History of Campbell
(Part 1 of 3)
This is Part
1 (covering years up to 1900) of an interactive chronology of Campbell
Park, the Village of Pentwater, and vicinity.
To see Part
2 (covering years from 1900 to 1950), click
To see Part
3 (covering years from 1950 to the present), click
any comments, corrections, additions, or additional links to firstname.lastname@example.org.
[1598-1642] and seven Indian paddlers "discover" Lake Michigan and visit
what is now Wisconsin. Expecting he has arrived in China, Nicolet carries
two pistols and wears an embroidered robe of Chinese damask "all strewn
with flowers and birds of many colors."
1675 (May 18) -
Jacques Marquette [1637-1675], French missionary and explorer, dies
on the Lake Michigan shore after exploring the Mississippi River. A tall
cross will be erected in 1955 on a small
dune near Ludington where Marquette's canoe landed and his death is
believed to have taken place.
1679 - René-Robert
Cavelier de La Salle [1643-1687] builds the first ship to sail on the
Great Lakes (the Griffon) and sails into Lake Michigan as far as
Green Bay, Wisconsin. He sends the ship back to Michillimakinac (filled
with furs that he acquired illegally) and proceeds without the ship to
build Fort St. Joseph
(1679) at present-day Niles, Michigan, and Fort Crevecœur (1680) in the
village of Pimiteoui, near present-day Peoria, Illinois.
1720 (about) - Pontiac
(or Ponteach) is born in what is now the state of Ohio. He will become
chief of the Ottawa tribe and the principal leader of one of the greatest
Native American alliances.
1725 (about) - A
band of peaceful Mascoutens
is massacred by Ottawas
and/or Potawotamis on
the river near what is now Custer in Mason County, Michigan. Years later,
the slain Indians' skulls will be mounted on poles, and the river will
become known as Notipekago
(river with heads on sticks). Much later, it will be renamed the Pere
1761 - Chief
Pontiac embraces a movement started by Eastern Indians to reject the
white man's culture and derives a plan to drive out English settlers.
1763 - French
settlements at the Northern end of Lake Michigan are taken over by
1763 (April) - A
Great Council of Indians is held near Detroit. Chief
Pontiac will lead attacks in May, and all British forts in the region
will be captured except Fort Detroit and Fort Pitt (now Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania).
1766 (April) - Chief
Pontiac admits defeat and helps the British subdue remaining bands
of warring Indians. He will sign a peace treaty with the British at Detroit
on August 17.
1769 (April) - Chief
Pontiac is murdered by Black Dog, a Peoria (or Illinois) Indian said
to be paid by the British, in Kahokia,
a town on the Mississippi opposite St. Louis. The Ottawa, Chippewa, Potawatomi,
Sac, and Fox tribes will unite against the Peoria in retaliation for the
1781 - A Spanish
expedition captures Fort
St. Joseph at Niles, Michigan, in retaliation for the capture of
the Spanish fort at St. Louis on the Mississippi River. West Michigan will
remain for a year -- at least theoretically -- under the flag of Spain.
1783 - Treaty
of Paris ending the American Revolution cedes Michigan territory to
the US, but the British will remain until 1796.
1801 (August) -
Warren Stone [1772-1844] preaches to more than 20,000 people attending
Great Revival" at his Cane
Ridge Ridge Meeting House in Paris, Kentucky (near Lexington). Stone
is a founder of what will become known as the the Stone-Campbell Movement,
and one of Campbell Park's "streets" will be named for him in 1907.
1805 (June 1) -
New Map of Part of the United States of North America" by John Cary
of London names the Mastigon (Muskegon), White, Rock, Beauvau, Margurite,
and Monistic (Manistee) Rivers but omits the names Notipekago and Pentwater.
The nearest town is Ft. Joseph (present day Niles, Michigan).
1809 - Thomas
Campbell [1763-1854] withdraws from the Seceder Presbyterian church
in Western Pennsylvania and issues a "Declaration and Address" creating
the Christian Association of Washington County. In future years,
this will be celebrated as the beginning of the Disciples of Christ,
the largest "denomination" ever created in the Western Hemisphere.
Thomas' son Alexander Campbell [1788-1866] will move to nearby Virginia
(now Bethany, West Virginia) in 1811 and carry on the church work his father
began. He will establish Bethany Collge in 1840. Campbell Park founder
George Alexander Campbell will be partially named for Alexander Campbell
in 1869. Campbell Park will be named for Thomas Campbell -- or Alexander
Campbell -- or both -- in 1907.
1812 (August 16)
- British capture Fort Mackinac at the top of Lake Michigan.
1813 - British
retreat from Michigan to Canada after US victories on Lake Erie and
on the Thames River in Upper Canada (Ontario). (The grandparents and parents
of Campbell Park founder George Alexander Campbell will settle near the
Thames River in 1830 and 1831.)
1825 - Opening
of the Erie Canal, new land laws, and Native American concessions lead
the way to the rapid settlement of Michigan.
1827 - American
Fur Company of John Jacob Astor has 20 trading posts in Western Michigan,
and an independent trader Louis Campau has six posts, including
Muskegon and Manistee. In succeeding years, the focus of the American
fur industry will move from the Great Lakes to the Far West.
1829 - Welland
Canal is completed around Niagara Falls, permitting ocean-going vessels
to enter the upper Great Lakes for the first time. In the years to come,
over 140 exotic
species of animals and plants will be introduced to the lakes, including
the sea lamprey and alewife.
1831 - Oceana
County is laid out and named by the Michigan Territorial Legislature.
The boundaries will shift before the county is settled.
1833 (April 1) -
of the North West and Michigan Territories by the Society
for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge in London names the Maskegon
(Muskegon), White, Pentwater, and Manistic (Manistee) Rivers but omits
the names Notipekago and Pere Marquette. The nearest town is Niles,
and the nearest country is Van Buren on the Pawpaw River. This is
the earliest use of the name Pentwater I've ever seen; can anyone
cite an earlier use?
1837 (January 26)
Michigan becomes the 26th state by Act of the US Congress.
1840 (April 1) -
County is "set off" on the Notipekago (Pere Marquette) River. Three
years later, its name will be changed to Mason
County in memory of Stevens
Thompson Mason [1811-1843], Michigan's first (and youngest) governor
from 1834 to 1840.
1847 - Burr Caswell
builds the first house in Mason County. The house will become the first
court house in 1855, and it is now part of the White
Pine Village museum between Pentwater and Ludington. The museum hosts
the Mason County Historical Society.
1849 - Land in Pentwater
and Whiskey Creek is purchased by Oceana County's first European settlers.
Pentwater's first settler will not arrive until 1853.
1850 - Scottish
Baptists in Ontario decide to call themselves Disciples of Christ
as they come under the increasing influence of Thomas and Alexander Campbell.
One of the elders taking this decision is Dugald
Sinclair who led many members of his church
in Lochgilphead, Scotland, to Ontario in 1831. This group included
the grandparents and mother of Campbell Park founder George Alexander Campbell
1853 - First
buildings are constructed by E.R. Cobb and Andrew Rector in what is
now Pentwater: A boarding house near the current water tower and a lumber
mill also near the south end of Hancock Street.
1855 - Chicago Lumber
baron Charles Mears [1814-1895] begins to build a sawmill on the north
side of what now is the "channel" in Pentwater. The village of Mears and
Charles Mears State Park now bear his name. Land for Campbell Park will
be purchased in 1907 from Carrie E. Mears [1880-1957], his daughter
and heir in Chicago.
1857 (Summer) -
Indians are removed from from the lower Grand River Valley (after a
new road from Kalamazoo brings an influx of white settlers). Some are landed
at Pentwater by a ship owned by Charles Mears (as described in Schrumpf,
page 3). Bands of Ottawa, Chippewa, and Pottawatami will encamp at
Pentwater Lake enroute to a 144 square mile reservation in Oceana and Mason
Counties. The Indian reservation centers on what is now Custer on
US-10 in Mason County. In the late 19th century, the governmnet will
sell the land both to Indians and to non-Indians, and the reservation will
1861 (April 20)
- Oceana Times begins publication in Pentwater. It is the first
newspaper between Muskegon and Traverse City (as described in Schrumpf,
p. 17 ). Pentwater is still the only village in Oceana County. It
has three stores, two steam sawmills, one printing press, several fisheries,
two lawyers, one pastor, and 300 residents.
1861-1865 - Civil
War. A war monument will be erected after the war in Pentwater at 4th
and Hancock Strets. It's still seen everyday by practically everyone but
seldom recognized because its inscription says only "G.A.R
61-65 W.R.C". GAR stands for Grand Army of the Republic, and
WRC for Women's Relief Corps.
1864 (May 5) - Herbert
Lockwook Willett [1864-1944] is born in Ionia, Michigan. Slightly older
that other Campbell Park founders, Dr. Willett will be the first to establish
himself at the University of Chicago.
1867 - First
lighthouse in the area is constructed just north of Ludington at Big
Point Sable (Grand Point aux Sables). The 112-foot brick tower will
be encased in protective steel plates in 1900. A 104-foot brick lighthouse
will be constructed at Little
Point Sable (Petit Point aux Sables) in 1874. The Little Point Sable
light will be automated in 1954, and the Big Point Sable light will be
automated in 1968. The two lights are almost equidistant from Campbell
Park, but neither light is visible from Campbell Park because of the shape
of the shoreline.
1867 - Channel
between Pentwater Lake and Lake Michigan is enlarged by the Federal
Government. A Life Saving Station will be built on the channel in
1880. It will later be called the Coast Guard Station and permanently
closed in 1959. Its tower remains, and the site is now a village park.
1867 (March 16)
- Village of Pentwater is incorporated by an act of the Michigan
1869-70 - Four
key founders of Campbell Park are born within 15 months of each other:
George Alexander CAMPBELL, 27 Jan 1869 near Morpeth, Ontario. Luna May
JAMESON, 12 Apr 1869 near Galva, Illinois. Mable VAN METER, 12 May 1869,
near De Soto Iowa. And Edward Scribner AMES, 21 Apr 1870 in Eau Claire,
Wisconsin. May and Mable are second cousins. (Their common ancestors are
Baptist minister John Murphy [1782-1848] and his wife Nancy
LAMB [1788-1830].) Three of the four are born on farms. All four are
born into families of the Disciples of Christ, also known as Campbellites.
(Until 1850, the Disciples in Ontario had been Scottish Baptists.)
All four will attend Drake University together, later live in Chicago
at the same time, and help found Campbell Park in 1907.
1871 (October 8-9)
- Smoke from the Great Chicago Fire can be seen from Pentwater.
The same wind that fans the flames in Chicago also starts fires in many
parts of Michigan and Wisconsin. The towns of Holland and Manistee
are burned to the ground. A forest fire burns in Oceana County near Shelby.
1872 (May 6) - Eldred's
Shingle Mill in Frenchtown (South side of Pentwater Lake) burns to
the ground. Considered to be the biggest shingle mill in the entire country,
it employed "80 men and 20 girls" and made 270,000 shingles a day. The
mill will never be rebuilt, but a large furniture factory will be "organized"
in 1882, only to be destroyed by fire in 1898.
1872 - Railroad
arrives in Oceana County, and Pentwater is its northern terminus. The Pentwater
station will be on Pentwater Lake just south of the channel which links
Pentwater Lake to Lake Michigan. Rail service will last exactly 60 years.
1874 - Charles
Clayton Morrison is born in Harrison, Ohio. His brother Hugh T.
Morrison will be born in 1877. Their father is a Disciples minister
who will move from church to church in Iowa while his sons (and one daughter)
grow up. Slightly younger than other Campbell Park founders, ""CC" Morrison
will find his true calling in 1908 when he purchases the Christian Century.
Hugh will graduate from medical school in 1907 or 1908 but never practice
1874-76 - Passenger
pigeons swarm in Pentwater and other parts of Oceana County. "For nearly
a mile along the shore, the Indians beat them down in windrows with brush,
the Squaws picking up the birds." Hunters and sightseers flock to Pentwater.
Whole rail carloads of dead and living birds are shipped to distant markets.
passenger pigeon will die in the Cincinnati Zoo on 01 Sep 1914.
The schooner "Lt.Gen. U.S. Grant" flounders at Pentwater.
This may or may not be the wreck found just off the Campbell Park beach.
On Feb. 26-27, 2003, shipwreck expert Brendon
Baillod will write: "I think there's a 90% chance that the [Campbell
Park] remains belong to either the schooner J.M. Hughes (11/15/1855), the
schooner H.N. Gates (12/14/1864), the schooner Roanoke (10/27/1866), the
schooner Lt.Gen. U.S. Grant (9/20/1878), or the steam work tug Alice E.
Getty (11/20/1884). It may be possible for me to positively identify her
solely based on location. I have dimensions and pretty good location info
on all the above wrecks. The Hughes and Gates are long shots not because
of their age [but] because I don't have good news accounts that give their
location with respect to the [Pentwater] piers." See wreck-related entries
for 1953 (about), 1985 (Summer), and 2003.
1880 - Bird's
Eye View of Pentwater is published. Among the 15 sites identified by
number are a lumber mill, a "flouring" mill (Nickerson & Collister),
two shingle mills (Sands and Maxwell's, J.E. White's), three churches (Methodist,
Congregational, Roman Catholic), railroad station, and trotting park. The
largest mill is now the site of Snug Harbor Marina, and the view
shows lumber stacked along Pentwater Lake where in the open area which
is now the municipal marina. Nothing at all is shown on the
shore of Lake Michigan except sand dunes.
1883 (July) - Middlesex
Brick & Tile Company is incorporated. Its factory on Lake Road
will make the blond bricks used to construct many Pentwater buildings.
(Middlesex is the name given by Charles Mears to the area west of Hancock
1884 - Christian
Oracle is launched in Iowa by F. M. Kirkham. (Mrs. Kirkham is the sister
of General Drake for whom Drake University is named.) The paper
will move to Chicago in 1891 and change its name to the Christian Century
at the end of 1899.
1887 (July 4) -
thousand loggers are entertained with free beer and dancing by the
prostitutes who inhabit "Sawdust Flats," a six-block area of filled land
at Muskegon (now a landscaped park on old US-31).
1888 - Number
of mills peaks in Ludington. The city has nine sawmills, three salt
plants, three shingle mills, and one planing mill. Thomas Rice Lyon
[1854-1909] owns two sawmills, a salt plant, a fleet of vessels, and "the
double brick store" at 902 S. Washington Avenue. Lyon's company constructed
three hugh scows (barges) in Ludington in 1882 (one of which will loose
its cargo and become fatally damaged off Pentwater on Sept. 8, 1910). Lyon's
operations will be purchased in 1898 by his brother-in-law Justus
Smith Stearns [1845-1933].
1889 - Edward
Scribner Ames [1870-1958] is graduated from Drake University
in Des Moines, Iowa, closely followed by Mable Van Meter [1869-1953], George
Alexander Campbell [1869-1943], and Luna May Jameson [1869-1940]. George
and May will marry at her family's home in Des Moines in 1892. Ed and Mable
will marry at her family's home near De Sota, Iowa, in 1893. The two couples
will later share an apartment in Chicago and remain life-long friends.
Their cottages in Campbell Park will be adjacent (although the order
of the cottages is determined by lot).
1889 - Destructive
fire begins in a cigar store on the West side of Hancock Street and
levels most of the wooden stores on that side of Pentwater's main street.
Before 1890 (year uncertain)
Oceana Beach is established between Lake Michigan and Pentwater
Lake just south of the pier. Owned by Oceana Beach Association, this is
the first summer colony in Pentwater. Others will follow, including
the North Beach Association about 1902, Garrison Park in 1904, and Campbell
Park in 1907.
1890 - Map
of Pentwater Township shows Oceana Beach (a summer colony just
south of the channel), Lake Shore Park (now Charles Mears State Park),
and the railroad. The future site of Campbell Park is labeled "Chas.
1891 - Construction
of the Valeria Hotel for summer visitors is begun in Pentwater,
using blond bricks made from local sand. The huge hotel costs so much to
build that Pentwater leaders repeatedly run out of money and have to stop
and restart constuction. The bulding will never be fully finished, is never
used as a hotel, and soon becomes known as "The White Elephant".
1891 - F. M.
Kirkham moves the Christian Oracle from Iowa to Chicago, "thinking
they might appeal to a wider constituency." James Harvey Garrison
will buy control of the paper and name his son Arthur its editor. In Arthur's
absense, Garrison will ask George Alexander Campbell to serve as
editor. Then a group of young men (including GAC, Edward Scribner Ames,
Herbert Lockwood Willett, F. F. Grinn, and C. A. Young) will buy the paper
from Garrison. Garrison, Campbell, Ames, Willett, and Young will
all buy land for summer cottages in Pentwater.
1893 (May 1-October
31) - Columbian
Exposition (World's Fair) records 27 million paid admissions
and brings untold attention to the booming city of Chicago.
1894 (June) - Disciples
Divinity House is created at the University of Chicago. Herbert
Lockwill Willett [1864-1944] is the first Dean. (George Alexander Campbell
[1869-1943] will write: "I first met Dr. Willett in one of the classrooms.
He was young, poised, good-looking, and eloquent. Nature had done a good
deal for him.") Edward Scribner Ames [1870-1958] will be the second
Dean and William Barnett Blakemore [1876-1944], a frequent visitor
to Campbell Park, the third.
1894 - Epworth
League Training Assembly acquires land on the Lake Michigan beachfront
in Ludington (about 15 miles north of Pentwater) for "scientific, intellectual,
and religious studies" and immediately constructs a frame hotel. Originally
affiliated with the Methodist Church, Epworth
Heights is today a summer colony with "215 cottages, 250 acres, seven
tennis courts, a nine-hole golf course, and a peak summer population of
about 2,000." Part of the hotel is now a museum.
1895 (May 23) -
Mears dies at his home in Chicago and is succeeded by his daughter
Ellen Mears. Miss Mears will donate the land on Lake Michigan which
is now Charles Mears State Park and sell nearby land for the creation
of Campbell Park.
Institute is founded in Chicago by 14 "university students and instructors"
from Yale, Harvard, and the University of Chicago in order to promote a
"riper scholarship" within the Disciples of Christ. Of the six charter
members still alive in 1940, four are connected to Pentwater: Edward Scribner
Ames [1870-1958], George Alexander Campbell [1869-1943], Winfred Ernest
Garrison [1874-1969], and Herbert Lockwood Willett [1864-1944]. In 1907,
Dr. Ames will become editor of the institute's monthly publication, "The
1898 - Bortell's
Landing (about 5 miles north of Pentwater) starts to catch and process
Lake Michigan fish. Bortell's still operates as a family-owned summer fish
market but no longer as a fishery.
1898 - Pentwater
furniture factory burns "and with it the hopes and plans of the community...
Thus ended all lumbering and furniture interests." (per Schrumpf, page
55). The boiler explodes in mid-day, hurling bricks as far as three blocks
- "The Christian
Century" is suggested as the new name of "The
Christian Oracle" by its editor, George
Alexander Campbell [1869-1943], in recognition of the turn of the 20th
century. Charles Clayton Morrison will acknowledge that Campbell
had this idea.
1900 to the present
- Click here
for Part 2 (covering years 1900 to 1950). Click
here for Part 3 (covering years 1950 to the present).