Ecorse Mourns Mayor Wilfred William Voisine- July, 1959

by Kathy Warnes

Death Halts Return Bid of Former Mayor

An Era Ends, and a City Mourns ‘Master’ Politician

Ecorse Advertiser Story, Wednesday, July 1, 1959

An era of turbulent, rough-and-tumble politics in Ecorse and the Downriver area ended Saturday morning June 27, 1959, with the death of William W. – Bill- Voisine two days after he had announced that he would seek to regain the office of Ecorse Mayor. He had held the office of mayor seven terms, dating back to 1933 when he was first elected village president of Ecorse.

On Wednesday, July 1, 1959, former Mayor Voisine was laid to rest after a solemn service and fitting farewell from a saddened city to which he devoted more than a quarter of a century of his life.

The body of the former mayor was in state Wednesday morning in the city hall for two hours before the casket was moved to St. Francis Xavier Church where a solemn requiem high mass was offered at 10 a.m. Ecorse police and firemen formed an honor guard in the city hall and at the funeral, which was expected to be one of the largest ever held in the Downriver area.

The funeral cortege consisting of some 100 cars moved slowly from the church to the Mt. Carmel section of Michigan Memorial Park in Flat Rock, where he was buried.

Hundreds of mourners, including scores of dignitaries, had filed before his bier in the H.F. Thon Funeral Home in Wyandotte to pay their final respects. Numerous floral tributes were banked around the room, and many friends contributed in his name to the Ecorse Memorial Educational Grant Association, which Voisine helped establish to provide scholarships for Ecorse Young people.

Flags at the city hall and other public buildings will fly at half staff during a period of official mourning. City offices were closed Wednesday morning to permit officials and municipal employees to attend the funeral services.

Typical of the political strategy that won him the title of ‘old master’ of Downriver politics, Voisine against doctor’s orders, attended a comeback rally Thursday night.

Some 75 fanatically loyal supporters, who were to form the nucleus of his political organization in this fall’s election, heard ‘the boss’ outline a typical Voisine campaign months in advance of the October primary.

After the rally he returned to his home at 4000 High, tired and exhausted, and retired about 3 a.m. About thirty minutes later his wife Helen found him stretched out on the Davenport. She called his sister, Mrs. Gertrude Neal, who lives next door.

They summoned the doctor who rushed him to the Outer Drive Hospital. He was in good spirits Friday, and was even able to walk around. Early Saturday morning he lapsed into a comma from which he never gained full consciousness. Voisine died about six hours later, at 9:10 a.m. With him were his brother, Edward, and a nephew Robert Neal, a former Ecorse councilman. Voisine’s brother is a former street commissioner and held the post of incinerator superintendent and assistant engineer for a year.

In October 1957, Voisine was stricken with the first of several diabetic attacks which required rest and checkups at hospitals here and in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida where he had a winter home for 20 years.

Voisine, 61, had been under medical care for diabetes and high blood pressure for years, but he was a man who believed in living every moment, and frequently disregarded doctors’ orders. This condition was complicated by a stroke in December, 1957.

Voisine’s colorful, controversial public career began over a quarter of a century ago during Prohibition years, when he was elected village trustee in 1930, and took over as village president the following term.

In 1936, he ran a dead heat with W. Newton Hawkins, now an Ecorse municipal judge, which led to two years of court litigation. Voisine held the office during the interim. The issue finally was decided by the state supreme court, which awarded the office to Hawkins.

After losing to Hawkins in 1936, Voisine retaliated with a resounding victory over his political foe in the 1940 election. He later played a leading role in Ecorses’ battle for incorporation as a home rule city.

(Ecorse was incorporated as a city in 1942 and the mayor-council form of government was created then.

After winning the incorporation fight, Voisine was disappointed in the contest to select the new city’s first mayor. Hawkins won.

Voisine bounced back in 1945, but was again defeated by Hawkins in 1947 in another dead heat. Rather than dragging the issue through two years of litigation as before, the matter was settled in a straw-drawing contest held by the local officials. Hawkins drew the long straw and became mayor.

Voisine returned in 1949, but three days after the filing deadline for candidates had passed, Voisine withdrew, leaving Hawkins unopposed.

Less than a year later, Voisine was convicted of perjury by a federal jury and served eight months in prison. He had resigned the mayor’s post in 1951 after he was cited for contempt by a congressional committee probing gray steel market activities.

He entered the campaign in 1953, and surprised old time political foes by the unseating of incumbent mayor, Louis S. Parker (now a city councilman) who had defeated Hawkins in 1951. Carrying every precinct, he piled up 3,735 votes to Parker’s 2,908. When told of his triumph, Voisine said, “I have lived through a nightmare the last five years. All that time I have wondered what the people in Ecorse who were my friends thought. This is the answer and I am simply overwhelmed.”

In 1955 he won reelection defeating Eli Ciungan, then city assessor, by 563 votes in a bitter, hotly contested campaign. In 1957, Ciungan ended Voisine’s 27 year career as the dominant power in Ecorse politics.

The new young mayor paid high tribute to the old political warrior, stating, “Bill Voisine is the toughest man I ever ran against. I’m just glad there is only one of him.”

After hearing about the death of his political rival Saturday, Ciungan said:

“Ecorse has lost one of the most colorful public figures in its history with the death of Bill Voisine whose name was a legend even when I was a boy. He contributed a lot to the community and the Downriver area during the many years he served as chief executive, and will be greatly missed by many.”

He was a solidly built man of medium height, with a suave, debonair attitude that belied the warmhearted, protective manner in which he regarded ‘his people.’

From the beginning of his public life, no one who came to him for a job, a hand out, or help with a personal problem was ever turned away. Seated behind his huge mahogany desk he would welcome as many as 50 persons in a day, most of them asking for some kind of assistance.

During the Depression many an Ecorse family was given a helping hand by Voisine, who at first saw that food baskets were delivered to families suffering hardships. When money became scarcer during the final days of the Depression, he and Judge John Riopelle set up a food distribution center in Riopelle’s combined court and legal offices, where every Friday fish was made available to needy families.

The Ecorse Goodfellows organization stemmed from this practice and Voisine took an active part in the annual newspaper sale to raise funds for the needy at Christmas time.

One year while he was mayor, Voisine contributed his entire $1,500 salary to local churches, and another time he gave an organ to a West Side church.

Voisine could always be counted on to find a job for anyone who needed it, and to dip into his own pocket when money was sorely needed for medical expenses for a loan of coal or clothing for youngsters.

He loved children and could never turn down a request for help when he learned they were in need. They, in turn, responded to his show of affection, and hundreds of Ecorse youngsters called him “Uncle Bill.” Many still do although they now have children of their own.

The deepest sorrow of his life, from which he never fully recovered, was the death of his only son, Robert, 32, on July 3, 1953. Victim of a heart attack, he left a wife and two children.

During his 1955-1957 term as mayor, Voisine entered into what was perhaps the stormiest period of his career. The Bohn one-man grand jury charged that his administration had conspired with gamblers to permit gambling in Ecorse. In February, 1953, a circuit court jury was unable to agree on a verdict in the conspiracy case against him. A retrial was scheduled for June 15, but was postponed because of the illness of the judge. It was rescheduled for October.

Just last week Voisine said he hoped further postponements would not be necessary.

‘I am innocent of the charges and the only way I can be cleared once and for all is by a jury in court. Until this happens I can have no relief from these totally undeserved charges hanging over me like a spectre.”

Although he was facing the trial when defeated by Cuingan in 1957, most political observers believed that the grand jury indictments had little effect on the election.

The Voisine defeat was attributed to the fact that a $20 million urban renewal program, which he sponsored in hopes of “making Ecorse a garden spot with fine, clean homes for everyone,” had met with disapproval.

Voisine envisioned whole new areas of new business places, homes and play areas in Ecorse. His campaign workers however, blamed misunderstanding and erroneous information spread throughout the west side as reasons for his defeat.

Word of Voisine’s death spread through the city like wildfire and many of Old Bill’s friends, stunned by the news, gathered at city hall as though expecting, somehow, to find him there.

Everywhere Voisine’s political foes and supporters were already discussing “the good old days” of hectic, exciting campaigns that reached their heyday during Voisine’s political career.

A general election in Ecorse was tantamount to a July Fourth celebration in other communities with practically the entire adult population taking some part in the campaign – if only to post political placards on their homes and in their car windows, and distribute campaign literature.

As election days neared, rallies and block parties were held every night and sound cars blared forth, urging the election of someone for public office.

Also recalled were the “old days” when workers for political aspirants would “stack” the ballot boxes and anecdotes about how bedridden voters were brought to the polls on stretchers, and the historic verbal and written exchanges between candidates.

Hopes were expressed that the colorful political era of which Voisine was so much a part will not die entirely – that the pre-election parties and banquets and the victory celebrations will continue with their decorated cars, free lunches and liquid refreshments and milling crowds congratulating the winners, and second guessing about how the unsuccessful candidates lot.

Just last week in announcing he would ran for mayor in the October primary election, Voisine cited a number of civic improvements and improved municipal operations instituted during his administrations. Among these he listed the Voisine Terraces, a $1,106,340 project of 20 buildings containing 100 low rent units; construction of the Wet Side Community Center; installation of the artificial ice skating rink at municipal field; garage addition to the public works building for storage of city equipment.

Other improvements listed by the former mayor included a fluorescent street lighting program and paving and resurfacing of most of the city’s streets, alleys and sidewalks.

A slum clearance program designed to eradicate slum and blight conditions throughout the city was also instituted during his last term in office.

The municipal building, incinerator, public library, number two fire station and several other municipal buildings were erected during his administrations.

Born November 20, 1897, in Bay City, Voisine was the son of a Great Lakes ship captain, whose name appears in several books about the history of lakes shipping.

Although as a youngster he had sailed many times with his father, Voisine decided against sailing as a career and took a job as stenographer for a railroad company.

He married the former Helen Friebe in Bay City 41 years ago and they moved to the Downriver area when Voisine was hired as a car salesman for a Wyandotte automobile dealer.

The young couple lived in Ecorse, and in 1931, Voisine opened his own auto agency in the community he was later to term many times, “the greatest little town in the world.”

For two years during World War II, Voisine owned and operated a tool and die factory on McKinstry Street in Detroit. After the war he formed the Voisine Steel Company, and the Wayne Sheet Steel Company, both in Detroit. None of the three companies are in existence today.

Both Voisine and his wife enjoyed their winter holidays in Florida and the summer weekends they would spend at their 40 acre farm in Howell. Besides the many years she shared with him as a loving wife, she was always one of his staunchest supporters.

Pallbearers were City Treasurer Paul Vollmar, Giles Reeve, Police Inspector Alvin Gillman, Edward L. McGee, Morris Blakeman, Robert Young and Earl Montie.

Surviving besides his wife, sister Gertrude and brother, Edward, are three other sisters, Mrs. Eva Moshier and Mrs. Beatrice Southerland, of Ecorse and sister Mary Bertille, mother superior at Immaculate Heart of Mary Convent in Detroit; and two grandchildren, Pamela8 and Diane, 10.

Voisine’s Brother-in-law Dies Same Day

Tragedy struck the Voisine family twice within a 12 hour period Saturday, with the death of George W. Neal, 61, brother-in-law of former Ecorse Mayor William W. Voisine, who also died Saturday.

Neal, husband of Voisine’s sister Gertrude, died of a heart attack at 7:10 p.m.. He was found unconscious in the bathtub of his home, 4002 High, which is adjacent to the Voisine residence. He was rushed to Delray General Hospital where he was pronounced dead on admittance.

The two families were very close, and were neighbors for 18 years.

Funeral services for Neal, a retired engineer for the Detroit, Toledo and Ironton Railroad, will be conducted today at 2:30 p.m. at the H.F. Thon Funeral Home, in Wyandotte. Both Neal and Voisine will be buried in the Mt. Carmel section of Michigan Memorial Park.

The Political Graveyard.

The Political Graveyard

Entry for Major Wilfred William Voisine of Ecorse

Voisine William W. (1897-1959) — also known as Wilfred William Voisine — of Ecorse, Wayne County, Mich. Born in Michigan, November 20, 1897. Son of Abel Voisine (1859-1930) and Eugenia Jennie (Blais) Voisine (1870-1909); married, August 1, 1918, to Helen Pearl O’Brien. Steel executive; village president of Ecorse, Michigan,1936-37; members of a steelworker terrorist group, the Black Legion, repeatedly attempted to kill him in 1936; Jesse Pettijohn and Lawrence Madden were later convicted of conspiracy to commit murder; mayor of Ecorse, Mich.,1948-49, 1954-57. French Canadian ancestry. Convicted in April, 1950, of falsely testifying to a Congressional committee in 1948 that he had received only the regular price for steel; sentenced to two years in federal prison. In October, 1956, a warrant was issued for his arrest, along with several members of the city council, for knowingly permitting illegal gambling in Ecorse, in return for bribes and gratuities; Gov. G. Mennen Williams initiated removal proceedings against the officials. Died in 1959 (age about 61 years.) Burial location unknown.

The Maritime History of the Great Lakes has an extensive entry for Mayor Voisine’s father, Captain Abel Voisine.

Some other references to Mayor Voisine

Detroit Newspaper




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Some Ecorse Events in June 1964

by Kathy Warnes

Second Polio Feeding Sunday

The second Operation Sugar Cube or V for Vaccination Day will take place Sunday, June 14, 1964. The polio vaccine will be fed in sugar cubes to 2 ½ million or more persons in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb Counties.

The first dose of vaccine was administered to the 2/12 million in April. The second dose is essential for full protection against dread poliomyelitis.

Plans for the second feeding are going forward rapidly. Essentially, they are the same as those for the April feeding, with most of the feeding sites in schools throughout the three counties.

In Ecorse the vaccine will be available at all Ecorse schools and school personnel-teachers, principals, supervisory employees, maintenance employees-again will play a major role in the feeding.

A donation of 50 cents per dose is requested, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Parker Convalesces

Ecorse Councilman Louis Parker, who was released last week from Seaway Hospital, Trenton, plans to spend the next month at home convalescing. Councilman Parker, now on the road to recovery, was seriously ill for many weeks, following abdominal surgery.

Ecorse Water Festival to Host Regatta

The Ecorse Water Festival this year will be celebrated on July 4th and 5th. The schedule for the gala two day event is nearing completion. The committee for the annual affair has worked diligently to make sure this long-awaited Festival is one of the biggest and most exciting ever held in Ecorse.

Committee members for the 1964 Festival are Harry Miller, chairman; Joe Levesque, secretary; Kurt Kromrei, treasurer; Richardo Meza; Charles Hunter; Lou McQuiston; Melvin Meyers; John Ghindia; Fregus Judge; Harvey Kromrei; Dick Miller; and Max Barber.

The Festival this year will host the Central States Regatta on July 5. Invitations have been extended to 21 cities, among them the Chicago, Lincoln Park, Minneapolis, Detroit, Buffalo, New York; Washington D.C. and West Virginia.

Light Vote Shows Voter Disinterest

Despite favorable weather, less than one third of the registered Ecorse voters turned out to cast ballots in the School Board election Monday.

Incumbent Johnnie B. Jones tallied the most votes, 1,300; Nick Pappas with 651 votes upset incumbent Dr. Robert McQuiston who tallied 571 votes.

Voting was the heaviest in precincts eleven through fourteen.

Jones                                 Pappas            McQuiston

Prect. 1                             120                              58                    39

Prect. 2                                    28                                70                    46

Prect. 3                                    33                                52                    57

Prect. 4                                    25                                52                    53

Prect. 5                                    14                                40                    41

Prect. 6 Not used in School Board Elections

Prect. 7                                    23                                24                    53

Prect. 8                                    59                                97                    83

Prect.. 9                                   54                                111                  67

Prect. 10                                  52                                108                  45

Prect. 11                                  358                              18                    42

Prect. 12                                  220                              7                      16

Prect. 13                                  231                              6                      14

Prect. 14                                  213                              8                      16

Jones, now completing his fourth year on the Board, is at the present time serving as president. At Ford Motor Company for 23 years, Jones has resided in Ecorse for the past 21 years. He and his wife live at 4160 15th Street and are the parents of three children, all graduates of Ecorse high School.

Nick Pappas, 43, his wife and three school aged children, reside at 56 La Blanc. Pappas, a veteran of World War II, is well known as head coach of the Ecorse Boat Club. Last year he served on the Ecorse Charter Commission.

Salliotte Post Elects Officers

Roy B. Salliotte Post 319, American Legion, held its election of officers on Wednesday, June 3 at the post hall.

Officers elected to serve for the coming year are: commander, Walter J. Horn; finance officer, Gerald E. Sauve; chaplain; Joseph J. Darliek; historian; John Van Court; and sergeant at arms, Cesare Maddalena.

Executive Committee members are Gilbert N. Adams, Jr.; Leon J. Miller, and Albert M. Brandon.

Memorial Home Committee members are: Gilbert Adams, Daniel O’Brian, Robert J. Casey, John Van Court, George B. Carr, Albert Brandon and Leo Navarre.

Delegate members to the Tenth District will be James W. Lewis, Charles Stein, Robert Marhesic and Robert Casey.

Convention delegates who will attend the State Convention in Grand Rapids July 17 through 19 are James Lewis, Charles Miller, Gilbert Adams, and Charles Stein.

Commander Lewis appointed Charles Stein as adjutant for the year 1964-1965.

Marine Patrol to Include Area

The Marine Enforcement Division of Wayne County will be available to all cities, villages and townships of Wayne County. The Marine Enforcement Division consists of patrolmen who are specially trained and have attended various water patrol schools and received diplomas. They graduated with full honors in the use of diving equipment: in scuba and skin diving, in the handling of small crafts and first aid, as well as all types of underwater recovery work and life saving. They are instructed to enforce the laws pertaining to the waters of the state.

One properly equipped craft and a two man crew will be stationed in the Ecorse area. This craft will patrol from Riverview to the Detroit City limits, including the following cities: Riverview, Wyandotte, Ecorse, River Rouge and the Detroit City limits.

Chamber of Commerce Cites Tax Figures

According to figures recently released by the Downriver Chamber of Commerce, business and industry in River Rouge accounted for 96.5 percent of the city’s taxes. The figures released for the city of Ecorse was 86 percent.

Other figures are as follows:

Gibraltar, 68 percent; Grosse Ile, 5 percent; Southgate, 25 percent; Trenton, 88 percent; Woodhaven, 85 percent and Wyandotte, 58 percent.

Ecorse Businessman Succumbs

Clarence De Wallot, 67 of Delray Beach, Florida, a former Ecorse businessman, died June 10 in Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit. During the 1920s and 1930s he owned a business block on West Jefferson called the De Wallot block.

Mr. DeWallot will lie in state at the Edward Girrbach Sons Funeral Home Thursday, June 11, between the hours of 3:00 and 8:00 p.m.

Funeral services will be held from the Scobee Funeral Home in Boynton Beach, Florida.

In addition to his wife, Ruth, the deceased is survived by one son, Donald.

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A Few of the Outstanding Ecorse Young People of 1955

Ray Sablosky, 5, Roger Held 11, and Michigan State Patrol Supervisor Martin J. Blied discuss Roger’s upcoming trip to Washington D.C.

by Kathy Warnes

The front page of the Ecorse Advertiser of Thursday, April 14, 1955, announced a week to honor Ecorse and Wayne County young people and told the story of a brave Ecorse boy. The Advertiser printed a proclamation announcing that the Week of April 17-23, 1955, had been designated as Youth Week throughout Wayne County and that the city of Ecorse schools, groups, and private citizens joined wholeheartedly in celebrating the youth of Ecorse.

Juvenile Officer Lt. John Cicotte attributed the low juvenile crime rate in Ecorse to the outstanding work being done with young people by local organizations. “These groups are greatly responsible for keeping our young people occupied with healthful, safe activities,” Officer Cicotte said.

The Advertiser also recognized the outstanding work of Traffic Safety Sergeant Al Zukonik or”Big Zuke” as the children of Ecorse called him, in Ecorse grade schools. Ecorse Mayor William Voisine credited “Big Zuke” and his efficient safety patrol system for the several accident free years that the city of Ecorse enjoyed.

Roger Held is one of the Outstanding Young People of Ecorse

A front page story in the same Advertiser edition reports the heroism of Roger Held, 11, who received a Safety medal from the Automobile Club of Michigan.

The story begins on Wednesday, January 12, 1955, in front of Ecorse School No. One at High and Labadie Streets in Ecorse. The School One Safety Patrol always stationed a patrol boy or girl at the crosswalk that crossed High Street to School One. School One pupils from kindergarten to sixth grade knew and appreciated the crossing guards who were fellow pupils, chosen for their scholarship and character.

Roger Held, 11, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Ludwig Held of 4428 High Street, stood in the crosswalk on duty that Wednesday. A kindergartener Ray Sablosky, 5, of 4420 High Street, stepped off the curb and suddenly a fast moving car made a quick turn into the intersection. Disregarding his own safely, Roger leaped out, grabbed Ray Sablosky, and managed to pull him to safety.

The thoughtless motorist sped away and Roger dismissed the incident as a routine safety patrol matter. Then Sergeant Al Zukonik and Patrolman Richard Enright of the Police Traffic Bureau heard of Roger’s heroic act and arranged to present a medal to Roger. The presentation ceremony was held at School One on the morning of Friday, February 18, 1955. Roger’s parents Mr. and Mrs. Ludwig Held attended the ceremony as did Ralph Brandt, superintendent of schools, Magnus Meier, School One Principal, and Nick Stroia of the Ecorse Police and Fire Commission.

Roger modestly accepted the award at a special School One assembly, but that wasn’t the end of the matter. The Ecorse Advertiser of Thursday, April 14, 1955 told the story of Roger’s heroism and informed him that he would be the Automobile Club of Michigan’s guest at the AAA Safety Patrol rally in Washington D.C. from May 5-8 1955.

The May 12, 1955 Ecorse Advertiser reported that Roger, two other boys from Michigan, went to Washington D.C. for four days as guests of the Automobile Club of Michigan. Roger, the two other Michigan boys, and ten boys from other states received the AAA Gold Lifesaver Medal from Vice-President Richard M. Nixon in the Senate Office Building in Washington D.C.  Only 56 Gold Lifesaver Medals have been awarded in the thirty year history of the Safety Patrol.

Vice-President Richard M. Nixon pins the AAA Gold Lifesave Medal on Roger Held of Ecorse, while AAA President Andrew J. Sordoni watches.

Rosalie Palazzolo Is Another Outstanding Ecorse Young Person

Rosalie Palazzolo, the daughter of Mrs. Maria Palazzolo of 4275 Eighth Street, was a senior at Ecorse High School and she won second place in the International Order of Gregg Artists’ Contest for 1955. The New York office of Today’s Secretary, a Gregg publication, announced her award the week of April 18, 1955.

Rosalie Palazzolo’s paper was chosen from thousands of entries submitted from over 5,000 schools across the world that competed annually for prizes in various divisions of the contest.

To qualify for awards, writing had to be artistic and accurate.

Boy Scout Bill Briggs Earns Merit Badge and Impresses Ecorse Mayor William Voisine

Bill Briggs, 13, a member of Boy Scout Troop EC-5, decided that he wanted to earn a “citizenship in the community” merit badge. He reasoned that if he wanted to find out firsthand about citizenship and community, then he should go to the mayor who had the first hand knowledge. He made an appointment to visit Ecorse Mayor William Voisine in his office, explaining to the mayor’s secretary that he wanted to discuss important matters with the mayor.

Bill, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Allan Briggs of 4339 Monroe Street in Ecorse, appeared at the municipal building very early for his appointment with the mayor. His slicked down hair and neatly pressed Boy Scout uniform signified the importance of the meeting.

For nearly an hour, Bill listened intently to Mayor William Voisine and administrative assistant William W. Jones brief him about the nuts and bolts of Ecorse city affairs. Mayor Voisine commented, “I expect Bill to visit me very shortly to show me that merit badge he’s aiming for. Imagine the initiative of a young boy who shows such an interest in city affairs. He asked us most intelligent questions and was so attentive that I’d venture to say he will be a civic leader in the not too distant future.”

According to his parents, Bill did everything conscientiously. “Good enough may do for some boys, but with Bill everything must be as near perfect as possible,” his mother said.

Bill’s marks as an eighth grade student at Ecorse High School were above average and he made a cocktail table in woodshop as a Christmas present for his parents. He was a good swimmer and all around outdoor boy, who especially liked fishing.

Kim Sackenheim Wins $100 Essay Prize 

Kim Sackeheim, 17, of 66 W. Westfield, Ecorse, won the $100 first prize of the Department of Michigan for the best essay submitted in contests sponsored by American Legion auxiliaries in the 16th District.

Her essay about Americanism was entitled, “The Master Link: Our Constitution,” and it will be entered in the national competition for judging at the annual convention in Miami, Florida in October 1955.

The daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Sackenheim, Kim is a 10A student at Ecorse High School.

These were just a few outstanding young people from Ecorse history that the Ecorse Advertiser recognized. If you have any you want me to feature, please send me the information and hopefully a photo or two.

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Bits of Biography-Do You Know Anything About These Ecorse People?

Do you know the identity of these children??

by Kathy Covert Warnes

Over generations, Ecorse and the Downriver area have produced honest, hard working and talented people. Here are capsule biographies of just a few of them. Any information you can add would be greatly appreciated.

John Baklarz

John completed the College Course. He was a member of the E-Club and active in athletics and debating, winning three letters in football, three in basketball and one in track. He plans to take up forestry at Michigan State College. Graduated from Ecorse High School in 1935. (Ecorse High School Yearbook, 1935).

Roscoe L. Bobo

Roscoe L. Bobo, 57, of 4135 Tenth, is assistant National Credit Manager of the Crawford Door Company.  He has been a city councilman for four years. Bobo was an Ecorse patrolman from 1943 until his retirement in 1959 as assistant police chief. He is co-chairman of the City Cleanup Committee. He has been active in the Beachwood Men’s Club, an organization of professional men devoted to helping underprivileged people. He has also served on the NAACP.(Ecorse Advertiser, Wednesday, October 20, 1969).

Kenneth Bolthouse

Kenneth entered Ecorse High School as a Freshman. He has taken a Commercial Course. He was the sports editor for the Ecorse Echo and plans to enter the field of journalism. Graduated from Ecorse High School in 1935. (Ecorse High School Yearbook, 1935).

Francis X. Burke

Francis X. Burke was a representative from the Fourth District of Wayne County, 1913-1914. He was born in the township of Ecorse, Wayne County, in 1866, and was educated in the public schools of Detroit and Ecorse. His mother came from an old French family whose ancestors came to Detroit with Cadillac in 1701. Mr. Burke was Postmaster at River Rouge during Grover Cleveland’s second administration, and served as Justice of the Peace of Ecorse Township. In politics he was a Democrat.  (Michigan Biographies, p. 129).

Eli Ciungan

Eli Ciungan, 47, the mayor pro-tem of Ecorse in 1969, lived at 4345 Tenth Street. He  was a residential builder. He was city assessor from 1947 until 1955 and served as mayor from 1957 until 1963.  He had been a councilman for four years.

Ciungan  graduated from Ecorse High School and attended Kiski Prep School of Pennsylvania and Tulane University of Louisiana.(Ecorse Advertiser, Wednesday, October 29, 1969).

Charles Cresswell

Charles entered Ecorse High School as a Freshman. He was on the football team of ’32,’33,’34. Track of ’32,’33,’34. Secretary of the E-Club, ’34,’35. He was also Sports Editor of the Echo paper. He plans to enter the Central State Teachers College and take up Physical Education. Graduated from Ecorse High School in 1935. (Ecorse High School Year Book, 1935).

James I. David

James I. David was the representative from Wayne County, 1859-1860; and Senator from the Third District, 1875-76. Was born at Catskill, N.Y. on August 20, 1811 and came to Michigan in 1842. His early business life was as a contractor in canal and bridge work. He settled on Grosse Isle in 1848, and his general business was lumbering. He was a Lieutenant in Broadhead’s Cavalry in 1861, and subsequently Captain and Commissary; was Colonel of the 9th Michigan Cavalry in 1862, and in 1863 commanded a division in Burnside’s corps, Shackleford’s division, mustered out in 1864, having resigned by reason of disability. He was appointed by President Cleveland in 1886, Indian agent at the Osage Agency. In politics he was a Democrat. He died at Ecorse, Wayne County, October 13, 1872. (Michigan Biographies, p. 225).

Peter B. Delisle

Peter Delisle was a Representative from the Fourth District of Wayne County, 1903-1904. He was born in the township of Ecorse, Wayne County, January 21, 1846. He was educated in the district school and Paterson’s classical and mathematical school.  He was a contractor and builder for some time. He was engaged in the grocery business in Detroit for three years, after which he moved to Toledo, Ohio, and conducted a coal and wood business, after a few years he disposed of his business in Toledo and moved to Delray, Mich., and engaged in the real estate and insurance business. A prominent member of several fraternal societies, he was in politics a Democrat. (Michigan Biographies, p. 234).

Margaret Domonkos

Margaret entered Ecorse High School in January 1931 as a freshman. She followed the Commercial Course and received a 100 word certificate for shorthand. She was a member of the Library Science Club, Girl’s Club, Glee Club and Ecorse Echo staff. Graduated from Ecorse High School in 1935. (Ecorse High School Year Book, 1935).

John L. Engle

John L. Engle, 54, 4366 Second, was born in Apollo, Pennsylvania.  He is presently employed by the Wayne County Road Commission. He has lived in Ecorse since 1929 and has been a Democratic precinct delegate for 15 years. During World War II he was in the Navy. He is a member of Pulaski Club, VFW Post 5709, a board member of the 16th District Democratic Organization, Ecorse Democratic Club, River Rouge Democratic Club, Southwest Detroit Democratic Club and John D. Dingell Club, Local 101 AFSCM, and the AFLCIO.(Ecorse Advertiser,  Wednesday October 29, 1969).

Daniel Goodell

Representative from Wayne County, 1843. Was born in Vermont, May 11, 1795. He settled in Ecorse at an early day, and married into a French family. He served in General Hull’s army. He was Supervisor as early as 1829 and held the office of Justice and other local offices. He was a farmer, and a Democrat in politics. He died April 28, 1882. (Michigan Biographies, p. 334).

Solon Goodell

Solon Goodwell was a representative from the Third District of Wayne County, 1897-1898 and 1899-1900; Senator, 1901-1902 and 1903-1904, from the Fourth District, comprising the twelfth, fourteenth and sixteenth wards of the city of Detroit, the city of Wyandotte, and the townships of Brownstown, Canton, Dearborn, Ecorse, Huron, Monguagon, Nakin, Romulus, Springwells, Sumpter, Taylor and Van Buren.

He was born in Superior, Washtenaw County, Mich., Nov. 30, 1840. He attended the district school until he was sixteen years of age, and worked on his father’s farm until he was twenty-one. In 1860 he settled on a farm in the township of Canton. His occupation was that of a farmer and stock breeder. In politics he was a Republican. He represented his district in the Legislature four terms, two in the House and two in the Senate. He died January 29, 1920. (Michigan Biographies, p. 335.).

Harold Hawk

Harold E. Hawk, 55, of 406 Labadie, is an inventory supervisor at Great Lakes Steel Corporation. He is an incumbent councilman and has served six years on the council and was mayor pro-tem from 1963-1965. Hawk is a member of St. Francis Xavier Ushers Club, I of C, Pulaski Civic Club, Great Lakes Steel Management Club and is co-chairman of the city Clean-Up Committee. An Ecorse High School graduate, Hawk has lived in Ecorse for 50 years. He and his wife, Frances, have three children.(Ecorse Advertiser, Wednesday, October 29, 1969)

Phillip D. Hickey

Phillip David Hickey, 27, of 4242 Tenth , is an attorney and a 1966 graduate of the Wayne State University Law School. He graduated from Ecorse High School in 1959.

Hickey is secretary of the 1969 Ecorse Committee for Better Government and is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, national leadership fraternity and the Michigan Bar Association. He is married and the father of two children.(Ecorse Advertiser, October 29, 1969

Samuel J. Lawrence

Samuel J. Lawrence was a Senator, 1897-1898, from the Fourth District, comprising the twelfth, fourteenth, and sixteenth wards of the city of Detroit, the city of Wyandotte and the townships of Brownstown, Canton, Dearborn, Ecorse, Huron, Monguagon, Nankin, Romulus, Springwells, Sumpter, Taylor and Van Burne.

He was born on the Island of Guernsey, English Channel, Aug. 15, 1848. He came to America with his parents in 1852 and located in Wayne County, Michigan, where he acquired a common school education.

At the age of sixteen years he enlisted in the 4th Michigan Volunteer Infantry, Co.D, where he served for twenty-two months; six months of said time he served as mounted orderly on Gen. Stanley’s staff.

At the close of the war he went West, spending some time in nearly every western state and territory.  He returned to Michigan in 1872, when he was appointed lighthouse keeper by the Hon. Zachariah Chandler, which position he held for five years.  In 1872 he moved to the city of Wyandotte. In politics he was a Republican. He served his city as Alderman two terms; was chosen president pro tem, of the Council and Supervisor. He died in 1919. (Michigan Biographies, p. 14).

William T. McGraw

William T. McGraw was a Senator, 1899-1900, from the Fourth District, comprising the twelfth, fourteenth, and sixteenth wards of the city of Detroit, the city of Wyandotte, and the townships of Brownstown, Canton, Dearborn, Ecorse, Huron, Monguagon, Nankin, Romulus, Springwells, Sumpter, Taylor, and Van Buren.

He was born in Livonia Township, Wayne County, May 12, 1868. He was educated in the public schools of Plymouth, graduating from the high school of that village, and subsequently took a course in Detroit Business University. He served two years in the First National Bank of Plymouth and then accepted a position as traveling salesman for the Globe Tobacco Company, subsequently organizing the Detroit Tobacco Company. He engaged in the tobacco business and was also chairman of the Globe Cash Register Company, of which invention he was the patentee.  He served in the City Council of Detroit as a representative of the twelfth ward. (Michigan Biographies, p. 57)

Richard Manning

Richard Manning graduated from Ecorse High School and attended Eastern Michigan University and the U.S. Naval Academy.  He earned a secondary and junior college teaching certificate as well as a BSE degree from the University of Michigan.

From 1944 until 1947 he served overseas duty with the Navy. From 1957 until 1963, he served on the Ecorse City Council  during which time he served as Mayor pro-tem and  was  a member of the Ecorse Charter Commission.

Prior to his term on City Council he was assistant city engineer and associate professor of Civil Engineering at Detroit Institute of Technology  for 16 years. He was a member of the Detroit Metropolitan Area Planning Commission.  In 1969, he was a teacher at Ecorse High School.

Richard Manning was elected mayor in 1963 and served one term. He did not serve between 1965 and 1967, but was again elected in November 1967 for a two year term.(Ecorse Advertiser, Wednesday, October 29,1969)

Harold J. Marcott

Harold J. Marcott of 10 West Woodward, is completing his first term on the city council. He retired recently from the Ecorse Police Department after 20 years and accepted a position with the Detroit and Toledo Shoreline Railroad.

Marcott joined the Army in 1942 and saw action in Europe , receiving a battlefield commission as a lieutenant. After the war he returned to Ecorse and joined the police force in 1946.(Ecorse Advertiser, Wednesday, October 29, 1969)

Dr.  Arthur E. Payette

Dr. Arthur E. Payette, a practicing dentist in Ecorse for 46 years, until his retirement last year, died October 30 at Henry Ford Hospital. The 72 year old doctor lived at 58 West Westfield. He was buried Monday at Michigan Memorial Park, Flat Rock,  following a funeral service at Ballheim Funeral Home, Ecorse.

He is survived by his wife, Marvelle; daughter Mrs. Marvelle Pember; two grandchildren and one great grandchild.

Dr. Payette was a graduate of the University of Detroit and during World War I was with the Navy Medical Corps.  He also attended the Indiana College of  Dentistry.(Ecorse Advertiser,  Wednesday, November 5, 1969).

Ignatius James Salliotte

Ignatius James Salliotte was a delegate in the Constitutional Convention of 1907-1908, from the Fourth District, Wayne County. He was born in Ecorse, in 1877, of Irish, French, and English descent. He received his education at the Ecorse public schools, Detroit College, where he received the degree of A.B. in 1896, and the Detroit College of Law, graduating there from with degree of LL.B. in 1899. In 1905 he was married to Miss Grace Stinson of Jackson, Mich. He engaged in the practice of law in Detroit, and was Village Attorney of Ecorse. (Michigan Biographies, p. 260).

Mary Sans Souci Meyers

Mrs. Mary Meyers, the last living member of an old Downriver French family, will celebrate her 94th birthday Saturday at the home of her sister-in-law, Mrs. Richard SansSouci, with whom she resides at 4488 Webster, Ecorse.

Well-known in the Downriver area, Mrs. Meyers lived for about 35 years in North Wyandotte at 425 Biddle, the present site of the North Shore Club. Previous to that, her River Rouge home stood where the Gallagher Mortuary is now located.

Born shortly after the Civil War in the log cabin home of a farm on the Ecorse Creek, Mrs. Meyers is the eldest daughter of Oliver Sans Souci Sr., an Ecorse pioneer. Her mother Henrieta Vieuille Payette, was a widow with seven children when she married Sans Souci. Other members of the Sans Souci family were Oliver Jr. and Columbus, both of whom took an active part in North Wyandotte, then Ford City, politics; Richard and Henrietta, known as Hattie.

In the late 1880s when the log farmhouse on the SansSouci farm was destroyed by fire, a brick home which still stands, at the same site, was erected. The farm was sold and subdivided about 45 years ago. Several ancient apple trees still stand on the site of the old orchard.

Mrs. Meyers is the widow of Richard Meyers, a  former president of the village of River Rouge, who was active in business and political circles in the Downriver area more than 50 years ago.Meyers was killed in an attempted holdup in Wyandotte in 1925. At that time he was owner of the Fleur de Lys Theatre in River Rouge, and one night while returning home with the night’s proceeds, he was attacked by thugs who killed him when he resisted their attempts to seize his money pouch.

The Meyer’s adopted son, Hilbert, was killed in a steel mill accident in 1947. The couple had  no children of their own.

No special plans have been made for a birthday celebration for Mrs. Meyers although friends and relatives are expected to pay a short call to offer their congratulations.

Despite her advanced age, Mrs. Meyers is still in good health. The passing years have not dimmed her memory. (Ecorse Advertiser, Thursday, October 12, 1961).

Columbus San Souci   Father  1870-1955

Ida San Souci-Mother             1878-1952

San Souci, Edsel Arthur         1-1-1928-7-28-1933

Harriett San Souci                   1834-1924

Sans Souci, Mary Ann            1938-1940(St. Francis Cemetery Book, Downriver Genealogical Society,Lincoln Park, Michigan

The old Sans Souci farmhouse on Pepper Road?

1986, p. 32).

Roy Seavitt 

A banquet honoring Roy Seavitt, who retired last year as a member of the Ecorse Board of Education, will be given by the Ecorse District of the Michigan Education Association in the St.  Francis High School auditorium on Tuesday, January 24th.

Seavitt, who has been a lifelong resident of Ecorse has for the past thirty years been connected with the Detroit Public Schools.  At the present time he holds the position of principal of the Morley School in that city.

In 1925 Seavitt was elected to the local board, and he continued to serve in that capacity until June 1949. For many years he occupied the post of secretary to the boar.

Teachers and administrators of the Ecorse Public Schools this week expressed their appreciation for his many years of outstanding service to the community and to its schools.

The members of the present Board of Education and their wives will be honored guests at the banquet. Chairmen of the committee who are working on arrangements for the occasion are:  Frank Kennedy, general chairman; Miss Marietta Ouellette, Mr. Omer Vogt, Miss Ruth Radenovich, Miss Helen Heather.   (Ecorse Advertiser

January 12, 1950).

Do you know anything about these people?

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Ecorse Politics – 1949 Style

by Kathy Warnes

Eli Ciungan, Albert Buday, and Michigan Governor G. Mennan Williams

In September  1949, the Ecorse primary proved to be as interesting and full of twists and turns as the 1949 and beyond Ecorse elections. There were 42 candidates seeking to be nominated for the fourteen city offices in the November 1, 1949, general election. The 1949 primary featured the largest number of candidates every to file for office, with 44 candidates filing petitions and paying the $25.00 filing fee. Two later withdrew. Mayor William Voisine filed his withdrawal with the city clerk and Mrs. Laura Kaigler, a candidate for council also withdrew.

There were 21 candidates for city council. Five of the incumbent councilmen were seeking reelection. These five were Ormal Goodell, Francis Labadie, Theodore Marcott, Louis Parker, and Nick Stroia. Lambert Pfeiffer didn’t file for reelection and planned to retire from public office.

The Ecorse Advertiser printed capsule biographies of each of the candidates and they provide an interesting glimpse into the lives and history of 1949 Ecorse.

Eli Ciungan

Eli Ciungan, city assessor, was seeking re-election to that office strictly on his record. He was first elected City Assessor in 1947.

When he was first elected, he promised lower taxes. He increased the steel mill assessment over 14 milion dollars and made good his promise to lower taxes for home owners. He fought the attempts of the Wayne County tax officials to increase county taxes on Ecorse property.

Mr. Ciungan was a veteran and a successful businessman. He was well known throughout the city.

Robert Clark

Robert G. “Bob” Clark was one of the eight candidates for Constable. This was Clark’s second entry into politics.

“Bob” as he was better known as, was a disabled veteran from both World Wars and for many years had successfully operated a grocery store on Cicotte Street.

Clark had been active in various clubs and organizations and had been especially interested in youth work.  He was scout master for Troop EC5, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club.

Bob Clark was pledged to good government and a fair deal for all.

Ormal Goodell

Ormal Goodell, dean of the present city council, served Ecorse continuously since 1937. He was seeking his seventh term on the city council.

Mr. Goodell had an enviable record as a city councilman, having proposed or worked for all the major improvements that had been accomplished during the past 12 years.

A life long resident of Ecorse, Ormal Goodell lived at 21 Cherry Grove in 1949. He was active in the Businessmen’s Association Ecorse Goodfellows and other civic activities.

Rudy Hickey

Rudy Hickey, of 74 Visger Roadm was a candidate for city council and was born and brought up in Ecorse.

Mr. Hickey graduated from Ecorse High School in 1939 and won the honor of being the school’s most valuable athlete. He continued his interest in athletics and recreation and proposed an even wider recreation program.

His was Mr. Hickey’s second entry into local politics. Two years ago he lost his race for the council by a very small margin.

He had wide business experience and was associated with Stanford Bros., Plymouth and Dodge dealers in Lincoln Park.

William Jones

William Jones, a candidate for Council, was a life long resident of Ecorse, a home owner, and a graduate of Ecorse High School.

Sports and recreation had brought Jones a wide reputation. Beginning in High School, William Jones took an active part in the promotion of sports. He was an official of the Ecorse Boat Club and advocated a more extensive recreation program. He was a member of Rotary and had taken an active part in the Businessmen’s Association.

Wilson Koch

Wilson B. Koch was a candidate for re-election as Constable. He had lived in Ecorse for the past 30 years and lived at 11 West Charlotte.

He served five years as a member of the Ecorse Fire and Police Commission, three years as a deputy sheriff and as an examiner of motor vehicle operators and chauffeurs. He also served most of the downriver judges during his term as constable.

Mr. Koch had long experience as a law enforcement officer and believed his experience deserved another term.

Elmer J. Labadie

Elmer J. Labadie, 26 East Woodward, was again a candidate for the Ecorse city council. Two years ago Mr. Labaie lost by a small margin in his campaign for the same office.

Mr. Labadie was a life long resident of Ecorse. He was born in Ecorse and was a member of one of the city’s oldest families. He graduated from Ecorse High School and was prominent in athletics.

Mr. Labadie was interested in good government and in the future of his home town. Having grown up in Ecorse, he believed he was familiar with the city’s needs.

Theodore Marcott

Theodore Marcott, popularly known as “Ted,” was again a candidate for re-election to the council. Mr. Marcott lived at 28631 Outer Drive.

He had lived in Ecorse for over 25 years and was a member of the Ecorse police department for many years before he retired because of an accident suffered in the line of duty.

He served as acting mayor for nearly two years during the absence of Mayor William Hawkins. He also served as a member of the Wayne County Board of Supervisors.

Ted Marcott took an interest in the progress of Ecorse and was seeking reelection on his record as a city councilman and public servant.

Edward McGee

Edward McGee served as a member of the Ecorse Fire and Police Commission for ten years and a term as deputy sheriff. He was running for the office of constable. Although he had long been involved in local politics, this was the first time that Mr. McGee ran for public office.

Mr. McGee was a resident of Ecorse for over 30 years. For many years he was a supervisor at Ford Motor Company. He later opened a business of his own in Ecorse. He was the manager of the Dixie Club. He lived at 26 Charlotte.

Ray G. Mell

Ray G. Mell was running for Justice of the Peace. A resident of Ecorse for 25 years, he lived at 35 Knox Street.

He retired from the police department on September 1, 1949, after serving for 21 years. Appointed to the department in 1929, he worked his way through the ranks to become Assistant Chief of Police and head of the Detective Bureau.

Mr. Mell believed that his long experience in police and court work qualified him for the important office of Justice of the Peace.

Charles Montroy

Charles Montroy, better known in Ecorse as “Porky,” made his first entry into politicas by running as a candidate for Ecorse city council.

Mr. Montroy lived at 36 Florence and was a life long resident of Ecorse.

He served in the United States Army in Panama. He was a successful businessman and was engaged in both manufacturing and a retail business. He was long active in civic affairs and took an active part in Ecorse Day promotion for several years.

Mr. Montroy was president of the Ecorse Businessmen’s Association , a charter member of the Ecorse Rotary Club, and was also active in the Goodfellows.

Leo Navarre

Leo C.. Navarre, made his first entry into Ecorse politics by running against Paul Vollmar for the office of city treasurer. He lived in Ecorse for over 25 years and during that time was active in civic and patriotic organizations.

He served 18 months in the U.S. Marine Corps during the first World War War and was Deputy Chief Air Warden during World War II. He also served as Secretary of the War Memorial Fund and assisted in raising money to build the World War II War Memorial

Mr. Navarre was active in the Roy B. Salliotte Post American Legion for 15 years and served as Commander for two terms. He also served in all offices of the 16th District Association of the American Legion and was District Commander in 1942.

From 1947-1949, he was State Junior Baseball Chairman at the same time he worked as Employment Manager of the City of Ecorse and helped over 2,500 local people obtain employment.

Louis Oleksuk

Louis Oleksuk, known to many people in Ecorse as “Popeye,” was campaigning for the office of city assessor.

Mr. Oleksuk had been a resident of Ecorse for 32 years. He was a property owners, a businessman and lived at 220 Southfield Road. He was active in various clubs and organizations.

Mr. Oleksuk said that he believed in a fair and impartial assessment of all property in Ecorse with a resultant cut in the tax rate to save property owners money. He centered his campaign for election on such a program.

Russell D. Renaud

Russell Renaud, better known as “Duffy,” was a candidate for city council. Renaud lived in Ecorse all of his life and lived at 48 Bell Street.

Mr. Renaud took an active part in organized labor and still carried a membership card in Local 7. He owned a business in Ecorse and predicted a prosperous future for the city. He believed that all meetings should be open to the public and public opnion should be sought on all programs.

John Sharon

John Sharon was a candidate for the Ecorse City Council. He lived at 25 Benson Street with his wife and two children.

Mr. Sharon was born in Ecorse and graduated from Ecorse High School and later spent three years a Wayne University. He was a job analyst at the Ford Motor Company.

Mr. Sharon served 3 ½ years in the armed service and was awarded the Purple Heart. He was active in the V.F.W., the Ecorse Boat Club, and other organizations.

He took a keen interest in Ecorse government, followed the development of Ecorse, and was keenly interested in the future of Ecorse.

Nick Stroia

Nick Stroia, well known businessman and civic leader, sought a third term on the city council. He was first elected to the council in 1945.

Long before Nick Stroia entered politics, he was well known as a civic leader. He was one of the organizers and the first president of the Ecorse Businessmen’s Association and an original sponsor of the popular Ecorse Day celebration. He was also a member of the Ecorse Kiwanis Club.

Patrick B. Trondle

Patrick B. Trondle, “Pat,” was a candidate for Ecorse City Clerk. He was a life long resident of Ecorse, born in Ecorse and educated in Ecorse. He was truly an Ecorse man.

Mr. Trondle graduated from Ecorse High School in 1936 and he was active in all athletics.

During the war he won the rate of master sergeant and served in an administrative capacity in military governments in Africa, Sicily, and Italy. Back from the war he was associated with Timken Axle as a rate clerk.

Mr. Trondle believed his long administrative experience qualified him for the office.

Trondle was married, lived at 18 Ridge Street, and was particularly interested in housing and in recreation.

Paul Vollmar

Paul Vollmar, running again for Ecorse City treasurer, had served as the city treasuer for the past 16 years.

Mr. Vollmar was first elected to the office in 1933 and he held the office continuously since 1933. During his regime, he instituted many reforms in the treasurer’s office whose work increased steadily during the past decade.

The collection of the winter tax, water bills, the handling of the new pension systems records and the collections of the tax roll which increased at least  a 1000 percent were part of his responsibilities.

He lived at 3994 High Street.

Edward Weiser

Edward A. Weiser, better known to his many friends as “Eddie,’ threw his hat into the political ring and he was a candidate for the Council. Eddie Weiser operated Eddie’s Variety Store at Jefferson and Auburn for 15 y ears and was particularly well known in the north end. He lived at 14 West Auburn Street.

Mr. Weiser served on the Ecorse Planning Commission and had taken a keen interest in the development of Ecorse.

Mr. Weiser was a successful businessman and a student of municipal government. He believed that government, like business, can be conducted efficiently and economically and still provide all necessary services.






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Brief Biographes of Ecorse Pioneers

by Kathy Warnes

George Behrling was born in Germany, March 30, 1823. He came to America in 1848 and settled in Wayne County. Since 1861he has lived in Ecorse, on a farm purchased at the time. He married Mary Mettie; they had two children, both died in infancy.

The 1880 census shows that several families from Prussia settled in Ecorse, including Christopher Volt, Henry Winter, Edward Lang, Henry Stubby, Frederick Smith and their families and the Jonks family.

John Boehle was born in Prussia, June 24, 1824. He came to America in June 1852 and settled in Detroit where he resided until 1857, when he moved to Taylor on a farm of 80 acres. In 1883 he purchased a farm of 100 acres in the town of Ecorse. He was a school director for three years. He married Minnie Grote of Detroit in August 1852. They had eight children:  Augustus, Mary, Emma, John, Henry, Minnie, Albert and Edward.

Alex Campau was born in a small frame house on West Jefferson in Ecorse in 1844. The second son of Mr. And Mrs. Alexis Campau, his Ecorse consisted of woods inhabited by Indians and a stagecoach making its first runs between Detroit and Monroe.

As a child, Alex went to a little frame school house on Salliotte Road, with a handful of boys gathering to learn ‘reading, ‘riting, and’rithmetic. But by the time he was eight years old, his father died and he had to quit school to work in the fields and help his mother in the house. She rented rooms to men who came to work on the laying of the first railroad line through the area – the old Lakeshore railroad. An Indian who was helping to build the railroad roomed at Mrs. Campau’s house and he took and instant liking to Alex and the two were fishing partners and bedfellows during the time the Indians stayed at the Campau home. Alex was still small when he sometimes rode the stage traveling to Monroe from Detroit. The driver was his distant cousin, and Alex found the hot and dusty ride to Monroe thrilling. He enjoyed the overnight stay in the inn, listening to the tales of fellow travelers and rose at dawn to make the long homeward ride. He married Adis Salliotte and they lived in Ecorse the rest of their lives. He is buried in St. Francis Xavier Cemetery. (Ecorse Cemetery)

Louis Cicotte, merchant and manufacturer of flour at Ecorse was born in 1812. His parents were born at Detroit and settled in Ecorse in 1815. They had a family of ten children. His father served in the War of 1812. In 1847, Louis married Fanny Beaubien who was born in Detroit 1826. They had seven children. Mr. Cicotte was a supervisor for seven years and constable, and custom home officer for twenty years. He erected his hotel in 1866 and owned a farm of 37 acres of land which he purchased in 1840 at $10 per acre.

Thomas Richard Drouillard was born in Ecorse Township in 1878 and lived in Ecorse all of his life.He and his wife Stella had a son Ari and three daughters, Mrs. Thomas Bourassa, Mrs. Wilbur Ray and Mrs. John Bartonic.  For many years he served as an Ecorse policeman.

He died on on July 12, 1950, at his residence, 4520 Monroe Street. His funeral was held on Saturday, July 16, 1950, from St. Francis Xavier Church and the Gallagher Funeral Home.   Elijah Goodell and Family. Family tradition says that the first Goodell in America was Robert Goodell who migrated to Salem, Massachusetts in 1634 from England where his family had fled in the mid 1500s to escape religious persecution in their native France. Tradition has it that these early French Huguenots changed the spelling of their family name from Goodelle to Goodell. Elijah Goodell and his wife Achsah Pickert Goodell and their family migrated from the Mohawk Valley in New York to Canada and eventually settled in Ecorse. The Goodell family’s log cabin home, one of the largest in Ecorse, served as a social, civic, and religious gathering place for the pioneer settlement. The Goodell family played an important part in Downriver history.

Abraham LeBlanc, a general farmer, was born at Ecorse, Michigan, October 17, 1820. His parents, Peter and Theresa Bourasson LaBlanc, settled at Ecorse in 1800. His father was born in France, was an extensive fur dealer, and fitted out for trading vessels. Abraham married Phyllis Perry in 1851. She was born in Canada. They had eight children. He owned 300 acres of fine farming land, and he was one of the active farmers in the Ecorse of his time.

John Baptiste Montie, 57, worked as a blacksmith. He and his wife Axie, 56, had a large family. According to the 1880 census they had five sons and a daughter. Elijah, 27, William 23, John, 21, and Francis J. 19, and Albert, 15. Emma was 17. The Montie sons were pioneers in the Ecorse Boat Club.

Allen Nowlin, 26, farmer and Maggie his wife, 24, lived in Ecorse. They had a year and a half old son, William.

Gustave Raupp was born in Baden, Germany, in 1848. His father was born in 1819, and came with his family to America in 1851, and settled at Brooklyn, New York, where his wife died in 1870, leaving four children, William, Mathais, Gustave, and Herman. William enlisted Co. H, 6th Michigan  Infantry, reenlisted and died in Fort Donaldson in 1864.  Gustave married Selina Peyette in 1884. They had two children. He held the office of town treasurer one term and supervisor, two terms. In 1877 he established the business firm of Salliotte & Raupp, lumber dealers and manufacturers of stave and hoops. Salliotte & Raupp did an extensive shipping business, employing some 100 to 150 persons.

Alexis M. Salliotte was born in Ecorse township in 1837. His father, Moses Salliotte, was born at Ecorse in 1806. His mother Charlotte Cook Salliotte was born at Yorkshire, England. They had seven children. The grandparents settled at Ecorse in 1800. Alexis married May Rousson in 1867, who was born at Ecorse. They had  nine children.. Mr. Salliotte, in 1845, kept a grocery and general supply store. In 1859,  he manufactured boots and shoes. In 1877 he became a member of the firm of Salliotte & Raupp, engaging in lumbering and the manufacture of staves. In 1879 the mill was destroyed by fire, and a new steam saw and planning mill was erected with capacity of 50,000 feet in ten hours. They also had mills at Ashley and Lansing, Michigan, and were extensive shippers of pine lumber. Mr. Salliotte served as town treasurer one term, town clerk two terms and postmaster 16 years.

Joseph Salliotte, merchant and proprietor of the Ecorse flour mills, was born in 1840. He was the son of Moses and Charlotte Cook Salliotte. His mother died in 1856; his mother was born at Yorkshire, England. Joseph’s grandparents settled at Ecorse in 1800. His grandfather died in 1816, his widow in 1862. Joseph married Mary Moran, in 1862, who was born in Ireland. They had five children. He engaged in the butchering business in 1862, and in 1882 opened a general grocery and supply store. In 1884 he built his steam flour mill, roller process and was also engaged in farming. He served as the Justice of the Peace for eight years.

Charles Tile or Tyer was born in Ecorse, Wayne County, July 15, 1864. His father, Charles Tyer, came to America from Germany in 1863, and settled in Ecorse. He had one brother and five sisters:  John, Sophia, Mary, Eliza, and Minnie, who died May 7, 1888, aged 31. Charles married Sophia Smith of Ecorse in 1887.



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Do You Have Any Information About These Ecorse Soldiers?

             by Kathy Warnes

I’ll have to step a bit out of my professional/objective voice for this post because I’m asking for your help and I have a deep personal interest in this topic.

You probably know by now that the Ecorse Presbyterian Church was torn down a few years ago.  When I was growing up in Ecorse I remember looking at this memorial plaque that was posted in the old brick Presbyterian Church and wondering about the soldiers whose names are on the plaque.  I am especially interested in World War II because my dad and my two uncles fought in the Coast Guard and the Army and my grandmother had a set of World War II in picture books in the book case in her living room that I sat and read by the hour.

When the 1970s era Ecorse Presbyterian Church was built, the plaque was installed in the shelter of the side door. When I lived in Ecorse in 2004-2006 – I was writing my dissertation about Ecorse – I passed the plaque on Sundays on the way into church and the names still intrigued me. Finally, I am trying to find out more about the soldiers listed on the plaque, but it’s a long, time consuming haul.

I’m publishing what information I have alongside their names. If you are related to them or know someone that is, of if you have any information about them at all, would you please email me?  My email is or

I am planning to do as comprehensive of an article about them as I can with what information I receive.  These soldiers are an important part of Ecorse history and I think it would be a travesty if their names and their memories faded into obscurity.

Robert Whitefield, Jr.

Robert Whitefield Jr. was a private first class in the Marine Corps.

According to the World War II Casualty records on,  Robert was killed in action and his mother Louise was listed as his next of kin.

The 1930 Census shows a Louise Whitefield, born about 1904. In 1930, 26 year old Louise was still living in Donora, Pennsylvania with her 30 year old husband, Robert, and their two children, Robert Jr., 7, and John,  3 ½.  Robert Sr. lists his occupation as a steelworker.

I still have to prove this – this is just speculation at this point – but I am thinking that since he was a steel worker, he may have been part of the migration of steelworkers who came to work at Great Lakes Steel Company in Ecorse in the years before World War II.  The Downriver Pennsylvania Club was founded by expatriate Pennsylvanians who came to Michigan to work in the mills.

Harry Morse, Jr.

Harry Morse, Jr. was a private in the Army. The Rosters of Michigan’s World War II Dead record on says that he was killed on November 8, 1944 in the Mediterranean.

His American Battle Monuments Record:  Private U.S. Army

   Harry W.     Morse
Entered the Service from: Michigan
Died: 16-Feb-44
Buried at: Plot I Row 7 Grave 69
Sicily-Rome American Cemetery
Nettuno, Italy
Awards: Purple Heart

If anyone has any information about his family     that would be very helpful in searching the census records.

Lambert A. Pfeiffer, Jr.

Lambert Pfeiffer, Jr. was a corporal in the United States Air Force. He was killed on June 16, 1944. He is buried in Ft. McPherson National Cemetery in Maxwell, Nebraska.

The 1930 Census shows that Lambert A. Pfeiffer, Sr. was bon about 1899 in Kentucky and in 1930 he lived in Allen Park, Michigan with his wife Meta H. Pfeiffer and his children Lambert A. Pfeiffer, Jr. 6, and Robert D. Pfeiffer, 3.

Joseph Hargreaves

Joseph Hargreaves was an Ensign in the United States Navy from Ecorse, according to the Michigan Casualties, World War II, record on  He was killed on August 29, 1944. N,9-4-44 U.S. according to that record.

Sometime  serendipity happens!  I thought Hargreaves sounded and spelled English, but I had no way of knowing for sure. Then when I was doing preliminary research about Joseph Hargreaves I found this posting on a World War II website.

The posting was from England Phil and it said that he “was trying to trace any details of an American Airman killed in 1944 in what looks to have been a training accident.”

He said that Joseph Hargreaves was 20 years old and was the son of James Henry and Josephine Hargreaves who had emigrated to Michigan from Widnes in 1920.

England Phil said that at the time of his death Joseph Hargreave’s address was given as “31 East Josephine Street, Michigan, U.S.A. although I suspect that address is incorrect.”

The details that I do have is that his aircraft was involved in a mid air collision. I have a photo of him in a Naval uniform which is why I suspect that he was a Naval flyer.


Other members of the World War II site discovered that James Henry Hargreaves arrived in New York on June 9, 1920, aboard the S.S. Baltic which depart from Liverpool. The immigration record stated that his wife was still living at 7 Travers St. Widnes, Lancs at the time he arrived and that he was going to Ford City, (Wyandotte later annexed Ford City) Michigan. He listed his occupation as Motor Attendant. His wife and two daughters joined him in Michigan in August 1920. Joseph Hargreaves was born in 1924.

Since I was not a registered member of the site, I couldn’t communicate directly with England Phil, but I I hastily sent an email to the webmaster asking England Phil to email me. I hope I hear from him so we can compare puzzle pieces about Joseph Hargreaves whose name is on the World War II plaque.

Fergus McMurdo

Fergus McMurdo or officially William S. McMurdo, was a Pfc in the Army who was killed on February 12, 1945 in France.

The 1930 Census shows that George McMurdo who was born about 1880 in Scotland now lived in Ecorse, Michigan, with his wife Elizabeth McMurdo and their children. Their children were James 24, Anna, 22, Charles, 20, Fergus, 18, George, 16, Peter, 12 and Robert, 8.


In July 1949, Reverend Leonard Duckett, pastor of the Ecorse Presbyterian Church, officiated at the reburial in Michigan Memorial Cemetery of Pfc. William McMurdo, the son of Mr. and Mrs. George McMurdo of Ecore. “Fergus,” as his friends and family called him, was killed in action on November 15, 1944 at Graylotte, France, after just fourteen months of service.

He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star. According to the citation issued by the War Department, McMurdo voluntarily made three trips through barbed wire entanglements to get grenades for his comrades who were trapped in advance trenches outside fortifications in the face of enemy fire. Later that day he was killed by enemy fire as he attempted to set up a machine gun.

I am hoping that you will send me enough information to do a very complete memorial article about these brave Ecorse soldiers.


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Have a Historical Holly Holiday!

by Kathy Warnes

Romans fashioned holly into bright wreaths,

Honored Saturnia with its green leaves,

Christians decorated both hearth and home

With holly to avoid the wrath of Rome.

As Christian numbers began to increase,

They removed holly from the Roman feast,

Using it to decorate instead,

The stable and the Christ Child’s manger bed.

Druids wove holly in their hair to go

In the woods with priests cutting mistletoe.

British farmers draped holly on beehives,

And the bees hummed the Christ Child lullabies.

Germans used holly from church as a charm

To keep lightning strikes from doing harm.

They believed that holly on the bedpost,

Would entice sweet dreams to satisfy most.

Germans brewed a strong holly elixir,

To sooth a sore throat and a cough to cure.

These customs – both fortunate and folly,

Explain “deck the halls with boughs of holly.”

Today, holly signifies joy and peace,

I wish you holly that will never cease!

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A Pitt Street in Ecorse Christmas

by Kathy Covert Warnes

The fishpond in beside the Fire Department which was located in the old Ecorse City Hall.

Of the Covert tribe of eleven kids, nine of us  were born in Michigan, lived on Pitt Street in Ecorse and like our mother before us, we went to School One. I’m sure I’m not the only former pupil who remembers the School One teachers. Mrs. Pudvan  was my first grade at School One. Mrs. Trickey was my second grade teacher at School One, Miss Ouelette my third grade teacher, Miss Heater my fourth, Miss Christine McKenzie my fifth and Mr. Magnus Meier my sixth grade teacher.

 I remember walking to School One every day from the house at 4276 Pitt Street, down High Street across from the Trunk Factory, and across Cicotte Street. Then there were a long two blocks to cover past the old brick Ecorse City Hall and a stop at the fishpond by the fire station. Whenever I had a penny to spare, I threw it in to join the other pennies sparkling on the bottom of the pond and made a wish. After the fish pond, a quick dash across the single railroad track ( it’s still there) and a complete stop at the corner of Labadie and High where the Sixth grade safety patrol boys helped us get across High Street safely and into the school yard.

 My brother Joe is the center of one School One memory that we still laugh about. The day that Joe started kindergarten at School One, I was safely upstairs in Sixth grade. It wasn’t difficult to ignore the fact that yet another Covert brother was invading my school space until Joe decided to break my anonymity. He was a Mama’s boy and he definitely didn’t want to be separated from her during the day. He was crying when he arrived and he didn’t stop crying after our mother left.  Up in the sixth grade room, we could hear him crying all of the way from the downstairs kindergarten room.  “I want my Mommy,” he bellowed. “Mommy! Mommy!”

 I managed to concentrate on my history book – Mr. Meier taught us ancient history in the sixth grade, which was a blessing to me although a curse to many of my classmates. The volume of Joe’s crying continued to rise until the entire school could no longer ignore him. A frazzled teacher came up and knocked on the door of the sixth grade room. To my great embarrassment, Mr. Meier summoned me up to his desk and asked me to go downstairs and see if I could calm Joe down. Reluctantly, I went.  Instead of  a kind, soothing message, I told Joe that he was embarrassing me to death and he’d better shut up.

He didn’t.  Finally, the kindergarten teacher gave up and called my mom.  I knew it wasn’t a convincing position, but for weeks afterward I pretended not to know him.

 Another good School One memory is the class Christmas parties.  Mom baked Christmas cookies for us to take to school and helped me and my brothers pick out 25 cent gifts at Ben Franklin for our class gift exchange. But the most exciting event except for Christmas Eve was the Christmas party at the city garage. Our house onPitt Streetwas just across Benson from the city garage. I didn’t pay too much attention to it the rest of the year, but at Christmas it turned magic. You see, Santa Claus made an early stop at the garage on a Saturday early in December with a bag of gifts for the neighborhood kids. The day of his scheduled stop, I scouted out the place early. I was determined not to miss Santa and I was just as determined to ask him for a baseball. I knew that if I had a new baseball I could get my fellow six grader Bill to notice me during our baseball games in the vacant lot by his house. Maybe he would even walk me home from School One.

 This Saturday before Christmas, I did get to the garage early. In fact, one of the men running back and forth unloading a truck load of boxes asked me what I was doing there so early. “I need to talk to Santa,” I told him.

 “He’s not here yet. Come back in an hour or so.”

 I went home and hung around the kitchen with Ma for an hour or so. Then I went back. “Is Santa here yet?” I asked one of the men who was still unloading boxes.

 The man pointed to a door in the back of the building. “He’s combing his beard,” the man said. “Just get in line and you’ll be able to talk to him.”

 I didn’t get in line. Instead I ran to the door that the man had pointed out and threw it open. Santa Claus stood in front of the mirror combing his white beard. “I need a brand new baseball,” I said.

 “Ho ho ho, Merry Christmas,” he said, reaching inside of his bag. He not only gave me a baseball, he gave me a bat to go with it.  “Wait a minute, don’t you want me to wrap them up?” he asked.

 “I want them just like this,” I called over my shoulder as I hightailed it out of the garage. “Thank you for the best Christmas ever, Santa.”

 It was a good Christmas. We had pancakes for supper that Christmas Eve, because Mom said that she and Dad gave a lot of their money to Santa Claus for Christmas presents.  I ate my pancakes without a blink. I liked pancakes and I was so happy with my baseball and bat I would have eaten pancakes the rest of the year without complaining.

 That spring Bill and me and the rest of the neighborhood kids played baseball into the warm twilight evenings and he even told me that I was a good player. We went steady for a while that next fall and I was certain that the baseball and bat from the Ecorse municipal garage Santa helped our romance.

Alas, by the next Christmas, we had broken up.  Our romance proved to be as short lived as the gaily wrapped packages that Santa gave away at those Ecorse municipal garage parties. But the memories will last as long as  Christmas.

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Captain Owen McCauley and His Daughter Clementine

by Kathy Warnes

Clementine McCauley and her father, Captain Owen J. McCauley, were both born within the sound of Lake Michigan waves, and both retired toLake Michigan.

Clementine McCauley, principal of the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Elementary School in Ecorse, Michigan, retired in June 1964 at the end of the school year, two years before she reached the maximum retirement age.

She taught continuously in the Ecorse Public Schools for forty years, beginning in September 1924 through June 1964 and spent twenty two of those years as a kindergarten teacher at School Two, fifteen years as principal of School Two, and three years as principal of the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Elementary School.

Miss McCauley earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1937 and a Master of Arts degree in 1947, both fromWayneStateUniversity. Later she did graduate work atColumbiaUniversityinNew YorkandBostonUniversity.

Beginning her teaching career in Jonesville in 1920, in 1921 Miss McCauley taught inRapid River,Michigan. From 1922 to 1924 she taught inOwosso,Michigan, and came to Ecorse in September of 1924. While teaching in Ecorse, Miss McCauley continued her education and qualified herself as a clinical psychologist. During her principal ship she gave part of her time as a clinical psychologist and also administered a portion of the testing program throughout the system.

Upon learning of Miss McCauley’s decision, Ralph Brant, superintendent of schools, asked her to reconsider her decision to retire and to serve the two remaining years to the maximum retirement date. She declined and said that she wanted to retire now after serving 44 years in the educational field. She felt she deserved a real rest and she wished to turn her duties over to a younger person. Superintendent Brant accepted her resignation regretfully and expressed his deepest regrets that the children of Ecorse would have to lose such a devoted friend.

“I have never been more proud of an elementary principal than I have been of Miss McCauley during the three years she has served as the first principal of the newJohnFitzgeraldKennedySchool,” Superintendent Brant said. “She took the position in September of 1961 at my insistence because her experience and ability were needed at that school. I have been pleased and proud of the attitude that I have seen exemplified by the boys and girls in the school, which indicates the fine climate that she and her staff have been able to instill in the student body,” he continued.

Besides her duties as principal, Miss McCauley had to give up many other duties. She was a member of the Board of Directors of the Rouge-Ecorse United Centers, and she served the Downriver Child Guidance Clinic for several years.After she retired, Miss McCauley moved to her family home inSt. Joseph,Michigan.

Miss McCauley’s hometown paper, the Beaver Beacon, which was published onBeaverIsland, commented on her retirement in July 1964. It noted that “former Islander Clementine McCauley, Principal of Kennedy Elementary School, Ecorse, was honored for having served there for 40 years.” One of the people attending the ceremony was Edward O’Donnell, president of Lincoln Products inLincoln Park. He had been her classmate onBeaverIsland and procured the Zoltan Sepsehy mural that hangs in theMarineMuseum there.

A story in the Lighthouse Digest in 1977 revealed more of the secret past of Ecorse principal Miss Clementine McCauley.In 1900, her father Captain Owen J. McCauley was a 31 year old assistant keeper in the United States Lighthouse Service. In December of 1900 her father was one of five people who spent 23 frigid hours on an overturned sailboat inLake Michigan.

Miss McCauley remembered that her pregnant mother, Mary, had stayed at home on BeaverIslandbecause she was waiting for her baby—Clementine herself– to be born. “If my mother had gone on that trip, I wouldn’t be here today,” she said.

On December 14, 1900, William H. Shields, keeper of the Squaw Island Lighthouse, northwest of BeaverIsland, decided it was time to shut down for the winter. The weather outside was so cold that it produced a dense, fifteen foot cloud of vapor over the lake. Keeper Shields turned off the light in the lighthouse and he and the other four members of his party climbed into the Mackinac sailboat that served the lighthouse for the nine mile trip toBigBeaverIsland.  Shields, his wife, her niece, Lucy Davis ofRichmond,Indiana, first assistant keeper Captain McCauley and second assistant, Lucien Morden of Montague, had no reason to think that the trip would be anything but routine.

They certainly weren’t worried about the Mackinac sailboat they were using. The open twenty two footer was standard equipment for the light keepers and was a two mastered gaffrigger with a jib, foresail and mainsail. Most of the people who used the Mackinac boat thought of her as an easily handled, centerboard boat, pointed at both bow and stern.

The wind blew moderately from the northeast and the fog lifted as they set sail. Keeper Shields estimated that the trip toBigBeaverIslandwould take two hours.Things went well for about ten minutes, but then the wind suddenly shifted into alternately steady breezes, then total calm. The calm suddenly turned into storm. The boat stood still in the water and the icy mists had evaporated when Assistant keeper McCauley saw a “puff of wind” from the north bearing down on them.

Captain McCauley yelled a warning to Shields at the helm, but the squall smashed into them before he could slacken the sails or turn into the wind. Unbalanced to one side, the Mackinac boat heeled over until the sails lay flat on the water.

Shields and his wife, Lucian Morden and Mrs. Davis landed in the lake, while Captain McCauley managed to scramble over the gunwale as the boat tipped. The men hauled the gasping and helpless women up to the centerboard trunk and then to a prone position on the side of the hull.  For the time being they were chilled to the bone, but safe.

The five stranded people didn’t have the strength to right the tipped Mackinac boat and it stayed on its side. Captain McCauley threw all of their belongings out of the cockpit to make the boat as buoyant as possible. The men used lines from the rigging to securely tie the women, but their feet and lower legs remained in the water.

Shivering violently with cold, the group huddled together and searched the horizon for a ship or point of land. The squall passed, leaving the air clear and the lake calm. The stranded group saw several fishing tugs throughout the day, but the distance was too great for the fishing tug crews to see them in the water. The Mackinac boat continued to drift south.

As darkness coveredLake Michigan, the stranded five saw the lights of the returning fishing tugs, but the tug crews didn’t hear their shouts. After about eight hours adrift in the lake, the two women froze to death and Lucian Morden, numb from the cold, lost his hold on the boat and slipped under the waves. Light keeper Shields and Captain McCauley clung to the side of the hull through the bitterly cold night. Shields suffered not only his own physical torment, but from the anguish of seeing the dead body of his wife dangling on a rope in the water below.

As dawn broke, the two survivors saw that they were no closer to land and not a ship was in sight. They were freezing and very hungry, and now a brisk southeast wind flung occasional gusts of snow at them. By late morning they had drifted far out into the ship channel and swung to the north. Captain McCauley saw smoke on the horizon, but then a snow squall blotted it out. He urged Shields to keep up his courage because he was certain that a steamer lay just to the north. Finally, a large ship, the steamerManhattan, a Gilchrist line steamer which was bound forManitowocwith a cargo of coal, moved broadside to the wrecked boat, blew four short blasts, hove to and lowered a boat.

Captain McCauley thought he might be hallucinating as he watched four oarsmen bring the life boat alongside. Captain McCauley boarded the life boat himself, but Shields had to be lifted, because he couldn’t walk in his half-frozen state. The crew removed the ice covered bodies of the women and rowed the lifeboat back to theManhattan. Both of the survivors were badly frozen, especially keeper Shields, and the next morning when the Manhattan arrived in Manitowoc, they were taken to the Hospital of the Holy Family

Keeper Shields had badly frozen hands and feet, and remained in the hospital for six months. The doctors had to remove one of his legs at the knee. After he left the hospital, the United States Lighthouse service appointed Shields keeper at the newly built lighthouse at Charlevoix and he served there until he retired in April 1924. He died in September 1925.McCauley was in better condition.  He was discharged from the hospital and arrived home at BeaverIslandDecember 26th.  Because of poor communications between Beaver Island and the mainland, Mary McCauley didn’t learn that her husband was alive until weeks after the Captain had been rescued and hospitalized.

Despite the fact that both Captain McCauley and Keeper Shields continued to keep lights for the Lighthouse Service, the United States government did not pay for their expenses while they were hospitalized at the Hospital of the Holy Family in Manitowoc. According to a Detroit Free Press story dated November 15, 1901, the United States comptroller said that under existing laws the government had no authority to pay the hospital expenses for Keeper Shields and first assistant McCauley. He added that the government had no legal obligation to provide for the care of sick or disabled officers or employees.

A native of BeaverIsland, Captain McCauley joined the Lighthouse Service in 1898 and after the near fatal accident in the Mackinaw Boat and his recovery, the government promoted him to principal keeper of Squaw Island Light. He kept the Squaw Island Light until it closed in 1928 and then the Lighthouse Service transferred him to the St. Joseph Light.  He kept the St. Joseph Light until he retired in 1936.

Captain McCauley and his daughter Clementine were staunch examples of the maritime tradition of BeaverIsland.

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