COMMUNITY RESOURCES WORKSHOP
AUGUST 8TH—31ST, 1966
MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY
NORTHERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
GOGEBIC COMMUNITY COLLEGE
MR. CARLO HEIKKINEN, DIRECTOR
B. AND M. A. DEGREES
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
We would like to express our appreciation for the valuable information, personal insight, and interest received from Victor F. Lemmer, of Ironwood, Michigan, Past President of The Historical Society of Michigan, without whose aid this project would not have been compiled.
In 1955, Mr. Lemmer was the recipient of an "AWARD OF MERIT" from the American Association for State and Local History at its annual meeting in Williamsburg, Virginia.
To learn to use our community resources to the fullest advantage.
To create an awareness and stimulate the citizenry of the Gogebic Range about the little known facts of this area.
To arouse public interest in the historical contributions of the early settlers, voyageurs, and missionaries who had confidence in the future in making our Gogebic Range what it is today.
To acquaint the public with the location of the geographical and historical points of interest that have enriched our heritage, and instilled a spirit of appreciation.
We, Kathleen S. Rubatt and Kathryn M. Reardon, the compilers of this thesis, wish to state that we were cautioned to keep in mind that professional historians may not agree entirely with our interpretations of these historical facts and the origin of names. Constructive criticism will be welcomed by us. We also realize that this is far from complete, but it is hoped that this historical record will serve as an incentive to other students of history.
LITTLE KNOWN FACTS OF THE GOGEBIC RANGE
*OUR HISTORICAL BACKGROUND*
Some of the historical background of the northern area of the United States is of great interest.Although the northern boundary of the United States was not definitely fixed until the Webster-AshburtonTreaty of 1842, its rough location was described in the Treaty of Paris of 1783 between Great Britain andthe newly freed colonies. Benjamin Franklin was one of the commissioners sent to Paris to negotiate the treaty. It had been decided that the boundary between the United States and Canada should go through Lake of the Woods. According to the only map available to the commissioners, as drawn by John Mitchell in 1775, water from Lake of the Woods flowed into Lake Superior though the Pigeon River. Therefore, it was decided to make this water course the boundary—a decision for which Franklin was at least partly responsible. Some years later it was discovered that the Pigeon River went back only 30 miles from Lake Superior and that all the water north and west of the point flowed toward Hudson Bay. If the commissioners had known the truth, they would no doubt have made the boundary the St. Louis River, with its mouth at the extreme western tip of Lake Superior, rather than the Pigeon River.
We are told that Franklin was familiar with the writings of the Jesuit fathers and knew about reports of copper being found on Isle Royale. Also, the Pigeon River was, of course, the headquarters for the great fur trading depots, and was known as such to the British commissioners, who had never heard of the St. Louis River. Franklin was then able to bend the boundary line around Isle Royale and bring it to the mouth of the Pigeon River instead of allowing it to follow its natural course of coming on the south side of Isle Royale to the St. Louis River, which was undoubtedly the end of Lake Superior, as the French name Fond du Lac indicates. If Franklin had not been so wise, all the rich iron ore territory in Minnesota, as well as the states of North and South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, and Oregon would never have become a part of the United States.
**Due to the importance of this data and to make certain of the accuracy, we have secured, with permission, this information which appears in skillings’ Mining Review of July 2, 1960.
THE DISCOVERY OF THE GOGEBIC RANGE
As has always been the case, the story of the Gogebic Range is a combination of hard and patient research, mixed with the glamour of accidental discovery. It was in the year 1871 that Prof. Raphael Pumpelly of Harvard University, who is said to be the first professionally trained mining engineer in the United States, discovered iron ore in what is now called Gogebic County. Pumpelly wrote in his "Reminiscences" that he came to this iron range by sailboat starting from Marquette, Michigan, to Bayfield, Wisconsin, and then across the bay to the mouth of the Montreal River, in the vicinity of Little Girl’s Point. It was at this spot with the aid of guides that Pumpelly, his wife, a French voyageur and his wife, journeyed 20 miles south by land along the Montreal River to the site in Ironwood near the now abandoned gas plant. After establishing camp in tents, Pumpelly left the trail and climbed what we now call Newport hill in Ironwood. While resting, and as he said, "thinking," he noticed the yellow stains in the rock. This discovery of Pumpelly’s is a story in itself, but suffice it to say that he and his financial backers purchased two miles of this information, which in later years became the site of the Newport and Geneva iron mines.
ORIGIN OF NAMES
**The County of Gogebic was named after Lake Gogebic. called the lake, "AGOGEBIC", because in their language the word meant, "A Body of Water Hanging on High." They knew that the lake had a high elevation, which was caused by the glaciers centuries ago. In other words, Lake Gogebic is 1,290.81 feet above sea level, but when the water reaches Lake Superior, the lake level is only 602 feet above sea level. The exact definition of "Gogebic" will never be known, as it all depends on the interpreter. The popular meaning, used for the purpose of tourism is "Where Trout Rising Make Rings on the Water." Research by historians has not been able to determine how and when and why "Agogebic" was changed to "Gogebic." A satisfactory conclusion is that a printer either purposely or accidentally dropped the "A" during a printing job.
**"Ramsay", the town in Bessemer Township, was named for Sir William Ramsay, a Scotch chemist born at Glasgow, Scotland. He won his chief reputation for his discovery of rare gases. He was awarded the Nobel prize in chemistry. His discoveries are a major factor in the iron ore processes.
**"Bessemer" was named for Sir Henry Bessemer, the English inventor of the process of manufacturing malleable iron and steel without fuel.
**"Ironwood" was named for James "Iron" Wood. He was the discoverer of the Norrie Mine at Ironwood, exposing for the holder of the lease, A. L. Norrie, what turned out to be one of the greatest bodies of high grade ore ever to be found in Michigan.
**"Marenisco" township derived its name from one of its pioneers, namely Mary Enid Scott, the wife of the founder. It will be noted that the first three letters in each name are used to spell "Marenisco."
**"Wakefield" was named after George M. Wakefield, a financier of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who came to this area in the pioneering days. In 1881, George M. Wakefield was the secretary-treasurer of the "Ontonagon River Improvement and Boom Company", which built a number of dams and blasted rock in the Ontonagon River to float logs to the sawmills.
**James s. Monroe, An Ironwood Attorney, gave the name to "Erwin" Township. He named the township "Erwin" by taking the middle name of Donald Erwin Sutherland, who was at that time, the mayor of Ironwood and also the superintendent of the Oliver Iron Mining Company.
**The name of the township of "Watersmeet" was derived from the two words, "waters" and "meet". A number of waters actually meet there, and it is interesting to note that in the Watersmeet area the Ontonagon River flows north into Lake Superior, the Wisconsin River flows south into the Mississippi River, and the Paint River flows east into Lake Michigan. Also, the town is the meeting place of the water of Duke Creek, flowing north, and the Ontonagon River flowing east and north.
**The town of Hurley, Wisconsin took its name from Mr. M. A. Hurley, a prominent attorney of Wausau who won a lawsuit for the Northern Chief Iron Company in 1884. The compensation for winning the suit was that he asked for no fee, but only requested that the town involved in the case is named after him. The full name "Glen Hurley" was used for one year, but in 1885, the first name was dropped and the community became known as Hurley
**The following is Father Gagnieur’s statement about the name of "Ontonagon": "Let us imagine ourselves now on the famous Ontonagon River that flows into Lake Superior. This name is interesting. It appears in the old relations of 1660 as Nantounaganing. The river is famous more particularly for its copper mines and especially for one enormous mass of pure copper. Let us say here it Nintonaganing. When and where and by whom it was changed into Ontonagon, will, I suppose, never by known. Nintonaganing means " the place of my dish," the legend (according to Bishop Baraga who wrote forty-years ago) being that a squaw washing her dish or bowl either dropped it into the river or the current carried it away, and she exclaimed, "Nia! Nind Onagan! Nind Onagan! --- "Oh! My dish! My dish! Ontonagon would mean "her dish" --- hence maybe Nintogon. Yet one writer does not blush to say Ontonagon means "fishing place," and another, "place of the other wooden bowl," viz. "onto" place, "nagon" --- wooden bowl! Father Verwyst, O. F. M., says that Mr. Antoine Gandin (or Gordon --- traces the word Ontonagon to Nandonagoining, or "place where game is shot by guess,’ i.e. by not seeing it but judging of its location by some noise or movement in the brush. Father Verwyst says that in maps of the 17th Century it is called Nantonagon (and we saw above, that the Relations call it Nantounaganing, and Father Verwyst prefers this derivation to Bishop Baraga’s legend. When then did Nantonaganing become Nintonaganing? One map gives the spelling, Riviere de Tonnaganne.
LITTLE KNOWN FACTS ABOUT THE HERITAGE OF THE GOGEBIC RANGE
In 1618, Etienne Brule became the first white man to see the greatest of fresh water lakes and paddle a bark canoe along the shores of Lake Superior.
*PIONEERS OF PIONEERS*
Pere Rene Menard, a missionary, was our pioneer of pioneers in the area known as the County of Gogebic. Although this area became an official county in 1887, it is interesting to know that history proves that Pere Rene Menard was here 226 years before that time or in the year of 1661. Father Menard conducted religious services at Lac Vieux Dessert in the Township of Watersmeet 295 years ago.
*RADISSON – GROSEILLIERL EXPLORE LAKE SUPERIOR*
The first white men to leave us an account of their explorations were Pierre-Esprit Radisson and Menard Chouart des Groseilliers who made the first of four trips to Lake Superior in 1654. These travelers probably camped over-night at the historic over-night camping grounds .
*MOST IMPORTANT TRANSPORTATION ARTERY THROUGH AREA*
The most important artery for transportation of goods through Gogebic County in the days of the fur trade was the Montreal River portage extending from Lake Superior to Lac du Flambeau. The name of this river appears on the oldest map ever made of Lake Superior. This was made in 1669 by Fathers Claude Allouez and James Marquette, missionaries who followed in the footsteps of Pere Rene Menard.
*FLAGS OF THREE NATIONS*
Flags of three nations have flown over this region we now call the Gogebic Range. The first Europeans to discover the Great Lakes were the French who held the country bordering upon these inland seas until 1763. England took possession following the Seven Years War and sway for twenty-years until tittle passed to the United States by the Treaty of Paris in 1783.
*ONE OF THE EARLIEST REPORTS O IRON ORE DEPOSITES—BY DR. A. RANDALL*
In 1848 Dr. A. Randall of the United States Geological Survey reported iron ore deposits on the Wisconsin side of what is now called the Gogebic Iron Range, about half way between Hurley and Mellen. Dr. Randall was followed by Colonel Charles Whittesey of Cleveland, Ohio, who became the president of the first company organized to acquire land and develop mines in Wisconsin.
*THE CREATION OF ONTONAGON COUNTY*
On March 9, 1843, the legislature of the State of Michigan approved the establishment of the County of Ontonagon together with Isle Royale on Lake Superior. Then on April 3, 1848, the legislature designated the separated County of Ontonagon. According to the legislation, the law creating the County of Ontonagon reads as follows:
"All that portion of the State embraced within the line between ranges thirty-seven and thirty-eight West, the north boundary of township forty-one, and the Montreal River and Lake Superior, shall be laid off as a separate county and known and designated as the County of the Ontonagon."
*THE DIVISION OF ONTONAGON COUNTY*
It is evident that a journey from the Gogebic mining area to the county court house at Ontonagon meant a loss Ontonagon of nearly a week’s time. No wonder then that a movement started for the division of Ontonagon County. There was little oposition to the idea, and on June 4, 1866, a meeting of the citizens of several townships of both parts of the county was held at Ironwood. The session was organized by the election of Captain W. E. Parnall of Rockland as chairman. The secretary chosen was B. F. Chynoweth of Greenland. In stating the purpose of the gathering , Parnall advocated the removal of the county seat from Ontonagon to some more central point on the mining range, in lieu of a diversion of the county. However, it became apparent that the plan of removal was considered an impractical one by a large majority of those present at the meeting. As a result, Supervisor W. L. Pierce of Ironwood moved that it be declared the sentiment of themeeting that Ontonagon County be divided, which motion prevailed with only one dissenting vote. The division line between the two counties was amicably agreed upon, and the name "Gogebic" which had already become familiar, was appropriately adopted for the new county.
*THE FIRST HIGHWAY IN GOGEBIC COUNTY*
The first highway through Gogebic County was contributed for military purposes, connecting Fort Howard at Green Bay with Fort Wilkins on Lake Superior at the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula. This road, known as the "Old Military Road" is, in part, in use as U. S. Highway 45 where it passes through Watersmeet. military necessity for wagon roads in the Civil war Days gave the Gogebic County area its first through north and south highway between 1865 and 1868.
*ANCIENT GREENSTONE ROCKS*
Prominent exposures of greenstone rocks are found along the road cut of U. S. Highway 2 coming into Wakefield from the west. These rocks at Wakefield are the oldest in the world, approximately a billion years old.
HISTORICAL FACTS ABOUT IRON MINING ON THE GOGEBIC RANGE
Richard Langford is credited with the first discovery of iron ore in the Gogebic Range. This discovery took place at Colby Hill in Bessemer around 1880. Langford, the hermit of Lake Gogebic, spent his last days roaming the Ontonagon wilderness. Ironically, he is buried in an unmarked obscure section of the town’s cemetery.
It was in 1884 that the first shipment of iron ore from the entire Gogebic Range was shipped from this site, then the Colby Mine.
On July 4, 1940, the Gogebic Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution erected a bronze marker at the side of Langford’s discovery. It is located on the old county road near the long abandoned Colby mine at Bessemer. This 16 x 20 inch memorial plaque bears the following inscription:
"1,000 feet south, iron ore was discovered on the Gogebic, Iron Range by Richard Langford about 1880."
The Plaque is attached to an 8,000 lb. Boulder obtained from one of the hills near Bessemer.
The city of Ironwood, Michigan was named for James wood. Prominent in the iron ore industry, he was the discoverer of the Norrie Mine at Ironwood and exposed for the holder of the lease, A. L. Norrie, what became one of the greater bodies of iron ore ever found in Michigan.
The "Wood" in Ironwood came from James Wood’s name. In 1885 while the railroad was being completed, it was learned that this town did not have a name. James Wood was sent for by the president of the railroad, Mr. Rhinelander, and as Wood was observed coming down the trail it was noticed that his hands were covered with the stain of the Norrie hematite iron ore. It was then decided to christen the new town "Iron-wood." The hyphen was later dropped, and the name was changed to Ironwood.
On April 28, 1958, the Ironwood City Commission approved the name of the James Wood Park, located in the heart of Ironwood. This park in his memory was dedicated in the same year.
SOLOMAN S. CURRY
Curry has been identified with Ironwood during the whole of its existence. Indeed, he is one of its founders, and much of the town was laid by him.
Mr. Curry was born on June 12, 1839, in Lancaster, Ontario. He attended the schools of that area and at the age of 20, he worked as an apprentice in a blacksmith shop and learned that trade.
In his early life, he lived in Marquette and Ishpeming. During this time Mr. Curry was very active in explorations being made in the Lake Superior region.
When he was forty years old, he became the president of the Iron and Land Company. In 1885 this company acquired the Norrie Mine at Ironwood from A. Lanfear Norrie and began operating that property as well as the East Norrie mine and later the Pabst, Davis, and puritan mines.
He made his home in Ironwood until after the mines which he was interested in were sold to other interests. While in Ironwood, he was the first president of the First National Bank of Ironwood. Mr. Curry also established the People’s Bank of which he was the first president. Among his contributions, he gave to Ironwood, the first American flag it ever owned, and made a speech on the occasion in 1892.
Mr. Curry died at Ironwood, Michigan, July 29,1929. A number of his descendents are still living. There is a beautiful Monument erected on the Curry family plot at the Ironwood Riverside Cemetery.
THE "HAYES BROTHERS"
he "Hayes Brothers", J.O. Hayes and E. A. Hayes, owned the lease for many years on the Ashland Mine at Ironwood, Michigan. The Ashland Mine was opened in 1884. Prior to 1913 it was operated by the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company; later by the Hayes Mining Company. The Hayes Brothers were known as the "prune kings" from California where they were fruit ranch operators. They also published a newspaper at San Jose, California. In iron ore mining, they relied on their mine captain, Robert King at Ironwood. Captain King was the father-in-law of Attorney William Cloon of Ironwood.
J.O. Hays looked like, and acted like "Prince Albert". E. A. Hayes was at one time a Congressman from California.
The mother of the Hayes Brothers was a spiritualist. The Hayes family originated its own religious belief, and called it the "True Life" cult. At times Mrs. Hayes, through her spiritualism, would decide on the direction her sons should take to discover the iron ore. Sometimes she made guesses, but eventually her luck and money played out.
A. LANFEAR NORRIE
Born in 1858, his early home was in New York City. He received part of his education in England. In the winter of 1880-81, Mr. Theodore M. Davis wrote to John Munro Longyear asking him to take Norrie, a son of the vice president of the Keweenaw Canal Company, and make an explorer of him. He said that the young man had spent the previous five years in England and that he now wished to get into business in the United States. Norrie came to the northern penninsula in February 1881 and began to explore several properties on the Menominee range. In the spring of 1882, Norrie decided that he would like to undertake exploring on the Gogebic Range on some of the lands that had just surrendered by Cambria Steel Company. He located the Norrie Mine in 1883 and 1884.
He returned to New York after he ceased exploring work around 1886. He died there December 22, 1910. His son, Lanfear Norrie, as of 1960, was living in New York City.
JOHN MUNRO LONGYEAR
John Munro Longyear was an explorer, prospector, surveyor, cruiser and land agent for the Keweenaw Canal Company and philanthropic pioneer of the Upper Peninsula. He was born in Lansing, Michigan, April 15, 1850, and died in Brookline, Massachusetts, May 28, 1922.
In 1881 he published the first map of the Gogebic Iron Range, where he had iron ore holdings.
HISTORICAL FACTS ABOUT "COPPER" IN THE ONTONAGON REGION AND GENERAL HISTORICAL INFORMATION
RECORDS OF EARLY DISCOVERIES OF COPPER
**Largest single movable piece of metallic copper ever found in the world…a three-ton mass of pure copper…was discovered in Michigan in 1667, in Ontonagon County, and removed in 1857…Since 1858 it has been on display in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington…The irregularly shaped boulder measures: roughly 4 feet 3 inches by 3 feet 11 inches and is about18 inches thick.
**The existence of native copper on the shore of Lake Superior was first published to he world in a book by M. Lagarde, issued in Paris, France, in 1636.
**The missionary, Father Claude Allouez, was perhaps the first white man who saw copper along the shore of Lake Superior. Soon thereafter, missions were established by Father Marquette and Father Menard.
**During the winter of 1771-1772, an Englishman by the name of Alexander Henry, read in a book published in London in 1770, about the native copper of Lake Superior. He organized a party of English miners, and they came to the Ontonagon River and explored for copper on the property, which later became the Victoria Mine. The spring rains caused the caving of the mine exploration, and no further attempts at copper mining were made for seventy years.
**In 1830, Dr. Douglas Houghton made the first scientific survey of the Upper Peninsula. One of the first miners to reach the copper fields was Jim Paul, a backwoodsman who came in the month of March (1843). He founded the town of Ontonagon.
**The next notation of Lake Superior copper deposits is found in the books of the Jesuit missionaries for 1659 and 1660.
**Taken from "The Copper Handbook," Volume X 1911, by Horace J. Stevens, page 190:
"The first wireless telegraphy was done in Ontonagon County, Michigan, Ayers Stockley, shortly after the laying of the first successful Atlantic cable in1866. Ayers Stockley (also spelled Ayres Stockly) used crude homemade apparatus, but succeeded in transmitting telegraphic messages correctly, for a distance of nine miles, by utilizing the magnetic earth currents traversing the cupriferous strata."
Original historic documents still available indicate that Ayer Stockley was in Ontonagon county in 1868, as he signed a petition on March 7, 1867, relating to the building of the Military Road. Efforts have been made to establish the truth of the claim that Stockley sent the first wireless message; no official governmental agency has yet been able to prove the contrary. Consequently, unless something now unknown is disclosed, Ayers Stockley successfully experimented with wireless seven years before Marconi was born. The later inventor did not come to the United States until 1899.
WILLIAM WITTER SPALDING—EARLY ONTONAGON PIONEEER
The handwritten diary of William Witter Spalding, one of Ontonagon’s pioneers, is preserved at the University of Michigan, through the courtesy of Roy L. Muskatt, who lives in Ontonagon. Spalding, a Pennsylvanian who had moved to Illinois in 1836, engaged in leading mining in northwestern Illinois and southwestern Wisconsin in 1844-1845. Hearing of rich deposits of virgin copper in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, in the spring of 1845, he and his uncle, Daniel S. Cash, and two other partners set out by steamboat and canoe for the Lake Superior country. At this time Spalding was 25 years old. The diary contains many interesting entries. On July 4, 1846, they had a celebration on the banks of the Iron River. There was a patriotic address, and Spalding read the Declaration of Independence. Later in the day he "went to the Ontonagon just at night in a sailboat run down in two hours."
In June of 1848, Spalding said in his diary that he discovered a large mass of native copper weighing about six tons in the bottom of an old shaft four feet under the surface of the earth. He said, "The mass of copper has been hammered all over with round small boulders which the ancient miners had used for sledges or hammers, plenty of which were found having a ring around the center, beat in to keep the handles which were wound around them in their place. There was also a copper chisel with a socket found and a copper spike. There is positive proof of the same vein and two or three other veins near by having been worked for nearly a mile in length, not to any great depth, but mostly along the surface of the veins. There is no account or tradition of when or by whom it was done. All the indications show that is must have been in very ancient times."
HISTORICAL SITES AND HISTORICAL SITES OF INTEREST
90TH MERIDIAN MARKER
The brass so-called "bench mark" was raised by the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey. This marker indicates that Ramsay in Gogebic County is exactly one quarter of the distance around the world from Greenwich, England. It is located at the east end of the bridge just south of the railing.
Geographically speaking, this is the location of the 90th meridian west of Greenwich, being 46 degrees, 28 minutes, 2778 seconds north latitude. In other words, it is nearly one and a half degrees north
of the point halfway between the equator and the North Pole. This 90th meridian is the center of the Central Standard Time Zone.
The one-arch railroad bridge in the Black River at Ramsay in Bessemer Township, near the Bessemer Township Park, is considered by many historians as one of the most beautiful of its kind in the world. One of the stones in this bridge is the "keystone" which serves as the vital spot around which the arch is constructed. The keystone of the arch is the last stone set and ties the two other sections together, helping to equalize the pressure on all sides of the arch. The official designation of the bridge by the railroad is Bridge No. 1111. It is a 45-foot by 44-foot stone arch structure, 57 feet from the rail to flow line. The bridge was constructed in 1891 of limestone quarried at Kaukauna, Wisconsin, at a cost of $48,322.00. The foundation of the bridge is on solid rock. There are only three other bridges of its kind on the United States.
OLD DUGOUT CANOE
In recent years there was discovered in "Thousand Island" Lake in Watersmeet Township and dugout canoe, which measures 32 feet 6 inches high. Authorities on life are of the opinion that built this white pine canoe, made from one log, by putting it up on some kind of saw horses. They then built a fire with a concentrated flame under the log. No doubt, the women chopped away at the charcoal resulting from the fire, while the men did the hunting and the trapping. It is estimated that approximately twenty People could ride in the dugout canoe. It is on exhibition at the Jay Shifra Resort on Thousand Island Lake. Some historians believe that this dugout canoe is one of the last to be discovered in America.
ANCIENT GRAVE OFFERINGS
In 1931, Dr. Carl E. Guthe of the University of Michigan found two mounds on the Lake Gogebic property of William Bonifas, whose property later became known as the "500-Bushal Club" and is now know as Villa St. Thomas. Each mound contained several burials, which had been disturbed and were difficult to interpret. There were also discovered a handful of pieces of pottery made of baked clay, copper tools, and bone and antler tools. Some of these items were, no doubt, the grave offerings to the dead, as these mounds were definitely mortuary mounds.
SMALLEST CATHOLIC CHAPEL IN THE UNITED STATES
Gogebic County claims to have the smallest complete Catholic Chapel in the United States used exclusively for religious services. Efforts have been made by historians to locate a smaller chapel in the United States, but so far no one has been able to report one for any religious denomination. The Catholic chapel is known as St. Raphael Chapel, and it is located on the property of the Kinsella Estate of Milwaukee, which is situated on Langford Lake in Watersmeet Township in Gogebic County. The chapel was erected for a former president of Marquette University, namely Reverend Raphael McCarthy of the Society of Jesus. The chapel was built in 1937. It is 12 feet long, 8 feet 3 inches wide, and the height at the eaves is 7 feet 6 inches. There is one window on each side of the chapel and one window in the rear. There are pews for five people, and the seats have attached kneelers. The priest’s vestments, the Stations of the Cross, and all the other essentials are available for complete Catholic services. This is a private property and is not available to the public.
Mount Zion derived its name as a result of a suggestion made by one of the pioneer clergymen, affectionately known as Father Kehoe. His recreation consisted of horseback riding on a trail, which took him to the top of the hill. He always said that the journey reminded him of the biblical "Mount Zion." This hill is the highest in Ironwood. It is also known as "the grandfather of ski hills in the Upper Peninsula." The first rope tows in the Upper Peninsula were established there in 1937.
LAC VIEX DESERT
An interesting short side trip may be made from Watersmeet by traveling south on U.S. Highway 45 to the Lac Vieux Desert Road where you turn at Camp Plagens and travel east until you come to an old logging locomotive where you turn south 2 and a half miles to the Lac Viex Desert. This is an old Settlement, the original grants of land being made by Abraham Lincoln.
ST. JAMES HOTEL
While gathered together one evening at home of the builders of a new hotel on Suffolk St. in Ironwood, the owners were deciding upon a name for the hotel. They each put a name in a hat and agreed that whichever name was drawn from this hat would be the new name for the hotel. A Catholic priest was among this group of people. He put in the name of Saint James. His choice was drawn and thus we now have the St. James Hotel.
LITTLE GIRL’S POINT
Little Girl’s Point, on Lake Superior in Ironwood Township, received its name from a story written by Henry R. Schoolcraft entitled "Leelinau or the Lost Daughter, an Odjibwa (Chippwa) Tale." Laalinau was the daughter of a hunter who lived near the base of the lofty highlands, "The Crouching Porcupines." Tradition has it that Leelinau disappeared at this point, now known as "Little Girls Point." The cemetery where it is believed that Leelinau is buried was restored in 1954. Visitors can locate the cemetery very conveniently near Omen’s Creek, as the trail to the cemetery has been marked.
THE AMERICAN ELM
If Christopher Columbus came to Gogebic County today, he would find in Ironwood Township an American Elm tree, which was growing here in 1492. Though this tree has been struck by lightning, the trunk still remains. Forestry experts who made scientific borings determined the approximate age of the tree. The circumference of the tree is 237 inches, that is, at 4 and a half feet above the base; this American elm is 19 feet 9inches around. The diameter is 6 feet 4 inches. The tree is, of course even much larger at the base; that is, the circumference is 28 feet 2 inches. This American elm in Ironwood Township is located about 6 miles north from Ironwood on the Lake Road toward little girl’s Point. It is on the west side of the road about a fourth of a mile off the Highway.
LAST STAGECOACH ROBBERY
On August 26, 1889, the Gogebic Stagecoach Robbery occurred on the old highway between Gogebic Station and Lake Gogebic. The name of the hold up man and murderer was Reimund Holzey, the celebrated bandit and generally known as "bad man" who gave his residence as Marenisco, Michigan. The entire circuit court proceedings are in the records of Gogebic County at Bessemer, Michigan. The documents of the case are known as Gogebic County Circuit Court File No. 488. This stage coach robbery is considered as the last one in the Great Northwest, and perhaps in the United States. Reimund Holzey was given a life sentence in Marquette Prison. He was paroled in 1914 and worked in Marquette County. On September 24th, 1952, Holzey committed suicide at his home in Florida, at age 86.
GOGEBIC IRON RANGE HISTORICAL MARKER
On May 7, 1958, an official Michigan historical marker was dedicated east of the city of Bessemer, in the state park along Memory Lane. The marker is entitled "Gogebic Iron Range" and it contains a map of the important mines of the range as well as a historical text, which reads as follows:
"The Gogebic was the last of the three great iron ore fields opened in the Upper Peninsula and northern Wisconsin. Beginning in 1848 with Dr. A. Randall, federal and state geologists had mapped the ore formations almost perfectly long before any ore was mined. One geologist, Raphael Pumpelly, on the basis of his studies in 1871, picked out lands for purchase which years later became the sites of the Newport and Geneva mines. The first mine to go into production was Colby. In 1884 it shipped 1,022 tons of iron ore in railroad flat cars to Milwaukee. By 1890 more than thirty mines had shipped ore from this range. Many quickly ran out of good ore and had to close. Others took their places as richer ore bodies were found. Virtually all mining here has been underground as attested by many shafts and "cave-ins". The soft hematite ores common on this range usually have been sent in ore cars to Ashland and Escanaba, there to be loaded into ore boats and taken to America’s steel mills."
RECENTLY DISCOVERED STONES
In 1962, there were discovered two stones about 100 feet more or less from the shore at Lake Gogebic State Park. One stone is inscribed, "1822 John Key". About 16 feet away from it, is another stone, on which it is inscribed "1824 Whith". Through much research it was discovered that John Key was a passenger in His Majesty’s Sloop, the Welcome, July 29, 1780. During the Revolutionary war, the Welcome, like other merchant ships, was taken over by the British government. It was used mainly as a supply ship between Detroit and Mackinac. No further information about the stone-inscribed "1824 Whith" has been found.
Trail marker trees are revered as living landmarks of our pioneer past in the Gogebic County.
It is believed that the Chippewa deformed these trees for trail markers by bending young saplings to point out a new route. They were used for the purpose of finding new hunting grounds or for a war party to find another’s campsite or the enemy.
Mr. Charles Wester has found and marked fifteen of these trees in Gogebic County.
The statue of Hiawatha, erected in June, 1964, is located in downtown Ironwood. It is constructed of fiberglass and is 52 feet tall. Towering over the City of Ironwood by 150 feet, it will withstand winds of 140 miles per hour. The cost of this immense statue was $10,000.
According to legend, Hiawatha was a Peacemaker, Preacher, and Prophet. He was supposedly a resident of this area. It is said that he lived between 1475 and 1550.
LITTLE KNOWN FACTS ABOUT THE IRONWOOD AREA
FIRST MAYOR OF IRONWOOD
Captain William Trebilcock was the first mayor of the city of Ironwood. His salary was $25.00 a year.
FIRST HOTEL IN IRONWOOD
The first hotel in Ironwood was built and operated by P. R. Walker. It was called the walker House. This hotel was located in the downtown district on Lowell Street.
THE IRONWOOD FIRE
Ironwood had passed through speculative frenzies and hard times, and on the 17th of September 1887, it was swept by a disastrous fire, which leveled nearly all of the business part of the city.
STYLE OF FIRST FIREMAN’S UNIFORMS
Taken from the minutes of the meeting of the Ironwood fire department
Company 1 held in the council rooms on Monday night, December 10, 1887:
"Moved and seconded that the style of uniform be—shirt blue with white trimming and initials
I. F.D to ornament breast, belt to be red, with name of company to be placed on a white ground of leather in brass letters on back of each belt. Cap to be white-duck with brass wreath and figure 1 on front of each."
H. J. Erbelding (Sec.)
Minutes of the meeting on December 13, 1887:
"Moved and seconded that committee of three be appointed to collect names of members willing to pay $6.00 each for uniform on arrival at the Express Office.
H. J. Erbelding (Sec.)
IRONWOOD’S FIRST BRICK BUILDING
The first solid brick building in Ironwood was the Lieberthal Building constructed in 1887. It is located on the corner of Suffolk Street and McLeod Avenue.
UNITED STATES POST OFFICE, IRONWOOD, MICHIGAN
The Post Office in Ironwood, Michigan was established on January 22, 1886. At that time, Gogebic County was part of Ontonagon County. Gogebic County was organized on February 7, 1887.
A post office was established in Jessieville on February 7, 1887. Two postmasters served in that office. They were Mary L. Downs and Charles Anderson. It was discontinued on June 12, 1891. The first postmaster of the United States Post Office was George F. Kelly.
THE LAND ON WHICH IRONWOOD WAS BUILT
The land on which Ironwood was built was owned by the Milwaukee Lake Shore and Western Railway Company. The agent for the railroad company sold the first lots in Ironwood. He was William L. Pierce, who later built and operated Ironwood’s first opera house. The first streets to be opened and cleared of trees were named Ayer, Suffolk, Aurora, and Vaughn. These names are retained to this day.
IRONWOOD GOES FROM VILLAGE TO CITY
The growth of the village of Ironwood was so rapid that in 1888, the citizens realized the necessity for better government. Consequently, the legislative was petitioned to incorporate the village as a city. It was not, however, until April 8, 1889 that the legislature finally granted the petition, and the governor’s signature was received on that date. Ironwood then began to function under the aldermanic form of government. The first election under the city charter was held on April 24, 1889. The total vote cast was 1,266 and Nathaniel Hibbert was elected mayor.
IRONWOOD’S FIRST STREEET CAR LINE
It was in 1890 that the Gogebic Electric Railway and Light Company was organized, and a street car line of four miles was built. This line gave service to Ironwood, Jessieville, and as far as Hurley and Gile on the Wisconsin side.
A SEWAGE SYSTEM INSTALLED IN IRONWOOD
In September of 1889, the citizens of Ironwood voted to construct the first main sewers in the city. The contract was given to Peter Meegan to construct a sewer from Vaughn Street on Suffolk Street to Ayer Street and west on Ayer Street to the Montreal River.
IRONWOOD’S FIRST ELECTRIC LIGHTING SYSTEM
In 1889, permission was granted to A. L. Dickman, J. D. Day, and G. K. Newcomb to build an electric lighting system in Ironwood.
EARLY TRAIN SERVICE
During the year, 1889, through train service began over the Chicago and Northwestern from Ironwood to Milwaukee and Chicago.
EARLY HOME BUILDERS IN IRONWOOD
The first homebuilders in Ironwood were J. D. Day, Thomas Haigan, Matt Fitzsimmons, and Luther L. Wright. The high school in Ironwood is named after Mr. Wright.
EARLY BUSINESSMEN IN IRONWOOD
Among the first businessmen were A. Lieberthal, Hoxie and Mellor, P. O’Neill, William Rothchilds, L. J. Laughren. Mueen and Kent, and Walter S. Goodland, founder of "The Ironwood Times."
THE FIRST DAILY NEWSPAPER
Ironwood supported several weekly newspapers printed in the English and Scandinavian languages, also one daily paper written in English. The Gogebic Range Directory of 1892 states that the "Daily Advocate" was the first daily paper printed on the Gogebic Range. Published by the Gogebic Publishing Company, this paper sold for $0.15 a week.
The first weekly paper, no doubt, was "The Gogebic Explorer," the first issue of which is dated June 4, 1885, Bessemer, Michigan. All the issues for the first year are in a private collection in Ironwood.
FIRST SCHOOLHOUSE IN IRONWOOD
According to the May 8, 1959, edition of the "Ironwood Daily Globe" an old building on Vaughn Street, just west of Suffolk Street, was Ironwood’s first school building. The "Globe" received this information from old timers living in Ironwood. Records do not show when it was used as a school, but it is believed to have been in the first years of Ironwood, probably between 1887 and 1890. It was used as a dwelling for many years.
LITTLE KNOWN FACTS ABOUT WJMS RADIO STATION
The first efforts to secure a license for a radio station in Ironwood began in 1927. These efforts came about as a result of experiments with a homemade transmitter of 1420 kilocycles.
After much strife, a construction permit was secured in July 1931. The station was approved for operation on a 1420 kilocycle transmitter on November 3rd of the same year. At that time everything was housed in the St. James Hotel. Three years later in 1934, the transmitter was moved to U. S. Highway 2, midway between Douglas Boulevard and Greenbush Street. A new tower was located here, and the number of watts was increased from 100 to 250. At this time, the radio station was in operation from sunrise to sunset.
In 1947, WJMS was successful in securing an increase in power to 1000 watts at a frequency of 630 kilocycles.
The letters JMS in WJMS stand for Johnson Music Store. The letter "W" is as arbritary prefix which stands for any station operating east of the Mississippi river and north and south of the Mason-Dixon Line were given the arbritary prefix "k".
Before the establishment of WJMS, John Kluck set up a 50watt transmitter in 1923. This station was in operation for only a few months, and it operated without a license.
LITTLE KNOWN FACTS ABOUT THE HURLEY AREA IN WISCONSIN
FIRST MAYOR OF HURLEY
Mr. Henry Meade was the first mayor of Hurley, Wisconsin.
HERE IS THE BOY WHO STARTED IT ALL
John Ankers, started Hurley’s first saloon. He was also Hurley’s first town clerk, the first Justice of the Peace, and the first chief of the fire-fighting organization. He was, therefore, a very active individual. After all those firsts, he retired and became the local agent for the Pabst Brewing Company.
HURLEY’S FIRST HOTEL
The first hotel was located at the corner of Second Avenue and Silver Street in a log building. Mr. James Guest was the first landlord. It was far from a pretentious affair but answered the purpose and furnished food and shelter for many a hardy pioneer and miner in its day.
FIRST BUTCHER SHOP IN HURLEY
The first meat market in Hurley was kept by Ilsey and Knox and was opened in 1885.
THE OLDEST BALK ON THE GOGEBIC RANGE
The Iron Exchange Bank of Hurley, was the oldest bank of the Gogebic Range. It was organized November 26, 1885. In 1925 it celebrated its 40th anniversary, and at that time, it had withstood all depressions. Dr. J.C. Renolds, the bank’s first president, and his brother, W. S. Renolds, the bank’s first cashier, were the prime movers in the organization of the institution. Associated with them in the organization were John E. Burton, Alvin E. Tyler, Edward Ryan, Nathaniel J. Moore, James A. Wood, and Shepherd Homans, all men prominent in the mining industry here in the early days.
The Gogebic Range Directory of 1888 states: "During the past summer, Hurley was twice visited by terrible fires. The first occurred of June 28th and the second on July 9th. These destroyed almost the entire business portion of the city, and at first it was thought that they would prove a crushing blow to its prosperity, but later events have proven that they were blessings in disguise. The wonderful pluck and energy of its businessmen were fully demonstrated when they at once began the erection of fine brick buildings in the place of the wooden ones destroyed. The result has been that the burned portion has been rebuilt with brick and stone, making them nearly fireproof. And Silver Street is on that a much larger city could well be proud of.
THE BURTON HOUSE (HOTEL)
The Burton Hotel was an immense four-story frame hostelry, which was a famous gathering place for thousands in the later part of the 19th century. John E. Burton, a mining speculator, who made millions of dollars through his wild ventures and later established offices in New York City and bought up other vast mining interests in Mexico and South America, put up the building in 1865. His original wealth, however, came from the iron range.The Burton Hotel contained 100 rooms, a ballroom, dining room, café, and clubrooms, all highly decorated and furnished with the best of the wood workers’ art of the time, and equipped with the best furniture. Th Burton Hotel cost $35,000, and the furniture cost Mr. Burton $10,000.Many noteworthy people stayed at the Burton House. Grover Cleveland registered at the Burton House Saturday, October 5, 1889. At this time he had already served one term as president of the United States. In 1889when he was in Hurley, he was a New York Lawyer. He was elected to the presidency again in 1892. The Gogebic Range Directory of 1888 advertised the Burton House in this way:
HEATED BY STEAM
AND LIGHTED WITH
INCANDESCENT ELECTRIC LIGHT
ONE HUNDRED ROOMS
ELECTRIC BELLS AND
WARM AND COLD WATER
E.K. TARBELL, PROPRIETOR
LITTLE KNOWN FACTS ABOUT THE BESSEMER AREA
The first hotel erected in the city of Bessemer was the C. D. F. Hotel. This hotel was named after C. D. Fournier, one of the early Pioneers of Bessemer.
THEY COME IN TWOS
In 1888, there were two newspapers, the Pick and Axe, and The Spirit: and two railroads, the Milwaukee Lake Shore & Western, and the Wisconsin Central.
Among the earliest settlers were P.H. Dolan, boarding house; Jeffres & Mickleson, hardware and general store; Ehrmanntraut Bros., meat market; Jesmer & Long, Colby House; and Frank Hiffing,
L. E. E. Pope, and C. D. Fournier.
BESSEMER BECOMES THE COUNTY SEAT IN 1887
The first meeting of the Gogebic County Board of Supervisors was held in April of 1887. As much as there was no county court house building, the offices and meeting places were on the second story of the new Home Block in the city on Bessemer. Eventually, in 1888, a courthouse and a jail were built out of Lake Superior brownstone. The courthouse was enlarged in 1915, and the same structure is still in daily use by the county officers and supervisors. A new jail was completed on May 8, 1965.Taken from the Director of the Gogebic Range 1888
BUILDINGS IN BESSEMER
"A beautiful High School building has been erected on the slope of Colby Hill, costing $10,000.00 and will accommodate from 300 to 400 children. A substantial brick city hall building has been erected the past summer, the first floor of which will be used by the fire department and the second for city purposes."
"The mineral resources surrounding the places are inexhaustible. The largest mine on the Gogebic Range is still situated almost within the limits of the town. The Colby was the first mine discovered on the range, has a north and south vein with the largest deposit of ore yet found, being in the aggregate 250 feet wide. Six hundred thousand tons of ore have already been taken out of this mine, and there is not the slightest evidence of any contraction of the deposit."
The population of Bessemer, Michigan in 1888 was 5, 876.
Taken from the History of the Ottawa National Forest
"In 1883, the Chicago and Northwestern Railway reached Watersmeet and with the discovery of ore in the western part of Gogebic County decided to extend its line west to Bessemer rather than north to Ontonagon. The railroad reached Bessemer in the summer of 1884."
LITTLE KNOWN FACTS ABOUT THE WAKEFIELD AREA AND THE EASTERN PART OF GOGEBIC COUNTY
SUNDAY LAKE MINE
The Sunday Lake Mine was discovered by George A. Fay in 1881-1882.
THE FIRST BUILDING IN WAKEFIELD
The first building to be erected in Wakefield was built by Herman Nunnemacher, of Milwaukee, and was occupied by the Day brothers as a saloon.
FIRST MINES IN WAKEFIELD
The first mines in Wakefield were the Sunday Lake, Iron Chief, and the Brotherton. According to the Gogebic Range Directory of 1888, the output of these mines in 1886 was as follows: Sunday Lake, 13,00 tons; Iron Chief, 9,584 tons, and the Brotherton, about 3,500 tons.
DATES TO REMEMBER
Wakefield, Michigan, was incorporated as a village by the Gogebic County Board of Supervisors on November 20, 1887. It became incorporated as a city in 1919.
The first store was built and occupied by Hayward, Wescott, and Murrary. The first hotel was the LakeShore House owned by A. Shindler. The first dwelling house was built by R. A Harris.
The following is taken from The Gogebic Range Directory of 1888:
"Silver and Gold Discoveries"
"Wakefield is receiving considerable notoriety from the fact that it may soon become a gold and silver producing point. It is near this place that the explorations for the above metals are being carried on. Although it has been known for some time that the precious metals existed here in a supposed scattered state, yet it was never thought of that they would be found in large quantities or of sufficient richness to guarantee mining.
Rock of various richness has been found, ranging from $1.00 to $1,000 per ton and yet nowhere has a depth of over sixty feet been reached. The formation is, as far as can be ascertained by present explorations, in two distinct veins, one running parallel to and directly south of the iron formation, and the other in a northeasterly and southwesterly direction.
The principal companies operating here are the Washburn, Dunlap, Detective, Clintonville, Windon, Silver King and Newton, and are composed of responsible businessmen."
FIRST SAWMILLS IN MARENISCO
Curtis and Stone operated a large sawmill in Marenisco in 1887. The Fair Brothers built a mill in Marenisco in 1888. It was at this time that the town began to prosper. In 1905, the mill burned. It was succeeded by a mill built by the Charcoal Iron Company. It was a combination wood and lumber mill.
THE BEGINNING OF MARENISCO
Marenisco was established by a railroad company. It was in 1887, upon the plotting by the Milwaukee, Lake Shore, and Western Railway, that settlement began in Marenisco.
MARTIN J. GILLEN
Martin J. Gillen, born at Racine, Wisconsin in 1872, spent the last thirteen years of her life at his vast wilderness estate, "Tenderfoot," in Marenisco Township. He died there in 1943.
He was the man who introduced Bernard M. Baruch to President Woodrow Wilson and also to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1917, Mr. Baruch became the chairman of the War Industries Board, and Mr. Gillen organized the "Industrial Mobilization Plan" for him. In 1918and 1919, Mr. Gillen served as Mr. Baruch’s assistant in the War Industries Board.
As an attorney, Mr. Gillen was an advisor and consultant for many of the large corporations in the United States. He was a specialist in economics and large corporations from bankruptcy.
Mr. Gillen is an example of some of the brilliant American leaders who spent a great part of their lives in Gogebic County.
LITTLE KNOWN FACTS ABOUT GOGEBIC RANGE AGRCULTURE
LITTLE KNOWN FACTS OF THE EARLY COOPERATIVE EXTENSTION WORK IN GOGEBIC COUNTY PREPARED BY C. E. GUNDERSON, AGRCULTURAL AGENT OF GOGEBIC COUNTY IN 1919
Gogebic County was second in the Upper Peninsula to appoint a county agricultural agent – J. F. Kadonsky, July 1, 1914, succeeded by C. E. Gunderson, July 1, 1919, followed by Floyd Hicks, 1951-54, Rolund Kaven, 1954-57, and Andrew Bednar at the Present, 1966.
Mr. Kadonsky busied himself with organizing the Lake Superior Guernsey Breeders Association with 15 members shipping into the county several head of purebred Guernsey cows, heifers and bulls, drawing plans for dairy barns with ventilation systems, the introduction of early varieties of field corn, building silos, and testing cattle for tuberculosis, plus the organization of a corn club.
Effie May Carp was emergency home demonstration agent in 1918, followed by Hilda Pollari in 1919, then Sylvia Richardson and Jennie Williams up to September 1922, and Ruth Weatley from 1922-1924. Patching, sewing and canning demonstrations were held in every nook and corner of the county.
Work was heavy, roads bad, schoolhouse and town hall poorly lighted and telephone service poor. Travel was often by train, streetcar and horses. Extension had to be sold. Workers became discouraged and moved on. Early in 1918, C. E. Gunderson was club agent and on July 1, 1919 became county agriculture agent. Large numbers of garden and dairy clubs continued unabated with the help of local leaders and paid summertime leaders, financed by township boards of education, until 4-H Club agents were engaged. Successive 4-H Club agents carried on a progressive program.
LITTLE KNOW FACTS ABOUT THE OTTAWA NATIONAL FOREST
HISTORY OF THE OTTAWA NATIONAL FOREST
The Ottawa National Forest was approved as a purchase unit by the National Forest Reservation Commission in 1928. On January 27, 1931, the purchase unit was proclaimed the Ottawa National Forest by the President. The gross area of the original forest was 253,551.07 acres.
The administration of the Ottawa National Forest is vested in the Supervisor and Rangers. The original unit consisted of one Ranger district at Kenton. It was first administered under the immediate supervision of the Supervisior of the three Upper Michigan National Forests, who had his headquarters at Munising.
The Ironwood office was established February 28, 1935, and the Ottawa National Forest has since been administered as a separate unit.
One of the chief functions of the Ottawa National Forest is the "Multiple Use" of its area. It utilizes all the resources of the forest for the benefit of the public and maintains a growing, thrifty forest.
THE EARLY HISTORY OF THE OTTAWA NATIONAL FOREST AREA
The early history of the Ottawa National Forest area can be divided into four periods: Explorers and missionaries Fur trading Mining Lumbering
Explorers and missionaries.
Father Isaac Jogues, the Jesuit missionary, is generally credited with the discovery of Lake Superior in the year 1646. However, there are records, which show that Bois du Brule was trading along Lake Superior as early as 1622. Father Claude Alloues visited the Keweenaw Peninsula in September 1688. He was the first white man to discover copper in the Upper Peninsula in September 1688. In 1673, Father Marquette visited the area now embraced within the Ottawa National Forest. Father Rene Menard traveled over the old trail from Lac view Desert to L’Anse in the year 1659.
The fur traders followed the explorers and missionaries. This trade was divided into three main periods – the French, 1634-1759; the British, 1759 to 1814; and the Americans, 1814 to 1840.
The Hudson Bay Company, Northwest Company and the American Fur Company were constantly warring over the territory now embraced within the Ottawa National Forest. The American Fur Company finally succeeded in establishing its right to this territory. It had a post at the Big Iron River in what is now Ontonagon County. This was established between the years 1805-1820.
An early resident of Ontonagon County has claimed that during his lifetime he took the following game and fur bearing animals: 100 moose; 1000 deer; 10 caribou; 100 bears; 50 wolves; 500 foxes; 100 raccoons; 25 bob cats; 100 lynx; 150 otters; 600 beavers; 400 fishers; mink and martin by the thousands, and muskrats by the tens of thousands.
In the early 1800’s English mining companies began the exploration of copper in the copper country in the Keweenaw Peninsula. James K. Paul arrived at the mouth of the Ontonagon River in the year 1843. His coming followed up the fur trade, which was the beginning of exploitation of the natural resources. Silver was discovered, copper developed further, and following was the era of pine logging. Many iron ore mines were discovered on the western portion of the Gogebic Range, all of which was a part of the now Ottawa National Forest.
The eastern part of the forest was in general covered with white and red pine. In the western section the pine was interspersed with hardwood and hemlock. The first logging and lumbering activity occurred in the white pine stand. Logging was first done along the streams. During the winter, logs were "tonged", "drayed" or "sleigh-hauled" to the streams where they were docked on the ice and the riverbanks to await the spring thaw. The first lumberjacks were French-Canadians, Irish and scotch. Later, the Scandinavian, Slavic, and Finnish races took over. Wages as a general rule were low in the early days. General woods work paid from $12 to $26 per month and board. The drivers worked a long day; breakfast at 3:30 A. M., second lunch at two P.M., and supper at 8:00 P. M. or later. The Chicago World’s Fair load of logs was cut about 4 miles southwest of Ewen by the Nestor Lumber Company. This load consisted of 50 selected logs, 18 feet long. These logs were loaded on a set of sleighs and hauled by a single team of horses. This is the largest known load of logs ever hauled by a single team of horses. This is the largest known load of logs ever hauled by one team of horses. This is the largest known load of logs ever hauled by a single team of horses, of which any authentic record is known. Today 95% of all logging in the Ottawa is carried by means of motor trucks.
The land, which now is known as the "Sylvania Tract", was mostly bought in the early 1900’s by officials of the United States Steel Corporation for an exclusive hunting and fishing club. Their shares were later sold to William Boyce Thompson, a copper magnate whose son-in-law, Anthony J. Drexel Biddle Jr., was Ambassador to Poland.
Through subsequent transactions and deaths, the Sylvanian Club finally came to be held by Lawrence P. Fisher of Detroit and C.M. Christiansen of Phelps. Both of these men are now deceased.
When it became known that the Fisher heirs wished to dispose of their interests in the property, the Forest Service of the United States Department of Agriculture was asked by members of the Michigan Congressional delegation to study possible acquisition of the tract. The Michigan Conservation Commission resolved that the acquisition of Sylvania by the Forest Service would best serve the public interest. Title to the Sylvania Tract was turned over to the federal government in the first week of August of 1966. $5,740,000.00 was paid to the heirs of Lawrence P. Fisher and C. M. Christiansen estate in payment for the 18,000 acres of forest and lades in Watersmeet Township. Sylvania is to become part of the Ottawa National Forest. This tract will be developed as one of the Midwest’s prime recreation areas and operated by the United States Forest Service under its multiple-use concept. This unique tract of land consists of 14,000 acres of practically untouched forests of maple, birch, and hemlock, and associated species of the northern hardwoods complex. Enclosed in the forest are thirty-six named lakes, large and small, and nineteen ponds: a total of 4,000 acres of clear northland waters. "The magnetic allure of the northwoods lake country is typified in Sylvania. It is reminiscent of the bygone days of the frontier when unbroken forest stretched from the Atlantic to the Great Plains and the Voyageurs traversed by canoe the endless lake chains of the north." ("Sylvania," March 1965)
LITTLE KNOWN FACTS ABOUT THE GOGEBIC RANGE ATHLETES AND ATHLETIC EVENTS
Selection of Gogebic Range Hall of Fame by a secret panel of Seven Men
Gogebic Range Hall of Fame, as published in the Ironwood Daily Globe, October 13, 1954
FIRST 20 CHARTER MEMBERS OF THE HALL OF FAME
William Byrns, Sr., of Ironwood-----------------------------------------------------------baseball
William Boyer of Ironwood--------------------------------------------------------------------track
John Cavosie of Ironwood------------------------------------------------------------------football
Benny Clifford of Hurley---------------------------------------------------baseball and bowling
"Roundy" Garland of Ironwood--------------------------------softball and horseshoe pitching
Ralph Heikkinen of Ramsay-----------------------------------------------football All-American
Emil Hoeft of Hurley------------------------------------------------------------------------baseball
Archie Hahn of Ironwood-----------------------------------------------Olympic track champion
Frank Jacquart of Ironwood-------------------------------------------------baseball and bowling
Arvid John of Ironwood---------------------------------------------------------------------football
Ernie Kivisto of Ironwood----------------------------------------------------------------basketball
John LaForge, Sr. of Ironwood-------------------------------------------------------------football
elen B. Lemmer of Ironwood---------------------------------------------------------------skiing
Harold Richards of Ironwood--------------------------------------------------------------baseball
Dave Ryan of Ironwood---------------------------------------------------------------------football
Arthur Redner of Bessemer------------------------------------------------football and coaching
Member of Yost’s "point a minute football team" at the University of Michigan.
John Rowett of Bessemer-----------------------------------------------world champion wrestler
Max Stery of Ironwood--------------------------------------------------------------------bowling
Ambrose Wyzlic of Ironwood--------------------------------------------------------------football
Ted Zoberski of Ironwood--------------------------------------------------------------------skiing
According to the Montreal River Miner’s 60th Anniversary Edition published in 1945:
"Sports – Wakefield girls’ basketball team beat Hurley by a score of 59 to 2."
The Bessemer Fire Department Track Team was the fastest in the Upper Peninsula in 1906-1907.
In 1920, Bessemer beat Ironwood - 64 to 0 in football.
In 1949, Hurley won the Wisconsin State Championship in Basketball.
In 1960, Brock Strom was named an All-American in football from the first graduating class of the Air Force Academy in Colorado.
In 1966, Mike Porcorelli won the National Slalom Junior Championship of the United States. Mike is from Wakefield.
NATIONAL SKI JUMPING TOURNAMENT
In 1913 the national ski jumping tournament was held at White’s Bluff, later to be known as Curry Hill. In that meet, Ragner Omtvedt of the Norge Club, Chicago, set a world record here with a jump of 169 feet.
WORLD SKI JUMPING RECORD SET
In 1923, John Stulich of Ironwood set a world ski jumping record of 183 feet on the steel slide of the Norrie Athletic club. This record was unchallenged for 8 years until it was broken by Alf Engen.
NOTES ABOUT THE COMPILERS
Mrs. George Reardon (Nee´ Kathryn Marie Gorrilla) and Mrs. Dominic Rubatt (Nee´ Kathleen Susan Einola) both received their Bachlor of Science degrees from Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan.
Mrs. Reardon is the Speech Therapist for the Gogebic-Ontonagon School District.
Mrs. Rubatt is the first grade instructor at Newport School in the Ironwood Public School System.
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Little Known Facts About Gogebic County, Michigan." (Released for publication in January 1956.)
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Wester, Charles. "Trail Trees." Ironwood, 1959. (Typewritten.)
W. P. A. Historical Project No. 6555 (Iron County). History of Iron County.
Gogebic County Extension Office of Michigan State University. Personal interview with Mr. Andrew Bednar, County Extension Natural Resources Agent. August 15, 1966.
Past President of the Michigan Historical Society. Personal interviews with Mr. Victor Lemmer. August 1966.
WJMS Radio Station, Ironwood. Personal interview with Mr. William Johnson, President of WJMS. August 15, 1966.
FIRST EVENTS IN GOGEBIC COUNTY (HISTORICAL)
Trial No. 1, in Circuit Court, June 24, 1887, was a criminal action against Helen Gastro – illegal sale of liquor. Chas. F. Button, attorney for defendant; Chas. M. Howell, Prosecutor. Nolle pros.
Embezzlement proceedings were held against Edwin Powell and John Matthews, June 25, 1887. Guilty. Fine of $10.00 each.
The first prison sentence of the court was drawn by Ed. Jordan. Larceny. Two years at Jackson prison. Sentenced Aug. 28, 1887.
John Dellies and Richard Ellis were tried for arson Oct. 11, 1887. Plea of not guilty. Case adjourned to Jan. 30, 1888. Verdict of not guilty.
John Moran sentenced Oct. 27, 1887. Six years at Jackson prison. Assault with intent to kill.
Chas. Anderson drew a sentence of one year in the county jail Oct. 28, 1887; indecent exposure of person.
Sentences in 1888 – Jacob Hackala, intent to murder, three years; Gustaf Carlson and Emanuel Carlson, intent to murder, one year each; Chas. Meder, larceny, two years; Martin Casey. Intent to rape, eight years; Chas. Edlund, assault, eighteen months; John Sullivan and John Monahan, grand larceny, 2 years each; Patrick Griffin, keeper of house of ill fame, 3 years; all sent to Jackson Helen Gastarow, keeper of house of ill fame, eighteen months at Detroit House of Correction. Chas. M. Howell was the prosecutor in each case.
E. D. Bowler was the first man in the country tried for murder. He was arrested Oct. 24, 1888 and tried Jan. 29, 31 and Feb. 1. Verdict of not guilty.
The first sentence to the Ionia House of Correction and Reformatory went to Jackson Watts, Nov. 12, 1888, one year. Charge-assault.
The first prisoners from Gogebic to Market prison were James Peters, Wm. Church, Wm. Perry alias Smith, and Owen Warden. Tried May 13, 1889, charge of robbery, sentenced to 3 years and 6 months.
The case of the people against John Hanousek, Bessemer policeman, June 27, 1892 to Aug. 23, attracted considerable attention. Hanousek was charged with murder in connection with the death of a man at the Colby location who had resisted arrest. A verdict of not guilty was returned.
The trial of Duncan Beveridge on a murder charge lasted from Nov. 18, 1896 to March 4, 1897. Wm. R. Adams, prosecutor, and H. O. Fairchild for the defense. Verdict of not guilty.
The trial of James Redpath on a charge of murder opened Nov. 19, 1896 and resulted in a verdict of not guilty (Dec. 9, 1896).
From April 23, 1908 to May 21, the trial of Paul Lafferty – charged with arson in connection with a series of fires in the Village of Wakefield. Sensational evidence was presented against Lafferty, but the jury returned a verdict of not guilty.
Another case that attracted widespread attention was the trial from Feb. 15, 1901 to Feb. 28, of Richard Manning and Stanley Rodobaugh charged with the robbery of a meat market in Ironwood. H. M. Norris was appointed attorney to defend the prisoners and the prosecution was presented by S. S. Cooper. A verdict of guilty and was sentenced to eleven years at the same prison.
The first birth record in Gogebic County was a son born to Michael and Bidgett McNicholas on March 6, 1886 in Marenisco. The recording of the birth was July 20, 1887.
The first female child born in the county was Rubella M. Phillips on Nov. 14, to Fred and Alice M. Phillips at Watersmeet. Mr. Phillips was a barber at that place. The record was made Aug. 22, 1887.
The first death recorded was John (name unknown), from Marenisco Township, who died on Nov. 25, 1886 at forty years old of age. He was a native of the Chippewa Nation from Wisconsin and a trapper by occupation. Cause of death – unisy.
The first record of death of a white male was Sept. 27, 1886 – George F. Gage, age 28 years, 3 months, 5 days resident of Wakfield. Cause of death was heart disease.
The first death of a white female was January 3, 1886. Mary Webb of Wakefield died at the age of 29 years.
The first marriage in the county was preformed on Oct. 1, 1887 by Wm. J. Haggerson, justice of the peace. The contracting parties were Shepherd E. Stickley, a saloon keeper of Hurley, Wis., and Catherine dursheil, servant of Ironwood.
The first divorce granted to a female was in the action of Charlotte Hewett vs. Hart Hewett. The action was brought April 19, 1887, and the divorce was granted Feb. 28, 1888.
The first man to obtain a decree of divorce was Elisha Juneau. The case was entered dec. 23, 1889, and a decree given Feb. 7, 1890.
The first and only colored funeral in the county was held May 19, 1895. Wm. H. Harrison died of acute neuralgia. He was a native of Canada.
Probate case No. 1 was the estate of Joseph M. Meagher, deceased, dated March 14, 1887. This case was closed Jan. 28. 1936 before Probate Judge M. E. Nolan, 48 years after the opening of the proceeding.
The first commitment to the hospital for the insane at Traverse City was June 13, 1887.
The first ortgage given in the county was by Edward D. Home to Ellsworth & Fuller .It covered Lot 4 of Block 6 of the village of Bessemer. The mortgage was dated April 13, 1887.
The first deed issued in Gogebic County was executed April 14, 1887 by Daniel H. Merritt and wife to Cornelius W. McMahon. It transferred Lots 2 and 3 in Block 11, Hibbing’s addition to the Village of Bessemer. The deed was recorded on August 8, 1887.
The first recorded mortgage of Gogebic County land was given by Andrew I. King to Daniel Cameron and Jacob Swartz on Oct. 10, 1853. The description was the NW ¼ of Sec. 7, town 48-46., Upper Peninsula of Michigan. One hundred and twenty dollars was paid on the description. The deed was reclaimed under a sheriff sale on May 31, 1856.
The first pre-emption deed from the United States for Gogebic land was given at Washington D.C. April 19, 1852 to Stephen D. Tilden of Ontonagon County. The deed was signed by Willard Fillmore, President of the United States.
Bessemer Historical Facts
Prepared by Charles Berwald & Helen Powajba
May 1, 1955
In 1883 a railroad being built from Milwaukee reached Watersmeet. This railroad, the Milwaukee, Lake Shore and Western (later the Chicago and Northwestern), was originally destined for Ontonagon, but with paying quantities of ore in the Colby mine, the railroad was routed west to Antigo, Wisconsin. The railroad reached Bessemer in 1884.
Shortly after mining operations began in Bessemer, geological surveyors estimated that the duration of the ore in the Lake Superior district would be from twenty-five to thirty years.
The first mining accident on the Gogebic Range occurred at the Colby mine in 1885 when Herman Rubert, his son, and William Rowe were killed instantly by a cave-in.
Many miners who couldn’t stand the smell of powder took up lumbering. In the early days lumber-jacks earned from $.50 to $.75 a day while the average miner earned $1.05 to $2.00 a day.
Sophie Street in Bessemer was once part of an old Flambeau trail starting at a village south of Bessemer and terminating near Lake Superior.
The first frame building in Bessemer was the Dolan House constructed in 1883 by Bingham and Perrin. It was a railroad boarding house operated by Pat Dolan.
Bessemer has had three different types of government since its founding. From 1884 to 1887 it was a part of Bessemer Township. From 1887 to 1889, Bessemer was a village. In 1889, Bessemer was incorporated as a city. C.M. Ross was its first mayor.
During the heated election in 1887 on the location of the county seat, Bessemer voted four times its population, while Ironwood polled three times as many votes as its population.
Reverend D.S. Banks, a Presbyterian minister, was the first clergyman in Bessemer. He held the first church services here on November 29, 1885. Father Hennesy, a Roman Catholic priest, arrived in 1886, and Reverend Philip Price, a Methodist minister, came in 1887.
The first school in Bessemer was opened in the Montauge Building; the first teacher was G.E. Arnold. The first board included A. C. Binz, J.J. Simpson M. Kallander, J.F. Chynoweth, and F.X. Keppler.
In 1889, a fire swept through Bessemer. Had it not been for the help of bucketbridges from Ironwood and Hurley the entire town would have been destroyed.
The first fire department in Bessemer was operated in part on a competitive basis. When the fire occurred, an alarm was sounded. The first person to arrive at the fire hall with a team of horses was given the job of pulling the wagon to the fire.
How History Was Made in Gogebic County
County and the Surrounding Area
By Joseph Gill
Mountains, volcanoes, glaciers and the erosion of time and weather have left their imprint on Gogebic County. The hills, in the western part of the county, are but stubs and roots of a mountain chain that millions of years ago was higher than the rocky mountains of today. Eruptions poured out molten lava and fluid rock oozed up through crevices to spread over the country, forming the world’s oldest rock – Laurentian granite and Keewatin greenstone.
Fifteen thousand years ago, north and east of Lake Gogebic, the retreating fourth and last of the glaciers, which pushed over Michigan during a period of a million years, formed glacial Lake Ontonagon. Its outlet was through present Lake Gogebic and westward, where Bingham Creek now enters the lake, past the range cities of Wakefield, Bessemer, Ironwood, and Hurley, Emptying into glacial Lake Ashland in the northwestern part of Iron County, Wisconsin.
The first of the glaciers, started moving out of the Hudson Bay region about a million years ago and the last one melted away some 15,000 or 20,000 years ago. The western half of the Upper Peninsula and the adjacent Wisconsin territory were in process of formation during a period of two billion years.
Eventually peace came to this region and it remained in serene solitude and isolation until the coming of the white man and the discovery of iron ore.
Flags of three nations have flown over this region we now call the Gogebic Range. The first Europeans to discover the Great Lakes were the French who held the country bordering upon these inland seas until 1763. England took possession following the Seven Years War and held sway for twenty years until title passed to the United States by the Treaty of Paris in 1783.
Fur, especially that of the beaver, was the magnet that drew the first white men to the Lake Superior wilderness while precious metals were the lure for exploration of other areas of the American continent.
When the French in the early 1600’s established a system of fur fairs at Montreal, men brought the product of their trap lines for sale or barter. Samuel de Champlain, founder and governor of New France, originated the idea of sending young Frenchmen home with the people to study their language, customs and the geography of the region. Thus it was that Etienne Brule, in 1618, became the first white man to see the greatest of fresh water lakes and paddle a bark canoe along the shores of Lake Superior.
Hardy Pioneers Develop Fur Trading
Development of the fur trade bought two new classes of men into being . . . Coureurs des bois, or rangers of the woods, and Voyageurs, or canoemen. These hardy pioneers, inured to hardship, were a strong and sturdy set, tireless and fearless, resourceful in emergencies. With muscles of steel they guided their frail canoes through the waves of the big lake when in storm and ran the perilous rapids of fast moving streams. They roamed the trackless wilderness in search of furs, helped the missionary on his way and for 200 years were lords of the vast northwest wilderness.
With a decrease in the supply and demand for furs, this race of agile, reckless daredevils disappeared from lake and stream as quickly as the spindrift raised by their speeding canoe. Their well- beaten portage trails have been for the most part covered by encroaching forests. Their names are not recorded in history, but they are the heroes who blazed the trails for the development of the great northwest.
Radisson-Groseilliers Explore Lake Superior
The first white men to leave us an account of their explorations were Pierre-Esprit Raddisson and Medard Chouart des Goseillers who made the first of four trips to Lake Superior in 1654. These men explored the south shore of Lake Superior and much of what are now Northern Michigan, Northwestern Wisconsin and Northeastern Minnesota.
These travelers probably camped over-night at the mouth of the Presque Isle or Montreal rivers since these were the historic over-night camping grounds. Men followed the same routes and used the same campgrounds.
Upon the return to Montreal of Radisson and Groseilliers on the 19th of August, 1660, accompanied by an Ottawa flotilla of sixty canoes, it was decided that a missionary should return with them to their homeland. This decision was momentous for what was to become Gogebic County some 225 years later, as it brought to this area the earliest recorded instance of white men traversing the county and camping within its boundaries.
This missionary volunteer was Pere Rene Menard, a learned and cultured member of the Society of Jesus. Menard was then fifty-five years of age. Though aged prematurely, he possessed a lofty soul and a stout heart.
The route followed by the French from Montreal to Lake Superior was for 200 years, one of the great trade routes of the American continent. Nearly 700 miles in length, up the Ottawa River to its source, via the Mattawan River and Lake Nipissing, then descending the French River to Georgian Bay in Lake Huron. Thence, the course lay west, passing Sault Ste. Marie and coasting the southern shore of Lake Superior.
First Map of Lake Superior in 1669
The most important artery for transportation of goods through Gogebic County in the days of the fur trade was the Montreal River portage extending from Lake Superior to Lac du Flambeau. The name of this river appears on the oldest map ever made of Lake Superior. Fathers Claude Allouez and James Marquette, missionaries who followed in the footsteps of Pere Rene Menard, made a map of the Lake Superior region in 1669; a map so accurate that it was used for navigation purposes until well into the 18th century. These famous missionaries mapped the entire 1600 miles of Superior’s shore line and though not required by their assignment, noted geographical features including islands which they explored. Foster and Whitney note that "even Caribou, a low island in the midst of the lake and not visible except within a few leagues, did not escape their observation." The name Montreal probably was given the river because the bluffs at its mouth reminded the mapmakers of the mountain at Montreal.
The Montreal River portage trail commenced on Lake Superior east of the mouth. (It is outlined on the county recreational map published a few years ago by the Gogebic County Board of Supervisors.) It touched the stream about six or seven miles from the lake at a point above the falls; here crossing the river the path continued up the left bank, at some distance back from the stream. It ended at what was in those days called Portge Lake, but now known as Long Lake. From this lake it was a two days journey by canoe through a network of streams and lakes to Lac du Flambeau. The portage part of the trail was figured at 120 pauses of about forty-five miles. Distances were measured in the number of pauses or the time’s voyageurs had to rest. The load of each voyageur was two packs; each weighing eighty to ninety pounds.
Lac du Flambeau Trading Post Established
On July 9, 1804, the North West Fur Company dispatched one of its men, Francois Victor Malhoit, from Fort William to Lac du Flambeau to establish a trading post. Delayed by rough seas and stop-overs at Lapointe and the bad River, it was July 25 when the party arrived at the portage of the Montreal River. At LaPoint the men had been given time to make themselves shoes for crossing the Portage. At the Bad River were found great flocks of passenger pigeons and 24 were killed for food. Malhoit, with seven of his men, arrived at Lac du Flambeau August 2, 1804. Buildings were erected, a fort constructed and preparations made to spend the winter in pursuit of their business.
Many tons of supplies had to be transported in canoes nearly a thousand miles from Montreal by the Ottawa River route. The goods had to be packed on the backs of men over difficult portages. Merchandise for trading purposes included such items as rum, tobacco, blankets, powder, bullets, axes, knives, beads, ear rings, etc. Staple food supplies were also transported from Montreal. In our time it is almost impossible to conceive of men following an occupation involving so much physical effort. Surely, these voyageurs were a tough and hardy lot.
The winter at Lac du Flambeau was one of trouble competition with the X Y Fur Company agents. Nevertheless, Malhoit had a successful season and obtained an abundance of furs. Of the country he relates: "That of all the spots and places I have seen in my thirteen years of travel, this is the most horrid and most sterile." And of the portage road "it is narrow, full of overturned trees, obstacles, thorns and muskegs. This vile portage is inhabited solely by owls because no other animal could find a living here, and the hoots of those solitary birds are enough to frighten an angel or intimidate a Caesar."
The coming of spring in 1805 was no doubt, most welcome. Now Malhoit and his crew could leave this isolated spot for the company’s headquarters at Fort William with its, comparatively speaking, "civilization." With fine weather and all men in good health, departure was taken at 5 p.m., May 23. On the 26th they reached Pine Lake, and Balsam River on the 29th. Lake Superior was sighted June 5 and on this day the last of the food was eaten. At noon on June 6th portage was completed. It had been an arduous journey with water sometimes up to the knees of the men, and they were continually plagued by millions of flies. Following a two-day rest they left the Montreal River and headed for the end of the lake by way of LaPoint in their fur laden canoes.
Many Controversies Over Boundary Lines
Lack of accurate maps, and insufficient first hand knowledge of the western country, embroiled Michigan in long drawn-out controversies over its southern and western boundary lines. Lake Michigan’s southern shore was much farther south than originally assumed and the Upper Peninsula was not an Island.
The question of Ohio’s northern border and the southern boundary of Michigan were contested for thirty years, ending only when a bloodless war between the states finally faded out and their names were disbanded. Ohio retained the disputed territory. Trouble over the boundary line had delayed Michigan’s admission as a state of the union. Michigan lost a strip of land from five to ten miles wide embracing some 400 square miles of territory. As compensation, the Upper Peninsula was given to the state of Michigan, When it was admitted to the Union, to the objection of many of its people who protested, "they did not want the sterile wastes of the north, a barren and valueless tract in the region of perpetual snow." Lucius Lyon, one of Michigan’s two first U. S. senators battled, almost single-handed against the prejudice of his constituents, for the Upper Peninsula.
Wisconsin became a territory about the same time Michigan became a state and it was now necessary to mark the dividing line which was described as running through the main channel of Green Bay and the Menominee River to the mouth of the Montreal River. Maps of 1838 showed the Menominee River to Green Bay as one outlet of Lac Vieux Desert and the Montreal River as also an outlet flowing into Lake Superior.
Lumbermen Invade Area
Crossing the Straits of Mackinac, from the once pine covered Lower Peninsula, and sawing their way northward through Wisconsin’s forests, lumbermen discovered a virgin forest of hemlock, pine and hardwoods in Gogebic County. Some noble specimens of this forest were saplings, growing vigorously, when the boy Columbus was playing around the docks and ships in Genoa’s harbor, and dreaming, perhaps, of a land across the sea.
Since 1880 this forest has been mostly cut over, leaving but few stands of virgins timber. The product of the harvest helped build homes for settlers throughout the middle west and went underground to make possible the mining of300,000,000 tons of iron ore.
In 1941 the Gogebic County embarked upon a county forest project to demonstrate that with selective cutting, under proper management, forests could be perpetuated, of increasing value and quality. By 1956 the project included 45,604 acres out of the total of 703,102 acres in the county.
Originally extended into Gogebic County in 1931, the Ottawa National Forest now contains 275,351 acres. Supervised by professional foresters of the United States Forest Service, the Ottawa will continue to furnish timber for the needs of the American people.
Privately owned and scientifically managed timber holdings include another large segment of Gogebic County.
Conservation of our God-given natural resources will, for all time, preserve for future generations the utilitarian value and scenic beauty of the great north woods.
Ghost Mines of the Gogebic Range
Taken from the Youngstown Bulletin, October, 1968
Michigan’s iron ore history goes back to 1844 when a surveying party under the direction of W.A. Burt noticed their compass needles were acting irregularly. A year later Joseph Stacey reported a very large ore deposit in the Marquette district.
While conducting a search in 1845 on the basis of Burt’s report, P.M. Everett stumbled onto iron ore that had been exposed by a fallen tree. Mr. Everett organized the Jackson Mining Company and two years later opened the first mine on what was to be the Marquette range. He built a forge nearby. The mine forge closed five years later.
On July7, 1852, the Marquette Iron Company, organized in 1849 to developed land leased from Mr. Everett, shipped six barrels of ore to New Castle, Pa. It was the first recorded shipment of Lake Superior ore on the Great Lakes.
The Cleveland Iron Mining Co., headed by Samuel Livingston Mather, purchased the Marquette Company in 1853. A dock was built at Marquette and a short time later 152 tons of iron ore were shipped to Shenango Furnace at Sharon, Pa.
Mining and shipping methods were crude in those days. Men and horses dug the ore out of the ground. Candles were fastened to the helmets of the miner’s heads. Therefore, they had to walk slowly to keep the candles from going out, and melted wax often trickled down onto their faces. Ore was hauled in wagons to the docks where men with wheelbarrows loaded it onto the vessel.
Because vessels could not negotiate the rapids at Sault Ste. Marie, the ore had to be unloaded, portaged around the rapids and loaded on another vessel for the rest of the trip down lake.
The Menominee deposit was discovered in1848 by Mr. Burt and his surveying party when the compass needles again began acting irregularly where an Indian found magnetic ore along the Menominee River. Prospecting didn’t begin until 1872 and five years elapsed before the first mine was opened.
First indications of iron ore in the Gogebic, youngest of Michigan’s three iron ranges, were reported in 1848 by Dr. Randall, a geologist.
Discoveries were made during the years that followed, but 36 years elapsed before the first mine—the Colby at Bessemer, Mich.—was opened in 1884. This was only a half-mile from the Peterson.
One of the leading men in the Gogebic discoveries was Dr. Raphael Pumpelly, said to be the first professionally trained mining engineer in the United States.
Born in Oswego, N.Y. in 1839, educated in Paris and at Freiberg (Germany) and with his doctor’s degree from Princeton, he served as Michigan State Geologist from 1869 to 1871.
In the fall of 1871, Dr. Pumpelly was commissioned to buy Michigan land containing pine, iron formation, hardwood and sandstone. Hardwood was very valuable for making charcoal and Lake Superior sandstone was in great demand.
One morning as Dr. Pumpelly climbed to the top of a high hill, his Indian guide Jingobenesic (War Eagle) pointed to a dense wall of smoke to the southeast. It meant a big forest fire.
While hurrying to there camp, two days away, where Mrs. Pumpelly and others remained, Dr. Pumpelly was met by a messenger. He brought letters and a telegram telling of a vast forest fire (which has gone down in history as "the great Peshigo fire") destroying villages in Wisconsin, some200 miles away.
The next day Dr. Pumpelly climbed to the top of what was later named Newport Hill in what later became Ironwood, to take another look at the wall of smoke.
He sat down for quite a while, thinking over some of the problems that plagued him. As he sat there, he noticed yellow stains in the rock. To him, they meant the possibility of iron oxide. Dr. Pumpelly decided then and there to take steps to claim the land.
At the land office in Marquette, Dr. Marquette, Dr. Pumpelly bought two miles of the range land. This area later became the Newport and Geneva mining properties. Fifty years later the Newport mine became the property of The Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company when Youngstown purchased the Steel and Tube Company of America. Dr. Pumpelly’s discovery didn’t make newspaper headlines, and neither did the Wisconsin forest fire which killed 1,152 people, except in that particular part of the country.
Newspaper headlines were captured by another event, which occurred some 500 miles southwest. It was the day after Mrs. Oleary’s cow kicked over a lantern in the barn and fire was raging through the heart of Chicago.
When the flames were finally extinguished, Chicago counted 250 people dead; 2,150 acres swept by flames; 17,000 buildings destroyed and property loss at roughly $196,000,000. That was the story that captured headlines in most newspapers.
Names of two men are linked with the discovery of the Colby, the first successful iron ore mine on the range: Richard (Dick) Langford and Capt. Nat Moore.
Born in Ireland in 1826, Dick Langford came to the United States and moved to the Michigan peninsula five years later. He was a prospector at heart.
"While others were accumulating wealth, I spent my time and what money I could get hold of in prospecting the minerals of this locality," said Mr. Langford shortly before his death in 1909.
"My labors have not brought wealth to others and me to the poorhouse. (Blind and penniless, Mr. Langford spent his last days in the Ontonagon County Infirmary.) I could have established my right to a quarter interest in the Colby mine, but I did not care to take such a step. I have never had a lawsuit, been arrested, or served as a witness, of juryman. In fact I have never been put under oath."
Never married, Mr. Langford spent his life as a hermit living in a hut on Gogebic Lake. As one historian recorded, "he roamed the forest like an outcast Indian."
Mr. Langford was one of the first prospectors in the Gogebic area. In 1868 he sunk a test pit some distance to the east of where the Colby mine later was located, but did not go down deep enough to strike the ore body.
In 1872 or1873, Mr. Langford said he discovered the Colby ore body, but did nothing about it.
Some 10 years later he showed some iron ore samples to A. Lanfear Norrie, of New York and London, who had come to prospect the Gogebic area. Mr. Norrie wasn’t interested in the samples, but Capt. Nat Moore, an unemployed mining captain, was.
Mr. Langford is to have taken Captain Moore to the spot where he pointed out the deposit. Mr. Langford said he was supposed to have taken Captain Moore to the spot where he pointed out the deposit. Mr. Langford said he was supposed to have a one-fourth interest in the mine—but didn’t get it.
Captain Moore denied Mr. Langford’s story and said he found the Colby deposit beneath the rocks of a birch tree that had been blown over by the wind.
The mine was opened during 1884 and 1,022 tons of ore were dug out, hauled to the railroad where it was loaded on flat cars to be shipped to Erie, Pa., via Milwaukee.
With the Colby opened and the ore body proven, one of the greatest land rushes of the north country began. Within a year, seven mines were in operation and scores of other sites were under option. Two thousand miners were employed between Sunday Lake and Montreal River.
Mining camps and mining towns sprang up—typical frontier mining towns with wooden buildings, wooden sidewalks, streets of slush and mud in winter and dust in summer—towns well supplied with saloons, gambling halls and other places of pleasure for prospectors, woodsmen and miners. Among the towns were Hurley, Wis., and Ironwood, Bessemer and Wakefield Mich.
Two fires destroyed much of Hurley, but each time the destroyed portion was rebuilt. By 1890, it had 58 saloons, 20 hotels, four oyster houses, three groceries, two druggists and one Prebyterian minister who soon left for a more promising field.
Flames also swept ironwood’s business district, but the town was built on higher ground, bigger and better than ever. It had 55 saloons, 16 hotels, 15 boarding houses and a Chinese Laundryman.
Six miles east of Ironwood was the town of Bessemer, built close to the Colby mine. It had 48 saloons, 18 boarding houses, 15 hotels, 5 restaurants, 3 grocery stores, 3 photographers, 2 jewelers, 2 newspapers, 3 doctors, and 6 lawyers.
There are many stories of tent towns that became thriving communities as ore mines were opened; as reports of gold brought an influx of prospectors and as mining stock—some of it worthless—was floated throughout the country.
Yougstown’s interest in the Gogebic dates back to 1886 when the Newport mine was opened on the hill where Raphael Pumpelly saw the yellow stains in rock in 1871—fifteen years earlier. In the late 1890s, the Newport appeared to be exhausted.
The late Alex D. Chisholm told how the Newport mine was given a new lease on life by the late Ferdinand Schlesinger.
Operating in the northern iron ore country, Mr. Schlesinger once dreamed of forming a great iron and steel corporation. Caught in the panic of 1893, he went to Mexico ad engaged in the mining business.
A few years later Mr. Schlesinger returned to the Gogebic, and with financial backing from the late Mark A. Hanna, purchased the supposedly exhausted Newport mine for $50,000.
Mr. Schlesinger retained J. R. Thompson a geologist to study the area. Mr. Thompson discovered a great underground longitudinal fault in the district, which affected iron ore deposits.
Mr. Thompson sank the shaft deeper and deeper. With funds running short, he prevailed upon Mr. Schlesinger to permit him to use a diamond drill at the bottom of the shaft and search deeper into the earth.
For weeks the drill reports were not encouraging, Mr. Chisholm, then a chemist in the mine’s analytical laboratory, said. Then one morning the drill foreman came into Mr. Chisholm’s office, shaking his head ruefully.
"Last night we hit a terrific water pressure that pushed the drill pipe into the shaft until the rods gave way," he said. "We’ve got the rods out, but now a lot of this reddish stuff is coming up the drill hole."
Excitedly Mr. Chisholm reached for the sample. His eyes flashed as he began his tests. A few moments later he exclaimed:
"You’ve hit ore, a rich pocket of red ore!"
It had been found at 1,400 feet. With this report, the shaft was sunk until it tapped the pocket.
In the years that followed, Newport shaft was pushed down to 3,200 feet. It produced 35,000,000 tons ore after the day it was sold to Mr. Schlesinger as an apparently exhausted mine.
Mr. Chisholm, who began working on the iron range immediately after graduating from high school to support his mother, younger brothers and sisters, rose rapidly in the Schlesinger organization.
Mr. Schlesinger expanded his holdings and in 1920 organized the Steel and Tube Company of America, which included the Iroquois Iron Company (now Youngstown’s South Chicago plant), Mark Manufacturing Company at Indiana Harbor (now Youngstown’s Indiana Harbor plant), a blast furnace and coke oven plant at Mayville, Wis., a tube mill plant at Zanesville, O., a plant for building engines (known as Tri-State Engineering Company) at Zanesville, a conduit tube and pump parts plant t Evanston, Ill., a spring plant and electric furnace at Kalamazoo, Mich., the Dunn Iron Mining Co., Rogers Brown ore Co., Elkhorn Piney Coal Mining Co., Christian Colliery Co., Redfield Coal Co.,Vinegar Hill Zinc Co. at Platteville, Wis., and the National Zinc Separating Co., with plants at Cuba City, Wis.
When Youngstown purchased Steel and Tube in 1923, Mr. Chisholm, then in his early 30s, was in charge of the company’s ore mining properties on the Gogebic.
A year later Pickands Mather & Co. of Cleveland took the mines as managing agent. Mr. Chisholm went with Pickands Mather; was transferred to Duluth in 1931 as assistant general manager; became general manager in 1937 and five years later became management partner of Pickands Mather.
Opened in 1886, the Anvil-Palms-Keweenaw mine was operated by Newport Mining Company and became a part of Steel and Tube in 1917. Its last shipment of ore was hoisted of Jan. 31, 1957.
The Plymouth was one of the very few open pit mines on the range. Opened in 1915, it was taken over by the Plymouth Mining Company in the following year. It produced 16 million tons of ore.
When the Plymouth was closed in 1952, mining equipment was moved one mile to mine another small pocket of surface ore. Named the Loomis, this mine lasted just a little more than a year.
Written by Bruce Cox, 1984
One of the most interesting tokens of Gogebic County, Mich., is the Tula Lumber Co. five cent piece. Ever since I first became interested in collecting tokens I had hopes of acquiring one of them. I knew of just a handful, all owned by local persons, noncollectors, and not for sale. Even a two month ad in a shopper newspaper didn’t bring any out. It seemed this Tula token was about equal to the 1913 V-nickel in availability!
Tula is now a ghost town in every sense of the term, even though it is still shown on some maps. There are people living in the county who have never heard of it. The old mill, company store and houses were burned out, torn down or removed years ago. The house I lived in was once in Tula. The Tula townsite is located approximately six miles northeast of Wakefield on M28.
The Tula post office was established on February 5, 1907 and Josiah Lane was appointed postmaster. Tula may have been named for one of the places of the same name in Mexico or Russia. In the book "I Married a Logger," author Julie Anderson claimed that Tula might have gotten its name from an old Finnish folksong, "Tula Tullalla." Sung by Finnish woodsmen or section workers in the area.
In researching the history of Tula, I was fortunate in being able to talk to a local man who lived there from 1909-1913. Dave Bellmore told me that his father, Adolph Bellmore was killed in an accident at iron mine near Bessemer in November 1908 and the family soon after moved in with Dave’s brother Fred, who worked for the Tula Lumber Co. as a sawyer and filer, among other things. Dave Belmore was a paperboy in Tula, worked as "bull cook" and remembers fishing for trout – with no limit – bagging 40-50 rabbits in a week and producing 40-50 gallons of maple syrup ever year. A hunting camp in the area would usually hang up 30 deer in a season. The Belmore moved in to Wakefield in 1913.
During the summer of 1912 the Wakefield Township built a new road out to Tula appeared in the 15 February 1913 issue of the Ironwood News Record:
"Tula On The Map"
"New Town in Wakfield Township is Rapidly Forging Ahead.
The following article from the Cloverland Press of Ewen, refers to a promising new town on the South Shore railroad in Wakefield township, the connecting of Wakefield village and Tula with a good highway only eight miles in length being a certainty the coming summer.
The Tula Lumber Company, which is operating a saw mill and conducting a general lumber business at Tula, expects to make many improvements within the next few months.
Tula is situated in Gogebic County, a few miles from the Ontonagon County line. The village came into existence by the organization of the Tula Lumber Company, the business of the firm being under the supervision of A.J. DeVries. The sawmill cuts about 40,000 feet a day – a one circular mill. It is expected that a day and night run will be inaugurated this spring.
The company has a first-class general store and has about completed a fine hotel, which has electric lights, steam heat, and will be modern in every way. Several new homes will be built this coming spring so that the men employed in the mill can find places to keep their families in comfort. The company at present employs about 125 men.
J.D. Foster, son of the president of the company, resides in Tula and looks after the books and other clerical work. Mr. Foster states that the company is buying considerable timber and timber lands and expects to be able to induce a number of farmers to take advantage of the fine farming lands which the firm now owns and which will be sold to settlers."
Logging activity at Tula was carried on in the "old days" by the following companies or individuals, as best as this author could determine: South Side Lumber Co., Foster and Son, 1911-16; Lewis Jenson, 1916-19; John Schroeder Lumber Co., 1919-25; Turpeinen Lumber Co., 1920s-40s; Weidman, Mattson, and Christian & Louis Anderson, 1920s-40s.
A.J. DeVries was apparently the second and last postmaster in Tula. He was the manager of the company in the years before 1916.
By 1915 Tula had a population of some 100 and at least two dozen buildings, most located on the South side of the present highway M28. According to the Wakefield tax assessment records of 1915, the Tula Lumber Co. owned over 3,700 acres, on which the taxes average $25 per forty, or $1,325 per year. The 1915 taxes on the company’s stock, lumber and buildings came to $121.03.
The mill at Tula was destroyed by a fire in the summer of 1916 and the Tula Lumber Co. lands were taken over by Lewis Jenson. The Tula post office was discontinued on December16, 1916.
This amusing story appeared in the March 13, 1915 issue of the Wakefield Advocate:
Agent Gill, of the C. & N. W. depot, looked at the coin under the ticket window and gave in exchange the desired pasteboard and the proper change.
"Two to Tula."
As deftly did the C. & N. W. man handle this order, and he slid the same number of tickets to a redfaced man whose head appeared at the window, and he gulped twice and then said:
"Tu – Tu – Tula."
When he saw the two tickets he shook his head. Gill also looked askance at the coin he had received – it was not enough to pay for both.
"Tu – Tu – Tula," gasped the man. "Yes, sir; they’re both there, but this isn’t enough," said Gill, holding up the coin to show its denomination.
"I – I – I w – want one t-t-t-t-t-ticket to (he stopped to wet his lips and whistled, then gulped) Tu – Tu – Tula."
"Oh, all right sir; my mistake," said Gill, and put one ticket back in the case.
Several trappers carried on their business in the woods around Tula. Joe fisher, George Munn, Jack McCall, and Pete Spruce are some recalled by Dave Bellmore. They lived in shacks and were called "shackers."
Unmarried lumberjacks lived in boarding houses in Tula. One of their favorite pastimes was a drinking spree in Hurley. In going through old slot machine tokens from Hurley, several Tula Lumber Co. tokens were found by this author.
August Bye was the book and storekeeper when the Schroeder Lumber Co. ran the mill. The company store also cardboard cards to keep track of customers’ purchases and credits. The Tula Lumber Co. token is brass, 21mm, with a tiny center hole. I have only seen a 5 cent denomination. It would be an R7, 10-20 pieces known.
Nothing is left of the former lumber town, and today it is sometimes remembered when people jokingly refer to "Tula Tech," the well-known school of lumbering or hard knocks.
Cisco Chain of Lakes From History and Memory
By Waube Kanish And "Dunny" Bent 1982
Dedicated to CARETAKERS of the FUTURE
2nd Printing 1986
Arthur J. Bent
354 Linden Avenue
Doylestown, PA 18901
All rights reserved.
No parts may be reproduced without written permission.
An early history of the Cisco Chain of Lakes was suggested by several friends who spend their summers on the Chain and also by some family members. Many of these people wanted to know about the ‘roots’ of early settlers on the Chain but had not found anyone connected with the past, and asked what my memory could provide.
Although my memories did not begin here, until 1910, my first visit was in the fall of 1907 when we lived at Marvin Hughlitt’s Camp on Thousand Island Lake. But, the bents were story tellers. And also some pictures were taken while others retained information about their ancestors. Much of the detailed information and dates were recorded by my sister Lucy Ann, which she pulled from our Mother, who never forgot a birthday or name of anyone she knew.
Even after searching memory, files, pictures and letters, you will find many approximate dates, some very wrong. Names may be misspelled, Flora and Fauna could be too little and inaccurate, my apology.
This is a condensed version, about half of what it was on the first try, but was willingly cut. After my lifelong partner, Gene, convinced me this should not be a family history. That’s another story which is still being brought up to date, BENT TRAILS.
A forerunner of this story has also been written by Waube Kanish, trying to picture what this country was like about 1853—THE GREAT SPIRIT COUNTRY.
Close to the end of this rape of the Virgin Wilderness, the Bent related Delano brothers from Abrams, Wis., farmers, but looking for ready cash, arrived by following the logging railroad west and a ‘tote’ road to Mamie Lake on the Cisco Chain. They built two cabins and a barn on the lakeshore at the edge of about three of burned forest, and started to fish and hunt for shipment to the Chicago market. They hired men to fish from row boats with hand lines, and caught Smallmouth Black Bass to fill the wagon daily.
In 1895 ‘Bill’ Bent, age 57, and his sons, Charles 38, George 33, Horace 25 and Walter 17 arrived at the Delano Camp on Mamie lake on their way back from Hurley, Wis. They had just completed supplying fresh meat to the crew building the railroad to Hurley. They drove cattle and butchered daily until they ran out of meat. Then they supplied Venison. They all carried 45/90 rifles and wore Buckskins. The Bents stayed to hunt and fish for the Chicago market to get cash.
Charles Bent, a mild conservationist did not like marketing wild game and felt this country should be open to Sportsmen. In 1896 Charlie bought Delano’s and called it ‘Bents Camp’ for sport fishing and hunting. He loved the country and did all he could in his lifetime to protect and improve it for others.
George Bent left the north, married Carrie Stoud and then went to sunny promises of California.
Horace Bent started Camp Tenderfoot on Tenderfoot Lake.
Walter Bent worked at both camps for a few years and then started his own place on Fishhawk and Lindsley Lakes in 1909.
Charles Bent brought his family, wife Elizabeth (Lizzy), son Austin and daughters Elsie and Mamie (Polly) from Abrams, Wis. More cabins were built, mostly of Tamarack logs and laid directly on the ground and because of their rot resistance may still be there. The first log cabin served as temporary home and dining area with Charlie chief cook.
A sawmill was one of the first things added. While the cabins were being built of logs, lumber was needed for roofs, shingles, floors, doors, Cupboards, bedsteads, barns, docks boathouses, outhouses, ice house, etc. Land was homesteaded and bought, and for about twenty years, logs were cut in late fall and decked in the woods, then hauled on ice roads to the sawmill and decked again, to be sawed into lumber in early spring, and piled to air dry.
As land was cleared the hauling of Marsh Hay for the animals over the Hay road from the Beaver meadows on Trout Creek near Harding Lake, was not needed. Gradually they grew hay, corn and oats for the needs of horses, cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys and Angora Goats, Lizzie used the wool to make blankets for the Camp. For several years the Goats were taken to an island in Crooked Lake for forage and to clear the underbrush. It was called Goat Island until the Klotz built there in 1926-27. (Forsythe Island). It had a different name, ‘Big Pine Island’, and with a reason, as perhaps the largest White Pine in the North grew there. The legend of why so large and not struck by lightening, was that the Great Spirit placed normal pines on nearby hills to be struck first. Few lonely tall Pines were left undamaged. The one on Belle Isle in Mamie Lake was taller then, Walter Bent told of standing on Grassy Point in about 1904 and seeing lightening break the top off. It has been hit many times since.
A garden supplied nearly all the fresh vegetables for Bents camp, including potatoes, sweet corn, rutabaga and rhubarb. Wild Red Raspberries, Blueberries, Blackberries and Cranberries were canned. One small Crabapple tree provided pectin. Although fences were gradually built, the cows, with bells hanging from straps around their necks, foraged in the woods.
One of the original DeLano cabins was used as a schoolhouse for the Bent girls. It lasted about fifteen years. A Quoit and horseshoe court took its place. Most people used it to play horseshoe, using shoes of all sizes, depending upon the size of the horse; Polly bent became an expert at both.
The camp log dining room with a fireplace was lined with White Birch bark held in place with cedar bark strips. It joined the kitchen, which was on the lakeshore, with screened porches above the water. The Bents summer home, the ‘Kings Castle’ was a two story log cabin in the center of the Camp with porches on all sides that had railings make of small round Cedar. Behind the dining room was the log office building with Birch bark lining. It was connected to the Folly, a three story frame building with guest rooms up stairs and the Bents winter quarters on the ground floor, their first building with plumbing, built in about 1906. A large septic tank was built in the swamp.
Before 1900 Charlie Bent built a cabin on Grassy Point, opposite Belle Isle, across from his camp and another cabin on Honeymoon Island in West Bay.