FRIENDS OF THE BARREL CELEBRATE THE 4TH
Thirty-two Friends of the Barrel (including two roller-skating
car-hops, a 1959 Retractable convertible courtesy of Ron and Mary
Voss, two folks on bikes, one on a mini-scooter, four with sandwich
boards, one wearing a barrel, and almost everyone wearing "Save the
Barrel" T-Shirts) and four four-legged supporters were a big hit in
the Saugatuck 4th of July Parade.
They passed out over 700 fliers about the barrel project. The
Saugatuck-Douglas Rotary Club is the latest to "Save a Stave" (one
of 120 staves in the outside wall of the barrel) by donating more
than $150. (T-Shirts can still be ordered by contacting Chris Yoder
at firstname.lastname@example.org). For
more information, visit "Friends of the Barrel" on
Summer is here!
The Old School House is open
Our summer intern, Maddie,
will be on hand to show you around.
"SDHS 101" COMING UP!
The second and final informational session of this year will be held
at the Old School House on Saturday, July 30, beginning at 10:00
a.m. "SDHS 101" is designed for new and former members who want to
learn the history of the organization and the benefits that it has
to offer. This is a great opportunity to meet members and officers
of the Society, and receive a tour of the Old School House. If you
plan to attend, please respond to Nyla Hensley at 269-857-5704 or
WELCOME NEW MEMBERS
We would like to welcome these new members who have joined the
Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society since the last newsletter.
l Frank Sardone & Susan
Fall, Fennville & Kalamazoo, MI
CEPHAS FIELD - EARLY SAUGATUCK LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER
February 2010 newsletter shared a photo of the Jacob Fox
family taken in about 1855, which we said was one of the earliest
pictures we have seen of local residents. Jacob Fox was born in
Pennsylvania in 1807, died in Douglas in 1871 and is buried in the
Douglas cemetery. His wife and family soon moved on to Florida.
One hundred and forty years after his death, his
g-g-g-granddaughter Kay Fox sent us a copy of the family photo.
From the collection of May Francis Heath, we have a photograph of
Saugatuck Founder William Gay Butler, who died in 1857, meaning
the photo predated that time. Now, thanks to a family historian on
"Ancestry.com", we have another picture of a similar
Cephas Field (Sep. 17, 1785-Mar. 15, 1861)
In the 1850 census for Newark (later to be named Saugatuck), the
very first persons listed were Cephas Field, Light Keeper, age 64,
born in Massachusetts, and his wife Mehitable. Lake Michigan
Lighthouse researcher Terry Pepper reports that Cephas was the 4th
keeper of our Saugatuck Lighthouse, serving from June 5 1849 until
he resigned April 15, 1853. He had been born in Deerfield,
Massachusetts to Oliver Field and Ketura Hoyt in 1785. The Field
Genealogy, 1901, by Franklin Clifton Pierce, reports at entry
"CEPHAS FIELD, son of Oliver and Keturah (Hoyt), b. in
Deerfield, Mass., Sept. 17, 1785; he went with his father in 1795
to Phelps, N. Y.; in 1809 removed to Sodus, N. Y.; in 1810
returned to Phelps; in 1821 removed to Lyons, Wayne county; in
1823 returned to Sodus; in 1837 removed to Allegan, Mich., where
he d. March 15, 1861. While in Sodus he was engaged in the
manufacture of salt. Finding that unprofitable, he abandoned it.
After his removal to Allegan, he was engaged in mercantile and
transportation business. He enlisted early in the war of 1812, and
served until peace was declared. He was at the burning of Black
Rock and Buffalo by the British Dec. 30, 1813; at the capture of
Fort Erie July 2, 1814; battle of Bridgewater July 5, 1814;
Lundy's Lane July 25, 1814, and at the defense of Fort Erie, where
the British commander, General Drummond, was killed, Aug. 15,
1814, and various skirmishes on the Canadian frontier. He d. March
15, 1861. He m., 1805, Elizabeth, dau. of John J. S. and Polly E.
(Hawks) Taylor, of Phelps, b. in Deerfield, Mass., Aug. 1, 1784:
d. in Allegan, Mich., Dec. 24, 1839. Res. Sodus, N. Y."
In the 1950s Ruth Robbins Monteith put together a record book of
early Michigan Land Grants which reports:
"Caphas FIELD age 69 of Newark, Allegan Co., Mich, applied for
an additional Land Grant of 80A (acres) for service in the War of
1812. He had previously had a Land Grand of 40A. "He was a
Musician in Capt. James REESE Co., Lt. Ralph WOOD in the Artillery
Regt. commanded by Col. Walter GRIEVES in the War of 1812. He was
drafted at Phelps Town, NY June 10, 1812 and was honorably
discharged at Sodus point, NY Aug. 10, 1812. Was also in the Co.
commanded by Capt. Jenks PULLEN Col. Elias CORTS Regt. of Militia
from Aug. 31 or Sept. 1, 1814 to Nov. 10, 1814. He received a
warrant for 40A No. 97872 and on Mar. 20, 1855 he applied for 80A
We know of nine children that Cephas had by his first wife
Elizabeth Taylor, who he married in 1805. She died in 1839 and is
buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Allegan. The 1860 census shows him
living in Allegan with second wife Mehitable Jones, where his
oldest son Wells Field (1807-1890) also lived. Cephas died in 1861
and his widow in 1871. Both rest in the family plot at Oakwood.
contributed by Chris Yoder
A Series of Talks About People, Places and History
in Douglas and Saugatuck
1. July 26 Lost & Found: Great Saugatuck Area Art
Discoveries by Ken Kutzel, sponsored by Judy Oberholtzer
2. August 2 The People Who Built All Saints' Church, Saugatuck
by Father Cory Stoppel, sponsored by Bob & Bobbie Gaunt
3. August 9 In the Path of the Great Tornado of 1956:
Saugatuck's Lighthouse - and more - Destroyed, sponsored by
4. August 16 Indian Joe's Dugout Canoe of 1844 and
Native American Canoe Making sponsored by
5. August 23 Looking at Paintings and Finding Self
by Mary Jo Lemanski, sponsored by
6. August 30 The Douglas Root Beer Barrel: Good Times
and Highway Architecture, sponsored by Osman Flowers and
These fun and informal talks will take place on Tuesdays, 11am
at the Old School House History Center in Douglas. Free admission. Click
HERE to download and print a schedule poster
in your choice of color for your frig.
Wednesday, August 10 SDHS Annual Picnic "Food as History" on
the lawn of the Old School House History Center.
MAKES A GREAT GIFT!
The Village Table A Delicious History of Food in the
By Stacy Honson and Kit Lane
is available at the Saugatuck-Douglas Museum and can be
ordered online by clicking
If you love Saugatuck, or you love food, you’ll love this
unique book. All proceed benefit the Saugatuck-Douglas
Historical Society. Soft cover books are $35. Limited-edition*
(hand bound) hard cover books are $125.
*Attention book collectors: Only eleven limited-edition
copies of The Village Table remain. To reserve yours,
please email Sally at
Click on the picture for a higher resolution copy.
Folks On the Ferry 1908
I enjoyed digging into the people history of this scene. The date
was probably summer 1908 and the subjects were posing for what
turned out to be a great shot. Herman Simonson had his camera set up
on the east bank ferry dock. Since the skating rink is not seen in
the background it was prior to 1909.
My memory of Allie Dagget is clear. Here, he is the wagon driver
without a doubt, the same Allie Dagget who had a taxi service that I
remember well from the 1950s. Born in 1878 he died in 1966 and is
buried in Saugatuck.
A little sleuthing through the 1910 census led to Ivan Arends.
Fifteen years old and the son of Seaton Arends who in the census,
listed his occupation as a drayman - freight. The Arends family
lived one house away from Timothy and Ellen Daggett.
They had one son, Ross Phelps born in 1893 - in 1908 Ross would have
been age fifteen, about right for the young man cranking the ferry.
This is the Ross Phelps that I knew when he had a hardware store on
Butler Street [across from today's Phil’s Restaurant] in the 1940s
and 50s. By then he had developed an awesome beer gut that was
barely restrained by large britches and red suspenders!
The man in the background, no doubt the regular ferry cranker-deckhand
who for the photo stepped back permitting the other characters to
get the camera's attention. His name was Garrett Vreeland. Born in
New Jersey in 1840, he was a latecomer to the community in 1900. I
was able to find a family tree on Ancestry.com. He was named after
his grandfather and his Vreeland [Vrieland] ancestors go back to the
very earliest Dutch settlers in the American colonies. He died in
1915 and is buried in Saugatuck.
Jay Myers [his name is often misspelled Meyers] is, as usual, the
star of the photograph. Jay always has a twinkle in the eye and a
pipe between the teeth. Born 1856 in New York, he came to Saugatuck
in the 1860s to work as a lumberman and millwright. In 1907 he took
over the important job of ferryman. Jay endeared himself to the
populace of the area because of his devoted ferry work and his good
humor. The "beloved ferryman" died in 1928 and was honored with a
stone bench at the west shore ferry landing.
Stop at the ferry landing, sit on the bench and recall this scene of
103 years ago!
Next month tune in for a nearby shipwreck story.
Click on the picture for a higher resolution copy.
WHERE WERE YOU ON DECEMBER 7, 1941?
Bud Sewers in his First Car- A $45 1928 Ford Roadster
Bud Sewers in the Service
Bud Sewers reports, "I was at the Oval Beech when I heard." He
had a $45 car, but no radio --- "that was a luxury I couldn't
afford --- Someone had a radio. The guy who used to own the car,
Dale Van Leeuwen, he saw me coming and jumped out and flagged me
down and said 'The Japs just bombed Pearl Harbor'. I said Oh oh
--- Oh oh --- that's you and me who are going to go." (and they
Send your Pearl Harbor memories to Chris Yoder,
email@example.com or call
contributed by Chris Yoder