Tag Archives: Ludington Michigan

Ludington Northern Railroad Dummy Train


Captain Robert Caswell Ludington Michigan Obituary


Sudden Death of Captain   Robert Caswell from Heart Disease.

captain robert caswell ludington michigan 1890

Had the news that President Harrison had died, been announced in Ludington Friday morning1, there would not have been a more general feeling of sympathy and bereavement than there was when it passed in suppressed voice from mouth to month that in the thickened shadows of night the soul of Captain .Robert Caswell had left its earthly casement and gone out into the vague forevermore.

Buoyed with good deeds, expanded with kind acts, emblazoned with love and good will, the spirit of this man leaves a halo of light in its immortal course that touches the hearts of all men. He is mourned as a friend to the poor, a father to the orphan, a champion of the oppressed, a devoted husband and affectionate father.

His religion had but one tenet, tin- golden rule of Confucius, and throughout his whole life whether battling the waves as a servant of his government, or braving the dangers of navigation and sharing its hardships with his men, he was a living exemplification of that rule.

When you did not dream that he knew of your trouble, ho would suddenly appear as a ministering angel, and shadows of gloom would disappear be­fore him as night fades before sun­shine. But the plans of his generous mind, the warm impulse of his great heart, were in excess of his general system.

Under the continual strain of the nervous energy of his intense nature, his heart ceased to vibrate, the brittle thread of life snapped suddenly, and Ludington’s most loved pioneer, the father of much of its his­tory, and the friend of every man who ever set foot on its streets, passed qui­etly away, peacefully, contentedly, and “like one who wraps the drapery of his couch about him and lies down to pleasant dreams.”

For some years back Capt. Caswell had been troubled with an affliction of the heart, which at times caused him serious inconvenience and his family and friends grave apprehensions. He spoke of it frequently, and said that when his time came he expected to pass away quickly and it was his wish that such should be the case.

Last winter he took a trip to the Pacific coast in hopes to gain relief, and re­turned this spring feeling much benefited by the change of atmosphere and scenes. On the opening of navi­gation he took command of one of the tugs belonging to the line in which he was a partner, and continued to sail her up to within a few hours of his death.

Thursday, his last day on earth. was spent as usual at his poston the boat, notwithstanding he frequently complained of a dizzy sensation, and had trouble at times in keeping his balance, owing no doubt to rushes of blood to the head.

In the afternoon, while towing out a vessel, the latter swung round and came in contact with one of the F. & P. M. boats that had got fast on the bar between the piers 111 attempting to leave port. was formed which death alone severed.

On December 19,1872, Capt. Caswell was again united in the holy bonds, the wedding taking place in this city, the bride being Miss .Charlotte Harbattgh, who survives him. The couple were blessed with six children, four of whom are still living. Deceased was a man who thought the world of his family, with whom his relations were more happy and pleasant than those ordinarily met with; and in their irre­parable loss the family have the ear­nest heartfelt sympathy of the entire community. In fact it may be truly said that the whole city mourns.

Capt. Caswell was in no sense a politician, although often holding office, many times much against his will. His sterling worth, well known hon­esty, and the universal esteem in which he was held, often compelled him to be the candidate of his party, as victory was will nigh assured with him on the ticket. In politics, he was by instinct a Republican.

He had been supervisor several terms, alder­man from the First ward four years, mayor in 1885 and 1886, the last” time being elected without opposition, and at the time of his death was a member of the board of education. In religion he was a liberal, and though willing that others should believe as they pleased, he always detested any form of hypocrisy.

When he prayed that some poor man’s family might lie helped he knew that him prayer would be answered, for he always took Us fulfillment upon himself. He was a prominent Mason, being a member of the Apollo commandery, and also a member of the Knights of Labor.

The funeral of deceased occurred on Sunday afternoon at 2:30 o’clock from the opera house. Long before the ap­pointed time for the services to begin the building was packed by friends and acquaintances from all parts of the county who were present to wit­ness the last sad rites. Not to exceed one-third of those who desired could gain admittance to the opera house; the building, although the largest in town for such assemblages, was inadequate to accommodate the throng.

The funeral directions were in charge of the Masonic fraternity, which forming at the house and accompa­nied by the Knights of Labor and a long line of carnages escorted the, re­mains from the residence of deceased to the place where the services were held. Rev. W. J. Maybee delivered an earnest funeral discourse, taking for the text of his remarks the 90th Psalm 12th verse:

“So teach us to so number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” All about the extemporized altar was a. wilderness of potted flowers brought by loving and willing hands. The cortege, that followed the remains from the open house to their last resting place in the city cemetery, contained over 100 teams, and well attested the universal esteem and popularity in which deceased was held. As the grand usual impressive Masonic service were observed, and the remains consigned to their last resting place.

How to Identify Real Photo Postcards

First Published in October 2004

I’m excited about having the opportunity to present a weekly history and genealogy column for the Ludington Daily News. I’m an amateur genealogist, a collector, and accumulator, of antiques, collectibles, and memorabilia of all kinds.

I have a wide interest in all things historical and that should be evident in the topics that will be presented. We won’t just be looking at the documented past of our local history but also at researching techniques, using the internet to discover links to our genealogy, identifying photographs, and preservation of your family memorabilia.

My interest is not only in those pillars of the community who did great things for our county but also in the private’s letters home from the war, who was driving the county plows in the great winter storms of the 1930’s, and the Scottville Tigers Baseball team.

Other topics will include oral histories, a field trip where we will excavate a 100 year old privy, and much more.

In the immediate future I’m looking for information on the Scottville Tigers Baseball Team, anyone who was at the beach or on the City of Flint during the Armistice Day storm that might be able to identify people in a series of 28 photographs taken by Harrold Holmes, information on Ludington’s fish town, and commercial fishermen in the 1900 to 1930 era for future articles.

Today though let’s take a look at real photo post cards. During the early part of the 1900’s when people fell in love with their box cameras they went out and photographed everything they could find. In the process they documented a tremendous amount of local history and in having their photographs printed on postcard stock created a very popular collecting niche.

The real photo postcard is exactly that, a photograph developed onto paper stock the size of a postcard that had a printed back and a stamp box. There are other types of postcards of town views as an example that are printed. You can tell the difference by taking a magnifying glass and looking at your card. If you see tiny dots that make up the image you have a printed card, like that of a newspaper or magazine, if it’s solid then it will be a real photo postcard.

One of the attractive attributes in collecting these types of postcards is that there may only be one of that particular scene developed from someone’s personal roll of film.

A great many family portraits and scenes of daily life were also produced as a economical, and fun way to share family photos with friends and relatives for the price of a penny stamp.

Professional photographers also produced an abundance of real photo cards and offered them for sale as a means of supplementing their income. Tornadoes, floods, street scenes, parades, school children, lighthouses, boats and county buildings were popular subjects.


The 2 postcards I have here are of the Scottville Barbecue of 1910. The card with the wagon has a sign stating “Going to the Scottville Barbeque Oct 14,15,16 ’10. Without a sign or date inscribed in the photo these can be dated by the postmark if it was mailed or by the printed stamp box on the back


About two dozen companies produced postcard stock, AZO, from 1904 to the 1940’s , and the date of production can be narrowed further by looking at the stamp box. As example if the triangles all point up it was produced from 1904 to 1918.

ARGO, from 1905 to 1920 and on these 2 cards CYKO which dates the cards from 1904 to the mid 1920’s, well within the date of 1910 on the sign next to the wagon. Postage can be an indicator but cards were often mailed many years after they were produced. Prior to 1963 we used a two digit zip code in between the City and State, from 1963 to 1983 a five digit code.

Historically real photo cards are significant, they can be valuable and they are fun to collect and research. What’s in your shoebox?

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