Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tidbits from the August 31, 1888 Commercial

"Rev. T. H. Hector, the well known colored orator, will speak at the Opera House here to-morrow night, from a Prohibition standpoint."

"The Cornwell Fire Company celebrated its fifteenth anniversary by a banquet at their hall last Wednesday evening. A very excellent time is reported, notwithstanding the fact that an alarm of fire called the 'Laddies' out in the midst of the festivities. It was 'only a barn,' however, and the boys soon returned, and continued the fun."

[from the 'Neighborhood Notes' section for the little settlement of Superior]: "Peter Furlong and Frank Newton had quite a lively controversy at Cherry Hill hall the other night over the merits of their steam threshers, each of course claiming superior points of his own, and when language failed to make the desired impression, they assumed a pugilistic attitude, and only for the timely interference of friends, they would have smashed each other's shirt collars into a thousand pieces."

[from the 'Neighborhood Notes' section for Whittaker]"As little Jessie Greenman, five years old, was running through a corn field last Monday she passed within a foot of a large rattlesnake but did not see it. Will Breining who was digging potatoes close by heard the warning rattle and went into the corn field and killed it. It makes one shudder to think what the consequence might have been if she had started down the row where the reptile laid coiled up."

[from the 'Neighborhood Notes' section for a place called 'Nora', location unknown to me]: the Literary at Chas. Wheeler's Friday evening was a success, closing with a 'Molly Brooks' party."*

Ad: Barnum's jewelry store stood on Michigan Avenue.

*A 'Molly Brooks" party would today be known as a play-party, a party at which people sang old folk tunes and danced, with no instruments. Starting in the 1830s, the tradition stemmed from a onetime religious prohibition on musical instruments. The page below, from a book about play-parties, shows the music and movements for the song "Molly Brown."

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ad for Ypsilanti Indian Shoe Co.

Another ad for the Ypsilanti Indian Shoe Co., this one from the January, 1912 issue of the Cleary College newsletter, the Cleary College Journal.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Cleary College Told you to be in Bed by 10 P.M.: Or Face Expulsion

If you studied at Cleary, your time off campus was subject to the school's jurisdiction. Students had to be in their rooms at 7:30 p.m. for study. On the weekends the curfew was extended to 10 p.m.--BUT--gentlemen couldn't enter a lady student's room in her boarding house, AND ladies were NOT ALLOWED TO LEAVE THE CITY LIMITS. The Normal School also had a 10 p.m. curfew for many years. I believe the document below is from circa 1920.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Tidbits from the August 27 1891 Ypsilantian

"Mr Draper is making marked improvements in the opera house scenery, adding a second drop curtain and several new scenes. The work is being done by Frank T. King, scenic artist from Buffalo, and it will add much to the interest and pleasure of the patrons of the house, when the season opens."

"The soil removed from the Methodist church excavation is spread all over the whole surface of the Presbyterian parsonage lot, raising the grade considerably. It may be interesting to observe what sort of a crop will germinate from such a mixture. Quite possibly, this grafting of 'free grace' upon the sturdy Calvinistic stock may produce something that we shall all want."

"That's right, neighbor [Ann Arbor] Courier, boom your city, but don't forget when you name all the nicest things in the world to add that Ypsilanti always keeps them in stock."

"It is said of Prof. Agassiz that from a single bone, he could construct a whole fish, but that is nothing compared to the exploits of O. E. Thompson who is now sniffing the breezes of old Ocean and taking a whirl on the beach. His greatest feat is to take a fish and in less than ten minutes exhibit its entire skeleton: and yet, he says he is hungry all the time."

"Ann Arbor is to have a new corset factory. Respectfully referred to Mrs. Jenness Miller"*

*a leading "apostle of dress reform" who was strongly against the corset and for more sensible undies

Thursday, August 25, 2011

"The water board have decided to let us use the garden hose an hour later in the morning and an hour earlier at night--6 to 9 a.m. and 5 to 8 p.m." --August 25, 1892 Ypsilantian

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tidbits from the August 24, 1888 Commercial

"The city marshal has posted signs about town notifying people that they must muzzle their dogs or they will be shot."

"An immense number of people attended the Farmer's Picnic at Whitmore Lake last Saturday. Ypsilanti was well represented."

"The Ypsilanti Dress Stay Factory has purchased the brick building, corner of Huron and Pearl Sts., which they have occupied for some time, and are enlarging and remodeling it, fitting it the better for their use."

"A grand racing matinee is advertised to take place at the Fair Ground [Recreation Park] here next Friday afternoon. There will be two races, 2:35 trotting and 2:30 pacing. The premiums offered for the first are as follows: first, Single Harness, $25; second, Wool Suit, $15; third, Side Saddle, $10; fourth, California Boot, $6. The premiums for pacing are, first, Road Cart, $25; second, Single Harness, $20; third, Riding Bridle, $6. Some horses between which there is considerable rivalry have entered these races, and they will trot and place "for blood;" no holding on the back stretch. Good music will be provided, and all lovers of a close and exciting horse-race should attend."

"Bloody Affair: Last Sunday forenoon one of the most disgraceful and bloody affrays which it has ever been our duty to chronicle took place in Ypsilanti. We will state the facts as near as we have been able to learn them, without any attempt to point a moral or adorn the tale. He who cannot do that for himself must be dull indeed, and we shall be surprised and greatly disappointed if the lesson which this affair teaches does not lead to a better enforcement of the Sunday-closing law here [account of a street fight follows]."

Ads: Cleary's business college was 5 years old in 1888, and its ad alludes to the school's having recently successfully placed four graduates in jobs. The Tycoon Tea House stood at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Washington and sold gasoline, crockery, veggies, produce and groceries.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"I w'd strongly advise any girl to avoid Detroit..."

More Cleary goodness. Here is a 1920 letter from P. R. Cleary to the superintendent of the Detroit railroad stockyards, recommending a girl as a stenographer and bookkeeper. Mr. Smith's response is not encouraging:

"P. R. C.
My secretary is on vacation, so please excuse this--Am not inwant of any one at this time--but am much obliged for your letter. Have not been very fortunate with girls from out of the City--+ find it better to get girls who have a home here. Living conditions are such here just now that I w'd strongly advise any girl to avoid Detroit unless she has friends here--If this one is determined to try--she can no doubt be placed at one of our other Offices. W. E. Smith

Monday, August 22, 2011

Panoramic View of EMU Campus, c. 1903 or a bit later

A panoramic view of campus (click for larger image) as it existed around the turn of the century. The building complex at left is the Old Main Building. The building at center is, I believe, the Training School, where students did their student teaching. Starkweather of course, and on the right is the Science Building, now called Sherzer Hall.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Starling Bust

"Only three of the ten city aldermen and the mayor responded for the big shoot Tuesday evening. The police department assisted, so the the official party included Mayor Ray Burrell, Chief of Police Ralph Southard, and Alderman Charles Hartman, Merle Renton, and Effiner J. Kramer.

"The evening had been officially set aside for eliminatoin of birds declared a nuisance on Pearl, Perrin, Congress, and Ballard Sts. In council meeting Monday evening the aldermen responded to protests from residents with the announcement that they would personally aid in a relief campaign. The mayor gave his consent and it looked like a big night but the catch proved small.

"After the first few shots the birds disappeared, leading the aldermen to conclude that other methods will be more practical. From the standpoint of the city sanitary officer, Ernest Maddux, the shoot was a success. His job of cleaning up after the attack was light." --August 21, 1935 Ypsilanti Daily Press

Saturday, August 20, 2011

“The Bazarette people have taken their stock of thermometers out of the ice box and placed them on sale. They (the thermometers) came through the hot weather in good condition, and are liable to weather the heat during the rest of the season.” --August 20, 1896 Ypsilantian

Shotgun-Wielding Councilmen

"Aldermen were in a light and sportive mood Monday night when they agreed to dog out shot guns and sling shots for a mass attack on starlings in the Pearl St. neighborhood.

"The huntsmen are to meet this evening at 7 o'clock at the corner of Pearl and Ballard St. and are warning onlookers to watch the performance at their own risk.

"So vociferous have been complaints against the nuisance of the birds in that section that the council has been driven to direct action to preserve peace.

"Several plans were discussed. One alderman suggested importing screechowls to drive away the noisy starlings; others said traps should be devised for the birds; one suggestion was a proposal to hang bells on the limbs of the trees.

"When it was reported that one resident, after a few minutes' work with a shot gun had downed 28 birds, councilmen decided the gun was the thing, so tonight, the birds bite the dust." --The Ypsilanti Daily Press, August 20, 1935.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Crow Recipe from Ypsi Hunting/Conservation Group

"Members of the local Izaak Walton League of America are going to "Eat Crow" for a time at least and are inviting residents of Ypsilanti to do the same. A letter received by William Raglin, local secretary of the League, requested members to organize Crow hunts and to do everything possible to rid the country of this dread to the farmer.

"After careful experimenting by seasoned hunters, it was discovered that crow is good to eat. A recipe for the successful cooking of the bird was supplied by Mr. Raglin.

"After the birds are dressed they should be rubbed with lard and placed in a braiser or iron skillet with an iron lid. Then a pint of water and celery trimmings should be poured over the skillet full of birds and cooked until three-quarters done. Then a light brown gravy of chicken or beef stock should be poured over the birds and they should be cooked until tender. Serve with any kind of dressing.

"It is emphasized vy those who have had experience in cooking Crows that they must be cooked until they are tender. It is said that when they are done they taste like smothered quail." --August 18, 1936 Ypsilanti Daily Press

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tidbits from the August 17, 1888 Commercial

"The Colored Evangelistic Association propose to hold a Camp meeting in Hemphill's Grove from Aug. 17 to 26."

"Rooming and Boarding: All who wish to take Normal students to room or board, during the coming term, are requested to furnish information on the following points: 1) Name, street, and number 2) Rooms or board or both 3) Number of rooms, furnished or not 4) Are rooms on 1st or 2nd floor? 5) Ladies or gentlemen and how many. The ruls forbidding ladies and gentlemen to occupy rooms in the same house will be observed. Direct through the P. O. to J. M. B. Sill, Ypsilanti."

"Rev. R. Jeffries, paastor of the A. M. E. Church, presiding elder of the first district of Michigan, wishes to day that he is in no way connected with the Camp Meeting advertised to begin in R. W. Hemphills grove to-day, and he warns all his people against attending or patronizing it, in any way, as in his opinion its leaders are first-class frauds."

""The three-story brick building at the west end of Congress street bridge, which Mr. DeMosh purchased last week will, with little trouble, be converted into one of the finest livery stable barns in the city. The horses will be kept on the lower floor, buggies and office on the second, and grain on the third. Mr. DeMosh expects to have it all arranged and be occupying it by the last of next week, or the first of the week after."

Ad: E. M. Comstock, purveyor of carpets, curtains, blinds, and dry goods at 128 Michigan Ave.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Students Doing Business: Interior View of Cleary Main Hall

This pic is from a publicity pamphlet for Cleary titled "Ten Reasons Why [to study at Cleary]." I guesstimate that it's from roughly 1890 or so. Here is a view of the main hall where students are engaged in realistic business transactions. Students were given a mock $2,000 with which to start their business. As you can see by the caption, the school prided itself on using such real-life methods as opposed to textbook work. Click for larger image.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Memorial Cards for George and Lomira Cady

Victorian-era memorial cards were often distributed at funerals or mailed to relatives as keepsakes. George Washington Cady died September 2, 1911 aged 81 years (born Dec. 14, 1829). He is buried in Highland Cemetery. Lomira Cady (wife of David B. Cady, 1818-1913) was born March 3, 1818 and died November 27, 1887. David and Lomira are buried together in Canton''s Kinyon Cemetery. I did see David's family tree but did not see a George with the correct dates, or even close, so I don't know the relationship between David and George, if any.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Kroger, On the Air!

Now this is interesting, from the June 3, 1930 Ypsilanti Daily-Press. It's an ad for "Kroger Time: a new and enchanting radio program." Broadcast on longtime Detroit AM station WJR, among other local radio stations.

"You will be thrilled by exquisite music. Strange and interesting stories of intrigue and romance in many lands will delight you. Hear the stories told by Uncle Joe each Wednesday evening at Kroger Time: 9 p.m."

Also, you could get a "Jap Rose Health Ball" ['Jap Rose' was the name of a brand of soap] if you purchased a passel of soap products.

Anyone else nostalgic for the days when a grocery store sponsored a radio program, and promised us thrilling stories and beautiful music?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Occupations of Black Ypsilantians in 1910

From a list compiled from the city directory by Robert Miller for the A. P. Marshall Ypsilanti Black History Project.

1 barber
1 boardinghouse keeper
1 butcher
1 driver
1 engineer
1 miller
1 news carrier
1 manager
1 saloon owner
1 stoker
1 stove repairer
1 student
1 teacher
1 laundress
1 farm hand
1 coremaker (I believe for casting metal in a factory)
1 cupola tender
1 cement worker
1 coachman
1 grocer
1 watchman
1 yardman
1 umbrella repairman
1 house mover
1 ice cream maker
2 painters
2 pastors
2 firemen
3 porters
4 machinist hands
5 carpenters
5 teamsters
6 cooks
7 janitors
8 masons
19 domestic
74 undefined (likely day laborers)
98 laborers

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tall Tales of the Bicycle Boys

There were some remarkable claims made for the time it took to bike from AA to Ypsi. Records were made, according to the record-makers, minutes were shaved, and gauntlets were thrown. One bit of new technology ended all the foolishness. Story!

Occupations of Black Ypsilantians in 1888-1889

From an Archives list compiled from the city directory by an unknown author, likely Robert J. Miller, for the A. P. Marshall Ypsilanti Black History Project.

1 coachman
1 cook
1 driver
1 gravedigger
1 washerwoman (not sure how this is diff. from 'laundresses,' below)
1 watchman
1 housekeeper (not sure how this is diff. from 'domestic,' below)
1 news agent
1 grocery owner
1 janitor
2 carpenters
2 restaurant owners
2 hair dressers
3 laundresses
3 well diggers
3 masons
3 gardeners
4 barbers
4 porters
5 hostlers
6 teamsters
25 domestics
32 undefined (likely day laborers)
78 laborers

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tidbits from the August 10, 1888 Commercial

"Any imperfections which may be noticed in this paper can be accounted for by fact that, owing to the ague, the editor has given his business 'the shake,' and us boys are running things to suit ourselves."*

"The old tannery building near Congress street bridge has been sold to Joseph DeMosh, who will turn it into a livery stable."

"Dick Cady is a great dog fancier. His dog Don has been so trained by his owner that he will lie down and tamely submit to be curried with a 'cow card.'** He seems to like the fun. He sat for his photograph the other day; but up to date he hasn't expressed his opinion as regards whether it is a good picture or not. "

"Alfred E. Thomas, one of the most esteemed colored men of this county, died at his residence in Ann Arbor last Saturday morning, aged 52. Mr. THomas was born a slave, but gained his freedom and came to this city upwards of 35 years ago. He was an old soldier, being a member of Co. I 102 Colored Infantry, which was Michigan's colored regiment. He was wounded at Deveaux Neck, N. C. Mr. Thomas was a prominent member of the A.M.E. Church of this city with which he was united 11 years since. He was also an active member of St. Mary's lodge F. & A. M., under whose auspices he was buried, Monday afternoon, there being about 30 of his brothers in line, including some from Ypsilanti. Rev. Mr. Jeffries, of Ypsilanti, preached the sermon, and the funeral was probably the largest colored funeral ever held in the county. He leaves a wife and two children."

Ad: Longtime Commercial editor C. R. Pattison sells his home prior to moving to Florida.

*Ague = malaria, of which trembling was one side effect.
**A brushlike tool apparently used for currying a cow.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Rare Interior Views of Cleary College

I'm on a Cleary College kick lately it seems, so here are two rare views of the interior of the onetime college where now stands EMU's School of Business. The first pic is of the registration desk, and the second is of the Cleary library. From the August, 1933 edition of the Cleary newspaper, Cleary College Fellowship News.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Runaway Slave Reenactors at Ypsilanti Centennial Celebration

The legend for this photograph reads: "Carl Lindegren, Mrs. Frederick Gorton." The two plus the boy were reenacting the arrival of runaway slaves in Ypsilanti.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Little Eloise Crittenden (Random Ypsilantians Series)

Eloise Crittenden was the daughter of New York-born Newton Crittenden and English-born Emily Elizabeth Tripp. Born in 1862, Eloise was the oldest child in her family, with younger sisters Amy (1873) and Mary Alice, or Allie (1874). There is an 11-year gap between the birthdays of Eloise and the middle child Amy. Emily had had 4 children, but had lost one: Mabel, born in 1868, who only survived for 10 months. Mabel died of dysentery.

In 1888, Eloise married Charles Lowe, who died in 1895. IN 1900, the widowed Eloise was living in Jackson. In 1910, Eloise's 72-year-old mother Emily was also widowed (Newton died in 1904) and living with her married daughter Amy. In 1916, Emily died. In 1920, 57-year-old Eloise was still living in Jackson, with her 45-year-old sister Mary Alice. Eloise worked as a stenographer and Mary Alice as a bookkeeper. Eloise died in Jackson in January of 1924 and is buried in Highland.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Ypsi's Cleary College had a Correspondence Course

Ypsilanti's Cleary College, founded by onetime itinerant handwriting teacher P. R. Cleary, had a correspondence course if you couldn't attend in Ypsi. I was rather excited to find this out as I don't recall this aspect of Cleary being discussed before. Below is the application to apply at the school.

This is the application filled out in the summer of 1907 by 21-year-old Romulus girl Estelle Armstrong. She had finished 10th grade and lived at home. On this application she said she would have 2 to 3 hours to devote to Cleary correspondence work each day. The course she chose was no. 2.

In 1900, Estelle was a 14-year-old schoolgirl in Romulus. She lived with her 61-year-old carpenter father William, who owned his home, and her 45-year-old mother Julia. In 1907, Estelle applied for her correspondence course. In the December of next year, William died. In 1910, Estelle lived in Romulus, 24 years old and single, with her widowed 65-year-old mother Julia.Julia had her own private income and Julia worked as an independent dressmaker.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Remnants of the Peckville School

This Daily Ypsilantian-Press article from February 6, 1926 reveals that in the 20s, remnants of the old northside Peckville school were still standing, near Forest and River. The city's second-oldest school, it was then being used as part of a garage by the Swaine family.

The 1856 plat map clearly shows the school on Forest near River. Other interesting details: Maple was called Mill St., and Prospect was called Cemetery St. One wonders when the last bits of the old Peckville School were razed. Also, this map shows the school abutting Forest, but the school is said to have been later turned into the Swaine malt house, which is set back some distance from Forest. Were there two iterations of the school building? Another note is that plat maps are not infallible and were drawn by non-resident plat map companies. You can certainly find errors on old Ypsilanti plat maps.

Here is a Reward of Merit given to one Florence Small(e)y in 1857 and recently published in Gleanings. At first I thought that the school illustrated on the form was the Peckville school, and thought, "that''s a pretty imposing structure for a then-semi-rural schoolhouse!" On closer examination I see that one has to fill in the school name on this form, so I speculate that it was just a standard purchased form someone ordered from a school supply-house.

Modern-day Peckville resident Janice A. has written a delightful account of her onetime neighborhood, published in the Summer 2010 Gleanings. It's worth a read to learn about this onetime northside community.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Scenes from Ypsilanti Centennial Barbecue, 1923

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wheelmen's Fish Stories

After increasingly incredible reports of ever-shorter times on the AA-Ypsi run, the local bike club determined to winnow away the tall tales with a fall bicycle race.

At the time three main conduits ran from AA to Ypsi, all of which were dirt roads. I also believe that bicycles at this time were all one-speeds. (Googles Wikipedia): yes, apparently so; even the Tour de France did not use derailleurs until the late 1930s. "In 1937, the derailleur system was introduced to the Tour de France, allowing riders to change gears without having to remove wheels. Previously, riders would have to dismount in order to change their wheel from downhill to uphill mode."

So these cyclists attempting to one-up each other were riding coaster bikes on rough dirt roads...and racing to beat each other's times. Pretty rough-and-tumble! Presumably the cyclists eagerly looked forward to the September 1st bike race.--August 3, 1888 Ypsilanti Commercial

Monday, August 1, 2011

Mystery Artifact: Snow Plow

For any of the Mystery Artifact guessers in my last Ann Arbor Chronicle column who would like to see the entire picture, here 'tis:

August Emancipation Day

Thanks to the Chronicle for publishing my latest story, this time about a little-remembered onetime holiday that united black over a century ago.