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02-07-2019 Tri-City Area History Page

Hunting for arrowheads My mom and dad were keen amateur archaeologists. Their specialty was early Native American history. They loved to hunt for arrowheads and other relics of the ancient people who lived right in this area. One of their favorite spots was out north of Hartford. There beside a small lake were sand dunes, ever shifting and revealing evidence of long ago people who lived, loved, reared their families, and sometimes made war against each other. They were called The Mound Builders. Their weapons were stone axes (called Tomahawks), bows and arrows with stone tips, and spears with stone tips. Of course the wooden parts were long since gone. Those arrowheads were laboriously chipped from flint. The process by which they made all of those beautiful weapons was also lost. Experts can sometimes tell where they were made. For instance, out in Idaho there is a wall of black volcanic glass. The local artisans there chipped black weapon points from it. Some got traded and a few showed up even here in Michigan traded from tribe to tribe. Our folks found one made from red glass… tiny and beautifully made. My sister took it to a jeweler to be appraised. He said it was ordinary red glass, but so unusual it was worth about as much as if it had been a ruby! When we were kids our folks would often tie in together a picnic and a Sunday afternoon hunt for Indian relics. They had favorite places among the sand dunes over toward Lake Michigan. My sister and I came prepared… we had with us books to read. We could explore sand dunes and look for relics. Then when we were tired we’d find some shade and read. Over the years they collected so many my dad made cases to display them. From their estate we gave each of our kids a collection of artifacts from all over the United States. One place we visited we got a double whammy! That was Tennessee. On a spring trip with the folks we visited the Murfreesboro area. There my folks found a place to look for arrowheads and also found relics from the Civil War. Back in those days it had not become illegal to pick up war relics. That area was fought over in the battle of Stones River. For days the two armies faced each other. Meanwhile the GIs were carving names, dates, and sayings in the rocks along the river bank. You can still see them. We went to a farm house outside of town, and our folks talked to the owners. They were seeking permission to look for relics on the land. Of course the Smothermans said it was all right. In fact we became friends. They had two daughters about our age, Orma and Magnus. Nice girls, and a little shy, but we gradually got acquainted. The mother, Mary, and my mom became good friends and corresponded over the years thereafter. One day we decided to have a picnic. We took Mary and the two girls with the promise they would show us some real southern mansions. We drove around the area and finally found a nice grassy spot under some big trees. On a hill behind was a huge old home. We spread a tablecloth and got out all of our picnic things. Right in the middle of lunch a car came along and turned into a drive that went up to the big house. It came to a screeching halt and backed up. Out came a young woman, nicely dressed, and she was breathing fire. She said, hands on hips, “Well, I hope when y’all are finished you pick up your trash and leave!” She jumped back in the car and spinning the wheels, scattered gravel and started up the drive again. Then her brake lights came on, and she backed up even with us. We were still standing there open mouthed as she got out of the car and came over. “I’m sorry,” she said, “I’ve had a bad morning, and I just realized that you are from out of state. You probably didn’t realize you were eating in our front yard. When you’re finished, come up to the house and I’ll give you a tour.” We did. Mary admonished the girls, shaking her finger in their faces, “When we go up there, don’t you dare say a word or she’ll realize we’re natives and should know better!!!” We sat on the big front veranda and had iced tea. Our most gracious hostess told us stories about how their mansion survived The War Between the States. It was a marvelous day, and we found some bullets from the battle and also some arrowheads. We remained friends with the Smothermans over the years to this day. The only one left is a daughter, Orma. Whenever we went to Florida we stopped to visit. She insisted that we stay with her, and she has visited us in Michigan. It’s great to have friends like that. They are among the golden threads in the great tapestry of our lives in these storybook towns along the Paw Paw River.

Coloma Library News Read with Spirit Spirit, a certified therapy dog will be at the library on Tuesday evenings from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Children may sign up for a 15-minute slot by stopping in at the front desk or calling the library at 468-3431. Reading to Therapy dogs is a fun way for children to build reading confidence and fluency. Book Club The Coloma Library Book Club is meeting on Thursday, Feb. 21 at 5:30 p.m. The title to read before the discussion is “Into the Water” by Paula Hawkins. Generally, depending on demand there are titles available for check-out at the front desk. The book club is always looking for new members. Stop into the library or call 468-3431 for more information.

Hartford Public Library News On Wednesday, Feb. 13 from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m., the Hartford Public Library will be celebrating “Valentine’s Day”. They will be decorating heart shaped cookies, creating valentines and playing games for prizes. Every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m., they have a new program called “Stay and Play”. All children and adults are welcome to play with their doll house, the giant LEGOS, use the computers and play with sticker sheets. Stories may be included in the play time. This is a non-constructed children’s story time. No registration is required and there is no age limit. This month on Tuesday, Feb. 26 they have a “Pokemon Drop-In” from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.; anyone can bring their cards to show. They will have Pokemon Wii available to play. There will also be a Pokemon scavenger hunt. Call 621-3408 for information on any Hartford Library activity or visit their website at

Glimpses From The Past

Tommy Rogers the Peanut King and Popcorn Prince, for many years was a well known figure near Badt’s Pharmacy in Coloma. North Berrien Historical Museum is always interested in photos, stories or information sharing. The museum can be contacted at 269-468-3330 or by email to From the photo collection at the North Berrien Historical Museum 300 Coloma Avenue, Coloma

Watervliet District Library News Sweet Taste-Testing Thursday, February 14 Drop in any time 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and taste test candies from around the world. Can you guess its origin? Does it please the palette? Pick up a score card at the desk & be the judge! Participants will be entered into a drawing to receive their own box of chocolates. Pinteresting Monday, Feb. 25, 6:30 – 8 p.m. Arts & crafts for grown-ups held the last Monday of the month. February – Needle Felted Hearts Adult Reading Program Three prize levels; 5 books per level. First place: Fuzzy Socks; 2nd: Mug & Cocoa; 3rd: Eye Mask; Grand Prize: $50 Gift Card to Oasis Hot Tubs. Program ends Feb. 23. Yoga Yoga sessions are cancelled until Wednesday, Feb. 13. Please call 463-6382 for more information on any Watervliet Library activity.


100 years ago – 1919 The route of the proposed highway was settled at a big conference in Lansing. This great memorial highway acts as a belt of honor to the boys who served in the world war. How will Coloma welcome her soldiers as they return? Every man’s job should be open to him. Let Coloma be among the front ranks in giving the truest welcome to our soldier boys and supply them with the employment needed. 60 years ago – 1959 Vicki Brown was installed as Worthy Advisor to the Coloma Rainbow Girls. Her father is Worshipful Master of the Coloma Masonic Lodge and her mother is Worthy Matron of The Order of The Eastern Star. Mr. and Mrs. Louis Kerlikowske are parents of a nine pound four ounce boy. Dr. and Mrs. Robert Kuester of Paw Paw Islands are the parents of a son, Randall Robert. Mr. and Mrs. Howard Drach were awarded a centennial marker from the Michigan Historical Commission. The Drachs came from Preen, Germany and helped build Brick School. The Coloma community paid its last respects to Charles C. Smith during services at the Davidson Funeral Home. Mr. Smith owned the hardware store for 59 years. 30 years ago – 1989 Miss Coloma 1989 is Monica Bansen, an enchanting senior at Coloma High School. First runner-up is Denise Bohn. Barbara Noack is second runner-up. The beautiful and personable Shelby Forrester was chosen as Miss Congeniality. Township Supervisor Rodney Krieger announced plans to make an advanced payment toward the purchase of the new fire pumper. DAR Essay Contest winners are middle school students Ryan Noel and Amy Stowers. Southwestern MI Car Collectors Club has elected Robert Dill as president for 1989. Barb Wier is treasurer and Carol Malich is secretary. Submitted by volunteer Sandi Musick Munchow at Coloma Public Library from the Coloma Courier newspapers donated by the Tri-City Record. Hours: Mon & Fri, 10:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Tue, Wed & Thu, 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.; Sat, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Phone: 269-468-3431


100 years ago – 1919 The dancing party given at the town hall last Friday evening, with music by Fischer’s orchestra was the best attended party of the winter. A total of 105 couples tripped the light fantastic toe, while fifty spectators’ tickets were sold to music lovers. A number of ladies gathered at the home of Mrs. Eldon Long last Friday evening to remind her that she had reached another milestone on life’s journey. After spending a pleasant evening and enjoying a fine supper, they departed for their several homes at the midnight hour. The Hartford Woman’s Club wishes to extend a cordial invitation to the people of Hartford and community to meet with them at the Christian church Monday evening, Feb.17, to listen to a lecture on “America Rediscovered”, to be delivered by D.J. Good. 75 years ago – 1944 The Hartford Mother’s Club met Feb.7 at the home of Mrs. William Clark. The early part of the evening was spent sewing for the Red Cross. During the balance of the evening, members were entertained by Mrs. Thomas Pollard, whose husband Capt. Pollard recently returned from England. Boy scouts, cubs and adult leaders of Hartford join with other members of the movement throughout the United States in the celebration of Boy Scout Week, marking the 34th anniversary of the founding of the movement in America. 50 years ago – 1969 Mrs. Dale Jones was named chairman of the 1969 Miss Hartford contest. She will be assisted by Mrs. Paul Van Ovenen and Mrs. Lucius King. The Hartford Jaycees are looking for a place to build the Hartford Blossomtime parade float. Anyone knowing of a place suitable may contact John Righter. The theme of the float this year is “The Music Man”. Absentee ballots for a special election on a proposed merger of Hartford and Lawrence schools now are available at the offices of Supt. Gary Waterkamp at Hartford and Supt. Wesley Harding at Lawrence. The special election on the merger proposal has been set for Feb. 24. Submitted by Librarian Stephanie Daniels at Hartford Public Library from microfilm copies of the Hartford Day Spring. Hours: Mon, Tue & Wed, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Thu & Fri, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Phone: 269-621-3408


90 years ago – 1929 Thermometer readings yesterday locally ranged from zero to 5 & 6 degrees above. It moderated considerably last night and it was 10 degrees above here in the morning. It has risen to 25 degrees above at noon. The roadsides in town are full of ice ruts but the trunk line pavements out in the country are fairly free of ice and snow. J.H. Leverton’s grocery advertisement: 100 lbs. Domino Sugar $5.65; 24-1/2 lbs. flour $.95; 1 lb. Calumet Baking Power $.27; 4 pkgs macaroni, spaghetti or noodles $.25; 1 lb. jar peanut butter $.23; 3 lbs. Blue Rose rice $.25 Chas. Salverson of East Watervliet has had an electric water pressure system installed in his home. Mr. Salverson has added 16 sashes to his hotbed equipment purchased from Rosenberg & Forbes. 60 years ago – 1959 Watervliet and Coloma will battle it out for supremacy in athletics again on Feb. 12, 1959, when a team of alumni students from the two towns meet for a donkey basketball game. Fred Kleman will lead the Watervliet All Stars. 30 years ago – 1989 Watervliet City Mayor Robert Flaherty has announced that a proposal to reinstate an AMTrak stop at the Watervliet depot is back on the drawing board. Five WHS musicians took top honors at the District Solo-Ensemble competition held at Dowagiac. The young men and women now qualify for the State Competition. Clarinet soloist Kirsten Nord, a senior and flutist Karen Pfeffer, a sophomore, each brought home first-place honors. A flute quartet featuring senior Jan Wellmeng, freshman Stacy Bannen, sophomore, Karen Pfeffer and junior Nikki Nevins won 1st place also. Donia Christina Klyver has been chosen as Watervliet’s Student of the Week. Donia, a third grader at South School is a very serious student and very involved in her classwork and has successfully served as a member of her Student Council. She enjoys social studies and reading the most but is also busy with swimming, roller-skating, bowling, solving cross word puzzles and tree climbing. Submitted by Sally Q. Gonzalez from files at Watervliet District Library of the Watervliet Record newspapers donated by the Tri-City Record. Hours: Mon & Wed, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Tue, Thu & Fri, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Phone: 269-463-6382

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