Homepage | David K Petersen

Mason County Memories


"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus" ~ Mark Twain


History Columns are arranged by year of publication in the Ludington Daily News



david k petersen

Personal first hand accounts are always treasured pieces of local history, from letters to diaries, ledgers and scribbles on the back of a postcard they give us a different view, a direct human perspective as to how an individual perceived and remembered the events of the day. We are getting ready to wrap up our series of articles written by C.G. Wing prior to his death and as we continue on with our sesquicentennial series of articles if you have something you'd like to share from your Mason County family please feel free to contact me. C.G. Wing recalls early Ludington part 5 of 6 "In August, 1874, the circuit court held a special session for hearing the threatening claim of George W. Ford against James Ludington, John Mason Loomis and the Pere Marquette Lumber company. Back in the fifties Ford owned and operated the mill and held title to most of the land on which the City of Ludington stands. Loomis and Ludington had furnished him money for the purchase of pine lands and for running the mill. Ford was addicted to drink. A decree in the United States court under date of January 3, 1859, determined the amount due from Ford to Loomis and Ludington at that date to be $69,849.71, the judgment to draw 10 per cent interest. A settlement was afterwards made, Ford transferring to Ludington the mill and adjacent lands and receiving from Ludington a considerable sum of money in addition to the judgment. In the pending suit Ford set up the claim to certain unsatisfied equities in the property which he asked the court of chancery to determine and further claimed that the most valuable 40 acres of the city plat was not included in his sale to Ludington but was reserved as a homestead for himself. The answer of the defendants gave the history of Ford's operations with them, denying his claim. They admitted the omission of 40 acres from his deed, not observed at the time of transfer, but asked the court to correct the error by giving the 40 to Ludington as was intended by the parties at the time of the transfer. The case had been in course of preparation for some two years, during which Ford had become a familiar figure on the street, spending considerable time at the office of E. N. Fitch, his local attorney. Much of the evidence had been taken and was now in the form of written depositions. An array of counsel appeared on each side. Ray and Mitchell of Chicago for Ford and Mariner of Milwaukee for Ludington being the leaders. Judge Turner of Owosso occupied the bench. When all sides had been heard and a final decree was made it was not afterwards altered or disturbed in the supreme court. It dismissed the prayer of both sides. Its effect was to place in Ford the title to 40 acres, the equivalent of 12 blocks, or 120 city lots. As described in the pleadings it was the northwest quarter of the southeast quarter of section fifteen in township eighteen north range eighteen west. It is bounded on the north by Ludington Avenue, on the south by a parallel between Foster and Danaher streets; on the east by a line through the middle of the court house block, and on the west by Charles street. Ford, hitherto regarded as a pretender or mere claimant, was now a person of financial responsibility. There was very little delay in the most practical recognition of his newly acquired responsibility. Many suits were commenced against him. E. N. Fitch obtained a judgment for ten thousand dollars as the consideration still due for his services as Ford's attorney. Judgments were recovered in other and smaller claims. Levies on the lots and sales followed. There was a speedy gathering up of old tax titles against the forty. By such means a formidable barricade was soon built up as a defense in the hands of the Pere Marquette Lumber company against the attack of an ejectment suit brought in the United States court at Grand Rapids by John A. Roach of Goshen, Indiana, the purchaser of the entire Ford interest. Judge Shubael F. White single-handed, made a brilliant defense against an array of able counsel in these later suits. There were some indications that what Roach had to show for his investment after his rights were determined and all titles were settled did not make him very rich. Long before the settlement was finally concluded George W. Ford died and his remains were brought to Ludington for burial. He was laid to rest in the city cemetery, where he sleeps in an unmarked grave."

Like us on Facebook!

Every click helps to promote the website! If you like this let everyone know! THANKS!

Purchase an Image!

Classic Views

Every image used in the history columns is available for purchase from CLASSIC VIEWS for as a little as 1.00 for a 4x6 picture. T-Shirts, Mugs, Calendars and a wide assortment of other products are also available. Your purchase helps to support my efforts to place free history and genealogy resources online and offsets the costs associated with this effort.

I thank everyone who has supported those efforts and has shared stories and materials

There is a paypal donation link to the left if you would care to donate a dollar to the maintenance and support of my history and genealogy websites.