All posts by Amy Barritt

Amy Barritt, MSI, CA, is the Special Collections Librarian at Traverse Area District Library and President of the Women's History Project of Northwest Michigan. Amy has a passion for helping people find information. "Grand Traverse Journal" is her first foray in to library-sponsored self-publishing.

The Fire at Wilson Furniture Company, 1955

An unassuming black binder was unearthed in the Local History Collection at Traverse Area District Library (TADL) this past month, which tells the forgotten story of the disastrous fire the Wilson Furniture Company survived in 1955. The fire started on the ground floor shortly after closing time, and first blew out the great display windows facing Union Street before quickly spreading through the four-story building. It was considered a serious disaster, resulting in over $200,000 worth of damage, and forcing the Company to close that location for a full two years.

When the store reopened in July 1957, it was to many accolades published in the Traverse City Record-Eagle by fellow Union Street businesses, like the Hubbell’s Service Station ad pictured here:

Advertisement from Hubbell’s Service Station on the reopening of Wilson Furniture Company on Union Street, Traverse City “Record-Eagle,” 15 July 1957.

The binder of material actually came not from the archives of Wilson Furniture Company, as one might expect, but from the papers of their insurance agent, Jack Coddington Fitzmaurice. Jack was the owner of Fitzmaurice Insurance Agency, which later became Fitzmaurice Garwin Insurance when Jack took on partner Gary Garwin.

Image copyright The Camera Shop, Traverse City (Mich.)

It’s an interesting look into how insurance claims were handled in 1955. Although brief, the correspondence included is explicit about F.D. Leonard’s, then President of the Wilson Furniture Company, satisfaction with Jack and his work. Jack coordinated the efforts of the Michigan Millers Mutual Insurance Company (which he was an agent of) and the Employers Mutual Companies to ensure that Wilson’s not only received the funds needed to rebuild, but to ensure that the staff was retained and compensated.

Three aged and cancelled checks are included with the collection, all from the Michigan Millers Mutual Insurance Company, totaling $76,201.27 paid out in workers’ lost wages. Does that name sound familiar? It should! You will recall in February 2017, the Grand Traverse Journal revealed that Millers Mutual is the long-time home of Queen City No. 2, the second steam-powered fire engine operated in Traverse City.

When we published that story, local historians were at a loss as to how Millers Mutual came to own the engine. Discovered amongst Jack’s papers was an article clipped from a 1965 Record-Eagle, revealing the provenance as the steamer was sold from one private owner to the next, ultimately ending up in the Millers Mutual collection. It is more than satisfying to find these disparate pieces of history and find a cohesive narrative within them.

Image is copyright The Camera Shop, Traverse City (Mich.)

Look at these rediscovered photographs, and imagine the front of Wilson Antiques as it looks today. I suppose we need to thank Jack for that astounding transformation!

TADL’s Local History Collection is made up of stories like Wilson Furniture’s, Jack’s, and thousands of others. What will you find?

Amy Barritt is co-editor of Grand Traverse Journal.

April Events Sure to Inspire and Inform

TAHS presents Norton Bretz on “A Murder in Eastport, 1870,” April 9th

A Murder in Eastport: An 1870 Family Story of Racial Profiling
By Norton Bretz, President of Eastport Historical Society
Sunday, April 9th, 1pm

This talk will examine a fascinating 1870 murder that echoes issues our country still deals with today.

On June 12, 1870, a black man named William Swan was walking along what is now US31 near near Eastport. William and his family had been living in the Charlevoix area for over five years, the only black residents of the county. He was was shot and killed by two Civil War veterans, for no apparent reason. The shooters would be acquitted.

Come hear Mr. Bretz, a descendant of these veterans, give a lively recounting of this event and its aftermath.

Norton Bretz is President of the Eastport Historical Society. He spent his career as a nuclear physicist at Princeton University. He is a Michigan native who grew up spending summers in Eastport.

Program is free and open to the public. Program will take place Sunday, April 9th, from 1-3pm, at the Traverse Area District Library, Children’s Story Room, 610 Woodmere Ave.

Boardman River Nature Center hosts Drinking Water Screening and Program on the Boardman River

Image courtesy of Gabe Popa, available on his Flickr page.

Stop by to discover what the Boardman River Nature Center (BRNC) has to offer! From 10:00-12:00pm, GTCD and the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assistance Program (MAEAP) are holding a FREE domestic drinking water well screening. For more information, click here.

Visit us from 1:00pm-2:30pm to join our educator as we learn all about the Boardman River. We will work with our indoor stream table, hike along the Boardman, and create a fun craft to take home. Ideal for ages 4+. These Saturday events are free and open to the public.

Annual Parklands Spring Clean-up in Grand Traverse County

When: Multiple Wednesdays – April 5th, April 12th, and April 19th, from 9:30am-12:00pm
Where: Various parklands throughout Grand Traverse County

Shortly after snowmelt is a great time of year to remove unwanted debris and miscellaneous items from our local parklands. In addition to cleaning up the parks, small scale park enhancement projects will take place. Contact us today to learn more about which parklands will be of focus this year, and what you can do to help!

Registration: RSVPs are required; contact Reb Ratliff at rratliff@gtcd.org or 231.941.0960×27, or Tom Vitale at tvitale@gtcd.org or 231.941.0960×19.

March Events for History and Culture

Kathy Firestone on “The History of Power Island,” March 19th

On the 3rd Sunday of every month, the Traverse Area Historical Society presents a program on local history. This month, we welcome author Kathy Firestone, who will speak on the History of Power Island, that famed plot of land in West Grand Traverse Bay that was the playground of the likes of Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, Thomas Edison and Babe Ruth.

Program is free and open to the public. Program will take place Sunday, March 19th, from 1-3pm, at the Traverse Area District Library, McGuire Room, 610 Woodmere Ave.

OAC’s 2017 Class Schedule is Online and Registration is Open!

The Oliver Art Center is pleased to announce its 2017 Summer Class Line-up! Registration can be done on our website, under the ‘Classes’ tab on the top menu or by calling the office at (231) 352-4151. Students will find classes in painting, drawing, collage, furniture, writing, ceramics, quilting, cooking, and special classes just for youth.

Returning favorites such as Peggy Hawley, Edee Joppich, Cedar Kindy, Beth Bynum and Tony Couch are joined by new instructors Julie Keck (copper enamel jewelry making), Jenni Bateman (silk painting), Heidi Finley (marbeling on paper and silk) and Karen West (iPhone and abstract photography). Douglas David returns this year with still life painting and David Abeel is back with Windsor woodworking.

The culinary arts program welcomes back Joe Muer with four classes on seafood and fish as well as Jim Voltz with classes on brunch and soups. Oliver Art Center is pleased to welcome Sara Hartley from Cherry Republic with four baking/pastry classes.

Youth classes are back in drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture and felting. Register early for these popular summer activities.  The ceramics program is growing as well! Every Thursday is Open Studio and no experience is required. Keep an eye on the website for more beginner adult and kid ceramics classes.

“This year’s line-up is one of our best yet. We conducted a community survey late last year and asked what our community was looking for in classes. We took all the comments into consideration when booking this year’s classes and we hope that the community responds well to what we are offering. We are also looking to attract more youth to our center with many different classes for all ages” says Mercedes Michalowski, Executive Director.

Oliverartcenterfrankfort.org
Facebook.com/oliverartcenter

132 Coast Guard Road
PO Box 1513
Frankfort, MI 49635
Tel: 231.352.4151
Fax: 231.352.8017

Reader Clears the Bar with Correct Answer

This bar is the only remaining building of the largest employer in Traverse City in 1917.  What is the name of that company?

Congratulations to reader Larry, for his correct answer!: “That is currently ‘Side Traxx’, located at south end of Franklin street. I believe the company was ‘Oval Wood Dish Factory’ which left Traverse City in 1917.”

A causal exploration of the grounds by Your Editors yielded little evidence of the building’s former use. Should you visit, take a look for yourself! A number of interesting features, including frames of windows visible on the outside but not on the inside, and layers of wood paneling, gives us much to speculate on.

History Talks in the Month of February

“The Dennos Museum Center – 25 Years and Growing,” talk delivered by Eugene Jenneman to the OMPHS

The Old Mission Peninsula Historical Society will meet at 7:00 p.m.February 2, 2017, at the Old Mission Township Hall, 13235 Center Road, Traverse City.

A short business meeting will begin at 7:00 p.m., followed by a
presentation by Dennos Museum Executive Director, Eugene Jenneman, on “The Dennos Museum Center – 25 Years and Growing.”

The meeting is open to the public, and visitors are welcome. Donations are encouraged, as the Historical Society maintains many spots of interest on the Old Mission Peninsula.

For further information, please e-mail President Barbara Berthelson at bbrthlsn@gmail.com , or telephone Judith Weaver at 231-947-0947.

“Steamers of the Grand Traverse Bay Line,” Steve Kelsch to address TAHS

“The Missouri,” at a dock in Traverse City, undated.
On the 3rd Sunday of every month, the Traverse Area Historical Society presents a program on local history. This month, we welcome Society favorite Steve Kelsch, who will speak on Steamers of the Grand Traverse Bay Line.
Program is free and open to the public. Program will take place Sunday, February 19th, from 1-3pm, at the Traverse Area District Library, McGuire Room, 610 Woodmere Ave.

Women’s History Project hosts program on “Reliving the Women’s March”

All are welcome to participate in an informal discussion  hosted by the Women’s History Project of Northwest Michigan on the Women’s March on Washington, which took place on January 21 in Washington, D.C.  Several attendees, including local organizer Becky Beauchamp, will answer questions about their experience.

Attendance is encouraged for all those who participated and those who wished they could, and anyone who has ideas about the March, women, and our place in history.  The WHP Souper Sunday is an annual event for the public, featuring camaraderie, a casual and delicious soup luncheon, and a thought-provoking program.

Program will be Sunday, February 5th, from 12:30-2:30pm, in the McGuire Room of the Traverse Area District Library, 610 Woodmere Avenue. Your $5 donation gets you entrance, as well as a hearty lunch catered by Centre Street Café. To reserve your place, contact Sandy at 231-421-3343 or at sansep19@earthlink.net.

Steamers Stump Readers for January Mystery

Here are two images of the Queen City No. 2 Steamer, separated by more than 200 years. Traverse City’s second Steamer is still preserved at a location near Lansing, Michigan. Where would you go to view the two steamers? Extra credit if you get both!

Sorry, readers! No one gets the accolades this month. So where can you find both of these standing relics, true testaments to the ingenuity of our historic fire fighters! The Traverse City Steamer is located at Fire Station No. 1, on West Front Street.

The Steamer in Lansing  is on display near the Michigan Millers Insurance entrance drive, on Grand River Avenue. Restoration for this steamer was completed by Paul J. Baker, Vice President, an expert in the restoration of antique automobiles. The restored pumper was first placed on display for the public to see in early 1958, according to the Michigan Millers Facebook page.

History New and Old in January 2017

“Reliving the Women’s March” by Becky Beauchamp and March Attendees

Women’s History Project’s Souper Sunday is Sunday, February 5th
All are welcome to participate in a non-formal discussion of the Women’s March on Washington, January 2017, at the Women’s History Project’s annual Souper Sunday. Several attendees, including Becky Beauchamp, a local organizer, will be present to answer questions about their experience. Attendance is encouraged for all  those who participated and those who wished they could, and anyone who has ideas about the March, women and our place in history.


The WHP Souper Sunday is an annual event for the public, featuring camaraderie, a casual and delicious soup luncheon, and a thought-provoking program, all for a $5 donation. The event will take place on Sunday, February 5th, from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the McGuire Room of the Traverse Area District Library, 610 Woodmere Avenue, and will feature our traditional hearty lunch of soup, bread and desert – catered by Centre Street Café. Reservations are requested by February 1st. Call 231 421-3343 or email sansep19@earthlink.net.

Benzie Area Historical Museum presents program on “The House of David”

Thursday, January 12, 2017, “The House of David”  by Al Bryant. The House of David, a religious commune founded by Benjamin and Mary Purnett in Benton Harbor, MI, in March 1903, had a branch in Aral, MI, a ghost town which is now part of Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore in Benzie County  They were nationally know for their baseball teams, music bands and for the fact that men and women lived separately.

Al Bryant graduated from Olivet College and Western Michigan University, and gives programs for libraries, museums, schools, clubs, churches and libraries.

Cook to address Traverse Area Historical Society on Odawa Anishinabek History

Image courtesy of the Band.

JoAnne Cook will speak about the History of the Odawa Anishinabek people from the Grand Traverse Region in the McGuire Room at Traverse Area District Library, 610 Woodmere, on Sunday, January 15th, from 1-2:30pm.

JoAnne Cook is from Peshawbestown, Michigan. In 2012 she was elected to the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa/Chippewa Tribal Council. JoAnne’s professional experience has been with Tribal Courts. She was involved in the organization of Peacemaking and Healing to Wellness Court (Drug Court) – alternative courts utilizing tradition and culture to promote healing and restorative balance for those involved. She believes tradition and culture is vital to the Anishinabe way of life and has continued with her learning of the 3 Fires people. She presents to various communities on the way of life and culture of the Odawa. In addition, she has taught a course titled Native Law and Culture.

Miss Edna Wilhelm, Carnival Queen of 1900

A mystery photograph was discovered in the depths of the local history collection at Traverse Area District Library. The image was of a young woman, finely arrayed in a crown and cape, the picture of regal. Our only clues: the photographer’s studio (E.N. Moblo of Traverse City,) and a name written in white (Edna Regina).

Who is she, and why the get-up? Researcher Julie Schopieray had to know. Fortunately, the digitized newspapers collection revealed further clues. In the November 4, 1900 edition of The Morning Record (a predecessor newspaper to the Traverse City Record-Eagle), a brief article announced to the public that “Photographer Moblo has completed an elegant photograph, 11×14, of Miss Edna Wilhelm, arrayed in the beautiful costume she wore as queen of the Carnival on the night of the third of July.”

This revelation blew the case open. Traverse City did indeed host a three-day carnival on July 3-5, 1900. It must have been a well-anticipated event, as both the steam ships and the trains ran special routes for the occasion. The Silver Brothers’ New Tent Novelty Show and Great Trained Animal Exhibition traveled north to provide entertainment to the masses. All manner of street and Caledonian games were played throughout the city, and at least two parades and “the most brilliant display of Fireworks ever seen in Northern Michigan” were sure signs that the City was out to have a good time.


Edna was crowned Queen of the Carnival at a grand reception in the City Opera House, featuring a 14-piece orchestra. From there, she and her suite rode in the “illuminated parade” through town. The parade organizers promised “some surprises… never before seen in this part of the state.” The evening culminated in a reception and ball at the City Opera House. On the 5th, Queen Edna reigned over the Traverse City Driving Park’s horse racing events from her “position of state in the grand stand.” The newspaper announced that her reign “was short but brilliant and triumphant.”

Perhaps even more thrilling than the Carnival itself was the race for the Queenship, an elected position. Such was the furor of the election, that votes were announced every half an hour, starting in the early evening and not finishing until 10 o’clock that night. Edna won by a large margin, receiving 3,423 votes. After her came Miss Minnie Rattenbury, with only 1,216 votes to her cause. Each dollar donated to offset the cost of the Carnival equaled one vote. One “anonymous” gentleman (although the newspaper identified him, based on the thickness of his voting envelope) placed $253 in Edna’s tally box, no small sum in 1900!

How was the news received? According to The Morning Record, “As soon as the result was announced there was a cheer and immediately there was a rush for the door. The band began a march and a line was formed in the street. In a few moments the crowd started for the residence of Miss Wilhelm where that lady was cordially congratulated upon the result of the contest and a serenade was given.” We can only imagine the glow on Edna’s cheeks upon seeing the throngs serenading her on her own doorstep!

The Carnival Committee was bound to prepare a fine celebration, paying attention to all the details, not the least of which was Queen Edna’s apparel. The “regal robes and crown” were acquired at once, and the Committee was quoted on the matter, stating “it is a foregone conclusion that the magnificence of her apparel will excel anything ever seen in this city.” By the photograph that remains, we agree with the Committee: fine attire for a fine lady.

Edna was a woman with moxie, it seems. In addition to performing her duties as queen admirably, she was the chief operator for Citizens Telephone, and she once saved the books of that business from going up in flames in a 1901 fire. She was the daughter of Frank and Anna Wilhelm, and sister to Gilbert and Blanche Violet.

 

December Events for History Lovers

Benzie Audubon Club Leads Waterfowl Search, Christmas Bird Count

Join our friends at the Benzie Audubon Club and get outside! On Saturday, December 10, at 9:30 a.m., Carl Freeman will be leading the group in search of  waterfowl on Lower Herring Lake. Meet at the Lower Herring Lake public access. Contact Carl Freeman (231-352-4739) with questions.

Red-necked Grebe with chicks. By Lukasz Lukasik (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons. [Editor's note: Grebes are not found in Michigan. We just loved this photo.]
Red-necked Grebe with chicks.
By Lukasz Lukasik (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons. [Editor’s note: Grebes are not found in Michigan. We just loved this photo.]
Then on Sunday, December 18 at 8:00 a.m., the annual Christmas Bird Count is on! Readers will recall that one of our regular contributors covered this event last year. For Benzie County Residents: Contact Carl Freeman (231-352-4739) to sign up with a group to count birds in a defined territory or John Ester (231-325-2445) to count birds at your feeder (and yard) at home. At the end of the birding day come together for a potluck supper at the Benzonia Township Hall to share birding stories and tally our results.

For Antrim County Christmas Bird Count on December 14, contact Coordinator John Kreag (231) 264-8969 or cell (231) 360-0943

For Grand Traverse County Christmas Bird Count on December 17, contact Coordinator Ed Moehle (231) 947-8821

Traverse Area Historical Society Recalls Christmases of Traverse City’s Past

401“Christmas from the Archives: Vignettes of Christmas from Traverse City’s Past,” presented by past Historical Society Archivist, Peg Siciliano.

Images of Northern Michigan winter holidays will accompany stories of Christmas happenings from Traverse City’s past. Christmas items from the historical archives will be displayed.

Join us for the program on Sunday, December 18th at 2pm., in the McGuire Room of the Traverse Area District Library on Woodmere Ave.

Old Fashioned Potluck Christmas Party & Caroling

130110141377-4
Unknown family at Christmas. From the Al Barnes Photograph Collection, Traverse Area District Library.

Old Mission Historical Society will host an “Old Fashioned Potluck Christmas Party & Caroling” at the American Legion Post, 4007 Swaney Rd., Old Mission. Doors, 5:30pm; dinner, 6pm. 231-223-7746.

“Fruit Growing from a Woman’s Standpoint”: an address to the State Horticultural Society by an Elberta Woman, 1912

Recently acquired by the Traverse Area District Library is a slim volume, the Forty-Second Annual Report of the Secretary of the State Horticultural Society of Michigan for the year 1912. The volume contains all the addresses and discussions held at the Society meeting on November 12-14, 1912, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Topics centered around fruit growing, and included caring for the young orchard, preventing frost damage, watering techniques, and more.

The following selection was an address delivered by Mrs. Edith Rose, of Elberta, Benzie County, Michigan. According to Edith, she and her husband Paul moved to Benzie County about 1890, and there started an orchard. Edith’s concerns had much less to do with the actual growing of fruit than the operation of the farm.  She does an admirable job discussing labor relations, racism, and prejudice against women. As an example of the last, Edith’s first name did not appear in the publication, and I was obliged to discover it through the Federal census, Benzie County.

Please note that the opinions expressed by Edith are her own, and not those of any staff member of Traverse Area District Library, or the editors of Grand Traverse Journal. Enjoy Fruit Growing from a Woman’s Standpoint:

“Mrs. Paul Rose, Elberta

Mr. President, Gentlemen and Ladies: Inasmuch as we are supposed to be it, I will show due respect to the gentlemen by addressing them first. When I read the program and saw that I was the only woman on the program, I wondered who the program committee had a grudge against- whether the audience or myself. You will no doubt find before I am through with what I am going to say that I am not a talker, but Mr. Rose is here, and so I will say no public talker. If I had been giving more time to speaking, you see I would have had less time for fruit growing.

Nearly 20 years ago a man and his wife, living near Benton Harbor, packed their household goods, loaded them into a car and started them up north, to Benzie county.

While they were being loaded a rain which turned into sleet came up and ruined everything, so far as varnish was concerned. A superstitious person would have take it as a sign to give up the job, but they were not superstitious so kept on with their work.

Cherry Orchard of Guy Tompkins, Grand Traverse Peninsula. From "Forty-Second Annual Report of the Secretary of the State Horticultural Society of Michigan for the Year 1912."
Cherry Orchard of Guy Tompkins, Grand Traverse Peninsula. From “Forty-Second Annual Report of the Secretary of the State Horticultural Society of Michigan for the Year 1912.”

In the car with the household goods were two horses, a cow and a calf, a very fine calf. When the engineer came to get the emigrant car, he seemed to have been out of humor (perhaps his wife had not made him a  good cup of coffee that morning for his breakfast). He struck the car so hard, it threw the car door open and the little calf fell out. The man with the car asked the conductor to wait for him to put the calf back into the car, only to be told to get in or get left.

As there was no way to let any one know of the predicament the calf was in, she wandered in the freight yards crying for her mama until the next day, when a good German woman took pity on little black bossy and put her in a barn and fed her.

Later the Railroad Co. was notified they would have to deliver said calf to her destination, which they did, giving her a ride in the express car.

Three years later, Black Bossy was a cow, and probably thinking to save the housewife any extra work, skimming milk and churning cream, she gave skim milk. Six months later all they had left of Black Bossy was a beautiful black Poled Angus robe.

When the household goods arrived up north, his wife and their little three-year-old daughter, their foreman’s wife and little daughter, started for the north woods as their friends thought.

When they reached Thompsonville they were notified there was a strike on the Ann Arbor Railroad and no one knew when there would be a train, so they went to a nearby hotel (this was 10 o’clock at night) only to be told it was full. They went back to the depot and found there would be a train in a few minutes, that would take them within four miles of their home. Thinking it would be better to be four miles than twenty as they were then, they took the train which arrived in the freight yards of So. Frankfort about midnight, where they were told there was no hotel nearer then a  mile, no bus, no telephone, everything a glare of ice, and two little girls asleep, baggage, band boxes, bird-cage and such things that go with moving.

While deciding the next move to make two jolly traveling men offered to carry the little girls, which removed the greatest trouble, and they all started for a hotel. It probably was the first real work those men ever did. for they did some puffing before getting those little girls where they could walk, but very gentlemanly, saw the comical side of the affair.

The next day was bright and pretty and the husband, thinking to get some word from his little family drove to town, to find them waiting to be taken out to their first home of 80 acres of stumps, brush, and woodland, which was the nucleus around which has been builded [sic] what is now known as the Rose Orchards. There my life work has been put in helping to make them a success.

Fruit Growing from a Woman’s Standpoint

To talk on this subject, I will have to refer to our work, as it is all I know. What we have done, all things equal, others can do. A person said to me the other day, “Every woman can’t do what you have done.” Perhaps not, but they might improve on my work. It wouldn’t be best for every woman to engage in fruit work, as there are other lines of work for us to engage in. Just now we can vote and perhaps some day, hold office [editor’s note: Perhaps Edith means within the Horticultural Society, as general election voting was not passed in Michigan in the 1912 election. The measure lost by 760 votes]. I heard Prof. French of Lansing, say, “Men do not do their work haphazard now days.” In speaking of the fruit work, he said, “They spray, prune, pick, pack and market their fruit with brains.” I believe we have brains and certainly the gentlemen think so or they wouldn’t have given us the right of elective franchise, and thereby removing from us the stigma of mental weakness and taking us from the ranks of idiots, imbeciles, Indians [sic] and criminals.

"Royal Ann cherry tree on farm of W.B. Gray on Grand Traverse Peninsula. This tree has borne 18 cases that brought in $27 in one year." From "Forty-Second Annual Report of the Secretary of the State Horticultural Society of Michigan for the Year 1912."
“Royal Ann cherry tree on farm of W.B. Gray on Grand Traverse Peninsula. This tree has borne 18 cases that brought in $27 in one year.” From “Forty-Second Annual Report of the Secretary of the State Horticultural Society of Michigan for the Year 1912.”

Fruit growing is very interesting, in fact it is fascinating. You plant the little tree, watch the buds start, then the blossoms and later the ripened fruit. How well I remember our first crop of cherries. Mr. Rose said to me one day, “Get a little pail and we will pick our crop of cherries.” There were less than four quarts of them, but we were as proud of that crop as we ever were of thousands of crates in later years. To a woman who wished to take up this work or to one who by circumstances seem compelled to do something of this kind, by being left with a little family and perhaps a few acres of land or a life insurance with which to buy a little farm, I would say by all means, plant a few trees, not too close together and between the rows of trees, plant some variety of berries that will come into bearing early and help pay the expenses of growing the trees and of the family.

It may be a little hard at times, but wouldn’t it be harder to live in town in a stuffy tenant house and take in washing or sewing and live up the insurance, besides depriving the children of the fresh air and the pleasure they would get from helping mama, until they will become a part of your work and will lend a hand to help put one of them through agricultural college and then come home fully equipped to take the care from Mother’s shoulders?

A woman can plant a row of trees just as straight as a man. There are trees in our orchard that I helped to plant 19 years ago, and they seem to grow and bear just as well as those planted by the men. A woman can spray if necessary. My experience has been that there is no part of the fruit work that a woman can not do if she will study and use good sound sense, unless it is to plow, but I think she can hire that done all right.

A wife should familiarize herself with her husband’s work so that she can direct it, at any time, during his absence, and then if she is left alone she won’t be handicapped by having her help say, “She don’t know anything about it, she won’t know whether it is done right or not.” I have never had a man or woman refuse to do the work as I told them to. Mr. Rose has been gone a great deal of the time during the growing of our orchard. At first he would dictate and I would jot down a routine of work to be followed during his absence but that has become unnecessary years ago, as we have had the same fore man for a number of years and he understands his part of the work as well as I do mine.

I have had help in the house most of the time, which has left me quite free to follow our chosen profession, Horticulture. Of late years most of my work has been in overseeing the pickers or packers. I have handled white labor in Indiana in raspberry work. I have assisted Mr. Rose in Alabama with his negro laborers, in the straw berry fields, and of course nothing but white labor on our farm up north. Some women may say, I can’t handle the laborers; perhaps a few suggestions here in regard to this part of the work might help some of the wives of these young students, to have more confidence in their ability to help their husbands in their life work. I keep my help in the house from one to three years. When I hire my house keeper I tell her just what I want her to do and what I will pay for the work and there is never any trouble over the work or wages. Always direct the work in the house or packing house.

If your help knows there is some one around to direct them, even if they understand what they are to do, they will go at their work with more interest. You can keep your help better satisfied and keep them longer, by having your work well systematized, and let them think they are expected to carry out their portion. A worker likes to know they are appreciated and a kind word is a little thing but will work wonders sometimes in accomplishing better and more satisfactory results.

We have had as many as 85 packers in the cherry work. We have never missed but one morning of being there when the seven o’clock bell rung. Don’t ever leave your help alone, they will not work as well. Mr. Rose has often said to me when I did not feel able to go to the packing house: “Can’t you bring your rocking chair and sit where they know you are and where you can dictate the work?” Be very firm and decided with the workers but don’t nag them.

In Alabama I have started to the field with 125 negroes following and joking about their little Boss, “She don’t carry a gun or club.” When Mr. Bose started his berry work in the South, the Southerner said, “You will have to carry a gun or club, for the nigger will have to be knocked down a couple of times before he will work good.” We never had any trouble, kept our help, picked our berries in better shape than some of the fields where they worked their help at the point of the gun. We loaned our negroes one day to an adjoining berry grower. During the day Mr. Rose and I went over to see how they were getting along. When we came near where they were picking berries they expressed a delight at seeing us and when asked how they were getting along, said : “We don’t like this boss. He carries a gun. We like you-alls better.” We assured them that the boss would not hurt them if they worked all right, and then we started back. We had only gone a half-mile when we looked back and there came every one of our negroes. We stopped and when they came up we persuaded them to go back and finish the day, but they said : “No, sah ; we will work for you-alls but we don’t work over there no more.” We saw how they felt about it so told them, “All right go back to their cabins and work for us in the morning.” Kindness, even with the negro, got our work done better than a club.

We never hire our day help for any one piece of work. Then they can not complain if they are changed from one job to another, if I need more packers, I call them from the pickers and if the foreman needs more pickers I send the packers out to help him. We have had girls work 8 and 10 years in the fruit work. They enjoy it and will plan from one year to another, what they are going to do, and have their money spent, in their minds, a year ahead. Always be interested in each worker, study them to know what part of your work they are best adapted to. You may have a person that seems a failure at one thing and may make a splendid hand at something else. Our foreman brought a man from the orchard to me at the packing house and said: “Can you use him here, I can’t use him in the orchard. I set him to nailing packages, and he did fine work the rest of the season.

Just a word to the woman that has some money to invest and contemplates launching out in fruit-work. Be careful in selecting a location, if possible get near enough some town or shipping point where you can easily market your fruit and where you can get help to pick it, and don’t plant too extensively until you are sure you can handle the business, and don’t expect to have time to read stories, papers, call on your neighbors or embroider during the summer months. I heard a joke on a man who bought some land in Florida, unsight and unseen. After the bargain was all made and the price paid he thought he would go and see his new farm. The land shark took him out in a boat and after paddling around awhile said : “Your farm is under here ; when you get it drained it will be all right.” Don’t buy land unsight and unseen. Let the men do that. We women may be easy but there are others.”

The entirety of this work is available online for download: https://books.google.com/books?id=1dpJAAAAYAAJ

Amy Barritt is  co-editor of Grand Traverse Journal.