Milan Township Hall. Photo by Dwight Burdette Milan Township is located in Monroe County, Michigan, sharing a northern boundary with the City of Milan. The Township of Milan and the City of Milan have been… More
Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words and visual memories and advertisements can be fun! Even if you don’t personally know the people, you can get a good idea of the manners, morals, and moods of the time the picture was snapped, and advertisements of the time can be an entertaining history lesson. These pictures and advertisements from the 1915 Monroe Bugle made me smile. I hope you enjoy them, too. (This isn’t the entire issue, just some selections.)
George Redfield Spalding was born on January 25, 1877 in Monroe, Michigan, a continent away from Blairgowrie, Scotland, where his father George W. Spalding began his life. In 1843, George Redfield’s grandparents, Andrew and Isabella immigrated to the United States and settled on a farm in Monroe, Michigan.
After serving with distinction in the Civil War and advancing from the rank of private to General, George W. Spalding returned to Monroe and married Augusta Lewis on December 6, 1871. They eventually had four children: Emma Spalding Sterling, Elizabeth Spalding Orvis, George Redfield, and Isaac Lewis Spalding. George W. Spalding built a successful business career, including two terms as Monroe postmaster, Treasury Department special agent, Monroe mayor, lawyer, two terms as a Republican Congressman from Michigan, and Director of the First National Bank in Monroe.
A Complicated Career – A Family Tradition
Following the pattern and dedication of his ambitious father, George Redfield forged his own ambitious career which branched out in as many directions as that of his father. After graduating from West Point in 1901, the United States Army Corps of Engineers commissioned him second lieutenant and assigned him to the Philippines with the 1st and 2d Battalions of Engineers, with the mission of building roads and performing bridgework. After earning a promotion to First Lieutenant in April 1903, he returned to Washington D.C. to serve with the 2d Battalion of Engineers at Washington Barracks from December 1904 to June 1905. He also did surveying work in Manassas, Virginia from May 1904 to September 1904.
While he was on leave from September 11, to October 10, 1904, George Redfield Spalding married Alice Minnie Ruff on September 17, 1904 in Washington, D.C. She was born on April 11, 1880, in Washington D.C. to Albert and Alice Ruff and received her education and taught school before she married George. The Spaldings had three children: George Redfield was born on July 5, 1905; Alice Margaret was born on May 28, 1907; and Albert Ruff was born on March 31, 1914, in Kansas.
In the time tested tradition of Army wives, Alice and their children followed First Lieutenant George Spalding around the country while he fulfilled his assignments with the Army Corps of Engineers. The assignments continued to appear in rapid succession. First Lieutenant Spalding worked with the 2d Battalion of Engineers, Washington Barracks from October 1904 to June 1905 and then under the immediate orders of Major Sibert with the Pittsburg Corps of Engineers from June 1905 to November 1906. From November 1906 to June 1907, he was the Chief Engineer Office of the Southwest Division.
From July 1907 to January 1908, First Lieutenant Spalding was Engineer Officer, Department of the Colorado and from January to February 1908 he served under the immediate orders of Colonel C.E.L.B. Davis, Corps of Engineers in Detroit and took temporary charge of the Detroit District, river and harbor works from February 1908 to March 1908. He served under the immediate orders of Lieutenant Colonel Townsend, Corps of Engineers in Detroit, Michigan from March to July 1908 and on June 2, 1908, First Lieutenant Spalding received a promotion to Captain, Corps of Engineers. Beginning on August 1, 1908, he supervised various works of fortifications and rivers and harbors in Jacksonville, Florida and spent the next three years spearheading building a harbor in Tampa, building the St. Johns River jetties, and starting the inland waterways canal. He also received the Carnegie Medal for saving the lives of two drowning men. 
First Lieutenant Spalding spent the next three years of his career as an instructor in the Army Field Engineer School in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. After that he was promoted to Major and assigned to superintend the First River and Harbor District in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Louisville, Kentucky.
Major Spalding had writing as well as administrative and teaching talents which the Army utilized by asking .him to write training manuals. His manuals included Notes on Bridges and Bridging and Training Manual in Topography, Map Reading, and Reconnaissance. The Encyclopedia Britannica is one of publications that printed his article on “Light Rails, Military.”
Serving with General John J. Pershing
Major Spalding’s left the Harbor District in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Louisville, Kentucky, to go to Fort Myer, Virginia, as an instructor at the training camp there. In 1917, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, Divisional Engineer Officer, in charge of defense and offensive training on the staff of General Pershing. While serving on General Pershing’s staff in Europe during WW I, he organized Engineer Corps administration and he was promoted to Colonel. In France, he commanded the 305th Engineers, was Division Engineer of the 80th Division, and served as Chief Engineer with the 5th Corps, First Army, and Third Army. He then was Assistant to the Chief Engineer, American Expeditionary Force. At Trier, Germany, he was a member of the Dickman Board on Organization and Tactics.
He received three medals during the war, the Distinguished Service Medal, the French Legion d’Honneur, and the Belgian Order of Leopold. After the Armistice he was a member of the Superior Board which was in charge of the occupation of Germany and the demobilization of U.S. Forces from Europe until July 1919.
More Assignments and Promotions
After he returned to the United States, Colonel Spalding took a position as an instructor at the General Staff College in Washington D.C., and returned to the grade of Major. In 1920, as a Lieutenant Colonel, he worked in Florence, Alabama, as District Engineer and completed the Muscle Shoals Dam. Returning to Louisville, Kentucky as District Engineer, he completed the Ohio River project that he had begun in 1916.
On July 1, 1931, Lieutenant Colonel Spalding was promoted to Colonel while a Division Engineer of the Upper Mississippi River Commission, a position he held until 1935. His next assignment took him to Washington, D.C. in the Office of the Chief of Staff and then to Fort Humphreys, Virginia, as Commander of the Post and Engineering School. In New York, he served as Engineer of the North Atlantic Division. In 1936, he was promoted to Brigadier General. In 1938, after suffering a heart attack, he and Mrs. Spalding retired to their home in Florida.
Serving in Another War and Another Retirement
Recalled to active duty in 1941, Brigadier General Spalding served from 1941-1945 as executive officer for the Division of Defense Shipping and Storage Section . His assignment involved coordinating requests for aid that foreign countries submitted. He resigned from his post at the end of World War II.
After his retirement, Brigadier General Spalding and his wife Alice moved to Bradenton, Florida. George Redfield Spalding died on June 28, 1962 in Bradenton, Florida and he and his wife Alice, who died on December 31, 1966 are buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
A Daughter Remembers
Brigadier General George Redfield Spalding
Brig. Gen. George R. Spalding was born in Monroe, Michigan, 25 January 1877. His father, George Spalding, who was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, came to America at the age of twelve and settled with his parents in Monroe, Michigan. George Spalding, senior, was also a Brig. Gen. and served with distinction in the Union Army during the Civil War. He subsequently served his country as a congressman from Michigan and while in Washington, his son George R. Spalding acted as his assistant. Gen. Spalding’s mother, Augusta Lewis, was also from Scotland and was loved by all who knew her.
George R. Spalding graduated with the Class of 1901 from West Point. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers. His first assignment was in the Philippines during the Spanish American War. The engineers were building roads through the interior during George’s service in the Philippines and he often said, “The most valuable service to the Engineers during that troubled time was performed by the mules. Mules could always detect a Moro ambush, and the Engineers were many times warned of danger by their so-called ‘stupid’ helpers.”
After two years in the Pacific, Lt. Spalding was stationed at Washington Barracks which was at that time the Engineer School. While in Washington, he was made an Aide to President Theodore Roosevelt. Also while in Washington, he met Alice M. Ruff whose family were long-time residents of Washington. Alice and George were married on 17 September 1904 and were never separated, when it could be prevented, until Gen. Spalding died.
Leaving Washington Barracks, George was ordered to Pittsburgh under the command of General Seibert where he helped to start the Ohio river series of dams which would eventually bring the river up to the “nine foot stage.” (Years later, in 1929, while serving as District Engineer in Louisville, Ky., he completed the Ohio river project. This accomplishment was marked by a ceremony attended by, the then President of the United States, Herbert Hoover.)
Following service in the Pittsburgh District, George had a series of duties which in the space of two years sent him to St. Louis, Denver and Detroit. In 1908, Captain Spalding was ordered to Jacksonville, Fla. as District Engineer. While there, he built the St. Johns river jetties and started the inland water-ways canal. It was George Spalding who recommended a harbor in Tampa which was at that time, a very small port. Also while in Jacksonville, he saved two men from drowning and received the Carnegie medal of which he was always proud.
From Jacksonville, George was ordered to Leavenworth, Kan. as instructor in the Department of Engineering in the Command and General Staff School. There he and his family had a taste for the first time of real post living. The “family” by this time consisted of George and Alice and two sons and a daughter.
After leaving Leavenworth, George served as District Engineer in Cincinnati from 1915 to 1916 and in Louisville from 1916 until 1917. While in Louisville, war was declared and George was asked to write manuals which would be of help to Engineers in the field. Some of those manuals were used in the Second World War.
As a major, in 1917, Spalding was sent to Fort Meyer Training Camp and there he served training troops until he was sent “overseas” with the 305th Engineers, of the 80th Division. The men who served with him in the 305th have always called him “The Colonel”, no matter what his rank became later. Also, those men kept in touch with George even though they became civilians at the end of the war. Most men who served with him in times of stress really loved and respected him.
In France, George Spalding was made Chief Engineer of the V Corps after leaving his regiment, serving under General Sommerall, and then later was made Chief Engineer of the Third Army under General Dickman. During the war, he received three medals: Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Honneur, (Officer), French, and Order of Leopold, (Officer), Belgian.
After the war, George Spalding was sent to the General Staff College at Washington Barracks, Washington D. C. as an instructor. This detail was almost a “coming home” as George and Alice had started their married life at Washington Barracks. Four years of the warmth of post life for the family seemed to dim the separation which the war had caused.
In 1923, Lt. Col. Spalding was assigned to the post of District Engineer at Florence, Ala. and given the important task of completing the Muscle Shoals Dam, now known as the Wilson Dam. This work and other engineering assignments, i. e. District Engineer at Louisville, Ky. and Divisional Engineer, Upper Mississippi Valley Division, St. Louis, Missouri related to the development of US rivers and harbors earned him the high regard of professional and military engineers. The following quote is from The Waterways Journal of 11 August 1962, published after General Spalding died.
“In the 1920’s, with the rank of colonel, George R. Spalding made his mark in river circles as District Engineer in Louisville while several lower Ohio river wicket dams, particularly No. 46 at Owensboro, Ky. were under construction. In the fall of 1929 the US Engineers abolished the Division Engineer offices at two or three cities on Western rivers and stationed Colonel Spalding in St. Louis as Division Engineer for all western rivers north of Cairo. His territory stretched from the Allegheny River in New York state to the Mississippi in Minnesota and the Yellowstone River into Yellowstone Park. Col. Spalding filled this vast responsibility with ease and efficiency. He also had great ability for getting along with anybody and everybody and especially for cutting through red tape.” After leaving the St. Louis Division in 1933, Col. Spalding was ordered to Fort Humphries, Va. as commander of the Post and the Engineering School. From there he was sent to the North Atlantic Division, New York as Divisional Engineer, and then to Washington, D. C. as Assistant Chief of Staff G-4.
On 31 July 1938, General Spalding was retired from active service due to a heart attack. He and Alice then made a home for themselves in Bradenton, Fla. where he regained his health. Subsequently, when he was recalled to duty on 15 Feb 1941, he was ready and willing to serve his country once again. He returned to Washington and was made the Liaison Officer between the Headquarters, Army Service Forces, and the Office of Lend Lease Administration during the period of 1942 until 1944. For this service, he was awarded the Citation for the Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster. The Citation quotes at the end, “As a result of his constant devotion to duty and the brilliant manner in which he accomplished his assignment, General Spalding has contributed markedly to the successful prosecution of the war.”
Once again retired, General Spalding returned to Bradenton where he lived quietly and in good health with Alice. On 28 June 1962, George died peacefully in his own home. As “old soldiers”, he died with his “boots on”.
General Spalding is survived by his wife Alice, who was with him until the end; two sons, George and Albert, and a daughter, Mrs. L. R. Wirak; eight grandchildren and six great grandchildren. Many things can be said of George, but none can say that he didn’t live a full life, with fun and work each getting its share.–Alice S. Wirak, daughter
 George Washington Cullum and Edward Singleton Holden. Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.(Houghton Mifflin, New York, 1910) p. 651
Isaac and Sophia Redfield Lewis
George W. Spalding and Augusta Lewis Spalding
George Redfield Spalding and Alice Minnie Ruff Spalding
Isaac Lewis – Monroe Pioneer and Toledo War Veteran
Isaac Lewis, George W. Spalding and George Redfield Spalding survived three different wars and were proud veterans all of their lives. Their wives Sophia Lewis, Augusta Spalding, and Alice Minnie Spalding walked and worked alongside them and were proud veteran advocates all of their lives.
Born in Derby, Connecticut on September 25, 1804, by the time he turned 22, Isaac Lewis had moved to Clyde, New York and he married Miss Sophia Redfield there. The couple eventually had seven children: Mary Eliza Lewis, died 1866. James Henry Lewis, 1829-1848; John Redfield Lewis, 1832-1833; Harriet Lewis Taylor, 1836-1912; Augusta Lewis Spalding, 1839-1923; Emily Lewis, 1841-1926; and Frances Lewis Marsh, 1846-1933.
In his earlier career at Clyde, New York, Isaac served as one of the first lock tenders on the Erie Canal and he had the honor of opening the first canal boat passing through the Canal and carrying New York Governor DeWitt Clinton who in turn carried a barrel of Lake Erie water to mingle with Hudson River water. In his capacity as lock tender, Isaac also opened the Erie Canal lock when General Marquis de Lafayette navigated the canal on one of the Erie Canal boats.
Isaac and Sophia Lewis lived in New York until the spring of 1835, when the family settled in Monroe, Michigan. Almost as soon as he arrived in Michigan, Isaac became involved in a war, as well as many peaceful enterprises. In 1835, the states of Michigan and Ohio were embroiled in a border dispute over ownership of “the Toledo Strip,” present day Toledo and Maumee. Historians later dubbed the dispute “The Toledo War.” Throughout 1835, the argument escalated with both Michigan and Ohio maneuvering and sending out militias to conduct minor skirmishes, fortunately with no deaths on either side.
On December 14, 1836, Michigan accepted a compromise negotiated in Congress, where the Michigan Territory relinquished its claims on the Toledo Strip to the state of Ohio in exchange for being admitted to the union as the 26th state and with 9,000 square miles of land in the Upper Peninsula between Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. The Detroit Free Press called the Upper Peninsula a wasteland covered with perpetual snows, but when prospectors found valuable deposits of copper and iron ore the dissatisfied citizens and the Detroit Free Press changed their attitudes.
Isaac Lewis didn’t fight in the front lines of the “Toledo War,” but he did make cannon balls for the Michigan militia. He had learned the trade of molder and started a foundry in Monroe, the first foundry in Michigan outside of Detroit. After the Toledo War had been settled, Lewis continued his foundry work and in 1839, he and his foundry cast all the gear wheels for the Michigan Southern Railway. He is listed as contributing $50.00 in an 1846 list of Michigan Southern stockholders.
Turning his attention to plows, Lewis produced and introduced an improved plow to the farmers of Southern Michigan. The plow quickly became a favorite tool to help its owners plow their fields and the Lewis Foundry cast most of the machinery to build the saw and grist mills for Southeastern Michigan. Isaac’s reputation came to the attention of Cyrus McCormick, inventor of the mowing machine, and when he needed a top-notch mechanic to build his first mowing machine, he chose Isaac Lewis. Isaac built the mowing machine and led a series of experiments with it on the Caldwell farm, west of Monroe.
Isaac Lewis channeled his mechanic ability in other directions with the help of three United States Presidents. President Franklin Pierce appointed Isaac Lewis supervising inspector of steamboats, a position that he held through the administrations of Presidents Pierce, Buchanan and part of President Abraham Lincoln’s terms.
After he retired from the foundry, Isaac Lewis opened a book and stationery business at 27 Front Street, operating it for many years. His business is listed in the Michigan State Gazetteers for several years, including 1867-1868, 1875,1877, 1879, and 1881. 
Inspector of the Poor and Elder of the Presbyterian Church
Isaac Lewis looked to his community as well as his business interests. On October 20, 1863 he was elected superintendent of the poor and served for any years. He became widely known throughout the state. One of his biographers, John McClellan Bulkley, in his History of Monroe County Michigan, told the story of an encounter Isaac Lewis had with one of his fellow state superintendents of the poor. One Sunday morning, one of Michigan’s Superintendents of the Poor came to the residence of Isaac Lewis and after introducing himself, he told Isaac that his schedule was so crowded that he needed to inspect Monroe County’s Poorhouse on the Sabbath. Isaac Lewis looked at him sternly and said, “If your duties are so numerous that you have to violate the Sabbath, you had better resign. Anyway, you cannot inspect our poorhouse on that day.” With that, Isaac bid him good morning, and closed the door.
Tending to the spiritual as well as the business side of his life, Isaac joined the First Presbyterian Church Monroe, and served as an elder for many years. When in 1837, the church members had a falling out, he joined 28 others who withdrew and formed the Second Presbyterian Church with Reverend R.S. Crampton, pastor. Isaac served as one of the elders of the newly created Second Presbyterian Church, and when the two Presbyterian churches reunited in 1839, he continued to serve as an elder in the church until his death on November 17, 1889 at age 85. His widow Sophia and five daughters survived him. His contemporaries described him as a “gentleman of the old school and a Democrat.” He is buried in Woodland Cemetery.
Isaac’s wife Sophia Redfield was born in Junius, New York on February 19, 1812. After she and Isaac were married in Clyde, New York in 1828, they came to Michigan across Lake Erie from Buffalo to the mouth of the River Raisin and settled in Monroe. They had eight children, with their five daughters surviving them.
In 1835, just a few years after the organization of the First Presbyterian Church, they joined it by letter. From the time of their joining the Presbyterian church, Sophia worked zealously to add to its foundations until illness confined her to her home. Any part of her church work was her delight and she was the oldest living member of the First Presbyterian Church when she died at age 88 on August 7, 1900. She is buried in Woodland cemetery beside her husband Isaac.
Isaac and Sophia’s daughter Augusta Lewis and her husband George W. Spalding made valuable contributions to the next generations of veterans.
The Civil War Generation – Augusta Lewis Spalding and Colonel George Spalding
George W. Spalding was born in Blairgowrie, Perthshire, Scotland on November 12, 1836 to Andrew and Isabella Spalding who were rock-ribbed Presbyterians and raised their children with the same granite certainties. He immigrated to the United States with his family in in 1843, when he was seven years old. The family settled in Buffalo, New York where George attended the local schools, and then 1853, Andrew Spalding purchased a farm on the River Raisin near Monroe.
Working and living on the farm until he was 24, in the winter of 1860-1861, George accepted a teaching position at a district school and in the spring of 1861 his fellow citizens elected him clerk of Frenchtown, Monroe Township, running as a Douglass Democrat. His clerkship hadn’t been fully launched when the South fired on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, launching the Civil War. George quickly enlisted as a private in what would become Company A, Fourth Michigan Infantry, mustered into the United States Army in May 1861. Colonel D.A. Woodbury served as the Colonel of the Fourth Michigan, with George Spalding First Sergeant.
In the summer of 1861, the Fourth Michigan Regiment moved through Baltimore toward Bull Run, but stopped at Fairfax Court House where it established a courier line between the telegraph office and General Irvin McDowell’s headquarters at Bull Run battlefield. That same summer, Sergeant George W. Spalding received a promotion to first lieutenant and assumed command of Company B of the Fourth Michigan. In July 1861, the Union Army reorganized and General George McClellan formed the Army of the Potomac.
In the fall of 1861, First Lieutenant Spalding was commissioned captain and the Fourth Michigan Infantry assigned to General Fitz John Porter’s Corps. The regiment performed picket duty and survived several sharp skirmishes with the Confederate forces, eventually arriving at Yorktown. At Yorktown, General Porter requested Colonel Woodbury to send an officer and thirty picked men to scout the Confederate position at Yorktown to learn its strengths and weaknesses.
Colonel Woodbury chose Captain Spalding for the mission and Captain Spalding scouting successfully, received a gunshot wound in the left shoulder as he performed his mission. The army began moving again, so Captain Spalding declined the leave of absence he had earned and commanded his company with his arm in a sling. He and the Fourth Michigan participated in the battles in the advance on Richmond and at New Bridge, Captain Spalding again was wounded. A rebel officer had surrendered to the Captain, but fired his rifle when he was within ten feet of Captain Spalding, the shot tearing away his pistol and belt and inflicting a painful wound.
By this point in the Civil War, the Fourth Michigan Infantry had fought in battles at:
- Hanover Court House, May 26, 1862, in Hanover, Virginia, part of the Peninsula Campaign.
- Mechanicsville, June 26, 1862
- Gaines Mill, June 27, 1862
- Savage Station, June 29, 1862
- Turkey Bend, June 30, 1862
- White Oak Swamp, June 30, 1862
- Malvern Hill, July 1, 1862
The Battle of Malvern Hill on July 1, 1862, took a heavy toll on the Fourth Michigan Infantry. Colonel D.A. Woodbury, and First Lieutenants Richard Dupuy and Morell A, Rose were killed and Captain George Spalding severely wounded in the left of the neck and reported killed in press dispatches. The total loss in the Fourth Michigan Infantry in six days included 53 killed, 144 wounded and 52 missing.
Captain Spalding accepted the offer of a leave of absence, but when he was about to depart Brigade Commander General Griffin handed the captain a sealed letter addressed to Michigan Governor Austin Blair. The letter urged him to promote Captain Spalding to major and the Governor commissioned him a major of the Fourth Regiment, but Captain Spalding waived his promotion in favor of the senior captain and shortly accepted the position of Lieutenant Colonel of the 18th Michigan Infantry. Lt. Colonel Spalding and his regiment were ordered to report to General Lew Wallace, commander at Cincinnati, Ohio, then threatened by an attack from Confederate General Kirby Smith.
The 18th Michigan Infantry advanced over the Ohio River and into and over the Dry Ridge of Kentucky to Lexington, where it camped over the winter of 1862-1863. The campaign opened early in the spring of 1863, and the Confederates were driven out of Kentucky. Shortly after this, the 18th Michigan Regiment followed orders to report to General William Rosecrans, Army of the Cumberland. When the 18th Michigan Infantry arrived at Nashville, Tennessee, Lt. Colonel Spalding found himself appointed Provost Marshal of the City of Nashville.
The Provost Marshall’s Most Perplexing Task
As Provost Marshal of Nashville, Colonel Spalding had almost absolute power. The full manpower of the 18th Michigan Infantry reported to him for duty as provost guard and the military and civil police of the entire city of Nashville reported to and received orders from him.
In his turn, Lt. Colonel Spalding received an order from General Rosecrans in the early weeks of July 1863 that must have made him shake his head and sigh. The order from General Rosecrans directed Colonel Spalding to arrange for all of the prostitutes living and working in Nashville to be seized and transported to Louisville.
General Rosecrans had not taken leave of his senses. He knew that hundreds of Union soldiers were suffering from venereal diseases, a reality that was nearly as dangerous to soldiers as fighting in battles. (By the end of the Civil War, the Surgeon General of the United States Army had documented 183,000 cases of venereal diseases in the Union Army.) General Rosecrans also knew that Nashville with its notorious Smokey Row, a two block-long stretch of brothels, had earned the reputation of being a hub of prostitution. Before the Civil War, Nashville had a documented 207 prostitutes, but by 1863, common wisdom fixed the number at approximately 1,500 prostitutes.
To a degree, the General could even understand the lure of prostitutes. Uneducated farm boys far from home, men missing wives and sweethearts, fear, boredom, loneliness- the General understood why the soldiers allowed the women to snap up their money, but he knew that he had try to stop the epidemic of syphilis and gonorrhea that decimated the ranks in the regiments. Even though he understood, General Rosecrans ordered Colonel Spalding to proceed with the roundup. Colonel Spalding didn’t have any trouble finding the public women, but deporting them posed more of a challenge. 
The during the second week in July Colonel Spalding met John Newcomb, the captain of a new steamboat called the Idahoe. Backed by General Rosecrans and other officials, Colonel Spalding ordered Captain Newcomb to take the Idahoe on a maiden voyage north – probably Louisville, but Colonel Spalding didn’t pinpoint a specific destination. Rosecran’s staff and Colonel Spalding furnished Captain Newcomb with enough rations to last the passengers to Louisville, but after that they were left to their own devices.
By July 9, the Nashville and other newspapers were reporting that the “public women” were being loaded onto the steamboat Idahoe. Eventually 111 public women were loaded aboard the Idahoe and sent down the Ohio River to Louisville. After a week’s trip down the Ohio River, they reached Louisville, but they weren’t allowed to land. They traveled further on down the Ohio River to Cincinnati. Many of the women became ill during the voyage because of the lack of food and other conditions, and finally the Idahoe turned around and chugged back to Nashville.
Lt. Colonel Spalding had to come up with another plan, and using his analytical mind he reasoned that since these public women would overcome any obstacle to be with soldiers for money and that these soldiers would overcome any obstacle to be with women for money, and since these were the facts of soldier and public women life, he would see to it that the encounters between them would be safe. In cooperation with the Union Army in Nashville, Lt. Colonel Spalding established the first system of legalized prostitution in the United States. When the public women arrived back in Nashville, Lt. Colonel Spalding created a system of registering prostitutes that resembled the plans in place in several European counties. The regulations that he used to manage the public women of Nashville included:
- Requiring that each public woman register and be issued a $5 license complete with her name and address, and a record be kept of the license.
- Appointing a skillful surgeon as a Board of Examination to give each licensed public woman a weekly examination and certificate to verify her health and ordering the diseased public women to receive hospital treatment.
- Establishing a suitable hospital for sick public women and collecting a weekly tax of 50 cents from every licensed public woman to defray the hospital expense.
- Arresting public women plying their trade without a license and certificate immediately, and sending them to the workhouse for at least thirty days.
(A Prostitution license that George Spalding signed in 1863. National Archives.)
The majority of Nashville’s public women appreciated Lt. Colonel Spalding’s program that offered no danger of arrest or prosecution and a significantly healthier prognosis for their lives. By early 1864, more than 352 public women were licensed and at least 100 had been treated and recovered from venereal diseases, but the reforms for public women and their clients didn’t last beyond the end of the Civil War. In 1865, the Union Army no longer controlled Nashville and the public interest in licenses and hospitals for public women faded into other issues. Yet, in the 21st century, the few counties in the United States allowing prostitution use a regulatory system strikingly similar to the one that Lt. Colonel Spalding created out of desperation.
Lt. Colonel Spading didn’t remain as Provost Marshal of Nashville long enough to witnesses the entire effectiveness of his program for the Nashville public women. In February 1864, he resigned that position to become a colonel in the Twelfth Tennessee Cavalry and he immediately became command of a cavalry brigade ordered to take charge of the Nashville and North Western Railroad. Large bands of guerillas infested the entire length of the Nashville and North Western Railroad, but within a few months Colonel Spalding and his men had eliminated all of the organized guerilla bands along the railroad.
His next orders assigned him to command a division of the Cavalry called the Fifth Division, A.C., with headquarters at Pulaski, Tennessee. Colonel Spalding and his men were ordered to protect the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad and during the summer and fall of 1864, the Colonel and his troops constantly battled General Philip Roddy, General Joseph Wheeler, and General Nathan Bedford Forrest who consistently tried to destroy the railroad. When General John Bell Hood invaded Tennessee, General George Henry Thomas ordered General Spalding and his division to try to prevent the Confederate forces from crossing the Tennessee River, and to report his observations and estimates of the Confederate opposition.
Once he arrived at Florence, Alabama, Colonel Spalding discovered that the Confederates had gathered a strong force on the opposite side of the Tennessee River, and he immediately sent a message to General Thomas that General Hood’s entire army was poised to invade Tennessee and would cross the river near Florence Alabama. General Forrest’s cavalry covered the movements of General Hood’s army. Several battles were fought between these two armies in what was called the Franklin-Nashville Campaign, including Spring Hill and Franklin.
At Nashville, General Thomas reorganized his army and on December 15, 1864, the Confederates attacked and the Union Army put General Hood’s Army to flight. Colonel Spalding and one hundred picked men were selected to follow the remnants of General Hood’s command until the last man had crossed the Tennessee River. Colonel Spalding and his men broke the Confederate lines, scattering them in all directions and captured many prisoners, including General E.W. Ruckel.
Colonel Spalding was severely wounded in the left knee during the Battle of Nashville. General George Thomas issued a general order, complimenting Colonel Spalding for his bravery and he was brevetted brigadier-general for “gallant and meritorious service” in the Battle of Nashville.
On Feb. 8, 1865, the regiment went into camp at Eastport, Miss., where it remained until May 11. The new General Spalding was assigned to command the First Brigade, Fifth Division Cavalry Corps, Military Division of the Mississippi, and ordered to report to Major-General Pope’s headquarters at St. Louis, Missouri. After General Spalding arrived in St. Louis on May 17, 1865, General Pope assigned him to command the District of Northern Missouri at Macon and from there he was assigned to a district in Kansas with headquarters at Lawrence, Kansas. General Spalding’s command was mustered out of the service on October 24, 1865 and he returned home to Monroe, Michigan.
A Busy Civilian Life
According to his obituary, the Civil War transformed General Spaulding from a strong Douglass Democrat to a granite Republican, “one of the most vigorous and aggressive ones in Michigan,” equal to his granite Presbyterian faith. On July 27, 1866, General Spalding received an appointment as U.S. postmaster for his hometown of Monroe and he served this term as postmaster until December 15, 1870.
In 1871, the United States Treasury Department appointed him Special Agent, a position that he filled for four years. His duties included traveling to the Rio Grande River to report on the commerce between Mexico and the United States. The year of 1871 proved to be a personally significant one for General Spalding. He married Augusta Lewis on December 6, 1871 and they eventually had four children: Emma Spalding Sterling, Elizabeth Spalding Orvis, George Redfield, and Isaac Lewis.
In 1875, General Spalding joined the First National Bank of Monroe and forged a four decade career with the bank. In 1876 the citizens of Monroe, a Democratic town, elected General Spalding, a strong Republican, mayor, and in same year he was elected president of the Monroe School Board. As well as fulfilling his personal and business obligations, General Spalding found time for the study of law and in 1878, he was admitted to the Michigan bar.
Although he had previously been a Democrat, General Spalding changed his political stance to Republican, chairing the Monroe County Republican Committee for several years. He stumped Monroe County for Republicans and frequently made speeches in Lenawee and Hillsdale Countries, where he gathered many warm friends and admirers who considered him a good citizen and an honest man.
From 1885-1897, General Spalding served as a member of the board of control of the State Industrial Home for Girls, located in nearby Adrian, Michigan. The Michigan State Legislature created the State Industrial Home in 1879, under the administration of Governor Charles M. Croswell and the influence and effort of Laura Haviland, the Quaker Abolitionist who fought for freedom for slaves and the rights of women.
The mission of the first Board of Control of the State Industrial Home included choosing the location and providing buildings, appointing officers, and in general, making the Industrial Home functional. The first Board of Control members were: Charles T. Gorham of Marshall; William H. Waldby of Adrian; Mrs. S. L. Fuller of Grand Rapids; Mrs. C.B. Stebbins of Lansing; and Miss Emma Hall of Ypsilanti, with Governor Croswell an ex-officio member. General Spalding’s experiences in the Union Army, and especially with the Nashville public women and his political offices since returning home provided him the broad range of experiences that made him an invaluable Board of Control member of the Michigan Industrial Home for Girls.
Besides his other activities, General Spalding expanded his political career to include serving as a Republican member of the Fifty-fourth and Fifty-fifth Congresses from March 4, 1895 to March 3, 1899, representing Michigan’s Second District. During the Spanish American War of 1898, he supported the United States President and U.S. forces with the “vigorous, clearheaded judgment of a statesman and a soldier.”
The government again appointed General Spalding as Monroe Postmaster on February 20, 1899, and he held that office until February 13, 1907. When his second term as postmaster ended, he returned to practicing law and agricultural pursuits. He made time to pursue personal interests and he was a member of Monroe Commandery No. 19, Masons, and the only living Charter Member of the Knights Templars of Monroe. He joined the Joseph R. Smith, GAR Post, and the Loyal Legion of the GAR, a Detroit organization composed of men who had assumed great risks in battle.
General Spalding established his business career by joining the First National Bank in 1875. In 1877 he became director and cashier of the bank and in 1892, he advanced to president. In 1911, he was re-elected to the presidency of the bank and held that position from 1877, until his death on September 13, 1915.
Monroe’s Grand Old Man
The erect form and sturdy walk of General George Spalding were familiar to Monroe residents for years and even when trouble with his eyesight made his steps unsteady he walked to the bank and around town as usual, showing no signs of advancing age. During his entire career, General Spalding enjoyed a well-earned reputation as a witty, persuasive speaker at patriotic and other gatherings. Whenever organizers of public events advertised General Spalding on the program as a speaker, a crowd almost always collected to hear and applaud him.
When General Spalding died at 5:00 o’clock in the morning of September 13, 1915 at age 79, word of his death spread quickly around the city of Monroe and a steady stream of friends made their way to his resident at 159 South Macomb Street to pay their respects. As soon as they heard of his death, Monroe businessmen planned a public and military funeral for General Spading. Monroe Mayor Betz issued a proclamation urging every businessman to close their establishments from 2:00-4:00 on the afternoon of the funeral. Captain Isaac C. Godfroy, was in charge of the military services as marshal of the day. The Light Guards, GAR, City and County officials, Spanish American War Veterans, the Bar Association, and the Masonic officials attended the funeral in a body.
General Spalding rested in a flag draped coffin in the Presbyterian Church in Monroe from 11:30 to 2:00 p.m. the day of the funeral, Wednesday September 15, 1915. Dr. W.C. Burns conducted the services and he was buried in Woodland Cemetery, Monroe.
The General’s obituary in the Petersburg Sun emphasized that his brother William Spalding was a long-time resident of Petersburg.
Augusta Lewis Spalding, the General’s Wife
The General’s wife, Augusta Lewis Spalding who survived him by eight years, was born in Monroe on September 3, 1839, the fourth of seven children of Isaac and Sophia Lewis. She grew up in a strict Presbyterian household, both parents were deeply involved in their local Presbyterian Church and they tried to instill Calvinistic principles of hard work, honestly, and patriotism in their children.
As she grew up, Augusta appreciated her father’s skill at molding items in his foundry and her mother’s dedication to the church and their love of America. When the South seceded from the Union in April 1861, and old friends and acquaintances including George Spalding left to join the fight to preserve the Union, Augusta decided that she had to do something too. She and several other dedicated local women organized the Monroe Ladies Soldiers Aid Society with the mission of furnishing hospital supplies and other items that the general government didn’t provide to the Smith Guard Soldiers of Monroe. An executive committee of 16 local women were elected from the newly formed group which held its first meeting on July 29, 1861 at the home of Mrs. J.M. Oliver. Augusta Lewis was elected the new treasurer of the group. From its beginnings in 1861 to the end of the Civil War in April of 1865, the young ladies demonstrated untiring energy, perseverance, and genuine patriotism for the Union Army.
When the Union soldiers, including George Spalding, returned from the War, like any soldiers, they hurried to rebuild their lives and establish homes and families of their own. George Spalding established a business and political career and then turned to establishing a home and family of his own. On December 6, 1871, he and Augusta Lewis were married in Monroe. George was 34 and Augusta was 31. The Spaldings had four children:
Emma Spalding Sterling was born on November 17, 1872. She married -William Sterling Jr. and she died in 1964.
Isaac Lewis Spalding was born on March 4, 1875 and he died in 1952.
George Redfield Spalding born on January 25, 1877 and he died in 1962
Elizabeth Thurber Spalding Orvis was born on June 25, 1879 She married Harry Orvis and she died in 1968.
Augusta Lewis Spalding died on November 11, 1923. The Monroe Evening News reported her death with the headline “Esteemed Woman Called by Death.”
Mrs. Augusta Lewis Spalding, widow of the late General George Spalding, died at her home, corner of Third and South Macomb Streets, Sunday night at 10:40 o’clock of pneumonia. Mrs. Spalding was one of the best known women of this city and her many friends will learn of her death with sorrow. Her husband was a Civil War Veteran and served as postmaster of this city. Funeral services will be held Wed. afternoon at 2:30 o’clock at her late home, Third and Macomb streets. Friends will kindly omit flowers.
(Next: George Redfield Spalding and Alice Minnie Ruff Spalding)
 John McClellan Bulkley, History of Monroe County, Michigan: a narrative account of its historical progress, its people, and its principal interests. Volume I. (Chicago, New York: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1913) p 368..
 Michigan State Gazetteer Listings of Isaac Lewis, Books and Stationery.
 John McClellan Bulkley, History of Monroe County, Michigan (New York: Munsell & Company, 1890) p. 525-526.
 John McClellan Bulkley, History of Monroe County, Michigan: a narrative account of its historical progress, its people, and its principal interests. Volume I. (Chicago, New York: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1913)p. 436.Talcott Enoch Wing, History of Monroe County, Michigan (New York: Munsell & Company, 1890) p. 50
 Monroe Record, August 9, 1900, p. 1.
 http://artsci.case.edu/dittrick/online-exhibits/history-of-birth-control/contraception-in-america-1800-1900/the-civil-war-sex-and-soldiers/ ; The Curious Case of Nashville’s Frail Sisterhood by Angela Serratore, Smithsonian.com, July 8, 2013.;The Nashville Experiment, New York Times;
 “Monroe Mourns Citizen’s Death.” The Record Commercial, Thursday, September 16, 1915, page 1, column 1
 That Reaction.”Hillsdale Standard, October 6, 1868, page 2. General George Spalding of Monroe whose name occupied a place on the Democratic state ticket for Auditor General two years ago is out for Grant and Cofax.
“Monroe Mourns Citizen’s Death.” The Record Commercial, Thursday, September 16, 1915, page 1, column 1
 “Monroe Mourns Citizen’s Death.” The Record Commercial, Thursday, September 16, 1915, page 1, column 1
“General George Spalding Dead After An Illness of Two Weeks.” Monroe News Courier, Monday September 13, 1915, page 1, Column 5
 Petersburg Sun, September 17, 1915, p. 1
 Monroe Evening News, Nov. 12, 1923
Monroe and Monroe County Veterans, Page One
This is just the first page in many volumes of their stories.
Remember Them on Memorial Day and Every Day…
They, too, loved the ordinary human things – the soft spring breeze scattering wayward hair, the smell of a woodfire with stew bubbling above it, loving faces reflected in firelight, emerging from a dark physical or mental woods to home, a welcoming square of light and hope. Yet, they left home to fight for reasons of their own and sometimes caught in a government’s twisting arm. Some of them returned home to live out their lives. Others returned home to rest in quiet graveyards and watch the lives of others.
All across the country and the world, they are with us: in names covered with moss covered stones, in names etched on stone monuments, in the hearts and minds of people who can’t forget. Remember them this Memorial Day and the other days of the year and thank them.
Samuel Stone. He served in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. He is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery, Dundee.
War of 1812
John Barnett. Died August 11, 1872. Aged 86 years. Served in the War of 1812 through New York State. He is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery, Dundee.
David Vanpelt. Circa 1788-November 25, 1880. He was a Private in the New Jersey Militia of Captain J. Vorhees in the War of 1812. He died at Dundee and he is buried in Old Petersburg Cemetery.
William Walters. He was born in 1794 in Pennsylvania. He fought in the War of 1812 and he is buried in Port Creek Evergreen Cemetery in Carlton.
Toledo War (1835)
Captain Nelson White. 1808-1899. Nelson White came to Michigan in 1832, locating his farm two miles west of the village of Dundee. He received his deed from President Andrew Jackson and owned the land since then. For many years after he settled in Dundee, Captain White went back east during the summer, commanding a boat on the Erie Canal. In 1838, he married Emily Jenne and they had ten children. He served as first lieutenant in the company recruited in Monroe County to fight the Toledo War. With his men, he “invaded” enemy territory and always enjoyed telling war stories. He is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery, Dundee.
Mexican War – 1846-1848
Augustus Glean. Soldier in the Mexican War. He also served in the Civil War in Company D, 7th Michigan Infantry He was wounded twice at the battle of Cold Harbor He is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery, Dundee.
Edwin F. Mills. Company B., 2nd Ohio Infantry, Mexican War. He is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery, Dundee.
Private Frederick A. Ballen of Company B, 47th Ohio Infantry, received the Civil War Medal of Honor for his bravery at Vicksburg, Mississippi, on May 3, 1863. His citation reads “Was one of a party that volunteered and attempted to run the enemy’s batteries with a steam tug and 2 barges loaded with subsistence stores”. He received his medal on November 6, 1908. He is buried in Carleton Cemetery.
John Banmiller. 1838-February 2, 1925. Civil War Veteran. He enlisted on November 18, 1862, in the First Michigan Light Artillery Battalion K. He is buried in St. Paul Cemetery, Maybee.
Martin Bela Brockway. Company B, Fourth Michigan Infantry, Civil War. (1835-1905.) He was Wounded in action at New Bridge May 24, 1862. Shot in arm. Taken prisoner at Gettysburg, July 2, 1863. He was held as a prisoner of war for 21 months; most of that time at Andersonville, Georgia. His brother, Oliver of the Eighteenth Michigan Infantry, was also held at Andersonville and died the day after Martin arrived there. He was badly affected with scurvy that his gums bled and swelled. His teeth were all loose, so that he could not eat his rations of corn bread. His leg and foot were much swollen so that he could only walk with great effort. Discharged at Detroit, Michigan, July 13, 1865. He is buried in Pleasant View Cemetery, Petersburg.
Elijah M. Lamkin was born at Raisinville, Michigan on September 5, 1830,attended the district schools, and became a farmer. On August 23, 1861, he enlisted in Co. I of the 11th Michigan Volunteer Infantry. His regiment participated in the Battles of Gallatin, Elk River, Stone River, Chickamauga and Chattanooga, Tennessee. Wounded at the Battle of Stone River, Elijah had also been suffering from inflammation of the eyes which became so severe at Chattanooga that he had to be hospitalized. Later he was transferred to the hospital at Louisville, Kentucky, where he soon took charge of it as steward. He continued as steward for eight months and then received his honorable discharge on September 15, 1864. Elijah returned to Michigan and in 1865, he married Miss Martha D. Sabin. They raised a family of six children. (Talcott Wing, History of Monroe County, Michigan. (New York: Munsell & Company, 1890) p.665. Elijah is buried in London Township Cemetery, London.
John Peter McGill, Sr. was born on October 15, 1829 in Scotland. He served in the Confederate Army in the 1st Louisiana Infantry (Strawbridges), which fought in the Western Theater in the Battle of Shiloh and others. He and his wife Mary Jane McCusick McGill had three children. John died on August 29, 1912 in Toledo, Ohio, and he is buried in Doty Cemetery, Monroe.
Henry Alonzo Stewart, 1838-1906. In 1847, Henry Alonzo Stewart came to Dundee with his parents and until he reached 19 years of age, he lived with Mr. Cady who conducted a hotel in Dundee for many years. Henry learned the blacksmith trade and worked as a blacksmith for five years. In November 1863, he enlisted in Company L of the 2nd Michigan Cavalry. He lost the sight of one eye while serving in the Civil War and he mustered out on August 28, 1865. He was a member of William Bell Post No. 10 of the G.A.R. in Dundee. He married Mary A. Haines on April 15, 1860 and their three children all died in infancy. Henry operated a grocery business in Dundee for many years and was undertaker for two years. He is buried in Maple Grove Cemetery, Dundee.
Irvin Rufus Whipple was born in New York, and raised, educated, and married there. He came to Ash Township with his wife Sarah shortly after they were married, and eventually they had five children. An ardent supporter of the Union, Irvin Rufus enlisted in Company K of the 24th Michigan Infantry. He was so seriously wounded in the Battle of the Wilderness in 1864, that one of his legs had to be amputated in the field hospital and he died from loss of blood on August 26, 1864. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
After her husband’s death, Sarah Whipple fought her own battles with trial and hardship and the survival of her family, but according to her contemporaries, she met the challenges with fidelity, and endured its privations with a “serene and lofty spirit.” Sarah and her five children lived in Ash Township and Flat Rock, Michigan. )Talcott Wing, History of Monroe County, Michigan. (New York: Munsell & Company, 1890) p.613. Irvin Rufus Whipple is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Jerome Willard was born on April 16, 1835, to George and Elizabeth Rider Willard in Monroe County, Michigan. (There is some confusion about his birth year. His obituary says he was born April 16, 1835; his family genealogy says he was born in 1844, but his tombstone lists his age as 29 years, 9 months.) Jerome enlisted in Company M, Eighth Michigan Cavalry, on August 23, 1864 at Ida. He died of disease at Louisville, Kentucky on January 16, 1865, and he is buried in Neriah Cemetery, Ida Township, Monroe County.
Indian Wars (1873-1878)
Frank McCallum. Frank was born on September 15, 1863 in New York, but later moved to Michigan with his family. Frank served as a private in Company F of the United States 7th Infantry. Colonel John Gibbon was his commanded when Frank arrived at the valley of the Little Big Horn River on June 28, two days after the massacre of General George A. Custer and his men. He probably served on burial detail and prepared wounded troopers to be moved to the riverboat Far West. He died on June 1, 1921 in Marion, Michigan, and he is buried in Ash Center Cemetery, Carleton.
George Augustus Stone. Indian Wars – 1873-1878. PVT 2nd Cavalry-Massachusetts. He is buried in Pleasant View Cemetery, Petersburg.
Spanish American War
John Beyer. Cuba, Spanish American War. He is buried in Pleasant View Cemetery, Petersburg.
Jerome Bentley Galloway. 1876-1945. Company C, 33rd Michigan, Spanish American War. He is buried in Maple Grove Cemetery, Dundee.
Edwin F. Gates. Edwin served in Company I, Ohio Infantry, 7th Regiment, Spanish American War. He is buried in Carleton Cemetery.
Richard Vivian. 1865-1945. Spanish American War. Sgt. 31 Mich. Inf. He is buried in North Side Cemetery, Maybee.
World War I
Edward Clinton Biccum. 1896-1918. Killed in action in France during World War I. He is buried in North Side Cemetery, Maybee.
Dr. A.H. DeGroot was born on a farm in Vriesland, Michigan, and received his early education in Vriesland, “a widening of the highway about four miles from Zeeland.” Between farming seasons, he worked at a furniture factory in Grand Rapids, and eventually enrolled in the Grand Rapids Veterinary College, graduating with the class of 1917.
During his junior year at college, he had the opportunity to become acquainted with Monroe Country when he went to Ida for several months to take over the practice of Dr. D.M. Hagen who was recovering from an operation. After he graduated, he went to Dundee to set up his veterinary practice. In 1918, he enlisted in World War I and was training as a second lieutenant in the Sixth Co. Veterinary Corps when the war ended. He returned to Dundee and resumed his practice. In 1922, he joined Edward A. Schaap in founding the Dundee Hatchery, but in 1936 he dropped out to concentrate on his veterinary practice. On October 4, 1923, he married Leona M. Schultz and they had one daughter. He served on the Dundee Village Council for three years. He is buried in Maple Grove Cemetery, Dundee.
Henry S. Lewis. Michigan. Pvt. Company M, 26th Infantry. He is buried in St. Patricks Cemetery #2. Carleton.
Andrew Neidermeier, Michigan. Pvt. Co. C 121 Infantry, World War I. He is buried in Pleasant View Cemetery, Petersburg.
World War II
Leland L. Abel. 1925-2014. Leland served in World War II as a corporal in the United States Marine Corps, fighting in the Pacific Theater from 1944-1946. He participated in the Iwo Jima Campaign and the occupation of Japan. He is buried in McIntyre Cemetery, Monroe.
Paul J. Benore. U.S. Army, World War II. Paul served in the United States Army during World War II, from March 2, 1943 to January 10, 1946. Paul fought in Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland and Central Europe. He received the American Theater Ribbon, the EAME Theater Ribbon with four Bronze Battle Stars, the Good Conduct Medal and the Victory Medal. He is buried in Pleasant View Cemetery, Petersburg.
Lewis Vernon Esper. 1925-April 19, 1944. Seaman 1st Class, USNR. Killed in action. Lost at Sea. Listed on the Tablets of the Missing at Hawaii Punchbowl Cemetery. Memorial in St. Patricks Cemetery, Carleton.
Genevieve E. “Gen” Niemann Gramlich. She worked at the Ypsilanti Bomber Plant during WWII. She is buried in St. Joseph Cemetery, Maybee.
Henry Phillip “Hank” Karen. 1915-2016. He worked for the Karner Brothers Elevator in Dundee, the family business, and during World War II, he was a test pilot and member of the flight crew that flew B-24’s at Willow Run. He ran the Ann Arbor Airport, was a flight instructor and charter pilot, and then a corporate pilot for Hoover Ball Bearing. He retired as Chief Pilot in 1964. After he retired, he joined the Boyne Highlands professional ski patrol. He loved to hunt and fish and shot a bear at age 91. He is buried in Maple Grove Cemetery, Dundee.
Corporal Hiram Davis Wilkinson. CPL, U.S. Army Air Forces, World War II. Corporal Wilkinson was the flight engineer on B-17E #41-2635, assigned to the 5th Air Force, 19th Bombardment Group, 30th Bombardment Squadron. They were one of a group of six planes that took off in 1942 from Seven Mile aerodrome near Port Moresby on a night mission to bomb Japanese shipping in Tonolei Harbor, but Wilkinson’s plane disappeared on the way to the target and the crew was officially declared dead in 1945. Because of that he is listed on the Tablets of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery in the Philippines.
In 1999, the plane’s wreckage was discovered where it struck a mountain near Alotau, Papua New Guinea. The crew’s remains were recovered and what could be identified of Wilkinson via DNA is interred in Pleasant View Cemetery, Petersburg. There is also a group burial in Arlington National Cemetery. He received the Air Medal and the Purple Heart.
Edgar T. Crawley, Sr. SK G3 U.S. Navy. World War II, Korea. He is buried in Maple Grove Cemetery, Dundee.
Lawrence S. “Larry” Esper. U.S. Navy, Korea. He is buried in St. Patrick’s Cemetery, Carleton.
Clyde E. Knaggs . CPL Co. B 32 Infantry 7 Inf. Div. Korea PH. 1932-1950. His casualty date is December 2, 1950, and he is listed as declared dead – missing in action or captured. He was a light weapons infantryman. He is buried in North Side Cemetery, Maybee.
Clinton J. Strouse, Michigan. PFC 35 INF 25 INF DIV, Korea. He was killed in Korea and he is buried in Pleasant View Cemetery, Petersburg.
James LaVern Bowman. Vietnam. E3, Private First Class, U.S. Army. C CO, 2ND BN, 3RD INFANTRY, 199TH INFANTRY BDE, USARV. PFC Bowman, 20, was killed on March 28, 1968, in Long An Province, South Vietnam. He us buried in Oak Grove Cemetery, Dundee.
Spec Vincent Michael La Rocca. SP4, U.S. Army, Vietnam. He was born October 1, 1949 and he died on February 11, 1970 in Thua Thien-Hue, Vietnam. On 11 February 1970, Specialist Four Vincent Michael La Rocca was serving with B Company, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry, 101st Airborne Division, in Thua Thien Province, South Vietnam. On that day, SP4 La Rocca was killed in action when he sustained wounds from small arms fire. His body was recovered. Badge and Medals: Combat Infantryman Badge; Purple Heart; National Defense Service Medal; Vietnam Service Medal; Vietnam Campaign Medal. Vincent Michael La Rocca’s name is located on Panel W14 Line 126 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. SPC4 Vincent M. La Rocca has Honoree Record 210069 at MilitaryHallofHonor.com. He is buried in Pleasant View Cemetery, Petersburg.
Ronald Frederick Parish, Sr. Michigan. A03 U.S. Navy, Vietnam. 1943-1970. He is buried in Ash Center Cemetery, Carleton.
Frank Anthony Uhlik, Jr. Frank Anthony Uhlik, Jr. Airman First Class, 388th MM SQDN, 388th CBT SPT GRP, 388thTFW, 7th AF United states Air Force. Vietnam. Ground casualty on March 15, 1968. He is buried in North Side Cemetery, Maybee.
Lloyd Thomas Harris, Jr. Naval officer for 35 years in WWII, Korea, Viet Nam, and Grenada wars and conflicts. He is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery, Dundee.
Todd Allen Prajzner. 1972-1999. PFC U.S. Army. Persian Gulf. He is buried in Maple Grove Cemetery, Dundee.
Sgt. Christopher P. Messer. Army, Polar Bears, 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, Fort Drum, N.Y. He participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom from February 2004 to March 2005 He died December 27, 2006 in Baghdad, Iraq. His awards and decorations include the Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal with ‘V’ device, Valorous Unit Award, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge and the Driver Badge. He is buried in Pleasant View Cemetery, Petersburg.
More Veterans Voices
This PDF features more Dundee cemeteries.
This PDF features more Petersburg veterans.
This list features a few Veterans in Carleton Cemeteries a-few-veterans-buried-in-carleton-cemeteries
This list is a link to the list: maybee-veterans
Monroe and Monroe County Michigan are celebrating their 200th anniversary in 2017. The Michigan State Troopers celebrated the 100th anniversary of their founding on April 19, 2017 with a Michigan State Troopers Day included in the celebrations. Fallen State Trooper Richards F. Hammond was killed in the line of duty 80 years ago on January 20, 1937. From its beginnings as a cavalry of 300 men to its growth to a police agency of more than 2,900 members, the Michigan State Police have a proven tradition of service and leadership in law enforcement. Along the way, more than 50 Michigan State Troopers have died in the line of duty. State Trooper Richards F. Hammond was the 10th of more than 50 Michigan State Troopers to sacrifice their lives for their state and community.
Like history, tragedies have a timelessness that transcend time and place. At first 2017 glance, the story of Michigan State trooper Richards Hammond and his assassin Alcide Benoit seems to be a 1937 tragedy that has faded into history except in the memories of immediate and descendant family members- a regrettable, but light years distant episode in a universe of galactic events.
But even though 80 years have passed, the Hammond-Benoit story underlines questions we still face today in the criminal justice system, questions about capital punishment and prison sentences, possibilities of rehabilitation, and the continuing social effects of violence. We face historical choices about the stories we retrieve and which we allow to disappear through disinterest, politics, or fear about the effect of the events on the families and descendants of the people involved. The story of Richards Hammond, Alcide Benoit, the Balogs, and the people of Monroe gathering in a mob at the Monroe jail is a story of human action and reaction – a story that is part of the entire historical picture and a reminder that Trooper Hammond’s service and sacrifice will not be forgotten.
Stumbling for Help Down a Country Road
Her heart pounding with fear and exertion, Anna Balog stumbled along the sleet-slick road in Federman, Michigan in the early evening of January 20, 1937. She curled her fingers tightly around the lantern she was holding, squared her shoulders, and pushed her way up the road toward the Irving Karns farmhouse and help. The stranger who had appeared at their farm and told them he needed help getting his car out of a ditch had seemed furtive and desperate to her, but her father Paul Balog and her brother Steve had driven away with him in their farm truck. Although her mother Rose had begged and then ordered her not to go, Anna hurried out into the rain-sleet storm with the goal of reaching the Karns farmhouse and help. She had to let the police know that her father and brother had driven away with a strange man who gave her an uneasy feeling in her stomach . Telling her story later to the state police and family and friends, Anna said, “When they drove away, I grabbed a lantern and started up the road to the Karn’s place.” 
The lives of the Balog family, Alcide Benoit, Richards Hammond, and many others in Monroe County and Monroe converged in January 1937 to produce events that had a lasting impact.
The 1930 United States Federal Census records that Alcide “Frenchy” Benoit, 16 years old in 1930, was born in Toronto, Canada about 1916 to William and Regina Benoit. He immigrated to the United States with his family in 1920, and the 1930 Census shows Alcide living in Detroit with his mother, father, and siblings.
According to state police identification records, Alcide Benoit, also known as Frenchy, first collided with the law in Nashville, Tennessee on November 7, 1930, when he was charged with transporting a stolen automobile across state lines. Because he was just 16, Alcide Benoit was committed to the Michigan Boy’s Vocational School in Lansing for two years. In 1933, he was sentenced to the Michigan State Reformatory at Ionia after he was convicted in Detroit for carrying concealed weapons and receiving stolen property. He was released on parole on January 2, 1936.
Two Fugitives from Justice
During his stay at the Ionia Reformatory, Frenchy met John H. Smith, aliases Mike Delberto and Smitty, from Flint, who had been sentenced to serve 2 ½ to 7 ½ years in the reformatory for robbery. A year later, in January 1937, Alcide Benoit who had adopted the alias Joe LaRue and Frenchy became friends. They continued their lives on the wrong side of the law when they were released from prison and living in Detroit. On January 19, 1937 they kidnapped a Detroit used car salesman, Fred Williams, took him to Toledo, Ohio, and left him there tied to a tree. They stole his $88.00 and his car and drove back into Michigan toward Detroit. Michigan State troopers and local police established roadblocks around Monroe and two Michigan State Troopers, Richards F. Hammond and Sam S. Sineni, stopped the two fugitives shortly before midnight on January 19, 1937.
Two Michigan State Troopers
Michigan State Trooper Richards F. Hammond and Michigan State Trooper Sam S. Sineni’s World:
Michigan State Trooper Richards F. Hammond was born November 5, 1911 in Hanover, Michigan the only child of Dora Richards and Frank Hammond. The 1930 United States Federal Census lists Richards as living with his parents on their Hanover farm. In 1937, he had been a Michigan State Trooper for 18 months and he was engaged to be married.
Michigan State Trooper Sam S. Sineni, was born in Chicago on January 30, 1911 to Frank and Josephine Sineni. After being discharged from the U.S. Naval Reserves, he enrolled in and graduated from the Michigan State Police Recruit School in East Lansing, Michigan. In 1935 he was assigned to the Michigan State Police Post in Rockwood. In 1937 he was a newly-wed.
A Fugitive From Justice Brags His Story
While waiting in the Monroe County jail for his arraignment, Frenchy bragged about his skill as a kidnapper and told Monroe County Sheriff Joseph Bairley how the state and local police captured him and his accomplice “Smitty.” Frenchy bragged that since his release from the Ionia Reformatory, he had made his living kidnapping people, taking them for a ride, stealing their money, and other types of robberies. “Why say, I’ve done holdups in almost every city in this country…Chicago, Detroit, Toledo, Grand Rapids, Cleveland. O, I can’t remember where they are were. Detroit was easy.” 
Still in a talkative mood, Frenchy told Captain Lawrence (Laurence).A. Lyon of the Michigan State Troopers that he and Smitty left Toledo and headed for Detroit. They stopped at a gas station in Monroe and the two troopers in their scout car came over and questioned them. “One of them put Smitty in our car and Hammond put me in the police car,” Frenchy said. “He frisked me, but I had my gun dropped through a hole in my coat. I had bought the .44 in Chicago.”
Frenchy said that he and Trooper Hammond were behind Smitty and Trooper Sineni and just as soon as Trooper Hammond started the car, he pulled his gun and told Trooper Hammond to hand over his gun. As Trooper Hammond gave Frenchy his gun, he began to speed up. Frenchy continued his story. “I socked him and told him to do as I said. Then he drove like the devil and tried to wreck the car, but I made him turn around.”
Trooper Sam Sineni shot at the car, but Frenchy and Trooper Hammond had a head start. Frenchy knew the other trooper and his backup were following closely because he had turned on the police radio. “The trooper and I argued and he kept trying to pull the car into the ditch. I could see the other car coming toward us and I tried to make Hammond turn around. That’s where we almost got stuck. “
Now about ten miles from Monroe, Trooper Sam Sineni following in the stolen car with Smitty, approached the police car blocking the highway. Frenchy and Trooper Sineni exchanged shots. Frenchy turned off on the first road he could see and he stopped the car, near Erie, Michigan. He put the handcuffs on one of Trooper Hammond’s wrists and pulled him out of the car. Fighting furiously, the two men rolled around in the dirt. Frenchy said, “That was when I shot him, because he was getting the best of me. I didn’t fasten him up to the mailbox and then shoot him. After I shot, I looked up and somehow his handcuffs had got around the post. I could hear the police radio going full blast about them hunting me, so I got back in the car and drove like the devil.”
Turning down a slippery country road, Frenchy couldn’t prevent the stolen police car from sliding into a ditch. He turned off his lights and hunkered down to wait for awhile. Three hours before state troopers found Trooper Hammond’s body, two Monroe county deputies Joe Dansard, and Robert Navarre came upon the hunted car near Lulu, Michigan, and again a gun battle ensued with Frenchy finally abandoning the patrol car. He escaped on foot into the nearby woods. The two deputies found Trooper Hammond’s blood saturated uniform coat inside of the abandoned patrol car which also was stained with blood. At 5:00 a.m., the officers patrolling roads in the area came upon the body of the missing trooper who had been shot through the head. His body was slumped against a rural mailbox, and his wrists were shackled with his own handcuffs to a steel post.
In the meantime, Frenchy hid in a barn and lay there for hours. Eventually he got up and found a farmhouse, demanding a car from its occupants. The people told him they didn’t have a car, so he moved on to the village of Federman where he found the farm of Paul Balog. Frenchy forced Paul and his son Steve into the Balog farm truck. He drove down the slippery roads, trying to run the extensive police barricades.
“Well, I guess you know the rest,” he told Captain Lyon. 
Hunting a Policeman’s Killer
Michigan State Police Captain Lawrence (Laurence) A. Lyon knew the rest and he knew what to do. He identified Alcide Frenchy Benoit as the killer of Trooper Richards Hammond. He said Trooper Sineni brought Smith to the Erie Barracks after the gun battle and then joined the search for the former convict. Paul Stear, another farmer, had witnessed the two Balogs being captured and reported their abduction to the police and reported seeing Frenchy force Paul Balog to drive him westward. Warrants charging Frenchy Benoit with murder and with violating the Lindbergh Kidnap Law were issued at Monroe and at Detroit. Frenchy’s accomplice, John Smith, was also charged with kidnapping.
Captain Lyon directed a posse of 300 officers from Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan and city and country police throughout southeastern Michigan to capture Frenchy Benoit, ordering them to “shoot to kill,” because Frenchy had two pistols, one belonging to Trooper Hammond. Detroit and Indiana State police joined the search and Michigan State police issued radio appeals for farmers to arm themselves and search their outbuildings for the fugitive. Sleet covered highways hampered the search and grounded airplanes which were to have assisted in locating the fugitives. Newspapers and law enforcement officials called the manhunt one of the most extensive in Michigan history.
Harold H. Reinecke, head of the Detroit office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, reported that his agents had also joined the investigation because of the information that Frenchy and his companion John H. Smith, Smitty, had kidnapped a Detroit salesman and driven his car across the state line into Ohio.
Taking Hostages and Capturing a Wanted Man
Several newspapers across the country reported the capture of Alcide Frenchy Benoit with varying details. One story read that Frenchy found a deserted barn about three miles from the road in Lulu where he had shot State Trooper Hammond , hiding there all day while posses searched the area. That night he decided to attempt another escape and he made his way to the farmhouse of Paul Balog, south of Lulu in Federman village. He told Paul Balog and his son Steve that he needed help to start his car which had been stalled on a nearby road. Paul and Steve Balog offered to go with him in their small truck. As they started to leave, Frenchy drew a gun, poked it into Paul Blog’s ribs and said, “I’m a gangster and have been for 15 years. You’re going to drive me to Monroe.”
Depending on the version of the story, Paul Balog’s daughter Anna either telephoned the police from her home or slid down the slippery road to the neighboring Irving Karns farm to let the police know that her father and brother had been kidnapped. The police assigned more than 50 patrol cars to scour the highways. Four officers encountered the Balog truck at the intersection of State Highway 50 and Telegraph Road about three miles southwest of Monroe. The state troopers ordered Frenchy to surrender. One version of the story said that Frenchy ordered the Balogs out of the truck at gunpoint, trying to use them as shields to escape, but when he saw how many policemen had guns trained on him, he put his arms above his head and surrendered. The state troopers found that he carried two guns, one of his own and the other that he had taken from Trooper Hammond.
After he and his father Paul were safe, Steve Balog commented on Frenchy’s capture. “I was scared. The state police seemed to be all around the car. They pulled him out and, boy was I glad!”
Later, in the Monroe County jail, Frenchy told police that he didn’t think he had killed Trooper Hammond, but had reasoned that handcuffing him to the mailbox would keep him from getting help. “After shooting him, I took his gun,” Frenchy said.
A Chicago Daily Tribune Story noted that “The capture once again demonstrates the efficiency of the Michigan State police force which constitutes a law enforcement body second to none in the country. Its famous highway blockade system was put into effect so quickly that Benoit was prevented from leaving the vicinity of his savage crime.”
Surviving a Monroe County Jail Mob and Two Trials
More than 100 policemen and state troopers guarded the Monroe County jail after Alcide Frenchy Benoit’s capture and imprisonment on January 20,1937. A crowd estimated at more than 2,000 men and women surrounded the jail after Benoit’s capture, muttering threats against the young gunman. Frenchy confessed to firing one shot into Hammond’s brain, and then handcuffing his body to a rural mailbox. The crowd had thinned out early on the morning of January 21, but police took precautions to prevent any demonstrations when Frenchy appeared at his arraignment in municipal court later in the day on a first degree murder charge.
Escorted to court by heavily armed officers guarding him from an angry crowd incensed at the brutal murder of officer Hammond, Alcide Frenchy Benoit, accused of having murdered State Trooper Richards Hammond pleaded “not guilty” in his arraignment at municipal court. The 24-year-old paroled convict waived preliminary examination and was held for trial.
John H. Smith, alias Mike Delberto, 29, of Detroit, pleaded guilty to the charge of carrying a revolver. He also was bound over to Circuit Court under a bail of $10,000.
At his trial on January 22, 1937, Alcide Benoit changed his plea to guilty and the trail lasted only 40 minutes. During the trial he confessed to about 40 robberies and the murder of Michigan State Trooper Richards F. Hammond and he received a life sentence at hard labor. The life sentence saved him from facing many federal charges, including one involving the death penalty.
After Frenchy Benoit had served ten years in Marquette Prison, Judge Clayton C. Golden awarded him a new trial, because he “did not have counsel and he was not advised of his constitutional rights” before sentencing. Judge Golden based his ruling on a U.S. Supreme Court decision declaring that a confessed murderer must have counsel before being sentenced and that a quick trial where a defendant pleads guilty without benefit of counsel is unconstitutional. Once again a jury found Frenchy Benoit guilty of first degree murder and he was sent back to prison.
The Final Chase and Capture
On March 10, 1950, about three years after his second trial, the prison doctors at Marquette told Alcide Frenchy Benoit, 36, that despite an operation to attempt to stop its progress, he was dying of cancer. They recommended that he be transferred to the penitentiary at Jackson, Michigan, for further treatment.
Doctors heavily drugged Frenchy with morphine to manage his pain during the trip and law enforcement officials placed him in the rear seat of a passenger car with two guards, more to monitor his condition than any anticipated dangerous behavior. Two other guards rode with a busload of prisoners who were also being transferred. The caravan stopped for a light meal near Gaylord, Michigan. The guards left Frenchy handcuffed in the back seat and by all appearances unconscious from the sedation the doctors had given him, and stepped outside to refuel the car.
As soon as they had gotten out of the car, Frenchy revived. Despite his weakened body and his handcuffs, he managed to crawl into the front seat, ease himself behind the wheel, and speed away. Later, he explained his actions. “I said to myself, Frenchy, this is your out, so I got out. I knew I was going to Jackson to die. It was a funny feeling. I had not been at the wheel for 14 years.”
Frenchy drove a wild ride over Northern Michigan back roads at speeds up to 80 miles an hour, handling the car as coolly and carefully as if he were in the best of health and not impended by morphine and cancer. He even managed to stop, break into a shed, and steal two axes that policemen later found in the car.
The police guard radioed the news of Frenchy’s escape, and state troopers from other posts converged on the area and set up the blockade system. After an hour and a half chase, State Troopers Casimer Szocinski and Lambert Rayner recaptured Frenchy without incident on U.S. Highway 27. They quoted him as saying, “Shoot me coppers. I know you want to. Go ahead and shoot me. I’m going to die anyway.”
Alcide Benoit died July 9, 1951 at age 37 of abdominal cancer.
Michigan State Trooper Richards F. Hammond is buried in Hanover Cemetery, Hanover, Michigan.
His Civil War veteran grandfather, Alpheus and his grandmother Esther are buried with him in Hanover Cemetery and so are his father Frank and his mother Dora.
Fallen Troopers Memorial, Lansing, Michigan
 The Daily Mail, (Hagerstown, MD), Jan. 21, 1937, Pages 1, 2.; The Balog family name is spelled differently in the Census Records, Paul and Rose Balogh’s tombstones where it is spelled Balogh, and in the newspaper accounts of the time where it is mostly spelled Balog.; Irving Karns, Ida, Michigan. Irving Karns is buried in Pleasant View Cemetery, Petersburg.
 Sam S. Sineni was a Michigan State Trooper for 25 years, serving as the Post Commander in Erie, Michigan. He retired in July of 1959 as a Detective Sergeant at the Jackson State Police Post. He is buried in St. Joseph Cemetery in Monroe.
 Indiana Evening Gazette, Thursday, January 21, p. 1
 The Daily Mail, (Hagerstown, MD), Jan. 21, 1937, Pages 1, 2
 The Daily Mail, (Hagerstown, MD), Jan. 21, 1937, Pages 1, 2
 The Daily Mail, (Hagerstown, MD), Jan. 21, 1937, Pages 1, 2
 Chicago Daily Tribune, Friday January 22, 1937, p. 5
 The Daily Mail, Hagerstown, MD, Jan. 21, 1937, Pages 1, 2
 Chicago Daily tribune, Thursday, January 21, 1937, p. 2
 Middletown Times, Middletown, New York, January 21, 1937, p.1
Record-Eagle, Traverse City, Michigan, March 10, 1950,p1
 Long Beach Independent, Long Beach, California. March 11, 1950, p. 1
A look at some of the events in 1940s Monroe and some of the advertisements of the time!
Tragedy sometimes strikes as quickly as a chicken gulping a grasshopper, and its effects can be as jarring as a rooster crowing at 3 a.m. Gunshots shattered the stillness of a chilly October night in rural Monroe County and decades later families still work to deaden their echoes.
On the night of October 28, 1929, Petersburg, Michigan Constable Frank William Miller, said goodbye to his devoted wife Alice, and their children. Monroe County Deputy Sheriff James Van Vleet picked him up in the police car, and they sped off into the night pursuing a gang of armed chicken thieves on what they likely considered routine police business. On the same night, Ralph Aldrich of Monroe helped steal some chickens, and made a fateful decision.
Three Men Meet on a Country Road
Frank William Miller married Alice Emiline Quigley in Blissfield, Michigan, in 1911 . They had seven children in 12 years.
Miller Family Photograph
Frank William Miller
Frank William Miller was born on April 15, 1889, in Lenawee County. On his draft registration he listed his occupation as a carpenter and the 1920 Census also showed his occupation as a carpenter.
The 1920s Census also showed Frank W. Miller, 32, living on Carey Street in Deerfield with his wife Alice, 32, and their children Marjorie, Doris, and Mary.
James Van Vleet
James Van Vleet was born on February 10, 1884, and he identified his occupation on his 1918 draft registration as a farmer, the same occupation he listed on the 1920 census. James, 36, lived on Railroad Road in Summerfield in 1920, with his wife Beatrice,34, and their children Charles, Maud, Alvin, and Eston.
Ralph Aldrich was born on July 25, 1889, and he wrote on his 1919 draft registration that he worked as a laborer. In the 1920 Census Ralph, age 30, said that he was a fireman at an RR Paper Mill. Ralph and his wife Estelle, 30, lived 1232 East Elm Avenue in Monroe with their children Raymond, Beth, and Virginia.
Chicken Thieves Were No Cackling Matter
On the cool fall night of October 28, 1929, three days before Halloween, a gang of armed chicken thieves of the human instead of fox, dog, or hawk persuasion raided the chicken coops on the Lawrence Keller farm on the outskirts of Petersburg, Michigan and they fled the scene in a speeding sedan.
Chicken thieves were a serious threat in Monroe County farm country in 1929. Reports of professional gangs of chicken thieves circulated in the area and rumor had it that the thieves chloroformed the chickens to keep them quiet enough to be stolen and then carted them off to markets in Detroit, Toledo, or Lansing. One story even had it that the young wife of a chicken thief gang member had smuggled a hack saw into the prison at Jackson and helped him escape, receiving two years of Probation for her trouble. There were tales of shootouts between chicken thieves and outraged, armed farmers protecting their poultry.
A story in the Saline Observer reported that Mrs. Ethel Hofstetler of Route 2, Tecumseh, had discovered a way to offset her losses when chicken thieves visited her poultry house making off with 30 ready-to-lay pullets. Mrs. Hofstetler had the foresight to insure her chickens against theft through the Poultryman’s Mutual Protective Association. When the thieves came for her chickens, she eventually received a check for her losses, the second person ever to receive an insurance check for stolen poultry and the second claim that the Poultryman’s Mutual Protective Association had ever paid.
Chicken Thieves Clash with a Constable and Deputy Sheriff
Chicken thieves were taken seriously in Petersburg and the police heard of this latest chicken theft at the Keller farm, they sent Monroe County Sheriff Deputy James Van Vleet to chase them down. Deputy Van Vleet didn’t waste any time driving to Petersburg to pick up Village Constable Frank Monroe and the officers quickly located the the sedan with its chicken thief drivers and captive chickens.
Monroe County Sheriffs Deputy Van Vleet told what happened next in a Monroe Evening News story dated October 29, 1929. He said when the chicken thieves shot at them,” one bullet came through the glass in the back of the car and struck in front of me just above my head. I had the gun, so I gave it to Frank and told him he had better use it. We had fired a couple of shots in the air before that to try to halt the fellows, but it hadn’t done any good.”
Deputy Van Vleet continued telling his story to the Monroe Evening News Reporter. He said that he stopped the car and Constable Miller started to get out. Just as he stepped onto the running board of the police car, a shot rang out and a 38 caliber bullet hit Constable Miller in the back and plowed through his body, killing him instantly. The chicken thieves sped away, dumping the chickens on the side of the road as they made their escape.
Additional Monroe Evening News articles tell the next chapter in the story. Immediately after Constable Miller’s shooting, dozens of officers, farmers, and citizens scoured the countryside around Petersburg searching for the chicken thieves turned murderers. The searchers rounded up several suspects and the police arrested some of them. Police found several suspects in a Garden City home, cleaning chickens. They admitted to stealing the chickens, but they denied shooting Constable Miller.
Two months ticked by while Constable Miller’s wife and children tried to deal with the daily reality of his death and officers, farmers, and citizens continued to hunt for the person who shot him. The police didn’t find any new suspects and the case remained unsolved for the next two months.
In the meantime, Ohio police had imprisoned Ralph Aldrich on charges of breaking into an Ohio chicken coop. During police questioning, he confessed to shooting Constable Miller, but he didn’t explain why he had found it necessary to kill the law officer. A judge sentenced Ralph Aldrich to life in prison in Michigan State Prison in Blackman Township, Jackson, Michigan. According to her family, Constable Frank W. Miller’s widow Alice was so traumatized by his murder that she refused to discuss it with her family or outside of the family.
A Family Remembers Constable Miller’s Story
The story doesn’t end there to be remembered as a sad part of Monroe County Depression-Era history and gradually forgotten as the decades rolled on toward the 21st Century. More than six decades after Constable Miller’s murder, his children and grandchildren worked to have his named included on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington D.C. which honors 20,267 U.S. law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty throughout American history.
Constable Miller’s grandson, Lehr LaVoy, a retired police officer from the Tempe, Arizona police department, visited the memorial on a trip to Washington D.C. and he wondered why his grandfather’s name wasn’t included on the memorial. Lehr knew that his grandfather had been killed on duty, but he didn’t know the circumstances of his death. He and his sister Bonnie Damon had been born in Petersburg, Michigan, but had moved away as adults. Constable Miller’s grandchildren decided that they needed to gather the information they needed to have his name added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.
Bonnie Damon and other family members spent hours and shoe and tire leather and telephone time gathering the data that they needed to prove that her grandfather had been killed in the line of duty so many years ago. They located a coroner’s report and other documentation, including numerous newspaper articles about the circumstances of Constable Miller’s death, enough to prove that his name should be included on the Memorial.
Constable Frank William Miller- End of Watch
Finally, Constable Miller’s son and grandchildren witnessed his name being added to the National Law Enforcement Memorial and participated in the ceremonies honoring the addition of his name.
Petersburg Police Department, Michigan
End of Watch: Monday, October 28, 1929
Constable Miller was shot and killed during a traffic stop which he conducted while investigating the theft of poultry from a local farmer.
Resting in Blissfield, Petersburg, and Monroe
Alice Miller survived her husband Constable Frank Miller by 34 years, dying on January 7, 1963 in Toledo. She is buried alongside him in Pleasantview Cemetery in Blissfield, Michigan.
James Van Vleet died in 1939 and he is buried in Pleasant View Cemetery in Petersburg.
The 1930 Census showed that Ralph was a prison inmate at Michigan State Prison, Blackmon in Lansing, Michigan. Ralph E. Aldrich died on April 8, 1955 in Dundee and he is buried in Woodland Cemetery, Monroe.
 Saline Observer, November 7, 1929, p. 2
 Monroe Evening News, October 29, 1929, p. 1