives in Marquette, Mich. She shared a photo of Jim; and suddenly a name I knew only in a graveyard had a face.

newsletter JamesA handsome face. The nearly century old photo of Jim is badly faded but shows a young broad-shouldered young man staring confidently into the camera.

We don’t know exactly why Jim Garrity went off to war, but according to Marianne, the story is that Jim was the only son in a farm household with four sisters. His father would not let him join the service so Jim convinced his mother to let him go. Perhaps the lure of far off places, the excitement of war despite its dangers, trumped life on the farm.

Did Jim’s father ever forgive his wife because she gave their only son her blessing to join the Navy? One wonders, after Jim died, whether his mother blamed herself because she did allow him to go.

Family history also says Jim’s sister Hazel insisted Jim be given his high school diploma, although even at 20 he had not graduated. He was smart, his report card from 1916 shows that fact; he just didn’t like school—and maybe farming. Maybe he felt he was destined for bigger things than tilling the soil. We will never know.

Newsletter - graveBecause Jim Garrity went off to war.

Categories: Cemetery, Clare County, Harrison, History | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

2.5 Billion Years of Clare History (or 40 Miles)

Note: This is the second of two posts dealing with the geologic history of Clare County, Michigan, USA.

Eras visually

This stair-step chart shows the various eras of time with Precambian (purple) representing the greatest stretch of time (4.6 billion to 570 million years). The sediments that underlay our county were laid down during the Paleozoic era (red). The dinosaur era doesn’t really get started until the Triassic era at about 245 million years ago (green). We’re in the yellow era.

If you like warm, you should have lived in Clare County, Michigan about 360 million years ago (about 5.6 miles away on our long yardstick in which 1,000 years equals 1 inch and we are at one end). Back then, our county (all of North America as a matter of fact), was nearer to the equator. That’s when the continents were one big happy lump and before the tectonic plates, including the one on which we ride separated, with ours moving slowly but steadily north until it arrived at its present location. It’s still moving and will probably be someplace even colder in the future, but don’t run out and buy a new coat just yet. You may not need it for another 360 million years.

As to our county, it wasn’t in its present condition when it did arrive here. That’s because the glaciers that shaped it and put down all the debris (glacial till) that formed our hills, valleys, plains and such were still far in the future (see Part 1 of this blog post).

However, we were in a valley back then, well it was—and is—more of a basin and it bears the name the “Michigan Basin.” We lie near the middle of the basin and the bedrock that is the underlying formation, is nearly 16,000 feet below us. The basin is deepest in the middle of our state and then gradually tilts upward the surface forming a rim. The basin covers an area of about 119,000 square miles and is visible in various areas including parts of the western Upper Peninsula.  The bedrock, which forms the basin, is made of igneous rock meaning that it was molten at one time.  The formation of the Michigan Basin goes back about 2.5 billion years (or 40 miles on our really long yardstick) when geologic pressures deep underground caused the rock to be twisted into its present shape.

Types of bedrock in Michigan. The Michigan Basin is clearly visible.

Types of bedrock in Michigan. The Michigan Basin is clearly visible.

There is not 16,000 feet of glacial till between us and the bedrock though.  That’s because many times in the distant past–long before the glaciers–Clare County was under water. Salt water and lots of times. According to an article from Michigan State University on the Michigan Basin, inland seas covered Michigan during what was termed the Devonian period, a period of about 60 million years that started about 450 million years ago (that’s only 7 miles away on our yardstick). The Devonian period was pre-dinosaur, by the way with most of earth’s creatures living in the oceans (although there were spiders, millipedes and insects scurrying about on the land, which might explain why the ocean’s inhabitants were slow to move out of the water and up onto the land).

At times the seas were clear supporting a variety of shellfish; at other times the seas were muddy with great quantities of silt and decaying vegetation. At other times, the seas contained minerals or were more like huge swamps.

The sediments of each sea compacted to rock (sedimentary). As each layer of sediment was laid down, the basin became shallower. Such things as Clare County oil fields and Saginaw County coal and salt mines, and Alpena County’s limestone quarries, are testament to those ancient seas and the sediment they left behind. Core samples taking during drilling is one way we’ve learned what lies beneath.

The various layers of sediment with the names corresponding to the stair-step chart above.

The various layers of sediment with the names corresponding to the stair-step chart above.

The glaciers wiped out any record of the dinosaurs. Our records kind of ends with the Pennsylanian era, although, as the graphic at left shows, we do have a few areas of Jurassic rocks. But no dinosaurs.

There are other fossils, though.  Petoskey stones, which are fossilized coral, are the most widely known and are the official Michigan State Fossil. Although we don’t have an abundance of these fossils in our county, the glaciers did drop some in their wake.  There are also a large number of others from the Devonian seas that can be found. These include both plants and marine animals, with the latter including clams, corals, crinoids, trilobites, fish and more. (An interesting day can be spent around a quarry or roadside just what the glaciers dropped.  There is almost always an assortment of beautiful stones and interesting fossils to be found–if one looks close enough.  Be courteous of private property, however.)

There’s also traces of gold and silver in Clare County.  Sorry, no veins of gold, just trace amounts that were scoured off gold-bearing rocks in Canada and maybe the Upper Peninsula and dropped here. Of course, there’s always the chance that the glaciers dropped some golf ball-sized nugget somewhere in the county just waiting to be discovered. We can only hope.

Oh, one more thing, among the rocks in Clare County there might be a meteorite or two. None has ever been reported in this county, but one was found two were found not too far away. One in Reed City found in 1895 and one in Kalkaska in the late 1940s. Both found by farmers working their fields.

cartoon2So, keep your eyes peeled. You never know what cool things this county has in store just waiting to be discovered.

(Writer’s Note: Please let me know if any of my information is not clear or in error. I like geology and wanted to keep this brief and easy to read but I also want it correct.)

 

Categories: Clare County, geology, History, Michigan | 3 Comments

1.8 Million Years of Clare History (or 150 feet)

Note: This is the first of two posts dealing with the geologic history of Clare County, Michigan, USA.

Map showing where Clare County is in MichiganEver take a good look at our county?  Its rolling landscape, many bodies of water (20 Lakes in 20 Minutes), numerous gravel and sand pits, the fact that the south end of the county is hundreds of feet lower than the north end.  Ever wonder why it looks the way it does? Why it has so many rocks? So many lakes? And oil?

It’s a fascinating story.

What we now call Clare County has been around for more than 4 billion years and has physically traveled a long way and has seen volcanos and oceans.  Only recently–in the last 11,000 years of so–has it been in the form we now know it.  If you think of time as a yardstick*–a really long yardstick in this example–with every 1,000 years being an inch and us at one end, Clare County has existed in its present form for about 11 inches, while the land far underneath and around has been in existence for about 66 miles or so. As I said, a really long yardstick. But more on that later.

And while the land has been around for more than 4 billion years, you won’t find any dinosaur bones. Now there is always a remote chance you will find the remains of a mastodon and woolly mammoth in the county (a tooth most likely since those tend to survive because they don’t decay as easily, no pun intended), any traces of dinosaurs were scrubbed way by glaciers and/or buried several thousand feet and under tons and tons (and tons) of glacial till, which is debris from a glacier.

Circles indicate where a remain of a mastodon has been found.

Circles indicate where the remains of a mastodon were found. Most discoveries have been where swamps once existed. The theory is that the animals may have fallen through a mat of vegetation trying to feed, were quickly swallowed by mud and were preserved.

If you do find a mastodon or mammoth (and it more likely to be the former since they have been found in Michigan more often), yours will be the first. That’s because while mastodon fossils have been found in most surrounding counties and mammoth fossils in a few counties, neither has been found in this county. And yes, there is a difference between the two herbivores but no, they are not dinosaurs. Real dinosaurs like your t-rex and triceratops have been extinct for hundreds of millions of years (3 miles on our yardstick), while these elephant-sized, mammals (the largest that we know of in our state) last trod our mitten-shaped peninsula 6,000 to 8,000 years ago (6-8 yardstick inches away), according to scientists who study that kind of stuff.

I learned this from a paper by Margaret Anne Skeels of The University of Michigan, entitled The Mastodons and Mammoths of Michigan, presented back in 1961. And if a mammoth or mastodon remain has been found in the last 54 years, I can’t find evidence of the discovery.

Ms Skeels also wrote that we don’t really know why these critters became extinct, but that it was most likely due to a warming climate.  The same warming that caused the glaciers to retreat to the arctic. While there is evidence that Indians of the Southwest hunted mastodons, we have no evidence that Indians in our state hunted them or were at all responsible for their extinction.

However, let me rewind a bit and talk more about glaciers and ice ages.  I will cover our really distant past (oceans, the equator, formation of oil deposits and more) in Part 2.

graphic showing the lobes of a glacier

The retreat of last of the four glaciers that covered Clare County. Each glacier sculpted our county and dropped tons of sediment (glacial till), in its wake.

Scientists believe there were at least four glaciers that covered all of Michigan and much of North America over many hundreds of thousands of years, complete with warm periods in-between when the glaciers receded. These ice ages and resulting glaciers were known as the Nebraskan, Kansan, Illinoisan, and the Wisconsinan. Why the earth cooled enough that glaciers from the arctic region expanded to cover all of Michigan and a good part of North America is unknown but it may have to do with long-term variations in the orbit of the earth (Milankovitch Cycles).

And whether we are currently in one of the those “in-between periods” is also unknown; however, it is known that  starting about 1.8 million years ago (150 feet away on our yardstick), at the start of what is known as the Quaternary period, it got cold and it stayed cold and that ice sheets covered all 83 Michigan counties including ours.  The height of those glaciers has been is estimated to be 10,000 feet or more, and the tremendous weight and pressure of the ice compressed the earth as it gouged and shaped the landscape.

While these  glaciers advanced, they captured and transported with it everything in its path from huge boulders to rocks, stones and gravel. That means many of the rocks you see or that farmers have to contend with when they plow, may have come from hundreds of miles to the north where it was transported by the final glacier.

Map showing glacial moraines.

Black lines show the many moraines in our state. The Saginaw Bay region is without moraines because it was until relatively recently (geologically speaking) under water and its moraines have been eroded by wave action or low areas filled in with sand and debris.

The glaciers’ movements weren’t constant and the advances and retreats occurred over 10s of thousands of years (the last glacial age lasted more than 100,000 years). When the Wisconsinan glacier finally retreat for the last time–which means the glacier was melting faster than it was advancing–all the geologic junk contained in the ice was dropped in irregular piles, creating the landscape we now see. Where the glacier was in one place for a longer period of time (decades perhaps) hilly areas developed called moraines.

There are many moraines in Michigan and one rather large one divides our county roughly in half. Its southernmost boundary is quite visible as one drives on Old-27 near Adams Road with James Hill as one of the landmarks (see photo below).  In this general area the Saginaw lob of that final glacier rubbed up against the Lake Michigan lobe with both dropping glacial till in the form of rocks, sand and gravel, and gushing huge quantities of meltwater. To the south of the moraine and several hundred feet lower in elevation are Clare and Farwell. Atop the moraine are the communities of Harrison, Temple and Leota.  There is more to the story than just a difference in elevation. The soils are different with that to the south being less sandy and more fertile (see Soil story below).

Our lakes were included in the glacial formation, both the Great Lakes and our inland lands.  Many of the inland lakes were the result of great blocks of ice being dropped by the glacier, then being buried under tremendous amount of debris left by ice. Once the glaciers melted, the ice blocks too slowly melted under the glacial till leaving depressions filled with water in their wake.  How big were the ice blocks? Well, think Houghton Lake and closer to home, Budd Lake.

The glacial till is thick. According to S. G.Berquist, in his The Glacial History and Development of Michigan, the average depth of glacial deposits over the bedrock in the state is 300 feet. In other places, like in the western end of the Upper Peninsula, the bedrock remains visible and minerals such as iron and copper can be found because the glacier was not powerful enough to erode them.

Photo taken atop the glacial moraine.

View looking south atop the glacial moraine at James Hill (Adams and Old 27).

Because the till left by the glacier are mixed, the deposits in many areas of our state are unstratified, that is mixed and lacking in layers. However, because the vast amount of meltwater issuing from the retreating glaciers carried sediment with it as it flowed, that water often sorted the till into various sizes such as cobble, gravel, pebble, sand, silt and clay, according to Berquist. That’s why we find sand pits, gravel pits and the like in our county and around our state.

So, the next time you take a drive or a walk, look around you and marvel at what God, nature and time has wrought.  Then pick up a rock and look at it carefully and take time to appreciate it.  After all, it traveled a long way to get to you.

cartoon(Writer’s Note: Please let me know if any of my information is not clear or in error. I like geology and wanted to keep this brief and easy to read but I also want it accurate.)

Want to learn more about Michigan’s glaciers? Here are some resources:

* The yardstick idea comes from Geologic  Time Line Helper on the Dept. of Environmental Quality website. (www.michigan.gov/documents/deq/GIMDL-GTLH-GEN_307780_7.pdf)

MORE ON CLARE COUNTY’S SOIL

The book the Soil Survey of Clare County, Michigan, published by the United States Dept. of Agriculture’s Soil Conservation Service (1978) graphically illustrates the soil types found in the county. Below is a map of the county and accompanying legend.

The approximate location of the glacial moraine (running northeast to southwest) can be discerned in the map below in the soil shown in yellow.  The legend descriptions of the soils in the northern section of the county generally include sandy in their definitions, while the soil to the south (designated by a 4) does not include that term.  Soil to the south of the moraine is generally more fertile.  One reason is that the lower elevations to the south were under water for an extended period of time when the glaciers receded due to the elevated levels of the Great Lakes and the forerunner to Saginaw Bay.

Blog-Soils

Colors show the various soil types found in the county. The soil to the south is more fertile owing to the fact the land below the glacier moraine was underwater following the glacier and gained additional nutrients. The red circle at the center shows the general location of James Hill.

soil survey map with the county's various soil types

 

Categories: Clare County, ecology, History, Michigan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Old Photo IDs and Journalism 101

Jim Carr

Maggie Carr -maybe

Who were these people? Were they two of the vilest people to ever call Michigan home or were they someone’s sweet great- great-uncle and great-great-aunt?

Up until a few months ago I thought they were the former.  I believed they were Jim Carr and Maggie Duncan.  Both lived during the lumbering era of the 1880s when Clare County was in the midst of a short-lived economic boom brought about by the lumbering of the county’s many forests.  Carr owned the Devil’s Ranch Stockade, a combination saloon and whorehouse in that small mid-Michigan community located in the small community of Harrison.  Carr ran the saloon while—at least it seems from the arrest records–Duncan handled the prostitutes.

Gross bookIn fact I was so sure I included those two photos in blog post entitled “Jim and Maggie: Disreputable, Despicable and Clare County’s Own.,” which provided a summary of the lives and their crimes.  I was confident in my identification because those same photos appeared in two books: Frankie and the Barons by Carr Photos (5)Stuart Gross, and Michigan Rogues, Desperadoes, Cut-Throats by Tom Powers.

Then Angela Kellogg tossed the proverbial monkey wrench into things.

In 2013, Kellogg, a Harrison librarian, was working with Cody Beemer on a book about Harrison.  Because the book would primarily use photographs to tell the county’s history, Kellogg intended to use the two photos.  However, she first wanted to ensure the two photos were actually of Carr and Duncan.  She didn’t doubt that photos of the two existed, or at least had once existed.  It’s likely both would have taken time away from their criminal enterprises to sit for a portrait with the local photographer.  Many people did back then either to share or for the novelty of it.

These are the photos identified as Carr and Duncan as they appear in the Power's book. They photos are identical to the ones in the Gross book.

These are the photos identified as Carr and Duncan as they appear in the Power’s book. They photos are identical to the ones in the Gross book.

So it was likely there had been photos of Carr and Duncan taken, but if they still existed neither Kellogg or Beemer had ever seen them, and Kellogg was not going to include any photo she could not positively identify.

It’s a Journalism 101 rule writers of history too often forget: “If your mother says she loves you, get proof.”

So Kellogg sought to contact the two authors to get that proof.  Powers quickly responded saying he copied the photos from the book by Gross but had not confirmed the identity of the two figures.  (I can’t blame the man since it was the same thing I had done when I wrote my Carr/Duncan post.)

That left Gross.  Unfortunately getting that proof proved difficult since Gross had died in 1996.  Undeterred, Kellogg contacted the book publisher Gross had used and was directed to a woman who worked there now and had been an intern when Gross was putting the finishing touches on his “Frankie” book.  She remembered rather lengthy discussions on the topic of the two photos and told Kellogg that Gross felt very strongly the two photos were the infamous pair and so pushed for their publication.  However, Kellogg’s source did not remember any real evidence that Gross had to back up his assertion.

Harrison bookWhy Gross was so insistent is not known.  he must have had some evidence, even circumstantial.  However, whatever evidence he produced had been enough so that his argument carried the day; the two photos became Carr and Duncan.

But not in Kellogg and Beemer’s book.  The story of Carr and Duncan is told but no photos of them are included.  Journalism 101.

Then the question still remains: Who were these people? Are they Carr and Duncan or are they someone’s kindly old relative long deceased who may now have hundreds of heirs.

If you know, please let Angie Kellogg at the Harrison District Library know, respond to this post, or send an email to the Clare County Historical Society.  Maybe someone still has the archives of Stuart Gross.  Maybe somewhere in there is the evidence that had convinced Gross.

In the meantime, be vigilant. You already know you have to take what you read on the Internet with a grain of salt.  Maybe an entire salt shaker.  It might also be worth exercising that same note of caution with what you read in books, especially if they rely heavily on the research of others.  As this story shows, not everything you read is necessarily accurate.  At the same time, please note that the remaining information on Carr and Duncan that appears in the Gross and Power books appears to be historically accurate, although both seem to rely on the research of others and on old newspaper accounts.

Note: Kellogg and Beemer’s book on Harrison (with 100% verified information) is available by contacting Kellogg at the above link.

Categories: Clare County, Harrison, History, logging | Leave a comment

Three Area Soldiers. One Epidemic. Three Graves.

Three young men—two from Clare County and one from adjacent Gladwin County–go off to World War I. We know little about the three other than two were cousins and enlisted together. One of them had not even graduated from high school. The third who enlisted later was described as a “bright, cheerful lad.”

We can envision the excitement all three felt; sense the pride of their fathers; the worry of their mothers; and the envy of their friends who watched them leave on what was probably a grand adventure and ticket out of a quiet (and probably boring) rural environment.

And we can imagine the sorrow felt in the community when news came back of their deaths while in training.

Ervin Reed died September 1917 at Fort Wayne in Detroit. He had enlisted in the National Guards just two months earlier, on July 4th. James Garrity and Arthur Looker —cousins—enlisted in the Navy on Dec. 6, 1917. They died within a day of each other in January 1918 at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station in Illinois.

The official cause of death for all three was pneumonia. More than likely, all three died of the flu.

The three had enlisted during a time a deadly flu virus was raging across the globe. This great flu pandemic, (a pandemic is one that affects a wide area of the world) sickened more than a half a billion people worldwide and killed anywhere between 21 million and 100 million. More than 675,000 Americans died and deaths were especially high in young men, a group included soldiers. For whatever reason, the flu triggered a very strong response from the immune system that sometimes overwhelmed the body. Those with the strongest immune systems were especially vulnerable, the opposite of what one would think. An estimated 43,000 servicemen died of the flu. Roughly 1 in 4 military personnel came down with the virus, and of those who did, 1 in 5 died. Death often came quickly, sometimes even within hours of the first symptoms. Congestion brought on by the flu built up quickly in lungs, resulting in pneumonia.

According to Navy Nurse Josie Brown, who served at the Naval Hospital there in 1918: “The morgues were packed almost to the ceiling with bodies stacked one on top of another. The morticians worked day and night. You could never turn around without seeing a big red truck loaded with caskets for the train station so bodies could be sent home.

“We didn’t have the time to treat them. We didn’t take temperatures; we didn’t even have time to take blood pressure.

We would give them a little hot whisky toddy; that’s about all we had time to do. They would have terrific nosebleeds with it. Sometimes the blood would just shoot across the room. You had to get out of the way or someone’s nose would bleed all over you.”

The pandemic hit especially hard at military camps like Great Lakes where a large number of men were in close proximity to one another. Great Lakes was the largest Navy camp, with a population of 44,000. Although the worst of the pandemic had passed by the time Garrity and Looker came to Great Lakes, the presence of so many men packed close together and a continuing turnover of personnel meant the epidemic continued to take a toll.

Blog-cemeteryThere is little information about Fort Wayne, with its smaller force. However, its proximity to Detroit and the men to each other meant illness was a constant at the fort.

One would think Garrity and Looker  knew of the deaths of Reed, but enlisted anyway, perhaps choosing a different branch and location as a precaution. Newspaper articles said that Garrity and Looker had caught the measles beforehand and Reed had come down with appendicitis. Perhaps, those health conditions were enough to make the three more susceptible to the flu. We will never know.

Garrity and Reed are buried in the Garrity Cemetery in Clare County. Looker is interred in McClure Cemetery in Gladwin County. Markers and flags mark their graves.

This Memorial Day weekend (May 24, 2014), the Clare County Historical Society will conduct a clean up at the Garrity Cemetery and replace the flags. It’s the least we can do to honor these Clare County men. Gone need not be forgotten.

Click to  read obits for Clare County soldiers:

 

Reed

garrity

 

 

Categories: Cemetery, Clare County, Gladwin, History, Life, Travel and tourism | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Hotel Doherty (Home to Leprechauns and Rest Stop for Travelers) Turns 90

Undated photo of the Hotel Doherty

Undated photo of the Hotel Doherty

The Hotel Doherty is 90. It opened in early April 1924 and was as modern for its time as a hotel could be, as the article below from the April 11 issue of The Clare Sentinel testifies. The Doherty sits on the NE corner of McEwan and Fifth in the city of Clare and the hotel keeps up with the times and demand but with an eye on its past. The Doherty recently added a banquet hall and outdoor dining area but had a brick especially made to match the brick in the original 1924 exterior.

The Doherty is also home to a bunch (or is it a tribe, flock, gaggle or herd) of Leprechauns.

Sometime during the Depression, an unknown painter made a deal with the owner or hotel manager to create a painting in the hotel bar in return for a free room. The painting, which is about 70 feet long and approximately three-feet high covers the upper portion of two full walls in the bar/restaurant and depicts the beer making process from harvesting the base materials to the drinking. The brewmasters are the little green creatures—probably used in keeping with the Irish character of the city that was named after County Clare in Ireland.

A.J. Dherty, son of the founder, talks about the painting of the laprechauns during a Depression Era art tour in 2012.

A.J. Doherty, son of the founder, talks about the painting of the laprechauns during a Depression Era art tour in 2012.

The leprechauns also were silent witnesses to one of the most famous murders in the state when Jack Livingstone shot Isaiah Leebove in cold blood in the restaurant in 1938. The murder is the topic of a new book by Robert Knapp called “Mystery Man, Gangsters, Oil, and Murder in Michigan.  Knapp is also the author of a history of the city of Clare, which contains a number of photos of the Doherty.

The Doherty was built by A. J. Doherty, a local businessman and politician that had the best interests of the city in all he did. Even now, the hotel remains in Doherty hands, being run by Dean Doherty, grandson of the founder. Although always popular, the Doherty was used by local businessmen in the first half of the 20th century, not only because of its location and quality, but because it had something few buildings in the area had at the time: a telephone.

For those who want to learn more about the building’s history, there is a nice display of documents and newspapers in the main hallway that lead to the hotel’s meeting rooms. Visitors are welcome to view the display and also step into the bar and dining area to view the painting. And wish everyone a “Happy Anniversary.”

Doherty Hotel Downtown Clare, Michigan

Hotel Doherty as it looks today in 
Clare, Michigan

The article below is from the April 11, 1924 edition of The Clare Sentinel

New Hotel Doherty Now Open to Public

CLARE’S NEW $150,00o FIREPROOF HOSTELRY

Front Page of The Clare Sentinel announcing the opening of the new hotel in Clare.

Front Page of The Clare Sentinel announcing the opening of the new hotel in Clare.

Mr. A. J. Doherty, former State Senator, one time member of the State Board of Agriculture and a former director of the Michigan State Fair, has completed the best hotel in this part of the state and it is now open to the public. The formal opening is the evening of May 12th when the Clare Chamber of Commerce are to give a complimentary banquet to Mr. and Mrs. Doherty, by which the citizens of Clare to show appreciation to one who has done so much for his “own home town.”

The banquet will have to be limited to 150 persons and will include some of Mr. and Mrs. Doherty’s friends from different parts the state and the members of the Chamber of Commerce of Clare. This is to be one of the most elaborate banquets ever held in this part of the state. No expense will be spared and all the plans are in keeping with this beautiful building which Mr. Doherty has built, not for the financial returns he expects to reap, but rather as a testimonial of his good will toward the community.

Three years ago the Clare Chamber of Commerce purchased the site on which had been located for many years the popular “Calkins House,” but which had been destroyed by fire. The consideration was $6,000 and they presented this site to Mr. Doherty with the understanding and agreement that he erect a hotel costing at least $60,000 on that

site.

Mr. Doherty has gone many times beyond that amount and erected a four-story steel, brick and terra cotta structure which is modern in every way and fireproof.  An Otis elevator, display rooms for traveling salesmen, complete laundry, billiard room cafeteria, which opened April first, dining room, ballroom, radio, ballroom, radio, mezzanine floor, room for two mercantile establishments and spacious quarters for the public library that have been donated by Mr. Doherty, are among the features housed under one roof.

The equipment throughout the structure are the latest and the best. The lighting fixtures are exceptionally tine. There are 60 guests rooms, each containing hot and cold running water, and several suites. Thirty-six of the single rooms afford either a tub or shower bath. The furniture is walnut and mahogany and blends neatly with the interior’s mahogany finish throughout the building. The main floors are of terrazzo. The corridors and the floors of the rooms are of _______and are covered with beautiful rugs. All dishes, towels and linen are stamped with the “Hotel Doherty” monogram. More than 100 guests can be accommodated at one time.

When Mr. and Mrs. Doherty came to Clare from New York State in 1878, they had very little money. He engaged in the mercantile business in rather a small way and purchased a home for which he was to pay $750. Of this amount he was able to pay $250 down and the balance he paid in installments. He succeeded in business and in 1901 he was elected to the State Senate from the 28th district, and in 1903 he was re-elected and again in 1905. Sometime later he was appointed a member of the State Board of Agriculture to succeed C. J. Monroe, of South Haven. He took an active interest in the affairs of the Michigan State Fair while he was a director. In the senate he was known as “Bellwether” Doherty for his possession of great political sagacity and the added fact that he led the senate roll call, considerations which gave him much influence. He has built eight business blocks and many residences in Clare and has stood ready at any time to do anything to advance the best interests of his town. Residents of Clare are free in their assertions that for its size, there is no better hotel in the state.

Dining at the Doherty:
Chicken Dinner 75c Sunday, April 13, 1924
1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

  • Chicken Soup
  • Celery
  • Sliced Tomatoes
  • Chicken Pie
  • California Asparagus Tips on Toast
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Waldorf Salad
  • Apple Pie, Lemon Pie,  Plum Pudding
  • American Cream Cheese
  • White Cream Bread,  Graham Gems
  • Coffee, Tea, Milk
Categories: Clare County, History, Michigan, Travel and tourism | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

They Were Tough in Them There Days

I ran across this article in a copy of The Clare Sentinel that was written sometime around 1894.  It’s one of those stories that I’d love to know what happened beforehand to spark the incident, and what happened afterward.  However, it does show just how tough men were back then.  Or maybe just plain lucky.

 Saturday evening about 8:30 o’ clock, Rosa Smith, an inmate of a dance house at Meredith, deliberately shot Benjamin Villeneuve while he was passing along Main street.  She was at once arrested and committed to the county jail.  The bullet struck Villeneuve in the mouth and knocked out three teeth but did no further damage otherwise than to scare him and the crowd, but it was probably a love affair.

(Note: The article is posted as it appeared in the newspaper, complete with grammatical errors.)

Categories: Clare County, History, Life, logging, Michigan | Tags: , | 2 Comments

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog that deals (at least for the last year or so) with the history of Clare County, Michigan. It’s one of three blogs I have. The others highlight things to see and do in Clare County and my random thoughts. They other two blogs can be reached from the navigation bar in my Clare History Blog.  Thanks for reading and commenting on my posts and I look forward to continuing in 2014. All my best for a wonderful and prosperous New Year.

Best regards,

Marty

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 8,600 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Categories: Clare County, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

‘Dropped Dead!’ (What was the Editor Thinking?)

It’s interesting to read old newspapers. You never know what tidbits of information you will find that brings history to life. Even if the article has to do with death.

deadTake this one that appeared in the front page of the May 2, 1884 issue of The Clare County Press about the death of Rebecca Rulapaugh.  I ran across the article while doing some research on another topic, and the headline and subhead made me want to read it.

Dropped Dead!

Sudden Demise of Mrs. Rebecca Rulapaugh at the Dinner Table Tuesday.

In the Best of Health one Minute and the next a Corpse.

Mrs. Rebecca Rulapaugh wife of John Rulapaugh who lives north of Clare, died very suddenly on Tuesday. The family had just taken their seats at the table for their midday meal when the wife and mother fell from her chair to the floor. Her husband immediately went to her assistance and she was placed upon a bed but she expired almost as soon as she was laid down. The deceased had been feeling as well as usual Tuesday morning and she was subject to no trouble that the family knew of. Her sudden death was a great shock to her family and friends. She was 57 years of age and leaves behind a husband and seven children to bear the loss…

When I first read the piece my first reaction was one of laughing atRebecca the headline.  However, one would expect Rebecca’s death would have devastated her husband and the entire family.   After all, Rebecca was only 56 and had been in the best of health-or so it appeared.  We have no other information on the cause of death but do know that Rebecca was buried in Woods cemetery in Clare County thanks to information posted on “Find a Grave” by someone with the username of twkistle.  Her husband John would join her in death two years later at age 64.  Whether his wife’s death was a factor in John’s passing, we do not know. 

What did John and the family think when they read that article? Were they horrified at the wording?  Or was this just considered the norm a century or more ago.  Maybe the Rulapaugh’s didn’t have the time, money or desire to read the paper, and so never saw the article.  This is not the first time I’ve run across articles that have seemed to sensationalize a death (if, in fact, this is what the editors intended)  Yet, I wonder what was the goal of using those headlines and subheads and did they regret their decision later.  We will never know. However, is does make me wonder, what were they thinking?

Categories: Clare County, General, History, Home life, Michigan | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Social Media in the 19th Century

Social media is not a recent invention.  Twitter, Facebook, and even blogging are just the latest means people have used to spread the word about themselves and learn about their neighbors.  (And, of course, there’s gossip, a form of social media that has been around forever.)

Newspapers have also been good sources of information.  Back in the 30’s and 40’s Hedda Hopper dished dirt and spread the word on Hollywood celebs.  And in rural communities in the days before the telephone made it easy to communicate and the Model T made it easy to get around, no self-respecting newspapers would have been without a column with information on the local community’s goings ons.  While the content they printed was pretty tame, they did provide a way for people to learn about their neighbors. 

Map of Clare County circa 1885

Railroad map showing small communities in Clare County, MIch. While Dodge and Mann’s Siding appear on the map, Dover does not since it was not on the rail line. Dodge is located approximately where the letter “g” is in Moore’s Siding, northeast of Clare. Dodge is also the site of the Clare County Historical Society museum complex.

The Clare Sentinel was one of those newspapers with such a column that ran on a weekly basis.  Below is part of one column that shows the news in the communities of Clare communities of Dodge, Dover and Mann Siding.  Only Dodge* is still in existence. 

While 100 years ago or so, the column provided readers with news, now the column provides us a window into the general life of Clare County inhabitants.

*What is somewhat noteworthy is that the column appeared less than a month after a big fire that struck Dodge and its giant mill and burned for three days.  The mill was never rebuilt and eventually, Dodge disappeared from maps until the late 1940’s.

The Clare Sentinel
April 26, 1894

Dodge

  • Mr. Joseph Carrow was out of town on business Friday.
  • Mt. L. M. Shumway was out of town Thursday.
  • The doctor has been somewhat under the weather the past week.
  • After a few days absence on business, H. Derail is again in town.
  • The party at Wm. Bolier’s was a pleasant affair.  All report a jolly time.
  • Master Herma Dehart went to Midland Tuesday where he is to spend a portion of his vacation visiting relatives.

Mann’s Siding

  • Boltone and Stillwill were visiting friends and relatives in Mt. Pleasant last week.
  • Will Davis has moved into his new house. It is hard to tell how long he will live there because he is always on the move.
  • The quilting bee at Mrs. Boulton’s was a success to the letter and all agree in saying they enjoyed themselves.
  • A heavy snow storm visited this part Friday night.
  • An uncle of Hiram and Silas Brown is visiting them
  • Charley Dingman who has been visiting parents and friends for the past three weeks returned to his home in Traverse City .
  • Miss Laura Walters visited Mrs. Leonard on Friday last.

Dover

  • We think the time that Elder Rogers occupied at the Eagle belonged to the Lord, not to the people.
  • A great many ladies enter Mrs. L. B. Lyons shop but scarcely none come away without a new hat. Her prices are within the reach of all. Butter and eggs are taken in exchange.
  • The mill is still running.
  • Mrs. Wm. Parrish and daughter called on Mrs. L. B. Lyon last Friday.
  • Harry Beacon has the quinsey.  (note: a throat infection)
  • W. L. Lyons is making a nice improvement to his store.
  • Geo. Dennis has moved in his new house.
  • One of Mrs. Donley’s children is quite sick.
  • D. Denno and wife were in Clare Tuesday.
  • A.    N. Whitlock has purchased a span of horses from a man in Farwell.
  • Mrs. L. B. Lyons was the recipient of a new sewing machine from her father. It is nice to have a kind father.
Categories: Clare County, History, Home life, Michigan | 2 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com. The Adventure Journal Theme.