Peter B. Mac Coleman
Peter & Christina (Shaw) Mac Coleman were born in Simcoe County, Ontraio to Scotish parents; Archibald Gofrrey Mac Coleman & Catharine Ann Bell and Duncan Shaw & Mary Shaw. They married in 18172 and started to raise a family on Manitoulin Island in the Algoma District. They later moved to Berlin (now Kitchner), Ontario where Peter worked at a livery service. They immigrated to Michigan and were counter in the 1900 census in Verona (near Bad Axe). After a bried time in Sanalac County they moved to logging camp in Gilchrist in the Upper Peninsula.
ARRIVAL IN CURTISVILLE
On April 19, 1002 Peter entered into a land contract with Louisa C. Fenner for 40 acres located in Section 7 (SE1/4 of NW1/4) of Curtis Township. He transferred the contract to his son Godfrey Peter on December 5. 1004. Christina purchased the adjoining 40 acres to the north from Albert Spencer on August 27, 1906 (i.e.; NE1/4 of NW1/4) Sec. 7-T25N-R5E). Old plat books list the Mac Colemans as McCallum. The area is hilly, remote and covered with meandering streams. Today the property is owned by the U.S. Forest Service but evidence of old fencing fencing reamin as well as suckered apple trees and lilac bushes.
On August 17, 1906 Peter also received 40 acres from the State of Michigan in Section 29 descrived as the SE1/4 of NW1/4. He later sold it to his daughter Catherine (in 1907) who along with her husband George Campbell added another 40 acres they acquired from Peter Sinclair. This 80 acres sits on the northeast intersection of Aldrich & Curtisville Roads. After Catherine’s death in 1928 George sold the acreage to Cathrine’s brother James “Dan” Mac Coleman in 1931. Dan passed away in 1934 and his widow Anne Mac Coleman Miller sold the SW1/3 to Frank D. Sager &B wife. Godfrey “Pete” Mac Coleman & wife sold the S.E 40 to Elva Marie Wilkinson in 1966.
Peter B. Mac Coleman also had property along the South Branch/Curtisville Road in Iosco County. In 1904 he purcahsed the NW1/4 of the NW14 of Sec 7 T24-R. 5E from John _ Martindale. This 40 acres was in Oscoda Township (now Plainfield)/ This property also changed ownership within the family, first to Alfred Turner (daughter Winifred’s husband) in 1905, then it was quit claimed back to Peter in 1908 and later transferred to wife Christina in 1912.
In April 1903 Peter Mac Coleman was reported to have “purchased tow acres of land from Mrs. E. D. Curtis near the post office where he intends to build a store in the near future” Alcona Review April 2, 1903.
THE MAC COLEMAN CHILDREN
At one time or another all ten of Peter & Christina’s children called Curtisville home. They had all reached adulthood by the time of their arrival in the area. Several married into local families and started their own Curtisville generation of children.
Christina Mac Coleman c. 1914
Catherine “Kitty” visited her parents from Chicago where she and her second husband George Campbell were living. By the 1920 census Catherine was residing at the Campbell homestead in Section 29. She was raising two of her sister Margaret’s five children - Catherine &N JImmy (Orval James). These children attended school in Curtisville and went by the Campbell surname. Another brother Beaumont Couchois lived with his grandmother Christina Mac Coleman next door to the Campbells. He attended school in Curtisville and was sometimes called “Bud.” Sister Corresta often went by Mac Coleman and after her first marriage by Southwick. Corresta taught school at the Curtisville School and she and her daughter Jackie maintained a cottage and close ties to the community. Another sister Latona Couchis went to live with her parental grandparents in Lansing.
The second of the Mac Coleman children was Mary I. She married Frank J. Taylor of Mackinac Island in 1902. They split their time between the Island, Curtisvile & Chicago. This was not as difficult as it seems as there were excursion trains and ferries available. Frank worked in the logging of the area while Mary (also called “Mame”) worked as a cook at the lumber camps. In later years Frank worked as a painter in Curtisville and Detroit. They had five children; Christina “teeny” (married Charles Mellor), Nornman Peter, Edward “Ab” and Franklin Henry “Frankie”. These children continued to visit the area, to vacation, hunt & fish and build their cabins in Curtisville.
The third Mac Coleman child, Archibald Duncan ”Archhie” was married and living in the Upper Peninsula when he and his wife Roseneth (nee Houghton) came to visit his parents in 1903. They stayed on until late in 1904 when they returned to Welch, Michigan. They had two sons and eventually moved to Washington State. While in Curtisville Archie ran one of his father’s lumber camps. Igt is a reasonable guess that he followed the lumbering industry westward.
The fourth Mac Coleman child was John Alexander. He also worked the farm and worked in the lumber camps. He married Rhoda Fitzgearld May 6, 1903 at her parents home in Curtisville. Her parents were George Fitzgearld and Belle Simpson. He was reported to have purcahsed land from Loud & Sons in 1903 but no deed of record was found. The Curtisville News as reported in the Alcona Review wrote of John building a cabin along the South BRanch Road. John later married Ida M. Parker (1908) in St. Ignace. They had three children; Clifford, Nellie & Christina and returned to Curtisville to live. In 1924 married Pearl Grahan Sebolt of Albion, Michigan. For much of his life John was a carpenter.
The fifth child Mararet “Maggie” was married to Edward W. Couchois in 1904 in Alpena (the marriage application was obtained in Harrisville, Alcona County). She was living in Chicago at the time and he, originally from Machinac Island, was attending school there. TGhey settled on the Island where he was a ferry boat captain. They had five children and seperatedc sometime during 1912-1913. Maggie remarried William Willison of Curtisville on September 16, 1914. She died a few months later (1915) and is buried in the the Oak Grove Cemetery at South Branch. Her grave is marked “Margaret Couchois” ans is with the Willison/Wilson family. Her children were cared for b y her mother and other siblings as reported previously.
Pete Mac Coleman’s Gas Station
Godfrey Peter, the sixth child, married Elva Simons in Windsor, Ontario on July 21, 1912. Elva was the daughter of Truman Simons and Mary Curtis. Elva & Peter kept close ties with Curtisville over the years. They owned property in Curtisville and transferred it to their children. They also purchased an acre of land from Charles and Alice Curtis on which to build a gas station. The station sat at the N.E. corner of Bamfield Road & Curtisville Road. [Note: The penny candy counter was a favorite place for the area children]. They later built a home on the same site where they retired after many years of operating an Roayl Oak. The Pete Mac Colemans had five children.
Christina (MacColeman) Sinclair c. 1960
The seventh Mac Coleman child is Christina Mae “Teena,” who married William Sinclair in 1903. Bill or “Buff” was the son of early Curtisville homestreaders, Ducncan Sinclair & Jane “Jenny” Martin. Bill and Christina farmed about 120 acres in Section 28 along the east side to Brodie Road to the Aldrich Road corner. Bill actually built Aldrich Road by harnessing his horses to the road grader that the local land owners could borrow from the county. He was also instrumental in building the Sinclair School (also called the Hillside or Log School) and served as it’s first superintendent. Later Christina served in the same capacity. Besides farming the Sinclairs ran lumber camps and owned a 40 in Sec. 27 along the AuSable River that they called the Highbanks. They had five daughters, all born in Curtisville and buried near their parents in Curtisville Cemetery.
The eighth child is Neil Angus. He married Florence Minnikn on Manioulin Island. As a young man he lived with his parents in Curtisville and helped on the farm and in the logging camps but he seemed to have a desire to travel. He lived for a time in Minnesota, Washington State, and California. He had three sons and a daughter. Florence died in 1929 and Neil remarried (Rose?).
James Daniel “Dan” is the ninth Mac Coleman. He married Myrtle Carrol on July 21, 1912 in Winsor, Ontario along with his older brother Godfrey Peter & Elva Simons. He had an adopted son Truman Gale Mac Coleman who died of renal failure at the age of 17 and is buried in Esmond/Evergreen Cemetery in Hale, Michigan. Two other children Daniel C. and Elaine were born. Dan later married Anne Schenk and acquired step-sons. Dan was a land owner in Curtisville and kept close ties with friends and family here.
Winifred “Winnie”, the last Mac Coleman child married Alfred (Alford?) C. Turner. Their two children also called Winnie and Alfred were born in Illinois. Winifred Turner died in 1970 and is buried in Oadkview Cemetery.
Life in Curtisville
Peter Mac Coleman brought his family to Curtisville promarily for the logging. The fact that remained land owners over the generations is a tribute to the area they called home.
IN the Aclona Review “Curtisville” column (June 1, 1903) there was a report of a young man by the name of William Sherman Sherman who was “crushed between a moving car of laogs and a skidway” at Gate Camp. He was taken to South Branch for medical treatment but died there. This was dangerous work and the Mac Colemans seemed up to the task. The same new colum n reported that “Peter Mac Coleman has bought a quarter section of land from the H. M. Louds & Sons and is going to peel the hemlock timber which is to go to the AuSable River. The bark and other timber will be put on the Gates branch of the D & M R.R. (Detroit & Mackinac Rail Road).”
An outreak of small pox was also plaguing the area. The hardships and challenges facing the people of Curtisville were mitigated by a strong social network where neighbors paid Sunday visits and helped each other in times of need. The Curtisville Baptist Church and Gleaners of the Curtis Arbor held socials and invited the men of the logging camps to join them. These good people of Curtisville were probably the reason that the Mac Colemans returned time and again to Curtisville from brief relocations to Chicago, the Soo, Detroit and Cheboygan.
The Mac Colemans sons were said to be such r\’rouh houses’ that hey were required to sleep in a bunkhouse, behind the family home. On their gentler side, they were also know for singing sweet duets with their sisters in church.
Peter Mac Coleman died in 1912 and Christina remarried in 1915 to William J. Parker. After William’s death Christina married Hugh Curley of Curtisville in 1924. Christina died at her Curtisville home on December 20, 1927 after she and “Hughie” had returned from a lengthly visit with family and friends in southern Michigan. She had contracted a “cold” she could not “shake.”
Christina and Peter are buried in the Curtisville Cemetery along with daughters Catharine and Christina. Distant relatives, with Manitoulin roots, continue to visit these Mac Coleman graves and marvel that the cemetery seems untouched by time. A two track wooded lane east to Brodie Road leads back to the cemetery. This orignian road to Curtisville (Clouse Road) is one that the Mac Colemans most certainly traveled on many occassions.
The above article and photographs were provided by Valarie Fredrickson a descendent from the Mac Coleman and Sinclair families.
Peter B. Mac Coleman, b. 1849, d. 1912
Christina (nee Shaw) Mac Coleman, b. 1853, d. 1927
Cloresta Mac Coleman was a teacher in the Curtisville School. She was married to William Sinclair.
At H & H Ranch: John Mac Coleman in bib-overall, Bill Sinclair in foreground, unknown man in background. c. 1920-1923
The Mac Coleman Brothers: James “Dan”, Godfrey “Peter”, and John
John Mac Coleman home on South Branch Road. c. 1919
Johns Children: Clifford, Nellie and Christina, and John’s sister Christina Sinclair
Pete Mac Coleman operated a gas station at the intersection of Bamfield and Curstisville Roads in Curstisville.