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Biographical Papers Letter S

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William Savage


(Mormon renegade)


1. Mentioned by Louis Gebo as one of the three presented summons at Battle of Pine R.. He calls him one who had fled Mormons when Strang sent him with Ludlow Hill to found a colony at Drummond Island.


2. Mentioned as having been in the 1 st exploratory party to B.I. & who left with Strang.

(- "Traverse Region")


According to "Crown of Glory," a Mormon girl, Cecielia (last name not given), wished to marry Ludlow Hill (son of a Mormon but not one). Strang refused permission. They were married secretly by Elder Savage. Hill & Savage were called before the council; they swore Savage had converted Hill before he ceremony. They fled to Pine River.


1850 census:

Jehiel Savage 43 minister born in Canada (Mormon)

Catherine Savage 28 ------- born in N.Y.

George Savage 6 ----------- born in Mich.



Schmidt [Family]


They were supposed to have been brought here by Father Zugelder (1899-1905) from Grand Rapids, where Schmidt was a cabinetmaker.




Joseph Katherine Olds

1860-1929 1868-1925


Annie, wife of Joseph,



Were there 2 Joseph Schmidts, father & son, with the above being the wife of the second?


Death records:

Dorothy Schmidt, 5-8-10, died Nov. 22, '03, pepteris[?]. B[orn] Mich.; parents Jos. Schmidt

& Catherine Olds.

Albert Schmidt, 0-0-1, died of pneumonia, on Jan. 4, '10; parents Joseph & Catherine


Joseph Schmidt, widower, age 68-11-29, died Jan. 20, '29, of "myocardial degeneration."

Born Germany; farmer; parents John Schmidt & Mary ?

Annie Schmidt, married, age 47-8-6, died Apr. 23, '36, in Peaine Twp, of "general

parcus"[?]. Born Mich.; parents Patrick Gallagher & Bridget Boyle (daughter of Thomas H. Boyle?).



Agnes "Old Aggie" (Gillespie) Scott


A widow who lived at house #56. She was a sister of Old John Gillespie.


Maria - "Old Richard," "Old Richie" was married to Old John Gillespie's sister "Old Aggie." Lived where Mrs. Gillingham lives (house #56).



Fred S. Sendenburgh

(card #1)


P. 92

Married Susan Boyle - daught[er] of "Whiskey," sister of "Billy"


Joe - married Bid McDonald

sister - married a La Blanc

Willie - died 1919 (Protar's diary)


Fred came to the Island from Milwaukee in the 1890s. He became a Catholic in 1896 or 8.



Fred S. Sendenburgh

(card #2)


[Born] Mich.


Married Susan Boyle, 1868-1957 - [born] Mich.


Sylvia, June 3, 1894

William Stafford, Jan. 30, 1900-1919

Henry Joseph, Ap. 3, '01 - married Bid

John Allen, Apr. 17, 1911 - lived 3 days


The above is from the birth records.


Fred Sendenburgh was raised by Fred Butts at the Head.




Susan Sendenburgh






Protar's diary: Jan. 23, 1919 - "Willi Sendenburgh died."




Sharkey [Family]

(card #1)


John & Owen Sharkey are in the census.

John & Catherine in church records, beginning July 21, '78, & are in the census.

Owen & Margaret are in the church, beginning Apr. 20, 1884, but are not in the census

(evidently came after 1880).

Margaret Early (Sharkey).

Mary McCauley (Sharkey) is in church as wife of Patrick McCauley in death of son Frank.

Another note gives Mary Sharkey as wife of Manus Boyle.


Estimated ages:

John, 1839

Margaret, 1840

Owen, 1841

Mary, 1849

- Estimated ages [years of birth]. Anyway they could be brothers & sisters.


1979 - This family stills lives in Runafasta, according to an Irish girl here this year camping with the Edwards. A Sharkey (this is the true spelling of the name) was post master when she was there a few years ago.



Sharkey [Family]

(card #2)


P. 119


There is a John Sharkey in the 1880 census.


Mrs. John Early was Margaret Sharkey.


These were both born in 1840, according to the census figures. Were they brother & sister? There is a death record of Margaret "Shartsey," born in 1840. This is probably Margaret Early.

Margaret came with her husband to B.I. in the '60s, for they are in the 1870 census. - They emigrated in '66 (1900 census).

John was in Penn. from 1872 - 1876, for he had 4 children born there in those years. In 1878 he was in Mich., for his son Charles was born in Mich. & there is a birth record for him in Charlevoix.

Manus Boyle (one of at least two with that name) had a wife Mary Sharkey.


[Seeoriginal manuscript for family tree diagram for John Sharkey and Mary O'Donnell.]



Abner Sherman


He came in the summer of '56 & bought up land under MBLW. He quickly sold out to the Peckhams & was out by the summer of 1857. He was one who got a lot of land in '56.



Marvin Slocum


P. 114

Married (?) Mary Burns




Nonie says he deserted her mother; that he, Hamrock, McGee, & William Cole came & started the 1 st sawmill after the Mormons (owned by Wagely).


In the 1880 census Mary is listed as a servant in the boarding house of Frank Wells, in which her brothers, John & James Burns, & Cole & McGee are all living. Nonie's sister is living at Dan McCauley's, age 2.


I do not find Slocum in the census reports.


The birth records show a Sarah Jane Slocum born Aug. 20, 1877, registered Aug. 31, 1878; father Marvin Slocum, engineer, born Mich.; mother Mary Burns, born Canada.


In 1880 census Sarah Slocum is living at Dan McCauley's; age 2, birthplace Mich., no birthplace for father; mother, Canada. She is listed as a granddaughter. The census was taken before Aug. 20 th.



Charles Smith


1842 -

Born Ill.

[To] B.I. around 1870

Married Anna Gallagher, 1846 - ; [born] Canada


Walter, Aug. 7, '73 (birth record) - house #36

Mary ?


1880 census:

Nellie M., 1866 - born Mich. (Mary?)

Warren, 1867 - born Ill.

Lizzie J., 1869 - born Mich.

Walter E., 1873 - born Mich. (b[irth] rec.)

Hattie, 1876 - born Mich. (birth rec.)

? Clara, 1861-1891


There is a death record:

Clara (Smith) Boyle, married, age 30, died in Gallilee Twp from "a fall after childbirth;" born

St. James; parents: [father] Charles Smith, mother unknown.


He [Charles] is mentioned in "The B.I. Girls"; [in it] he seems to be in business with "Mr. Curtis."


He lived in the house Lawrence lives in now and had his shop on the beach below the shop. Lawrence said the house burned & the cooper shop was moved up & made into the present house.

The cooper shop (the present house) was built in 1859. The house it replaced that burned "was a big fine house." (Lawrence)


There is a stone:

Mary LaBlanc Kasky



Maria says this was a Mary Smith, that she was all French, but that her first husband, LaBlanc, was Indian. The Kasky came here with the Mill (white).


This is probably the Clodius Smith in the 1860 census:

Clodius Smith 25 cooper born N.Y.

Jane Smith 21 ------------ born Mich.

Edwin Smith 2 ------------ born Mich.



Joe Smith


1837 -

P. 36, 61

Married ? O'Brien (sister of John O'Brien, Wilfred's father)


He lived in the Larson property; Larson bought from him. The "lake" at French Bay was named for him (see place names).


Johnny Green said that in 1877 his familiy moved to Sand By into a house built by Joe Smith ("a real Frenchman, not an Indian or a half-breed.")


1860 census lists as living in the home of Edward O'Brien:

Joseph Smith 23 laborer born Mich.


Land office:

Aug. 11, 1865 - Hd. NE 4SW 4, SW 4SW 4, & Lot 3 Sec 11-38-10 139.75A $10, F.C. Sept. 6,

1870, pat. 1870. (Just below Mike Boyle's land at Boyle's Beach.)

In 1870 he got property in the SW 1/4 of Sec 11 T38 R10 from the U.S. by patent.

In 1877 he sold it to James Dormer.


Ralph C. Smith


He had extensive land dealings beginning July 15, 1856, when he got land under MBLW. He sold to Matthew Burchard land of Burchard he seems to have bought up for back taxes & sold back to Burchard. (See land sheet)



Tim Smith


1838 -

P. 36

Wife Ellen, 1843 -

and Thomas (Tim's brother)


His. of [Grand] Trav. Reg., p. 81, list[s] "Thomas Smith" as being in Little Traverse in the fall of 1851; [also], p. 94, lists Capt. T. D. Smith as living at Pine River at the time of the Battle. In 1856 this same source says that Capt. T. D. Smith & his brother Thomas were living at Middle Village, where the Mormons burned their cooper shop (p. 106).


"T. D. Smith & family who had left in 1852 had now returned" (1857 - Child of the Sea)


In 1858 Timothy Smith, Deputy Sheriff, made a transfer of land in Sec 3 T38 R10 to an Archibald Newton.


1860 census:

Timothy Smith 22(?) cooper born Mich.

Ellen Smith 17 ---------------- born Mich.

Arthur (?) Smith 2 ----------- born Mich.

Robert Miller 25 laborer born Bavaria, Ger.

(this man is too young to be the Capt. Smith of other sources)


1874 - "B.I. Girls" - Tim Smith living in Charlevoix, coming over to buy cattle.


There was a Tim Smith who was a fiddler. One time he was in a boat in very rough weather - he was in the cabin fiddling when someone came in & said, "Everything is going to Hell up there!" Said Tim, "If everything is going to Hell, let me off 1 st at Charlevoix." (- Johnny Green)


In 1892 Johnny saw this Tim again, he was hauling a stuffed whale to the Chicago World's Fair on a lighter with his tug the "John Martin."



Nathan Spencer


1823 -


1860 census lists Nathan Spencer, 37, laborer, born N.Y., as living in the home of Thos. Bedford.



George "Old" Stevens


1856 -

Born vicinity of Oswego, N.Y.

Came about 1900

Married Jennie ?, 1857 - [also] born vicinity of Oswego, N.Y.


Albert, 1897 - born Rochester, N.Y.


He was from Yorktown, N.Y. and he built the relatively new house in Hidden Valley.


Brother of Rosie Bissell. George was a cook in lumber camps. The Bissells wrote about B.I. to the Stevens[es]. They came, homesteaded 80A for $7.50. Later he took the 80 adjoining & their land ran to Piscah beach & took in Mt. Piscah.

"We owned a lot of timber that never did us much good only for wood & for some lumber to build our buildings. My dad was very ambitious & cleared the land, built the house, & we had the most beautiful garden & orchard that ever was, we called it the Garden of Eden."

"I remember we lived in an old Mormon house not far from McCann's store until my Dad, with the help of our good Irish neighbors, got the house built that we lived in that must have been around 1903 or 1904. I started school downtown when I was 5 years old before we moved to the country, then I went to school where you did (Clink Gallagher - Andy Dominic, Dominick), in Peaine Twp. Later on my first job was raking hay for Johnny Green at 50ยข a day, which was pretty good for me. The Greens were our best friends & neighbors. I left the Island in 1913 or '14."

He said his father was "a man of all trades, cooper, carpenter, mason, farmer, butcher, & Lord knows what else. They moved around quite a bit, wherever there was work, that's where they went. In those days you could not be choosey."

"Frank Roberts used to work with my Dad making apple barrels at Sutton's Bay, Omena, & Northport, & being a bachelor & no regular home my dad asked him to go home with him & live. He was a good old man & died in his '90s in Charlevoix."1



Charles R. Steele


Extensive land operations beginning Aug. 2, 1856 and continuing until 1870. (See his land sheet)



Clement Strang


Clement Strang was Strang's son by his 1 st wife, a fact he emphasized.2 He was a pillar of the Congregational church. He served on the faculty of the Benzonia Academy several years. He was a Congregational minister & taught classes in science. He was in Benzonia only a few years & Catton did not know where he went after that. His son Thurlow Strang lived there the rest of his life. He was an expert cabinet maker.

- in Bruce Catton's "Waiting for the Morning Train," p. 137




James Jessie Strang

(card #1)


[This entry is on the back of the card for Reuben Miller.]




Census, 1850:

James J. Strang 38 born N.Y. lawyer

Mary Strang 32 born N.Y.

Ellen M. Strang 10 born N.Y.

William E. J. Strang 5 born Wisc.

Harriet Strang 2 born Wisc.


Right below Strang is listed Elvira Field, age 20, birthplace unknown.3



James Jessie Strang

(card #2)


Ludlow Hill:

One of these acquaintances was Mr. Ludlow Hill, who says, "Strang was in many respects a remarkable man. He was small and spare, but as a speaker he towered like a giant. He was one of the most fascinating orators imaginable. He wore a very heavy beard of reddish tinge, & his hair was red, too. He had dark eyes, that looked at one on occasion as though they could bore right through. They were set close together, under wide projecting brows, from which rose a massive forehead. Add to this a thin hatchet face, & you have a group of features that would attract attention anywhere. His oratory was of the fervid, impassioned sort that would carry his audience with him every time. His words came out in a torrent; he could work himself into emotion spells at will, the sincerity of his words being attested by tears when necessary to produce that effect, or by infectious laughter when his mood was merry. He had what is known as magnetism, too, & could be one of the most companionable of men. His influence over his followers was unbounded. He was certainly a man of unusual talents in many respects. Had he chosen to use them for good, he would have left a great impress upon his country."

Historic ___, p. 365, Vol. I

from Michigan Pioneer & Historical Collections, [Vol.] XXXII, [p.] 213



James Jessie Strang

(card #3)


In his diary he recorded a great discovery:

"This is that I am eager & mankind is frail." Followed by the announcement, "I shall act upon it for time to come for my own benefit."



James Jessie Strang

(card #4)



From a letter written by Clement Strang (son of Elvira), Jan. 26, 1941, to Mr. Jack G. Boone:

"The wonder of peace & happiness that prevailed in his own household. Would any of us moderns undertake to be the head of a family consisting of one husband with four wives, all normal in their heredity & early training. The first wife, not one of the four, is as much a wonder as the others, since she refused to disturb the peace, but watched the outcome of him whom she once loved devotedly. Doubtless the fact that father planned the occupation in his family in his absence in Lansing, assigning each a part in the program that was congenial, and his own program had won their interest. And besides this, the parents of the wives were enthusiastic in the venture of fulfilling the governmental plans of their beloved leader. Elvira had the private secretary position, which included keeping & reporting the weather tables. When father was in Lansing her correspondence work was quite exacting. Betsy's work was mostly in the kitchen, over which she took well-deserved pride. Sarah & Phebe, being congenial cousins, cooperated in caring for the three children of Elvira and the two of Betsy, when their own mother's tasks were pressing. Their own children were not yet in the process of gestation, and after the death of father four children were born to him, two girls & two boys. And think of the dreams of royalty terminating by awakening in some other world & observing the five widows resulting from his being called hence.

My mother told me that they all loved father so devotedly that they could but love one another as born sisters."



James Jessie Strang

(card #5)


[cont. of above]

In a letter dated Jan. 26, 1941, to Mr. Jack G. Boone, from Clement Strang:

"When father was taken from this life the major part of the Island at least (I really think all) ws held by deed to him. In 1906 the people of the Island wished to make it into an attractive summer resort, having found that many Chicago people were wishing to buy lots. Many lots were sold on contract but when the deeds were made out an abstract was demanded. The people of the Island were resting upon the common law that a claim to possession expired after twenty years of peaceable possession. But the prospective buyers would not pay cash without a complete abstract of title...

William J. Gallagher was counted most able in business & was selected to visit me in Benzonia & see what could be done to establish a clear title. I told him their were so many "heirs" that I had no authority to act in such a deal. Evidently he had been to see a lawyer & had been advised to pay me for the trouble, & suggested that I get quit-claim deeds from all my family, & then get the estate probated. The idea was that far-away people, offspring of all others except my mother, would never see the probate advertising and therefore not be able to make any objections"...

I believed it would aid in clearing what I considered a 'bad _.' The highest offer made me for this transaction was $150. I found the assessed value of the property was $375,000... I gave the money to my mother [Elvira]."4



John Sullivan


1825-1886 (when his estate was being administered in August 1886)

House #41 (3 mi. from Lighthouse, according to Mrs. Williams)

Married Anastasia ? , 1828-1886


He came from Ireland and is said to have been a pirate. He lived near the Head Lighthouse

(- Maria).

He was there when Mrs. Williams came back in 1857.

He is mentioned 11 times in the Dormer Day book, and was a fisherman.


His wife's name was Astacia, according to the land record when they, with James & Catherine Martin, deeded the land for St. Ignatius Church to Bishop Baraga ( - Lawrence book).


In An. & M. Mack., Strang says "Mr. Strang left a cow on the Island that winter ('49-'50) for the use of a poor woman with palsey. A fisherman by the name of Frazier (Thomas Frazier - 1850 census [lists him] at Cable's Bay), wintering on the Island, drove her off and sold her to another fisherman named Patrick Sullivan, who, knowing the circumstances, said he would "kill any damned Mormon who came for her." When Strang came back he "went for his cow, and the Irish fishermen in Sullivan's neighborhood with shelalas to beat him & rescue the cow. They were met by an equal number of Mormons, standing at the edge of the woods, ready for an encounter, and desisted. He drove the cow home & Patrick Sullivan went to Mackinac to prosecute him before Justice O'Malley. At this time O'Malley was a candidate for member of the convention to revise the [Michigan state] constitution, to which he had no hope of being elected without Mormon votes, and he sent Sullivan home without any process. (Ibid., p. 46)


1850 census:

Patrick Sullivan 24 cooper [born] Ire can't R or W

John Sullivan 26 fisherman [born] Ire. can't R or W

Joanna Sullivan 23 ---------- [born] Ire. can't R or W

Richard O'Donnell 29 fisherman

( h this is the one in the fracas with the Mormons when Tom Bennett was killed)


Evidently there were two Sullivans, Patrick & John. His. of G. Trav. Reg., p. 81, says Patrick Sullivan was living at Little Traverse in the fall of 1851, fishing.


1860 census:

John Sullivan 35 farmer born Ire.

Anna Sullivan 32 ------- born Ire.


Land office:

Oct. 11, 1856 - Lot 1 Sec 12-37-10 48.8A $57.25 pat. '59 (Charlevoix)

1886 - Lot 1 Sec 12 T37 R10 was sold by his estate to Shoemaker Gallagher.



[?] Sweet


Sweet had a lumber mill on Big Sand Bay. It must have been running in 1891 because Pat Maloney was killed there in that year. It stood just across from the end of Hanagan's Rd.


A George Sweet shows up in the land records of Sec 2 & Sec 3 & Sec 4 of T37 R10 in 1874. This is land back of Martin's Bluff - he must have been getting timber for his mill.





1860 census:

Mary Sweney 50 widow born Ire.

? 34 born Ire.

Denie Cull 20 born Ire.

Rosa Malvina 30 born Ire.


1860 census:

Anthony Swiney 35 fisherman born Ire. (son of [Mary,] above)

John Coylet 40 laborer born England

Eley Cambell 24 fisherman born Scotland






In the 1860 census there is the following record. The name was so defaced I could hardly make it out, probably not Swoony:

Frank Swoony(?) 39 cooper born in France

Margaret Swoony(?) 30 ------- born in France


1 The author never specifies the source of these quotes.

2 If Clement Strang was the son of Elvira Fields (see later entries) he was in fact the son of Strang's first polygamous wife, his second wife overall.

3 Elvira Field was Strang's first polygamous wife, whom he had married in 1849.

4 Brackets in original.



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