If a history of the Great Lakes is your interest, this is a great place to start. We were lucky enough to find an online link to this resource. Take a look for yourself.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
The CCWP is a non-profit organization devoted to one of the most exciting and compelling areas of Civil War scholarship and discovery. New photographic finds from our nation's greatest conflict are still being made on a regular basis. Nearly every Civil War soldier had his photograph taken by one of the more than 5,000 American photographers active at the time, and a select group of documentary photographers took thousands of images on the battlefields and in the army camps, often in 3D.
Within this site you will find basic and complex information about Civil War photography and its practioners, as well as reproductions of many war photos.
Thanks to a recent article in MyBayCity.com by Dave Rogers, I found out about this site. Bay County had hundreds of people serving in the Civil War in all theaters. Take a look and see what you can find.
Friday, January 11, 2008
It is remembered also, that in this school house, a Temperance
meeting was held, and an address delivered by Hon. Gerritt
Smith, of Petersboro, N. Y., a name well known in the United
The schoolhouse mentioned was next to the James Shearer mill which I believe was later Pitts and Cranage. This is the first reference to Gerritt Smith being in Bay City that I am aware of.
In the fall of 1898 I went before the stationing
committee to see if I would be permitted to remain
at Marine City another year. I was told that I was
just the man they wanted to see. They had a church
and parsonage in Bay City that was in debt and all
run down, and they said they would put a financial
agent in the field to collect and pay the debt, and
they wanted me to go and repair the property and
try and resurrect the society. I held off, but they
pressed me, declaring that they did not have another
man who could do as well as I. They urged me to
try it. I saw the necessity in the case and although
I was nearly seventy-three years old, I consented to
go. We left our home for another man to step into,
without rent, and we moved up to Bay City. We
found the property in a dilapidated condition. The
window glass was about all out of the parsonage;
the roof was leaking; the house was dirty and black;
the chimney was smoking, and the weeds and thistles
were waist high around the building. When the
church was built there was a good society, but
through bad management, extreme notions and
fanatical freaks, the membership and congregation
had nearly all left. When a preacher thinks he
knows it all and that no one else has salvation but
himself and his clique, it is time to call a halt. At
one time the property was sold to the colored people
on contract, but they failed to meet the contract,
and our people were obliged to take it back. A
good sister gave us the use of one room which we
used as a parsonage. It served for kitchen, dining-
room, bed-room, sitting-room and parlor. We put a
part of our goods in the church. There were no
members to look to; no congregations from which
to take collections, and no means furnished for the
repairing. I had a little money with me which belonged
to another, and a little of my own, but all of
it did not go far; the financial agent called to see
me and gave me two dollars. The chairman and
agent went out to solicit, but received only a little,
as the people had no confidence in the Free Methodists.
I went at the work with a will, working
early and late, and began holding regular meetings
in the church. I paid out five dollars for window
lights alone, and put them in myself. I shingled the
roof and built a chimney; repaired the kitchen; built a
new sidewalk and a woodshed, and, in fact, kept at
it until we were quite comfortable for the winter.
Some of the members came back and a few were
converted during the year.
In the spring I began to work on the outside of
the building. The buildings were quite large but I
nailed the old siding on so it was solid, and then
gave the buildings three coats of paint on the outside
and two on the inside, besides calcimining the
church. I did all the calcimining and painting excepting
two or three days' work. Sister King, from
Saginaw, helped varnish the seats and chairs. My
wife did nearly all of the pastoral visiting and led
one-half of the meetings, besides doing much other
work that rested upon her. Before conference the
work was completed and the bills were all paid; and
the financial agent had collected enough to pay the
debt, so that all was clear.
I was used up, and when I went to conference
that fall was suffering with erysipelas. I told the
stationing committee that my work was done at Bay
City, and they need not return me there, but when
the appointments were read the general superintendent
said, "Bay City, C. H. Sage." For the first time
in my life I backed up and would not go, and I felt
perfectly clear in the course that I pursued. A
change was made and I went back to Marine City.
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Thursday, January 03, 2008
he militarization of science and space
Bay City Baseball
Bay City has had a long interest in Baseball. I found a local site that gives information on current games and activities and on the long history of the sport in the city.
I was never clear on when James G. Birney freed the slaves he inherited. This quote makes that crystal clear.
Two of Birney's sons, William Birney (1819-1907) and David Bell Birney (1825-1864), were prominent as officers on the Federal side during the Civil War in America.
Father: James Gillespie Birney
Mother: Martha Reed (d. 1795)
Sister: Anna Maria Birney (b. 4-Jul-1793, d. 30-Mar-1859)
Wife: Agatha McDowell (d. 1839)
Son: James G. Birney (b. 7-Jun-1817, d. 1888)
Son: William Birney (b. 28-May-1819, d. 1907)
Daughter: Margaret Birney (b. 1821, d. 1822)
Son: Robert Dion Birney (b. 1823, d. 1863)
Son: David Bell Birney (b. 29-May-1825, d. 18-Oct-1864)
Son: Arther Hopkins Birney (b. 1827, d. 1833)
Daughter: Martha Reed Birney (b. 1829, d. 1833)
Son: George Birney (b. 1832, d. 1856)
Daughter: Florence Birney (b. 1835)
Daughter: Georgina Birney (b. 1836, d. 1836)
Daughter: Ellen Birney (b. 1838, d. 1838)
Wife: Elizabeth Fitzhugh (b. 1803)
Son: Fitzhugh Birney (b. 1842, d. 1864)
Daughter: Anna Hughes Birney (b. 1843, d. 1846)
James G. Birney was over fifty when he had his last child. He had two wives, and thirteen children. Six of those children died under age five.
James Birney was an abolitionist opponent of slavery in the years before the American Civil War. Birney was born on February 4, 1792, in Danville, Kentucky. His parents were wealthy slave owners, but like a number of other slaveholders in the Upper South, they believed that it was only a matter of time before slavery would end. Some of these people were morally opposed to slavery, believed that it was un-Christian and un-American to own another person. Other slave owners believed that slave labor was becoming too expensive. Birney shared his parents' views. He attended several schools, including Transylvania College and the Priestly Seminary at Danville. Birney graduated from Princeton University in 1810, and he began to study for a legal career in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1814, he opened a law practice in Danville. Birney became a slave owner in 1816, when he married and received the slaves as a wedding gift. In 1818, Birney moved his family to a plantation near Huntsville, Alabama. He became involved in politics and served as a member of Alabama's constitutional convention. He also became a member of the Alabama legislature. His political career suffered when he became an outspoken opponent of Andrew Jackson and called for his fellow slave owners to support the gradual end of slavery. In 1833, Birney moved his family back to his ancestral home in Kentucky. Birney was rarely at home, as he lectured across the South, calling for the gradual end to slavery and the colonization of the former slaves in Africa. He realized that gradual emancipation was not a practical way to end slavery. He began to endorse the immediate end of slavery and freed his own slaves in June 1834. At the same time, he also began to publish an anti-slavery paper in Danville. Residents favoring slavery threatened Birney's publisher. The publisher fled the community, and no other publishers were willing to assist him. Birney moved his family to Cincinnati, Ohio, in October 1835. On January 1, 1836, Birney began publication of a new paper, The Philanthropist, which called for the immediate end to slavery and equal rights for African Americans with whites. Many Cincinnatians opposed Birney's views. Some of these people were former slave owners and believed that African Americans were inferior to whites. Other people opposed slavery but believed African Americans would move to the North and deprive white people of jobs. On January 22, 1836, a group of white Cincinnatians urged the city government to prohibit Birney from publishing his paper. Birney was undaunted. To prevent Birney from printing, a mob of white Cincinnatians destroyed the newspaper's printing press on July 12, 1836. Undeterred, Birney remained in Cincinnati and continued to publish his newspaper. The mob returned on July 30, 1836, and destroyed the printing press again. Birney resumed publication of The Philanthropist in September 1836, and he continued to publish it in Cincinnati. In 1847, he moved the paper to Washington, DC, and renamed it the National Era.
James G. Birney was one of the founders of Bay City and a trustee of the reorganized Saginaw Bay Company that did the land development for the town. The historical archives in Ohio have much information on him but seem to be unaware of his time in Michigan. I regard Birney as our most distinguished resident and a man deserving much more study.