Biographical Papers Letter W

(1 Page)

John Wagely

(card #1)


[To B.I.] 1856 (his boat brought gentiles)

P. 39


Pete McCauley worked for him when he first came, cutting wood. Later Wagely went to Cross Village. He must have been here before 1858 if "Pete McCauley worked for him when he first came."


He is mentioned 2 times in the Dormer Bk..


According to Lawrence -

In the late seventies, 4 men came from [New?] York state to northern Michigan who worked for Wagely, cutting cedars on Beaver and High Islands. James Hamrock, Mark Hooker, John Murtah, and a Mr. Cole. Only Hamrock stayed on Beaver.


Roland -

"They say that the first man that ever took a pound net to B.I. was a man by the name of Waggley."


"The Traverse Region" says he owned & operated the schooner "C. L. Abel," which was chartered to take the gentiles to B.I. to drive off the Mormons.



John Wagely

(card #2)


The Traverse Region, p. 142 -

"Capt. John Wagely is one of the oldest settlers of Emmet Co.. He was born near Pittsburg, Pa., June 16, 1822. In the summer of 1843 being then 21 years of age, he removed to Michigan, coming by the lakes & landing on the island of Mackinac. For 3 years he was engaged in fishing & sailing. Feb. 5, 1846 he married Margaret Valier. The same year he bought his first boat, the schooner William, which he sailed 3 years. He followed sailing & fishing on the North shore until 1855, when he moved to Green Bay & kept a hotel for a year. In 1856 he moved back to Mackinac & went to Buffalo where he bought the schooner Abel. About the first work done by the schooner was to carry 80 armed men to drive the Mormons from B.I.. With the Abel Capt. Wagely did a very successful business until 1859 when he sold her & bought the Industry. During 1863 & '64 he sailed for a Mackinac firm & in the fall of 1865 he came to Cross Village & bought out William Stoddard who had started a small store. In 1867 he began the construction of the first dock at this point. [He seems to have stayed from then on at Cross Village. The hiatus between 1859 & '63 probably was when he had the business on B.I. & probably retained financial interest after that.]1 In the biography of his son James E. Wagely it says he was born on Mackinac Island in 1857, placing the family there that year. In the biography of son John Wagely, Jr., it says "he moved to Cross Village with his family in 1866" (p. 143). (Were they on Beaver just prior to that?) The census says he was born 1849.



James Walton

1835 -

Wife, Anna, 1838 -


1860 census:

James Walton 25 farmer born Indiana

Anna Walton 22 ---------- born Ohio

Arvilla Walton 3 ---------- born Indiana

Dilbert Walton 1 ---------- born Indiana



Eber Brock Ward

(card #1)


He was owner & captain of a boat that took prospectors up to the Sault in 1846 in the copper rush to the Keweenaw copper country, where mining operations had begun in 1842.

- Michigan Quaife & Glazer, 1848, p. 229


In a note it says (on same page), "Capt. Eber Brock Ward became one of Detroit's leading pioneer industrialists."


"In 1854 Captain Eber Brock Ward built the Eureka Iron & Steel Works. Soon after the Wyandotte Rolling Mills located nearby. The two factories were the largest industrial employers in Wayne Co. in the 1850s."

- "Inland Urban Immigrants: The Detroit Irish"

Jo Ellen Vinyard, Michigan History [magazine], summer 1973, p. 126


"After their removal in 1818 (the Wyandotte Indians from the site of Wyandotte - south of Detroit), Major John Biddle obtained 2, 200 acres of land in the area & established a farm. Early in 1853 Capt. Eber B. Ward, a Detroit shipping magnate, purchased the Biddle estate & established the Eureka Iron & Steel Co. on the waterfront, the first plant of its kind in the Detroit area."

- Michigan ---- Guide series, p. 470


See census cards.


Eber Ward is in the Mackinac census 1830, head of a household of:

1 male, 40-50 years old

1 male, 15-20 years old Eber Ward II?

no females


1840 census:

E. Ward, 6 in household - commerce



Eber Brock Ward

(card #2)


Soo Canal -

Many feared that those who planned the new canal (the Soo) were too optimistic, among them E. B. Ward of Detroit, who was, just then, the lakes' chief steamboat magnate. He wrote to a Michigan congressman, protesting that the locks, planned to measure 350' by 70', were much too large; 260' x 60' would be ample because steamboats too large for such locks would be too big to get up St. Mary's River, which had shallow places with hard rock bottoms.

It was natural for Capt. Ward to feel this way. The largest vessel in his fleet would fit nicely into a 260' lock, & a steamboat that big was a big one, as lake vessels went.

This was in the middle 1840s when the effort to develop the copper & iron found on Lake Superior was hampered by the bottleneck of transportation at the Soo.

- Michigan - Catton (paraphrased), p. 120


1852 - federal grant furnished financing

1855 - canal finished

1864 - "The increased demand for iron prompted Eber Ward's pioneering experiments in the

production of Bessemer steel in Wyandotte in 1864."

- Mich. His. John Kerns "Short History of Mich.," p. 40


June 20, '56 issue of Northern Island. (which carried Strang's attack of 16 th):

Eber B. Ward is listed as giving $10,000 to the fund to make Kansas a free state. He was

living in Detroit.



Joseph Warner

1820 -

P. 42

Wife, Mary, 1820 -


This is the family from whom the Earlys got their farm (see John Early card).


1830 census, Mackinac, lists:

Chauncey Warner - head of household of 1 male


1860 census:

Joseph Warner 40 ? born Germany

Mary Warner 40 ---- born Germany




Fred Waslegar

He is in the death records:

Mar. 4, '03, Fred Waslegar, black, married, age 42-3-24, Pea. Twp. Cause consumption; labor[er], born Mich., parents unknown, father born in Shabtown, mother's birthplace unknown.


This is interesting because he is listed as "black," whereas other Indians were listed "Indian." "Shabtown" must be the "Shablytown" Pat Bonner spoke of as below the cliff south of Bonner's Landing.


[ed.'s note: Fred Waslegar's card is filed in the "Indian" section of Box 6]



Giles and John Wells

Aug. 8, 1865 - John Wells Hd. N 2SE 4 & SE 4SE 4 Sec 2-37-10 120A, can. June 2, 1874.

Back of Martin's Bluff (later, 1877, Hd. Dan Martin, can. 1884).


There is a discrepancy in the records about Giles Wells -

Charlevoix records show:

Sept. 14, 1859 - U.S. to Giles Wells, patent NW 4NE 4 Sec 33-39-10.

June 23, 1883 - Aud. Gen. to Henry Hardwick tax deed $2.97 - the above.

But the land office shows:

Aug. 2, 1856 - Charles Steele, located NW 4NE 4 Sec 33 under MBLW Act of '55.

- [all of the above] on Font Lake, takes in Mormon feast grounds


In 1880 he [Giles] was keeping the boarding house in which John & Jim Burns were living & in which their sister Mary Slocum was a servant. These were the step-children of Dan McCauley.


Alexander Wentworth

Mrs. Williams, in C. of the Sea, says he married a daughter of the wealthy Johnson family, from Buffalo, who built a fine house on Font Lake (see her book, p. 192). She also tells of his return to the Island as a visitor early in the '60s (p. 212, long quotation).


Jan. 1, 1859 a patent was issued to him for land on S. Fox Island. He is not in the 1860 census for Fox Islands. The property was abandoned & eventually acquired by Alma Plank in 1959.



Whitney [Family]

This is the family of Mrs. Williams, author of "Child of the Sea."

They settled first at Luney's Point, but later, fearing the Mormons, the[y] moved to Cable's Bay & Whitney worked for Cable. After they had moved, Mr. Whitney went back for six weeks and built Strang's house.

Winter of '49, "Father, Mother, & boys made a large fishing seine for a man in Ohio who was coming the next spring." (C. of Sea, p. 67)

After leaving Cable's Bay with the other gentiles, they were in Charlevoix (they were there at the "Battle of the Pines"), then in the Grand Traverse Bay area.

They returned in 1857. For two years they lived in the abandoned Strang house.


Mrs. Whitney, orphaned, had been raised by the Dousneau family, & for a time went to Ferry's mission school.


1860 census:

Walter Whitney 51 carpenter born N.Y.

Elizabeth Whitney 50 ------- born Mich.

Frank Churchill 15 ----------- born Mich.


The Frank Churchill above was adopted by the Whitneys. His. of Grand Trav. Region, p. 57 - "In the winter of 1852-53 a vessel came into the harbor (Traverse City) having on board a family in destitute circumstances, by the name of Churchill. Mrs. Churchill was taken ashore dangerously sick, and though everything that kindness could suggest was done by the women as nurses, & Dr. Goodale as physician, she lived only a few days." She was buried in a forgotten grave within the limits of the city.


The Traverse Region (1884) lists Elizabeth Whitney as attending the first school in Traverse City the winter of 1853.


Elizabeth was married to Van Riper in '60 or '61, for "my husband & I spent the winter of '61 in Milwaukee."


When Mrs. Williams was lightkeeper, she used to hide her mother when the inspector came (because she was an Indian). - Maria


The "B.I. Girls," 1874, mentions the Harbor Light keeper as "she."



Williams [multiple individuals]

Israel Williams

He bought out all of Wm. E. Broun's holdings - June 29, 1869:

Lots 2, 4, & 6 Sec 15-37-10

Lot 1 Sec 22-37-10

SE 4SE 4 Sec 3-38-10

N 2NE 4 Sec 10-38-10


Dan Williams

Mentioned in B.I. Girls, 1874 - according to Pat, he lived in the log cabin below the hill -

below where the church is now. "He had lately come to town from Cheboygan."


Jeremiah Williams

In 1860 census:

Jeramiah Williams 28 fisherman born Mich.

Isabell Williams 24 --------------- born Mich.

Hen-y Williams 4 --------------- born Mich.

George Williams 2 ------------- born Mich.

Emily Williams 1/12 ----------- born Mich.


Charles Williams

Also in 1860 census:

Charles Williams 35 sailor born Ohio

Faney Williams 54 --------- born N.Y. this seems a strange household

Chas. Can---hen 1/12 ------ born Mich.




Charles Williams

P. 138

[Born] Sweden? (b[irth] rec.) or Ohio? (census)

Married Anne Gallagher - [born] N.Y.


John, Jan. 27, '78 (b[irth] rec.)


There is a Charles Wright Williams in the 1860 census, age 35, living with Faney Williams, age 54, probably mother. In the house is a 1-mo.-old baby whose name is Charles...?




Elizabeth Whitney Van Riper Williams

She died in Charlevoix, Jan. 24, 1937. She was 93. She died 24 hours after her husband. Both were born on Mackinac. She retired from the lighthouse service in 1906. Husband Daniel would have been 86. This is from an obituary in the Charlevoix paper kept by Nonie. It also speaks of her first husband, George Van Riper, & his death while rescuing men from a ship.


When she was married to Van Riper they spent the 2 years from '62-'64 on Garden Island as teachers.


Dan Williams was lightkeeper July 24, 1884 (see notes from Charlevoix paper). We had always understood she was the lightkeeper. Did the paper make a mistake in calling him lightkeeper? Yes, a mistake - 1880 census: Eliz., L. House K.; Daniel, retail grocer.


The Traverse Region, p. 239 - Elizabeth Whitney & Anna Williams



Delia McGee Wilson

The Wilson[s] in the stone house were cousins who ran away with each other & so could not be married.


Delia was the right age to be the daughter of Anna Vesty & James McGee. They were married in 1880 & she was born in 1881. Who could Wilson be the son of if they were 1 st cousins? They were evidently disowned by the church, to be buried in the Protestant cemetery.


Death record:

Delia McGee Wilson, born age 57-9-8, died in Peaine Twp on Nov. 15, '38, of coronary

thrombosis. Born Canada; there is a question mark for parents. She is buried in the Protestant cemetery.



Theodore Woodruff

Theodore Woodruff is mentioned as living in Northport, 1855-56. The first frame house in the town was built for him.


[Theodore Woodruff's entry shares a card with that of Elizabeth Whitney Van Riper Williams.]



Wright [multiple individuals]

(card #1)


There seem to be two 3 Wrights -


1. C. R. Wright (see his card[s])


2. Henry Wright à he was the son of C. R. Wright. An earlier Henry, a cooper living with

James Cable in 1850 (22 years old), was his uncle, C. R.'s brother (I think). Both Henry I & C. R. were born in N.Y..

[He] shows up in the land records. Along with Harrison Millar, he acquired land from the U.S., Sec 7 T38 R10 (Millar's Marsh) in 1874. Also the map the old Mormon lady made for Roy shows a "Wright" at the south end of the Island. Does this mean Henry Wright had been a Mormon like Harrison Millar and like him stayed on? No - must be Benjamin Wright.


Henry Wright - mentioned in B.I. Girls, 1874. Maria says he had a mill at S. Bay, but Pat says it was a store, only Sweet's Mill was on S. Bay.


1880 census has a Henry W., clerk in a store, age 32.


He was the 1880 census taker.


3. Issac Wright



Wright [multiple individuals]

(card #2)


" Isaac Wright from Illinois" (Ogdensburg, N.Y. in death record) taught school the winter of 1857-58 at the Harbor (Ch. of Sea, p. 185).


In 1874 he wrote the "B.I. Girls" & was teaching the Indians on High Island.


Albert Wright & George Wright (child of Charles R. Wright) are mentioned by Harrison Miller, Keeper, in the fall of 1881 as resigning from the Life Saving Service (see L.S.S. book, [at the] museum).


1860 census lists Frederick H. Wright as living in the household of Robert Gibson:

Frederick H. Wright, 21, cooper, born Germ.




Benjamin G. Wright

A Mormon whose [fishing] nets were stolen (see Van Allen's card).


This must be the Wright on the Mormon maps.


He had an advertisement in the N. Islander which showed he operated the warf at Galillee (Cable's Bay).



Charles R. "C. R." Wright

(card #1)


He was a cooper who settled at Cable's Dock and furnished barrels. Mr. Alva Cable came with his boat & took him to Charlevoix because of the Mormons. After the Battle of the Pines he went with the Cables to Little Traverse (now Harbor Springs).

Wright was back on the Island in 1857. He converted the Mormon Hotel (a large log building somewhere between the Print Shop & Whiskey Point) into a large cooper shop, employing several men. (This means when he came back he settled at the harbor.)

A few years after 1857 he went partners with Geo. R. Peckham of Toledo, Ohio. Later he bought out Peckham and the firm was C. R. Wright and Son. They had supplies for fishermen & they bought the fish. This is the business that Dormer & Allen bought out. ("Child of the Sea")


C. R. Wright & Son appear 26 times in the Dormer Book. They bought pound net stakes among other things. They had a quarrel with Boyle & Denleavy over a dock.


C. R. Wright was postmaster from Nov. 20, 1863 - Dec. 19, 1868; also, he was the 1 st P.M. appointed & served from Jan. 13, 19492 to Sept. 19, 1851.


1861 - elected to the State Legislature (Child of S., p. 210).


He is mentioned in "B. I. Girls," 1874, & Maria says he was at S. Bay.


Mrs. Williams lists him as having taught the Island school at the Harbor.


When he sold his business, sometime after 1876 (C. of Sea), he moved to Harbor Springs. Presumably he sold to Day. - He left 1881 & sold to Dormer.


He shows up in the land records of Sec 10 T38 R10, NE 1/4.


Land office:

June ? 1865 - bought from Wm. E. Brown, Lot 1 Sec 22-37-10 (Cable's Bay).

June ? 1865 - Brown sold Lots 2, 4, & 6 Sec 15-37-10 (Cable's Bay) - presumably to Wright

June 26, 1865 - Brown sold him N 2NE 4 Sec 10-38-10 (just N. of Tight's)

- all three of these lots Wm. E. Brown sold June 29, 1869 to

Israel Williams. Most confusing.



Charles R. "C. R." Wright

(card #2)


The Traverse Region, p. 145 -

"Charles R. Wright was born in Onondaga Co., N.Y. in Oct. 1825. In the spring of 1846 he came to Northern Michigan & first visited Mackinac Island. After remaining there a few weeks he went to B.I. & remained until the fall of 1852, making fish barrels. By this time the Mormons had got possession of the island & he removed his family to Charlevoix. He was accompanied by a man named Cable. They thought it would be a valuable location & intended to enter the land in the spring but before that time it was secured by a man named Bush, of Lansing. They remained there until the following fall when they came to what is now Harbor Springs, then Indian Village. Mr. Wright erected a cooper shop & dwelling on the point, where he remained about 3 years, making fish barrels. He then returned to B.I., where he remained until 1881, carrying on a general mercantile business. In 1881 the family moved to Harbor Springs, where they now reside. In 1848 he married Catherine Brooks on B.I.. While on B.I. he held various local offices & represented Manitou County one year in the legislature."


Mrs. Sarah McKinley Livingston (Peter's daughter) says he lived next door to the Harbor Lighthouse.



Charles R. "C. R." Wright

(card #3)


Correspondence with Dormer


There is a correspondence (at the museum) between Wright & James Dormer, beginning Dec. 27, 1882, seemingly about boat service to the Island. Wright says, "4,000 is promised" & says he will sen[d] Dormer the "result of his inquiries about a boat." He inferred, from a "letter from Mr. Stewart, he & McCrea would take some stock." Wright will continue to talk to "our business ---." Wright is living in Harbor Springs. Dormer offered to Thomas Neale, "our mill man," (through Wright) "7 per for hemlock, & to advance 50.00 on a cargo for a small vessel." Neale accepted the offer & will deliver the lumber when called for.


Jan. 9, '83 - wrote Dormer again. He & "Mr. Southard" think they can get the $4,000 & if not the definciency could be made up by the "G.R. & Indiana R.R. Co.." He notes Dormer mentioned mail service but he'll take no steps about arranging for bids until he sees him.


May 22 nd - letter speaks of getting the help from Senator Palmer in the matter of mail service. A postscript on the 24 th, he is beginning to think the Senator "is not acting in good faith."


The next letter skips to Aug. 28, 1890 & is written on stationary, "Office of Village Treasurer," Harbor Springs. "Charles R. Wright, Treasurer." "Mail service very uncertain now with the Island. The Faxton that went on the route in the spring has been taken off (the route did not pay her), since which what service they have had has been done by a little fishing tug owned at the Island by Dan Martin. She has run very irregular. An effort will be made coming winter to get service in new hands. I have not been to the Island in 3 years; fishing reported very light this season."


1 Brackets in original.

2 This must be 1849.