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The History of EMMET COUNTY, 1884

Page 151-152




This village is built on the southeast shore of Little Traverse Bay, and upon the line of the Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad. The population in 1884 at about 3,000.

The situation of the village site is peculiarly interesting and is contemplated with feelings of admiration by all visitors. The bay has already been described; from its curving beach paved with corals and agates, a vast ampbitheatre rises by a series of terraces to a distance of two hundred feet above the level of the lake. The village climbs from the water's edge in a southeasterly direction up these graceful heights, from the summit of which the view is beautiful beyond description. Over the entire village the eye sweeps across the bay, and to the lake beyond, gathering in a greater variety of natural beauty than is often found. One writer describes the site as follows:

"If we are out in a boat on the bay and look in toward the land, we perceive that Petoskey occupies a series of picturesque undulations that spread out on either hand, and rises to the rear in the form of an amphitheater. A lofty limestone cliff flanks the town on the west. Its top is crowned with trees, among which are discovered the tents of many vacation tourists who are camping out. Behind them rises an overtopping eminence, dotted with pretentious villas of wealthy residents. From the verge of this cliff the outlook is superb. Across, five miles distant, is the ridge of hills that line the opposite side of the Little Traverse Bay. These sweep round in a symmetrical curve to the head of the bay two miles to the right, and then follow the hither shore until they rise and terminate in the cliff on which we stand.

"All along in that direction, as far as sight can reach, we can race the white line of the pebbly shore limed against the green of the hills; and then from the base of our cliff in a sweep of two miles or more to the left in the form of a crescent, ending in a wooded point. Tree-covered bills slope gently back and upward from the beach, and pretty cottages peep out from among their branches. The principal part of the town lies in the bowl of the amphitheater, from which a practicable road leads through a ravine to the long pier which projects from the hollow of the crescent into the bay. This pier gives additional character and life to the scenery.”

The rapidity with which the village has matured is one of the remarkable features of its history, which had its beginning in the year 1873. The buildings are substantial and tasty, and the whole village wears a finished appearance not usually acquired in so short a time. The romantic beauty of its location and the healthfulness of the climate have brought the place into prominence as a summer resort and every season the village and vicinity are visited by thousands of people in pursuit of health and comfort.

The village was named in honor of one of the original proprietors of the soil, and who had spent more than fourscore years of his life in this vicinity. In the year 1787 he was born at the mouth of a little creek near where the city of Manistee now stands. His father, Nee-i-too-shing, (the Early Dawn) with others of his tribe, went down the lake shore into the south country hunting and trapping, as was their custom. On their return, well laden with skins and game, they camped at Little Creek, near the mouth of the Manistee River. Here was born the “patron saint"of the village. Nee-i-too-shing put back the deer-skin door of his rude lodge and looked up at the morning sky. Bright shafts of sunlight shot up like streaks of flame lighting the eastern woods. Just then the first cry of his new-born child came to his ear, and he named him Pe-to-se-ga, which, translated, is "the Rising Sun" The home of the Chippewas was the region about Little Traverse Bay. The lodge of Nee-i-too-shing was about seven miles north and west of the present village of Harbor Springs. When Pe-to-se-ga was twenty-two years old, he took for his wife the daughter of a near neighbor Keway-ka-ba-wi-kwa. They planted an apple orchard, the remains of which may still be seen. The missionaries gave him the name Neyas, and he was afterward persuaded that Neyas was an abbreviation of Ignatius, and it became Ignatius Pe-to-se-ga, and later, when a village was to be named, the last name was changed to Petoskey.
Ignatius Petoskey
When the government decided to try the experiment of schooling some of the brightest Indian children, Pe-to-se-ga sent his two oldest sons to a school in northern Ohio. It was a Protestant school and the priest objected and finally declared he must bring the children home or he would be excommunicated. His wife, womanlike, sided with the priest, and Pe-to-se-ga yielded, but so impatient did be become of such arbitrary rule he left the spot where he had spent forty-three years of his married life, and moved with his family across the bay and settled on the south shore, upon land now comprised within the limits of the village. He and his sons owned nearly all of which is now the village of Petoskey. But the trouble did not cease. Protestant mission services were held within reach, and Pe-to-se-ga attended with his children. Mrs. Pe-to-se-ga would have none of it, so she left her husband and went with his brother to her own relatives on the north side of the bay.

The chief took another wife. Several years passed, but the mother-love in the dusky breast overruled all other considerations, and Mrs. Pe-to-se-ga came back to her family, and the woman who had usurped her place was dowered and sent forth. They had fourteen children, of whom eight sons and two daughters are still living. Mrs. Pe-to-se-ga died in April, 1881, at the age of eighty six years. He still lives in the village, ninety-seven years of age, although his appearance does not indicate that advanced age.


The operations at Bear Creek have already been narrated in the early history of the county, but other than geographical connection they had no relalation to the village that lives since grown up, and had not other and later influences combined to make this particular spot a center of activities, the associations of the locality might never have vested a populous community with historic interest. Of the early movements of the viliage we will now proceed to speak.

The building of the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad was the incentive to the development, of the natural resources at this point and its improvement as a village site. Messrs. H. 0. Rose and Amos Fox had been pioneer business men in the Traverse Region nearly twenty years and had already laid the foundations of Northport and Charlevoix. They had traded at Little Traverse, now Harbor Springs, and were familiar with this entire region. Knowing of the vast limestone formation on the shore of Little Traverse Bay, they purchased about two hundred acres of land at this point. In the summer of 1873 the railroad to this point was approaching completion, and Mr. Rose came here for the purpose of beginning business. The material for his house was got out at Traverse City and shipped here by boat.

The firm of H. 0. Rose & Co., consisting of A. Fox and H. 0. Rose, first commenced selling goods in this place in a small log building near the residence of Ignatius Petoskey in June, 1873. At that time they were obliged to land their goods with a scow as there was no dock. Afterward, in the fall of 1873, they commenced the front portion of the present store near the site which it now occupies. In October, 1874, Mr. H. 0. Rose, wishing to devote his time more to the development of the lime manufacture, made a change by which the store came into the possession of Fox, Rose & Buttars, consisting of Amos Fox, of Charlevoix, Hiram 0. Rose, of Petoskey, and Archie Buttars, of Charlevoix, Mr. Buttars taking the sole charge of this store and also the one which they had at Charlevoix. In the summer of 1875, finding that their constantly inereasing business demanded more room, they rebuilt the old store, making some addition which gave them room enough at that time.

Their store when first built stood in what is now Mitchell Street, and was afterward removed to its present location. The building has since been enlarged to meet the requirements of an increasing business. In February, 1882, Messrs. Fox & Rose dissolved and the business was carried on by Rose & Buttars a short time, and they were succeeded by the present firm of Rose Bros. & Co. This firm is composed of Eugene L. and Perry W. Rose, and an interest in the store is owned by H. 0. Rose. The two brothers are sons of Lorenzo A. Rose, of Branch County, and a brother of H. 0. Rose. Lorenzo A. Rose used to bring cattle here to sell and has been a frequent visitor to the place. Perry came here in 1875 and was clerk in the store for Fox, Rose & Buttars. Eugene came in 1877 and was also clerk in the same store. In December, 1882, the present firm of Rose Bros. & Co. succeeded Rose & Buttars.

We give herewith a brief biographical sketch of Mr. H. 0. Rose, are follows:

HIRAM D. ROSE, a pioneer of the Traverse Region, was born in Niagara County, N. Y., in the year 1830, and removed to Coldwater, Mich., with his parents. In 1859 he went to California, where, in company with Mr. Amos Fox, now of Charlevoix, he was engaged in mining. The partnership between Messrs. Fox and Rose lasted through a period of twenty-eight years, and during all that time no written agreement was ever made, and no individual account of moneys used was ever kept. Each had the fullest confidence in the other, and when they came to dissolve their partnership they sat quietly down together, made a division of their property and thus ended without delay or trouble the long partnership that had been concerned in extensive business operations throughout the whole Traverse Region. Before going to California Mr. Rose had worked two years in a printing office at Coldwater. In 1854 he went to Northport and purchased the wharf privilege owed by Deacon Dame, and finished the dock that had been begun. This was the first dock in Grand Traverse Bay it which a propeller could stop. The following year he sold a half interest to Amos Fox. Mr. Rose was the first treasurer of Leland Township which at that time embraced all of Leelanaw and Benzie County and he was obliged to traverse nearly the whole territory to collect the annual tax which did not exceed $600 in amount. The early business interests were developed mainly by the business enterprise of Messrs. Fox & Rose, as is narrated in the general history. They carried on mercantile business and dealt in wood, etc. In 1864-'65 they built the first dock at Charlevoix, and started the first store there. Their business at that point was the same as at Northport. Mr. Rose remained at Northport eighteen years, and lived a short time at Traverse City. In 1872 he built the Traverse City branch railroad, and in 1873 removed to Petoskey. The material for his house was got out at Traverse City, ready to be put together and brought by boat to Petoskey. He had purchased two hundred acres of land bordering on Little Traverse Bay, and in 1874 laid out the village. In 1873-'74, as a member of the firm of Fox & Rose, he built the first dock at this point and started the first store, and was the pioneer in all the principal business interests of the place, and which are mentioned in the general history of the place. His principal business interests have been the development of the extensive lime quaries bordering on the bay, general merchandise, building of the dock, the erection of the Arlington Hotel, and dealing in wood, bark, etc. He was the first president of the village, and has been a leading spirit in all the public activities that have combined to give the village its present proportions. Few men have done as extensive and efficient pioneer work as Mr. Rose. Three villages stand upon foundations which he was instrumental in laying, and his business operations still continue to constitute an important factor in the progress and prosperity of Petoskey. In 1856 he was married to Juliette Burbeck, daughter of James M. Burbeck, one of the pioneers of Northport, and now a resident of Harbor Springs. They have two children, both daughters. In 1882 Messrs. Fox and Rose divided their property, Mr. Fox taking the property in Charlevoix County, and Mr. Rose that in Emmet County.

Going back to the summer and fall of 1873, the movements of that time were few and confined to arrangements for the future. Messrs. Shaw and McMillan purchased a tract of land and platted it, but the plat was not recorded, and a new one had to be made the following year. "Some time during the early part of the summer of 1873, Mr. G. L. Smith, familiarly called "Pa Smith," built a board shanty on the bluff near where the stairs are now located, and called it the Union House, this being the first house built by a white man on the site of this village. The Union House may now be seen utilized as a wood-house on the back end of the residence at the north end of Howard Street.

In June, 1873, Dr. William Little, a physician at Reed City, being in feeble health, started north upon a hunting and fishing trip hoping to be benefited by the climate and camp life at Traverse City he met Mr. H. 0. Rose, who was just starting for the present site of Petoskey, by boat, with a stock of goods. Dr. Little came with him, and camped out on the bay shore. He was so much improved in health during his stay that he resolved to locate at this point. In October the railway laid to this point, and November lst, Dr. Little's family arrived by train. He put up a temporary building to live in near where the Occidental Hotel now stands. January 1, 1874, the frame was raised for the "Rose House," the first regular botel in Petoskey, and from which the Occidental has grown. Shortly after the building was finished and opened as a hotel. Dr. Little, knowing that a physician would have but little business in this new place, brought a stock of drugs and opened at drug store in the office of the hotel. Prior to their coming, a postoffice had been kept at Bear Creek, and Andrew Porter was postmaster. In January the office was removed to Dr. Little's house, and the name changed to Petoskey, Dr. Little being postmaster. Dr. Little was accompanied by his brother, who carried on the hotel for a time after the doctor's death.

W. M. Everett also arrived from Traverse City in the summer of 1873, and put up a building for a restaurant and saloon, where G. Fotchman's saloon now stands.

The village now bad a foothold and partial equipment, consisting of a postoffice, hotel, drug store, general store, one physician and several saloons.

Mails were brought from Traverse City and Charlevoix by carriers. It is related that when the postoffice was removed from Bear Creek, the mail was brought in a cigar box, and for some time the postal business at this point was carried on in a dry goods box, and the facilities were ample for the requirements of the business.

Mr. Rose enclosed his house during the winter, but did not finish it until the following spring. Nothing of importance was done during the winter. The season of year was unfavorable to building or the necessary pioneer work of any sort, and the railroad did not begin to run trains for regular business until the following spring.

Dr. Little represented a variety of pioneer interests in the days of Petoskey's infancy, but was not permitted to see the grand transformation so quickly wrought. His health became worse and he died at Grand Rapids, Mich , Nov. 19, 1875, at the age of thirty-three years. The following notice of his death was published in the Democrat at the time:

"Dr. Little was born in Darlington Durham County, Canada, where be lived until he was twenty-two years of age, at which time he was married to Miss Annie Devitt, of the same place. He afterward chose the medical profession for a life work, and came to Ann Arbor, and attended the medical school, graduating with high honors the 27th of March, 1867; he then attended the Rush Medical College of Chicago, and received a diploma from that institution, Feb. 8, 1868. Mrs. Little remained the entire time with the doctor during his studies. Few men who practice medicine ever attain the proficiency to which he reached, although we know in this town of his skill on account of his ill health, being unable to practice medicine to any great extent. He comnenced the practice of his chosen profession at Ionia, in this state, here he met with merited success, but thinking if he could live in some other climate, be might become free of his complaint, the neuralgia, he came to this place, and with undaunted courage and an unlimited amount of perseverance, he commenced the erection of the Rose House, of which he was proprietor until the time of his death. Few know the difficulties he was obliged to labor under, with no communication with the outside world except by teams, through an almost trackless forest for a distance of seventy miles. But through his perseverance the railroad found upon its arrival at this place in the spring of 1874, a comfortable hotel awaiting them, and today his hotel stands second to none in northern Michigan. Probably his hard work and exposure which he was obliged to undergo, hastened instead of alleviating his sufferings; this fall his disease became so very painful that he thought perhaps if he could only get to Florida, he might recover, and accordingly on Thursday of last week be arose from a sick bed and started on his journey in search of health, and the best wishes of our people went with him. When he arrived at Clam Lake, he partook of dinner, and said he felt better; upon his arrival at Grand Rapids he ate a hearty supper and apparently was better.

"On Friday morning announcement was made that the doctor was worse and Mrs. Little had gone to him, still we hoped for the best until afternoon a dispatch was received which told us that Dr. Little was no more, which cast a gloom over the entire community. While Mrs. Little had lost a loving husband, and little May a kind father, at the same time our village had lost one of its most honored citizens, a man who was always foremost in every enterprise pertaining to the interests of our town, and the advancement of those interests."

After the death of Dr. Little, Mrs. Little was commissioned postmistress, and continued in the office until January, 1880, when, she was succeeded by Ralph Connable, the present postmaster. Mrs. Little is now the wife of Thomas Kirkland, a prominent citizen of the village. Her managment of the office was satisfactory to all, and she might have continued to hold it still longer had she desired.

The year 1874 was a preparatory period. In the spring the railroad was finished to this point and opened for regular business. Messrs. Rose & Co. built a dock for their own and public use, so that highways of travel and transportation were opened by rail and water. They begin the manufacture of lime, and platted the village of Petoskey. Shaw and McMillan also replotted their tract and placed it upon record; it being, the first addition to the village of Petoskey.

Early in the season Mr. D. J. Cushman, an experienced hotel man, came here from Otsego, and built the original part of the "Cushman House." He also kept it from that time to the present, increasing its size and accommodations, as the growth of business has required.

Some misunderstanding arose between Sbaw & McMillan and the railroad company, about the quantity of land they were to have for ' depot' and other purposes, so that a new plat had to be made. The company finally received more land than was contemplated in the original plat, and the Cushman House building bad to be moved back while it was in the process of construction. The Rose House was coulpleted, and was not moved, although the building, still projects a trifle onto the land owned by the railroad company.

August 8, of this year, 1874, Dr. Little printed and issued the first newspaper in the county. It was about 4 x 6 inches in size and was called The Petoskey City Weekly Times. Only one number was printed.

0. D. Tracy, H. G. Wait and Mr. Carmichael came during the summer, and in the fall A. Bunnell, L. C. Watson, James Buckley, now in the hardware business, and M. F. Quaintance arrived. A few others may have come in during the year. Mr. Quaintance came as local agent of the railroad company, which position he still retains.

During the latter part of 1874 the first school was established. It was taught by Mrs. Allie in a board shanty, that stood north of the ground now occupied by the new Shirk Block. This building served a variety of public purposes, such as school-house, church and hall, and when no longer needed was sold in 1875 at auction, the price paid being thirty-seven dollars. L. C. Watson and A. Bunnell opened grocery stores in the fall of 1874.

The year 1875 gave the village a general business start. Early in the winter the first lawyer arrived in the person of D. R. Joslin, who had already been a pioneer at Alpena and Cheboygan. April 30th the first number of the Emmet County Democrat was issued by Rozelle Rose, and local happenings began to be recorded. During this month C. J. Pailthorp, now the senior attorney in the county, located here for the practice of law, and immediately took a leading position in public affairs.

The Democrat at the close of its ninth volume, in 1884, alluded to the time of its birth, and the condition of the village in April, 1875, as follows:
“At the time of its birth the entire white population could not exceed 150 souls within its borders; of these, about 125 were located here in this village, two families at Cross Village, one at Brutus, the balance at Little Traverse-now Harbor Springs. At that time Emmet County had three organized townships, Bear Creek, Cross Village, and Little Traverse. The board of supervisors was composed of A. U. Dickerson, J. H. Shurtleff and Paul Wasson, an Indian from Little Traverse. Since that time it has watched the growth and development of the surrounding country with a great degree of pride. It has seen townships settled and town governments organized until at present writing the entire territory embraced within the borders are fully equipped with all the machinery necessary try to the successful government of its people. Each township cut up into school and road districts, with good comfortable school buildings in each district. The business men were Fox, Rose & Buttars, general dealers, with Tom Quinlan at the head of the store; A. Bunnell, E. VanMeer, J. Watson & Son, dealers in groceries; H. G. Wait, dealer in hardware and groceries; John McNeill, meat market, Loveless Blayney and E. J. Gifford, dealers in lumber; Mrs. H. A. Campbell, millinery; Cushman House, Rose House, and City Hotel, and Tray House -now Spencer & Peister's store -were open to the public; H. 0. Rose & Co manufacturers of lime; Shaw & McMillan, dealers in real estate; W. H. Kelley and Jay Scrafield, barbers; W. H. Kaye, boarding house; George C. Ferris, blacksmith; M. P. Quaintance, station operator; George S. Richmond, land looker; Ben Dean, painter; M. H. Dunham, shoemaker; C. J. Pailthorp and D. R. Joslin, lawyers; W. Little, physician. This we believe comprised the entire business carried on here at that time, except it be nine different places where intoxicating drinks could be bought. We have endeavored to give everything as it was at that time so far as business is concerned. Now we would be glad if we could picture to our readers the appearance of the village. Not a street graded, stumps and logs pushed aside far enough to admit of a team passing along with care. Not a rod of sidewalk in the village, not a lot fenced and nearly all of the houses standing, upon pegs, devoid of paint or chimneys, with the light shining through the cracks when the lamp was lighted in the evening. On Lake Street, the building farthest west was the one now occupied by Buckley & Daggett; to the eastward was the one used by H. G. Wait opposite Smith's barn. No building of any kind to the east of that on Mitchell Street not a building west of the railroad except a half -roofed shed that stood near where the bank now stands. To the eastward one could throw a stone from the railroad almost to the farthest house or building. No regard was paid to streets by teams or foot passengers, for all went the nearest possible way to reach any desired point. The entire village was simply a few straggling, scattering shanties, that to be dignified by the name of a village would almost be a libel upon the name.

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