JANUARY  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.


Let the good times roll 

at the

Mardi Gras Pre-Parade Party

Tuesday, February 17, 2015 at 5:30pm


Join hosts Arthur Ashley and Darin Reiling, 33 North Union Street, Douglas for an evening of food and fun to warm up before the Douglas Mardi Gras Parade.

The menu, direct from New Orleans, will be prepared by Stacy Honson.

Don't miss Dick Bont's "world-famous" pralines
and don't forget your beads.


Tickets $50 per person.
Only 30 tickets will be sold.

To reserve your place call 269-857-5751 or email

All proceeds from this Dine Around event benefit the SDHS.

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.

Last month I wrote about the "small world" phenomena I have encountered in family history research, and one reason for it in our country.

That prompts me to address the subject again. I call it ancestor arithmetic. This chart provides a quick overview.

Click on the chart for a higher resolution copy.

The chart calculation assumes a new generation is born every thirty years going back in time twelve generations. So this person born in 1950 has [total column] 8190 ancestors - parents, grand parents and great [great] grand parents born in the previous 300 years!

An important caveat: the calculation presented here is theoretical because in reality the number is reduced somewhat because our ancestors have ancestors in common. Our grandparents are likely cousins [hopefully distant]!

For instance, I discovered that my parents are eighth cousins as they were descended from different sons of great grandparents Nathaniel Fiske and Dorothy Symonds who were born in England about 1600.

Consider the meaning of the chart. First, it means that we have a huge number of grandparents to discover. It is said that one is lucky to build a family tree containing as many as 30% or say 2500 for twelve generations.

Turn the thinking upside down. The calculation means, for instance, that Nathaniel Fiske and Dorothy Symonds have a huge number of 10th great grandchildren [including me]. It is estimated that there are 30 million great grandchildren of Mayflower passengers alive in the country today!

So remember we are all related - well, almost, all of us!

Got questions on how to get going on discovering your great grandparents? That is what we are for! 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, January 22
Thursday, February 5
Thursday, February 19

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

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 contact Jack Sheridan at 269 857-7144 or
Chris Yoder at 616 212-3443

This newsletter column is produced by Jack Sheridan

The Baldhead Panoramas – One by One - Piece by Piece - 5

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 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.

Last month we had full photos of 1895 and 1906 without comment. This month we have the south one third of 1895 and 1906. The 1906 photographer is unknown but may have been Herman Simonson.

The number color is switched to red. [See higher resolution image.] As in previous issues the numbers are keyed to my comments about points of interest.

1 - Corner of Mary and Water - site of the Tourist Home and the ferry landing.
2 - The John Wheeler home - John is the great grandfather of Peggy Boyce.
3 - The Nies-Koning Hardware and the D. L. Barber Store. Nies sold to Koning and moved to Holland and opened a hardware store there about 1895.
4 - The Methodist Church - it was to be moved in the future.
5 - The Episcopal Church  - still there and a gem for the ages.
6 - The Union School - standing proud but it was to burn two years later.
7 - The Congregational Church with horse barn to the west.
8 - Structures that were to become the Maplewood Hotel.

Next month we have the same panoramas with detail to the another part of town. Stay tuned!

This newsletter column is written by Jack Sheridan.

Help Us Solve A Mystery

We are currently conducting research on an important piece of local LGBT history, and we need your help! Pictured above is a neon sign advertising jazz music, which we believe was used at the Blue Tempo Bar on Culver Street sometime between 1960 and 1976.

Do you recognize this sign? If you or anyone you know has information regarding this artifact, or any photographs of the Blue Tempo interior, please email the History Center's Museum Specialist, Jarrett Zeman, at Your help will be vital as we document the history of this important sign, and pursue its restoration. Thank you.   submitted by Jarrett Zeman


In 2015, connect with our area's history in a brand new way by following the Society on our Facebook page. Just click on the Facebook logo above. You will be instantly connected to fresh weekly content, including trivia games, historic photos, mystery artifacts, and more! Like us. Share our posts. Be part of a great conversation as we embark on a new year of fascinating storytelling.

A grand farewell to . . .
Clyde Battjes

Clyde Battjes, a Life Member of the Society, passed away recently.

Click HERE for more details.


Luetta Mae Crane

Luetta Mae Crane, a former member of the Society, passed away recently.

Click HERE for more details and HERE for an article by Jim Hayden.


Dale Winter
Dale Winter, a former member of the Society, passed away recently. Click HERE for more details.

Mark Your Calendar
2015 Monthly Programs and Tuesday Talks Tentative Line-Up

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 February 11, Pump House + Local Water System
l March 11, Postcards
l April 8, The Big Pool + Other Water Recreation
l May 13, Rosebay Nursery Field Trip
l June 10, History of Coral Gables
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
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


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, Shipping Building in Saugatuck

Garden Happenings
"Every child is a different kind of flower and all together, make this world a beautiful garden."
--- Dr. Suess

Although there is nothing better than walking through a garden in full bloom, this time of year is kind of fun too. This is the time of year when a bunch of creative minds come together in one room and try to figure out what the best direction for our "Back-In-Time" garden will be. The direction we would like to take this year is designing and installing our kids' garden. There are plenty of creative ideas for the space and we are anxious to see them installed. We would also like to complete the graphics in the Peach Orchard and the graphics on the slate boards that John Migas built. This will take time and money. We have the time!

Creative minds are also coming together for this upcoming Root Camp. We have decided to have two sessions again this year, but will do the two sessions in only one week, both during the week of June 22 - 25. We will have a morning camp from 9 to 12 and an afternoon camp from 1 to 4. We are working on ideas to get our scholarships to our local schools by meeting with elementary principals. We have our Bee Man, Michael Pcolinski, returning to Root Camp with a ton of new ideas and activities for the campers. He even mentioned teaching the campers about SCIENCE! We also will have our very own Jim Schmiechen and Tom Anthrop teaching the kids about our shipwrecks and the art of being a Tin Man. We are working out the schedule for our other speakers, and will keep you posted. It is going to be a a great summer at Root Camp.

Until next month,
The Landscape and Root Camp Committees

The 2015 Membership Renewal campaign will begin in early February and conclude in early April. You may notice a slight increase in member dues.

It has been several years since we have increased the rates. We continue to add educational programs, research efforts, create exhibits at the History Museum and the History Center at the Old School House and our full social agenda.

Thank you for your participation in this great organization. Please renew and encourage your friends to become members in 2015. Click HERE for a Society Membership Application

Thank you, Ed Kelly

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 Richard & Blanche Albrecht, Douglas, MI
l Robert Hudson, Chicago, IL

Early Odd Fellows Correspondence

In North America, The Independent Order of Odd Fellows was founded in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 26, 1819. Mutual aid was a key component. Lodges commonly provided all kinds of assistance to members who were in need, such as a box of groceries, a cord of wood, or a member or visiting nurse to care for a seriously ill member at home. On September 20, 1851, I.O.O.F. became the first national fraternity to accept both men and women when it formed the Daughters of Rebekah.

The Saugatuck Lodge (Number 196) was formed on Oct. 1, 1873. The Commercial Records are missing from the early 1870s, but an 1877 ad announces that weekly meetings were held each Friday evening in the Lodge Hall.

In 1879, "the newly built" Odd Fellows Hall (now Kilwins at the southwest corner of Mason and Butler Streets) hosted a talk by temperance leader and suffragette Susan B. Anthony.

The letter from the Saugatuck Lodge reproduced below, which sold last year on eBay, is an example of how mutual aid to members was supported between Lodges.

Instituted October 1, 1873
NO. 196 I.O.O.F.
Saugatuck, Mich, January 15, 1890

Brother C. C. Moreland

Dear Sir & Bro,

Herewith I send you a Visitors Card for six months which you can present to any Lodge in Chicago and they will, if your sickness continues, visit you and pay your sick benefits just the same as we should do if you were here in our jurisdiction. Before presenting the Card write your name in the place on the right side of the ornamental border on the front, where I have put a cross with a pencil thus X. We hope to hear from you of your recovery of your health. I also enclose an order for the A.T.P.W. Which the A.G. will give on presentation of the order.

                               Yours in F. L. T
                               R. B. Newnham

A.T.P.W.= Annual Traveling Password F.L.T = I.O.O.F. Motto "Friendship, Love and Truth"
A.G. = Assistant General Secretary

Charles Clark Moreland was born Nov. 18, 1848 in Edridge, NY to Stephen Moreland and Catherine Ann Camp who were married 11 Nov 1832 in Auburn, New York. He moved with his parents in 1861 to Lacon, IL and in 1863 the family came to Saugatuck.

Charles worked initially in the mills, and then went on to sail as a mariner on the Great Lakes for the rest of his career. In the spring of 1898, while employed by Capt. Brittain on the ship Crouse, he fell through a hatch, and his obituary says this likely hastened the progress of his illness.

Charles died Oct. 9, 1898 age 51 years from consumption (Tuberculosis) leaving a widow and an adopted daughter. The funeral was conducted by Rev. Lindsay of the Saugatuck Congregational Church. He was laid to rest in Saugatuck's Riverside Cemetery beside his parents and brother Stephen. His obituary has no mention of him having a I.O.O.F. funeral, so it is uncertain if he was still a member at that time.

R. B. Newnham

R. B. Newnham (1819-1908) was a prominent local businessman and community leader. Click HERE to see the article on his life in England by British researcher and descendant Sylvia Booth.

I do not know when the local lodge became inactive, but Newnham's 1908 obituary says that the Lodge conducted his burial service.

Click on the image for a higher resolution copy.

Included with the letter to Mr. Moreland was a sample I.O.O.F. napkin produced by DeMoulin Bros. & Co. of Greenville, IL, and available in quantities of 100 for 75 cents. The company is still in business and its web site states

"Founded in 1892 as a manufacturer of lodge paraphernalia and regalia, DeMoulin Bros. & Co. of Greenville, Illinois is one of the nation's leading makers of marching band uniforms. The company's diverse production history has included graduation caps and gowns, choir robes, church and lodge furniture, and lodge initiation devices."

According to the DeMoulin Museum curator, John Goldsmith, the company did not start selling fraternal goods to the Odd Fellows until sometime after 1896, so the napkin must have been placed with the letter after that date.

The original of the letter and napkin have been donated to the SDHS Archives.  submitted by Chris Yoder


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

Individual $50
Household $70
Premium $300
Corporate $500
Life $1,000
Senior (65+) $30
Senior Household $45

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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