April 2017 1st Quarter Newsletter,
PO Box 148, 403 So Sophie Street, Bessemer, MI 49911
Mission Statement: The purpose of this organization is to promote and preserve the history of the Bessemer Area. Historical materials shall include any items pertaining to the history and the heritage of this area, and said items will be shared and displayed in a museum setting.
Meetings are held at 2pm at the Center on the third Thursday of each month except December.
Directors at Large
It’s been a very nice start to Spring here in Bessemer
Great weather. It’s time to get ready for the summer season. Clean up and dusting is in order at the Center. And Plans are being made for the Center to Open on Memorial Day weekend. Also in the works is an event Sponsored by the Women’s Club and the Historical Society called “Miners Recognition” on Saturday July 1. Various activities are being discussed and planned to Honor the Miners of our Past. More to be announced soon.
Now this from Dick Steiger: The Historical Society recently added a historical Payroll Record to its collection of early mining materials. A handwritten Colby Mine payroll ledger for the period 1896-1900 was donated to the Society by Chris Mattson. Chris received this payroll ledger from his grandfather, Elmer Erickson, who was employed at the Peterson Mine in Bessemer.
The ledger contains four hundred pages documenting employee names days worked rate of pay per day, gross pay, employee number, and the allocation of wages to mine operations expense accounts. Chris’s great grandfather, Herman Erickson, was employed at the
Colby Mine in this period along with Herman’s two brothers Mike and Eric. It is interesting to note that the spelling of Erickson of the payroll ledger is “Erriccson”. Herman Erriccson’s employee ID is #81. In early June 1900, Herman earned a gross pay of $36.12 for fifteen days of labor. The Bessemer Area Historical Society is most grateful for receiving the Colby Mine payroll ledger from Chris Mattson and family. Chris Mattson is a fourth generation employed in the iron mining industry. He is an electrical engineer employed at the Northshore Mining Company in Silver Bay, MN.
For those who are interested in Trains and their History in this area, Jim Rouse who’s on our board has put together some milepost numbers from the DSS&A & Sidings (Detroit South Shore & Atlantic RR) from Thomaston West to the State line. Mileages increase toward West.
Thomaston - Mile 287.7 Division headquarters. Depot with agent on duty, water tank, turntable roundhouse, coal trestle and coal shed, ice house and wye. Active 1888 to - Siding remains on South Side.
Wakefield Jct Mile 287.83 Site of the spur going South to Wakefield. Switch location was 157’ West of the Highway 519 road crossing centerline. Under construction in 1888 but never finished. Graded and bridges built to the Chicago Mine North of Sunday Lake but never saw a rail. Discontinued in 1889. Became the road to Thomaston.
Planter Mile 290.11 Sawmill on North side with logging spur going North to woods. Active 1888 to 1934
Abitosse Mile 291.96 Siding on South side with section house on North side. Active 1889
Siemas Mile 292.20 Sawmill Northside with 544’spur to mill. Active 1919 to 1934
Massie Mile 292.8 474’ spur on South side and a longer spur to Black River on North side. Active 1909 to 1917
Bessemer Jct Mile 293.89 Site of spur going South to Bessemer. Water Tank. Active 1888 to 1930
Erickson Mile 294.12 Short log spur on North side a little East of Moore Road crossing. Active 1912 to 1934
Bernard Mile 294.70 Log siding on South side. Active 1919 to 1929
North Bessemer Mile 294.92 East side of Black River Road Crossing. Spur on North side running West between railroad and county road. Siding and depot on South side. There was a black ash hoop mill here alongside the river. Active 1891 to 1934
Woodroy Mile 295.32 Just West of Powdermill Creek crossing. Siding on North side. Active 1910 to 1917
Black River Mile 296.65 Siding on South side. Active 1909 to 1923. Also at Mile 296.71 a spur went North to a gravel pit.
Truetner Mile 297.71 Siding possibly on North side. Active 1910 to 1928
North Ironwood Mile 299.20 At Lake Road crossing. Depot with agent on duty on North side East of road. Siding on South side. Some sheds West of road on South side. Site of Snellman’s Spur on South side West of road. Active 1919 to - Part of the siding remains East of road.
Montreal Mile 300.35 Siding on North side of Vanderhagen Road. Active 1899 to?
Junet Mile 301.3 Siding on North side. Active 1911-1956
Montreal River at State Line Mile 302.37 Something was apparently here near the river on the Michigan side, but I do not know what it amounted to. A water tank was installed here for the locomotives in the fall of 1887. Active 1912 to 1943
In Honor Of the 100th Anniversary of World War I … Did you know…...That after the war to end all wars, American Legion Post #27 named itself the Peter Gedda Post to honor the First Bessemer boy killed in WWI
Peter Gedda answered the nation’s call on November 17, 1917 and gave up his life in heavy machine gun at Montfaucon, France on September 26, 1918 in passing over a bridge at the Battle of Meuse-Argonne. It was the turning point in the war. His brother, Michael Gedda, was a member of the Engineering Company that had just built the bridge.
Peter was in the 39th Infantry, 4th Division. He was interred in the Meuse-Argonne Cemetery East of the village of Romagne-Souci, Montfaucon (Falcon Mountain).
On Tuesday September 13, 1921, his body was shipped home, the casket covered by an American Flag. Bessemer turned out in one of the largest funerals ever witnessed! The American Legion Band played a funeral March as the procession made its way to the Church and the cemetery. Pupils in public school stood and sang “America” as the body was carried in state down the streets.
Thank you for your support of keeping our Heritage and the memories of the Bessemer area alive. We greatly appreciate it and hope that when we open again for the summer season you take time to visit us.
Be on the alert for a Big Announcement coming soon about our future!
For more information check out our website: