Jack's Marvels of Extraordinary Oddities…

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings, Fall 2007,
Fall 2007
Original Images:

Author: Jack Livisay

The field desk came to Mr. Lewis White, Historian for the City of Ypsilanti in 1961. It had belonged to Henry Pinckney, who enlisted at Whitmore Lake, September 17, 1861 as a Sergeant of Company G, Third Michigan Cavalry. He became Second Lieutenant December 20, 1862 and a First Lieutenant August 13, 1863. He became a Captain on October 24, 1864. He commanded Company I, Third Michigan Cavalry, and was mustered out of the army on February 12, 1866 with an honorable discharge.

Mr. White received this desk from Mr. Erwin Saunders, a local photographer, who received it from Harry Pinckney. Desks of this type typically were used to hold maps, military documents, forms, ledgers, quill pens, ink, a folding writing desk, and perhaps a drinking cup and small tray.

Mr. Spencer J. Renwick was born in 1831 near New Hudson, Michigan. From his early years he had an intense interest in wildlife, and when he was eighteen to twenty years old, he caught or shot and had mounted this unusual collection of birds and animals. The collection passed to the family of Ora Renwick, then to the family of Mrs. Bruce (Renwick) Rorabacher, who about 1975, entrusted it to the family of Carroll E. Caldwell then living near Ypsilanti.

Girl and boy figurines appear to be more than likely German-made? Figurines of this type were popular from around 1870-1880. The girl has a butterfly on her arm and the boy has a bug on his arm. The figurines were given to the museum in 1973 by Mrs. Allen from the E.E. Trim and McIntyre-Allen families.

The Ypsilanti Historical Society Museum collects items related to the history of the people and places in and around Ypsilanti. These three oddities were chosen to illustrate the range of unique items that can be found throughout the museum.