FEBRUARY  2015 Click HERE for printer friendly version with images

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


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.

Using DNA as an aid in family history research has come into wide use and no doubt it is the wave of the future. In this column I will attempt to give you a brief and understandable explanation of a very complicated subject.

There are three types of DNA tests available for genealogical testing. Briefly these are Maternal Line [mtDNA], Paternal Line [Y-DNA], and Autosomal DNA [atDNA].

I will stick to the Autosomal [atDNA] type as I am familiar with it as presented by I submitted a test sample to about two years ago and have been receiving the results for about two years.

Ancestry's Autosomal DNA program procedure is to compare each sample submitted with every other sample received. Based on their matching criteria [a future topic here] they identify matching samples and notify the submitters.

On a weekly basis I receive new match information consisting of matching family trees links, and common surnames in the two trees. I then look at the matching tree and for a connection. Usually there is no obvious connection but in 5-10% there is. I am particularly interested in Sheridan surname connections which will lead to the family of Joseph Sheridan born in the Colonies about 1750. No Eureka! connections yet but I am confident that day one will come! In the meantime the program has helped me fill out the many branches of my family tree. I am up to some 6000 individuals. now has a growing data base derived from analyzing about a half million submittals and their program results are evolving as their data base grows and DNA research progresses.

Stay tuned - more next month.

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, February 19
Thursday, March 5
Thursday, March 19

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 Jack Sheridan at 269 857-7144 or  Chris Yoder at 269 857-4327.

This newsletter column is produced by Jack Sheridan

The Baldhead Panoramas – One by One - Piece by Piece - 6

Click on the picture for a higher resolution copy.
Be patient, it may take a while to download.

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

Other factors make these photos special. First, earlier photos had few mature trees to block the view. Second, the photographers used quality cameras with large glass plate negatives 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 December we had full photos of 1895 and 1906 without comment, last month was the south one third of 1895 and 1906. This month is the middle of 1895 and 1896. The 1906 photographer is unknown but may have been Herman Simonson.

The numbers are keyed to my comments about points of interest.

9 - Currently the Singapore Bookstore and the Saugatuck Gallery which are next door to the Women’s Club.
10 - Currently part of Renuar and Wine Sellers shops.
11 – Currently the White House Restaurant [now closed] location.
12 – Was the Clipson Brewery.
13 – Interesting little peninsula in front of the Griffin and Henry sawmill. This was a shallow muddy area filled with sawdust which was used for bridge approach fill in 1936.
14 - 1871 Wooden bridge which was replaced by a steel truss bridge in 1902.
15 –Was a fine home built in the 1850s by lumber baron O. R. Johnson - now site of bank parking lot.
16 – Pumpernickels Restaurant
17 – Currently empty shops and the Boardwalk Ice Cream shop on the corner.
18 – Today the spot of Wicks Park gazebo

Next month we have the same panoramas with detail of the area to the south of town.

This newsletter column is written by Jack Sheridan.

From California Gold Fields to Allegan County

Seth W. Loveridge (Dec. 20, 1824-Nov. 21, 1906)
From the SDHS Archives
(Click on either image for a higher resolution copy)

Most early immigrants to Allegan County would come here from the East, but one in particular had a long trip back from the far American West before settling in Ganges Township.

Seth W. Loveridge was born in Monroe Co., NY in 1824 to Caleb and Mary (Loomis) Loveridge, natives of Massachusetts and Connecticut respectively. Seth's father served in the War of 1812, and as a result became a strong supporter of Andrew Jackson. His maternal grandfather, Jacob Loomis, was a soldier of the Revolutionary War.

Seth moved to Genesee County, NY to work as a farm laborer for three years. On August 6, 1849 he married Catherine Collins, daughter of Joseph and Mehitable Collins. Soon after that, he took his bride to Southfield, Oakland County, MI and farmed there for three years. Then, in 1852, the lure of the California gold fields called him westward. He worked in the mines for three years and "was very successful in that venture." Back he came to Michigan in 1855, settling in Allegan County, and buying a farm of 140 acres. The land was densely wooded, but he erected a "shanty" and starting making improvements, later building a substantial residence.

Seth and Catherine had two children: Judson who died in 1861 at age 11; and Frank, who was born October 13, 1856. Frank was to marry Miss Philena Belle Snyder and have children Catherine B. and George S. Seth's first wife died in 1861, and he subsequently married her sister Charlotte. By the second marriage he had a daughter, May B. "Mertie" (who married F. J. Silcox). May died in 1897, age 32, leaving a 5 day old infant daughter, Mamie, and a son Wyman L.

Seth's father-in-law, Joseph Collins, had moved to Saugatuck (Newark) in 1849 according to Joseph's 1881 obituary and he appears there in the 1850 census with his children. In old age, Joseph moved in to live with Seth and his wife. The obituary for Joseph (1795-1881) says that he first voted for President in 1816 for James Monroe, and had voted in every Presidential election since that time except for that of 1844. Although his Taylor cemetery marker lists wife Mahitable, we don't know if she rests there, as she died in 1843 before his reported move to Allegan County.

In 1864, Seth enlisted in Company H, 13th Michigan Infantry. He served as a private under Gen. Sherman, and his regiment took part in the famous march through Georgia, and the battles at Savannah and Bentonvilie. The unit participated in Grand Review at Washington, and he received his honorable discharge at Detroit, June 20, 1865. (From Wikipedia - The Grand Review of the Armies was a military procession and celebration in Washington, D.C., on May 23 and May 24, 1865, following the close of the American Civil War. Elements of the Union Army paraded through the streets of the capital to receive accolades from the crowds and reviewing politicians, officials, and prominent citizens, including the President of the United States, Andrew Johnson.)

Click on the image for a higher resolution copy

After returning home from the War, Seth was to become an active member of the Jacob Fry Post, No. 46, Grand Army of the Republic, of Ganges, and his name appears among the Civil War Veterans on the monument in Taylor Cemetery, where his body now rests.

Seth and his wife were members of the Baptist Church, and in politics, Mr. Loveridge was a Republican, "though in early life he supported Democratic principles" (meaning he probably followed his father in supporting Gen. Jackson). Beside his home farm, he owned forty acres in Saugatuck Township, twenty acres of which was in peaches, five acres in apples and one acre in grapes. It was said of him "He is a man whose cordial, kindly spirit has made him warm friends".

Biographical references include: History of Allegan County, Michigan, by Dr. Henry F. Thomas, 1907; and Portrait and Biographical History of Kalamazoo Allegan and Van Buren Counties, Chapman Bros., 1892.             submitted by Chris Yoder

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 David Moore & David Blatt, Saugatuck, MI
l Paul Marineau, Douglas, MI
l Helen DeGeatano, Douglas, MI
l Todd Noonan, Fennville, MI
l Todd & Kim Martinson, Saugatuck, MI

What You Missed

Richard Donovan and Pat Dewey

On Wednesday, February 11 at the Old School House, Richard Donovan presented the history of the Pump House and the early water system in Saugatuck.

The presentation focused on the state of fire-fighting in town before the new water system, the process to approve and design the system, the role of part-time resident and engineer John Alvord, and the subsequent renovation of the building and lease to the Society. A review of the procedure to place the building on the National Register was also presented. Lots of photos from the Society's archives were included.

If you are interested in viewing the complete presentation, click HERE. Be patient, the file will take a while to download.

During the Q&A following Richard's talk, Pat Dewey discussed the "Birth of the Museum". Click HERE for her article.

Mark Your Calendar
2015 Monthly Programs and Tuesday Talks

If you would like to sponsor one of the Monthly Programs, please REPLY to this email and we'll be in touch. Sponsorships are $150


l March 11, Postcards with Jack Sheridan
l April 8, The Big Pool + Other Water Recreation sponsored by Lynne Snyder
l May 13, Rosebay Nursery Field Trip
l June 10, History of Coral Gables sponsored by Jolene Jackson & Lonnie Hannaford
l July 8, Field Trip to Peterson Preserve
l August 12, Society Picnic at the Old School House
l September 9, Fishing: Commercial & Recreational
l October 14, Crane's Orchard Field Trip
l November 11, Fire, Storm and Ice: Shipwrecks sponsored by the Star of Saugatuck, Marilyn & Bruce Starring
l December 13, Holiday Party

If you would like to sponsor one of the Tuesday Talks, please REPLY to this email and we'll be in touch. Sponsorships are $150

General sponsors: Carolyn Richards
and Howard Rochte

l July 7, Blue Star Trail
l July 14, Drone Photography of River and Lake
l July 21, Bee Keeping
l July 28, Perimeter: Photo Talk by Author Kevin Miyazaki
l August 4, Peach Belt School
l August 11, Invasive Species: On Land and Water
l August 18, Water and Art (watercolor painting?)
l August 25, Ship Building in Saugatuck sponsored by the Star of Saugatuck, Marilyn & Bruce Starring

Garden Happenings
"One kind word can warm three winter months."
--- Japanese Proverb

Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! It is cold outside. Imagine that in just a few short weeks, the little Snowdrops will be blooming, snow or no snow. The days are getting longer and the birds are starting to sing. We know that soon our garden will come alive . . . once again. In the meantime, a little patience and a lot of planning will keep the Landscape Committee busy.

The Root Camp committee is also very busy. We had meetings with both the Douglas and Fennville Elementary principals, and are hoping to provide scholarships to our local kids. Kim Sharda was instrumental in helping us develop a Root Camp scholarship form. We are also so very proud to announce that campers will be able to register on-line this year. With the much needed assistance from Jim Cook, on-line registration will be ready to go in March. Many, many thanks to Kim and Jim. We couldn't have done it without their help. What a great community we live in. Please start thinking of all those kids who would love to go to camp.

Click HERE for an article that will appear in the Commercial Record's Allegan County Community Foundation's Non-Profit Spotlight insert this coming April on this summer's Root Camp.

Until next month,
The Landscape and Root Camp Committees

Framing History

We are very excited to announce a potential project that takes history to the streets! Entitled "Framing History", this project is based on a highly successful program of the Provincetown Art Association and Museum in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

The plan involves installing a series of frames in front of historic sites in Saugatuck and Douglas. On one side of the frame, visitors could view a historic photograph or a photograph of a painting, while the other side remains empty, showing visitors what the same site looks like today. This dramatic "then-and-now" effect will help connect us to people, places and events of the past. Click HERE to see an example of the frames from Provincetown and HERE to learn more about the Provincetown Exhibition. The graphic below shows an example of Framing History for the Old School House!

The frames are not just for looking . . .they're also for sharing. Visitors will have a hashtag (see note below) they can use while posting photos to social media, allowing all of us to become historians and share our past with the people of the present.

To pursue this fascinating project, we need your support! The History Center will need volunteers to design, construct and install our frames throughout the community. Just REPLY to this email if you would like to help with this new Society project and we'll be in touch.

Our very special thanks go to Monty Collins, who saw the Provincetown project and encouraged us to pursue something similar. We are fortunate to have community members like Monty, who always have a keen eye for ways to enrich the lives of our citizens.

Note: So, what exactly is a hashtag? When users post a photo to a social media site (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) typing a hashtag along with a phrase (e.g. #FramingHistory) allows anyone searching the site for that term to see your photo. If we all use the same hashtag, we can create our own community album of locals enjoying history!

Fresh from Facebook

This month we have a trivia question fresh from our Facebook page. When a circus came in town in the late 19th Century, what kind of animal got loose and paid a visit to Miller Robinson's souvenir shop at 526 Butler Street?

a. Elephant
b. Buffalo
c. Bear
d. Donkey

Miller Robinson and his shop, undated.
Click on the image for a higher resolution copy.)

Give up, the answer is at the bottom of this newsletter.

Recent Additions to the Archives

Needle books (Folders that held a package of sewing needles.) They were given away as promotional items from 1910 to as late as the 1960s.

Please REPLY to this email if you have a story to tell about the recent acquisitions.
                               submitted by Mary Voss

Who remembers Buck Barry?

Click on the image for a higher resolution copy

Buck Barry, born Chester Joseph Burry, February 12, 1917 was an early TV personality out of Grand Rapids, MI. He hosted a highly rated Children's program on WOOD TV called the Buckroo Rodeo.

During the Buckaroo Rodeo days an audience of boys and girls sat in bleachers on the stage to watch Popeye cartoons and The Three Stooges shorts. Barry warning his young viewers not to try a particular dangerous stunt, such as hitting someone in the head with a hammer. He occasionally sang a cowboy song, did a rope trick or twirled his twin six guns. The sponsors provided the kids with candy, potato chips (one of the sponsors was BeMo Potato Chips) and other snacks. The show ran in the afternoons for more than a decade from the mid-1950s to the late 1960s. One of the shows features was a section called, "Can Buck Do It?" where Barry attempted various feats requested by his TV audience such as tearing a phone book in half.

Throughout the 1960s Buck Barry's big Buick station wagon was well known among the children in West Michigan. Gold in color, the Buick had fake wood sides with "Buck Barry" written in large cursive on both sides in real rope. The hood was adorned by a large pair of forward looking Texas longhorns.

During his television years in Michigan, Barry was known for visiting and performing for children in local hospitals. Barry retired in the early 1970s to El Paso, Texas where he lived for 25 years before he died in 1997.        submitted by Mary Voss


To become a member or renew your membership select from the following categories:

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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 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 is located at 130 Center Street in Douglas. For group tours, 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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Answer: B, Buffalo! Robinson's shop was nicknamed the Buffalo House after this incident. To see more trivia questions and engage with lots of new content, like our Facebook page

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