The SDHS Board of Directors invites you to
the Historical Society's 2012 exhibition opening
of the Old School House
"Rowing them Safely Home Lifesaving and
Shipwrecks on Lake Michigan"
Introducing the Boathouse,
the Restored 1854 "Gallinipper" Lifeboat,
Shipwreck Stories, and the
5:30 - 7:30
Old School House History Center
130 Center Street | Douglas
Shipwrecks, Scallywags & Heroes
at the Old School House History Center
daily thru June 15 from 11 am to 2 pm
Models and stories by Saugatuck Middle School Sixth Graders
about Lake Michigan sailors, ships, and shipwrecks.
Photos by Jim Hayden, Holland Sentinel
Welcome New Member
We would like to welcome a new member who has joined the
Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society since the last newsletter.
l Thomas D. Slater,
Was Douglas' "First Boy" a World Record Holder?
William Augustus May was born Dec. 9, 1850 in Lackawaxen,
Pennsylvania. The family moved to Chicago and after the death of
his mother in 1854 and he came with his father and grandparents to
Saugatuck Township in 1855. His grandfather, William F. Dutcher,
was among the founders of the village of Douglas. William A. is
often referred to as "the first boy of Douglas."
He had a varied career in business, and was also ordained a
Baptist minister, William helped to found the North Baptist
Association in New Jersey and served as its clerk for thirty
years. Rev. May died in 1935 and he, his wife, and two sons are
buried in the Douglas Cemetery. It is said that he wrote over
1,000 hymns and considerable poetry during his lifetime.
In addition to being "the first boy" of Douglas, it seems possible
he may also have been a world record holder in another area.
The Lake Shore Commercial for February 22, 1878 reports:
"On Monday last we called at the residence of Mr. Wm. A. May of
Douglas, and were shown a tape worm 40 feet in length of which he
was relieved on Wednesday of last week and another 30 feet long
removed from him last November making seventy feet of the worm
removed from this gentleman. Mr. May has been unwell for some tome
but we trust he will now recover."
This seems like a long tape-worm, but what is the record? An
internet search finds this posting about the World Record:
"On September 5, 1991, doctors extracted 37 feet (continuous) of
tapeworm from Sally Mae Wallace of Great Grits, Mississippi."
Wait a moment --- we checked and there is no Great Grits, MS!
Neither does there appear to be a Sally Mae Wallace living in
From other spots on the web, however, we find:
"Tapeworms (cestodes) are segmented flat worms that range in
size from 6 inches to 25 feet."
"The largest species of tapeworm is commonly called the fish
tapeworm, Diphyllobothrium latum, since they are commonly
contracted from eating fish. This devastating parasite has been
recorded as reaching a length of 20 m (66 ft) in the internal
organs of a human, and a length of 30 m in other hosts."
So if 66 ft is the real record, and you add the two lengths from
Wm. A. May to get a total of 70 ft, he was indeed a world record
holder!!! (While there are very nice scientific pen and ink
portraits of this creature, in deference to the sensibilities of
our readers we are not publishing one here. But it should be noted
that at one time in the early part of the last century, tapeworm
eggs were advertised for sale as a medical treatment for obesity.)
submitted by Chris Yoder
"YOUNG SCHOLARS" INTERNS
HAVE BIG GOALS FOR SUMMER 2012
A summer internship program
co-sponsored by the Saugatuck Center for the Arts (SCA) and
Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society (SDHS), the "Young Scholars"
program, is providing opportunities for college students and
graduates to explore career potentials, expand their skills and
build "real-world" experience aligned with their fields of study,
while working on tourism-oriented community projects with
mentoring by local professionals.
The program was initiated by
Bill Underdown, sales consultant for Shoreline Realtors, who as
part of the SCA volunteer team was honored as the 2010 recipient
of the SCA's "Volunteer of the Year" award, recognizing his
efforts in starting an SCA internship program connecting SCA to a
variety of universities in Michigan and beyond. More recently he
was named Central Michigan University's 2011 Intern Supervisor of
The Young Scholars kicked off
their summer program in early May, meeting State Representative
Bob Genetski for a word of encouragement.
Participants in the 2012 Young Scholars program (L to R): Mary
Redford, Bill Underdown, Dustin Moore, Greg Farrand, Jordan
Hathaway, Chad Mitchell, Bob Genetski, and Jim Schmiechen.
Five students from Central
Michigan University have connected with the SDHS and SCA and are
starting work on big projects:
Jordan Hathaway, from Zeeland,
is targeting graduation in fall 2012 with a Bachelor's degree,
major in Recreation, Parks, and Leisure Services, double minor in
Event Management and Hospitality Services. His internship
assignment concentrates on establishing the SDHS Old School House
as an event hosting forum and designing fund raising events for
the Young Scholars program.
Greg Farrand, from Colon, is
targeting graduation in summer 2012 with a Bachelor's degree,
major in Journalism. Farrand's internship assignment is working
with local news outlets to document and record events hosted by
the SDHS, SCA and the Young Scholars.
Dustin Moore, from Boyne City,
is targeting graduation in summer 2012 with a Bachelor's degree,
major in Entrepreneurship, minor in Business Administration.
Moore's internship assignment consists of managing the SDHS Old
School House as it's brand transforms and assisting the SCA with
its green market initiative.
Mary Redford, from East Grand
Rapids, is targeting graduation in 2013 with a Bachelor's degree,
major in History, double minor in Art History and Museum Studies.
Her internship assignment concentrates on exhibit design and
artifact archive organization.
Chad Mitchell, from Troy, is
targeting graduation in summer 2012 with a Bachelor's degree,
major in Integrative Public Relations, minor in Psychology.
Mitchell's internship assignment concentrates on social media
development, merchandising coordination, and event promotion.
submitted by Chad Mitchell
Please make them feel
welcome as you see them around the Historical Society "campus".
The Might Ship Keewatin
HERE for a cute You Tube video on The Mighty Ship
Keewatin discovered by Janet Schmidt. There is
great music so turn on your speakers.
Society's Monthly Meeting
7:30 pm, Wednesday, June 13
In the Boathouse at the Old School House History Center
Michigan's Titanic: The Mysteries of the Wreck of the
Join us as Kit Lane presents the disaster story and the attempt to
find its remains. Shipboard refreshments.
A mural of the sinking of the Chicora in 1895 lines the wall of the
new Boathouse at the Old School House History Center.
Jim Hayden, Holland Sentinel staff
Monthly Meeting Refreshment Providers
Nancy Woods, Jolene Jackson & Laura Latulippe
No Cookies - Picnic
Merle Malmquist & Paula Schultz
OPEN - REPLY TO THIS EMAIL if you can
No Cookies - Holiday Party
Harry Walker loading
passengers ca 1952
Click on the picture for a higher resolution copy.
ROWING THE FERRY SUMMER 1956
"Watch your step," I would stand and offer my hand to boarding
females. Males were expected to maintain footing on their own
without prompting. Collecting the fare of ten cents would wait until
we reached the opposite side of the river. A tray with separate
compartments for change and bills hung on the hull just beneath the
oar lock. My bench seat was just forward of center, in front of me
was another bench seat. On both ends of the utilitarian square-ended
sixteen foot scow were double wide seats that doubled as decks,
which besides being sat upon, provided some protection from an
occasional large wave. A full load amounted to nine adult
passengers, three per seat. In addition, small children were allowed
at no charge. Amusing to recall now in this day of regulation, the
fact that life preservers were neither provided or required!
The ferry location has always been where it is located today. The
large chain ferry capable of carrying cars was lost to history by
1949 but the passengers only ferry lives on. In 1956 there were two
summer ferrymen, actually boys aged eighteen, who operated the rowed
ferry in two shifts, from eight in the morning until midnight, every
day of the week. The evening shift started at four and ended at
midnight. The same guy then started the day and worked until four in
the afternoon. This was followed by a twenty four hour break which
provided time-off for important teenage activities!
My partner in 1956 was Stan and he was from Fennville - or maybe
Ganges. I never got to know him, (we worked and played at opposite
times) and unfortunately I have forgotten his last name. He had a
1949 Hudson Hornet which I borrowed on occasion. The Hudson was
cool, low-slung, and just the thing for going to the Starlight
drive-in movie. Stan if you read this, please give me a shout!
Rowing the ferry was a unique experience. The pay was not bad -
fifty bucks a week in cash. Of course, it was a perfect job for
muscle building and girl meeting. It could be very hard work - on
sunny weekends rowing was practically non-stop, while rainy days
were great for easy chair relaxing in the 8x8 ferry shack, reading
and listening to Elvis. The Mt. Baldhead Hotel was next door (seen
in the photo background) and the porch was perfect for ping pong and
flirting with the dining room waitresses! The west side landing was
in front of the Ferry Store.
And there was minimal supervision from the owner, Mr. Flack, whose
only duty was to come by every few days to pick up accumulated
Labor Day came soon enough and I headed off to college --- memories
are made of this.
Next month I will reveal a bit of the Avalon mystery - stay tuned!
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 meets
on the first and third Thursday of every month at 3:30 in the Old
School House. Our next meetings are June 7th and 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.
Monday April 2, 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
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 about a family history
discovery. Such a discovery is called a eureka moment. Here is one
from the family history group recent experience:
Sherry Smith Coupe is an active researcher in our family history
group. She has a number of very old family history records passed
down in the Smith family. One is a journal containing a large number
of interesting names and dates, including the name Kellogg. Some of
the people were known to her, but most were a puzzle until ---
Browsing the Ancestry.com database, she discovered a published
family history entitled Kelloggs in the Old World and New.
The book was published in 1903 and traced the history of
"Lieutenant" Joseph Kellogg who was born in Harwich, England in
1626. He came to the Colonies as a young man. The book details many
of his descendants and family history down to and including Sherry's
known Smith ancestors. She can now identify many of the names from
the family journal and how they fit into her family tree.
It appears that this branch of the Kellogg family also ties into the
Battle Creek Kellogg family of cereal fame. Joseph had 20 children
with two wives and fourteen children who reached maturity. So she
now has seven or eight generations of branches to explore!
Contact me at:
or (269) 857-7144.
From the Archives
100 Years ago in Saugatuck
By unanimous vote of the Village Board of
Saugatuck, the electric light ordinance was passed and Saugatuck
will soon be equipped with one of the best lighting plants in the
state. The village is to take 70 sixty-candle power lights for
which they will pay $14.30 per month or $1,000 a year for all.
Corner of Main and Water Streets, Saugatuck
M.J. Biehsdorf of Chicago has leased a strip of
ground from D.F. Ludwig on Water Street at Saugatuck and proposes
to erect an open-air theater before the opening of the season. The
work will be started about June 1 and it will be one of the
largest and finest airdromes in the Midwest.
Click on the picture for a higher resolution copy and to get a
better look at the piano beneath the screen.
Note: this was taken from the pages of the Holland
City News and the Holland Sentinel.
submitted by Mary Voss