PLEASE SHARE YOUR MOST
A group of SDHS members is collecting recipes for a book about
history and food in Saugatuck, Douglas, and the surrounding
Do you have an old family favorite that belongs in our book?
Don't cry about it later, let us know now!
Preference for inclusion in the book will go to:
l Recipes that have a local connection
l Recipes that have a story
l Recipes that include pictures like a photo of the dish, of
places/events where the dish was enjoyed, or of the dish's inventor.
We are also looking for (more) old menus, labels, newspaper
clippings, photos or drawings of local restaurants, farms,
picnickers, celebrations, etc, that will help tell the story of our
area's special relationship with food. Please REPLY to this
email or to Stacy Honson at
CALL FOR BOARD NOMINATIONS
Four current seats on the Board of Directors will be up for election
this year. Members with an interest in serving on the Board or who
have suggestions for potential candidates should notify Vice
President Jon Helmrich by February 1, 2011. The Nominating Committee
of the Society will present a suggested slate for member's approval
in April. You can reach Jon at 857-3574 or
GLAD YOU ASKED
Editors Note: "Glad You Asked" is a new column to answer
questions that have been asked by Society members. Hopefully the
information will be informative to all members.
Q. I noticed that if I want my SDHS
monthly newsletter mailed to me it costs $20 in addition to my
annual membership dues. Why is that?
A. The SDHS Board continues to look for
ways to reduce administrative expenses so the Society can continue
to fulfill its mission including producing award-winning exhibitions
at the Museum, providing the community with the Old School House
History Center, publishing books on local history, managing and
enhancing the Society's website, presenting our extremely popular
Tuesday Talks, Heritage Festival, monthly meetings and Heritage
Beginning in May, 2008 SDHS began publishing and disturbing the
monthly newsletter via the internet. The e-newsletter version has
saved the Society thousands of dollars in printing and mailing
expenses. In 2010 the cost of the "hardcopy" version of the
newsletter to only about 125 members cost over $3,600 or more than
$20 per year for each member who received the newsletter via the
mail. In fact, for some categories of membership, the cost of
mailing the newsletter exceeds the cost of an annual membership!
We are asking our membership to help us control costs by either
choosing to receive their newsletter via the internet or make a $20
donation to defray the cost of printing and mailing a "hardcopy"
version of the newsletter. Your assistance is appreciated.
Q. I see that a number of events
have been held at the Old School House that are not "official" SDHS
sponsored events. Is there a fee for using the OSH facilities?
A. Yes. The Old School House has become
a popular site for organizations and members of the community for
meetings (City of the Village of Douglas and Shedd Aquarium),
private parties, art exhibitions, classes and more. The Board has
set a schedule of fees for use of the building for private events to
cover the costs of overhead, utilities, equipment, etc.
If you, a friend or neighbor is interested in using the Old School
House for an event, contact Steve Hutchins at
for costs and availability.
WELCOME NEW MEMBERS
We would like to welcome these new members who have joined the
Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society since early last year:
Mary Kay & Mark Baker, Fennville, MI
John & Claudia Berry, Holland, MI
Brian Bosgraaf, Holland, MI
David & Sandi Boxer, Fennville, MI
George Brown & Gregg Kurek, Douglas, MI
Harvey Busscher, Fennville, MI
Ron & Sandy Collins, Grand Rapids, MI
Arlen & Karen Dangremond, Macatawa, MI
Jeff Dempsey & Jerry Resutek, Saugatuck, MI
William Dumbleton, Saugatuck, MI
Marion Frehsée, Walled Lake, MI
Lois Hobart, Chicago, IL
Tom & Vicke Horvath, Saugatuck, MI
John & Pat Huyge, Saugatuck, MI
Bonnie Kegley, Glen, IL
Rob & Kimberly Kegley, Glen, IL
Mariann Kennelly, Hometown, IL
Mary Kuhner, Columbus, OH
William & Jean Lawrence, Saugatuck, MI
Darin Leese & Frank Vandervort, Saugatuck, MI
Karen Kratky Lehrer, Irvine, CA
Maryjo Lemanski, Douglas, MI
Candice Lewis, Saugatuck, MI
Barbara & Richard Lucier, Saugatuck, MI
John & Kathy Mooradian, Saugatuck, MI
Don Olendorf, Fennville, MI
John Parker, Naperville, IL
Matt & Cindy Peterson, Saugatuck, MI
Donald Ruyle, Holland, MI
Tim Spooner & Steve Masterson, Saugatuck, MI
Richard & Kathy Talsma, Saugatuck, MI
Diane & Charles Terry, Douglas, MI
Rob & Mary Waters, Saugatuck, MI
Bob & Nellie Zinkel, Homewood, IL
RICHARD B. NEWNHAM,
1819 - 1908
by Sylvia Booth, G-G-Granddaughter in
England, Nov. 2010
The life of Richard B. Newnham, a veteran of the civil war who
settled in Saugatuck in the 1860's and that of his sons, Richard and
Stephen have been well documented in publications and on the
internet, giving details of their movements in England prior to
starting their new lives in America, yet much of Richard's earlier
life poses a mystery to me. Why? I believe Richard B Newnham and my
great, great Grandfather, William Newnham, to be one and the same
HERE Newnham's American biography)
William Newnham disappeared from London in 1862 and Richard appeared
in America in 1863.
William Newnham was born of the same parents as Richard, John
Newnham and Lucy Linney and on the same day, May 24, 1819.
William Newnham married Hannah Harrison on the same day as Richard
claims to have done so. William also had thirteen children with
Hannah - all birth certificates name William as the father.
Richard's children all had the same names and birth dates as
William's - coincidence?
Richard tells the story that he was sent to his maternal
Grandfather, Richard Linney, when he was ten years old to be taught
the shoe trade. William was also sent to his maternal grandfather,
Richard Linney to be taught the shoe trade.
Richard Linney was a Boot and shoe maker and Tavern keeper in Alton,
Hampshire. However, not happy in this trade, Richard states that he
became a police officer. Shortly after his marriage to Hannah
Harrison, William Newnham became a police officer in Hannah's home
town of Longton in Staffordshire. The 1841 census records Hannah's
husband as William.
On March 5, 1844 William applied to join the London Police Force and
being accepted joined them on December 26, 1844. On the 1851 Census
the family are recorded in London and William had became a Station
Sergeant with the City Police and rose to be an Inspector by the
time he was discharged on November 11, 1858. Richard was also in the
London Police Force.
It has not been mentioned previously in any of the reviews on the
lives of Richard or his children but maybe if Richard was William he
would wish to forget the episode in Scotland. William moved his
family to Renfrewshire in Scotland in December of 1858 where William
became Superintendent of Police in charge of 80 men. He is recorded
as giving evidence to a parliamentary review on the drinking habits
of the people living in his district in August 1859 and on the 1861
census William, Hannah and their four youngest children are living
at 2 Orangefield Place, Greenock. The eldest two of their surviving
children are not with them. John was training to be a gas fitter and
in lodgings in Shoreditch. Charlotte Hannah (my Great Grandmother)
was left in London, a border at St Margaret's charity school.
In 1862, a newspaper report which has come to light, alleged William
Newnham, Police superintendent of Renfrewshire, was implicated in a
case of Multiplepoinding. This is a Scottish legal term. The report
claims that two of William's constables seized money on his behalf
which did not belong to the person owing it, and a case was brought
against him. Was he guilty of this crime or did he suffer an
injustice? Could this have been the reason the family suddenly
returned to London in 1862 and caused William Newnham to disappear?
A Richard B. Newnham establishes himself in America. Could this be
our William? Hannah and her four youngest children certainly joined
him there. They are on the passenger list of The Sir Robert Peel
arriving 20 Feb 1867 (Hannah traveling as Eliza Newnham) however she
appears to have reverted back to her own name on arrival. Stephen's
story of the voyage is on the internet and from his account it was
certainly his mother that accompanied him.
Children in England - Charlotte
Newnham, Maternity Nurse and Mary (Newnham) Frost with Husband Peter
(Click on each image for a larger copy)
My Great Grandmother Charlotte Hannah did not see her parents again
but letters passed between her sister Mary Ann's daughter Rose and
Richard's grandson Stephen Linney Newnham. Also a copy of the
newspaper cutting was among Mary Ann's effects reporting on
Richard's letter from America to Queen Victoria with a photograph of
himself, his daughter Maria and two grandchildren Laura and Lucy to
tell her that he was born within an hour of her birth on 24th May
1819, and that his daughter and twin grandchildren were also born on
the same day. This cannot be coincidence! American descendants have
recorded that the royal household returned a photograph of four
members of the royal family--of different generations--including the
Queen herself, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of York, and the infant
son of the last named.
Why did William change his name to Richard? Was he escaping
persecution? It remains a mystery - maybe we will never know the
answer! submitted by Chris Yoder
HELP BUILD AN EXHIBIT TO TELL THE STORIES OF LEGENDARY
GREAT LAKES SHIPWRECKS
Each dollar you donate now unlocks another!
Designed by Joseph
Francis and produced at the same shipyards as the later famous Civil
War Ironclads, the Society's restored 1854 "Gallinipper" is one of only two surviving examples of what became
America’s most famous nineteenth-century lifesaving boat. To house
this historic vessel, the Society has designed a permanent exhibit,
Rowing Them Safely Home: Shipwrecks and Lifesaving on the Great Lakes,
to become a prominent feature of Gardens and Back In Time Pathway
at The Old School House History Center.
The Society has been
awarded a $47,000 federal grant for this project, but in order to
accept the grant, we must match the grant with an equal amount in
The grant, with
the match, will provide $94,000 needed to complete this project. A big
"thank you" to all who have already responded with a contribution - but we still need help in fulfilling the match requirement.
Join your fellow
members and friends of the Society and become a stakeholder in this
important preservation project. Please consider making a gift today.
Your gift will
automatically be doubled because it will unlock an equal amount in
It's easy! Click
HERE to choose your level of contribution and return the
donation card with your check or credit card information to SDHS,
Lifesaving Boat Project, PO Box 617, Douglas, MI 49406. You can also
donate using PayPal - just go to the Society's
and click on the Donate button. Thank you in advance for your support.
THE ROOT BEER BARREL,
CENTER STREET, DOUGLAS
Barrel ca 1952
The Barrel was recently saved from demolition by a group of
preservationists ("Friends of the Barrel") of the
Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society. The Society obtained the
structure and the Friends have a plan in place to move it
(deconstruct) and eventually restore it to its original glory
- hopefully to a place in Douglas where it can remain the
'icon' it was during the mid-century day's when the fast-food
'drive-in' culture and fast-food "highway architecture" was at
its height. In addition to the Historical Society, the Friends
received support from the Douglas City Council. No funds are
being solicited or accepted at this time. The group is looking
for a workspace.
Please add your name to the Friends of the Barrel by
contacting Judy Hillman,
The Barrel was built in the early 1950s by Joe Decker and
Harold Kelly. They built it in Joe's back yard in Flint,
disassembled it and brought it to Douglas on a flatbed for
reconstruction. They operated it for several years before
selling it to the Earl McVoy. The McVoys operated it into the
1960s when George and JoAnn Gallas bought it and operated it
for several years, then selling it to Woodrow Wilson.
During the McVoy ownership, a miniature golf course was added
to the west side. The Barrel became a favorite for root beer,
burgers, and foot-long hot dogs (forty cents), and root beer
floats (twenty cents). It closed sometime around 1977.
Originally without the exterior iron bands (see photo above),
the barrel was of varnished wood planks ("stays"), with a
number of exterior lights on stem-like poles that cast the
light downward onto the structure. Read the memories of those
who worked there at the
TELL US YOUR BARREL STORY!
The "Barrel Story" is still being written. Send your
reminiscences/Barrel Stories to Chris Yoder at
phone 269-857-4327 or writing them yourself into the Society's
blog - just click
PHOTOGRAPHS of the Barrel are very rare. If you have
photos to share, email or call Chris Yoder at
JOIN the Barrel reconstruction/Preservation
group. Contact Judy Hillman
email@example.com,Duane Brown or Chuck Carlson
LESSONS ON THE SAND
Jack Sheridan (left) joined fellow local historians Jim
Schmiechen, Dick Lyons and others Dec. 2 leading teacher Mike
Shaw's Saugatuck High School advanced-placement language and
composition class in instruction and explorations as part of a
class museum project.
Students that morning visited Saugatuck City Hall to
investigate local lore (about mutinous sailor graves), the
Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Museum to deconstruct an exhibit,
a Tower Marine warehouse (to see restoration of the
Gallinipper, one of two remaining iron surfboats in the United
States), the Old School House/Discovery Center (where the
Gallinipper exhibit will be on permanent display beginning
next August) and - oh yeah - their chilliest venue: Oval Beach
and the Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area, where Sheridan
discussed the old harbor, shipwrecks and his grand-father
George's 1909-14 tenure as Saugatuck's last lighthouse keeper.
Schmiechen, a retired Central Michigan University history
professor, will be curator of the exhibit. Local historian Kit
Lane is scheduled to talk with students this week about Great
Eventually, Shaw said, students will research, write and
record audio clips of text (downloadable as phone apps) that
may be incorporated in the outdoor display. They will write on
the invention, origin and restoration of the Gallinipper, the
Great Lakes Lifesaving Service (a precursor to the Coast
Guard), Lake Michigan shipwrecks, Great Lakes shipping between
1860 and 1905, and a fictionalized narrative about a shipwreck
and rescue off the shores of Saugatuck.
Once they warm up, that is. (Article and photo by Scott
Sullivan from the December 9, 2010 Commercial Record.)
Calling all you "History Mystery" addicts - this is the first
edition of a brand new photo feature that will appear in the SDHS
newsletter. The History by Camera column will feature an interesting
image each month. On the first month of appearance, the image will
The same image will appear again the following month and in the
second month it will include commentary and a short history relative
to the photo.
In addition to the previous months image, each newsletter [starting
in February] will also include a new photo. So each issue will
contain two photos, one with history and another to be identified in
the subsequent month.
I want to hear from you readers with your knowledge, comments and
questions. To make it easy to get the dialogue going, simply REPLY
to this email.
Occasionally, I am prone to handing out a clue. For this gentleman:
He was born in another state at the turn of the century.
submitted by Jack Sheridan
OLD NEWSLETTERS NOW ON-LINE
At the encouragement of Peg Sanford, the old SDHS Newsletters
from Sep 1987 to Apr 2008 can now be read on-line. The
Historical inserts were uploaded some time back, and these are
now supplemented with the administrative portions for each
HERE for an index of the old newsletters.
submitted by Chris Yoder
DNA AND FAMILY HISTORY
The SDHS Family History group, headed up by Jack Sheridan,
continues to meet at the Old School House on the 1st
and 3rd Thursday of each month at 4 pm. A special
presentation is scheduled for Thursday, January 20th
at 4 pm by Chris Yoder on DNA testing and how it
supports family history research. For more information contact
Jack Sheridan, 269-857-7144, or email Jack at
THANKS FOR A JOB WELL DONE!
For the last four year Collette Snydacker has been the volunteer
responsible for keeping SDHS computer membership records.
Responsibilities included updating changes, printing mailing labels
and member name badges.
Collette has relocated from the area to be near her family in
The SDHS membership records "torch" has been passed to the capable
hands of Mary Lyons who has taken over for Collette.