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05-02-2019 Tri-City Area History Page

Noble Kingman and his girlfriend Carolyn Hillicker… Did this couple remain friends? Who was the photographer? Stop by the NBHS Museum or give them a call at 468-3330 if you have information on this or any other photo appearing here. North Berrien Historical Museum is always interested in photos, stories or information sharing. The museum can be contacted by email to From the photo collection at the North Berrien Historical Museum 300 Coloma Avenue, Coloma

The Paw Paw River Journal

Blast from the past! It was summertime in Hartford, I must been about nine and my sister Wilma was about 12. A family moved in across the street and they had two girls about our age, Margaret and Mildred Sutton. We soon became acquainted and thereafter had some adventures. A year or two later they moved away, and we never saw them again. And now a blast from the past! I received an email from Margaret’s daughter. I will quote from it substantially with her permission. It follows:

“This message is for Bud Davis. My name is Debbie Miller and my mother, Margaret (Sutton) and her sister Mildred lived in Hartford for a short time in the late 1920s or early 1930s. I have a photo of my mother and aunt standing in the snow with your sister and a little dog. My mom lived with her mother Maude Sutton across the street from your family’s flower shop. My great-grandmother, Sophia Dade also lived in Hartford back in the day on 61 Pleasant Street. (The Dade family is also mentioned in your books). My mother, my sister and I visited the Hartford museum in 2017 and purchased two of your books which we immensely enjoyed! My great-grandfather, “George Sutton” who was mentioned in one of your books, had a summer home in Hartford on Polywog Road. He became a world famous billiards champ and travelled all over the world. Your books made me wish that I had grown up in the 1920s and lived in Hartford, Michigan; (but I grew up in the 50s in Chicago)… hope this little note finds you in good health and I look forward to hearing from you! Sincerely, Debbie Miller”

They had a neat older guy relative who used to come to visit. He had a beautiful red motorcycle. How proud he was of that! One weekend he came to see them and they were gone. So he spent most of the day polishing that beautiful bike. I’m sure it was a Harley-Davidson, and all the knobs for the controls were red dice! Margaret (my age) was sort of a daredevil and a tomboy. So I didn’t mind. She wore cool glasses that magnified her eyes. When school started, her older sister, Mildred, was gaga over a boy in her class named Larry Olds. She used to talk about him all the time. And I’m not even sure he knew how she felt. She also probably doesn’t know that Larry was a friend of mine later on, and I wrote about his athletic exploits in Hartford High School. He will always be one of Hartford’s real heroes! I don’t specifically remember, but I’m sure that summer we went down to play at the schoolyard. Everything was new again with grass covering the playground… no hundreds of little feet to wear it down to bare earth. The swings, teeter totters, merry-go-round, all there for our pleasure. We each got a waxed bread wrapper from our moms to take with us. Climbing up inside the tubular fire escape, we looked through the crack in the door. There was the classroom, quiet… clock ticking on the wall, and the smell of varnish and floor wax. How strange from this point of view! We slid down several times sitting on our waxed paper until it was polished and slippery. Then we could climb carefully and shoot down so fast we would pop out onto the sand below! One day we decided we would run a telephone line across the street from their upstairs to ours. Someone told us if you got a wire and strung it like that, running it into a tin can at each end, you could talk and listen into it like a real telephone. We got the wire up and were just about to try it out when a big truck came through and ripped our wire right out. That was the end of that! I don’t remember when the Suttons moved away… it’s just not there in my memory bank. But they did and evidently back to Chicago where the girls grew up, had their families, and lived their lives. And now from the past has come this email from Debbie bringing it all back. Our memories are a rich heritage. I know, many people say, “I just can’t remember all that!” I believe it helps to practice. I can remember my mom saying in later years something like this: “Well, last night I went back and re-lived such and such a date in my mind.” If you can do that it is a blessing. It can also be a curse, because if we remember, we will also call to mind the mistakes we made. I’ve done that too, and it is not always comfortable. People say, “Oh how I wish I had listened more when the old folks were telling stories.” I don’t say that, because I did listen. I’ve always loved hearing stories and telling stories. In fact with practice my memory has gotten so good I can remember things that didn’t even happen!! But all in all it’s a pretty good pastime to go back and examine the golden threads already woven into the great tapestry of life in these storybook towns along the Paw Paw River.

Coloma Public Library News Book Club

The Coloma Public Library Book Club is meeting on Thursday, May 16 at 5:30 p.m. The title to read before the discussion is “An American Marriage” by Tayari Jones. Story Hour Story Hour is held on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. Children can join Miss Amy for engaging stories, crafts, and songs on Wednesday, May 8. Story Hour is a weekly program designed for toddlers and preschool-aged children. Sign-ups are not required and the program is free. DIY Car Repair Save money by repairing your own vehicle. The Coloma Public Library can help. They provide free access to AutoMate, an online service with repair information including diagrams, step-by-step instructions, service alerts, and recalls. . Michigan Activity Pass Get free or discounted admission to hundreds of Michigan’s cultural and natural destinations including state parks, campgrounds, museums, trails, and more using a Coloma Public Library card. Visit the link on the Library’s website and follow the prompts to print a pass. Learn Your History The Coloma Public Library offers Ancestry Library Edition, an online database with genealogical records dating back as far as the 1400s. Access census data, birth, marriage, death, and military records for free using the database within the Library.

Watervliet District Library News

Teen Table Projects: May Stop-Motion Station – Teens can use the library’s laptop or their phone but definitely use library props. The Academy Awards await! Medicare & Medicaid Mon., May 6, 4 p.m. Jeff Armstrong of United Healthcare will present information and answer questions about these two fundamental insurance systems and the Dual Complete (HMO SNP) plan. LEGO Club Tues., May 7, 4 – 5 p.m. Everyone is invited to have fun and create a dream machine. In Stitches Knitting Group Fri., May 10, 2:30 – 4 p.m. Second Friday of every month, bring a project or interest; they’ll help you get started. Limited supplies are available for beginners. Third Monday Book Club May 20 – 7 – 8 PM Great books, fabulous conversations! Ask for a copy at the desk; this month – The Air You Breathe by Frances de Pontes Peebles. Yoga Mon. 9 – 10 a.m.; Chair Yoga – Wed. 6 – 6:30 p.m.; Wed. 7 – 8 p.m.; Fri. 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. Book a Social Work Intern! Tuesdays 1–4 p.m.


100 years ago – 1919 Prosecuting Attorney has declared an unrelenting war on slot machines, punch boards and gambling devices. He visited Coloma, ordering store owners to remove the devices and keep them out. If not obeyed, all boards will be confiscated, along with jewelry and other articles which were used to tempt the unwary to spend their money. The death of Mrs. Duane Boyer occurred at her home following an attack of pneumonia. Funeral services will be held from the Congregational Church. Interment will be in the Coloma cemetery. 60 years ago – 1959 Vivacious Nancy Strejc, 17, smiled her way to the title of Blossom Queen before a packed house in Benton Harbor’s Liberty Theater. She will rule over the annual Blossom festival that includes a full week of activities. Brothers, Ed and Wayne Carter, Jim and George VanOrman, all went fishing in Manistique, Mich. They brought home 500 pounds of smelt. Plans were laid for junior camp, sponsored by the Congregational Church. The camp will be held at Camp Warren. The fee is $18. The VFW auxiliary to the Fruit Belt post No. 1137 presented an outdoor flag of 49 stars to the children of Brick School. 30 years ago – 1989 The Bud Prince & Princess contest has been revived after a fifteen year absence. Melissa Saunders and Tabetha Salmons were among the contestants. Township Supervisor Rodney Krieger supports a study to be done on the future of Paw Paw Lake. A moratorium is in place on the development of dwellings during the year-long study. We Asked You… “What is your favorite Blossomtime event?” Teresa Pflugradt, Michael Stone and Chris McKie all say “The parade.” Katrina Krieger wins bowling trophy with her 4-H club. The tournament was held at Blossom Lanes. This project teaches bowling technique, etiquette and sportsmanship.

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 A hearty welcome home will be extended to all soldiers, sailors, marines and war workers in Hartford and vicinity Thursday night at the Methodist Episcopal Church. An address will be delivered by Judge David Anderson and Lieut. Wm. Cleworth, recently returned from France. “Go-to-Sunday-School Day” is to be observed in Hartford next Sunday. “Go-to-Church Sundays” have been generally observed, but so far as known the local movement is the first “Go-to-Sunday-School” observance in the country. A new time table went into effect on the Pere Marquette railroad. Hartford affords two more passenger trains a day, one going north at 8:05 a.m. and the other going south at 5:58 p.m. There are now five passenger trains a day each way over the Pere Marquette. 75 years ago – 1944 Tuesday morning war prisoners from the new camp at Hartford were used for the first time on Berrien and Van Buren county farms. Assignments made by the area war labor office indicated that a record number of men from the PW camp would be employed. The Hartford Art Study class met Monday afternoon with Mrs. Nellie Smith. Mrs. Bessie Shepard gave the lesson for the day on Elizabeth Martini, a woman architect of Chicago and now of Bangor. The Southwest Hartford Thursday Club met at the home of Mrs. A.T.Schriner on April 27. Mrs. Norman Clapp gave an address on child development. 50 years ago – 1969 A controversy has developed here over a proposal to relocate a portion of Pine Creek. The project would consist of cleaning and straightening the creek from the Chesapeake and Ohio railway to the Paw Paw River. The Hartford school vocal music department will present a variety of show tunes, popular, western and gay nineties songs and dance steps at their spring concert. The concert will be held at Hartford High School on May 27. 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 F.H. Null, director and instructor of the Watervliet school band and the school orchestra, has the contract to direct the St. Joseph concert band for the coming summer. The Lawton Chamber of Commerce has engaged the Watervliet School Band to play for the Memorial Day exercises in that village on the afternoon of May 30, 1929. As of May 17, 1929, the Watervliet School has received a new piccolo, tympani, bassoon and baritone for the coming year. Fifty-one students have signed up to play instruments in the band and orchestra. 60 years ago – 1959 Printed in 1958: The official enrollment for Watervliet Elementary and High School for 1958-1959 is 1,063, according to Superintendent Elery Donaldson. There are 671 in the elementary schools which are kindergarten thru sixth grades. High school numbers 392 for seventh thru twelfth grades. 30 years ago – 1989 University of Michigan students who expected their degrees this spring attended the university’s commencement ceremonies Apr. 29, 1989. Some 6,000 students on the Ann Arbor campus were degree candidates this spring. Dean William Jeffrey of Watervliet graduated with a BBA from the School of Business Administration. Shelley Tober of Watervliet is ushering chairwoman of the new Central Michigan University chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota, an international music fraternity. Tober, the daughter of Richard and Georgetta Tober, is studying instrumental music education at CMU. Craig Pullins is the Watervliet ‘Student of the Week’ for fourth grade. He is enjoyable to be around and has a great sense of humor and always has a big smile. Craig is a good student. He works hard to do his best. He is a member of the Science Olympiad team, shows good leadership qualities and is a member of the Student Council.

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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