Life was difficult in the early days of our community. A young couple, originally from the Oakley area, lost a tiny baby. They wanted it buried back home. The young father had only the money for his train fare. He took the insides out of the family clock and placed the baby’s body within. He held the clock on his lap during the train ride.
Orra Spencer had a blacksmith shop.
There was one bitter cold winter, while going to a funeral by team and sleighs, that the mourners picked frozen partridges from the trees; partridges that were frozen in their sleep by the winter cold.
Indian Maidens: Geri McMillin, Anne (Latter) Bamfield, Stella (Simons) Redmond, Arbutus(Bell) Milholin
Alias: Red Wing, Minniehaha, Silver Bell and Pochantas.
Coffins were made with loving care by neighbors. Often in Manley Bell’s barn. Many were made by Rev. and Mrs. Byler.
If a neighbor was too ill to plant his crop, his neighbors all came with teams and equipment and did the planting.
E. D. Curtis, expecting his town to grow, planted a row of trees from the school down past the church. Dutch elm disease destroyed the last of the stately elms and today, there are only four maples left. They are in front of the Robert Milholin residence on Curtisville Road.
Ladies Club in Curtisville
Back row: 3rd from left Peggy Redmond. Front row: 2nd from left Sue (Redmond) Lily
James Heilig joined the C.C. Camp to support his family. He walked every morning to the camp at Bryant, south of Glennie and home again at night.
In the spring of 1913, Manly Bell walked home from a lumber camp in the Upper Peninsula. He had money to pay for the ferry ride but couldn’t afford train fare. The money he had was needed for more important items.
An old timer recalls that the winters seemed much colder when he was young. In March, 1928, he dug the grave for George Edwards in Curtisville cemetery. He recalls that there was 5 ˝ feet of frost.
When a large barn was to be built, a professional carpenter came and lived with the family. One carpenter, Jimmy Harford lived with a local family for a year, doing just the rough work. Progress was slow, all work was done with hand tools.
One spring Mother and I went to Careron, Illinois due to Grandmother Barnes being ill. Dad was in charge of the four older kids and whoever else was living here - probably Donald and Ted. Dad didn’t keep a close check on them as long as meals were prepared and chores done.
Well - the teenagers found Mother’s dandelion wine recipe and whipped up a batch. When it was finished or had reached an alcohol level they had the neighborhood teenagers in for a party. Dad always retired early. The party was successful as the girls had to wake Dad up to harness the buggy horses for the guests. One kid got his buggy hung up on a stump and spent the night in his buggy. Dad said the hangovers were enough punishment. Dad never told them but the event got to Mother when she came home. In a small community nothing stays secret. Mother burned the wine recipe. Contributed by Arbutus (Bell) Milholin.
Uncle Dan Bell also lived with our folks periodically. He was a big tease and teased his nephews and brothers. So they decided to do him in one night while he was carrying the night’s wood in. They hid in the stairway armed with sticks of stove wood. Mother tipped Dan off and he managed to come out the victor. Dad was the peace maker and they enjoyed supper with all forgiven. Contributed by Arbutus (Bell) Milholin.
There is a small lake behind the John McMillen farm, it is the only place in this area where pitcher plants grow.. The only place kids had to skate. They were told never to go on it until Dad checked it out as it was very deep. One afternoon Dad heard the ice cracking and knew he has some disobedient children. The were apprehended and told their skates were taken away until next winter. Christmas morning we found them wrapped up as gifts under the tree. Contributed by Arbutus (Bell) Milholin.
It was winter time - we girls were sleeping upstairs. The upstairs wasn’t finished - just rough boards (the attic floor between us and the roof). I was probably four and sleeping between my sister Grace and our cousin Ethel La Fleur. They were teenagers. Every night there were weird noises on the roof so the girls decided to investigate. They had sneaked their coats and goulashes upstairs at bedtime. Bright moonlight night - I pleaded with them not to leave me. My little heart beat so fast I imagined all kinds of monsters - especially the “Loup Garaw”, the French werewolf Mother told us stories about. When they sneaked outside there was an object by the chimney. Ethel picked up a clod of ice which had come from the horses hoofs - took aim and fired. She had hit the family cat which had snuggled up to the chimney to keep warm. In those days the bell post was tall and close to the house. Smart Cat. Well, anyway, poor kitty was knocked off the roof and to the ground. No parachute, just nine lives. I was petrified with fright as the ice ball and cat scrambling for a foothold added to the night noises. The girls sneaked back to bed but giggled far into the early morning. They were brave enough in the morning to relate their escapade at breakfast. Contributed by Arbutus (Bell) Milholin.