Monday, December 31, 2012

1928 New Year's Eve

The last issue of The Fowlerville Review in the 1928 calendar year spoke of something great fun for the kids to do during the holiday season -- but to no luck:
There have been numerous years since then ice rinks have been created at Centennial Field, then Centennial Park, and also in a portion of the DDA lot just west of the hardware store.  This winter is not looking too great for that possibility though!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

1928 Hotel Sumner

As I continue to work my way through some randomly-chosen articles from 1928, I came across this very short blurb regarding the sale of the Hotel Sumner on South Grand avenue -- a building many still call the "old hotel."  The article was published in the local news section of The Fowlerville Review.

A picture published quite some time ago in the Fowlerville News and Views showed the hotel along about 1926-30.  It follows:
I believe at the far left there was a smoke shop, with a barber shop kind of in the middle, then restaurant for the hotel taking up the southern half of the building.  I tried zooming in on the lettering at the roofline, but could not read it.  I would be curious if anyone would know what that might have read as.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

1928 Lights and Pavement

In 1928, two fairly exciting improvements were made in the downtown area of Fowlerville.  Street lights were installed along Grand River:
And it was proposed a portion of South Grand avenue be paved:

Friday, December 28, 2012

1928 The Glorious Turkey

At some point during this holiday season, you probably had some turkey -- whether it was at Thanksgiving or Christmas -- so I just had to publish this editorializing of the big bird by G.L. Adams, Thanksgiving, 1928:
The above is why I was so entranced with writing a book on his 55-year career as editor and publisher.  He definitely had a way with words!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

1928 Speed Trap

Banter back and forth between newspapers was the norm in the late 1800s and into the early 1900s.  G.L. "Dad" Adams was the publisher and editor of The Fowlerville Review from 1874-1929 (you might know I published a book on his life and writings), and he loved to reprint articles and then give his opinion/answer. 
By 1928, automobiles were a common sight in and around the village and those passing through.  Concrete pavement had been laid down at the main four corners a few years earlier, although once drivers were past the village limits, there were still long stretches of "The Gravel," as it was called.
And, speed seemed to be an issue.  Following is a reprinted letter from the Northville Record and Mr. Adams' response:

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

1928 Gardner/Gehringer Wedding

Over the next few days I am back to randomly picking out some articles -- hopefully, they are interesting to you, my wonderful readers.

From what I've been told, Charles Gehringer -- who graduated from Fowlerville high school and played for the Detroit Tigers -- rarely came back to Fowlerville once he left for the pros.  He made his home in the Detroit area.

But in 1928, he was back to the village for his sister's wedding.  Following is the wedding announcement published in the local newspaper:
When I read the announcement, I noticed the term "picture hat" and was curious what that might have looked like, so, of course, I headed to google.  On a website devoted to the 1920s styles, I found these 1927 headwear fashions.
At some point in the future, I will post a series of articles about Charles Gehringer as I found them in the local newspaper.  As you will see, he bounced from farm teams to pro teams and eventually ended up in management. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

2012 Christmas Tree

Merry Christmas to all my wonderful readers and contributors -- hope this holiday finds you healthy and happy, and ready to read lots more posts! 

Monday, December 24, 2012

1970 Music Banner and Pipe Organ

When Mr. Leonard, one of my readers, purchased the Estey pipe organ from Charles Needham of the Howell Pickle Works company, he was given this banner that used to hang in the music room of J.C. Ellsworth's house, when Banker Ellsworth originally owned the organ -- now there is a mouthful!  But it pretty much sums up the entire many days of all the wonder pictures and information that has been provided for this website.
And, following are pictures of the pipe organ as it currently is housed at Mr. Leonard's home:

I'd like to extend a huge thank you to Mr. Leonard for his time and effort in sending me the information, a packet full of copies, and e-mails just chockful of information.  Thank you, thank you!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

1970 Tait House

Following are two pictures of the Ellsworth/Tait house, the first one possibly in the 1950s and the second one probably about 1970, when my reader that has provided so much information purchased the organ.

The one big change I see in the house is the front porch.  In the older picture, the porch covering was for the first floor only, but later, probably when the roof was redone, tall pillars were adding in front of both floors.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

1939 J.C. Ellsworth Passes Away

John Charles Ellsworth and his wife, Emma, had four children -- two daughters (Julia and Caddie) and two sons (Hanson and Alex).  He was born in West Burke, Vermont, near St. Johnsbury.

His obituary, as published in the local newspaper, can be found by clicking here.

Some additional information my reader from New Hampshire was able to provide was the following:

~~Miss Elizabeth Schneider worked for him for years in the bank and after Mrs. Ellsworth passed away, Miss Schneider moved into the house to help.

~~A Mrs. O'Connor served as a housekeeper.  (According to the 1930 census, Miss Schneider, who was born in Germany and at that time 48 years old, was one of three boarders.  The other two were Ella Bessert, age 21, and Mollie Connor -- probably the Mrs. O'Connor -- who was 73 years old and indicated she was born "at sea.") 

~~In extensive journals my reader has, Mr. Ellsworth wrote of two different motor trips he, Miss Schneider, and son Alex made eastward.  According to my reader, "they would drive the car as far as Detroit, put the car and themselves on a boat to Buffalo then pick up the car there and one time drove to New York City, as there is a letter in the organ file to the fact that Mr. E. had been to the Estey studios to hear their pipe organ there and possibly order his organ at that time.  One time the car was shipped back to Fowlerville and the travel party went back by train.  How exciting this was about 1916."

Friday, December 21, 2012

1930 Ellsworth Pictures

I am estimating these four pictures, provided by one of my readers, were taken sometime in the early 1930s.  In the first picture, J.C.'s son, Alex, is at the left side, then J.C. Ellworth is in the middle.  The third man is unidentified.
This picture was probably taken the same day, and it was noted by the picture that it was possibly in front of Mr. Ellsworth's house.
From stories told to my reader, Mr. Ellsworth was very proud of his Criscraft boat.  Following are two pictures provided to me:

Too bad the lake was not identified with these pictures.  During all of my research, I did find many residents vacationed at lakes southeast of Fowlerville, such as Island Lake, Zukey Lake, and Long Lake.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Update on 1914 Mrs. Fred Palmerton Article

If you would like to click here and read an article I posted on December 9, then come back here, you can see the wonderful genealogy list one of my readers recently sent to me.  The e-mail read as follows:

I'll try to give you a short connection on the question about Mrs. Fred Palmerton.

Samuel Palmerton had the sawmill in Fowlerville ......he was mentioned as sawing the planks for the plank road for Ralph Fowler.
Samuel's children were......

George....married Joanna Fowler and built the Palmerton Block

Then for the next step to get Mrs. Fred Palmerton we go with William's children. they were.....

Ida..........married Jim Handy......not sure if he is related to Calvin Handy
Fred.......This would most likely be the husband of the Mrs. Fred Palmerton in the newspaper article
Claude.......My grandfather
Bess......This would be Mary Burnie's great grandmother

To get to gas station question would be Fred's children....

Glen........owned the station in the 1950s..... his son Fred then took it over

For anyone doing genealogy, this should be wonderful help.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

1970 Purchase of J.C. Ellsworth's Organ

The last two bits of information I would like to offer on the organ originally owned by J.C. Ellsworth are two pieces of correspondence when the organ was purchased by its current owner.  The second letter is from George Tait, who became the bank president after Mr. Ellsworth.  Some may well remember him.

When Mr. Leonard met George Tait, he relayed they had made the music room smaller and turned it in their master bedroom.

Tomorrow I'm going to post an update of a post a few days back on Mrs. Fred Palmerton being injured, then over the next couple of days, I will be posting some pictures my reader sent.  Thank you so much to this particular reader for sharing so much great information on the village and one of its community leaders.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

1940 Domestic Pickle Works

Following are two letters regarding the purchase of J.C. Ellsworth's organ in 1940:
If you look back over the last few days, you can read quite a bit about both the organ and Bank Ellsworth.  But now the organ belonged to Mr. Charles Needham of the Howell Domestic Pickle Works.  In doing some research on Mr. Needham, I found a very informative website on Highland, which you read by clicking here.

To summarize what I found on that website, was the pickle works began in 1881, under the ownership of John Bernard Crouse, Henry Tremaine, and Solon Wilhelm.  There's no indication if Mr. William (Charles' father) Needham was involved with this company but in 1890,  he "opens a new factory for his Domestic Pickle Works in Highland Station, near the current intersection of M-59 and Milford Road."  A fire destroyed the factory and had to be rebuiltin October, 1894, and a few years later he relocated to East Livingston Road, in a former pickle operation.  Once again, in 1906, fire destroys his factory and even his residence.  He's still in business in 1913-14, with his son, Charles (the letter writer), now joining the company.  The business was closed in 1962.

Monday, December 17, 2012

1935 J.C. Ellsworth Article

In 1970, one of my readers made a visit to Fowlerville during the purchase of the organ originally owned by J.C. Ellsworth.  He had an opportunity to speak with Wayne Eaton, whom some may still remember, as well as Nellie Glenn, the village's historian in the mid-1900s. 
In the packet of correspondence this reader recently sent to me, there was a gracious letter from Nellie Glenn indicating an article that had been published in the Detroit Free Press.  A copy of the article was also included in the package. 
As I read through the article, I tried to imagine what it would have been like talking with this trusted banker.  My favorite quote -- "I don't do any work any more.  I just say yes and no."

Sunday, December 16, 2012

1928 Repairs to J.C. Ellsworth's Organ

Either J.C. Ellsworth, the banker of the Fowlerville State Bank, was a very busy man or his interest waned in having the organ he so desparately wanted a decade earlier.  One of my readers, who now owns parts of the organ, sent me a stack of correspondence and other information.  I found this letter particularly interesting -- or gruesome -- in the repairman's description of repairing the brass strip found in the first paragraph.
Tomorrow's post will have a newspaper article published in the Detroit Free Press.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

1920 Music Bulletins for J.C. Ellsworth

In May of '20, it would appear Banker Ellsworth was "hungry" once again for more music (see yesterday's post).
I decided it was time to go in search of any information on the Estey Organ company and, of course, wikipedia had a page -- you can find it by clicking here.  Another page has some more history and you can read it by clicking here.

Following is a genealogical collage from the second website but, unfortunately, the quality is just so-so:

Friday, December 14, 2012

1918 Hungry for Music

By now J.C. Ellsworth, the local banker for Fowlerville, had owned an Estey organ for a year.  From the sounds of the letter below -- received from a local reader who now owns parts of the organ -- Mr. Ellsworth had worked his way through all the music he had and needed something new: 
And, according to my reader that sent these copies, it would appear Mr. Ellsworth wrote the company on an average of twice weekly requesting more rolls of music for his pipe organ.  Wouldn't it be wonderful to know exactly what music he had and what more he received?

Tomorrow, more correspondence and information on J.C. Ellsworth and his Estey organ.

On a side note, it is interesting to look at this letterhead to see what community leaders were part of the bank.  One name jumps out at me -- Lewis H. Cooper.  He was was an earlier druggist following in the steps of his father.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

1917 J.C. Ellsworth Organ Purchase

If you check back to yesterday's post, you will see a letter from J.C. Ellsworth inquiring as to the possibility of purchasing an organ for the music room in his house, and for his own pleasure.
Following is a copy of the purchase order, received from one of my readers (ultimately the current owner of parts of the organ -- he bought the console, in particular):
The organ cost $9,500 with a credit by XY Orchestrelle, purchased June 16, 1917.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

1915 Letter from J.C. Ellsworth

Over the next week (or so), I am going to post letters, articles, and pictures I received from someone who recently found my blog.  This reader is located in New Hampshire and appears to be deeply involved in preserving their history.
His connection to Fowlerville?
Years ago, he purchased an organ that had originally been owned by J.C. Ellsworth, one of Fowlerville's revered bankers in the early days of the village.  At the time this reader purchased the organ, it was owned by the proprietor of the Howell Domestic Pickle Company.
But to start this series of posts, following is the letter from J.C. Ellsworth to the Estey Organ Company, located in Brattleboro, Vermont, dated December 1, 1915:
Tomorrow, I'll show the purchase order.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

1928 Salt on Street

With winter, it used to be salt followed as it is spread on the roads when they were icy.  Now, though, more often it is sand that is used, but I still associate the spreading of salt on the roads with cold, wintery conditions.
As I've been randomly looking at articles I've saved from thousands of digitals I took of microfilm at the Howell library, I came across the following editorial blurb published in The Fowlerville Review in the summer of 1928: 
So salt was used to try to tame the dusty roads, which of course got me thinking about current-day technology; especially since we have to drive about half a mile on a dirt road to get to our place.  Once or twice a summer, chloride is sprayed on the road by the county and it does seem to help for a while, although still not long once the rains come.  Reading the above article, I guess not much has changed.

Monday, December 10, 2012

1917 Obituary for Mrs. R.E. Bell

The following obituary, found in The Fowlerville Review in 1917, is one of those articles written with a wealth of information for anyone doing historical research:
The second paragraph of the obituary tells us where the Holt and Hart store was located because we know the Bell opera house was (and still is but is now used as storage) in the northeast block above what is now Maria's Dance Studio with the north half of the old opera house above Olden Days. 
Holt and Hart dealt in groceries and dry goods but they were also responsible for a huge collection of photographs taken in the early 1900s.  They took pictures of the downtown area, many homes, and especially damage done by the 1909 "cyclone" that ripped through the south part of town by the railroad tracks.
If you look back a few days ago on this website, there are also a couple of articles of a burglary that took place in their store.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

1914 Ladies Injured

As I randomly select articles from the local newspaper (while waiting for a package to arrive with what I believe to be some very interesting information), I came across this 1914 article:

Both Ladies Were Injured~~On Thursday afternoon, of last week, as Samuel Logan and wife and Mrs. Fred Palmerton were driving home from this village, when near the Potts farm, Mr. Logan was driving with a loose line and discovered the bit had broken in the center and was hanging out of the horse's mouth.  He hastily slipped out of the cutter and attempted to get the horse by the head, but the attempt was unsuccessful and, as the horse started to run, he called to the ladies to jump.  Both did so and Mrs. Logan injured her foot quite painfully and Mrs. Palmerton quite seriously injured her knee, although fortunately no bones were broken.  The horse gradually slowed down his pace and was caught by Mr. Logan's son near home and neither horse or cutter were injured.

As the Palmerton name goes way back in this village's history, I am wondering what this Mrs. Fred Palmerton's relationship was to Frank and Joanna Palmerton -- the merchants involved in building (and rebuilding) the Palmerton block.

If anyone can add a comment with additional information or e-mail me and I will do an update, that would be great.  I'm wondering if this is the same Mrs. Fred Palmerton that would eventually own and run the Standard station in the 1930s.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

1909 Marshall Fowler, Sr.

In 1909, the following article showed up in the local newspaper, The Fowlerville Review:
With Mary and Ralph Fowler have so many children, I figure this must be one of their descendants.  I did a quick search on and found that in 1909, Marshall Fowler would have been 69 years old.  In the 1900 census, it showed him married to Lucinda, who was two years younger than him, and at that point they had been married 39 years.  They had two boys -- Marshall (Jr) and Roy, who were 29 and 23 years respectively in 1900.

From the census information, Marshall was a farmer with his son Roy helping out as a laborer.  Marshall Jr was shown as a "horse trader."

If anyone has more to add, that would be greatly appreciated.  Does anyone know where the farm might have been?

Friday, December 7, 2012

1911 Plank Road Replaced

A few years back, while construction workers were replacing utilities and ultimately repaving portions of Grand River in Lansing, old planks were found and determined to be a part of the Old Plank Road built in the mid-1800s.  That same plank road was laid through Fowlerville during the years 1852 and 1853, connection Williamston through Webberville and Fowlerville to Howell.

In 1911, that plank road was still use but being replaced.  A short blurb in The Fowlerville Review let readers know Redford township was doing just that, obviously pleasing the editor:

Anyone having occasion to drive to Detroit will be glad to learn that a concrete road 16 feet wide will take the place of the old plank road, which has been in a very bad condition for many years past.  This new road will extend through Redford township and much of it is already built nine feet wide, but will be extended to 16 and will be completed not later than 1912.  The township has sold bonds for $50,000 for the purpose.

I decided to "google" images for a plank road and found a great picture.  It came from a page you can read by clicking here.
Photograph: Historic Plank Road of the 1920s.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

1911 Holt & Hart Store Burglary

~~About $500 Stolen~~The store of Holt & Hart was entered Tuesday night and $500 taken from the safe.  About $400 of the money belonged to the firm and the other $100 was Maccabee money, Mr. Holt being the finance keeper of Fowlerville lodge.

The burglars gained entrance through the outside cellarway by pulling a staple and cut a hole through the door so they could lift the hook, thus giving them entrance into the store from the north side, the hole being neatly cut with a knife, just the shape and size of the ordinary hand.

The firm have been in the habit of cashing milk checks on the 15th and did not bank their money Tuesday night, leaving it in the safe.

The cash was taken with the exception of a few dollars in change, and the safe relocked.  As far as is known, no goods were taken and the burglars left no clue.

So far no clue has been discovered that throws any light on the robbery.

Interestingly, nothing more appeared in the newspaper on solving the robbery, but the following letter did appear about a month after the above report:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

1911 Birdsall/Greenaway Wedding

About a month prior to the wedding ceremony uniting in marriage Fern Greenaway with Louis Birdsall, a short blurb was published in The Fowlerville Review announcing that invitations for this wedding had been printed and were being sent out.  Did that mean that basically pretty much everyone in the Fowlerville area was invited to the wedding? 
I guess I found that kind of curious because when your invitation did not arrive, it might have made some feel slighted.
Anyhow, back to the wedding.  Louis Birdsall took over operations of the grist mill, which was located at the northeast corner of North Grand avenue and Mill street, halfway between where the fire department and library now reside (see photo below).  Prior to that, the Greenaway family owned and operated the mill.

Although this wedding announcement mentions Mr. Birdsall was a high school principal, he must have resigned that position for them to eventually live in Fowlerville, their house located where you will now find a parking lot across from the library.   

When I was doing research for my first book I came across information that Fern (Greenaway) Birdsall became a music/piano teacher and taught out of their home.  I even had a couple of my "informants" mentioning how they could remember both Mr. and Mrs. Birdsall.

Following is a squinty-eyed view of a 1956 aerial photograph (north is at the top of the pic), showing the grist mill (largest building close to the upper lefthand corner) with their house over to the right in the picture, showing the backside of the house as it fronted on Mill street.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

1901 Beehive at Jay Redfield's Farm

A few weeks back, my husband and I happened to be taking care of errands and deliveries, and one of my stops was at the village office.  What fortunate timing it was.  Both Sherrie and Kathy urged us back outside to check out a honeycomb that was just discovered in one of the trees at the front of the village office building, now that the leaves had all fallen off.
I ducked under the tree and snapped the following two pictures before a beekeeper came to take it down and try to save as many bees as possible:

Coincidentally, as I'm searching through interesting information to post to the website, I came across the following article, published in 1901 in The Fowlerville Review about a beehive:

~~Jay Redfield has, in all probability, the largest beehive in this county at least.  He kept finding honey bees in the chamber of his residence and an examination revealed the fact that a swarm of bees had entered through a large knot hole in the siding and filled more or less of the space between the studding.  A few days after the discovery was made, the bees swarmed and Mr. Redfield put a hive over the knot hole and captured part of the swarm, the others still remaining in the house.  The only disadvantage is in having to tear the house down to get the honey.

Makes one wonder what he eventually did to solve the problem, or did the honey just remain in the wall forever.

Monday, December 3, 2012

1899 Pasacas Passes Away

Fowlerville used to be a major hub for horse racing -- from the mid-1800s way into the 1990s (I believe).  At a least a few times each summer, there is still some harness racing to be enjoyed at the fairgrounds where you can place a bet and watch some fun racing.

But back to the mid-to-late 1800s, horse racing was one of the main hobbies and even a business.  W.W. Starkey, the owner of the local stave mill (feel free to search on his name for more information) owned Pasacas.  This horse, as reported in the local newspaper, was a prolific winner.  I did some quick research online and found some genealogy for a Pasacas, born in 1870.  You can check out the chart by clicking here.  I'm fairly certain it is the same Pasacas that W.W. Starkey owned, as the horse was born 29 years earlier to the article shown below that was published in The Fowlerville Review:

Sunday, December 2, 2012

1898 More Burgling

Yesterday's post spoke of F.G. Rounsville's house being ransacked.  Just within a few weeks, two more blurbs in the local newspaper showed up indicating more was going on in the village than just random hits on houses:

~~There seems to be a considerable amount of petty thieving on Gardan lane and some of the residents there may form a vigilance committee.


~~The tramps have a new game now.  They are quick to catch on to every little idea that will help them to a hand out.  Just now, they are soldiers.  They say they wanted to enlist to fight for Cuban independence but the surgeon turned them down on account of some physical defect and they are working their way back home because they have not the money to pay their fare.  Just at this time the story is a go and rarely fails to bring a good bite to eat.

I'm thinking some things never change!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

1897 Rounsville Home Burgled

F.G. Rounsville was a successful businessman here in Fowlerville at the turn of the 19th century.  He operated the grain elevator at the railroad tracks at South Grand avenue and was operating it while living across the road in a large, spacious home his family built around 1878.

In 1897, someone decided what was Rounsville's was his also, as reported in an article found in The Fowlerville Review:

~~Bold, Bad Burglar~~During Saturday afternoon, the residence of F.G. Rounsville was broken into and about $75 worth of small articles stolen.  The house was ransacked from bottom to top and things generally overhauled.  The chisel with which the door was broken open was left laying on the dresser.  Cora Cardotte saw a man in the yard as she was passing the house and upon learning of the burglary, gave a description of him which was given to the officers and a diligent search was made among the crowd.  One person was arrested upon suspicion but proved not to be the party she saw and no further clue could be obtained.

I have a huge amount of information on F.G. Rounsville (and a picture from one of the yearbooks -- see below) and others in his family, but the name of Cora Cardotte does not ring a bell with me in all of the research I've done so I went looking on one of the genealogy sites -- still no luck.  Has anyone heard of her or this family?