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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



david k petersen

Early Amber Pioneers History column Dave Petersen As with many families in the past the Charles Hackert family was a large one with 11 children being born into the world. In those days there was a lot of work made lighter by many hands and each child in a family had their share of chores to do. In those days children had an important role in the family. No video games, no palm pilots, survival was the game and families worked together for the common good. One of Charles and Sarah's daughters, Elizabeth Jane Hackert married William Pittard in 1877. William was from England originally and came to Amber township and worked as a log driver on the Pere Marquette River. The year after his marriage to Elizabeth Charles Hackert purchased the first thresher in Mason County and the year following that William was able to purchase a share in the thresher. This was an important business venture for William as he continued threshing for most of his farming career. The Pittard farm was just to the south of Hackerts on the west side of the road, William had two sons, Roy and Elijah. Roy married Eva Gordon in 1909 and they had three daughters, Vivian, Catherine and Lois. The farm has been in the family now for 133 years and is currently the home of Lois (Pittard) Dumas. The Gordon family that Eva was a member of came from Canada. William Gordon worked in the lumber camps in Lake County, while there he met and married a Lake County school teacher by the name of Margaret Stirling in 1883 before coming further west into Mason County in 1884. Margaret was a creative person and wrote poetry, eventually publishing a booklet of poems entitled "Idle Thoughts" her poem about Hackert Lake is reproduced in this weeks column. "Let others boast of grand parades and the hum that cities make, Give me the days of summertime at our clear Hackert Lake, Where shy Black Bass when nights grow cold, To deepest waters take, And there lie dormant till the sun, Thaws the fetters from the lake, At early morn when all is still A Mallard duck and drake Lead forth their brood to swim and dive In the waters of the lake. The turtles basking in the sun Their noonday nap to take Kerplunk A splash and all that's left Are circles on the lake The barefoot boy with fishing pole Kneels down his thirst to slake And bows to his own features Plainly mirrored in the lake. When Twilight pulls the curtain down Among the reeds and brakes A myriad frogs sing out their tune Tis the band of Hackert lake The whippoorwill from deepest gloom Calls to his hidden mate The dark green pines and cedars In pensive accents to the moon. Their graceful branches shake high up above the Lake . Like a rustling of some garments Of Sprites about the lake So if a pleasant spot you seek A summer home to make There's health and vigor in the air At this lovely Hackert's Lake" Margaret Stirling Gordon In these days past neighbors were a lot like family, and in many cases they were family, when Elizabeth Pittard was married she literally had to just walk across the street to her new home. South Stiles road was home to the Hackert clan and they worked together with other families in Amber township to tame a wilderness and build a community. There were and really still are many descendants of the pioneers who came to this area well over 100 years ago still here. We don't have the wilds of the woods to tame but there are still many many ties to the local communities that have not been broken in well over 100 years. While our communities and neighborhoods are not as close knit as they were 30 or 50 years ago we still have something here that calls out to people, the roots run deep and when the calls go out the communities in the county still pull together much like the days of old. We'll continue to look at some of the Amber pioneers in next weeks column. My thanks to Gloria Wagner and Lois Dumas for sharing their family scrapbooks and photograph albums for this column. If you have any photographs or stories you would like to share with our readers please feel free to contact me at 757-3240 email davep@blackcreekpress.com or write in care of the Ludington Daily News PO Box 340 Ludington Mi 49431 Pic 1 Charles and Sarah Hackert circa 1880 Pic 2 A better view of one of the later threshers owned by the Pittard's, they had three different ones during their years as Threshers in Mason County Pic3 Gordon's Livery wagon, looks like everyone is out for a Sunday drive, maybe to have a picnic at Amber Grove. The Gordon's also laid out the subdivision on the East side of Hackert Lake.

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