Holy Trinity and the Anniversary That Will Not Be

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings
Original Images:

Author: James Mann

Friday, September 18, 2015 should have been a special day for the community of Holy Trinity Student Parish, as it was on that date, 50 years ago, the building was dedicated as a place of worship. This should have been a weekend of special events, a gala party for the members of the community, for example, a mass with the Bishop of the Diocese of Lansing presiding. Instead, nothing will happen. Holy Trinity is no more. Those who were the community of Holy Trinity have joined the St. Johns parish or scattered throughout the region in other Catholic parishes.

The story of Holy Trinity begins in June of 1961, when Fr. Leo Broderick was named assistant pastor at St. John's the Baptist Catholic Church at Ypsilanti. His duties included supervising the Newman Club at Eastern Michigan University. The University had just begun a period of expansion and growth, new buildings were planned and student enrollment was increasing at a record pace. The religious needs of the Catholic students at Eastern could no longer be met by Tuesday night meetings in Starkweather Hall, a Communion Breakfast once a month and other social events. The style of ministry had to change.

“The greatest need I think,” wrote Fr. Broderick to John Dearden, Archbishop of Detroit, of which Ypsilanti was then a part, in March of 1962, “is for an altar and chapel that would be specifically the students own. St. John's is close; but the students still come as visitors, not as really belonging. It is separated from their lives as students, just as religion is carefully kept separated in everything else they do at school.”

That same year Fr. Broderick arranged with the University to say mass in Strong Auditorium each Sunday of the school year. By January of 1964 attendance had increased to 150 to 260 students each week. The students called Strong Auditorium, “St. Strong.”

Fr. Broderick was named to the position of full-time campus minister in 1964. That same year plans for a chapel were made. Land for a chapel had already been purchased at the corner of Forest and Perrin. Construction on the Chapel began during the summer of 1965.

Holy Trinity Chapel was the first Catholic Church in Washtenaw County to be built in accordance with the decrees of the Second Vatican Council. The interior of the Chapel was designed to emphasize the shape of a triangle, symbolizing the Trinity. The pinnacle of one triangle is the skylight over the altar space, 70 feet above the floor. The base of a second triangle was formed by placing the pews around the altar. “This style,” said Fr. Broderick, “allows the priest to be a living part of the congregation.” New for the time, was the placement of the tabernacle apart from the altar. Gold sanctuary carpeting accented the black pews. The baptistery was located at the main entrance, “to remind the congregation of the holy sacrament.” The stations of the cross and the crucifix were designed and made by John E. Van Haren, then associate professor of art at Eastern. A lower level with a small kitchen provided space for social events and rooms for offices.

Holy Trinity Chapel was dedicated at 10:00 am on Saturday, September 18, 1965 by the Most Rev. Henry E. Donnelly, D. D., auxiliary bishop of Detroit. Attending the ceremony was Dr. Eugene B. Elliott, former President of Eastern Michigan University. The main address was delivered by the national Newman Chaplain. The theme of his homily was: “How Wonderful is the House of God.” Msgr. Bradley called upon Eastern President Harold E. Sponberg “and the whole university to see Holy Trinity as a sanctuary of prayer and a house of study.” He said he saw three challenges for those who would manage the Chapel: “To overcome complacency, to keep the church from becoming a “ghetto”, a mere refuge from atheism, and to avoid becoming an egocentric center.”

Bishop Donnelly, in a brief address on the new humanism of the church, said students “must learn to understand the positions of their separated brethren,” and said the church was “rectifying mistakes of the past in this regard.” He expressed the hope that dialogues would reach a better understanding.

Holy Trinity was blessed with an all-wood, mechanical tracker-action organ, one of only a handful in North American. The organ was hand made by Fritz Noack, a New England organ builder.

The story of how Holy Trinity managed to acquire such a gem is this. Not long after the Chapel had opened, Erich Goldschmidt of the Department of Music at Eastern came to Holy Trinity to give a talk on Gregorian chant. Goldschmidt was a native of Europe, and is said to have been a very cosmopolitan man. He believed there had been no composer of note since Bach. He had been a professional organ builder, and had personally installed every pipe to the organ in Pease Auditorium a few years before. Impressed by the acoustics of the building, he decided this was the perfect place for a tracker-action organ. The type of organ used by Bach. Until then, music had been performed on portable electric organs.

The organ was installed in December of 1966, over the Christmas break. The dedication was held on the Feast of the Epiphany, January 6, 1967. Goldschmidt performed “Toccata in D” by Wackman. The University Choir, under the direction of Blaine Ballard, participated. Their selections included “We Christians Now Rejoice” and “The Old Year Has Passed Away” by Bach. The organ has classic toning, making it excellent for 18th century music.

“Students,” wrote Broderick to Dearden in January of 1968, “seem to be questioning more than they ever did; they seem less bound by tradition than they ever were. I have to spend much time listening and counseling; I spend 8 to 10 hours per week in the confessional.”

For Broderick, as for every member of the staff who came after, the greatest frustration was the rapid turnover of students. Every September he began the work of building a community, which would end when the students dispersed. Over the years the community at Holy Trinity changed, as some of those who graduated stayed in the area, and continued to attend the Chapel as their place of worship.

By the early 1970's people from the general population began coming to Holy Trinity, as many were dissatisfied with services elsewhere. “Traditionally,” explained Fr. Bob Kerr, who was pastor in the 1970's, “the haven of refuge for the dispossessed has always been a university chapel. Holy Trinity is no exception.” The newcomers provided Holy Trinity with a permanent population and on-going financial and volunteer resources. They also provided a sense of continuity and tradition.

As the population of Holy Trinity changed, the ministry changed as well. Free dinners were held on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day for years. Food for the weekly free dinner at Emmanuel Lutheran Church on River Street was prepared every Tuesday in the kitchen of Holy Trinity. Holy Trinity took part in the Rotating Shelter program for many years. For two weeks every winter for several years, homeless men were conveyed from the shelter in Ann Arbor by members of the Holy Trinity community to the Chapel. Here the men spent the night, were fed, and were returned to Ann Arbor by members of the parish the next morning.

Still, Holy Trinity never lost sight of its main mission to the students of Eastern. “Students need to be affirmed and loved and petted and told that they are O.K.” explained Fr. Kerr, “and that they're worth something. No matter what posture they assume, whether a flaming radical liberal, or the most consequential looking conservative, their needs are the same; they're on a new plane, of spreading their wings, testing new things. Their needs are the same. They just express it differently.”

In July of 1971 the boundaries of the Archdiocese of Detroit were redrawn, and Holy Trinity became part of the Diocese of Lansing. The Most Reverend Carl Mengeling was Bishop of the Diocese of Lansing from 1996 to 2008. On a visit to Holy Trinity, Bishop Mengeling said he found the place dark and unwelcoming. He instructed that changes be made to the building.

Plans were made and members of the community pledged sufficient funds to cover the cost of the improvements. The plans were submitted to the proper offices of the Diocese for approval. Instead, the Diocese said, more had to be done.

Following approval by the Diocese new plans were drawn up, and the addition to the building would double the space of the Chapel. Construction was begun and work was to be completed by Easter of 2007. Everything that was done, was done with the knowledge and approval of the Diocese.

The new space included meeting rooms, a dining room with a larger kitchen and an atrium. The expanded lower level now had computers for the use of students and space for study. On a table in the atrium were snacks for hungry students, donated by some of the resident parishioners. One Sunday a month, during the school year, the parish council of the Knights of Columbus would host a pancake breakfast in the dining area, cost of admission was a free will offering. No one was ever turned away.

Holy Trinity now had a debt of almost one million dollars, to be paid over the coming years to the Diocese of Lansing. The Diocese granted Holy Trinity a two year grace period, before annual payments were to be made. Holy Trinity was now staffed by priests from the PIME missionary order, but still under the authority of the Diocese of Lansing. The order had a contract with the Diocese, renewed every five years. The contract was up for renewal in 2012. The pastor of Holy Trinity, Fr. Philip Mayfield, wanted to remain at Holy Trinity for another five years. The PIME Missionary order wished for the contract to be renewed for another five years. On August 10, 2012, The Most Reverend Earl Boyea, who had succeeded Bishop Mengeling, announced the merger of Holy Trinity with St. John the Baptist. The merger was effective at the end of Monday, September 3, 2012.

“This decision,” announced Bishop Boyea in the decree, “is based upon a number of factors, among which are the reasonable proximity of the worship communities and the churches, the desire to avoid duplication of services, the spiritual welfare of the parish communities, the spread of the Gospel, the promotion of unity among the People of God, the enhancement of collaborative ministry and the better utilization of available priest personnel.”

In time, services at Holy Trinity were ended and the building stood empty and unused. Then in June of 2015, the Board of Regents of Eastern Michigan University approved the purchase of the building for $940,000 as the new home of the Honors College.

(James Mann is a local historian and author, a volunteer in the YHS Archives, and a regular contributor to the Gleanings. Also, he was a member of the Holy Trinity parish community.)

Photo Captions:

Photo 1: Fr. Broderick was named to the position of full-time Campus Minister at Eastern Michigan University in 1964.

Photo 2: Holy Trinity Chapel was dedicated on Saturday, September 18, 1965.

Just Suppose

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings
Original Images:

Author: John Dawson Jr.

Just suppose there was no Heaven
No stars up in the sky
Just suppose there was no after life
When they lay you down to die
Just suppose God didn’t love you
Just suppose he did not rise
Just suppose the empty feeling
When the world looked in your eyes.

But we know that there is a Heaven
And there’s proof that Jesus rose
And we know that he loves us
From our head down to our toes.

So raise your hands to Heaven
And call his name in praise
And there’ll be no more supposing
We’ll go to Heaven Judgement Day.

(John was an active member of the Ypsilanti Historical Society. He died in September of 2012 at the age of 89.)

First Free Church of Michigan

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings
Original Images:

Author: Karl Williams

Superior Township, through the efforts of the Superior Land Preservation Society, has acquired the historical site on which the First Free Church of Michigan was located. The church’s non-denominational congregation was established in December of 1849, and was perhaps influenced by the First Free Church of Scotland that was established in 1843. The Free Church building was erected in 1855 near the then existing pioneer cemetery now known as the Free Church Cemetery.

The building was a typical small white frame church measuring approximately 32 x 48 feet, reportedly having a spire so tall that it could be seen for miles. For many years it was the center of religious and social activities in the northeast part of Superior Township. Initially, sermons were given by local speakers or by circuit riding Methodist preachers. Later, preachers from the Dixboro and the Cherry Hill churches performed these duties.

By the 1920s the church building was in need of repair and the declining membership chose to attend other churches. The church building became derelict and was demolished in 1934. The site, now overgrown, contains only the remnants of a foundation, some remaining landscape plantings, a prominent row of Osage Orange trees, and the ghosts of our township forbearers. There are no immediate plans for the property but it is protected from future development as part of our local heritage.

Few records survive and only one picture is known to exist of the First Free Church of Michigan. If anyone has a picture or information about the church, please contact our Superior Township Clerk, David Phillips.

(Karl Williams is a Superior Township resident interested in local history. The Superior Township Preservation Society provided the funds for the purchase of the land, which is contiguous with the Free Church Cemetery, and then turned over the property to Superior Township.)

Photo Captions:

1. The First Free Church of Michigan was erected in 1855 in Superior Township and was demolished in 1934.

Sister Mary Theodosia (Mug) -- Touched by a Miracle

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings, Summer 2011,
Summer 2011
Original Images:

Author: George Ridenour

Mary Helen Mug was born in Indiana on July 16, 1860. She answered the call to become a nun by joining the Sisters of Providence on January 5, 1878. She made her first vows in 1881. As a teacher she was expected to take several positions over a ten year period to learn and teach.

Sister Mary Theodosia (Mug) taught in Ypsilanti, Michigan; Indiana; Illinois; Missouri and Massachusetts. I was able to verify through three sources that she did teach in Ypsilanti. She lived with the other nuns in a small cottage. The school was described as a two story building, containing four rooms and well furnished. Fr. William de Bever requested the Sisters of Providence in Indiana to staff a school and convent in Ypsilanti which opened in August of 1883. The school began with 100 girls pupils (boys were not allowed per the diocese) and was active until 1896. A change of pastors and a prevailing idea that public schooling for both boys and girls was best, caused the school to close.

Sister is described in her biographical sketch as: “Sister was slight in build, medium height, and of delicate constitution. She wore spectacles with a pronounced degree of magnification. She had a remarkable ability in expression, both in musical composition and in literary work.” (Biographical sketch, Sisters of Providence, St. Mary of the Woods, April, 2011).

She, as well, wrote a noted biography of the life and works of Sister Mary Theodore Guerin which was published in 1904 (and is still available). The Vatican assigned her to gather all the information about the life and virtues of the foundress for the Vatican. Sister Mary Theodore was (after 95 years) beautified by Pope John Paul II in October, 1998. She was canonized and declared by Pope Benedict XVI a “saint” on October 15, 2006; America’s eighth saint.

Little did Sister Mary Theodosia know that she was destined by God to be the FIRST MIRACLE leading to the beatification of St. Mary Theodore Guerin. (First intercession: sister of Providence.org. Internet, April, 2011)

“…She suffered from neuritis in her right hand and arm. Later she developed an abdominal tumor. The pain from the disease persisted. She wrote the manuscript with the paper resting on her at knee height…her health took a turn for the worst in 1906 when she discovered a lump in her left breast. Diagnosis indicated it was malignant and her physician in Terre Haute recommended an immediate mastectomy. The nerves and muscles in the left arm became rigid. The abdominal tumor continued to grow such that she could not kneel and she had difficulty walking.”

All during these years of trials and declining health she remained true to her assignment of writing and producing documentation for the Vatican on the life of Mother Guerin.

AND THEN: “On the evening of October 30, 1908 Sister Mary Theodosia paused to pray at the tomb of Mother Theodore. She prayed not for herself, but for Sister Joseph Therese O’Connell who was very ill with Rheumatoid Arthritis. While she stood there praying she said to herself, “I wonder if she (Mother Theodore) has any power with Almighty god?” “Instantly, I heard in my soul the words, “YES, SHE HAS.” (startled) “Well if she has, I wish she would show it.”

“She retired to bed in the early morning hours after spending most of the night proof reading and writing. She arose three hours later feeling strong and rested (for the first time in years). She started making her bed and realized that she was using BOTH hands and arms. Her fingers were strong and quick. The tumor at her waist had disappeared. Her eyesight, which had been poor, was corrected. Most noticeable was the fact that she was able to eat anything without digestion problems.” She had many examinations at several medical facilities and NO malignance was EVER FOUND AGAIN. She lived to 82.

As a result of her recovery, after testimonies from those who knew her and exhaustive medical examinations, her healing was declared by the Vatican a “miracle.” A miracle through the intercession of Sister Mary Theodore Guerin. This first miracle was used as part of the granting of beautification by Pope John Paul II in October, 1998.

Sister Mary Theodosia (Mug), who passed through Ypsilanti, was touched by a miracle.

Resources included information from the Sisters of Providence, The Story of St. John the Baptist Church of Ypsilanti, and the Third Miracle by Bill Briggs.

(George Ridenour is a member of the YHS Archives Advisory Board, a volunteer in the Archives, and a regular contributor to the Gleanings.)

Photo Captions:

Photo 1: Sister Mary Theodosia, who played a significant role in making the case for canonization of Sister Mary Theodore Guerin, taught in Ypsilanti in the late 1800s.

Harvey C. Colburn

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings, Spring 2010,
Spring 2010
Original Images:

Author: Margaret Porter

Any student of Ypsilanti history knows about Harvey C. Colburn and what he wrote. Chances are, though, that very few know little more about the author of the first history of Ypsilanti. Some may know he was the minister of the First Congregational Church during the 1920’s and most of the 1930’s. There is much more to Harvey Colburn. In fact, his personal history is worthy of publication.

Colburn was a relative newcomer when he authored the history. He arrived in Ypsilanti in 1918 to assume the ministry of First Congregational. Just five years later he produced The Story of Ypsilanti in recognition of the city’s Centennial. He drafted the book in Charleston, South Carolina, his birthplace.

So just how did it happen that a South Carolinian became the city’s pre-eminent historian? It all started with the Civil War. His father, William Harvey Colburn was born in Vermont in 1847. He enlisted in the Union Army in 1861 but was discharged a year later due to a disability. Harvey’s mother, Alice Cade, was born in 1849 in Rochester, New York. Alice’s father was a builder. It is likely that Alice’s father moved his family south shortly after the Civil War in order to take advantage of Reconstruction monies.

It is unclear why William Colburn relocated to Charleston. It was there he met Alice Cade and married her October 22, 1874. Harvey was born two years later. His father died when he was three, leaving Harvey to be raised by his mother and maternal grandmother. He grew up in Charleston, leaving when he was about 19 to head north and enroll in Hillsdale, College in Hillsdale, Michigan. He graduated in 1900 and was honored for composing his class poem. He would continue to write poetry throughout much of his life.

Following graduation from Hillsdale, he enrolled in Oberlin’s Graduate School of Theology receiving his master’s degree in 1903. He married Mary Scott on May 22, 1907 in Marysville, Ohio. She would be a wonderful life partner. Together they would raise a family of six, four girls and two boys. During the early years of their marriage, they moved several times as Reverend Colburn accepted calls from various churches in Ohio. While serving as the minister in Bellevue, Ohio, he came to the attention of the First Congregational Church of Ypsilanti which was looking for a minister to succeed Lloyd Morris. Dr. Benjamin D’Ooge, a Professor of Classics at the then Michigan State Normal College, visited Bellevue and extended an invitation to Colburn to “visit Ypsilanti to look us over.”

Evidently Harvey Colburn and his wife liked what they saw. He assumed the position of Minister on July 1, 1918. First Congregational was a good fit for the Colburns. The congregation was growing; its finances sound and its members were involved in the life of the larger community. Further, Ypsilanti was not only a college town but also a center of manufacturing and commerce. The city established a Board of Commerce in the early 1900s. The Board provided oversight for the City’s Centennial. A Committee on History was established in anticipation of the city’s Centennial in 1923.

The compiling of a history preceded the formation of the committee. It seems that Ypsilantians have long taken an interest in the history of their community. The local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution began preparing a series of papers on local history. Helen Jenks Cleary was the Chapter historian. The wife of the founder of Cleary College (now University), Helen devoted herself to research. She combed old newspaper files, reviewed old letters and set about interviewing the older members of the community. Her dedication produced a significant amount of material that was incorporated into The Story of Ypsilanti.

Helen Cleary was a member of the Committee on History along with Dr. Carl Pray, the Chairman of History and Social Science, at the Normal. The third member was Florence Shultes, a Professor of History who worked with Dr. Pray. Dr. Pray and Miss Shultes were both members of First Congregational. Dr. Pray held numerous positions in the Church. He is best remembered as the developer of an active youth program that drew young people to the Church. One of these was the author’s father, Don Porter. The Committee had the task of finding someone who had an interest in history and was an accomplished writer. Not surprisingly Harvey Colburn’s name was put forward. Despite his already busy life as the minister of a growing congregation and the father of six children, Colburn took on the task.

The history was produced under a tight timeline. It had to be published in time for the City’s Centennial. Colburn had to function both as editor and author. He had a number of prepared papers that he used whole or in part in addition to his own narrative. His aim was to tell a story. It’s likely that Carl Pray provided assistance with structuring the history; each chapter covers approximately a decade with subsections devoted to significant events or trends of that period. For example Chapter IX - 1870 to 1879 - highlights Shops and Stores, The Huckleberry Line, The Town Band, Decline of the Seminary, The Training of Teachers, Churches, and Ypsilanti’s Semi-Centennial.

During the summer of 1922, Colburn became ill during a trip with his family. A usually vigorous man, he was slow to recover. His doctor recommended a period of prolonged rest. He chose to return to Charleston to recuperate. However he took with him boxes of materials which he used to write the history. It’s doubtful this was the type of rest his physician had in mind! He later remarked, “I really enjoyed the coordinating of newspaper files, time-yellowed letters and ancient documents with County records and histories.”

The writing proved restorative and Colburn returned toYpsilanti with a first draft. Various citizens were enlisted to review the draft and corrections were made. Colburn added a Prelude beginning with the glaciers that moved slowly across our State and area creating its topography and geology. The closing pages are devoted to the upcoming Centennial Celebration with images from the first 100 years. The Story of Ypsilanti was completed April 10, 1923.

Harvey Colburn served as minister of First Congregational until August 1, 1937. During his ministry the Church celebrated the 50th anniversary of its founding. Colburn would live to deliver the sermon at the 75th anniversary service. It was a few years later when he announced he had “finally retired.” Between 1937 and 1957, he was the Chaplain of Ypsilanti State Hospital. Oberlin granted him an Honorary Doctor of Divinity in 1930. In 1947 the First Congregational Church of Ypsilanti named him Minister Emeritus. He filled in for then minister Gordon Speer and officiated at weddings and funerals.

He also stayed active in the community and was frequently called upon to speak to community organizations. Often his topic was the history of our town. His listeners described him as both informative and entertaining. He particularly liked to tell the story of the short “secession” of East Ypsilanti from West Ypsilanti. He continued to write as well. He wrote and edited a monthly bulletin called Lawn Care for O.M. Scott and Sons. Orlando McLean Scott was Mary’s father and the founder of the business that would grow into Scott Lawn and Garden. Harvey and his wife Mary were avid gardeners. They enjoyed attending garden shows throughout the country.

While Colburn’s historical studies and writing included a history of Washtenaw County churches and research on Indian Trails, he was not above participating in the Centennial Town Pageant. He was an Indian Chief complete with an impressive feathered headdress. Harvey Colburn was a “Man for All Seasons.” A poet, writer, scholar, horticulturist and a clergyman, he was the ideal author for the history of Ypsilanti’s first 100 years. How fortunate we are that he agreed to take on this assignment and leave a wonderful legacy for his adopted hometown.

Sources: First Congregational Church of Ypsilanti publications, the Ypsilanti Press, History of Eastern Michigan University, U.S. Census Records, Union Army Records.

(Margaret Porter is the Assistant Editor of the Gleanings and a regular contributor of articles.)

Photo Captions:

Photo 1: Harvey C. Colburn.

Photo 2: The original version of “The Story of Ypsilanti.”

Photo 3: Harvey Colburn portrayed an Indian chief in the historical play presented during Ypsilanti’s Centennial Celebration in 1923.

"The Roman Catholic Church Here Has Almost No History"

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings, Fall 2006,
Fall 2006
Original Images:

Author: Dennis Zimmer

So asserted the Rev. G. I. Foster in 1857 and, measured by tangible resources, one might well agree. Twenty years after the incorporation of Ypsilanti, the Catholic parish of St. John the Baptist was barely 130 families whose place of worship was open timbers without a roof. It would take another year to complete it — and even then would still lack doors, pews and steps, “the entrance formed by an inclined plank (Mann, 27).”

But there has been a Roman Catholic presence in Ypsilanti from the first. LaSalle and the French fur trappers almost certainly were the first Europeans to traverse Washtenaw County, and where they went, the Jesuits were with them. The Parish of St. Anne was founded along with Detroit in 1701 and divided pastoral administration of the lower peninsula with St. Ignace. The first permanent building in Washtenaw County was the trading post established in 1809 by Gabriel Godfroy, Francois Pepin and Romaine DaChambre, three Frenchmen from Detroit, who located on the Pottawatomie Trail at what is now Ypsilanti. Born at Fort Ponchartrain in 1758, Col. Godfroy was a devout Catholic and one of the leading men in the Parish of St. Anne. Missionary priests are presumed to have stopped at Godfroy's trading post from 1809 to its abandonment in 1818 (Beakes, pp. 539–40; 750); unfortunately, no church records survive to substantiate that any of the priests in the Michigan territory ever visited the post.

Irish immigrants began settling in what would become Ypsilanti as early as 1820, and missionary priests from Detroit continued ministering to the needs of both this new flock and the French and Native American converts that remained. The earliest recorded names of missionaries serving the Catholic community from Detroit are the Reverend Fathers Montard and Montcoq, although, again, the records say little about their activity. Father Gabriel Richard, who was both pastor of St. Anne's and Vicar General of the territories around the Great Lakes, appears to have given some thought to the changing ethnicity of the mission congregation. In a letter from the summer of 1829 he writes that Fr. Patrick O'Kelly, from Kilkenny, Ireland is working with him. Father O'Kelly ministered to southeast Michigan until 1835 from a home base in Northfield, where he also founded a parish. He was joined by Father Morrisey who also resided in Northville. By 1836, the year before Michigan became a state, Ypsilanti was a town of 1,000 inhabitants, 50 of whom were Catholic.

The first resident priest of Ann Arbor was the Reverend Thomas Cullen, who came to the city in 1839 or 1840. Fr. Cullen was also an Irishman, native of Wexford, who had come to America as a seminarian in the household of Edward Dominic Fenwick, Bishop of Cincinnati, of which the diocese Detroit was then a part. He accompanied Bishop Frederic Rese when the Diocese of Detroit was created in 1833, was ordained in 1836 and received a missionary assignment in 1840 in which he was given the task of creating permanent parishes. His district extended across southern Michigan along the Ohio and Indiana borders and for the next ten years he saw to the spiritual life of the various towns in the area. In 1848, Fr. Cullen was joined by Fr. James Hennessy who worked with him founding churches in the surrounding communities, including Dexter, Jackson and Marshall. Ann Arbor's first St. Thomas Church was built in 1843 and Fr. Cullen remained pastor there until his death on September 7, 1862. The parish of St. John the Baptist in Ypsilanti was founded by Fr. Cullen the following year, 1844. Names of the original parishioners — Cosgrove, Kirk, Keegan, Casey, Kelley, Boyle — attest to the predominantly Irish makeup of Ypsilanti's early Catholic community.

There is some confusion regarding the first Catholic place of worship in Ypsilanti. Initial arrangements were temporary, with services occurring in private homes. Sources describe a small wood frame chapel built in 1839 on Ballard Street, possibly by Fr. Cullen, but there is no information as to its location (Weber). It was not the site of the present church, as records agree that Fr. Cullen (or, more correctly, Peter LeFevere, then Bishop of Detroit) bought that lot on April 26, 1844 from one Charles W. Lane for forty dollars. The following year a frame structure was built on it measuring 24 × 16 feet. The poverty of the parish was such that at first they could not purchase windows, and blankets had to be hung in winter to keep the wind from blowing out the candles. Because of the missionary nature of the parish, services were held only once a month for the next thirteen years (Colburn: p. 122; Mann: p. 27).

Rectory built by Fr. Edward Van Paemel. Constructed in 1863, it remained in use until 1932, when it was replaced by the present rectory.

A Tastefully Planned Edifice

By the 1850's St. John's had outgrown its wood-frame church and in 1855 the parish approached Fr. Cullen about building a more fitting structure; he demurred, believing the burden of the cost would be too great. A delegation then went to Bishop Lefevere and, with his encouragement, $500 was pledged within two weeks. The parish purchased an adjacent lot in 1856, and on May 25, the bishop laid the cornerstone for a new brick church, an Italianate structure large enough to seat 500 members. Work began at once, but did not proceed smoothly. “The walls and the timbers for the roof were put up, and there the work has rested,” Rev. Foster disparagingly reported the following fall. The reason for the delay in construction is simple, however: Bishop Lefevere's support carried the stipulation that there would be no parish debt.

Progress was sufficiently along in 1858 to dedicate the church to St. John the Baptist (see photo of church on page 5). According to oral reports recorded 50 years later by Fr. Kennedy, the first mass, held on the feast day of St. John the Baptist (June 23) also included the marriage of John and Margaret Kennedy. On the occasion of this first mass, the church still had no doors, no pews and the bride was obliged to enter from the back by way of a plank. The church was completed for Christmas, 1858, fully paid for.

1858 also saw Father Charles Lamejie named the first resident pastor. He served for 14 months and was succeeded by Father J. Kindekins, later Vicar General of Detroit, from 1860 to 1862. Father Van Jeniss of Dexter visited Ypsilanti once a month in the interim.

Fr. Edward Van Paemel was appointed pastor in 1862. Belgian by birth, Van Paemel immigrated to Detroit while still a seminarian and was ordained by Bishop LeFevere on May 27, 1853. He remained pastor until 1871, adding considerably to the physical plant of the parish during his tenure. Shortly after his arrival in Ypsilanti, Van Paemel purchased the lot next door to the church on Cross Street. A rectory was erected there the following year, 1863; it remained in use until 1932.

During the Civil War years, the parish of St. John under Van Paemel took upon themselves the welfare of troops housed in the Thompson Building. In gratitude the 129 soldiers of the 14th Michigan Infantry subscribed over five hundred dollars toward the improvement of church property before leaving for the war. It is generally understood that the money was used to purchase land for a Catholic cemetery in Ypsilanti, the nearest Catholic burial grounds until then being either in Northfield or St. Thomas Cemetery in Ann Arbor. The St. John Cemetery grounds were located at the foot of St. John Street, north of West Forest Avenue. The cemetery included a watch house, an eight foot square structure used by family members to guard at night against body snatchers who had an active trade with the University of Michigan medical school.

Fr. Van Paemel opened the first parochial school. On May 30, 1867, he purchased two lots on Florence Street from Patrick Kelley, and either remodeled the Kelley home or — more likely — constructed a new building to house a school. This was a one room frame structure, spartanly furnished with long wooden benches and a box stove. Instruction was confined to elementary courses (it being customary for most children to leave school by the age of twelve), and judging from the pre-dominantly Irish ancestry — Sarah Foy, Elizabeth Foy, Maggie Murphy, Bridget Monaghan and Michael Morin — the teachers seem to have been drawn from among the parishioners.

The parish grew to 136 families by 1868. One of Fr. Van Paemel ‘s final improvements was to enlarge the church to accommodate this growth by extending the front (north) entrance to the street in 1870.

Fr. Marcius Pieter Uyt Willigan was pastor for one year, 1871–1872, followed by Fr. Patrick B. Murray for the next three. He was replaced in 1876 by Father William DeBever. “Father DeBever, a Hollander by birth, was a devoted pastor, strict in his standards of living and church observance and stern in his rebuke of laxity, yet genial and kindly. He was a familiar figure driving about the town with his phaeton and fat black pony ‘Fanny’ presented to him by his congregation (Colburn, p. 216).” Part of the reason for the carriage was that, as earlier pastors had done for the nascent parish of St. John, Fr. DeBever acted as visiting pastor for communities in Milan and Whittaker. The parish of St. Joseph in Whittaker was established June, 1889, but continued to function as a mission of St. John's until Rev. John F. Needham was assigned as their first resident priest in 1904; until that time the fourteen mile trip had to made regularly by priests from Ypsilanti.

In the Roman Catholic Church, the year 1892 witnessed the beginning of the long and notable pastorate of Reverend Father Frank Kennedy, during which the congregation was to more than double. Father Kennedy, during the long years of his ministry, held a unique place in the affections of Ypsilantians. He was deeply concerned in all the best interests of the town and found friends in many circles. (Colburn, p. 261–562)

During the early pastorate of Fr. DeBever, renovations to the interior of the church were completed, including the addition of a small chapel and installation of an organ. As William Beake describes it, “the interior with its frescoes, candelabra, statues, organ and beautiful altar will compare favorably with any church in the State. This building is a great credit to the small congregation and even to the citizens (1170).”

In 1880 the membership of the parish numbered around 500 (240 families), the church was valued at $18,000 dollars, and St. John the Baptist Parish set about preparations for the expansion of its school. Fr. DeBever secured six Sisters of Providence from Terre Haute, Indiana to teach, marking the start of formal parochial education at the parish. A square frame house next to the school was purchased on November 4 as a residence for the teaching sisters and the one room school-house continued to serve until 1884, when it was replaced by a two story, four classroom brick structure. Under the Sisters of Providence the curriculum was expanded to include high school classes. Courses included algebra, chemistry, geometry and botany as well as music and needlework for the girls. The Sisters also provided a dormitory of fourteen beds for girls who attended from the surrounding townships. The first class — five girls — graduated in 1887.

The Panic of 1893 left the community with insufficient funds to retain the Sisters' services. Lay teachers were again hired to provide elementary instruction at least, but times were so bad that even the lower grades had to be discontinued. The school remained open only until 1895, when as Colburn so succinctly puts it, “owing to discouraging conditions it soon closed.” (Colburn, p. 238)

In 1892, poor health made it necessary for Fr. DeBever to step down. His replacement was a 28 year old native of Brighton — the first American-born priest to serve at St. John — the Reverend Father Frank Kennedy (1866–1922). Kennedy was intellectually precocious; having passed the state board teacher examinations at the age of 11 (the teaching certificate reluctantly awarded to him was never used). In seminary at Assumption College, Sandwich, Ontario, he was twice promoted for being first in class for ten consecutive weeks. The rule which allowed these promotions was abolished to prevent Kennedy from finishing his coursework in a single year. Graduating cum laude, he spent three years as a member of the diocesan college of St. Mary's in Monroe before completing training for ordination at St. Mary's, Baltimore. Frank Kennedy received holy orders August 18, 1889 and served at parishes in Niles and Dearborn before being assigned to St. John the Baptist in Ypsilanti.

One of the first alterations Fr. Kennedy made to the parish grounds was a renovation of the rectory. It had been neglected and needed repair, and had accumulated several horse sheds at the rear of the building which had become objectionable. But it was the cupola that apparently set Fr. Kennedy off — he considered it unattractive and unnecessary and asked that it be removed. This was the impetus for a much larger remodeling campaign which added a kitchen and living room to the rear of the house (the horse-sheds came down to make way). A recreation room was created on the third floor and a library on the second. The rectory yard was landscaped using dirt hauled from the recently evacuated cemetery. (Poor drainage had made the Forest Street location unsuitable and Fr. DeBever purchased the present location on River Street near the end of his pastorate.)

Normal College Catholic students were welcomed by open houses at the rectory in the autumn, and Fr. Kennedy's tenure is remembered for outdoor socials which included an orchestra on the front porch and dancing on the rectory lawn.

Normal College Catholic students were welcomed by open houses at the rectory in the autumn, and Fr. Kennedy's tenure is remembered for outdoor socials which included an orchestra on the front porch and dancing on the rectory lawn.

The school building stood empty for a few years, but with the growth of the Normal College, parishioners refurnished one of the rooms and made it available to the Catholic students and faculty for meetings of the Catholic Students Club. This drew interest from other social organizations and the school soon was leading a new life as St. John's Club House, one of the most popular meeting and recreation spots in town. Besides the Catholic Students Club, the Young Ladies Sodality, the Ypsilanti Study Club, (an offshoot in 1901 of the Ladies' Literary Club), the Kiwanis Club and the newly-formed Rotary Club all met at the Club House. The second floor was refurbished for dancing and dinners and the Rotary Club held its weekly luncheons there until the Huron Hotel opened in 1923 and the club moved to the larger quarters the hotel offered. (Fr. Kennedy seems to have been as skilled a carpenter as he was an academic. He took an active role in the remodeling, laying flooring and rebuilding the staircase. He had done similar labor on the rectory, and built a pulpit for the church whose artistry was highly regarded by the parishioners.)

Aside from his work in the church, Fr. Kennedy was actively involved in the civic life of Ypsilanti. A prominent member of the Ypsilanti Rotary Club, the Country Club and the Knights of Columbus, Fr. Kennedy was a frequent and popular speaker, and his support was sought out — and usually given — for most local public undertakings.

St. John was involved in the Ypsilanti cultural scene to the point of producing at least one theatrical production at the Ypsilanti Opera House: Daniel O'Conner by John Wilson Dodge, a musical melodrama. (It should also be noted that the Club House was furnished in part with proceeds from a theatrical at the Weurth Theatre put on by the men of the parish.)

Fr. Kennedy was appointed Diocesan Superintendent of Schools for Detroit in 1918, overseeing around 100 parish schools with an enrollment of 75,000 children. His concern was to standardize the parochial curriculum with public instruction and raise the standards of parochial education in Detroit. Anti-foreign sentiments generated during World War I and the Red Scare, which reached its height in 1919–20, translated into hostility against the eastern and southern Europeans who were immigrating into the area in large numbers during the first decades of the century. Many of these immigrants were Catholic which fostered anti-Catholic sentiment as well. Attempts were made in 1920 and 1924 to outlaw parochial school systems at the state level. It was in this climate that Fr. Kennedy was striving to turn out “good, educationally well-equipped American citizens.”

Fr. Kennedy also had responsibility for the needs of the scores of nuns who attended the Normal School over the summer (a single summer's estimate of nuns requiring accommodations through the church was 150 from nine different orders), and an annual influx of about three hundred Catholic students placed additional strains on the parish staff. At the close of the summer session of 1921, Fr. Kennedy suffered a complete breakdown from which he never recovered. He was treated at St. Joseph's sanitarium in Ann Arbor and sent to convalesce in Arizona but failed to improve. Fr. Kennedy returned home to Ypsilanti in December and died February 18, 1922.

The funeral of Frank Kennedy is probably the largest in Ypsilanti's history — or rather funerals, as there were three separate requiem masses held to accommodate the large number of mourners. Detroit Bishop Michael J. Gallagher presided at the requiem high mass on February 22, with over one hundred priests in attendance. Fr. Kennedy's honorary pallbearers included two governors (Alex J. Groesbeck and Alfred Sleeper), three senators, judges, mayors and the entire city council. All stores in the city were closed the morning of the funeral. The Daily Ypsilantian reported nearly two hundred automobiles in the funeral cortege, and the church could not hold the crowds assembled to pay their last respects. “I doubt,” said Bishop Edward Kelly of Grand Rapids, who delivered the funeral sermon, “if any other man in the entire state ever did more to break down religious barriers than Fr. Kennedy.”

The early twenties were a period of prosperity in Ypsilanti, and when the Rev. Dennis Needham arrived to replace Fr. Kennedy, he decided to utilize that prosperity to rebuild the church. The growth of the parish under Fr. Kennedy combined with the increased student presence from the Normal College had made Fr. Van Paemel's brick edifice insufficient, and a new building program was begun. Fr. Kennedy had himself considered a new church, and gone so far as to spend the summer of 1914 abroad studying Catholic architecture and drawing some initial sketches. Although nothing concrete came of this work, friends of Fr. Kennedy did promise financial support to the project providing the new church was built. These included Arthur D. McBernie, the Hon. Fred Green, later governor of Michigan (1927–1930), Hon, Fred Chapman, mayor of Ionia and Hon. John S. Haggerty, head of the Wayne County Republican Party organization and Secretary of State under Green.

Initial designs were produced by the firm of Van Leyen, Schilling, Keough & Reynolds of Detroit in 1923. These were for a Spanish Rococo church seating 700 and intended to be a cultural statement within the growing academic community — “a building reminding students coming from all parts of Michigan that the Church has not ceased to foster true art,” as the Ypsilanti Press described it… During the razing and initial phase of construction, mass was held first in the club house and, when that building was partially demolished, in the Wuerth Theatre. The basement was completed in March of 1924, and officially celebrated with a St. Patrick's day banquet; services were held there until the project's completion in 1932.

Unfortunately for the original designs, Fr. Needham also chose this time to reopen the parish school. Van Leyen, Schilling Keough & Reynolds were again the architects and engineers. On November 8, 1924 the cornerstone to the new school was laid. The school was expanded to nine classrooms and the building was completely renovated, the interior being partly preserved, and the exterior stripped and refaced with new brick and stone masonry. The Dominican Sisters of Adrian were secured as teachers and the school reopened in 1925. The church again purchased property as a residence for the sisters; 309 N. Hamilton functioned as a convent until the construction of the current school building. The renovation cost approximately $50,000, and the convent added another $10,500. In order to accomplish this, funds intended for the building of the new church were used. Church construction halted, and for the next ten years the home of St. John the Baptist Parish was their roofed over basement. Fr. Needham did not live to see the new school open; he died July 10, 1925. The building was renamed Needham Hall in his honor.

Fr. Charles Linskey replaced Needham as pastor in September, 1925. Fr. Linskey was the Detroit Diocesan Superintendent of Schools when appointed to St. John and continued to hold that position in conjunction with pastoral work until 1929. In poor health for most of his pastorate, faced with mounting parish debt — the start of the Great Depression also marks his tenure — Fr. Linskey died of illness following major surgery on October 29, 1931, the third pastor to die at Ypsilanti in ten years.

Prospects for the parish were grim when Rev. G. (George) Warren Peek assumed the pastorate. The basement had proven to be poorly designed and faulty in construction, the school debt had grown to $17,000, the rectory was in such disrepair as to be considered unsanitary and a discouraged congregation was facing the Great Depression. Fr. Peek appears to have been quite an optimist; he believed the best course for the parish was that the church be completed as soon as possible — the construction would give work to some of the unemployed and the cost of labor and materials might not be so low again for years.

Rather than continuing with the original designs, new plans were drawn by McGrath and Dohman, Architects and Engineers, 2231 Park Avenue, Detroit. These follow the footprint already established by the basement's construction, but the elaborate Rococo traceries were abandoned and a Romanesque design proposed in its place. The revised plans included a new rectory which would harmonize with the church exterior. The construction firm of Bryant and Detweiler, Detroit, was retained in June of 1932 and work began at once, starting with demolition of the rectory.

St. John the Baptist Catholic Church may well have been the only building of significance built in southern Michigan during the early Depression

The cornerstone for the present church was laid by Bishop Gallagher on September 11, 1932. In it was placed a copper box with photographs of the church it replaced and the four preceding pastors who had built the parish to this point, then-current editions of the Ypsilanti Press, Detroit Free Press and Michigan Catholic and a list of 320 parishioners “whose contribution… made the church possible.” The copper box also contains photos of the four non-Catholic benefactors whose generosity in memory of Fr. Kennedy had made the building possible.

Construction was completed by the following May and the new Catholic Church of St. John the Baptist was dedicated Sunday, June 4, 1933, Bishop Gallagher again presiding. The date was chosen to honor Fr. Peek, marking his fourteenth anniversary as a priest,

The church is a pure Romanesque design and early commentators were struck by its dignity and “simplicity which is almost austere.” The roof peak rises 61 feet above the ground and is 53 feet above the main floor. The original layout was estimated to seat 1100 persons. The clere-story is open beamed and lit by a row of stained glass windows, six to the side. The main processional entrance is dominated by a rose window and the chancel contains a combination of three windows, each a memorial to the pastors LeBever, Needham and Lindskey. Stained glass medallion windows in the nave illustrate the life of Christ. The main altar and matching side altars were made in Italy of Botticino marble. Their green and white facings contrasted with the black and honey colored sanctuary floor, cut from blocks imported from France, Belgium and Italy, and with the communion rail of bronze and Numidian red marble. Stone carvings adorning the door frames and exterior of the building are the work of Parducci of Detroit.

St. John the Baptist Catholic Church may well have been the only building of significance built in southern Michigan during the early Depression The cost of construction, including the rectory, is variously given at $98,000 to $100,000; the appraised value of the buildings was placed at $252,000, according to the Free Press for November 4, 1933. At the time of its dedication, the parish of St. John numbered 360 families. That so much was accomplished by such a small congregation during the worst financial downturn of the twentieth century is evidence of their dedication, determination and faith.

Peek remained pastor until 1940. He was succeeded by Erwin Lefebvre from 1940 to 1943 and Rev. John Larkin for the following ten years. The decorative painting still seen on the ceilings and exposed beams were commissioned by Fr. Larkin in 1949, as well as mural work on the clerestory and within the chancel. The lot opposite the church at the corner of Cross and Hamilton was purchased in 1942 as the site for a Shrine to the Virgin Mary. Fr. Larkin also eliminated the church debt, leaving a surplus toward expansion.

This new construction once again focused upon upgrading the school.

Needham Hall was adequate through the Second World War, but post-war growth in the Ypsilanti area and spreading population from Detroit rapidly increased the size of the congregation to over a thousand families, and the Baby Boom taxed available classroom space. When Fr. William Mooney arrived in June, 1953, he immediately accepted the charge to expand the parish's educational program. An addition was necessary to provide more classrooms; a new convent would also be required to house the additional nuns needed to teach. But even for a parish the size of St. John's the cost of two new construction projects was prohibitive. The problem was resolved by designing a combination building, a two-story block with classrooms occupying the ground floor and basement, and a convent-complete with roof garden — on the second. This new building would triple enrollment from 200 to over 600 students and the convent provided living quarters for 16 sisters — twice the number crowded into 309 N. Hamilton. With cost reductions from combining the projects the new school/convent came to $300,000. Through pledges from approximately half the congregation, the $150,000 needed to go forward was exceeded over a two year period, and the new school was dedicated in 1955. The two story structure stretches along Florence Street and was anchored on the east to Needham Hall. The alley connecting Cross and Florence was vacated to accommodate the new construction. Encouraged by the success of the grade school, the parish decided to continue expanding and a high school was completed in 1961 on Packard Road. Fr. Mooney died one month before its dedication. Despite this early optimism (Fr. Young was working on expansion of the high school in the mid-60's), rising operating costs and lack of funds forced the closure of the entire school system — the high school in 1970 and the elementary school in 1971. The high school would eventually be sold to Faithway Baptist Church.

This new building would triple enrollment from 200 to over 600 students and the convent provided living quarters for 16 sisters — twice the number crowded into 309 N. Hamilton. With cost reductions from combining the projects the new school/convent came to $300,000.

Monsignor Lawrence Graven served as pastor from September, 1961 to January 1965, his tenure spanning most of the Second Vatican Council (final session, December 8, 1965.) His successor, Rev. Marvin Young, was pastor through January, 1968.

In 1964 the Diocese of Detroit ordained its first Black priest, Donald M. Clark. Father Clark, a native Detroiter, graduated from Cass Technical High School. Brought up in the Second Baptist Church, Fr. Clark was a convert to Catholicism. At about age 14 he expressed a desire to change denominations; his parents urged him to wait a year. He continued to attend Second Baptist while also attending St. Benedict's. At the end of the year, seeing that his desire remained firm, his parents consented, aiding him in the cost of his education. He attended Sacred Heart Seminary and concluded preparation for ordination at St. John's Seminary in Plymouth. His first assignment was St. John the Baptist in Ypsilanti. Fr. Clark is considered one of the founders of the National Black Catholic Caucus.

Fr. Clark replaced Fr. Leo P. Broderick, who was actively involved in student ministry at Eastern Michigan University, and had been released to devote his full time to that work. As chaplain of the Newman Club, Fr. Broderick revitalized the Catholic student presence on campus and would be instrumental in establishing the student parish of Holy Trinity, which was dedicated September 18, 1965.

Two sister parishes were also created in the sixties, St. Alexis and St. Ursula. St. Alexis had been a mission to the Willow Run Housing Project since 1943 when associate pastor Clare A. Murphy began holding mass in the recreation hall. The Willow Run mission continued to be served by assistants from St. John's until June, 1966 when it was raised to parish status. St. Ursula parish was formed in June, 1960; its church dedicated July 8, 1967. Both parishes were closed by Bishop Kenneth J. Povish on January 8, 1994 and merged that same day into the newly established Transfiguration Parish.

In 1971 the Catholic Church hierarchy in the state of Michigan was restructured. The new dioceses of Gaylord and Kalamazoo were created and existing diocesan boundaries were redrawn. A consequence of this reconfiguration was that Washtenaw County became part of the Diocese of Lansing, ending St. John's 125 year connection with Detroit.

The Second Vatican Council brought profound changes to the structure of the Church and the form of its liturgy, and responsibility to begin implementing these reforms fell to Fr. William King (January, 1968 to April 2, 1973). Changes in the liturgy required structural changes in the layout of the church interior, the most evident being the repositioning of the altar to face the assembly. The original “shelf” altar and reredos were removed and replaced by a freestanding altar sited partly within the nave. To accommodate this new placement a rectangular wooden platform was constructed, extending the level of the main floor of the sanctuary. The altar rail was also removed (a portion of it served as a barrier across the rear of the chancel, as the altar steps remained in place but now led to empty space). The church also underwent some cosmetic updates, acquiring carpeting and fresh paint (part of the mural work was lost in the repainting).

Rev. David Harvey was appointed administrator April 2, 1973 and became pastor March 8, 1974. Under his administration the elementary school was converted to a parish activities center and the church basement renovated for social functions; it has been renamed Harvey Hall in his honor. Parish council also decided to demolish Needham Hall, as the space was not needed and repairs had become too costly. This action was blocked by the Historic District Commission as efforts were made to save the building, and remained at a halt for around three years — into the pastorate of Rev. Edwin Schoettle (appointed 16 July, 1979). Needham Hall was demolished in June, 1980 under protest of the Ypsilanti Historical Commission and the lot landscaped as a memorial garden for the parish.

Fr. Schoettle died unexpectedly on April 8, 1981. Rev. Gerald Ploof, who had served as Associate Pastor at St. John in 1975, was chosen as pastor following Fr. Schoettle's death. Fr. Ploof was able to retire the school debt during his tenure, in part through the sale of the high school.

Part of the administrative change brought in by Vatican II was the implementation of pastoral teams, with separate agents responsible for overseeing Religious Education, Liturgy, Christian Service and so on. As yet there were few trained laity in these fields and pastoral teams were mostly comprised of women religious. The presence of four nuns as Fr. Ploof's pastoral team led to the reopening of the convent to provide housing. Although members of the current pastoral team are all lay persons, the convent has remained open to religious working in the Ypsilant/ Ann Arbor area. The present pastor, Rev. Edmond L. Ertzbischoff, was appointed 1 July, 1988.

St. John's celebrated its Sesquicentennial Year in 1995; the desire to prepare for that occasion, in part, prompted the most recent renovation. The church building would be sixty years old and had, over time, suffered from a certain amount of benign neglect. With the debt retired, capital improvements that had been delayed might now be addressed. Liturgical reforms were now twenty years along, with more definitive guidelines published by the National Council of Catholic Bishops as well as local Diocesan requirements, and a more careful assessment of the worship space also seemed in order. Accordingly, a renovation committee was formed in 1991. As the list of capital repairs grew and questions were raised about preserving the historic structure while embracing liturgical change, it became apparent that — even without new construction — St. John's was facing a major undertaking, and what had begun as liturgical correction and “asset protection” had grown to encompass needs from the full spectrum of parish activity. Finally, an overarching concern of the renovation was the issue of accessibility — a concept that neither Romanesque architecture or, 1930's building codes addressed.

After much deliberation and extensive listening sessions with the parish, the solution to most of the stated needs that emerged was to create a connecting structure between the church and the former school. This correlated to a revived concept in church architecture, that of the gathering space. As detailed in the parish Restoration & Renovation newsletter for June, 1997:

Discussion of a gathering space originally began in conjunction with the liturgical and fellowship needs of the parish. It progressed to its current scale when other unmet needs were under discussion: restrooms, elevator, storage, meeting rooms and parish offices. In new church construction projects, the gathering space is a transitional space from parking lot to worship area. It affords a place to celebrate the many rites of the church which take place outside the sanctuary, e.g. Palm Sunday, portions of the Easter Vigil, wakes, etc.

The gathering space at St. John's is designed to be an extension of the original church architecture and care was taken to match as closely as possible the materials and detailing (e.g., size and style of windows, doors and frames, copper downspouts, roof tiles, brick and stonework). Similarly, the interior echoes the open beams and columned supports of the nave and the triple chancel window. The addition contains a full basement which is serviced by an elevator. Each level is approximately 4200 square feet, of which half is open gathering or multi-use space. Cost constraints curtailed much of the finish work for the lower level, but it does serve for meeting space and smaller social gatherings. Connectors on both levels allow free access to the Activities Center (former school building) and the lower level is similarly linked to Harvey Hall. With this addition the entire public physical plant is now interconnected and barrier free.

The north (chancel) wall was opened to accommodate two doors into the gathering space — these now serve as main entries into the sanctuary. To make this a barrier free environment, ramps have been cut into the chancel floor along either wall to reach the nave (a third ramp is also provided as a late entry). The chancel area now functions as the baptistry; it contains a cruciform font large enough for full immersion. The marble facings for the font were chosen to mirror the smaller original, which has itself been reworked as a column for the ambry (the case used to contain sacramental oils). The renovated worship space does not deviate greatly from the 1973 layout — an arched, oak floored platform approached by a single step extending into the nave. This holds only the altar, an Italian marble table supported by eight columned legs. The ambo, of matching material and design, is slightly behind the altar's left, within the chancel arch. Portions of the original altar have been incorporated into the current furnishings — the ambo is faced with its central, monogrammed panel, and side panels and support columns from it have been reworked to form a pedestal for the tabernacle.

Chapels for the sacrament of Reconciliation and for reservation of the Eucharist were created from the former vestry. The side altars were removed and the arch on the east side was opened so the tabernacle is visible and opens to the main body of the nave. (The western alcove currently houses the ambry.) To properly display the statues of Joseph and Mary which formerly adorned the side altars, devotional alcoves were created from the wall recesses that had contained the confessional booths.

The primary architectural firm on the renovation was Siler & Associates, Inc. of Adrian, who brought in Lincoln Poley of Ann Arbor as design architect for the project. Mr. Poley's firm is recognized for its work in preservation and adaptive reuse of existing buildings and he had recently completed a similar project for St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Ann Arbor. St. John's also retained Christine Reinhard, liturgical design consultant, to facilitate the process and aid in adhering to the diocesan and NCCB guidelines, and the contract was awarded to J. C. Beal Construction, Inc., of Ann Arbor.

Groundbreaking ceremonies occurred on December 20, 1998 when the parish at large was invited to shovel out the foot-print of the new addition, and 1999 found the communal spiritual life of the community once again housed in its church basement. The rite of dedication for the new altar was celebrated on October 8, 2000, Bishop Carl Mengeling presiding and St. John Parish emerged into its renewed space for the beginning of a new millennium.

Fr. DeBever closes his 1876 account of the church's history with a brief census: “The number of faithful about this time is 135 or 140 families, many of whom are from Ireland and a few from Germany. All speak the English language and live in peace.”

Today's congregation numbers over 800 families representing every continent and dozens of languages. And that is as it should be, for the Church is a universal church and-more than ever in this third millennium-she is a global church, one in which the Parish of St. John the Baptist strives to participate fully. We may not be able to say with certainty that “all speak… English,” but it is our fervent prayer that all live in peace.


-. History of Washtenaw County, Michigan. Chicago: Charles C. Chapman & Company, 1881. (Reprint: Genealogical Society of Washtenaw County, Michigan, Inc. Mt. Vernon, IN: Windmill Publishing, Inc., 1990.)

-. “The Ypsilanti Savings Bank Presents… A Part of Our Heritage.” Ypsilanti Press: July 18, 1966.

Beakes, Samuel W. Past and Present of Washtenaw County, Michigan. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1906.

Bonadeo, Cathy. “Handful of Irishmen founded St. John's.” The Ypsilanti Press: July 1, 1973

Canfield, F. X., Boyes, E. B. “Detroit, Archdiocese of;” New Catholic Encyclopedia, Second Edition, Vol. 4, pp. 696–699. Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2003.

Colburn, Harvey C. The Story of Ypsilanti: Written for the centennial celebration of the founding of the city in cooperation with the committee on history. April 10, 1923.

Dunbar, Willis F. and May, George S. Michigan: A History of the Wolverine State. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1965.

Foster, G. I. Past of Ypsilanti: A Discourse Delivered on Leaving the Old Presbyterian Church Edifice, Lord's Day, September 20th, 1857. Detroit: Fleming and Davis, Book Printers, 1857.

Mann, Thomas James. Ypsilanti: A History in Pictures. Chicago: Arcadia Publishing, 2002.

Michalek, George C. Living in Joyful Hope: A History of the Diocese of Lansing. Strasbourg, France: Editions du Signe, 2003.

Robek, Mary F. “Then… History of St. John the Baptist Parish.”

Schimel, Mrs. Frank. “The Story of St. John Baptist Church in Ypsilanti.” Serialized in The Ypsilanti Press.

Seifen, Fr. J. Edward. Commemorating and Dedication of St. John the Baptist School and Convent, 1955.

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Photo Caption: St. John the Baptist Church, begun in 1855, completed in 1880. It was the second Catholic structure on the corner of Cross and Hamilton, replacing the parish's wooden first home. (photo taken after 1884 — the cupola of the brick school built in that year can be seen behind the church roofline).

First Baptist Church of Ypsilanti

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings, Winter 2005,
Winter 2005
Original Images:

Author: David B. Thayer

The building in which a congregation worships is not the church. Our forefathers were speaking more correctly when they spoke of the building as the “meeting house.” This left the word, church, to mean the people, the membership, the congregation.

In 1825 Moses Clark, a “Hardshell Baptist,” is reported to have preached the first sermon in Ypsilanti. Before there was any formal organization, occasional services were conducted by three pioneers of the Baptist Sect, Boothe, Powell, and Loomis. M.E.D. Trowbridge in her book, “History of the Baptists in Michigan,” constituted the First Baptist Church of Ypsilanti in 1828. She says, “A church was organized between Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor in 1828.”

In 1836, the first formal organization of a Baptist Church was effected under the leadership of Elder J.S. Twiss of Ann Arbor along with sixteen members. They met in a brick schoolhouse located behind Woodruff School-now known as the New Beginnings Academy on East Michigan Avenue at Park Street. By 1839 the membership was 75. They purchased a brick church at 110 North River Street from the Methodists. The Methodists had used the building until the floor collapsed during a revival. The building was repaired and used until 1847 when the Baptists moved to the chapel in the Seminary Building on the site where the Ypsilanti High School was later located on the northwest corner of Cross and Washington Streets. The building on River Street was later occupied by the Charles A. Delano Plumbing and Heating Company and by the automobile license bureau.

In 1846 a new church was erected on the southwest corner of Cross and Washington Streets. The moving of the church from its humble beginning on River Street to the completion of the new building on Washington Street showed a real dedication to the service of Christ. There was only a fifty-six year period of time during which they built two churches. The new church was of wood structure and dedicated June 17, 1847. During this year the ladies formed a Benevolent Society with the minister's wife as the first President. On December 23, 1849, the new church was destroyed by fire. Rebuilding began soon and the dedication of the second structure was on September 4, 1850. In 1855, the ladies' organization became known as the Baptist Aid Society.

In 1881, the building was removed and a foundation was laid for a new church of brick. The cornerstone was laid July 24, 1882, and the new edifice was dedicated on January 30, 1884 at a cost of $30,000. This Gothic structure had stained glass windows and a ninety-six foot spire. The congregation met in this new house of worship under the leadership of nine ministers. In 1895 a Young People's Society was organized with 102 members. The men of the church organized a Brotherhood in 1907.

The Reverend William Shaw came to the First Baptist Church in January, 1925, as a young, ambitious and dedicated minister. The building located on the comer of Washington and Cross Street served as the house of worship for the Baptists until the morning of Friday, February 19, 1937, when the church burned beyond any possible use. The church was across the street from the city fire department. The fire is believed to have started in the basement and burned for a considerable time before a passerby stopped at the fire department to make them aware of the fire.

A congregational meeting was held on the evening of February 20, 1937, at the parsonage located at 207 N. Washington Street. The first problem discussed was where the church should meet until a building could be provided. Real Christian concern was shown in the city for the Baptists. Many places for meetings were offered, such as the Masonic Temple, Cleary College, Moore Funeral Home, and nearly every church in the city. It was decided to accept the offer of the Presbyterians, and a program was planned so that the two churches could carry on their programs by alternating services. It was decided not to rebuild on the same site. The property was sold and the Geer Funeral Home was built there, now known as the Janowiak Funeral Home.

Plans for rebuilding started immediately and on Labor Day, 1937, members loaded and hauled 83,000 salvaged bricks from the old church to the new location at 1110 West Cross Street. Every conceivable idea was used to raise money for financing the building. They had tag-day sales, bake sales, dinners, old newspaper collections and many other schemes for raising money. Less than one third of the value of the burned church was covered by insurance, but with that money, the land at 1110 West Cross Street was purchased for the site of the new and now current First Baptist Church of Ypsilanti. The site was chosen after studying maps of church membership, as well as looking at the direction in which the city of Ypsilanti was growing. The Normal Park neighborhood was developing, and this residential area with wide-open green spaces provided an open atmosphere that the previous location did not.

The new church was dedicated October 13, 1938. The mortgage was burned November 22, 1940. Historical reminders from the previous church are located throughout the 1938 structure. Salvaged bricks literally formed the walls of the new structure, while other items salvaged are more decorative in nature. Pews in the balcony were preserved from the burned Gothic structure. The 1882 cornerstone is embedded in a stairwell wall. A soot-covered beam is now used as a fireplace mantle in the basement. A marble top buffet was recovered, as was the hymnal and attendance registry. The picture of Christ at the front of the sanctuary was also an item that was not destroyed by the 1937 fire, and has become a focal point of the church as well.

The interior appearance of the current church, adorned yet simple, followed a movement in the non-liturgical churches of the early 10th century. The belief was that a church should be significant unto itself and not resemble other structures, symbolizing the significance religion should play in life. In order to prevent exhibitionism on the part of the choir or worship leaders, the seats for the choir and clergy located in the chancel are divided by a central aisle, with the choir in two sections facing each other and not the congregation. This allows the congregation to direct their worship and praise to the altar, located in the center of the aisle, and not to the people conducting the service. Also significant is the unobstructed central aisle that leads to the altar. The lack of an obstructing bar symbolizes the Christian way to God-unobstructed and open to all.

In the mid-1950s, an educational unit addition to the west of the original structure was added. This three story wing cost $100,000. An office and preschool wing was added in 1970 to complete the present structure.

During the forty years that Rev. William Shaw served as pastor, 1925–1965, he was instrumental in starting the Willow Run Community Baptist Church, now known as the Immanuel Baptist Church at 1565 East Forest Avenue in the Willow Run area. He also helped to start the Grove Road Baptist Church. This church later merged with the First Baptist Church and the property sold to a church of another denomination. Financial help and moral support were given to struggling new churches in Rawsonville, Saline, and Chilson Hills in Ann Arbor, along with the Metropolitan Baptist Church here in Ypsilanti. The church has also had an outreach program for many years with college students at Michigan State Normal College now known as Eastern Michigan University.

It is noted that during 74 years, 1925–1999, only three ministers served as pastors. Following the forty year pastorate of Rev. Shaw were: Rev. William Bingham served as pastor from 1965 to 1980, and helped to establish the Meals on Wheels program, with the office located at the rear of the current church building; Rev. Vivan Martindale served as pastor from 1981 to 1999; and Rev. Randy Johnson started his pastorate in 2001 and continues as the current pastor.

For almost thirty years, the church has presented the Living Nativity for three evenings at Christmas time. The church continues its service of ministry with the Interfaith Hospitality Network, mission trips, Christmas baskets, social concern fund and monthly offerings to support local organizations.


“Baptist Church Organized in Ypsilanti Century Ago,” Ypsilanti Daily Press, June 2, 1936, Ypsilanti, MI

“Anniversary Celebration — 125th Anniversary, First Baptist Church — 1928–1953, November 15–18, 1953”, Ypsilanti, MI

“A Part of Our Heritage,” The Press, April 25, 1966, Ypsilanti, MI

“First Baptist Church of Ypsilanti, (undated — about 1978), Miss Nina A. Wilson

Photo Caption: 1836 - This small brick school house was the meeting place of the first Baptist congregation formed in Ypsilanti.
Photo Caption: 1847 - The chapel in the Seminary Building, the predecessor of the Ypsilanti High School, was used by the Baptists before they build their first church.
Photo Caption: 1850 - First Baptist church (left), located on the corner of Cross and Washington Streets, was built in 1850 and used until 1981.
Photo Caption: 1884 - The First Baptist church built on the corner of Cross and Washington was used until 1937 when it was destroyed by fire.
Photo Caption: 1938 - First Baptist church built in 1938 with an educational wing added in 1955.
Photo Caption: First Baptist church with a classroom and office complex added in 1970.

One Hundred Eighty One Years of Methodism in Ypsilanti

Original Images:

Condensed from Histories of Methodism in Ypsilanti

One hundred and eighty one years of Methodism in Ypsilanti! It is interesting to speculate on what our fair city would be like, if men on horseback had not brought the Gospel of Christian Faith to this place. The early ministers who came here considered it a very wicked community — a veritable Sodom of iniquity and they said so in no uncertain terms; drunkenness and Sabbath desecration prevailed. But wait a few years and the story changes.

The first church service in Ypsilanti, (then Woodruff's Grove), or in Washtenaw County was preached by an itinerant minister, Elias Pattee, who began his Christian ministry in 1807. He brought his young wife from Vermont to Canada on horseback while he walked the entire distance. In 1822 he was sent by the New York Conference to preach in Northwest Ohio and the “Wilds of Michigan.” So it was on a day in May, 1825, with all the wilderness abloom, that he came riding into the newly settled community at Woodruff's Grove. He was about forty years old, over six feet tall, with little academic learning, but with a great heart for service. A Canadian friend described him as “large of stature, commanding in personal appearance, dressing in breeches, stockings and shoe-buckles, and set off by his costume.”

A Methodist Society of five people was organized. The services were held in the homes of members, and Isaac Powers, the first Post Master, opened his home to them although he was not a Methodist. The following year came John Baughman, a cultured, educated gentleman with a booming voice that was, “like a voice crying in the wilderness.” The next year came John Janes. He married Miss Hannah B. Brown of Ann Arbor who shared the hardships of a Circuit Riders wife. In 1828 came George Walker from Ohio, a native of Maryland. It was said of him, “that no swollen river, no dismal swamp, or dangerous fen could daunt the lion-heart that beat in his bosom.”

The people of that day lived in a little settlement in floorless log cabins, surrounded by dense forests. Church meetings were held in the homes of members of the Methodist Society for several years. The membership of the society grew rapidly during the first decade. In 1829 a brick school house was built in the community and the church meetings were held there. Sometimes when the crowds were too large for the building and the weather was nice, the services were held outside in the beautiful oak grove.

In 1831 the society began to make plans for erecting a Chapel on River Street, then the main street of the town. Finally, after many difficulties, the brick building was finished in 1835. It was a plain building, but in time two 35 pane windows of 8 × 10 glass were added and in 1837 the Chapel was complete. From 1831 to 1837 Ypsilanti was known as the head of a Methodist Circuit. In 1837, the year Michigan became a State, the local Church with a membership of 190 was designated by the Detroit Conference as a Station. By this time Ypsilanti was a village of 120 homes with a population of 1,000.

In 1839, the Ladies Sewing Circle was organized, the object of which was to “clothe the poor children and get them into Sunday School and any other Benevolence that came their way.” This was the beginnings of what would eventually become the United Methodist Women's organization, a group that continues to impact the church and its mission today.

In March of 1843, while revival services were being held in the Chapel, the floor seemed to give way from the weight of the crowd, a panic ensued and a stove was overturned and a woman was seriously injured and died three days later. The Board of Trustees decided to build a new meeting house and Dr. Thomas Towne gave the land where the present church now stands, and he loaned the $4,500 necessary to build the new church. In 1843 the new church was dedicated with one hundred pews and room to seat 600 people. In 1852 a lecture room was added to the back of the meeting house and in 1854 the first parsonage, located on Washington Street was purchased.

“The Church building is in the style usually named “Victorian Gothic,” a Gothic style with different historical prototypes freely borrowed from the architectural past.”

Church membership continued to grow and in 1891 the need for more room was addressed as the congregation decided to build a new church on the same site. The corner stone was laid in September of 1891 with over 1,200 people in attendance. After much effort and some disappointments the new building was ready for dedication in the summer of 1892. The Church with its Gothic windows and high tower cost $32,000 to build-$20,000 of which had been raised before the dedication and the remainder being pledged on that occasion. The membership at this time was 725.

The Church building is in the style usually named “Victorian Gothic,” a Gothic style with different historical prototypes freely borrowed from the architectural past. The predominant nave space is an elongated dome affect. The pendentives, the inverted triangles at the corners, are reminiscent of Eastern architecture, of the Orthodox Churches of the Eastern Mediterranean area. The gables over the side balconies with their large Gothic windows are transept-like. The choir loft with the Trinity Window is also Gothic. The space in the rear of the worship area is the second auditorium of the Akron Plan.

Between 1897 and 1910 church membership grew to between 900 and 1,000 people attending on Sunday mornings. By 1921 the church had grown to a membership of 1125 and the Wesley Foundation for College Students was organized. In 1928, the Theodore Schaible family gave the present organ to the Church. The organ cost $20,000 and is referred to as “The Great Gift.”

During World War II, the basement rooms of the church were often used for the Blood Donor Program. A third parsonage was purchased, located just west of the Church and adjoining the church property. The former parsonage at 212 Washtenaw became the church house and was used extensively by student and other church groups.

In 1957, ground was broken for an Educational Unit and the consecration service was held in November of 1958. In 1959 a home for the Wesley Foundation, at the corner of West Forest and North Hamilton was purchased. In 1960 the membership stood at 1,375. In 1969, the sanctuary was renovated and Carroll Osborn, an EMU Professor, used a computer layout to reset the pews to form a new center aisle. In 1970, another parsonage was purchased and a chair lift was installed in the Washington Street entrance. In 1977 the old plaster in the Sanctuary was completely removed and replaced and the leaded glass windows were covered with Plexiglas to afford outside protection. In 1978 the former church parlor on the west wall of the rotunda area was extensively remodeled into a beautiful chapel complete with furnishings.

The eighties saw more renovations including the church library, the foyer and basement steps and the creation of a new parlor on the main level of the Education Unit in 1984. In 1986 the church office area was renovated and in 1988 the Paulsen Dining Room was completed. The same year marked the beginning of a Christmas tradition of “adopting families” from the community and providing them with gifts and food baskets. This tradition continues to this day.

In 1991, new carpeting was installed in the sanctuary and the church became accessible to all, as an elevator was installed in the Education Unit. “Love Gives a Lift” was the theme for the elevator and these projects were made possible by pledges to a Capital Stewardship Campaign in the amount of $400,000.

In 1992 the church celebrated the centennial anniversary of the sanctuary and with this celebration welcomed a new Weber Concert Grand Piano given by several members and friends. Special worship services were observed, a new memorial garden was dedicated as well as the establishment of an endowment fund in memory of the pioneer Ypsilanti Family of George Ross to assure maintenance and repair of the church building through future generations.

In 1992 the church began housing homeless guests through the Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN) and has continued to house for a week at a time, four times a year to the present time. In 1994 church members Betty Johnson, Melinda Waltz and Molly Elliott started a Small World Shop in the back of the rotunda. The shop was designed to offer gifts from across the world for purchase. The income from the shop provides income, dignity and hope to people in more than 40 developing regions around the world. The shop continues to the present time and has inspired several other local churches to duplicate this mission outreach.

In March of 1996 the Michigan Historical Commission notified the Ypsilanti Historical Society that the First Methodist Episcopal Church at 209 Washtenaw Avenue was listed in the Michigan State Register of Historic Sites.

In the fall of 1997, church members Morris and Ann Tabor visited Africa University and Hartzell Primary School in Zimbabwe, Africa. They discovered that the primary school did not have a library and church members began collecting books for the Hartzell Primary School. By late in 1998, nearly 1500 books were sent to Zimbabwe. Later, other churches and interested persons began sending books and 2500 were catalogued and put in a room in the school. The local PTA in Africa worked to raise money and in early 2000 a building was erected. In November of 2000 the building was dedicated as the Taber Library.

Also in 1997, the church began plans for an Ypsilanti CROP Walk under the coordination of church member Mike Needham. The Walk continues today and more than 20 local organizations participate and focus the public's attention on world wide hunger issues.

One Hundred and Fifty Years of Methodism in Ypsilanti, Michigan, 1975, Mrs. Ben VandenBelt.
One Hundred and Thirty-Five Years of Methodism in Ypsilanti, Michigan, 1960. Mrs. Ben VandenBelt.
One Hundred and Twenty Five Years of Methodism in Ypsilanti, Michigan, 1950, Condensed from the History Written 1936 by (Mrs. Pliny E.) Lulu Carpenter Skinner
175th Anniversary of Ypsilanti Methodism — 1825–2000, 2000, First United Methodist Church.

Photo Caption: The first church service in Ypsilanti, (then Woodruff's Grove), or in Washtenaw County was preached by an itinerant minister, Elias Pattee, who began his Christian ministry in 1807.
Photo Caption: 1843 - Meeting House on Present Church Site.
Photo Caption: In 1866, during the pastorate of Rev. J. S. Smart, the church was renovated, plastered, painted, frescoed, carpeted and the gallery enclosed, and a new pulpit and chandelier bought. Membership at that time was 425. In 1871 a new parsonage at 212 Ellis (now Washtenaw) was finished.
Photo Caption: 1958 - Architects Sketch of Church with Education Center Added.
Photo Caption: 1892 - Church Constructed at a Cost of $32,000.
Photo Caption: 2005-First United Methodist Church.

William Lambie Diary, 1891

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings, January 1989,
January 1989
Original Images:


1. All went to Roberts for grand dinner. The nights seem so long and I am so weary for the dawn.

2. Mrs. L and Mary went to Town in Robert's buggy. Brought the clothes from Rings. Made Hop Bitters. Read James Hamilton's marriage. (William Lambie's Mother was Mary Hamilton).

5. Mrs. L had Dr. Watling fill a tooth. Rssting a lot and wishing I could feel better still.

7. Frank & William Campbell drove past Belleville to pay taxes on land in Sumpter.

Brother Robert came to see me in my sickness.

12. Mrs. Thomas Clark and daughter came. Dr. Frazier's medicine is pleasant to take and seems to be helping me. Received a letter from James Hamilton, Glasgow, with his wedding card.

16. Robert took 3 big loads of corn to Town. Letter from Anna. Frank working on the Miller's Farm.

21. Drove to Town and got more medicine from Dr. Frazier. Robert was offered only 90 cents for the beans after all his work and expense.

25. A day for Scotchmen to celebrate-Burn's Anniversay. The cow Robert bot from Knapp had a calf.

28. Robert cleaning beans with Roll's Farming Mill. Frank working on his farm. Hens beginning to lay. 18 eggs today.

29. Called on Dr. Kinney and consulted him and got medicine.

30. Mrs. L and I walked to the old home and found old Mrs. Crippen had falled and hurt herself.

31. Got medicine from Dimick-the prescription from Dr. Kinney was something neither Samson nor Frank Smith had, Robert bot a grist.


3. Robert taking beans to Market, Frank cutting tamaracks on his farm.

5. Mrs. Fletcher, Mary and Willie went to Uncle Williams on the Street CAr.

6. Robert came to get his Mother to see Hattie and found she had the Mumps. Robert took about a ton of Hay to Ring.

12. Walked to the old home and cut some bushes. Tired and got a good rest in the sunshine.

17. A good rain in the night. The brook overflowing it's banks. Belle and her Mother went to Uncle Williams on the Street Car and the Conductor failed to let them off so they went to Ann Arbor and back.

18. Wrote to Sister Mary and Catherine that I was too sick to come and see Mother on the 20th, her 94th Birthday.

19. Mrs. L walked to Roberts to help Hattie to take care of Minnie, who is sick with the Mumps. Frank came with McLoud to Dinner.

22. Cold blasts-stayed at home. Azro's Father and his new wife went to Church and came home with Mrs. L, Mary and Azro's family to dinner Brother Robert and Uncle Andrew made us a welcome visit.

25. Walked down to Roberts-his wife and Minnie are better. Now Leah has the Mumps. He lost a good sheep and is thinking of leaving the Farm and working in Town.


2. Cold and dreary-Wearying for sunshine. Walked down to Roberts and came back in a snowstorm.

4. Mr & Mrs Fletcher, Mary and Willie went to visit Mr. Hewens. One of the sad days of life, received two letters informing of Brother Frank's death, the first break in a family of 9 in over 50 years.

5. Brother Robert and I not well enough to go to Brother Frank's funeral so Frank and Robert went in place of us. Sister and her son James, Mr & Mrs John Lambie, William Todd attended and saw brother Francis laid in the cold ground. Mother failing in mind and body.

7. Frank went off with his gun. Wrote W. Naismith regarding Brother Frank's death. received 3 bags of clover seed from John Campbell.

9. The first Robin-5 are in the doorway tree. Robert brot us butter. Frank took clover seed to his farm.

5. Clipped a notice regarding Brother Frank for the Free Press and sent it to Mr. Naismith.

2. Mild and Muddy, Was able to go to Church. Minister talking about enlarging the Church.

4. Bot a bushel of Timothy seed from Ainsworth, Frank and John Miller trimming his Orchard. Drew out straw and manure and put it around the currant bushes.

Hens laying about 2 dozen eggs a day. The Barton House was sold for $30.00.

30. Spread manure in forenoon. Aletter from Mr. Naismith regarding Frank's property. It seems to be a sad death and a sad settlement.


1. Frank bot a gray horse from Mr. Beeck for what he owed his Mother-bot garden seed from J. Thompson-Mary got a fine letter from Anna. Frank went with G. McDougal's son to work on a shed.

3. Robert brot word that another little girl was born at his home this morning. Mrs L walked down to help. Robert, Leah and Minnie staying up here.

6. Cut stumps in the clover field. J. Ross finished sowing clover seed. Set out some goosberry bushes.

8. Went to Mr. Phillips about grapes and trees. Robert sold 30 bushels of corn. Getting 20 to 40 eggs every day.

10. Robert sold 35 bushels wheat for 35 cents and paid me $20. Set out turnips-sold first green tree for 50 cents to A. Graves.

15. Mr. Birthday-three score and ten. I have lived man's appointed time upon earth. My eyes are not very din nor is my strength. Mr. & Mrs Fletcher, Willie, Leah and Minnie came to dinner. Called on Mr. Gray and saw through his fine home. Got 100 strawberry plants from him. Mary, Mrs. F and Belle helped set them out. Read in the News that McMillens could not claim the property Frank Lambie left at his death.

17. Went with Frank up to his farm on North Prospect and back over it through bogs and swamps to land worth improving. Brother Robert came to see about the property Brother Frank left going to his own friends.

18. James Inglis sent saying Mother should be Brother Frank's heir. Brother Robert said he would rather trust James than Detroit lawyers. Sent a letter to Agnes we would not go to Law.

23. Received trees from Ann Arbor but none from Monroe. Mary, Mrs. F, Willie, Leah and Minnie went to Belles to celebrate Willie's Birthday.


2. Robert's black mare had a foal. The trees came from Monroe at last. Mr. Vail hailed us as we passed. They came by Express-free. Mary and I set out about 40 green trees by night.

8. J. Renton, blacksmith-mill-wright repaired the big buggy. Carried the potatoes out of the Cellar and Robert and I worked hard planting them.

13. Took a barrell of seed corn to Robert. Ross planting corn in the field north of the brook.

4. Deposited $100 in the Bank. Azro and I went to see the great sale of City Lots on what used to be the William Watling Farm.

21. Longing for rain. Robert and Ron planting corn in field near Norton's Corners. Thunder showers at last.

22. Wife and I went on the Excursion to Detroit. Walked to Mother's home. One of the grandest days of my life.

25. The Adveriser came all the way from Scotland in nine days. Frank and Robert took away the old family wagon we had for over 30 years and brot back a new one.

27. Fox shore Robert's sheep-24 old sheep and 14 lambs.

29. Mrs. L and I drove to Uncle Andrews-nothome-drove to Uncle Williams not home either. A shower bothered the Street Cars too.


1. Glorious day. Robert and Fox cleaning out the brook.

2. Azro sprayed Robert's orchard and then I drove the horses as he sprayed ours. Worked in the garden-a few strawberries ripe.

5. Bot a carpet from Rexford I thought we did not need.

8. Went with Frank past Kimmels. Mrs Fletcher gave me a fine breakfast on the way back.

9. Called on Mrs. Mann, Mr & Mrs Alban and Mr. Wilbur, Robert and Ross carried the stove to the wood house. Mrs Ring and others cleaning the house.

12. Sold 2 bushels of potatoes to L Davis at 85 cents a bushel. Minister Morey went past thrice to gather ferns and flowers to decorate the Church for Children's Day.

15. Went with Frank to Fifely & Millers Corners-picked peas and some big strawberries in our garden. Sprayed and brushed buggs off the potato plants and then sprouted the potatoes in the Cellar. Showers in late afternoon.

18. Robert sold the wool to Ainsworth aobut 184 lbs-24 fleeces at 22 cents-$40.80. Robert bot a horse from Cornwell. Mr. Hewens paid interest.

22. Longest day in lovely June. Battling agsinst the weeds and bugs this long summer day. About 90 in the shade.

26. Mrs. L drove Mary over to Azros and then took Anna to the dentist. Belle picked 50 quarts of strawberries.

27. Sold two bushels potatoes to L. Davis for two silver dollars. Robert brot papers-the Free Press stating at the Probate Court Ann Lambie (William's Mother) right in Frank's property belonged to the Lambies.

30. Mrs. L's Birthday. Robert got in 3 loads of hay in prime order on Frank's new wagon. Belle picked a fine lot of cherries. Dug potatoes, very small. A paper from Prof. G. Campbell-his son seems to be the best scholar in Dartmouth College. Goodbye to joyful June.


1. Bright beautiful balmy day. Helped the field as long as I was able. Paid $8 in VanTyls store for our Church seat rent for year.

3. Andrew Campbell came with a paper by Mary and Catherine Lambie requesting a guardian be placed over Mary Lambie (Mother in Windsor) at the settlement of the deceased Francis Lambie's Estate. Fine crop of Cherries and Currants.

6. Fed the horse before sunrise and went to Town early and on the Street Railway to Ann Arbor. Had dinner and pleasant meeting with R. Campbell and family. Robert finished harvesting wheat for Theodore and reaped part of Harrises.

8. Cool morning-had to put on a flannel-Robert reaped his 10 acre field on the east high corner. Ross and Fox set up and capped the shocks.

13. Days a little shorter. I mowed the wheat around the trees on both fields. Azro came to get the reaper.

14. Expected to get new potatoes on the 4th of July but did not get them until today. Robert and his men drew in the Hay on the Miller farm.

16. John Ross drew wheat with Robert's team and Theodore with his team and got the wheat all in the barn.

18. Dug good potatoes for ourselves and son and brother Robert. Frank and Near went with Near's horse. Ross and Fox got the wagon to draw in Frank's wheat. Robert racked the stuble. Frank repaired the M_____barn that the lightning hit.

23. Robert and Ross got a new plow to plow the Miller farm. Very hot and dry. The Sunflower leaves wilted. Anna picked some Early Joe Apples. Paid Dr. Frazier for Medicine.

25. Got some papers from Brother Robert and gave him some potatoes. William Campbell came and went with Robert to see Frank's farm.

29. Renton shod Eagle. Thompson wanted to sell us a carriage for $115. A shower went around the North and around the South. We got only a few drops.

31. J. Ross cradling a good crop of Pats. More Early Joe Apples.


3. Robert reaping Oats with a new reaper. Ross and Fox binding Oats. Set up shocks till I was weary.

5. Wife and I went to Detroit and Canada to see great Army of Soldiers the G.A.R. crowd were great.

Mother sat up most of the day and when my wife sang “My Ain Countree” Mother clcapped her hands. The Windsor people had a great Arch to welcome the American Soldiers. Mrs. Smith (Kate Inglis) arrived and Mrs. Fletcher met her and children at the Depot.

6. Cleaned the hen house. No wealth, honor or pleasure doing that. Anna went for Mary and brot Mrs. F and Willie and Mrs. Smith with her two girls.

7. Dan Campbell and his young wife came. Azro borrowed our horse and did not return it as expected. Hattie had to carry Robert's dinner to him in the heat.

8. Azro brought up Mr. Smith. I called on brother Robert. Oppressing heat. 97 in the shade.

10. Went with Frank to Mr. Gills. Called at Azros and found Mr & Mrs Smith and two children. Clare came and took Mrs L to his Fathers.

13. Frank and I went to P. Gills. Azro and Mr. Smith with their families took tea at Brother Roberts.

25. Cool clear morning. Exposition begins. Anna got a telegram from Duluth.

7. Went to see Azro and old Mr. Wilbur. Called on Belle and we cheered one another. Got the harness mended adn called on Robert's empty house.

29. Frank went to the Detroit Exposition. Wife and I went to Ann Arobr with presents for Mr & Mrs Robert Campbell's 30th Wedding Day. A grand party of friends. But we were all sad when we learned Uncle Andrew's barn his hay and 7 horses were all burned last Friday night. He had hard work to save his home. Loss about $3,000. With all his loss he was Master of himself and laughed and sang like the others.


2. Went to the Exposition andCanada. Mother sat up some. Her thoughts wandered. Mary and Catherine anxious to get justice from James. Enjoyed seeing the horses, sheep and cattle at the Exposition.

4. Robert got coal for the Thrashers. Dug potatoes and called on Aunt Eunice. Gathered pears.

7. Old Mrs. Wilbur died. Harvey thrashed 311 bushels Oats and 117 bushels of wheat at Roberts and 101 bushels of Oats and 153 bushels wheat up here.

8. Went with Mary to Azros where they are thrashing. Took Mr. Smith and his trunk to the Depot. Went with Robert to old Mrs. Wilbur's funeral.

10. Bob Martin put 300 sheep on Robert pasture. Robert brot Frank home to settle with Harvey James and John Miller so that Frank could have entire control of what used to be the Miller Farm.

11. Martin took away 401 sheep after they had about spoiled Robert's pasture and paid $15.

Heard of old Mr. King's death.

14. Went with Frank to Mr. Fills about sunrise. Attended Mr.King's funeral Mrs. Hewens paid some money. Robert's cow could not be found.

15. Belle ran all the way to ell us she found one cow. Robert found the other. Mrs Hilt and the two Mrs. Campbell came to visit.

17. Mrs. F, Willie, Mrs. Smith and two girls, Mary and I went to the Fair. Saw the balloon go up.

18. Very warm. Mrs. Fletcher got the first premium on butter. We got the second premium on carrots and parsnips.

24. Uncle Andrew came. Frank went to the Plymouth Fair. Called on the Florist at the Depot and found him to be a poet.

28. Frank's Birthday. Mr & Mrs. Smith and the girls called on their way to Ohio. Longing for rain.

30. Went to Mrs. Hewens for a ram-paid $7.-he jumped out of the buggy and it tired me catching him. Mrs. McConachie came at night.(A Campbell relative)


1. Mr. McConachie, Mrs. L and I went to the City of the dead in Augusta and then to Mrs. Hewens sale and met a number of friends.

2. Rode up on the Motor to Ann Arbor Fair-was very tired and met few friends. Frank put the Hewens ram with Robert's sheep.

5. Robert and John helping Frank to thrash. Robert Campbell came and paid interest.

6. Frank got all his crops thrashed. Brot two loads here. Brother Robert came and got garden potatoes. Mary, Mr & Mrs F, Willie and I went to a Social. A grand supper and ice cream at the Church.

9. Frank brot a load of tamarack for stove wood. Dug rows of big peach blow potatoes.

10. Frank and Robert brot us a new surrey and Frank got a new Top buggy.

17. Still digging potatoes. Robert's marsh now a productive potato field.

23. Robert brot up two loads of potatoes and put them in the Cellar.

28. Went to see Mother in Windsor. She was glad to see me, very weak in body and mind-hope Mary and Catherine will be rewarded for taking care of her night and day for years.

29. Mary and Belle helped gather apples in the one horse wagon-nearly all blown down by the high winds.


3. Ice and ground hard-gathered basket of late peaches. Robert drew gravel for the road.

5. Pulled turnips. Belle and Mrs. W. Campbell came. Mr. Allison sent two Australian papers. Mary, Belle and I went to F. Bennetts burial, the last for another neighbor.

6. Mr & Mrs Fletcher went to Uncle Andrews barn raising in the morning. Mary and I went in the afternoon. A good frame, hard work and dan-gerous. Frank did as much shouting as Les Yost would do for $10.00.

9. Mild morning-Like spring. Got the turnips in the basement. Called on the gardener at the Depot.

11. Went to Detroit. Called on sister Agnes and Mother-Met Uncle Andrew at Mothers. James' store shut up.

14. Mrs. Fletcher, Mary and Willie went to Uncle Williams. Sent a Mich-igan book to the Stravan Library. My letter in the Farmer about sheep. Frank bot 20 acres from Mrs. Loveridge. Saw a grand eclipse of the Moon.

17. Mrs L went with Mary to Azros. Robert took stalks to Town and helped set up the Coal Stove.

18. Belle and I carried apples down Cellar. Mr & Mrs Ross moved on Frank's farm. Cold rain and blasts of wind.

25. Thanksgiving-Robert brot up 3 loads of corn. Mr & Mrs Scotney came to dinner.

27. Martin brot a good cord of wood to keep us warm. Paid him $3.75 and sawed some stove wood.


1. Mr. Calhoun paid interest for a bushel of onions. Mrs L, Mary and Willie went to a Church meeting in the Surrey.

5 Plenty of snow. Robert came for the Bob-Sleigh.

10 Mild and muddy again. Uncle William called on us.

13 Anna's Birthday.

17. Robert brot 2 loads of stalks.Anna sent word she intends to come home Saturday. Robert brot two cows from Knapp, one for heimself and one for his Mother.

19. Paid our Tax on the old farm home $17.29. Frank paid other Taxes. Robert brot up Anna from her School at Elkhart.

24. The girls went to the old home and cut a green tree for Christmas. Sister Agnes sent Christmas presents.

25. Christmas-23 years since father died. Had a royal feast and Turkey for dinner. Robert, Hattie and the 3 girls, Mr & Mrs Fletcher and Willie, Mr & Mrs Scotney. Frank was here to carve the Turkey. A pleasant gathering of friends.

29. Dark and damp and some snow. Bot ink, paper and oil from Samson.

31. Wife got medicine from Dr. Frazier for Ahna. Farewell good year of niney one-May we do better in days to come.

Continue reading in the William Lambie Diary, 1892.

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William Lambie Diary, 1890

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings, October 1988,
October 1988
Original Images:

1. Frank and I drove to the Depot with Anna in a pouring rain to take the Huckleberry train for Elkhart. Mrs. L, Mary and I called on Mrs. Morey end family and enjoyed our visit.
2. Robert and Leah sick with the prevelent influenza, has to keep a colored boy to help him.
3. Sent a dollar for the Michigan Farmer-mild and muddy. A hungry man helped to saw wood. Mr. Naismith sent a callender from Scotland.
4. Wrote regarding Christmas end Sents Claus in the Banner.
5. Went to Church, rain and mud. Sermon on revivals.
6. Frank and Mary went through the mud to Azros-Robert and his help-er able to set by the stove-Went to see them.
7. Blinks of sunshine, Wentdown to Roberts three times.
8. Frank went to the Insurance Meeting-Robert cams for a load of stalks dreary blasts.
9. Bells called to see us-Mrs. L walked to Roberts-Azro went with Mrs. L, Mary and Willie to G. Stephansons.
10. Called on Mrs. Taylor-Robert buying Turkeys.
11. Drove up wood from Robert's Lane-Got papers from Robert and Frank.
12. Went to Church in the rain-Sermon on prayer and prayer meetings.
13. Rain in the night-Snow showers and dreary blasts. Azro came for Mary to help Mrs. F.
14. Went to Town and Robert sewed some wood.
15. Azro, Mrs. L and Willie came back with Mary. Saw a fire up the river at bedtime, Govenor Luce addressed the Grange here.
16. Robert had Harvey James, his engine and men sawing wood. Walked down to the old home to see them. Mr. & Mrs. Fletcher, Willie, Laeh and Minnie were here too.
18. Mild and hazy. Mary and I went to Town. Mrs. L had a headache.
19. Mrs. L and I went to Church alone, first ice on the river.
20. Heavy rain in the night, wind storm in the morning.
21. Dull Sky and bitter blasts. Mrs. L ahs Influenza.
22. Walked to the old home-Robert brought two loads of wood and got a load of stalks and James Wallace called yesterday-coldest day this winter so far-4 above zero.
23. Heard of Mrs. Rambo's death. Snow showers-ground white. Robert went for medicine for his Mother and him. Hattie and children stayed for dinner.
24. Mrs. L unwell. Mr. LaFurgs brought a load of wood. Clear sunshine an pure snow. Brother Robert brought me some papaers.
25. Burn's Anniversary. Robert and his man sawed and split LaFurge's wood and I helped.
26. Showery-Mrs, L was sick. Mary and I went to Church. Robert and Azro's family came to dinner. Dark and damp.
27. Mild and sunshine, like spring-Mary and I went to Town and got Dr. Kinnie to come and see Mrs. L.
28. Uncle Andrew and his son Dan gave us a friendly call.
29. Robert sold the brown cow we bought of B. Roberts years ago for $15 and paid me most of it. Walked through the mud to Roberts. Robert got more medicine for his Mother.
30. Like Spring-Robert brought a load of wood and an old sheep. Received a letter from Robert Pate at Browncastle.
31. Mrs. L, Mary and I had a pleasant ride in the balmy air for health and pleasure. Some more Grosbeek birds in the dairy yeard.
1. We can hardly think of the winters past and the next month will be Spring. Called on Robert and got papers from him.
2. Dark morning-3 able to go to Church-Sermon on the widows-few old men out.
3. Robert got a load of stalks. Mrs L and I drove to the old home-rain at night.
4. Misty morning-Robert was sick and went to see the Doctor.
5. High winds in the night-LaFurge came to sell trees. Mary and Miss Draper went to Roberts-Azro and Liz and Willie went to hear Mr. Lowell at night.
6. Wife and I went to Town-took apples to Dr. Kinney.
7. Looked over old letters-Frank got Eagle shod. A new snow storm all afternoon about the first of importance.
8. Shoveled anow to get to the Barn. Mary came back-Stormy. Mr. Fletcher brought the papers from Brother Robert.
9. The two Marys and I went to Church-Sermon on Jericho. Some were out with the Cutters and bells.
10. Robert sick-Had to get Dr. Owen. Mary went to help Hattie-BRight sunshine-snow melting.
11. Robert better-We went to see him. Went to Town in afternoon-Like Spring.
12. Robert was able to come and see us-Dan called on him.
13. Mr. L drove Mary to Harries-Mary went to Church at night with Mr. & Mrs. Fletcher-Balmy day.
14. A wet morning-A letter from J. Camman-Mary walked to Roberts in the rain.
15. Two years to the day since Grandfather died-clear sunshine and frost after the rain. P. VanAten came to trim the Orchard. P. Stephens and Mr. Wilcox died this week. Roberta man filing saws and sawing wood.
16. went to Stephens burial. Sermon on the conversion of Paul.
17. Mrs. L and I went to Azro's for dinner. Called on Mr. & Mrs. Webber. Drove to John McDougals to tell them of the death of old Mrs. Gardener.
18. Misty and damp-Mrs. L not well enought to go the Mrs. Gardner's funeral. Robert came up sick-Mother went and stayed with him. Mar and I went to Town. Azro, Elizabeth and Willie came for Mary to go to Theodores late. More rain in the night. A robins singing feebly in the dreary and trees. Robert and family made us a pleasant visit.
19. Bleak blasts, dull skies and Mary and I saw the old Camp House blazing and burning in the dreary blasts. Split wood.
20. Mother's 93rd birthday-the side walks were a sheet of ice-went to Detroit-CAlled on James-Mother as well as could be expected at her time of life. Shw was able to sit up about an hour-talked of the happy days of Auld Lang Syne. May the frequencies of God's mercies not lessen our gratitude all our meeting and parting make us better. Called on Sister and she accompanied me to the Depot.
21. Walked down to see Robert-Bitter blasts-Bell called after dinner-Mary went to visit Mrs. Everts.
22. Washington's Birthday-Mothar's Birthday is of greater importance to me. Had a cold stayed at home. Robert called and brought word that Joe Saunders fell down and died in his store.
23. Snow showers-the two Marys drove to Church-I stayed home-Robert and family came to dinner.
24. Mild and misty and damp. Split some stove wood.
25. Rain in the night, cloudy akies and muddy roads. Mrs. Fletcher and Mary went to Roberts and they were sorry he was away spending money his family needed.
26. Mrs. L went to see daughter BElle. Ring triming and burning brush in the Orchard.
27. Frank went home with Azro to see Willie. Cut off sprouts round the apple trees.
28. More rain-Mrs. J. Campbell came through the mud from Augusta, took down Mrs. Campbell's team at night. Robert got back seemed to be better. Farewell to Winter.
1. Welcome another Spring, cold breezes. Robert got a load of stalks. Belle came, called on Brother Robert-he looked sad and weary.
2. The Young Men's Christian Association conducted the Service at Church. The river about froze over the first time this winter or Spring.
3. Rough roads-Frank took both horses to Town, Crows cawing and forming in long rows in the field before the houss. Wife and I drove down to Roberts-but all was deserted-snow showers.

4. More snow and then sunshine. Frankhas Dick drawing stove wood for his customers. Frank, Robert, Azro and all the third gener-ations came and the younsters had a gleeful time.
5. g above zero-the men who want ice may rejoice. Went to Town called on our old firend John Taylor, found him looking well, A turnout over at Azors-Belle came.
7. Above zero, Uncle William made a short pleasant call.
8. Belle, Leah and I called at Brother Roberts. A great many in Town. Men building an ice house, and filling it.

9. Sunshine-The Church full and Professor helped the Minister.
10. A snow storm in the forenoon. Robert and his man up here cleaning wheat. Robert sold a Icad of wheat to Mr. Dubal.
11. Robert's Birthday. Deep mud and a long race after a stupid cow. Mary and Belle went to Town.

12. More rain in the night. A robin sung seedly in the dreary day.
Robert and family made us a pleasant visit.
13. Dug parsnips in the garden. Mr. & Mrs. Taylor walked up. went home with them after supper.
14. Wife and I had a pleassent visit at Mrs. Stephens. Called on Mrs. Thomas Phillips who is very sick.
15. Cold snow showers-Did not go Downtown in the storm. Brother Robert kindly sent pepers by Frank.
16. Ice on the water paid in the kitchen. Went to Church in the bleak blasts-came gentle Spring eternal mildness came.
17. A little below freezing and a little snow. Mr. Stanley buried yestarday. St. Patrick's Day.
18. Robert and his boy got the stable manure on the garden. Frank paid me the Greenman not $22,00. Spread manure in the garden, sowed Lettuce and Raddish. Tulips and Snow drops peeping up. Raked off the Rhubarb.
19. GRound white with a morning snow shower. Azro making Maple Syrup. Belle came to see us.
20. Went to a prayer meeting in the Baptist Church yesterday.
21. Went through the deep mud to Azros. Willie and I had a grand walk in the pale forest and saw them boiling sap. The two Marys went to a Ladies meeting in the Church.
22. Robert's boy plowed the garden with our help. Got papers from Brother Robert.
23. Mary over at Azros. Mrs L and I went to Church and took old Mrs. Rorisan home; only Frank with us at dinner.
24. Bleak March blasts, laid up rails between the old farm and Wilbers. Mary and Willie walked over and back.

25. The bonnie birds sung in the sunshine at dawn when we left for Uncle Willisme where we had a pleasant visit but the wind blew bleak and dreary coming home.
26. Bleak, bitter blasts-Robart and family called on us, next Azro and his folks, glad to get in the house by the stove.
27. Wife and I called on John Mann and Mr. & Mrs. Lay, some of the few friends we found fifty years ago.
28. A great viariety of weather, thunder and lightning in the night, snow, hail and rain in the forenoon. Robert came through the driving snow to see us.
29. Sunshine after the snow storm-Did not go Downtown.
30. Sacrament over 20 additions to the Church. Mr. Green about the only one of the Sacrament hosts, the others mostly gone to their homes.
1. Paid Mr. C for the Commercial and Mr. Woodry for the Sentinel. Birda singing.
2. Went with Frank over to Mr. Arnold's. Aunt Kate and Jay came-Mrs. L drove them over to Azros. Sowed cabbage, beets, carrots and onions.
3. A morning shower, Snow drops peeping through Rhubard leaves forming a wet day. Balle and Mary went to Town in the rain.
4. Wet morning, birds singing, gladsome day.
5. Met Belle in Town. The farmers met in the Grange Hall. A great sale of City Lots in Windsor.
6. Easter. The pulpit adornad with flowers-Sermon on Easter. Went to the home of Mrs. and Sarah Rorison. Mrs. L went home with Willie.
7. Town meeting-Robert and family came, grand day-Repaired fence. Rasler got 26 dozen eggs-Loud thunder in the night. Warm sunshine that Robert's children enjoyed.
8. Great thunderatorm in the night-too wet for Frank to work. The Ministers forming-the Presbyterian came.
9. Walked down with Robert to see about fence posts in the woods where I wandered when young. Took down chickens for Ministers. Mrs. L attended a Missionary meeting in the Baptist Church. Cold blustry and dreary after the sunshine and thunder. Robert has 4 lambs.
10. Cold dreary blasts-Willie said he wanted to go home awful bad.
11. Mrs. L and Mary went to Town-OUr old friend Mr. Pasons was buried. planted potatoea-birde singing among bursting buds.
12. Mary and I set out 15 Ohio Roses-Thunderstorms last night. Peach treea begining to leak road with blossoms.
13. A full Church-a good Sermon-a beautiful day.
14. Robert and Will begun to plow for Oats south of the house. Repaired fence round the barnyard.
15. Mr. Birthday, having lived 69 years and beginning my seventh year-Mans alotted time upon earth. The joys of young life and mature life are past and solemn thoughts comes over the mind as one thinks of so many old friends gone and that we are now in the front ranks on the march to the unseen world. A beautiful day with a pleasant party to dinner.
16. Wheeled ashes on the garden. Robert and Hattie went to Miss Martin's wedding. Peach trees bursting in the red beautiful bloom Mrs. L and I west to our old friend E. C. Peck's funeral.
17. Called on N. Voorhees and got 3 dozen eggs for sitting. Got straw-berries and Cuthbert plants from Mr. Everts. Azro sowed Dats south of the house. Frank let the Miller farm to Harvy James.
18. Uncle William, Azro and Frank drove past Belleville to look at farms he had a claim on. Planted Cuthbert and 100 strawberries. Mary, Mrs. Fletcher, Belle, Willie and Leah gathered wild flowers in our old woods. Robert harrowing Oats.
19. Fine Spring day-Frank getting the Buggys painted.
20. Mr. Morey preached a good Sermon.
21. Robert sowing clover seed-the boy rolling and plowing-bought one bushel timothy seed and 1/2 bushel clover. Received and planted 7 fine peach trass from the Monroe Nursery.
23. A fine refreshing shower. Mary, Mrs. F and Willie went to Uncle Andrews-planted potatoes, sowed parsnips. Robert has 20 lambs.
24. Dug a seafrass bushes on the old farm and grapes and planted them up here-Wild flowers in the woods.
25. Planted and trimed trees that I dug up-Robert sold potatoes.
26. Walked to Roberts. Came back in the rain. Robert sold his team to Theodore. Fussing with sitting hens.
27. Mr. Marsh preached a tiresome Sermon on Alma College.
28. Mrs. L and I called on Mrs. Renton and Nehall and on J. Mann. When we came to our good old friend Dr. Patterson he told us he? far gone to see us passing away to a glorious immortally. Planted two Peach and a Quince tree, Mrs. L had bought of Mr. LaFurge. Dandelions in bloom. Robert's boy plowing.
29. Showers in the night-sunshine in the day time.
30. Went to Mr. Lay's funeral-One of the best on earth. Willie's Birthday. Mrs. Fletcher, Hattie, Mary and Bells held a picnic in Norton's woods among the wild flowers.
1. Robert and I set Evergreen trees north of the house. Brother Robert called on us and told us Mother's welfare.
2. Robert and I finished setting two rows of green trees. John Taylor came-went to Town with him. Old Mrs. Scotney came and told her tale of woe and abuse. Robert cultivated poatoes. The buggys both painted and dry.
3. Planted corn in the garden. Peaches in beautiful bloom. Wrote verses regarding our old friend Mr. Lay.
4. A Sermon on Sabbath Schools.
5. Wet forenoon-Mr. Morgan came to show us his portrait of Carthle.
6. Went to Mr. Howlets with Frank. Cold rain and some hail. Robert, Leah and I walked by the brook where will was plowing for Corn. Fox triming apple trees.
7. Planted potaotes, a little frost at sunrise-not well.
8. Turned the sprouting potatoes-Robert and his Mother went to the old farm-7 chickens-a little frost again.
9. Wet and stormy-the rats killing the wee chicks.
10. So wet we did not go to the Town. Robert and Will helped Marz to clean the house. Ben Smerick, Mr. Beuland and Bice died this week.
11. Clear and cold after the heavy rain, ice on the pail as thick as a half dollar. A Sermon on Calvin.
18. A Sermon on Presbyterianism and the Declaration of Independence Went to Chruch in the Rain.
19. Cloudy & Showers. Hoed in the garden-Have pie plant, asparagrass and radishes.
20. Received 4 Roses from the Dingle Rose Company in Philadelphia.
21. Wife and I called on Mr. & Mrs. Albian and got seed from them. Made a pleasant call on the Miss Lumas we have known.
22. Mary's Birthday-She went to Ezras-Belle made her a new dress. Robert and family went to Azros for seed corn.
23. Robert had two teams harrowing and one rolling-I cleaned out the drift wood at Harries fence. Mrs. Lauvedge brought Mary home and took our mail to Town. A grand day.
24. Queen's Birthday-A morning shower-a tremendous shower at G. Alllane on both us and Azro's family.
25. Sermon on Joshua. More showers.
26. The rain made the Roberts land to wet for planting corn but the stream in fine order for washing sheep, his man and Ernie Ring made light work of it-Received 1/4 ounce of silk worm eggs from Washington and don't know what to do with them. Robert and his man marked and planted corn north of us.
27. Beauty of a morning, like long ago. Robert had Ring, Ross and Fox planting corn.
29. Mrs. L and I called on Mr. & Mrs. Finley and Son, John, Mr & Mrs A Campbell, Mrs. Elsworth and Mrs. Parsons. Robert went with Mr. Knapp.
30. Decoration Day. The two Marys and I went to Church. Met the Parade of Veterans and the band with marshall music both going and returni Warm 82 degrees at supper time. Robert's man plowing for beans.
31. Let out aobut 50 chickens we kept in the barn. Robert brought home the Calf Bessie he bought from A. Knapp. A friend from near Wayne called on brother Robert.
1. Sacrament-the Church full, some additions but John Geddis and Mr. Lay comes nevermore.
2. Splendid summer morning-Hleped Robert to load manure-Ernie Ring helped Mary to clean the house.
3. Howed potaotes till it came a thuderstorm-paid Robert $5 to help pay for the shearing of the sheep. Mr. & Mrs. Fletcher, Willie and Mary went to Uncle Williams to help spray the trees. Fox and his partner shore Robert's 48 sheep.
5. Put paris geen on the potatoes-Robert replanting corn-his man plowing for beans.
7. Went with the Presbyterian Excursion and found brother Frank in James store looking poorly.
Was glad to see Mother's white Mutch at the window, being able to sit up and talk of days of long ago-Called on Sister Agnes as she returned from Lapeer and intends to live in the country at Clark Villa this summer.
8. A bonnie summer day. Mr. Faifield preached among the flowers it being Children's Day.
Robert finished planting beans and brought up the wool-sowed grass seed and planted corn on the burnt marsh.
10. Fifty-one years today since we came from native Scotland to the Moon farm in Michigan. Mother still living and in her right mind. Father the only one to leave us in our long exile. A wet day.
12. Ernie Ring helped to carry the potaotes to the barn and I mowed the foor yeard and a few strawberries. Belle came.
13. Wife and I went to Ann Arbor and enjoyed a pleasant visit with Mr. & Mrs. R. Campbell-called on Lasher Kimme and Mrs. Strang and took dinner with Azro and family.
15. Mr. Morey preached about giving. A grand summer day. Three generations to dinner.
16. The Robins sung o'er my cottage door to see the rising sun at four-as glad as the days of yore.
17. Cultivated potatoes, cleaned out the brook-Belle came.
18. Mr. Whittelsay looked over the Wool and ofered 26 cents.
19. Looked over the old orchard and the crop of apples seems to be a failure.
20. Wrote regarding Mr. Allison's great flock of sheep in Australia. Refreshing rain in the night.
21. Old Dirk had to get a rest after Robert's cow hurt him and we lent him Eagle and I think of the time I said “My kingdom for a Horse”. Belle came for the Augusta Organ to celebrate her Birthday after the surprise party at her home.
22. The longest day-A good sermon on the Lord's Prayer. Very warm was glad to get out of Church.
23. Went with Frank over to Boatwrights-met with Mr. Sabers. Called on Elizabeth-Robert's man put Green on his potatoes. Went to see him cultivationg his big field of corn by the orchard brook.
24. Glad beautiful morning-very warm about 90 in the shade. Belle came and her and Mary drove over to Roberts.
25. Robert working on the roads. Tolbert cultivated potaotes about 90 in the shade. Howed potaotes, green peas for dinner. Mrs. F brought Mary back and took away Mrs. L.
27. He causes morning and evenings to rejoice.
30. Mrs. L Birthday-Went with Frank to Boatwrights-Another thunder storm.
1. Damp misty morning-Robert has 2 men hoeing potatoes. Mrs. R and Unie Lambie went to visit friends at Vassers.
3. Robert and I took a walk to Ainsworth, a falling market. We got 26 cents for all but 3 fleeces, 18 for them. Small returns for feeding sheep all winter-about $59 to divide between Robert and 1–48 fleeces.
4. Fine cool breezes and great guns booming in the morning. Robert mowed the clover field.
5. Helped to cack up the hay as of old, liked the work-very weary the spirit willing but the flesh weak.
6. Brother Robert called and we rode out to see the wheat waving before the harvest.
7. Drove with Frank to Boatwrights barn, Theodore started to mow the field by G. Allans and broke the saled tongue of the mower the first time round.
8. Robert's man went to Canads-A new man mowed by G. Allans and did not break anything among the stumps. Robert reaped for Theodore and his reaper did not run well. I brushed bugs off Robert's potats field with the broom-electric light at night. Anna walked to Belles.
10. Fine cool morning, green peas drying up-Robert's man came back from Canade-him and W. Cary got in all the hay by G. allans in nice order. Robert reaped for Wanger-Frank returned from Boatwrights-fine breezes-Anna and Mary walked to Azros.
11. Fine harvest morning-Robert reaped Harries wheat-Mrs. L brought Anns and Mary home. Azro and Willie came for FRank and Eagle to help them.
12. Currents and berries ripe-peas dried up-potatoes very small. Robert's reaper bothered him and broke down again. Bound a few sheaves on the harvest field. Brother Robert's wife and daughter returned from Caro.
15. Robert reaped all his wheat and went to reap for Bennet. Mr. Fletcher, Elizabeth adn Willie cams with berries.
22. Howed in Robert's corn-his men got in the Orchard hay while he is with the thrashers.
23. Received the Agriculture report from Rusk at Washington. Cut weeds in Robert's corn-gathered gooseberries. Robert's men got in the wheat rakings.
24. A welcome refreshing shower in teh night-Rain and fruitful seasons to fill our hearts with joy and gladness.
26. Caught and tared a rat-cut weeds in the corn till I was weary.
Brother Robert and family made us a pleasent call. Frank repaired Harvie's thrashing machine.
29. Mrs. L, Anna and Mary went to Uncle Williams-90 in the shade.
30. Went with the Sabbath School Excursion to Detroit and spent the day with my good old Mother and Sisters in Windsor. A soul re-freshing visit-very warm.
31. Wrote a letter Cousins in Glasgow-92 in the shade. Robert reaped the Dets.
1. Want to see John Mann yesterday and may never see him again. The colored mens day. Received a letter from the Editor or the Evangelist.
2. Warm, sultry and oppresive today-94 in the shade-Helped Robert to mow sway two loads of Dats-A thunderstorm in the north.
3. A good sermon on “Who is my neighbor”. 94 again-hot.
4. A welcome rain and thunder in the night to refresh the dry ground. went to F. Smiths with Frank-gathered apples on the old farm.
6. Robert brought back his reaper. Eagle bit the nail off wee Minnie's thumb, it's getting better now.
7. Glorious morning-Bought a gallon of Owens mineral water and he showed me his horses, cattle, hogs, dogs and buildings.
8. Got a card about Anne Campbell's wedding. Moved weeds and nettles from the old farm. Robert and his men got in the Oats by the stream.
9. A fine breezy morning. A morning drive with Frank. apples ripe but apples and peaches a failure this year.
10. Cool like autumn-Mr. sell presched-Mrs. L. Anna, Mary and I went to Church.
11. Went to Roberts and walked in his big cornfield that was a marsh in the long ago. Belle came and we went to Town.
12. The day we walked among the blooming heather in bonnie Scotland when life was young and hope was high.
Robert and the two children had a nice ride round the clover field. Frank finished Frank Smith's barn. Anna and Mary went to Belles for supper.
13. Anna went to Azros with Belle. Robert going to plow and sow the corn field for me.
14. Harvey thrashed our Oats and 68 bushel and then Robert and Mrs. L and I drove to the old home in Augusta. The home looks as of old but the old friends were away to the spiritland.
16. Robert went to Whitemore Lake-called on our old sick friend John Mann who could hardly lift his head so weak and weary.
17. Nine head of cattle got in the potatoes at midnight therwe had a weary chase after them. We enjoyed a welcome refreshing shower after the dry dusty weather to fill our heart with joy and grat-itude-the first time we failed to go to Church this summer.
18. Went to Town with Frank-dug potatoes among the wild geese.
20. Robert's Oats damp, he spread them on the barn floor. Waled with Robert over the farm. mrs. A Campbell and daughter came to supper. Robert's man plowing for wheat.
21. A wet morning Abundance of water to molify the dry grass. Robert sold 25 sheep to G. Wilbur for $150. Robert got $15, for his share. Was unwell in the night-
22. Went to Town with Frank-had a pleasnt walk with Robert through the rows of his big corn crop.
24. No preaching in our Church-went to the Methodist. Mr. Kining unwel Another Minister preached. Robert and family cmae.
25. Went to Bostwrights with Frank-called at Ezras coming back-Anna drove to Azros.
26. Mrs. L and I went to Town in the rain-The Detroit Exposition began today.
27. Went to the Detroit Exposition-a vision of delight was the balloon going up and the man coming down in a parachute. Got to Mothers after dark.
28. A pleasant visit with Mother and Sisters-could not get out on the Noon train-had to wait till five. Brother James vexed me but no one but him. A full company at supper before Anna goes away.
29. Went with Anna and her trunk to the Depot. Belle coming too. Went to John Mann's funeral in afternoon. William Campbell, Wife and daughters came too.
30. Wrote lines in memory of my old friend John Mann.
31. Mr. Pitman preached well as usual-the last summer day of 1890.
1. Intended to go to J. Campbells for seed wheat but Robert was gone to thrash-Frank paid $15 for interest.
2. Mrs. L and I went to J. CAmpbell bought 16 bushels Pool Seed wheat and returned shortly after noon-got the reins renewed for a $1. Azro pulling beans with his machine, Robert digging stumps.
3. Mrs. L and I went to Ann ARbor and Dexter to the Pioneers Meeting. I read lines to our old friend E.D.Lay. We would have preferred Ann Arbor other than Normands Grove.
4. Showers-Robert cuts beans with Ezras mschine-the weeds bothered him-Smith mowed bushes in the marsh.
6. Robert begun to drill wheat-Robert's man drilled 16 bushels of wheat in the corner field near us. Helped Robert and 3 men to turn wet dirty beans-discouraging work-sultry. Mrs. L and Mary went to Town.
8. Mr. Morey came back and gave us a very good sermon-very warm day. Wet morning-Eagle went down to Roberts in the night and we looked for him in the wet grass.
9. Robert's man got hurt in Town. Helped Robert and his men to turn beans and weeds. The two Marys went to Uncle Williams. Lydia Hewens paid $22 interest money. A sunflower in the garden over eleven feet high with 18 flowers.
11. Mrs. L and I went to Town to get men to fork up Azro's beans.
12. Old Mrs. Yakley died. Robert drew in some beans-forked weeds in the furrows while Fox and Augusta were plowing. Mrs. L and Mary went to Church.
14. Sacrament-John Taylor back all right-went with Mrs. Rorison to her home-the first white frost-saw no ice but some said they did.
15. Went with Frank to McKims corners-Robet's sick man better. Called on Mrs. F and got melons.
17. Mrs. L and Mary, Mrs. F and Willie went to the Fair. I stayed and gathered grapes. Robert rolled the bean land. Mary went with Uncle William.
18. The morning mist fading in the sunshine with the prospect of a grand day for the Fair. Went to the Fair.
19. Went and called on Belle, she went with me and we bought 10 pulletts for $4. Was on the Fair grounds most all day yesterday-fine weather and a good turnout-met a few old friends. Was about as well enter-tained seeing Fox cutting Robert's field of good corn as I saw at the Fair.
20. Robert's man working on the bean field-B. Voorhees brought me some peaches.
21. Mrs. L, Mr and Mrs F, Willie and I went to Church. Mary at Uncle Williams.
22. Robert and his man drilled wheat in the bean field. Got a letter from Editor Naismith, told Brother Robert regarding it but he did not like it.
23. Mrs. L and I drove to Ann Arbor-Saw the procession from the Sermon. Anither pleasant visit with Mr. & Mrs R Campbell. Sent an answer to Mr. Naismith's letter.
24. Days growing shorter, the forest trees getting on their robes of Autumn splendor. Picked all the grapes. Mary and I went to the old home.
27. Mrs. L, Mary and I had a pleasant meeting and a bountiful dinner along with Brother Robert and family at Azros. Robert thrashing at Bens, his man culling corn.
28. Frank's Birthday, mary and I want to Church by Moonlight.
29. Went with Frank to work on Newton a barn-Called on Mr. F, got a certificate at the Bank for Frank. Want to the old farm to see Azro gathering Apples he bought of Robert.
30. Sent another letter to Wm, Naismith. Went to the sale at Raslers-the hens were sold before I arrived. Mary and I went to a pleasant Church Social at night-Skies and forest a vision of delight.
2. Went to Mrs. F's with Mary-Dug some potatoes. Have hardly enough to pay $15 for insurance.
3. Robert, Hattie, Babe and I went to Ann Arbor to the Fair.
Glorious day, a good Fair. The forests on the hills in Autumn are a splendor and vision of delight.
7. Mrs. F and Mary went to Town. Robert and I walked over the old farm, Azro picking and packing Robert's apples.
8. Frank and I had a delightful ride to Ann Arbor but the Street Cars frightened the horse. Robert and his men picked our apples.
9. Robert headed up two barrels of apples for Anna and I marked them and took them to the Hillsdale Railroad at night.
10. Frank got back from the Jury and I went with him to his work on Newton's farm.
11. Mowed weeds and Canada Thistels-Robert and his men digging potatoes. Had a Pleasant visit at Brother Roberts, was real glad he had such a fine interview with our good Mother and Sisters. Robert exchanged his colt for the big horse Jim.
12. Great rain last night. Went to Church in dampness. Mrs. Dickensen rode home with us, Robert and family came with Milk and the big horse Jim.
13. More rain-too dark and wet for Frank to work but it cleared up at noon ws drove over to Newtons. A heavy shower at night.
15. Got the lines mended-husked sweet corn-fed Robert's lambs.
16. Wet day-Azro and Willie came for Mary to help-Mrs. F being away at the death of Mrs. George Voorhees.
17. Went to Mrs. Voorhees funeral-husked corn in the Garden-Sent a letter to Mr. Rait, Sandford, Scotland. Robert begun to plow the Marsh for corn next year and put Jim the ram with the awey.
Men from Glasgow want to come and sing in Ypsilanti but it is not in my line.
18. Robert had to leave the plow and help Augusta to get in his beans. Dug two rows of potsotes with the fork while Robert's men dug one with the hook, besides going after the boy gathering nuts he promise to give us half, he brought a pan full.
20. Drove with Frank to Newton's barn they intend to raise today. Fed Robert's Lambs, walked over his field and saw them plowing the Marsh.
21. Went to see Robert plowing the Marsh, got most of our Apples gather-ad and put on the barn floor. Azro drawing apples out of Robert's orchard to Town. Thought we could not spend the money to go to J. Cammons.
22. Tried to help Robert to plow the land that has lain unplowed since Adams time. Went to Azros for dinner-saw his fine crop of apples. Belle got the last of the apples. Received a letter from Brooklyn addressed to Rev. William Lambie.
24. Got the harness mended. Had a pleasant meeting with A. Campbell.
25. Sent a letter to Rev. R. Lawson. Cold and blustry.
27. Went with Frank and saw the fine new barn. Robert sold potatoes to Mr. Post. His man plowed the Marsh and the plow broke again.
28. Clouds and rain. Frank came home unwell. Carried potatoes down callar. Dr. Kinney came to see Frank.
31. Last of Golden October-Robert's man drawing corn up here. Read of Mrs. Rosison's death and burial. Frank not able to work.
1. Chilly surly blasts-Mrs. L walked down to Roberts.
2. Went to Church, some rain-Church was full.
3. John Ross shingling the Corn Crib. Received a group of papers from Australia. Drew up poles from the woods to keep the fire burning.
4. Election Day-Democrats like to seep all. Was surprised that CAptain Alls was defeated.
5. Frank able to work. Went with him to Cherry Hill. Rough roads. Went to Azros with Mary and Belle and I took Belle home-hard frost in the morning and then mud.
6. Went with Robert to Tefieys raising and then to Harvey's sale. Indian summer day-Robert's man got in all the Potatoes.
7. Carried the Cabbage and Carrots down cellar. Mrs. L went to Azros and then Mrs. F, Mary and Willie drove to Town.
8. Wet night–Heard of the death of old Mrs. Morton.
9. A sermon on the Young Men's Christian Assaication. Went to old Mrs. Morton's funeral. gone at four score and eight, like a shock of corn fully ripe.
10. Went with Frank to Newton's barn-muddy road. Boarding up the hen house. Robert plowing the Marsh.
11. Called on Brother Robert, Eunice talked regarding her Mother's death. Grand day laid straw round rose bushes. The two Marys went to the Church Meeting.
12. Went on an excursion to Detroit. Called on my good old Mother, her mind that was so long and clear wanders now. Grand day. Mother said the sun in the Heavens and th Leas (?) of righteous were both shinning on me.
13. Another beautiful day-Went and saw old Mrs. Crippen and Robert is getting in stalks-he sold 9 lambs and 2 wedders to Gorton, 26 in flock left. Mrs. L and I went to Church and heard the Evangelists from Chicago. One of them sang well but the speaker was not adapted for me.
Had Robert's family and Mrs. Crippsn to supper.
15. Mild and cloudy-dug carrots-wet afternoon. Robert plowed in the rain. Mary went to Town with Mrs. F and Willie.
16. Forty one years since our marriage in a full Church. Mr. Morrey earnest for a great revival. Went round with old Mrs. Rosison.
18. Went to Roberts and down town, pleasant sunshine after the rain. Robert bought a grist for him and us.
19. Pure sunshine and clear skies. Robert man drawing gravel on the road. Mary walked to Azros. Mrs. L has a sick headache.
20. Fine day-Bella came and Mrs. A. CAmpbell. some villins stole two of Robert's turkies and he sold 7 violets in bloom yet.
21. Made a fence by the corn crib-Robert and his man helped Azro to thrash beans. 90 bushels-Another grand day.
22. Robert got in all the corn and stalks-carried the apples from the barn down cellar-was unwell in afternoon. Mrs. L and Willie walked up home and Mrs L came back alone.
25. Brought up some wood from Roberts. Smith sawed wood and old boards. Robert's plow broke again.
26. Mrs. L and I went to the Church to meet the Chicago Minister and singer. Went with Mary to Azros. Belle came.
27. Thanksgiving-The first snow that stopped plowing. Mrs. Fletcher could not leave home so we went and took dinner with her-a grand gathering.
28. Some frost-Robert plowed in the afternoon, Frank and Mr. Newton drove up to Ann Arbor with Eagle. Mr. Calhoun paid interest.
1. First day of Winter, got the coal stove started. Mrs. L carried in wood in the snow shower.
2. Cold 10 above zero. Mrs. L went to Belle's winter family. Settled with Robert for the summers work.
3. Snow about 4 inches deep, Frank hitched Eagle on the cutter the first time for one or two years. Frank, Mary, Robert and Robert's girls came in the cutter then the boys went to hunt rabbits.
4. Got chilled, sad, sick and weary.
5. More snow, not well. Mrs. Fletcher, Mrs L and Willie came.
7. Mr & Mrs Fletcher and Willie, Mrs. L, Mary and Frank drove to Church in the cutter. I was glad to stay home. Robert and family came to see us at night.
8. Was thirsty all night. Frank started in the cold gray morning for Mr. Rooks.
9. Cold snow, a blue haze in the woods. Able to feed the Horse and hens and carry in coal and wood.
10. Thaw at noon-drove down to Roberts and saw his round Oak stove and his farm stock. Got chilled and am not well.
11. Azro, Frank and Willie drove down Azro's hogs. Mary had her teeth pulled. Could split a little wood. Robert and family came.
12. Cold north blasts-glad to stay in the house. Mrs. L, AZro, Mr. and Mrs. F and Willie went to Church. Frank brought over shoes.
13. Anna's Birthday-enjoyed a good rest last night-cold and dreary. Frank paid the taxes on the old farm $15. Mary got medicine from Dr. Kinney.
15. Did not sleep very well-it's like a Spring morning, pure sunshine and pure snow. Dr. Fields of the Evangelist was pleased with the mummey peas I sent and published the Thanksgiving Lines. Frank went to Azros and the Free Church. Robert sold corn to L. Yost.
16. Robert sold a load of hay to Ring. Mr. LaFurge brought 2 loads of dry rough elm wood. Mr. & Mrs. Fletcher came. Mary went with them.
17. A little snow, dark and damp. Mr. Crittenden left $13 for Frank.
19. Frost and Sunshine. Frank came from Mr. Rooks and went to Town with Mary, Mrs. F and Willie. Not well-long night.
20. Brother Robert came to see us, Anna arrived after dark unexpected and we were all glad to see her.
21. The two Marys and Frank went to Church. Mild and springlike.
22. Shortest day-sunshine and soft breezes-6 hens only lay 2 or 3 eggs per day. The two Franks pumped the well out.
23. Another good bright winter day. Anna and Mary went to Azros. Cold driving blasts in the afternoon.
24. Calm quiet frosty morning. Sent papers to Scotland.
25. Christmas 22 years since Father left all that is of the earth earthy. Robert and family and Azro and his came-had a grand turkey dinner, a pleasant gathering and fine presents to one another. Robert went past with the jumping cow, some swine and the bunting sheap.
26. Sharp morning, Mrs. L went with Anna and Mary to Azros. Along with the other presents I got this fountain pen from Belle. drove down to Roberts.
27. Snow in the night and still storming.
28. Frank, Mrs. L and Mary went to Church-10 above. Robert and family came. Belle came. Got a Callander from William Naismith in Scotland.
31. The last day of 1890, dark, damp. Went and helped Robert to load up a big load of corn-was sick and sad. Anna, Mary, Mrs. F and Willie want to Belles and stayed overnight with Mrs. Fletcher.

Continue reading in the William Lambie Diary, 1891.

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