Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mystery of the Blood Vials Solved

I tell you, I was so frustrated to not find the elusive identity of the actual person who sent the blood vials to Normal (most recent Courier story) but deadlines are deadlines so I had to grudgingly write it as an unsolved mystery.

But, reader, now I've found it. Dangit! After the Courier deadline! I think I'll amend the story and shoot it over to Gleanings, the YHS newsletter.

The soldier in question, according to this April 6, 1894 Ypsilanti Commercial article, is one David A. Wise, "the first man to enlist in this county," says this article. "He was a Lieutenant in Capt. Spencer's company, and while there the Captain edited a paper, and they printed a bill of fare for the Marshall House where Lieut. Wise was installed landlord in command..."

"He says he scraped up the blood from the floor, after the bodies had been removed, enclosed it in the vials, and sent them to Prof. Welch, the Principal of the Normal."

Likely I'm the only person who is relieved to know the answer, but here it is just for the record. Phew.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mystery of the Missing Blood Vials

Two tiny vials containing what was said to be the first blood spilled in the Civil War once occupied a spot in the onetime science museum in what is now EMU's Sherzer Hall. The pic below is a never-before-published shot of what is thought to be part of the museum. It only came to light when one Archives member recently scanned a large number of old glass-plate negatives. Thanks to the Courier for publishing my story about the vials!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Mrs. Emoretta Garlick caused the arrest of Daniel O'Brien for assault and battery, and the examination took place Wednesday morning before Justice Childs. The plaintiff failed to furnish security for the payment of costs, and Prosecuting Attorney Randall refused to proceed.

It has been rumored for some time that Lee Harrison, who is dying of consumption, would make some startling revelations in regard to the Pulver murder before he died. In order to put these at rest he has made a sworn statement before Attorney Brown that he knows nothing whatever about the case.

--July 25, 1895 Ypsilantian

Friday, July 22, 2011

Breining Farm in Augusta Township, Whittaker Road, c. 1895

German immigrant Martin Breining was an Augusta Township farmer. In 1880, he was 43. His English immigrant wife Mary was 39 and had had the first eight of her 13 children: Lizzie, Austin, William, Melvin, Charles, John, Mary, and Verny. By 1900, at age 59, she had also given birth to Clarence, Mertie, Fread, Walter and the youngest, 6-year-old Wesley.

The Breiner farm was just south of Ypsilanti off Whittaker Road.

An aerial view from Google Maps shows that the Breining land outlines are still visible over a century later. Here is it visible as a lush green square just south of Bemis.

A photo from around 1900 shows the family members:

Some closeups:

This person is a bit of a mystery. I don't see any non-relative farm hands listed on the old censuses, but this man's old overalls and work boots suggest that that was his role on the farm.

At least two of Martin's sons left the farm and moved into Ypsilanti for urban jobs. William worked as a baggageman and Charles as a clerk. Martin died in 1906 and his wife Mary a year later. He is buried in Stony Creek Cemetery. Several of his children are buried there, and later others were buried in Highland Park Cemetery.
Ann Arbor, July 22--John Heerst, a farmer residing about three miles north of Ann Arbor, has filed suit by his solicitor, Geo. J. Burke, to the circuit court here asking $1,000 damages from the Ann Arbor railroad, for a horse which he alleges was run over and killed by a train on that road. The notice of suit does not state whether Heerst is a breeder of horses or not, but up to the present time it was not supposed that there was a horse of that value in Washtenaw county. --July 22, 1909 Ypsilanti Daily Press

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Aerial Views of King's Flats, Early 1930s

These are a collection of aerial views of what was once called "King's Flats" just southeast of downtown, where the Huron once wound through a flat floodplain. The 1874, 1895, and 1915 plat maps shows one Edward King owning land on both sides of the river in the area that is now Ford Lake. Here are Edward King's landholdings on the 1874 map:

The legend on the envelope that houses the photos in the Archives reads, ""These pictures were taken by Dr. H. Britton and his wife while flying their plane over what was known as King's Flats. It was to have a record to show how this area was before King's Flats was flooded to become Ford Lake."

Each photo is also labeled. This one's legend reads, "Looking east. South river road [Huron River Drive] running up center. Beginning work on Ford Dam at left center. Rear edge of lower wing at lower left. Tip of tail at upper right."

"Looking northwest, King's Flats at lower left. Struts and wires of plane at right."

"Looking east. Beginning of Ford Dam at upper right center."

"Looking east. King's Flats. South river road runs up center of picture."

"Looking east. King's Flats in lower right corner."

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

From One-Room Schoolhouse to Lincoln Consolidated Schools

This photo labeled "1924" shows the presumably new Lincoln Consolidated School District and the previous one-room schoolhouses from which it drew its pupils, the sons and daughters of Ypsilanti Township farmers. In an era of increasing industrialization, car ownership, and the dawn of the Jazz age, the time of one-room schoolhouses in Washtenaw County was fading.

Monday, July 18, 2011

On Saturday and Monday street fakers visited this city and caught more than the average number of fish. The Indian doctor? on Monday evening capturing a hat full of silver dollars.

Who says the bike is not more powerful than the legislature to compel a reduction in fares? Tuesday morning last week Mr. and Mrs. Lee Forsyth of this city mounted their wheels and started for Kankakee, Ill., reaching Battle Creek the first day. They expected to make their visit and return yesterday. But for the bike they would probably have paid $35 to the railroad company, but this they saved. The time may come when the railroads will acknowledge the competition of the bike, and cut their fares or lose their custom.

Miss Maggie Smith, a young girl of 16, tried to commit suicide last Tuesday by taking a dose of laudanum. She was ashamed of her mother who is addicted to the use of strong drink. Her rash act was discovered in time to save her life.

--July 18, 1895 Ypsilantian

Sunday, July 17, 2011

1 in 47

Almost 100 years ago, the ratio of Washtenaw residents to cars was 47 to one.

"These figures come from the secretary of state, who has just completed a compilation, showing the number of automobile tags issued up to June 16, 1913, and the counties into which they have been sent. Up to the first of the month [they] had issued 47,138 automobile licenses, 13,199 more than were issued in the same period during 1912 . . .

"Ingham county leads the state with one car to every 11 of its inhabitants. Branch county has one for every [42?], Washtenaw one for every 47, Wayne one for every 48, and Kent, with the state's second city, drops far below these with one car for every [60?] residents . . ."

At this time Washtenaw county had 942 cars total.

--July 17, 1913 Daily Ypsilantian-Press

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Look Inside

The Old Huckleberry Line

The old Huckleberry Line ran from Ypsi down to "Bankers," Michigan, 64 miles away. It's gone now...but not forgotten. Here is an affectionate portrait of the onetime railroad. Thanks, Chronicle! Below: 1875 map showing the Huckleberry.

Friday, July 15, 2011

When Kids Demanded Milk

I could be reading too much into this little cartoon from the January 22, 1951 Ypsilanti Daily Press but--oh, for the days when kids demanded milk.

I like the mini fridge and didn't realize fridges that small were made at one time. I also note that he freezer is sensibly on the bottom. Wonder why they switched it to the top. In addition, Mom is shopping in heels...urgh. Can't say I'm sorry I was born after that era.

203 Prospect is just north of Michigan Ave. and south of the crumbling railroad bridge. So in 1951 Ypsilanti had a hometown dairy, "owned and operated by Ypsilantians." It's also news to me that as late as 1951, 3-digit phone numbers apparently still existed.

"More milk, please, Mom!" Ah, if only...

Classified Ad WTSH (What the Sam Hill)

Okey-dokey. Here's a July 15, 1909 Ypsilanti Daily Press ad placed by someone who seeks to come personally to your house and collect your hair combings.

The nice long ones. Presumably you've saved them, right? Not cuttings--combings. This person pays cash! Cash on the barrelhead, ladies, for those combings of yours. After which this person will call on several other folks for their combings and then traipse right on home with a handful of different people's combings... do WHAT?!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Forgotten Ypsilanti Product

This is a photocopy of a bottle of a onetime Ypsi product: horseradish.

"D. Ballinger" probably refers to the man listed in the 1910 directory as David Ballinger, Ypsi gardener married to one Eva and living at 614 Congress. If so, David apparently grew, ground, and bottled his own horseradish!

Sadly "Ballinger's Horseradish" never became a household phrase.

Brought to Dusty D's attention by the bottle's owner, E.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Mystery Doodad

Here's a strange little device from an ad in the June 15, 1939 Ypsilanti Daily Press. Can you divine what it might be?

The item, as friend J. K. correctly guessed, is a vacuum brew coffee maker. He also sent a link to a modern-day version (only $209!) The one in the link uses a spirit lamp, neato. Here's a video of how one works. The vacuum brewer above uses electricity. It is one of the myriad electric doodads that the Detroit Edison Company trotted out early in local municipal electrification days, which began roughly three decades before this 1939 ad. They just wanted to make your life more convenient!

The ad below is for a public cooking class with a new electric roaster at the Masonic Temple (Riverside Arts Center) led by "well known home economist" Lillian Merson. The glass coffeemaker was one of the three door prizes for this event, the others being one of the roasters and a "toaster tray set."

Roaster cooking is true electric cooking--cool, clean, fast, healthful, convenient--and it costs only about 2 cents an hour!
The Ann Arbor Courier is kicking against the Michigan Central because the grounds at the depot in Ann Arbor are not kept in better condition. Of course they do look a little bare to one who has seen those at Ypsilanti, but then, they can't expect the Central to furnish a Laidlaw for every flag station along the line. --July 11, 1895 Ypsilantian