Almost Christmas.There should be some sort of fun decided the boys who lived in Dingleville near Saugatuck Tannery. Alfred Wallin, will Dune and the other boys about 14years old decided a skating party was called for. They wanted some place betterthan the pond in Goshorn Creek above the tannery. Howabout a mile or so up the creek to Goshorn Lake,where there was real space to skate.
On December22nd the morning was cold. Cold enough to freeze hard.Would Goshorn Lake ice be frozen hard enough?Alfred and Will decided to check it out. Alfred's father,Franklin B. Wallin, was in Chicago on business, sothey checked with his mother, Orcelia Tanner Wallin. She was sick in bed, had been for two weeks,but was getting better. She said check with Uncle LumanTanner. He thought it would be all right So theygrabbed their skates and took off.
The ice wasreally good in most places. By Christmas it would be ready for the boys toskate all afternoon. They decided to go ahead with the party. Alfred turned tolook at will and backed into a "Springhole". He was a good swimmer, but the water was very cold. Every time hetried to pull himself up on the ice it broke. Will grabbed some branches andtried to reach out to Alfred. The ice on the edge of the hole still broke andbroke. Nothing seemed to work. Alfred went under. Will ran back to the Wallin home for help.
Alfred'smother got up when will came with the dreadful newsand organized the men in the tannery to go to the lake to recover the body.They rushed to Goshorn Lakeand found the big hole where the boys had struggled. Then they found Alfred'sbody and brought it back to the house. When Alfred's father came home fromChicago the family was in mourning. Alfred's mother became much more ill andnever recovered from the shock. She died January l, l 874 sad to be leaving her"poor little boys" Luman and Van. Alfredand his mother were buried in the Wallin lot in the Saugatuck Cemetery.
Lizzie,Alfred's big sister, was 15. She took on the job of mother. She tried hard, butit was too much for a young lady ready to go to college. At the end of the nextsummer Father was married to Hannah Chadbourne, goodfriend of Mother and school teacher of the boys. Van remembered he and Luman cried all through that somber affair: Having astepmother was hard for Lizzie. That fall she went off to Olivet College.Luman and Van became very close buddies, sleeping inthe same bed, fighting some times, but always together.
That story istold in the book THE MICHIGANWALLINS by Van A. Wallin, Alfred's little brother. Ithas also been told in the Wallin family as a warningto stay off thin ice. It was probably the reason Van's grandson Franklin W. Wallin, Jr. was so scared of a scolding, that after he fellthrough the ice he took his pants off and dried them by an open fire. It alsoscared Van's granddaughter FrancesWallin Shaw so much she never went near Goshorn Lake. Not even now 126years later.