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Again this year, the Society Newsletters are being underwritten by a generous donation from Frances Vorys, a Society Life member.


Saturday, October 25 - 7:30 PM
Halloween Bash
at the Old School House
$50 per person

Time Is Running Out!

The annual Halloween party has become a favorite for many members and friends of the Society. This year's party will be hosted by Sharon Kelly, Janie & Jim Flemming, Ken Carls and Howard & Judi Vanderbeck. Don your costume (or not) and come to the Old School House for drinks and dinner preceding the fantastic Douglas Halloween Parade.

Still a few tickets left!

To reserve your ticket, REPLY to this email
and we'll be in touch.

Welcome from Jack Sheridan and Chris Yoder, leaders of the Society Family History Group.

Please visit us to see what we are all about and most importantly, share "lessons learned" about the many tools available for family history research.

Census information - see the September SDHS newsletter - is valuable in the research of family history. Another information source is the searchable family tree. The, and web sites have massive databases of family trees. requires a subscription but the other two are free of charge. These family trees have been created by family member researchers like you and me, who often have family lore data not found elsewhere. The researchers upload their trees and make them public in hope that others will connect to their tree.

Then of course, this family tree value is enhanced greatly by the ability to easily search them. Enter the barest of search data and search engines makes quick work of checking data in millions of trees!

Believe me this information is a great source of family history clues! So how about giving a search of family trees a try? All you need is the ability to use the internet plus a bit of patience and perseverance.

Got questions on how to get going? That is what we are for! Call or email us and remember, the SDHS family history group’s regular meeting schedule is the first and third Thursday of every month at the OSH.

Upcoming meetings are:
Thursday, November 6
Thursday, November 20
Thursday, December 4

Remember, your family history does not have to have any connection to the Saugatuck-Douglas area !!!

Still not sure how to get going? Let us provide a helpful jump start by recording what you know about your parents, grandparents, and great grandparents and send it along for a review by Chris Yoder or myself. The snail mail address is SDHS Family History Box 617 Douglas, Michigan 49406, or email a copy to either or

We will soon be back to you with readily found data and with suggestions on the next steps to take. Further help is readily available from the Family History group. Again, the only requirement is membership in the SDHS.

Mayflower ancestor, Revolutionary War vet, great grandparents? Still wondering? Questions/ comments/advice/needs - contact 269 857-7144 Chris Yoder 269 857-4327.

This news letter column is produced by Jack Sheridan

Click on the picture for a higher resolution copy

The Baldhead Panoramas – One by One - Piece by Piece - 2

Last month started a new HBC series of panoramic photographs taken from the top of Mt Baldhead. We are very fortunate to have photos from this great vantage point over a long time period. The photos to appear span some fifty years, are accurately dated, and in most cases the photographer identified.

Other factors make them special. First, when the first photo was made in 1874 most of the town trees had been logged off and there were few to block the view. Second, the photographers used quality big glass plate cameras that were capable of capturing details. Though most of the glass plates are lost, the prints made from them, faithfully contain the details. When scanned at high resolution, the images yield marvelous results.

In order for you to see a historical progression, I have selected a partial view of the town at one date and contrasted that with a view of the same area at a different date. The numbers on the images are the key to my brief comments about the images.

I have started with the earliest photo, taken in 1874, photographer unknown. This is contrasted with the same area shot in 1895. The photographer in 1895 was Miller Robinson, professional photographer and grandfather of Peggy Boyce.

12 – Now Saugatuck Women’s Club – Then the Brueckman home. Corner of Hoffman and Butler
13 – Now the Whitehouse Restaurant – Brown family residence.
14 – Now Coghlin Park and east – then Griffin and Henry sawmill
15 – Logs rafted waiting to be milled at the sawmill
16 – Manmade peninsula from sawdust and fill
17 – Now Chemical Bank parking lot – then Brittain house built by O R Johnson ca 1852
18 – Now, Saugatuck Drugstore – then Saugatuck House Hotel
19 – Now Sinbad shop – then probably a retail store or Commercial Record office
20 – What is this? Best guesses are firewood for the Heath gristmill which was steam powered or perhaps hemlock bark used in the tanning process, awaiting shipment.

Next month the 1874 view moves to the left again. Stay tuned!

This newsletter column is written by Jack Sheridan.

Welcome New Members

We would like to welcome the following new members who have joined the Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society since the last newsletter.

l Ken & Tana Winston, Fennville, MI
l Denise Zoeterman, Grand Rapids, MI & Saugatuck, MI
l Jonathan Karmel & Karin Hopman, Douglas, MI
l Marilyn Nor, Saugatuck, MI

Complete Set of "The Dope" Now Available

Thanks to SDHS member Howard Schultz, we now have a complete set of the local WWII newsletter "The Dope". The previously missing issues have been scanned and put up on the Society's web site. Just click HERE.

Howard has recently been able to access some family papers which included a full set of "The Dope" belonging to his father, Howard C. Schultz (1904-1972). Howard counts 47 Douglas service members listed (out of the town's wartime population of around 400 people). Reports from the field included Europe, North Africa, the South Pacific and stateside postings. Local news about high school sporting events, hunting, and fishing were popular topics.

Hershel Konold (1891-1957) edited this twice monthly publication for our service members away from home from 1942 to 1945. Included in the set is a letter to Howard's mother from Hershel's sister, Grace K Gjesdahl (1895-1980), thanking her for loaning the set for her to copy. These papers are now a part of the SDHS archives.

Time To Plant Daffodils!
Want to Help?

It is that time once more for our bulb-planting volunteers to plant daffodils at the graves of "orphans" in the Riverside, Douglas, and Taylor cemeteries ("orphans" being those without living descendants, or whose families have moved away). Each year the group places a Dozen Daffodils for the Dearly Departed (D4) at selected sites and the bulbs have been coming up each spring for multiple years.

Ky Walz and Newt Belgiun

This year, selections will include a group of folks prominently connected to "The Dope": local barber Ky Walz; his client pictured above, one armed wood carver Newton Belgium (who Howard Schultz recalls paying 50 cents each for duck decoys back in the late 1940s), and Dope editor Hershel Konold and his family. The group will gather at Riverside cemetery on Sunday, October 26 at 2 pm. If you are interested in helping to plant, or in donating some bulbs or bone meal, contact Chris Yoder at 269-857-4327.
                            submitted by Chris Yoder

Antique Pavilion Booth News

This month we celebrated the one year anniversary of our booth at the Saugatuck Antique Pavilion. A profit of $3,134.82 was realized. This included the sales of 48 books ($1,011.81) previously published by the Saugatuck Douglas Historical Society. We continue to receive items from Society members for the booth and are grateful for the quality and quantity of items we received in the past.

After one year of sales we realized we needed a larger area especially to display the historic photos that are such a popular item. When the booth next to us became available, we moved into that one, more than doubling our space.

When the Presbyterian Camps were closed we were allowed to take whatever was nailed down. There were a number of signs we took down and they are for sale in the booth. If you would like a really cool remembrance, check these out at Booth #411 in the green carpeted area.

Part of our responsibility towards having a booth is to volunteer 8 hours a month. Two people each take a four hour shift. If you are interested in meeting people and love looking at antiques this might be a job for you. For more information Contact the archives office on Monday afternoons at 269.857.7901 or e-mail us at A big thank you goes to Cynthia Sorensen, Sandra Thieda, Ken Kutzel and Mary Voss for coordinating this project.
           submitted by Mary Voss and Ken Kutzel

The Monster Mash

The Monster Mash Bash was the first collaboration of the Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society and the Saugatuck-Douglas Library for children's programming.

The event drew 97 people into the OSH during the event, which ran from 1 to 3PM on Saturday, October 18.

American Maritime History in Our Backyard: A Story of the many Surf Boats named Gallinipper

There were a number of "Gallinipper" surfboats. The first one, according to James Sheridan, Saugatuck Through the Years (pp. 80-91) was the old (abandoned) iron Francis boat of 1854, one of the first U.S. government regulation lifesaving "surf boats," that members of the Saugatuck Sea Scouts restored in 1929-30 and refit as a training vessel, naming it Galllinipper. It was used by the Sea Scouts until the organization disbanded in the 1930s. Then, with the revival of the Sea Scouts after WW II, Carl Bird and others put the iron hulk back into commission with a rudder and centerboard to make her into a better sailing craft. But it too was abandoned when the wood-lapstrake one that Frank Lovejoy worked on (see below) replaced it, taking the same name: Gallinipper. Finally, our original 1854 boat (one of 2 remaining in the U.S.) was restored and now rests in the History Center boathouse - a testimony to the heroic and sometimes tragic history of Lake Michigan and a big note in the origins of the U.S. Lifesaving Service.

So, in historic time, there have been four Gallinippers - the first three being the old iron Francis boat of 1854. A salute to the SDHS restoration team.

The Society is in process of submitting the1854 iron Francis (aka Gallinipper) surfboat (at the Society's History Center garden) for inclusion on the United States Register of Historic Sites.

Below is Frank Lovejoy’s description (and photos) of the Sea Scouts "wood" Gallinipper.

Frank writes:
I took these pictures (not sure of the date) in the mid 50's spring launch. In the pics are Charlie Gilman, our scout master, Stan Showers, in the white bucks, Guy Francis, whose parents owned the Francis Food Store, Frank Fiala at the bow of the boat and Don Kuehne in his runabout. Don's Mom owned a restaurant in Saugatuck. Other members not shown here were Ralph Birkholz, Ted Nielson, Mackie Clough, Pat Devine.

During my time with the scouts, Charlie acquired a 20' sailboat from a person in Holland. The boat had broken its moorings, banged into a dock and caved in the port bow and snapped the mast. It was a fun learning project for our group. While some worked on restoring the hull, Ralph Birkholz and I were assigned to repair the mast. We contacted Mr. Forester who at the time worked a Chris Craft. We explained what our project was and in a few days we were called to his home to pick up a fabricated mast. It was in the rough. Four pieces of timber glued together that didn't look like a mast at all other than it was the correct length. After many hours of planning, sanding, sealing and varnishing the mast was stepped in the completely repaired hull. A job well done. Charlie spent many hours with the crew teaching us the fine points of sailing not to mention seamanship, boat handling and responsibility.

I have no idea what happened to the sail boat. As for the Gallinipper? While I was in the Navy I heard that Charlie had decided for some reason to pull up the self baling decks and make some changes whatever they may have been I don't know.

contributed by Jim Schmiechen

We're #1! We're #1!

The SDHS finished at the top of the pack in the 2014 Keep YOUR ArtsAlive! Campaign sponsored by the Allegan County Community Foundation, earning a $5,000 bonus!

Thanks to all who voted for us at $1 per vote and to Board Member Renee Zita and member Val Atkin who led and coordinated our efforts. And a big, big thanks to the ACCF for this and all they do for non-profits in the County!

Bill Hess receiving the Society's First Place Award from Theresa Bray, Executive Director, Allegan County Community Foundation

Upcoming 2014 Monthly Programs

l November 12, Michigan's Hottest Town Revisited with Mike Sweeney
l December 14,  Holiday Party at the SCA

Society's Online Bookstore Now Open

Thanks to Jim Cook, the Society's online bookstore is now open for your shopping pleasure. Just click on the image above and start shopping.

Garden Happenings

"I'm so glad I live in world where there are Octobers." --- L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

October truly is a month full of wonder and excitement, from the beauty of the season to the spookiness of Halloween. What a treat! Even though our gardens are putting on their final show and getting ready to go to sleep, plans are happening for the spring. This winter the Garden Committee will be planning and designing the Children's Garden through brainstorming sessions and possible field trips to well known Children Gardens in our area. Although our space is limited our ideas are not, and we hope to be able to install our plan this spring for our many visitors. Also in the works is our Peach Orchard/Pollinator Habitat graphic sign and planting design. Sally Winthers and Jim Schmeichen are diligently working on a truly creative information sign for this station, due to be installed next spring. Many thanks to Joan Donaldson and John Van Hoorhees for peach crates that we will use in the construction of our sign. Exciting things are in the works, and we are glad we have the upcoming winter season to work on them.

We hope to see all those volunteers that helped us this past season at our annual Chili dinner, October 26, so we can thank you in person, because, as the saying goes, we couldn't have done it without you!

Root Camp is on again for next year and we couldn't be more excited. We will be holding only one session next summer, June 22-25. Our committee will soon start meeting for our upcoming camp and we will keep everyone posted as to what next year's camp will entail.

Until next month,
The Garden and Root Camp Committees

Maxine Jeltema

Maxine Jeltema, a member of the Society passed away recently. Click HERE for more details,

Michigan Hometown Stories: Saugatuck-Douglas Taking Shape Spring Premiere Planned?

Production of Michigan Hometown Stories: Saugatuck-Douglas is continuing towards completion. Generous support from the community from the beginning of this exciting project has made it all possible and we thank you, once again. The taping of the program has been completed. From October 2013 to September 2014, the television crew has shot multiple days all around the area. We have interviewed over 30 people including residents, business owners, visitors, artists, and many more. We have captured the natural beauty, many shops and restaurants, galleries, historic sites, and events in the area including a Music in the Park, an Art Fair, and a performance at the SCA. The beauty of our area from winter to autumn has been completed. Our production partner, the Saugatuck Douglas Historical Society, has allowed us access to their archives and deep knowledge of our history.

We are now entering the phase to edit and finish this exciting program. The original plan was to produce an hour program and then was revised to do a ½ hour due to the budget realities. We are making a new effort to meet the original goal of a one-hour program to fully tell our story which will be broadcast on WGVU and distributed to PBS stations across the United States.

The good news is that we do not need to double the budget to make the full hour, but we do need to raise an additional $21,000 to expand the current show from a ½ hour to an hour. Your continued support can make this a reality. The footage we have captured is amazing and we would like to be able to share most of the vibrant community with everyone.

We hope you will consider making a new or additional tax-deductible gift to WGVU Public Media for the Michigan Hometown Stories project. You can follow the progress of the project at the website which includes donor acknowledgment and features some video highlights of the tapings. You can also see the highlights on the WGVU Engage Facebook page. Donations can be mailed to: WGVU, PO Box 1668, Grand Rapids, MI 49501 or on-line at

Plans are to premiere the program in Saugatuck next Spring!

If you would like to discuss supporting the project to expand it to an hour, please contact Timothy Eernisse, WGVU Development and Marketing Manager at 616-331-6630 or or our local production consultant, Jon Helmrich, at 269-857-3574 or

Thank you so much for your continued support. The program will be a great profile and promotion of the community for years to come.
     submitted by Jon Helmrich

Volunteers "Thank You" Chili Supper

The SDHS Board's annual chili supper for all Society volunteers is being held on Sunday, October 26 at the Old School House beginning at 6 PM.

You'll be treated by a variety of chilies. Spouses and partners are also invited.

We look forward to thanking you. An RSVP is not necessary.

Henry Gleason’s Last Trip as Captain of the Star of Saugatuck

From Lisa Starring's posting on the "You know you're from Saugatuck when . . ." Facebook page. "This was from Saturday, October 11th. His Captain's license expires this winter and he's not gonna renew it. Says 35 years is long enough."

Henry is a Society member and long time community leader and benefacto

Rev. Ed Sinclair Smith, Saugatuck Congregational Pastor, 1886-1888.

Rev. Ed Sinclair Smith and Helen Kingsley Smith

From the 1938 memoirs of Rev. Ed Sinclair Smith (1858-1938), as provided by his great-great nephew, Byron Smith of Orange, CA. Rev. Smith came from Monroeville, Ohio and had churches in: Angola, IN; Saugatuck, MI; Beatrice, NE; before settling in Coalinga, CA. They retired in Eagle Rock, CA.

"My graduating theme was Jesus words 'The Kingdom of Heaven was like Leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal.' The leavening power of the Gospel. Sort of a key theme for my entire ministry. I supplied a church in Northern Michigan as a candidate. They had a brick church, pipe organ, nice group of young people. On the way there Dr. Roxx of Port Huron who taught Church Policy told me the Church was peculiar, as there were two or three hard headed Unitarians who paid the bills and ran the Church. Told me to soft pedal my message until I got control. Knowing Ed Smith, I took for my text 'I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ for it is the Power of God unto salvation to everyone who believeth.' Needless to say I did not receive the call. Thank God."

"When I arrived at Oberlin, I found a letter from Dr. Curtiss of Saugatuck asking me to come as a candidate for that pulpit, at the munificent salary of 70 dollars per year and parsonage. I was disgusted with candidating so wrote back I would come for one year at terms mentioned, and awaited the reply. There was an interesting History back of that call. Ed Pride the treasurer, Dr. Curtiss and Helen Kingsley were in favor of a young minister, as there was quite a group of young people who were interested in the work of the church under the leadership of Miss Kingsley. When a Church meeting was called to act on my letter, good old Deacon Moffatt thought it risky to call a young preacher without sight or seeing. It was."

"Miss Kingsley got up and said they were 100 to one and if the new minister could get along with them, they ought to get along with him. Ed Pride backed her up and I received the call. So I packed up our household goods. I went ahead to survey the field. To my surprise, I found it all the Railroad at the Mouth of the Kalamazoo River connected with steamboat to Chicago. When I arrived, Helen Kingsley was visiting her sister Mrs. Trimm at Park Ridge. Her friends Mrs. Bird, Mather, Geer all began to tell me what a wonderful girl she was etc. When she came home, Ed Pride stood behind me saying, 'How do you like him?' The next time I called, she was, her own sweet self. So I say 'It was love at second sight.' She, with Mrs. Geer and Mrs. Bird, was the Leader of the young people, vitally interested in the church work. It did not take me long to realize how indispensable she was and is. So one day I called and in my tactful way told her, 'I would take her into my life or put her out of it.' She says I pinned her up on the wall. She took a week to consider, then consented to become my wife, providing mother, who was back taking care of grandfather Platt did not object. She had better sense. When Mrs. Aliber heard of it she said, 'She did not believe it,' that Mr. Smith was after souls not girls. I told her later I thought Helen Kingsley had a beautiful soul. When she accepted me she was on a committee working for self support. Has been working for it ever since. I was afraid she was working too hard packing peaches, so I gave her an all year job. She said she married the preacher, his mother and sister, afterwards including numerous other members of our branch of the Smith family."

"We planned to marry in the spring. But my generous hearted brother, Ralph wrote urging us to marry by Christmas. We were married December 22nd. Dr. Curtiss of Grand Rapids officiating. I gave him ten dollars. He gave it to the bride. Not having a pocket she gave it to me, says she has never got it back. I reply I was never able to get ahead. She was a charming bride. Wore a golden brown silk. She felt she was called to the ministry as truly as I was. I agree with her. She has doubled my ministry, shared my entire live. We loved the same things, loved Christ and His Church and loved each other what more could you ask?"

I wanted to have a church wedding, but Helen thought it too sacred. Preferred to have it in her little home, present Dr. Curtiss, Father and mother Kingsley, the Dunns from Allegany and daughters Mabel and Helen, mother and Abbie, Arthur Doud, Dr. Mather. It was a beautiful crisp starlight night.

It was a beautiful night indeed. I took my bride to the parsonage. A two story house with a large yard. The wall paper was very dark, so I had gone to Ed Prides and ordered new wall paper for our room. As his stock was limited, I chose a ceiling with a large oval surrounded with flowers suitable for a Bridal Chamber. Mother thought I was extravagant, but Helen threw her arms around my neck and called me a dear, so I felt rewarded. Ralph and Jeanie started from Texas for the wedding. He to buy my wedding outfit in Chicago. Jeanie was taken worse so they had to go on to Milan. I had to rustle my outfit in Saugatuck. Helen's sisters, Annie and May, objected to her marrying a country preacher on such a ridiculous salary."

"The reason Helen took a week to consider was she thought it might be her duty to stay and care for her parents. They were generous and thought first of her happiness. When at Helen's suggestion I asked father Kingsley for her hand. He replied, 'She evidently wanted to marry me and they would not stand in the way. He added with tears in his eyes, I was taking away the best part of the farm.' I agreed. We planned for a wedding reception the following week. While I was dressing for the wedding, I heard a revolver shot and scream. Chris Zwemer a neighbor boy had shot himself. It took the joy out of my wedding, as he was dying next door. I was called in at the funeral and assisted the Douglas Pastor at the Service."

"So we deferred our reception and called it a church social. When Helen was a young girl she put on a widow's bonnet and remarked she would like to be married long enough to be able to wear a widow's bonnet. One night I drank Ergo instead of lemonade and she was greatly worried. I told her if the Lord took us up on all of our foolish remarks we could not live long. Annie came over in the spring. We were riding out to the Bayou, Walter was sitting between his mother and myself. When he looked up and said, 'Well , I like Uncle Ed anyhow.' Annie blushed furiously and said, 'We did not know Ed.' I had a good year at Saugatuck, rather 22 months. Received 70 members, brought the church to self support. My first baptisms were interesting. Found two lovely Christian girls Edith and Edna Hopkins who were not members. I found they had Baptist training. After foolishly trying to convince them that sprinkling was equally efficacious I agreed to baptize them at the mouth of the River. Captain Hopkins took us down the River in a tug boat to the mouth of the river where the service was held. He was very much affected, so I told him there was only one thing wrong, and that was, the father should lead the way. I received the father, mother, and daughters. While down the river I went up to a small cottage and baptized child of Phil Neilson, also received him in the church. Afterwards, he became an influential member of the Sandusky Church and welcomed me to his lovely home as 'The man who helped him in the Christian Church!'"

"My first wedding was interesting. A middle aged man knocked at the door and finally made me understand he wanted me to marry him to a maiden lady who lived on the hill. When I got through with the ceremony I sat down to a bounteous repast. Finally excused myself as we had guests at home. The Groom followed me out and handed me a bill. I understood that a Minister gave his first fee to the bride. I felt sorry for her, but l got my money's worth. My pastorate at Saugatuck was a happy and fruitful one. One looks back on a pastorate with tenderness. I was ordained there in July. The ladies served a bounteous repast across the river in a building in the Park."

"At the ordaining Council I noted that Helen Kingsley was greatly interested as the theologians fought over my head, the question of the day was to the probation after death. She also helped mother get ready for the ordination service. I do not know that my answer was to the question of death being a decisive point but probably leaned toward the growing conviction that God is the same both sides of that change men call death, and that He will do His best for all men everywhere. He does not change. Men die at all ages from childhood to old age so in my judgment it cannot be decisive. You see, I am a good deal of a heretic. But the great heresy is to claim that God's love ends at the grave. The dedicatory prayer was a solemn moment setting me apart to the Gospel ministry. My grandmother's dedication preceded it. I owe much to my Christian mother and grandmother. They may not care for children's bodies as scientifically as the young mothers of today, but they did care primarily for their souls. 1886 was an eventful year for me. The death of my loved father March 19th. Graduation at Oberlin June 20. Ordination Saugatuck July 20, death of my grandfather Platt. And crowning it all, my marriage to the sweetest, most unselfish girl I ever knew who has enriched my life with her love ever since, sharing each others joys, sorrow and mental and spiritual life. Chums and companions."


After they had moved on to other pastorates, Rev. and Mrs. Smith, then of Indianapolis, returned to Saugatuck to bury their infant Ralph Platt Smith in 1893. The child rests in the Riverside cemetery and will be one of those "orphans" selected this year for daffodils.

                    contributed by Chris Yoder


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Send check payable to the Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society to: PO Box 617, Douglas, Michigan 49406. You can also click HERE for a Society Membership Application.

Send items for the newsletter to: Fred Schmidt, PO Box 617, Douglas MI 49406 or email

The Museum is open this weekend from noon to 4 pm and then will be closed for the season. Click HERE to learn more about the Museum and recent past exhibits.

The Old School House History Center and Lifeboat Display, located at 130 Center Street in Douglas, is open Thursday through Sunday from 11 AM to 4 PM. For group tours or to schedule another period, please contact Steve Hutchins at 616-801-3735 or by email at

The Society's Technology Center is located in the lower level of the Old School House History Center at 130 Center Street in downtown Douglas.

The Society's Archives office is located in the lower level of the Old School House and is open for research on Monday afternoons 1-4 p.m. Use the back stairway for easy access. Archives office phone number is 269-857-7901. E-mail:

Society Phone: 269 857-5751
Museum Phone: 269 857-7900
Tech Center Phone 269 857-7901

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