Nestled at the edge of the
Rudyard has a rich history of farming, timbering, and railroads. Rudyard is named for the famous poet,
Rudyard Kipling. The town of
It is my great pleasure to dedicate this page to the town that has been good to me and my family. It is a wonderful place to raise children, to live and enjoy the outdoors. This page is a reflection of the people of this community both living and long gone, and will hopefully display the warmth and generosity of its citizens. Please feel free to e-mail your comments or visit the Rudyard Area School's website.
Following are some excerpts from the book, "Tales of Rudyard As Told By The Folks", published in 1922 and reprinted by the Rudyard Lion's Club in 1973, and "The First Hundred Years", published by the Rudyard Township Centennial Committee in honor of Rudyard's Centennial celebration in 1983. Both are reprinted here with the permission of the Rudyard Lions Club and the Rudyard Centennial Committee. Text has been unedited and spelling is in its original form.
"Tales of Rudyard As Told By The Folks," compiled by J. W. Kitching
Much confusion had arisen through there being another town in Lower Michigan which bore the name of Pine River. This fact made it necessary that there should be a change of name. The great question was, "What name should be chosen?" Mr. Fred Underwood, then president of the Erie Railroad, and who was at one time General Manager of the Soo Line Railroad, was a great admirer of Rudyard Kipling, the English poet. He suggested that the name of Rudyard be given to the town in honor of the poet. His suggestion was enthusiastically adopted, so in the year 1890, the name of Rudyard was substituted in place of Pine River.
About this time a town in the iron ore district of the Upper Peninsula received the name of Kipling. Some time later a mutual friend informed Mr. Kipling of the railroad's action, whereupon the celebrated writer sent his photograph with the following lines upon the back:
"Wise is the child who knows his
The ancient proverb ran,
But wiser far the man who knows
How, when and where his offspring grows,
For who the mischief would suppose
I've sons in Michigan?
Yet am I saved from midnight ills,
That weary the souls of man;
They do not make me walk the floor,
Nor hammer at the doctor's door,
They deal in wheat and iron ore,
My sons in Michigan.
Of tourist in the Pullman car
(By Cook's or Raymond's plan)
Forgive a parent's partial view;
But, maybe you have children, too;
So let me introduce to you
My sons in Michigan.
Mr. Rudyard Kipling
Fifty years ago the region lying between the towns of St. Ignace and the Soo was a vast unclaimed wilderness. There were no signs of human habitation anywhere around. Even the Indians had always avoided this part of Chippewa County except for an occasional hunting expedition. Dense, swamps of tamarack and cedar. Throughout this immense district the bear, wolf, lynx, deer and fox roamed freely and unmolested. The Pine River flowed through the forests and here the muskrat built its house and the beaver its dam while the mallard and the bittern fed upon the wild rice which grew along its banks.
The two towns were subsequently linked up by a blazed trail along which the mails were carried every week. In the year 1872 the Mackinaw Road was cut through and regular traffic was established between the two places. This road was sixty-four miles long.
Most of the land between Rudyard and what is now Captain Girvin's farm and beyond was deeded in 1873 by the state to Russell H. Bennett, the contractor on this road and the land was for payment on the contract. HaIf way along the road the mail carriers rested and watered their horses at the river and here was erected a shelter for them.
This half-way stopping place was called Strongville after Mr. W. 0. Strong of Detroit who was the first Land Commissioner of the Detroit, Mackinaw and Marquette Railroad. He was succeeded by Mr. E. W. Cottrell, from whom many of the later settlers, especially around Pickford, bought their land.
A town was platted out at this point, it being the original intention to cut the railroad through from the Soo to the proposed docks at St. Martin's Bay. The work was started but was never finished. During the survey a log immigrant house was built which was afterwards used as a school taught by Esther Stonehouse.
The first settler whose name is definitely connected with this part of the country was Judson D. Smith. He came originally from Elkhart, Indiana, and was a veteran of the Civil War.
The land along the state highway from Dave Boncher's farm to Fred Wallis' was bought by Judson D. Smith from the U. S. Government in 1876 for $1.25 per acre. He bought this land for the purpose of colonizing and built a sawmill, blacksmith shop and a three-storied frame house on the east bank of the Pine River. He put up later a number of small dwelling houses for the convenience of settlers until their own homes could be built. He left Strongville for a year or two and resided in Cheboygan where he ran a sawmill. He returned to Strongville, however, where he conducted the Post Office and boarded the mail carriers until 1886, when he came to reside on a farm now owned by Eric Matson. The Post Office was taken over by Mr. David Gillespie, who came over from Canada with his family in 1883.
Judson D. Smith was a tall man of soldierly bearing with dark hair and a goaty beard streaked with gray. In later years he met with a lot of ill luck. His daughter died of tuberculosis, followed soon afterwards by his wife and son, Frederick Benjamin, then principal of the school at Bay Mills. He moved finally to Edmonton in the Canadian' Northwest, where he spent the rest of his days. His land was purchased by Mr. E. C.Davidson in 1894.
Men speak of "Jud" Smith to this day as being a brave man and a real hero and there are many still living in and around Rudyard who worked with him among whom are Ross Adamson and Walter Cottle.
One day his little girl of six years of age was taken suddenly ill. The nearest doctor lived at St. Ignace, thirty-two miles away. It was the early spring time when the rivers were in flood and the trail was one long, soft stream of mud. This man tramped the whole distance and back without a stop. Every step he took, he sank down to his knees in mud. But he got through and saved the life of his little girl.
In 1890 the three families of the district, the Glendennings, Dawsons and Gardners decided to have a school. The first difficulty which presented itself was that there were not enough men to act as school officers. However, there was Mr. Huntley not far away; if he could be persuaded to go to the Soo and take out papers there would be enough officers and a school might be organized. He was seen and readily consented. The second difficulty was where to hold the school. The upper room at the Depot seemed the only place available, and so the first school was held there.
There were six children from the three families. Mr. Matthews who had been the "cookee" in Rady's camp, was the first teacher. He had had his arm amputated, having chilled and poisoned it in the camp taking the pieces of pork out of the salt pork barrel. Being thus unfitted for his work in the camp, and being a man of some education, he undertook the teaching of the children. He boarded a week with each family in turn. The family with which he boarded paid his salary for that week. In order to help out his salary, he sold Japanese oil and other patent medicines, winning for himself the nickname of "Doc". Doc Matthews taught for a year and a half.
After this, school was held in Davidson's camp (which became Wyatt's farm). Mrs. Cross, a widow woman with one child, was teacher for that year.
In 1894, the first school house was built in the village and Bill McGinnis was the school master for that year. He had been a lumberman in the camp, and meeting with an accident, had to have his leg amputated. He then fitted himself for school teaching. It was always a pleasure for Bill to teach school. There was only one occupation he would rather engage in and that was hunting. The hunting season, above all others, was the time of the year that Bill looked forward to with keen anticipation. He had seen many a deer in the wild, but never had he been able to shoot one--to say truthfully that he had shot a deer was the ambition of his life.
Now there were two men in the village who were very sympathetic with Bill. They agreed that they would arrange for him to shoot a deer. Accordingly, one morning early in the hunting season, John Gibbs and John Cottle ran into the schoolhouse with the news that there was a big buck in the bush. Bill lost no time in seizing his gun (it was always at the ready), and ran toward the thicket. Trembling with excitement, forgetting his reading and writing, he raised his gun to his shoulder. There were two antlers above the bush! He quickly emptied his rifle at the deer which, to his delight, fell over with the last shot. He rushed over to the spot where the fallen deer lay. The ambition of his life was realized--marred only by the fact that the deer's hide was filled with straw.
The next school master was Alec Mulligan. He held the position for three years and built what is now the English home near the railway crossing. Another master who did good work was Mr. Frank Smith, son-in-law of Mrs. Isaac Watson of Pickford.
A few years later children were more numerous, and the old schoolhouse was becoming inadequate. A new two-roomed school was decided upon, and in 1902 a two-roomed frame building was erected on Main Street. About nine years later it was necessary to make an addition to this building.
The school life of the village showed peace and progress after this, until one beautiful May morning an unusual commotion was observed in the street opposite the school. All the school children were out dancing and shrieking with childish glee around some attraction in the middle of the road. This went on for a considerable time, until the responsible citizens became apprehensive of this unseemly conduct when the children ought to have been at their lessons, and went to investigate. Breaking through the cordon of excited youngsters, they found to their utter amazement two of the lady teachers engaged in deadly combat. With tears of passion rolling down their cheeks and deep red scratches scarring their faces, each gripping the hair of the other's head they shamefully faced the astonished board. What could have been the reason for this memorable fight has never been revealed. For many years the school life of Rudyard went along smoothly and uneventfully, except that one year the teachers went on strike for higher wages. Most of them, however, were pacified when the board invited them to a sumptuous turkey supper.
This year, 1922, a new eight-room schoolhouse was built. The old building with its time worn floors and carved desks has been deserted for the new brick school with its modern conveniences. It stands in the southeast corner of the town just two blocks off the main street. It presents a pleasing landmark to those entering the town either from the east or from the west. Being fitted with a large auditorium capable of seating over 300, it serves as a meeting place for the people of the community. It is equipped with electric lights and sanitary water system. Every effort has been made to secure the health, comfort and well being of the 200 scholars in attendance.
Forty-two years ago this spring we came from Ontario, Canada. It was in 1880, the year before President Garfield was assassinated. We intended to purchase a farm near the Soo; but owing to some uncertainty about the title we did not locate there as we had intended.
Hearing that there was land for sale thirty miles to the west along the old Mackinaw Road, my husband decided to go out and inspect it. As the land pleased him and the water was abundant, he decided to settle here.
Leaving me in the Soo, he went down the old trail to the Point, as St. Ignace was called, and took a train to Cheboygan, where Judson D. Smith, the owner of the land, was living at that time. He purchased a lot of one hundred and sixty acres, which lay about half a mile back from the trail and three miles east from the Pine River. After a space had been cleared and a log cabin built and roofed with tamarack boards, I came down from the Soo to my new home.
I shall never forget that ride. It was the month of April. We stayed over night at King's old house, eighteen miles out. The owner was a Frenchman. The house was a long, low log building and on this particular night it was full of people. Every bed was occupied and folks were sleeping all about the floors. We did, however, manage to get a little space for ourselves and were mighty glad to get away as soon as dawn broke next morning.
From this point onward the road was in bad shape, the mud holes in places were twelve feet across and sometimes five or more feet deep. Time and time again the horses had to be unhitched and chains fastened to the tongue of the wagon to get it out of the mud.
After five miles of this kind of travel we struck the corduroy and to our dismay found that the heavy rains had washed away most of the logs. For a little way the horses walked the stringers and then we had to wait several hours until the men cut down poles to make the road safe for the wagon to pass over.
Weary in mind and worn out in body, I reached at length what was to be my home for many months to come. I will not describe the loneliness of the life in those days for that may better be imagined than described. However we had a shelter and that meant a great deal.
The life of the settler in those days was wild and full of difficulty. In the summer the mosquitoes were so numerous that they would settle so thickly over a horse that the animal would be literally covered and one could not put the tip of one's little finger upon a bare place on the animal's hide. In winter the snow lay so deeply in the woods and clearings that they were impassable, and woe betide the traveler unfortunate enough to be lost in those snow laden vastnesses.
One night in the fall shortly after we came out here, the lamps were lighted and my husband and I and the children were just about to partake of our evening meal when there came a knock at the door.
It was storming heavily without and when the door was opened two lumberjacks were standing there. They asked for shelter and I invited them to come inside. They sat down with us at the table and I noticed that one of them seemed unable to control himself, he was trembling all over as with an ague. His companion told us that he had had a long spell of drinking and that he was suffering from delirium tremens. Early the next morning they took the trail and we thought no more of the matter.
Just a few months afterwards, Nick Sprague, who came out to us in the fall of 1880, was hauling in a load of wood when right in front of his lot he found the body of a man lying face downward on the ground with a hole in the back of his head just behind the ear. Turning him over Nick recognized him as the man who had been crazy with delirium tremens.
We never knew how he had come to his dreadful end. It was clearly a case of murder, for the hole in his head had been caused by the stab of a jack-knife. They dug a grave and buried him right there in the forest on the place now owned by Mr. John Wallis.
Down and out without a friend to shed a tear or bewail his fate, they lowered him in a rough casket made of pine lumber and there he sleeps today in his nameless grave.
Nature took his poor broken body to her kindly breast and the wind sobbed a requiem among the branches of the tall spruce trees and his soul with all its faults and sins was received back again into the arms of the Everlasting Mercy.
We came to this district from the County Simco, Canada, and settled on the River Munuskong, an Indian name meaning "Muddy Waters," in the month of September, 1882. My father, Edmond Haydn, was born in County Carlo in Ireland, and moving with his folks to Canada, settled in the village of Alliston. In 1860 he married Miss Honora Hogan of Tipperary, Ireland.
I was eighteen years of age when we came over to Michigan and we stayed with some friends at Pickford until we had cleared a bit of land and got up a log shanty. I remember the first night we moved into our shanty, we had a cedar chest for a table and boxes for chairs.
While we were eating, Dorie Sprague happening to pass came in and shared our meal. There were only three houses in the neighborhood besides ours, Dorie Sprague's, Nick Sprague's and Tom Banes'.
Going out at night you could hear the wolves howling enough to make your hair stand on end. My father was an expert trapper and hunter and one year 1 worked the whole of the winter in the woods lumbering while in one week my father trapped six large timber wolves and got more in bounties than I got for the whole of my winter's work.
My father died in the year 1903, aged eighty-six years. The old Indian mail carriers used to stop at our house quite often and we would stay up nearly all night listening to their adventures. One of these carriers was called Bruno and another was Pussy Day. Pussy Day would go from the Soo to Detroit about three times in the winter. And when crossing the ice, deer chased by the wolves would come right up to him for safety.
We had no church in those days, but a French priest, named Father Champeau, used to visit us. He went through some awful hardships in his travels. He would walk from the Soo to DeTour and then to Cedarville and Hessel in rubbers, seal skin boots and pants. Afterwards the Catholic church was built at Rudyard and we attended there.
Farming was very different in those days. We had no mowing, milking and threshing machines, binders or hay presses. Hay was cut with the scythe and grain with the cradle and the sheaves were all bound by hand and we did all our threshing with the flail. When we wanted flour and provisions we had to haul loose hay to St. Ignace or the Soo and sell it for ten dollars a ton.
The Munuskong in those days was full of fish and swarmed with mink. The mink would come out of the river after the chickens and one day we even killed one in the pantry of our house.
In order to dispose of their beef and pork, the farmers had to haul it to the Soo or St. Ignace over the most terrible roads and sell it for four dollars a hundred weight dressed.
In the year 1882, while living on a farm in the
J. D. Smith persuaded him to view the country around Strongville. As there was nothing suitable on the east side of the Pine, they crossed over the river, where as yet there were no settlers and here he purchased from Mr. Smith a quarter section of uncleared land.
Two years later in the spring of 1884 the farm at Mornington was sold and we came over and settled in Strongville. A frame house, sixteen feet by twenty-four feet was quickly erected and clearing operations commenced right away.
Life was lonesome in those early pioneer days. The absence of roads and the deep snows in the winter-time prevented intercourse with the outside world. Sometimes for five months together I would see no woman's face. Many a time I have been awakened at midnight by the howling of wolves around the sheep-fold.
To sell our produce we had to journey to the Soo. Starting away in the evening we would ford the river and travel over the rough trail all through the night by the light of the moon. This was to escape the mosquitoes and it was also easier for the horses to travel in this way.
We would arrive in the Soo generally in time to see the sun rise over the St. Mary's river which was indeed a most beautiful sight. We used to carry about one hundred pounds of butter and a thousand eggs to the store on Water street, that being the business section of the Soo, and we sold our butter in those days for eighteen cents a pound.
By the year 1889 we had a fair amount of land cleared and now needed a place to store the crops. Since J. D. Smith had closed down there was no saw mill in the neighborhood so my husband and the boys cut lumber with a whipsaw and split shingles with a prow and built the straw-barn which stands today upon the hill above the river.
In the rainy season the fording of the river was always a dangerous matter. One day Tom Banes, with his little girl, was returning from a fishing expedition at Chub Creek and when he drove his horses down the bank into the water they plunged out of sight, the raft floated off the axles, the king bolt came out, the hind wheels fell off into the mud and the horses with the front wheels managed to scramble up the opposite bank.
The rack with the man and girl on it floated down the river with the current. Tom Banes, however, held on to the lines and with wonderful coolness and skill guided the horses along the bank until the raft struck the side twenty rods further down.
Religion was not neglected in those early days. Mrs. George Colberry, whose husband took up a farm west of ours, used to have Sunday school in her house one Sunday and the next Sunday it would be held in our home. The children and adults of both families would number about sixteen persons. Robert Sanderson, a Methodist local preacher from Pickford, would come out to preach occasionally.
One day in the second spring that we were here, we had a strange experience. It was April and the rivers and creeks were full of water and the trees were just beginning to break forth into bud and the robin had come back again to the Northwoods.
A stranger came to the door in a state of great agitation. He said that he had found in the woods the body of a man who had been killed by Indians. The man told us his name was George Aisling and that he was making his way along the Palm Station Trail to the Soo where his home was. The menfolk went out and found the dead man, his boots clothes and pack were scattered all about and one of his feet was without a sock.
Suddenly his coat, which lay some distance away began to heave and out from under it crawled a huge porcupine. It was this which had frightened the man who had discovered the body.
The body was that of the brother of Mrs. Alfred Osborn, of the Soo. He had been working on the Pine River for the Mackinaw Lumber Company, who had a camp there and he was on his way to Spend Christmas with his sister. He took the Palm Station Trail which was only used in the summer time and becoming exhausted had lain down to rest and falling asleep had been overcome by the cold and had died out there in the snows.
I settled in this district in the year 1885 and for two years worked on the railroad making bridge and culvert timbers. Our camp at that time was a little below Cottle's Crossing. John Peffers cleared the right of way two miles east from the river in two weeks. The following men were also engaged on this work: William P. McDonald, James English, Leonard McDowell and James Haydon.
Before the railroad was built the region all around was a wilderness of little green poplars about seven feet high and spruce trees. The ground was so wet and damp that there was no place for a man to sit down even in summer time. The surface water and the stagnant pools everywhere about were the breeding places of millions and millions of mosquitoes whose presence made life almost unbearable.
Hornets nests as big as pumpkins hung from the boughs of the trees; but we soon fixed these by tying to a sixteen foot pole a bundle of birch bark which we would light and hold under the nest.
The mosquitoes were not so easily disposed of, for they would literally darken the sky. We would have a log heap burning and would stand there until we could endure the smoke no longer and after the rails were laid we would put the hand car on the track and race at full speed up and down to escape them.
The station work was done by Italians who built on the side of the track, huts of poplar poles covered with sods and fern and here they would both sleep and eat.
One day I came upon an Italian workman cooking something in a can over a fire. Going near, I looked into his can and saw that it was full of frog legs, but hard tack and coffee seemed to form their usual diet.
Wild life of all kinds abounded in those days and we were never short of good food. The little trees by the river swarmed with partridges and the river was full of trout. One or two of us would go down to the bend and in a few minutes would catch enough fish to feed the whole crew.
Bear would prowl around the back of the Depot in such numbers that on one occasion I shot five with five shots in five minutes.
Wolves would howl in the daylight and when the timber trestle was built we would sit there for hours with our guns; but the wolves would never show themselves.
The Depot, Office and Dwelling-house for the station agent were completed in the fall of 1887 and named Pine River by which name it was known until 1890.
There were no other buildings of any description in this part of the country until the spring of 1888, when Postal Dawson with his wife settled here from Canada and built a little log hut on the spot where the jail now stands.
Joseph Glendenning was the first section foreman and the first station agent was Guss Kennedy.
The position of station agent has been filled by the following: Mr. Carl Sass, Mr. Herman Fuerstnau and Mr. Louis Pointer.
We came from the County Tucker-Smith, Canada, in the year 1887. Our experience was like that of most other settlers. We had first to clear the land and erect a house for shelter as soon as possible.
In June, 1897, my brother Robert was going along the river and on a sand bar in shallow water saw a sturgeon which he shot with a rifle. The fish weighed a little over seventy pound.
On another occasion my father, Solomon McDonald, was coming down the river in a boat when he saw a big eagle on the water's edge. There seemed to be something wrong with it and rowing across he struck the bird with his paddle. The eagle put up an awful fight and when killed it was found to measure seven feet from tip to tip when its wings were spread out.
In 1902 Ex-Governor Osborn, who owns a plot of timber land near our farm, came down to hunt bears. They were plentiful in those days. He brought with him his little son George, then a lad of eight or so years of age. This little lad went into the woods and shot and killed a big bear with a small .22 rifle.
The first camp was started by Mr. Davidson in the spring of I892. The timber
to build this camp was hauled from the Piney, a sawmill one mile south of Duke's
In the year 1895 Hugh Bonner also did a considerable amount of logging in this region.
In 1897, the year in which McKinley was first elected President, Bob Bolton commenced to clear the dense swamp that lay to the north of Rudyard. That is where the Holland settlement stands today. There was an immense quantity of pulpwood and pine about here and big trams were built and every day throughout the winter season from ten to fifteen carloads of pulp were brought down to Rudyard and shipped away to Appleton, Wisconsin.
In 1907 Hayward and Loomis began lumbering on the Bay Road and every spring for a number of years took pulp down the river to St. Martin's Bay where it was rafted from the mouth of the river and floated to Cheboygan.
People thought that when the lumbering trade came to an end there would be nothing for men to work at but no sooner did the lumbering cease than the haying commenced and this has increased year by year until it is now the chief product of the district.
One day the sun had set, a rosy afterglow o'erspread the western sky and dusk stole slowly over the lumber camp. At six o'clock the echo of the last axe stroke died away and the supper bell clanged forth its welcome summons to the men working in the woods. When we were all gathered together in the space before the door of the eating house, we were surprised to hear a strong and lusty voice singing an old hymn. The sound came from the railway track to the west and as we stood listening, a man of three score years and ten came into sight.
The appearance of the stranger was striking and unique, tall and upright was his figure, and his gait firm and steady and he carried a long oak staff in his hand. He had a beard as white as snow which reached almost to his waist while his hair, brushed back from a broad, noble brow, flowed in long silver waves over his shoulders.
As he came nearer, it was seen that his eyes were deep set and piercingly blue and his cheeks ruddy with the rich glow of health and vigor. He approached the group of woodsmen about the door, many of whom were leaning upon the handles of their glittering axes, and, pausing, he raised his right hand, solemnly crying in a deep, loud voice: "For the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?" There was a burst of laughter from the men and some good natured chaff; but the old man awed them into silence and shaking his silvery head he spoke again and said: "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost."
The men saw that he was deeply in earnest and well intentioned so they invited him to have supper with them. He told us that he was a traveling evangelist who devoted his life to going about preaching the Gospel to the men in the lumber camps of the Upper Peninsula.
After supper he asked if he could hold a service to which the men readily assented. The result was that he stayed in the camp a week and after that he came again and quite often.
The men called him John the Baptist from his venerable appearance and the fiery eloquence of his preaching. He did not carry a Bible with him, but would recite those passages of Scripture in the most dramatic manner.
Then he would preach with such awful force with his great hand raised above his head, his white hair flowing on the wind like a horse's mane, his eyes flashing fire, that he seemed indeed like one of the fiery, old, Hebrew prophets come to life in a new age to warn men of doom and offer to them salvation.
It was a most common sight to see men, noted as being hardened and godless, break down and weep like little children. His real name was John Hartford and he died at the ripe age of eighty years loved and respected by all who knew him.
He claimed to have been an awfully rough, hard character before his conversion and he loved to tell how the grace of God had laid hold of him and plucked him as a brand from the burning.
Whenever he slept in the camp he would always have a lamp burning. It happened one night that the oil was all used up and the lamp went out. Immediately the old man awoke and cried out: "Give us of your oil for our lamps are gone out." And well I remember getting out in the cold and getting oil for the old man.
Feb. 27th, 1922.
Mr. Peter C. Brood,
Dear Mr. Brood:
This is in reply to yours of February 20th.
I have looked the matter over carefully, and find that the Township was organized on March 16th, 1893. We are enclosing resolution organizing the new Township. I have gone into the valuations and find that in 1893 the total valuation was $70,222.21, and the valuation in 1921 was $1,745,660. The taxes to be raised in 1893 was $3,204.56 and in 1822 was $54,723.44. I presume that the Township records will show various officers since the organization.
If there is anything further that we can give you from the records we shall be glad to look it up.
Yours very truly,
SAM C. TAYLOR
* * * * *
Supervisors' Room, Court House,
Pursuant to adjournment the Board of Supervisors met at p. m.
Present: Chairman Homer McGinnis, Supervisors Short, Breen, Flood, H. ID. Rains, McDonald, Steinlein, Brown, Eagle, Aldrich, Butterfield, Fairchild. Allan Rains, Parsille, Hawkins and Smith. Absent, none.
The unread minutes of the proceedings of the Board were read and approved. In the matter of the application of certain freeholders for the erection and organization of a new Township to be called Rudyard.
On motion of Supervisor McDonald, supported by Supervisor Fairchild. Resolved that whereas: an application has been duly made to the Board of Supervisors of the County of Chippewa by Peter McDonald, William Brundon, Charles Cottle, George Walz, Ephriam Palmer, James Currey, James Lockhart, John McDonald, Isaac Watson, James Clegg, John Montgomery, A. W. Taylor, Mack Dunbar, David McDonald, G. J. Griffith, Jacob C. Fischer, Richard Dynes, Hugh Cameron, Joseph A. Palmer, James Cottle, Walter O'Reilly, James Fletcher and James English: Freeholders residing in the old part of said Township and John H. ID. Everett, Fred Wallis, A. G. Hull, Thomas Banes, John Daley, James L. Towle, L. C. Leonard, J. Glendenning, E. C. Davidson. Henry Cottle, Theodore Sprague, Robert Anderson, Samuel Peffers, 0. H. Sprague, L. R. Adamson, Ulysses Piesch, Thomas Haydon, Judson D. Smith, Leonard McDowell, James McLarthy, James Haydon and Edmond Haydon: Freeholders residing in the proposed new Township.
All of whom are freeholders and reside in the Township to be effected thereby for the erection and organization into a new Township of the territory hereinafter described and the said Board having been furnished with a map of all the territory to be effected thereby and it appearing to said Board by due proof that notice in writing of such intended application signed by at least twelve freeholders of the Township to be thereby effected has been duly posted up and published in the manner and during the time required by law and it also appearing to said Board upon consideration thereof that said application ought to be granted:
Therefore it is ordered and determined by the said Board that the territory described as follows to wit: Sections Twenty five (25) to thirty six (36) inclusive, in Township Forty-five (45) Two (2) West and Three (3) West and all of Townships Forty-four (44) Two (2) West and Three (3) West; be and the same is hereby erected and organized into a new Township to be called and known as the Township of Rudyard, that the first annual Township meeting therein shall be held in the Railroad Depot at Rudyard on the third day of April next and Henry Cottle, L. Ross Adamson, and Joseph Glendenning, three electors of such Township are hereby designated as the persons whose duty it shall be to preside at said meeting, appoint a clerk, open and keep the polls and exercise the same power as the inspectors of any Township meeting may exercise under the laws of this State.
Adopted by yeas and nays a majority of all the members elected voting therefore to wit: Yea Supervisors Short, Breen, Flood, H. D. Rains, McDonald, Steinlein, Brown, Eagle, Butterfield, Allan Rains, Parsille, Hawkins, Fairchild and McGinnis. Nay Supervisors Aldrich and Smith.
At present there are two thousand two hundred inhabitants in the entire
township. The township officers for 1922 are:
Supervisor, John Bergsma
Highway Commissioner, John Stevens
Clerk, Frank Wicks
Treasurer, James Haydon
Justices of the Peace, Charles S. Ives and J. K. Hope
Deputy Sheriffs, Jack McLean and William Stearns
Health Officer, Dr. Bandy
Post Master, E. C. Edgerly
Notaries, E. C. Edgerly, N. L. Field, E. M. Batdorff
Bud Fish and Charlie Bretz were two hunters living in Rudyard. One day they were out after lynx and passing through the forest, they saw a pretty little bear cub up in the branches of a tall balsam tree.
Bud Fish said: "I'm going to get that cub," and he began right away to climb the tree. When he had climbed about halfway the slender trunk began to sway and bend in so alarming a manner that it looked as if it were going to break off.
Just then he caught sight of another bear cub a little higher up the tree. Climbing down he ran for his axe and began to chop away at the trunk while the other man stood ready to catch the bears when they fell. Down came the tree with a crash and Charlie Bretz caught one of the cubs, but the other escaped and ran into the brush with Bud Fish following closely in pursuit.
Right across the path ahead lay a huge fallen log and into this the bear bumped, falling back right into the arms of its pursuer. It scratched and kicked so furiously and screamed so loudly that every minute Bud thought the old mother bear would appear. He reached his chum, however, and that night they caught the old bear in a trap. The cubs were sent away to Southern Michigan and sold for a good round sum of money.
The first store in Rudyard was opened in the year 1894 by Mr. N. L. Field. It was strictly speaking a trading post for little money changed hands in those days. The settlers brought in their farm produce, butter, cheese, eggs and hay and in exchange took flour, sugar, tea, coffee, canned goods and clothing. This was a great convenience because before this time the settlers had to make a long journey either to Saint Ignace or to the Soo for provisions.
It is an important point to note that the present Rudyard hay export trade developed from this small beginning, for when Mr. Field had more hay than he could dispose of locally, he shipped it away up the line. It seemed a great amount when he shipped away seventy car loads in one year, but today the average quantity exported is two thousand car loads, amounting to twenty-four thousand tons.
The original wooden store which now stands on the south side of Rudyard became inadequate and in 1911 a new store was built on the old site. This store is a magnificent monument to the energy and business acumen of Mr. Field. It is a large brick built structure replete with every modern appliance and convenience.
The advent of Mr. Field was propitious for the future prosperity of Rudyard. He not only proved himself a capable business man, but a loyal and unselfish citizen. He devoted himself with whole hearted zeal to the development of the little community and with justifiable pride has seen it grow from a log hut and a water tank to its present size.
The place he occupied and still occupies in the esteem and affection of the people throughout the district was made manifest in 1909 when he was elected to represent the interests of this district in the State Legislature.
With regard to the other stores and business places in Rudyard the following are worthy of mention: In 1895 Mrs. Glendenning opened the first hotel and called it the "Fountain House." It subsequently belonged to Jim Hayden (1898), Hugh McLean (1899), and Postal Dawson (1900-9); the present owner is Mr. Mielke.
George Moreland opened the first blacksmith's shop in 1894, which is the old disused building on the east side of the opera house. At present there are two shops in the town, the one opposite the old school house was opened by M. J. Johnson and is now owned by Mr. Floyd Bassett, formerly of Pickford. The other shop on the west of the opera house was opened by its present proprietor, Mr. Andrew Harma in 1915.
Frank Taylor opened the store now owned by D. E. Turner & Co. This store was taken over by the present company in 1911. The bank was opened on June 22, 191 0, and enlarged 1921. These premises were formerly Dr. Ferguson's old drug store. The drug business was taken over by Mr. Levi Olmstead who opened the present store in 1921.
The other business homes are: J. B. Anderson's grocery store, R. G. Trimble's jewelry shop, Erickson's Grocery Co., built by Mr. C. Sass in 1913; The Rudyard Co-operative Co., which was formerly owned by Mr. Nick DeKruyter; the "Rudyard House," owned by Mr. Pat. Haley, Mielke's lumber yard, Mackie and Koti's garage, known as the "Rudyard Garage"; and Matt Mannila's shoemaker's shop. The brothers McLean opened the Hope store in 1915, Mr. Hope taking it over in April,1919.
There are two pool rooms in the town, operated by Lew Gillespie and Alex Cadieu, respectively. Situated on the north part of the town along the railroad track are the office, mill and warehouse of Mr. R. J. Forgrave, flour and feed merchant. This business, which was commenced on the 20th of January, 1914, is in a thriving and prosperous condition through the energy and integrity of its owner.
The barber shop opposite the Depot was opened by Mr. George Commenator in
Sleep was rendered impossible in our home on the night of the eighteenth of May, 1899, through the barking of old Danger, our Collie dog. I went down stairs, it was two by the clock in the living room, and called the dog indoors. Even inside he would not leave the door but howled and whimpered as though he would go mad.
I waited until five o'clock and when dawn was just beginning to break, I went downstairs. Looking out of the window I saw big clouds rolling along the sky to the southwest and a thin, grayish mist enveloped everything in its damp, clammy folds. Gazing across the south field, I saw a big animal moving along the fence. As I drew nearer I thought at first it was Dick Perry's old mule which had a habit of roaming around on other people's property.
The creature had got into the field from the road through a gap in the wire fence, where a post had been pushed down by the cows who had used it for a rubbing post. I went out to drive the mule away when to my surprise I discovered that it was a great cow moose.
Returning quickly to the house I took down my thirty-eight Colt's rifle and creeping along the other side of the fence, got within sixty rods of the animal. Taking careful aim I pulled the trigger and down went the moose. It tried to rise, but the bullet had gone through the top of the withers and it was unable to do anything but paw the air with its front feet.
Another shot severed the jugular vein and the great beast rolled over dead. With the help of half a dozen farmers with horses and a sleigh we managed to get the moose to the barn. It was a splendid specimen of the Alces Ain Ericanas, weighing nine hundred and eighteen pounds, twelve feet long from the tip of its heels to the tip of its snout and six feet high to the top of the withers.
As to her appearance imagine a big, lanky donkey, cut out of faded, weather-beaten, brown canton flannel, thinly stuffed with hay and you have the appearance of Madam Moose. Her mate, however, thinks her handsome and is so fond of her that he will fight for her to the last drop of his blood.
This moose had evidently come down from Canada. It had swum the St. Mary's River and then wandered southward. Following the road it had strayed over the barbed wire lying along the ground into the field, where it had been chased round and round by the dog.
The noise of this shooting episode spread far and wide over the country side and scores of people came to view the animal. Tom Banes, a bit of a wit in his way, remarked, "There's no credit in killing a thing like that, it's like shooting at a barn."
John Steinlein, the prosecuting attorney at the Soo, at length got to know about the affair and took out a warrant for my arrest for the illegal killing of moose.
Rudyard being a northwoods' town and surrounded by so much uncleared timber land has more than once been threatened with extinction by forest fires. It has also experienced damage by flood and storm.
In the year 1896 the town suffered considerably from a terrific storm, worse than anything within the memory of any person living here. A cloudburst struck the town accompanied by thunder and lightning and for many hours torrential rains fell. The water rushed down the roads and over the fields and along the railway track to a depth of eight inches or more. The stores and the homes of the people were flooded and goods and articles of furniture were floating about everywhere. The water did not subside until the next day at noon.
In June, 1899, when the pulpwood was being floated down to St. Martin's Bay, there was another awful rain storm. The river rose so high that it flowed into the windows of the pumping house. All the bridges were swept away by the current and the pulpwood floated on the flood away from the river on either side. When the water receded the spruce logs were left high and dry among the branches of the trees that lined the river banks.
In the summer of 1907 the weather was insufferably hot and everything around was dry as tinder. Forest fires had been raging near for some time and with the wind changing the fires approached the town from the north of Knauf's and from the southwest of Thornton's so the town was almost surrounded. Dense clouds of smoke rolled over the town and sparks fell in hot showers over everything. It looked as if the whole town would be swept away in the blaze.
Every man, woman and child put forth heroic efforts and the fires as they started here and there in the town were quickly extinguished. At one time, however, things began to look so black that we were on the point of sending to the Soo for help, but at noon the wind shifted and Rudyard was saved.
The next fire that threatened Rudyard was in 1918. A spark from the noon freight train fell on Davidson's warehouse which was full of hay. The whole building was ablaze in a very little time and the fire began to spread first to our own house and barn across to the Sass house and then to Lipsett's store, so there were five fires simultaneously. Davidson's warehouse was burned to the ground and the damage done amounted to thousands of dollars.
About the year 1914 Ron Edgerly's house was burned down and in June, 1920, two warehouses belonging to Messrs. Hope and Sass were set alight by a spark from the seven o'clock freight train and completely demolished.
Sam Samuels is a real, typical French-Canadian. He owns a farm of ten acres along the track west of Rudyard.
One day in the fall of 1908 he and a number of us were busy cutting pulpwood in the forest. The snow was pretty deep in the woods at that time. Sam was at work sawing up a big spruce into logs and was standing with both feet upon the tree.
Now as it happened the tree was not lying along the ground, but in falling had struck a great pile of snow-covered brush and was raised up at one end about five feet. The surface of the tree was rather slippery and all of a sudden Sam slipped off and disappeared into the brush pile up to his shoulders. We watched him scramble out and get back to his position on the tree and then he began to proddle about with his saw in the hole out of which he had climbed.
All at once a bear popped his head right up into Sam's face and I never saw a man look more astonished! He gave one yell and jumped at least fifteen feet off that tree and ran for dear life through the forest while the equally frightened bear scampered away in the opposite direction.
Well, I'll tell you, I had my feet in my snow shoes and my gun ready in less time than it takes to relate and I followed in the tracks of that bear right away. And that rug there,well that was the bear.
The beginning of the Presbyterian Church of Rudyard may be traced to a visit paid to the little town by the Rev. Forbes in September, 1894. The service was held in Mr. Davidson's land office which is now Mr. Trimble's Jewelry store and a Sunday school was organized. A short time before this, however, we had started a Sunday school in our home a mile east from Rudyard, our four children and the three Huntley children attending.
The second Sunday, Mr. and Mrs. Field came with a generous offer, "Why not come," they said, "and hold the school in the room over our store?" From that time onwards the school was held in the upper part of the old store and not only the school but religious services as well.
The older folk came from the district round about and seated upon empty shingle-nail barrels, would listen to the preaching of the Gospel.
The first school house was built in the fall of 1894 and we held services here. Subsequently this building was purchased by the society.
In the year 1895 the Revs. Forbes and Luther definitely organized the society under the auspices of the Lake Superior Presbytery and placed it under the care of the session of the Pickford church. A few months later an elder was elected and the church came under the direct care of the Presbytery and its Home Mission Committee. Regular services were now conducted by Rev. J. B. Wilson, of Dafter, a clergyman of the United Presbyterian church.
Mr. Wilson came to live on a farm near Dryburg and afterwards moved to Milford, Lower Michigan, where he died in 1910. The next preacher was a McCormick student, Mr. J. Z. Johnson, who had charge of the church from June to September, 1895. Presbytery then appointed the Rev. Gilbert A. Smith, who for two years labored most acceptably, and then for varying periods between the years 1897 and 1900 he sustained a careful and faithful ministry to the little flock.
Mr. Smith and his wife are now living on a farm east of Rudyard. He is eighty-two years of age and is still full of mental and physical energy and delights to talk of the old days when he tramped from one church to another with his rubber boots over his shoulder in which he would ford the swollen streams and cross the swamps. He is loved and respected by old and young alike for his kindly manner and ready sympathy.
It has been well said of Mr. Smith that he "has been a sheet-anchor to windward of the Rudyard Church." Mr. Smith is a graduate of Knox College, Toronto, and also has a diploma from Montreal College, Canada.
In order to relieve Mr. Smith, who also supplied the church at Strongville, the pulpit was supplied temporarily during the summer months between I897 and 1900 by the following students: Messrs. Mcintosh, Bernheisel, Hall (this latter was a returned missionary form the Holy Land), and Lehman. For a short period in 1903 the Rev. Wilto R. Yonkers, pastor of the Sault Ste. Marie Congregational Church supplied the pulpit. He was followed by Rev. J. Spencer Jewell (1903-4).
For the next three years the pulpit was supplied from time to time by the Revs. William Fulton of Bad Axe and Jacob Van Ness Hartness, Sabbath School Missionary, who died at Wankesha, 1909. In 1906 the Rev. Coleman Bristol became the first regularly installed pastor of the Rudyard and Dafter Churches.
The Rev. Frederick G. Westphal took charge in November,1908, and continued until 1913. During Mr. Westphal's ministry the present church was erected at a cost of $4,000. The cornerstone was laid the sixth day, of July, 1911. The church was dedicated on the twenty-first day of January, 1912.
The next pastor was the Rev. A. B. Morrow, a gifted and eloquent preacher who is now laboring most successfully at Stanley, North Dakota. Mr. Morrow's ministry was crowned by a great ingathering of souls under Evangelist John Fulton.
The following pastors succeeded Mr. Morrow: Rev. Robert Giles, 1919, and the Rev. Edward B. Severin, 1920. The present pastor is the Rev. J. W. Kitching.
Today there is a Session of six elders and a board of five trustees. The
Ladies' Aid has always been a strong feature of the church life, with about
fifty in membership. On August 12th of this year one of our young people, Miss
Mabel Field, went out as a missionary to
Rudyard is noted for its excellent bricks. The course of the Pine River where it flows through the township is through a deep bed of rich red clay called by the geologists Lake Superior clay.
When free from lime, as it is in this district, it is well adapted for the making of bricks. The clay bed is two hundred feet deep and extends east of the river to Kinross and west to Fibre and goes as far north as the Maple Ridge where it meets the sandy loam. This clay bed is easily worked because of its freedom from rocks and boulders.
Twelve feet below the surface, between the layers of clay there is frequently found the well defined imprint of the maple leaf. The clay grows gradually paler in color the deeper one goes and the last fifty feet of clay is pure white and below this there are a few hundred feet of sandy gravel and then the bed rock is struck consisting of white limestone.
The first brick yard was started in 1898 by Mr. Davidson and Charlie Barnes, who had had considerable experience in brick making in the Soo, was put in to manage it. A single horse Power machine was first installed to grind and press out the clay. In 1899 the brickyard was sold to Mr. S. W. Herrington, of Iowa, an old friend of the Davidson's. He lived in Mr. Gardner's house, occupied today by Earl Carr. In 1904 it came into the possession of Thornton Bros., who worked it until 1920 in which year it was sold to a Grand Rapids firm. The present manager is Mr. Peter Veneklasen.
Rudyard bricks have been used in the building of the Soo High school, Post Office and Tannery, the Canadian Steel Plant, and the Manistique paper mills.
This year, 1922, a new yard, The Rudyard Brick and Tile Company, on the west side of the river has been opened by Messrs. Thornton and Davis.
On the day after the Fourth of July celebration, 1899, a terrible explosion occurred in the old yard. The whole town was shaken and the report was heard for miles around. It was the dinner hour when most of the men were away. It was discovered afterwards that something had gone wrong with the pipe connecting the two boilers and the safety valve had failed to act thus causing the explosion of one of the boilers. At the very moment the boiler exploded Kenneth, the only son of the partner named Bunce, entered the door of the boiler house. His poor, shattered body was found later lying among the ruins. This was a terrible blow both to the family and to the community for he was a fine manly fellow and beloved by everybody.
"Come right in, Mrs. Towle," said Mrs. Peffers as a broad-built woman with pleasant, smiling features appeared at the doorway. "And say, wherever did you get that lovely piece of deer meat?"
The newcomer placed a huge chunk of red meat upon the table and stood smiling at the other woman. "And what a mess you are in," continued Mrs. Peffers, "why, you are all covered with mud and blood."
Then the broad-built woman replied as she flopped down into the rocking chair near the window: "Well, I'm mighty glad to be here, Mrs. Peffers, I can tell you, for I didn't know but what those wolves would eat me."
"Wolves," said Mrs. Peffers, "wherever did you see any wolves who would eat you?" "Well, I'll tell you," said Mrs. Towle and she told one of the funniest stories one could imagine while Mrs. Peffers listened unable to say a word for astonishment.
"I have had the biggest adventure since I left Denmark thirty years ago," said Mrs. Towle. "I went to the Soo this morning to buy some things. I took that flat bottomed boat of ours up the river to Rudyard and fastened it to a pile in the bank underneath the railroad bridge. I came back by the noon train and started down stream for home. It was simply grand coming back down the river. Darning needles were flitting from bank to bank and the little red squirrels raced up and down the spruce trees and there they would sit and, cough and chatter on the branches while I passed along in the boat underneath.
"Then all of a sudden I heard a loud splash. I looked and saw a deer swimming towards the boat with two great timber wolves hanging to it. Well, do you know, I stood right up there in the boat and lifting up my paddle I gave one of those wolves such a mighty wallop that he turned a complete somersault in the water and made for the bank as fast as he could swim with the other wolf close behind him. The deer was by this time trying to climb the opposite bank and turning the boat in that direction, I jumped out and grabbed him by the tail with both my hands and dragged him back into the river. All the time there were those two great wolves howling at me from the other bank."
"Now I had bought a little sharp-bladed knife in the Soo and I managed somehow to get this out of my pocket and open it with my teeth and I cut the deer's throat and bled him there in the water. After I had put him in the boat I paddled down stream for home."
"I got to the landing place and placed the deer on the bank, and turned the boat upside down over him and then I walked home which is, as you know, a mile and a half from the river, to get my husband to come with the horse and jumper for the deer. When we came within sight of the place where I had left the deer, would you believe it?-there was a great, big, black bear eating it but he ran away into the bush when he saw us coming."
"I'll be getting along now, Mrs. Peffers, and I hope you will enjoy the deer meat. Good-bye."
The history of the Christian Reformed church and of the Holland settlement are so interwoven that they must be treated as one.
In February, 1900, Gerrit Kamper paid a visit to this district to view the land around Rudyard. His reason for coming in the winter was to learn whether the cold was bearable or not. As a result of his visit he and his father, John Kamper, came out in the following spring. They experienced real pioneer life, but soon had a site cleared and a house erected and then the rest of the family came north.
That summer several other families came and settled in this Northwoods region. Being of a religious type and realizing the value of Christian fellowship they did not fail to meet for worship on the Lord's Day-usually in the home of Jahn Kamper. Gerrit Kamper, who frequently addressed the audience won for himself the title of "Preacher."
The Rev. G. G. Haan, at that time Home Missionary, now labored among them and on the 23rd day of May, 1901, the church was organized and united with the Christian Reformed Church of America. The charter members were John Kamper, William DeWitt, Ben Van Sloten, Ben Weersing, Menno Wiebenga, John Bosma, Okko Bosma, Gerrit Kamper, Joe Brower, Martin DeGoede, George Snip, William H. Dalman. The following were chosen elders: Wm. H. Dalman and John Bosma and deacons, William Dewitt and Joe Brower.
In the spring of 1902 a chapel was built on a site given by Mr. Wm. H. Dalman. This was one mile east of the present location and a student, Van Der Heide by name, labored here.
Incorporation took place in May, 1903. In October, 1907, various structural alterations were made in the chapel both inside and out and in 1910 stables were built.
By this time the congregation had grown to a fair size and the desire was expressed to have a resident pastor. A committee was appointed and in order to make the burden this would involve lighter, the committee was to seek to induce more of their nationality to settle with them.
In July, 1911, the Rev. H. Kamps was called as Pastor and he and his family came in August and resided in the second house north of the railroad on the east side.
The Parsonage was built in I912 on the spot where it stands today. The site was given by Mr. DeWitt. The old chapel was then moved to a new position north of the parsonage. The old edifice was pulled down and the present church was built on the site in the year 19I7 and was ready for dedication that summer. The Rev. H. Kamps having accepted a call to Wright, Iowa, the Rev. P. Van Vliet, from Lucas, filled a classical supply here.
The classis now urged the congregation to obtain another pastor and several calls were sent out. In the meanwhile the pulpit was supplied during the summer months by the following students: Messrs. Weidenaar, 1919, John Medendorp, 1918, and J. Pauw, 1919.
In the spring of 1920 a call was forwarded to the present pastor then a post-graduate student at the Presbyterian Seminary, Princeton, N.J.
At present there are sixty-eight communicants and one hundred and thirty seven souls with several others attending.
In divine services the Dutch and the English languages are used alternately.
The Ladies' Aid meets every Wednesday afternoon in the basement of the church and exerts an influence for good both financially and spiritually.
Our Young Peoples' society is well attended, all our young people being members.
In May, 1901, while living on the old Haydon farm, I started out for Mr. CaIdwell's farm east of Kinross. Cyrus was with me in the buggy. While going through the huckleberry marsh I saw just ahead of me the tracks of a wolf in the sand. The tracks after a little distance led into the woods.
I said to my little boy, `Say, Sonny, there will be a wolf following us soon, so turn around and tell me when you see him." We got to Dan Connell's corner about a hundred yards west of the old halfway house when Cyrus whispered, "Here he is daddy."
I tried to pull up the horse, but the creature was deaf and started to gallop. At length I got him pulled up and dropping the lines pulled up my 45-90 rifle and shot the biggest gray timber wolf I had ever seen.
My boy shouted, "You've got him daddy and the $20 too, - - this was the bounty.
When June came around a Jew peddler called at our house with watches, trinkets, laces and ribbons to sell. He saw the skin hanging in the barn and wanted to trade for it. He offered a print house-wrapper for the woman worth about a dollar and a quarter. So I let him take the skin in exchange for the wrapper.
Now June is a bad month for skins and when he got some distance from the house the Jew put down his pack and began to examine his bargain. All of a sudden the tail came away in his hand and I shall never forget the look on the face of that Jew peddler. He first looked at the tail and then at the house and then hastily rolling it up he went away as fast as he could go.
He was a little fat man with a short sandy beard. Some said he was a deserter from the Russian Army. But I never saw him again.
Eighteen years ago last June, I went to live on the Prairie Farm at Dryburg. The names of the oldest settlers there are Mrs. Cartwright and Peter Savoie.
One night in the spring 1905 our hired man heard what he took to be the bleating of a lamb out in the brush. He was in the stable at the time cleaning the horses.
"There is something killing that lamb," he said, and throwing down the curry comb and brush, he started off in the direction of the sound. After a while he returned bearing in his arms a little newly-born fawn which was bleeding from wounds in the neck. He told how he had seen a great, big, gray fox tearing at the poor little creature, but the fox had run off at his approach.
We dressed the wounds with Vaseline and fed the fawn with milk by means of a tube in a bottle and left it in the barn for the night. The next day it was quite all right again.
We kept the fawn for quite a while and she became so tame that if you called "Biddy," which was the name we gave to her, she would come to you from whatever place she happened to be on the farm.
When hunting season came round the next fall, I took out a license, tied a red ribbon round her neck and put the tag on her and kept her penned up in the barn. People came from far and wide to see her.
Biddy chummed up with Collie, our dog, and the two became inseparable friends and were always together. One day in December, I was busy hauling hay to the warehouse at the Depot and looking back saw that the deer and the little black dog were following the sleigh. I shouted to them to go back and the dog obeyed, but the deer continued to come along. The dog, however, seeing the deer keeping on after me, turned and followed as well and in this manner we went on to the Depot.
I had just got over the track across from John Elfording's store when his big brown dog caught sight of the deer and he was after her like a flash. The deer made one bound into the brush and disappeared.
I thought she might return to the farm, but no, that was the last I ever saw of her. There was a lot of pulpwood being cut and sawn in the forest around Dryburg at that time, so probably poor Biddy went to feed some of the men in the camp.
Before I came to Rudyard, I worked for a time in an iron mine at Stambaugh, near Crystal Falls. One day in 1 904 two gangs were set to work in a gallery twelve feet high by ten feet wide, two hundred feet below the surface. Each gang had to drill with a machine air drill three twenty foot holes and fill with sticks of sixty per cent dynamite and fit with percussion caps and ten minute fuses.
It was agreed that we would light our fuses first and then go fifteen feet and climb the ladder which led to the opening in the roof. The second gang would then light their fuses and follow us up the ladder. Suddenly someone in the other gang shouted, "Are you ready?" and I called back "No!"
After this, hearing nothing further, we went on with our work. Then I shouted that we were ready, but getting no answer, I called again with the same result. Then I said "Those fellows must have gone," so I went to look and saw little sparks spluttering from the side of the wall of the deserted gallery. I knew what this meant, the fuses had been lighted and the men had gone. So I shouted to the others to light our fuses and come quickly. No sooner had they lighted the last one of our three that the first of the charges ahead exploded with a deafening report. Our light was blown out and we were in darkness, caught like rats in a trap.
There were five more charges yet to explode. Then I remembered that there was a little hollow place on the opposite side of the gallery beneath an overhanging shelf of rock about two feet wide. Crawling on our hands and knees, we groped about until we found this little shelter. Here we lay face downward while charge after charge exploded, filling the air with smoke and dust and hurling huge masses of rock all around.
The rocky shelf above us quivered and shook, threatening with every fresh explosion to fall and crush us to death. Finally there was silence and still we waited and waited lest there should be another explosion yet to come. Nothing further happened, however, and stumbling through the smoke and darkness over the masses of dislodged and broken rock, we reached at length the ladder and escaped from that dreadful gallery.
We discovered afterwards that the men ahead of us had mistaken the word "No" for the Finnish word "Jo," meaning "Yes" and which is pronounced "Yo." Can you wonder that when Henry Johnson came around seeking men to come and colonize Rudyard, that we did not hesitate to quit the mines for the health and freedom of life on a farm.
That year four of us: Nick Valia, Valentine Randa, Gabriel Sulasalmi and I came back with Henry Johnson and located on the prairie west of the Pine River where the prairie school house stands today.
Following the Main Trunk Road from Rudyard to the SOO one notices on the right hand side of the road, three miles out from the town a white painted church with a tall tapering steeple surmounted by a cross. This is the St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church where two hundred families of the Finnish population of Rudyard worship, Sunday by Sunday.
The church was built in the year 1908 upon the forty acre lot of land donated by the Michigan Land Company and was dedicated on the fifteenth day of July of the same year by Dr. J. K. Nikander, President of the Suomi Synod.
The first church officers were Mike Kompsi, Matt Steikar, John Pollari, and Henry Halonen (also known as Henry Johnson.)
Religious meetings had been conducted for a great many years before this time in the various homes of the settlers.
In 1902 the Reverend J. J. Hoikka of Crystal Falls founded the first congregation in Rudyard, which was then incorporated in a district comprising the two Soos and Rudyard.
The Reverend J. Wargelin, now President of the Suomi College at Hancock, was the first minister of this district, followed by Reverends J. Manta and O. Stadius.
In 1921 the first resident pastor took up his abode in Rudyard and in the following summer the manse was erected. The manse was dedicated on the 24th of September, 1922, which was also the twentieth anniversary of the congregation. Rev. Haapanen of Hancock and Rev. AlIman of Newberry, with Rev. Luttinen took charge of the celebration. There were People from Newberry, the two Soos, St. Ignace, and from the country all around here for the celebration.
Bill McFarland married the niece of Mrs. Lathian, the homesteader, who lived north of Fibre. He was a great trapper. One day he set a No.3 steel trap in what he thought was a good place. To his surprise when he went out next day he found that the trap had disappeared and in the snow were the tracks that told him that a big animal had been caught by the foot and had dragged the trap away.
Bill followed the tracks through the forest for about five miles until he came to a wide clearing. Away at the end of the clearing he saw an old disused lumber shack, black with age and falling into decay. The tracks led directly to the shack and right in through the half open doorway.
As Bill looked inside he saw nothing but a number of empty provision cases piled up in one corner. Very cautiously he began to move these cases aside. It was getting on towards night by this time and the light was very dim inside the shack.
He was in the act of pulling aside the last case when there was a terrific howl and in an instant a heavy form hurled itself right at him. Like a flash he drew his revolver, pulled the trigger twice in rapid succession and at his feet a huge bobcat lay dead with a No.3 steel trap hanging to his left hind foot.
On the right hand side of the main state road leading south from Rudyard, there stands a small white-painted church building. This is the Finnish Apostolic Lutheran Congregation of Rudyard.
The church was established on
The original officers were the following: Chairman, John Nivala; secretary, Isaac Keranen; and Treasurer, Isaac Matson, Sr.
The trustees are Ivar Saaranen, Andrew Pitzen, Matt Karki, Otto Johnson, Sr., Richard Johnson and Gust Karlson
There are at present one hundred members.
Otter trapping is an art. I had caught scores of lynx, muskrat, mink, fox, bear and wolf long before I ever attempted to catch otters. I well remember my first attempt. It came about in this way. I met two fishermen one day by the riverside. Seeing that I had some traps with me, they said, "Say, are you after otter?"
"You bet!" I replied. "Where are they?
"They sleep in that hollow log," one of them said, pointing to an old cedar log lying along the water's edge.
"I'll try my luck,'' I said, and finding their runway, I laid my trap in the water. Going back next day I found the trap sprung and some guide hairs from the breast of an otter in the teeth. As you know, the otter is a very broad creature with legs short and set wide apart. Swimming along the channel to the bank it had evidently struck against the trap with its breast and the teeth had just nipped the fur.
I then set the trap at the side of the runway. The day following I found it sprung again and this time there was the little toe of an otter between the teeth.
A few days later I chanced to meet the son of an old otter trapper called Pine. After we had visited for a while, I said to him, "Can you tell me how to trap otter?"
"Oh," he said, "that's easy, "you just set your trap where he puts his foot down."
"Well," I thought, "this is not much to tell a man."
That night when I went to bed, I began to think the matter over and it came to me like a flash. By some means you must make the otter put his foot down and the rest is easy. So I went down early next day to the river and broke off a number of little dead twigs from a balsam tree. I stuck these in the mud of the channel where the otters came to the bank. I took care, however, to place the broken ends downwards so they would not look fresh. After I had arranged them all around the channel I placed the trap amongst them, slightly over to one side. The next day I had my otter and I noticed that he had his little toe missing. Swimming along he had felt the sharp points of the twigs against his chest and he had put his foot down right into the trap. I never saw the other otter so I suppose it must have left the district when its mate was taken.
I never tire of watching these beautiful creatures in their haunts. Fish is their natural diet and they will swim for a hundred yards or more under water in pursuit of a trout. When they have caught it, they, will place their little fore paws on a log or if it is in winter time on the edge of a hole in the ice and there they will enjoy their meal. After a swim and they come to land the water will run off them immediately and they become absolutely dry. This is owing to the oily nature of the fur which underneath when you bend it apart is almost white in color and full of oil.
Otters have been known to attack a man with great vigor in defense of their offspring.
(This paper was read by the late H. H. Wyatt, at the Campfire, held by Cottrell Post, No. 76, Dept. of Iowa, Jan. Ist, 1886, and was found among his papers after his death. Ilfie Wyatt.)
I have been requested, by my comrades, to relate to you my adventures in the far west, and my experience with the Indians, while in the service of the U. S. in 1862.
I enlisted in Co. H, 2nd Reg't, California Volunteer Infantry, at Carson City, Nevada, on the 19th of October, 1861, and was at once sent to Presidio Barracks, San Francisco, for drill. On the 22nd of December, 1861, we boarded the old steamer "Pacific" and after nightfall we sailed out of the harbor.
We privates had not the faintest idea where or in what direction we were going, but at daybreak we found that we were running south, along the coast of California. About noon of the second day we came within half a mile of shore and dropped anchor. Three small boats were lowered and thirty men ordered ashore, each man being provided with musket, knapsack, and forty rounds of ball cartridge. We were then rowed as near the shore as it was possible for the boats to go, and ordered to wade the remaining distance. In this way the entire force of 350 men were brought to land, together with commissary and quarter-master stores. We found that our place of landing was near the city of Santa Barbara, and about sundown we marched up, near the town, and camped for the night.
Instead of building winter quarters we were stationed in the old Mission church at Santa Barbara, and there we remained until the 8th of April, 1862, when the old steamer again appeared. It came in close to the shore, and we very soon received orders to break camp, and go on board the ship.
We began immediately sending men and stores to the ship, but daylight dawned before we finished our work. Finally all arrangements having been made, we sailed away and this time we went north. We all felt pretty well, anticipating a jolly time when we reached "Old Frisco" again, for we never doubted but that that city was our destination. Alas! how often we were compelled to remember that a private never knew where he was going until the end of the journey was reached. On the second day we came in sight of the city, but, instead of sailing into the harbor, as we fully expected, we sailed by and soon had left the city far behind.
The curiosity of the soldiers was now aroused and we wondered where we were going and we kept on wondering for two days. At the end of that time we landed at Fort Humboldt, a small fort in the northwestern part of the state. We had good quarters here, and remained until May 2nd, when we received our orders to be ready the next morning to take a trail across the mountains to Fort Gaston, a distance of 60 miles. We arrived there the second day without having seen any red men, although at this time they were getting to be very bold in their depredations. Our duty was to protect the settlers as far as possible, and keep the trail open between Arcata, a (small town at the head of Humboldt Bay) and Fort Gaston, the government station at Trinity River. The distance from Arcata to Fort Gaston was 40 miles. Starting from Arcata (then a town of 50 inhabitants) the first settler was found at a distance of about two miles. The second settler lived about five miles out of town at Dabey's Ferry across the Mad River, and a third lived two miles beyond Dabey's Ferry, thus being seven miles from the settlement. There were no more settlers between this and the settlement at Fort Gaston. On the 16th of May this family, consisting of Mr. Hiller, his wife, and daughter 16 years of age, were cruelly murdered by Indians, the house burned and the stock driven off. Our company, consisting of 60 men and three officers, was ordered to take station 1 0 miles out on the trail, that being three miles beyond where the Hiller family was killed and five miles from the ferry. The first of June our Captain was ordered to send two men to Dabey's Ferry, to assist in bringing over some government freight. Captain Short came to me, told me the orders, saying also that he wanted me to go, and that I could choose any one I wanted to go with me. We were to board with the settler, and would probably find it a vast improvement on camp fare. Mr. Dabey's family consisted of himself, wife, a boy of 7 years old, two little girls aged 5 and 3 and a babe 6 months old. His wife's mother, Mrs. Wilcox, lived with them and Dabey kept a hired man who helped him "run" the ferry.
They kept a hotel, a bar where they sold whiskey, and farmed a little. The house was built in the center of a six-acre clearing and was surrounded by a thick forest of redwood, with a dense undergrowth, so dense that you could not see into it, at any place for a distance of ten yards. The space between the back of the house and the forest was occupied by a "slashing" that is, the trees had been cut down but never cleared away. In front of the house ran the trail, and between this and the river was a small space (perhaps twenty rods wide) used as a garden. Everything went off nicely and we were beginning to feel quite secure in our quarters when we were suddenly surprised.
Mr. Dabey possessed a large Newfoundland dog, which on the morning of the 6th of June left the house, and going down to the lower edge of the garden, set up the most unearthly howl I ever heard. It was such an unusual occurrence for the. dog to leave the house that it was noticed by all, and my partner, Bacon, asked Dabey what he thought was the cause of such actions. Dabey answered he didn't know and that he had never seen the dog act in such a manner before. Anyone of a superstitious nature might have taken this as a warning of danger near at hand, and perhaps it would have been well for us had we regarded it in this light, and sought safety in the fort. We finally came to the conclusion that there was a bear close by in the forest, and Dabey wanted me to go hunting. I refused on the plea of being too lazy to hunt. He chaffed me all the afternoon about not going, and said I was afraid to go in the woods lest I might get lost, but I remained at the house. Mrs. Dabey had our supper ready about six o'clock, which was our usual tea time. I was sitting in the office reading, Dabey and his Frenchman were in the garden at work, and Bacon on the wood pile amusing himself with an ax, when Mrs. Dabey came to the door and called "Supper."
As if in direct answer to her call, came a volley from at least 150 rifles in the hands of the Indians, and from all sides of the little clearing. Perhaps you can imagine how quickly the men dropped their work and ran to the house. I cannot describe the scene. Things began to look serious. We knew we could not stay in the house, for it was no protection whatever, with the bullets constantly whizzing through. Our only chance of escape lay in reaching the boat, at the lower end of the garden. This too, was rather perilous, for we had to cross the 20 yards of clearing, with the Indians firing from three sides. Not a red man was visible, but the smoke that arose from behind every stump, log, or tree gave evidence of their close proximity.
We held the house fifteen minutes. During that time Mrs. Wilcox was killed, Jo. Bacon wounded in the fleshy part of the thigh, and I had received a flesh wound in the right breast. We held a council of war and decided, what we already knew, that we must reach the boat. Arrangements were made in short order. Dabey was to go first, unencumbered and untie the boat. Mrs. Dabey with her babe next, and then Jo. Bacon and the Frenchman each with a little girl in his arms, and I was to bring up the rear carrying my rifle and leading the little boy. I stood in the door and watched the little procession as they made their way to the river.
Their first appearance was greeted with a volley from two sides, but none fell. The next instant I started with the little boy and had gained half the distance when I felt a quiver of the little hand in my own. Looking down I saw the little form sinking to the ground and a small spot on the right temple showed where the leaden missile had done its deadly work. Looking ahead I saw the Frenchman fall and the little girl with outstretched hands calling "Mamma." Dropping the little hand now growing cold in death I hastened to where the little girl stood, and taking her in my arms reached the boat in safety. Here I found the remaining members of our party. The boat was 20 feet long, 4 or 5 wide, and 2 deep. We placed Mrs. Dabey and the three children in the bottom of the boat, and pushed out from shore. We had rowed but a short distance when a party of eight or ten Indians came out of the thicket, near the bank, and deliberately taking aim fired a volley into our midst. I received a wound in my left thigh that staggered me for a minute, but I regained my balance without falling overboard.
They seemed rather surprised at not having killed any of us, and under cover of the thicket, followed us down the river, loading and firing as fast as possible. When we reached the edge of the clearing we shoved the boat ashore on the same side from which we started, but fortunately for us we reached the woods. As soon as the boat struck the shore Dabey leaped from it and disappeared in the forest. Mrs. Dabey stepped ashore with the babe in her arms and then stopped to look after the little girls. We told her to save her own life, if possible, and we would take care of them. She left us and soon disappeared from sight.
Jo and I were left with the little girls and we were both wounded, and rapidly growing faint from loss of blood, but to hesitate was sure death and taking the little girls we started for a patch of brakes, commonly called ferns, which grew as high as one's head. Arriving there we placed the little girls side by side on the ground and covered them with ferns at the same time telling them to be very quiet or the Indians would find them.
Our next attempt was to gain the friendly shelter of the forest. We soon came to a bayou, over which lay a fallen tree, but as soon as we emerged from the cover of the ferns we were shot at from all sides. Jo tumbled from the log and I heard the splash as he struck the water beneath but I had no time to look after Jo just then, so I kept straight ahead.
Just as I gained the opposite bank a ball struck my right arm breaking it between the elbow and the shoulder. I was stunned and fell, but recovered myself immediately, and looking back found that the Indians were stopping to reload before following me farther. My rifle was now useless to me so I threw it into the river lest it should fall into the hands of the enemy. I succeeded in gaining a thicket near by and then everything began to grow dark, and the report of rifles sounded miles away. I came to a large log and leaning heavily against it considered the matter, finally deciding to make one more effort to save myself. I climbed on the log and crawled along until I reached the branches and my strength was gone. I lay there wondering if that was death. I knew the sun was shining above me, and still to me the world was fast growing dark. I wondered if the dear ones at home would ever know how, or where, their boy fell, and then all was darkness.
When I awakened to consciousness the stars were shining. I tried to crawl on my hands and knees, I was very thirsty and could hear water running a short distance from where I lay, but the least exertion on my part, caused everything to grow dark. I finally succeeded in getting out of the treetop and by rolling over and over I reached the brook. After satisfying my thirst I felt better and sat up. I was three miles from any house and did not know what had become of any of our party except the three I had seen killed. I crawled to the trail and stopped to rest, trying to check the flow of blood from my wounds. I had not strength enough to go very far, but reached the thicket and laid down waiting and listening for a footstep.
Just as day began to dawn I heard someone coming. I listened for some time and then learned it was a company of cavalry from Fort Humboldt. They picked me up, placed me on a stretcher, and sent me back. About 80 rods from my hiding place they found Jo Bacon. He had escaped, after falling into the water, by laying partially in the water, under a log until his pursuers were out of hearing. The soldiers told us that Dabey had reached Arcata at eight o'clock the night before, and told them that his family had all been killed together with two soldiers that were staying with them, The company was at once sent out from Fort Humboldt and found us as I have described.
Mrs. Dabey reached Arcata about four hours after her husband. She carried her babe on her left arm, her right having been broken by a musket ball. The little girls were found by the soldiers just as we had left them the day before.
When I reached Arcata I was placed on a small sailboat and taken to the hospital at Fort Humboldt. I arrived there about twenty-eight hours after I was wounded. Here they began dressing my wound and I became unconscious. When I regained consciousness I was in a partially darkened room, and I noticed my own hand and arm laying on the pillow beside me. I did not recognize it, however, and lay there idly wondering whose hand it was. It looked very much like mine, but then it could not be, for if it was I could move it. It seemed wonderfully strange for the hand was very like mine, (Comrade Wyatt had previously lost one finger). I counted the fingers over and over again. There were only three, and I had never remembered of having seen another hand like it, and for sure that if it was not mine it ought to be.
I was roused by hearing a voice near me say, "Raise his head and I'll give him a tablespoonful of brandy." It was my head that they raised and I instantly became convinced that the hand and arm belonged to me also. I lay there on my back five long weeks, unable to change my position. At the end of that time I left my bed, and on the 27th of September, 1862, 1 received my discharge at Fort Humboldt, California.
H. H. WYATT,
Late high private, Company H, 2nd Regiment, California Volunteer Infantry.