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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



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Charles Wing We've spent the last few weeks with reprints of articles written by Charles G Wing in 1920 before his death at the age of 73. Charles Wing was an early settler of Ludington and was very involved and active in the affairs of the city. He was born in Franklinville New York in 1846 and served in the Union Army during the Civil War. Prior to coming to Ludington he completed his Law Degree at the University of Michigan in 1870. C.G. Wing married Miss Jennie Poole in 1873 and raised 6 children, he was appointed Judge of Probate in 1875 and had also engaged in private legal practice. At the time of his death he was the President of the Ludington State Bank and in 1912 he had entered the newspaper business and later took over the Ludington Daily News. He was involved in much of the civic and industrial progress in the Ludington area for most of the 50 years he called this his home. He had taken control of the water works and was instrumental in providing Ludington with a pure water supply, and according to his obituary as a banker he was called the close friend of the tiller of the soil, and had just the day before his death completed a series of articles about Mason County dating back to 1855. Here is the last section of articles written by C.G. Wing as it appeared in the Ludington Daily News in 1920. "Judge White now announced that he was about to resign the office of circuit judge in favor of Mr. Ewell, his former partner. A petition for Mr. Ewell's appointment was circulated and the duty fell to me as one of a committee of the bar to present the petition to members of the Manistee bar for endorsement. At Manistee we found Fitch and Haight already on the ground with a vigorous protest against Mr. Ewell's appointment for which they secured vigorous endorsement. A majority of the bar at Manistee and at Ludington endorsed Mr. Ewell, but the opposition was emphatic. Mr. Haight declared he must quit the circuit if Ewell took the bench. Mr. Ewell entrusted the mission to Lansing to his partner, Mr. Wheeler, who left with Ewell's petition for presentation to the governor. Mr. Wheeler had spent the previous winter at Lansing as state senator from Bay county and was well acquainted with Governor John J. Bagley. In a few days Mr. Wheeler returned to Ludington, bearing a commission for the new circuit judge but the name written in the sealed instrument was not that of Marshall D. Ewell but of Harrison H. Wheeler.At first it looked like treachery. The situation at Lansing was simply that Governor Bagley declared the appointment of Ewell, in view of the strong opposition of a part of the bar, was out of the question. He offered the place to Wheeler who, after some hesitation, accepted. The appointment of Mr. `Wheeler to the bench was, under the circumstances, satisfactory to the entire bar except Mr. Ewell. His disappointment was keen. In addition to the ordinary considerations it had one peculiar basis. He expected to become a law writer and as the author of text books he coveted the title of circuit judge. Mr. Ewell in March, 1874 offered me a partnership with the understanding that he would be absent most of the time. This offer I accepted. We soon had our office arrangements perfected in the Alexander building, the only place considered safe from fire. P. M. Danaher was elected in April the second mayor of the city, Charles .E. Resseguie being the first. He appointed Mr. Ewell city attorney, who accepted with the understanding that the duties of the office would be performed by me. He was under contract with Little, Brown & Co., law publishers of Boston to prepare a new edition of Blackwell on Tax Titles and left at once to spend the summer in the state library at Lansing. One of my first cases as the acting city attorney was to conduct a hearing before the jury of a coroner's inquest on the body of a dead Indian, shot by Levi B. Wightman, city marshal. It was then quite common for a company of Indians to appear in Ludington, bringing in baskets and whatever they had to sell and they often camped on the edge of town with their squaw and ponies for a day or two. At night there was always a big fire, plenty of whiskey, noise, dances and Indian forms of entertainment. John Daniels, the dead man, had been killed while in the attitude of attack upon the marshal. The coroner's jury acquitted Mr. Wightman of criminal intent but public opinion regarded the violent act was probably avoidable and unnecessary. There were then 20 saloons in Ludington selling liquor to every description of persons without limit and John Daniels was known to be a well behaved man when sober. When, a year later, the Indian town reservation was opened to homestead settlement and Indians thereby lost their tribal relations and became voters, the Indian vote numbered about 300. "

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