Jonathan Wade lost
his job, his fortune, and his home when his mill at Singapore went "belly
up" in the 1840s, forcing him to move on to greener pastures.
Although Singapore quickly became a ghost town, Wade built a brand new
village - called Dudleyville (later a part of Douglas). He started with a
Wade adopted a typical business plan for the time: he brought in his
family. First came brother Nelson, then Dudley, and soon a large clan was
in place - pooling capital, creating jobs, and establishing a
village. They milled lumber, manufactured bricks, sold lots, built homes,
planted orchards, welcomed travelers to their hotel, sold fish
door-to-door, ands were among the first locals to call for war against the
Southern States in 1861. At the same time. the Wade clan carried on a
political feud with a new family in town, the Dutchers, who owned the
north half of the town. Center Street became the dividing line between the
two little empires.
Wade's Hotel, a handsome Michigan-style Greek Revival building - later
called the Eagle Hotel, then the Douglas House, was one of the area's
finest stage coach inns. It included a dining room, barroom, stables,
guest rooms and was the scene for Saturday night dances.
To protect his family from the rough culture of the mill workers, Wade
built his home on the south end of the village, on a gentle hillside
overlooking a beautiful Bayou - called Wade's Bayou. The tiny but charming
house was of two rooms down and two rooms up, and of early "plank
construction." It still stands. Later the Wades moved nearby to a grander
house with great orchards but still with a view of the Bayou.
Jonathan Wade had begun what Douglas would do best for the next half
century: mill lumber, make baskets, run hotels, and grow fruits - and take
in the views.
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