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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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History Column 273 Pentwater History part 2 By Florence Schrumpf 1965 We'll continue this week with more from the manuscript written by Florence Schrumpf. These types of personal accounts and family histories are quite priceless in the information that they contain and the family stories that they tell. Do you have a family story you'd like to share with our readers? If so please feel free to contact me at 757-3240, email to davep@blackcreekpress.com or mail in care of the Ludington Daily News PO Box 340 Ludington Mi 49431 "A daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Barber's, Mrs. S. L. Alderman, is still living in Pentwater and is beloved by all. She is the oldest native born resident living, having been born in 1863, and has contributed much of the material gathered here. A devout Christian, she has been ever ready to lend a helping hand, sharing the joys and sorrows of the community. "Mrs. Barber in "reminiscences of pioneer days," told of the first fourth of July observance. Quoting - "In: the year 1854, July 4th was celebrated. We did not have an oration delivered. The Declaration of Independence was not read; we had not even a brass band nor was there a gun fired; but it was Independence Day and our neighbors from the North Claybanks came down in a small fishing boat, and when we saw at a distance the red and white sunbonnets worn by the ladies and the blue shirts worn by the gentlemen, we almost imagined we could see "Old Glory." We certainly saw it's colors. "We passed the day very quietly, but never since has July 4th been more pleasantly celebrated in Pentwater." Incidentally, yet not least of early events, Mrs. Barber made the first cake in the settlement. "In 1854 came the families of Mr. Rogers and Mr. Barnes. Two others, Messrs. Glover and Harding settled up the River and engaged in cutting logs for the mill. In that same year the first white child was born - to the Glovers, a baby girl, Hattie by name. "In September of 1854 the first accident occurred. One day Mr. Barnes and his son went up the river on business and near night fall their empty canoe came floating down. One of the bodies, their hats and a paddle were found next day, but the cause of the accident remained a mystery. The interment of this body was the first burial. "The first school was established that year with Miss Emily Daniels as teacher and Eugene Cobb the pupil. Severe storms prevailed that fall. It was a custom of the settlers to go down to the beach the morning after one, to see if they might be of assistance if a vessel were in distress. During one of these storms the "Wright," freighted with hardware, went aground on the South Beach. Upon seeing the settlers, the crew, worn and hungry, with renewed hope of rescue, roused themselves. They wrote a note; placed it in a bottle, fastened it to the cabin door and set it afloat. "It was a prayer for those on shore to aid them. The settlers worked long and faithfully, finally succeeding in getting the exhausted crew of sixteen men ashore. It was midnight when they reached the boarding house where "hot coffee and a good meal" waited them. The sailors remained a few days, then left for Grand Haven, walking all the way, down the beach. "The crew of the "Wright" had thrown her cargo over board to lighten the vessel, and kegs upon kegs of nails were found on the beach. These nails were used in many of the first buildings erected here. These buildings were frame structures with the boards running vertically, and not lathed or plastered until sometime later. "The wolves were very troublesome. They would gnaw the handles of axes and saws if left out at night. The salt from sweaty hands attracted them. They were especially fierce that winter. Quoting again from Mrs. Barber, "As winter advanced, they became even dangerous. One time in particular we few settlers were somewhat frightened by them. It was night-time and we were awakened by the howling of wolves in the distance. The howling became almost deafening as they drew nearer and on looking from the windows we saw a great pack of them halted in front of the house as if about to attack it; but upon placing lights in the windows they fled. You can hardly imagine the feeling of relief I experienced when I saw them disappearing across the lake." "In April 1855 Jacob Schrumpf, who with his family had come to Chicago from Germany, the previous fall, chanced to meet Mr. Charles Mears in Chicago. In the course of their conversation, Mr. Mears said that he owned some pine land on the east side of Lake Michigan; that he was going to build a mill and needed men. This item was -obtained from the oldest son of Jacob Schrumpf, Carl, who at that time was four years old. He now resides on a farm near Mears, Michigan and has contributed a great many facts arranged here. He says, "Mr. Mears hired my father and brought us to Pentwater in the same month. He helped build the Mears Mill, boarding house and store. "

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