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

Today we are going to continue with our excursions into the history of the outlying areas in the County. My personal collection is shy of images from Freesoil, Custer, Branch, Walhalla, Tallman and other small communities in the outlying area. If you have photos to share from your neck of the woods I'd be happy to feature those communities in upcoming history columns. Custer Township was originally a part of Eden and was separated in 1878 with the first elections taking place in April of 1879. Originally rich in white pine the area was lumbered off by the end of the 19th century and agriculture took hold on those parts of the township that could support farming. Custer Township shared an Indian Reservation with Eden Township and the last Indian Village in the county was located there just south of Custer in an area referred to a Herrickville. Interestingly enough Custer was originally called Black Creek and was located on the Pere Marquette River. The settlement was moved a sort time later and renamed Custer after General George Armstrong Custer, the first post office however was called Ferryville. Have you ever heard of Canada Corners? The intersection of Wilson and Custer was named that because the families that lived on each corner of the intersection were from Canada. Each Township has it's share of nicknames and ghost town communities, many of which have long since passed away physically and in the collective memory of the Counties residents. At the turn of the century Custer was quite a thriving little village with a main street roughly one block long that included general store, sawmill, post office, bank, grocery store, hotel and hardware store. Other area businesses included a cheese box factory, pickle station, Briggs and Booth Lumber Company, saloon, blacksmith shop, a livery and a bakery. One could also frequent a pool and dance hall for entertainment. A little more then 50 years ago the business community migrated yet again, this time to US 10 where the post office, Johnny's, Bonser's grocery store and others have set up shop and continue to conduct business and keep the village of Custer running into the 21st century. The old main street was abandoned but Sander's Meat Packing is still there conducting a thriving business. If you have any stories or photos you would like to share with our readers please feel free to contact me at 757-3240 or davep@blackcreekpress.com, mail should be sent in care of the Ludington Daily News PO box 340 Ludington Mi 49431. Pic#1 Resseguie School. Timothy Resseguie an early resident (1878) was one of the 4 families that made up Canada Corners and was quite active in the local community. Pic#2 Iva Resseguie is the name on the back of the photo, Iva was one of 6 children born to William Resseguie who died at age 16 as a result of diabetes. Pic#3 Another view of a schoolhouse in Custer from a penny postcard Pic#4 Briggs and Booth Lumber in Custer. John Booth and Eugene Briggs were partners in this business. Afterwards Booth went on to partner with Gus Schoenherr in Fountain. Pic#5 The Catholic Church in Fern Michigan located in Eden Township Pic #6 Freesoil Michigan Main Street. Freesoil was one of the 3 original townships in Mason County having been formed in 1855. The Village of Freesoil began in the early 1860's, logging was the principal economy followed by agriculture. The population of the village had grown to as much as 400 at one time.

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