Notes From Your President
The Annual meeting for the Saugatuck Douglas
Historical Society was held on Wednesday, June 13, 2012. The
following members of the Society were thanked for their special
services toward the good of the organization.
Two members of the Board of Directors were honored
for their service. Sally Winthers served two years as Secretary and
"Great Thinker" and was honored for both. Sally was instrumental in
graphics for the award winning cookbook and she was also
instrumental in bringing the Society's Historical Chronicle into
reality. Jon Helmrich was honored for serving four years as Vice
President and for his Long Range Planning. Both Sally and Jon will
New members of the Board are Sharon Bauer,
Secretary; Judi Vanderbeck, Event Coordinator; Ed Kelly, Membership;
Sharon Kelly, Grants; Bill Underdown, Development; Ryan Kilpatrick
and Renee Zita.
Others who were given BIG THANK YOUS were; Jim
Schmiechen, Vic Bella, Bill Hess, Chris Yoder, Jack Sheridan and Ken
Ruth Johnson was honored for her six years of
service to the Society in planning and executing the Back-In-Time
Garden. Ruth spent many, many hours working on behalf of the
Society. She worked in sunshine, in rain (and mud) and was honored
with the Volunteer of the Year Award.
The Charles J. Lorenz award was presented
posthumously to Harold Thieda and his wife Sandra Thieda accepted
the award on his behalf. She was thanked for sharing Harold with the
Society. Harold was in his fourth year as President and was the
backbone of the Saugatuck Historic Walking Tours. He led the Society
with a caring spirit and with respect. He will certainly be missed
and remembered. It was also announced that Sandra had purchased a
bench in Harold's memory and honor and the monies collected in the
Memorial will be used to sustain the newly formed Art Gallery on the
second floor, east side of Union School (Old School House).
The evening progressed to Kit Lane and her program
on the story of the Michigan Titanic - The Chicora.
Refreshments were provided by Nancy Woods -
submitted by Marsha Kontio
Society's Monthly Meeting
7:00 pm, Wednesday, July 11
at the Old School House History Center
The Circus Comes To Douglas
with Bob & Kay Sapita
sponsored by Kathy Lehrer and
Travis & Sandra Randolph
Our summer spectacular. View the famous model circus
and hear SDHS member Bob Sapita tell how this amazing circus was
built -- with sound and animation leaving you spell bound. Circus
time refreshments. The Model Circus will be on display at the Old
School House until July 23
Bob and Kay Sapita with their model circus.
These fun and informal Talks will kick off on Tuesday, July 3 at the
Old School House History Center in Douglas when the school bell
rings at 11 AM and run through the end of August.
For only $125 you can be one of the two sponsors per Talk.
HELP SPONSOR A TUESDAY TALK!
You will be acknowledged as one of the sponsors of the Talk on the
press release, the Society's website, newsletter and at the Talk.
Just REPLY to this email and we'll be in touch!
1. July 3 Lakeshore Life and Fruit Farming - Past and Present
by Joan Donaldson, sponsored by
2. July 10 The Hungry Village: Exploring Agri-Business
on the Lakeshores by David Geen
3. July 17 Goin Fishin. Lost Stories and the Big Catch
by Mike Peel, sponsored by Howard & Paula Schultz and
Kathy & Frank Wilson,
BeachWay Resort & Hotel
4. July 24 Theater as History: The Red Barn Story by
John Huyge, sponsored by Candice Lewis and
Kathy & Frank Wilson,
BeachWay Resort & Hotel and
5. July 31 Re-Designing Douglas. Connecting People to a New
Douglas by Ryan Kilpatrick, sponsored by
6. August 7 Art Collection Secrets: Stories from the SDHS Art
Archives by Ken Kutzel
7. August 14 Saved from a Slow Death: How Mom & Dad Saved
Saugatuck's Pump House by Jay Shorey
8. August 21 Look. See. Hear. How Does Our Garden Grow?
by Ruth Johnson, sponsored by Osman Flowers and Firs
9. August 28 Good Looking? The Art of Looking Good
by Maryjo Lemanski, sponsored by Jim & Janie Flemming
Welcome New Members
We would like to welcome the new members who has joined the
Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society since the last newsletter.
l Julianne Fletcher,
l Dave Brigham,
l Sally Sparks & Paul
Lewis, Bloomfield Hills, MI
l Dan McGavin,
l Brian & Judith
Baumbach, Fennville, MI
l Laurie Goshorn,
l Alan D. Kercinik.
Don't Miss the Back-In-Time Garden & Shipwreck Exhibit his Summer
Hours open through mid-August
Great article on the Historical
Society in the Jun/Jul 12 issue of Urban Street Shore West
magazine. Pick up a copy around town or click
HERE to read the article.
of a recently acquired Chicora artifact!
Click on the picture for a higher resolution copy.
Ron Spengler and Mary Redford,
Society Young Scholar, hold a wooden plaque with a portrait of the
Graham & Morton lost steamship the Chicora burned into it.
The artist's name in the
lefthand corner is Haine and the picture is dated 1896, a year
after the Chicora was lost on Lake Michigan in a January storm. A
large amount of wreckage washed ashore between Saugatuck and South
Haven and it is likely that the wood for the plaque is a salvaged
piece of this wreckage.
Spengler bought the plaque from
a Hillsdale area man, restored it and presented it to the
Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society. It was unveiled following a
presentation on the Chicora given by society member and author Kit
Lane on June 13.
submitted by Kit Lane
Second "101" Coming Up
New - and old - members who want
to learn about the history of the Society and the opportunities that
it has to offer are invited to attend the second and final "101"
session of the year.
It will be held on July 28th
at the OSH History Center in Douglas, beginning at 10:00 a.m. For
more information or to confirm that you will attend contact Nyla
Hensley at 269-857-5704 or
With A Splash Of Rainbow
Young Scholars Greg Farrand, Chad Mitchell & Jordan
Hathaway are all colored up.
What’s better than viewing the
scenery that is Saugatuck and Douglas? Getting covered in color
with friends, family and the young scholars and the same time!
The Young Scholars program,
through the Saugatuck Center for the Arts (SCA) and the
Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society (SDHS), will be hosting
"White Run With A Splash Of Rainbow" on Saturday, August 18 at the
Old School House on Center Street in downtown Douglas.
The young scholars (Jordan
Hathaway, Chad Mitchell, Dustin Moore, Mary Redford and Greg
Farrand), while interning for the 2012 summer, are hoping to
create funding through the colorful walk/run event for future
interns to participate in the Young Scholars program.
"We believe this event will be a
great way to combine the arts of the Saugatuck-Douglas community
and the Young Scholars program," Moore said. "The internship
program offers a lot of great experience for college students in
any field they're going into."
The festivities don't stop with
the race, however. Show off your colorful new outfit while
enjoying food, drinks, music and some amazing silent auction
For more information, contact
Jordan Hathaway at 616-283-6441 or
The SDHS is proud to be competing in Allegan County's ArtsAlive
competition for the first time this year, and would like to thank
everyone who has already contributed for helping us climb the
ladder to first place!
ArtsAlive is an arts and cultural competition between 14 local
organizations. Organizations compete to see who can get the most
votes. Each vote costs one dollar, and 100 percent of each dollar
comes back to us at the end of the competition. Organizations in
the top five get additional prize money.
As you know, every vote counts. As of week two, the Historical
Society reached first place in the competition, but we haven't met
our goal. Any funds you would like to contribute to the SDHS this
year would help us even more if they were run through the
Since our organization can't vote for itself, we need you to send
your donation to the Allegan County Community Foundation. Click
HERE for a donation form. Simply fill it in and mail it along
with your donation to Keep Your Arts Alive VOTES!, ACCF, 524
Marshal St., Allegan, MI 49010. Checks can be made out to ACCF
for short. We will get 100 percent back at the end of the
Of course, cash is welcome too. We have donation boxes at the Old
School House and the Pump House Museum.
The competition ends September 13, so please don't hesitate to ask
any questions you may have.
Questions can be directed to Chad Mitchell at
Thank you for your consideration.
Village Table" Receives Award
The American Association for State and Local History has selected
the SDHS publication The Village Table for a 2012 Award of
Merit by the Leadership in History award committee.
The AASLH Leadership in History Award is the nation's most
prestigious competition for recognition of achievement in state
and local history. The award will be presented on Friday, October
5, 2012 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The Friends of the Barrel will
be marching in the 4th of July parade to raise
awareness of the Douglas Root Beer Barrel restoration project.
Come help the Friends make a big splash for the Barrel. Everyone
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Muster at the Saugatuck High School at 1:30 pm
The parade rolls at 2:00 pm.
To get your "Save the Barrel"
T-shirt please visit the Saugatuck-Douglas History Museum (the
Pump House) or contact Chris Yoder at
For information about the Barrel
The history of the Barrel is growing, click
HERE for details
Friends of the Barrel on Facebook, click
Turnout for Armed Forces
Thanks to everyone for making
the Saugatuck-Douglas Area Armed Forces Day Luncheon on May 19th a
great success. Armed Forces Day is a salute to our service
members, past and present, first celebrated in 1949. Over 140
people turned out for the event held at the Saugatuck Masonic
The SDHS was a co-sponsor for
this event and our own premier historian Kit Lane gave a wonderful
program with tales of local folks in the Civil War. Lester
Schaffer of Douglas, Michigan's oldest Vet at 103 years young,
joined in honoring his fellow servicemen and women. Lester was in
the Army in the 1930's and was a sergeant during WWII.
Planning is in process for the
2013 event. Jim Schmeichen has committed to do his program on "The
Dope", the WWII newsletter sent around the world to our local
service members. Anyone who would like to help out with the
efforts, please contact: Chris Yoder, 269-857-4327, email:
Judy Mauger, 269-283-6958, email:
From the Archives
June 22, 1912
Click on the picture for a higher resolution copy
Saturday was a big day in Saugatuck, about 300
people from Holland, Grand Rapids, South Haven and Chicago going
there to witness the launching of the new steamer Anna C. Wilson.
As the steamer started to move down the ways, Miss Mary Randall,
daughter of one of the owners broke the bottle of wine over the
bow and christened the steamer.
The new boat will replace the John A. Aliber on
the Saugatuck and South Haven run during the months of July and
August, plying between Chicago and Saugatuck the remainder of the
From the pages of the Holland
City News and the Holland Sentinel
submitted by Mary Voss
Michigan Hometown Stories:
WGVU Public Media would like to thank the Saugatuck-Douglas
Historical Society for its support of the Michigan Hometown Stories:
Saugatuck/Douglas documentary project. We will be submitting updates
every month in order to keep you informed about the progress of the
The WGVU production crew started taping around town beginning at the
Historical Society’s annual Memorial Day Weekend reception. WGVU is
a proud sponsor of the Great Lakes Lifeboat permanent exhibit. A
crew was also on hand for a private tour of the Keewatin and was
onsite when she made her departure from Saugatuck. We're trusting
that WGVU crews will soon become a common and welcome sight around
In addition to a one-hour program, which will air on WGVU stations
for many years promoting your beloved towns and businesses, the
project will give-back to the area in many ways. This includes a new
curriculum plan for teaching local history in our schools and an
exciting history tool for use on smart phones and tablets. This tool
will use archival information and photographs from the Historical
Society and be available for all to use, share and upload additional
During the first phase of the project our goal was to receive the
endorsement of key partners in the area. We are very pleased to have
the following partners supporting the project:
Area Business Association
Convention and Visitors Bureau
l West Michigan Caterer
l Laketown Golf &
l Saugatuck Public
Broadcast Communications - Jon Helmrich
l Saugatuck Center for
l Rotary Club of
l Michigan Humanities
On Saturday, June 9, 70 people gathered at the home of Patrick and
Pam Murphy of Douglas for a fundraising reception. We'd like to
thank all of those that attended and made a financial investment in
the project. The project is still in the all-important development
and fundraising phase, so we would appreciate your continued
Jon Helmrich (right) addressing guests at Patrick (left)
and Pam Murphy’s home
For more information about
Michigan Hometown Stories: Saugatuck/Douglas or to make a donation
to the project, please contact Chelsea Dubey at WGVU at (616)
email@example.com or visit
Pictured at the May 26 Exhibition
Opening with their life jackets on are Dean Batchelor, Dick Lyons,
Dave Mauger and Al Lyon (L to R) who spent about 2,000 hours over
two years restoring the 1854 vessel that once was at the Saugatuck
lighthouse ready to pluck sailors from turbulent Lake Michigan.
(Picture by Jim Hayden,
For the complete Holland Sentinel
article including more pictures and a short video of Jim Schmiechen
thanking those who made the exhibit possible, click
2012 Membership Directory
You should be receiving your 2012
Society Membership Directory before long. Look for it in your
mailbox. For members who have not renewed their membership for 2012,
this will be the last newsletter you will be receiving and
unfortunately, your listing will not be in the new Directory.
Included with your Directory will
be a copy of the Society's Historical Chronicle
If you would like more copies of
the Historical Chronicle, they are available at the Old School,
Museum and all advertiser locations.
Click on the picture for a higher resolution copy.
From the first moment I saw the photos of the Avalon, I wanted to
know more about it. You might say that this structure must have been
the best seen cottage in Saugatuck. Poised on the skyline, on a
stunning vantage point atop the high ridge that borders north Park
Street across the river from Moores Creek. It commanded a view of
both Lake Michigan and Lake Kalamazoo. To reach the location one
must start up the road leading to the water reservoir located on the
north shoulder of Mt. Baldhead. About fifty yards up, a branch of
the road goes to the right and heads steeply up the front of the
bluff overlooking the river. Immediately at the top are the remnants
of the Avalon foundation. Unfortunately, today the view is lost to
the surrounding foliage.
The history is interesting, especially so since we are now learning
about the family that built it. The Avalon was built by William
Harbert (1843-1920) and his wife Elizabeth Boynton (1845-1925) in
1905 for their daughter Corrine. Their home was in Evanston,
Illinois but they obviously had affection for Saugatuck.
William Harbert was a successful attorney in Chicago. He founded the
law firm of Harbert and Daley which specialized in right of way work
for railroads in the period 1880-1910. As a personal investment, he
bought a great amount of land in the Saugatuck area, including a
large parcel surrounding the Avalon location.
Elizabeth Boynton was a PhD, a successful writer and was very highly
regarded for her leadership activities in the National Woman
The great great grandson of the Harberts, Bill Frederick contacted
me at the SDHS last April. He was here from California gathering
information on the Harberts. He knew of the family connection with
Saugatuck and wanted to see the town and the Avalon site. I was
pleased to oblige him with a tour and we exchanged historical
I was anxious to know what happened to the Harberts and to the
Avalon. Stay tuned for more in next month's newsletter.
Click on the picture for a higher resolution copy.
NEWS NEWS - THE 1940 LOCAL CENSUS IS ON OUR WEB SITE!!
Welcome from Jack
Sheridan leader of the Society Family History Group. The Group
meeting schedule is the first and third Thursday of every month at
3:30 in the Old School House. Our next meeting is June 21st,
Please join us to see what we are all about and most importantly,
share "lessons learned" about the many tools available for family
Our standing offer to
members: Send us information on a person and we will find them for
you in the U. S. Census, maybe even a Canadian or English census.
April 2012 the 1940 United States census data was released. The US
census has been taken every ten years since 1790. By law each census
cannot be released for public viewing for 72 years after it is
taken. The 1940 census has a lot of pages - some 3.8 million and
will take professional workers many months to index completely.
But, thanks to Chris
Yoder one of the leaders of our technical team, you can browse the
1940 local census today! We have placed a copy of the census for
Douglas (11 pages), Saugatuck (16 pages) and Saugatuck Twp (19
pages) on the SDHS web site. Just click
HERE to view the 1940 census on the Society's web site.
Each month in this column I talk about a family history
discovery. Such a discovery is called a EUREKA!
moment. Here is one from my family history research experience.
The year was 1998 and I was struggling to learn a new PC and how to
use it to surf the internet. One day, a good friend told me she had
discovered her great grandparents on the Mormon Church genealogical
web site. She was virtually dancing up and down with excitement.
So of course I had to start a search for my unknown ancestors using
newly minted computer skills. My family history was largely unknown
except for some very old photos and sketchy facts about a few great
grand parents. My starting point was a New Hampshire local history
book my brother purchased on a New England trip some twenty years
before. The book said in 1830 in Chesterfield, New Hampshire, Betsy
Fisk had married a James Sheridan. Hmmmm. The book contained
information on the Fisk family - enough to start searching the
Mormon data base.
And --- EUREKA! There it was, a Fisk family tree
leading back to the Plymouth colony in 1643 and from there to
England. I was stunned! This small step was to be the beginning of a
long and rewarding search to discover and explore the Sheridan
Contact me at:
or (269) 857-7144.
Early Allegan Settler
This year there's been a special SDHS focus on Great
Lakes ship wrecks. The June monthly meeting featured the 1895 loss
of the Chicora. A visit to the Old School House reveals displays and
student art on many such wrecks, dating back to 1842. It seems
appropriate to take a look at how a ship wreck on Lake Erie in 1838
brought tragedy to one pioneer Ganges family.
By the time New Yorker Orra Shead's purchase of 640
acres of land in Allegan County was recorded on May 1, 1839, he was
already dead. He had drowned almost a year before while on his way
back to New York to bring his family to their new home. Like Moses,
he was not to enjoy his promised land, but his family did.
Orra Shead had been born about 1788 and was a
resident of St. Lawrence County, NY. In 1814 he moved from nearby
Russell, NY and built a grist mill at a place which originally was
called "Shead's Mill" in his honor. Five years later, he added a saw
mill. In 1819 Mr. Shead is shown as being a Lt. in Major James
Howe's One Hundred and Eighty-fourth regiment of infantry.
The town was incorporated in 1827 under the name
"Edwards" and Orra Shead was elected its first supervisor and
postmaster. Orra married about 1816 to Nancy Shipman (b. c1796 in
Vt., daughter of William Shipman and Molly Wilder). One record names
Orra's father as having been a Daniel Shead (b about 1760). Orra and
Nancy were to have the following children:
l Cornelia Shead
Goodrich b. 2 Jul 1817 d. 5 Dec 1891 m. Dr. Chauncey Goodrich, Jr.
both bur. Loomis Cem, Ganges, Allegan Co, Michigan
l Mary b. c1819
l Franklin O. Shead b.
1823 d. 18 Aug 1850 bur. Loomis Cem, Ganges
l Rhonda Shead b. 1825
l Louis Ashman Shead b
1830 d. abt 1915, Oakland; Alameda; Berkeley, California, USA, m.
Lucinda H. Burns Mar. 17, 1852 and m. Lucy C. Goodrich Sep. 7, 1863,
it also appears he had a daughter out of wedlock by Elnora T.
(Plummer) Weed - Sarah Cornelia b. Jan. 17, 1853 (she married
Charles Talbert Lee, died Jan 1, 1903 and is buried at Plummerville
l Daniel Lindsey Shead
1833 d. ? m. Lucinda Kenneda Jan. 9, 1858
l Laura Amelia Shead
Jewett 30 Nov 1837-22 May 1906 Allegan Vill., Allegan, Wife of
Nathaniel Jewett, both buried Oakwood Cem, Allegan.
Mr. Shead came to Newark Twp (now Saugatuck Twp) in
1837 and bought his land. He was on his way back to New York to
bring his family when the great lakes steamer Washington
caught fire and sank in Lake Erie Jun.16, 1838. We can thank "Find A
Grave" volunteers Linda C. Arthur (Orcutt) and Karen Kennelly for
going to the Evans Center Cemetery in Erie County, NY, and taking
this photo of Orra's now broken stone.
The 1840 census shows the widow and family still
living in St. Lawrence Co., NY, but the family is in Ganges by 1850,
listed two enumerations away from Harrison Hutchins. It seems the
Shead acreage was located just east of the section on which the
Loomis Cemetery is located today on 112th St. in Ganges
Township. Nancy Shipman Shead, died Apr. 9, 1852 and is buried in
the Loomis Cemetery.
Her stone there, like her husband's in New York,
lies broken, but thanks to the efforts of descendants Ron Lee of
Bella Vista, Arkansas and Aaron Plummer of Ganges, is soon to be
repaired. Aaron has already been working on the Goodrich stones in
Loomis, see photograph below
The Sheads were to be joined here by other New York
neighbors. When Edwards, NY was incorporated, Asa Brayton Jr. was
one of the town assessors. John C. Hale (Haile) was town clerk and
held several other offices. Both of these folks were to have Allegan
County connections. Asa's sister Hannah (c1780-1857) was married to
Dr. Chauncey B. Goodrich of Fowler, NY who was to become the first
physician in Saugatuck. He began his practice in 1842. Both Hannah
and her husband are buried in the Loomis Cemetery. Their son Dr.
Chauncey Jr, was to marry Cornelia, daughter of Orra Shead and his
wife Nancy. John C. Haile's younger brother James C. Haile came to
the lakeshore, south of Douglas, in the early 1830s and built a
sawmill. He may have been the first of the Edwards, NY area folks to
live in Ganges Twp. John and James were the sons of War of 1812
Brigadier General James B. Haile and Lucy Campbell.
Kit Lane provided these added facts about the Shead
family: "According to HH Hutchins, Dan and Louis Shead were the
inspiration for the first band in Ganges township, one played cornet
and one the baritone horn. Lew Shed (Uncle Henry's spelling was
erratic), was a partner in a shingle mill, and Dan Shed was a great
pigeon hunter according to his nephew, H. H. Goodrich".
submitted by Chris Yoder