Mary Dalm was a teacher at Sheridan School 1917-1920. She was a member of the Club of '17, a group of 17 women who knit and sewed for the Red Cross. Mary was 23 years old in 1917.
April 11, 1918
Tuesday we started to clean our apartment. We have the living room, dining room, and nearly all of the kitchen finished. Seems good to live in clean rooms, not that ours were so dirty. We always clean them every week. May and I made candy Monday night and I sent Jake a box Tuesday morning.
At night we went to Club at Mrs. Grace Easton's– a Mrs. Clark talked on Woman Registration. She told us our fortunes afterward. Read our palms...told me I was going to marry a brilliant man and be very happy.
Yesterday afternoon we had Mother's Meeting. We had a sociable time. I enjoyed myself very much. My children sang a few dramatic songs. Marie McGoogan's (4th grade) sang a two part song and a few danced a folk dance Hopp Mor Anika.
April 15, 1918
It is very smoky today. There are forest fires at Alanson– north of here. The sun was a red ball this morning when it came up. Too smoky to shine.
It was Esther's birthday Saturday. I gave a little theater party and we went to Don's Confectionary afterward. We saw Douglas Fairbanks in Reaching for the Moon.
Mary and Esther boarded at 123 W. Mitchell Street (currently Mancino's). Grace Easton, who hosted the Club of '17, lived at 126 W. Lake. The Mrs. Clark who spoke at the club meeting was Jessie F. Clark, Vice President of the Emmet Equal Suffrage Committee. She and her husband Alex owned Clark's Tavern on Lake Street (currently vacant) and many suffrage meetings were held there. Don's Confectionary isn't listed in the City Guide, so we imagine Mary's friend Don worked at one of several in downtown Petoskey.
The former Sheridan School burned down, and the site is currently used for the administration building. Notice the arch on the school, which is still visible today at the Spitler Building.
The minutes of the Woman's Club meeting were transcribed by Co-Executive Director Jane Garver from a notebook of handwritten notes. All original spelling, capitalization, and punctuation has been preserved. Click the blue links for more information.
The Woman’s Club met at the home of Mrs. Quinlan. The meeting was called to order by the president, Mrs. Rosenthal. Minutes read and approved. A communication from Mrs. Hunsbarger was read, tendering her resignation from the Club. A motion was made to accept it- carried. Mrs. Bain was elected secretary to fill the vacancy left by Mrs. Hunsbarger. Mrs. Ferris was elected a member of the Club and the secretary instructed to notify her.
A motion was made that the Club have a committee to visit the sick- carried. It was moved that the officers of the Club constitute that committee- carried. The president appointed Mrs. Darling and Mrs. M. Rosenthal to act as the flower committee. A motion was made that the Club eliminate the program after the holidays and have articles from leading periodicals read by the chairman of the day, and do Red Cross work- carried. The president appointed Mrs. Levinson, Mrs. Nihart, and Mrs. Wilson to act as a committee for supplying the club with work from the Red Cross rooms. It was moved that the program be left over for the next year, the chairman of last year’s committee working with the new committee. Roll call was responded to with United States Presidents.
The ladies did red-cross work during the program which was in charge of Mrs. Nihart. The subject being American life since 1876. Mrs. Rosenthal read a paper on Southern California showing some views of the places she visited while there. Mrs. Mesick gave the biography of her guest Miss Clara Grayson. Then followed current events about historical places, after which our hostess, Mrs. Quinlan, served tea and wafers.
Aileen S. Nihart, Sec. Pro Tem
Dues paid Mrs. Darling $1.00
Mrs. Barber $1.00
Passenger Pigeons Nest in Petoskey
by Harriet Kilborn
First published in 1954
For centuries the pigeons ranged the forested areas of the North American continent in multitudes that stagger the imagination. Then, within a span of twenty-five years in the 19th century, were seen in continually diminishing numbers until not a trace of them was left. The last living specimen died in the Cincinnati Zoological Garden September 1, 1914. The species was extinct.
The unusual feature of the Petoskey nesting in 1878 was that it was the last great nesting on record. The birds that survived the slaughter took wing and disappeared to the north. The pigeon flock coming into the Petoskey area to nest for the second consecutive year, that spring of '78, was miles long and so thick as to actually darken the sky. The rustling sound of their wings was likened to an approaching tempest. The spectacle was repeated twice daily, in the early morning and late afternoon, when they were in flight to and from their feeding grounds, often times many miles away from the nesting area.
During the morning flights the Little Traverse Bay bluffs looked like a skirmish line. The shooters stood so close together, and there was such a continual roar, from the flying birds and the shooting, that no one knew who killed the birds. Each man had all the boys he could get as retrievers, and the one with the most boys got the most birds. The guns were all muzzleloaders, and every now and then, in the hurry to load and fire, a ramrod would be shot into the air.
Shooting at the pigeons in flight was a popular sport. With the exception of the use of boys as retrievers, the bluff scene was duplicated in Audubon’s description of a flight in Kentucky he witnessed in 1813. It was at this time Audubon estimated the flock to contain over two billion birds, and reckoned they would eat over seven million bushels of nuts, acorns, grains, and/or seeds per day.
The nesting area was a place of uproar and confusion. The birds settled on the trees in such number that large trees as well as branches and limbs crashed to the ground, destroying the birds underneath. This and the feeding spots were the places where the birds were slaughtered by the tens of thousands.
Netting pigeons and shipping them to the large city markets became a full-scale commercial business from the 1860s on. It has been estimated that from four hundred to one thousand men were engaged in the business. Railroads and telegraph made it possible for the commercial operators to arrive practically with the pigeons. They came to the Petoskey nestings the springs of 1877 and 1878 and the slaughter was on here, as it had been elsewhere in previous years.
The Petoskey area Mossbacks were hungry, many of them. If it had not been for relief supplies received during the winter, they would have had to leave or starve. Money was gone, there was no work available in the near vicinity of their homes, and they were still busy clearing the homestead lands and planting crops. The pigeons who came from the sky were a crop to be harvested.
Working with the professional pigeon netters, fish nets fifty to seventy feet long were rigged in such a way as to trap the pigeons in large numbers at one swoop. All through the country the homesteaders decoyed the pigeons, caught them and sold them. Wagon load after wagon load rumbled into town. Live birds were packed and shipped in crates. Dead ones were picked, packed in barrels, and boated out. Various estimates of the number of birds shipped were made at the time and the largest was one million birds. It isn’t a pretty picture, but each season’s catch put from $30,000 to $40,000 in circulation and the amount was sufficient to last the settlers until the first crops were harvested.
Early on-the-spot accounts show that by 1878 steps were being taken to try to stop the wholesale slaughter of the nesting grounds. A company of men, including the US Marshall, quietly checked in at the Cushman House in Petoskey. Following their arrival the Sheriff was kept on the hop bringing in all those they tagged for arrest. The local paper warned, after the Marshall’s party had departed, that new men were being sent in and that all who wished to catch pigeons had best stay the proper distance away from the forbidden area. A game law was apparently on the books at that time which made it illegal to go into the nesting area proper after the birds. This last great nesting at Petoskey is reported to have covered something like 100,000 to 150,000 acres.
The wild pigeon, once the most abundant species ever known in any country, is no more. Its story is so incredible as to seem a legend. Perhaps in centuries to come it will be told and retold as a part of the folk-lore of the early Americans.