News from the Fletcher-White Archives

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

Author: Gerry Pety

The tomato plants are all gone, the summer sun has gone into hibernation and the onset of a cold winter is afoot in Ypsilanti. While this wonderful weather lasted we had visitors from Oregon, California, Colorado, New Mexico and even Toledo, Ohio! What a fantastic group of visitors we had this summer and fall! One thing you have to understand is that even though they come from all parts of these great United States and Canada they have their family roots planted deep in the Ypsilanti soil. And the most compelling reason for most of our visitors is genealogy and the exploration into that soil. Somewhere and sometime in their life they came across a reference to this quizzical little town called Ypsilanti. What a strange name this place was given. This invariably results in a general search into a place called Ypsilanti City where their family came from. Soon then the question arises, what did they do there, where did they live, and why were they there to begin with? Hopefully most found answers they sought, as we saw and spoke with a lot of happy people who came to find these answers here in the archives. Maybe, you have lived all of your life right here in Ypsi but just never understood why grandma Minnie and grandpa Benjamin came here to live in 1902. This is your chance to break in those new shoes of yours and scamper down to the archives and find out.

Wow! We have been inundated by the students of Eastern Michigan University or Michigan State Normal to some of you older folks. They are budding historians, in most cases, here to learn how to find tidbits of the history of the area and to practice the methodology of historical writing and research. I try to be extra nice to these young people as someday they will be writing about all of us in this time and place. When the students are in the archives, I believe, I learn as much as they do about our Ypsilanti history and the heritage we share. Welcome to you all!

Along with his graduate students from Eastern, Dr. Ligibel has donated a lot of articles and the like from about 40 years ago for our files on a variety of subjects. Likewise, Mrs. Smeaton-Burgess has contributed a book on Dixboro, Michigan and a history notebook about Michigan State Normal College. We did not have either of these items in the archives until now. Thank You!

Thank you to Carol Mull who contributed a pre-press copy of her forthcoming book about the Underground Railroad in Washtenaw County. Over the summer Carol has done extensive research here at the archives and elsewhere in the county. The book is very well documented, researched and many familiar Ypsilanti names are to be found within its pages. It is available here for research purposes and for copying and is a great historical read for those interested in this subject. Come in and take a long look at this book.

Finally, if you have any interesting stories about ghosts, spirits or the paranormal involving Ypsilanti please send us your information for our new file here at the archives. People are always interested in these articles and, who knows, maybe the ghost of aunt Bertha may be the talk of Ypsi again!