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Introduction & Background
to the great fire of July 25, 1892 in the south end of Bay City.
  • Contributed by Carolyn McGrath (September 2004)

  • Jul. 28, 1892: View south from Fremont avenue of destruction on Water street.

    Introduction

    There are eight pages, including this one to the story about Bay City's worst fire. At the bottom of each page is a "sequencial menu" that will take you through each of the pages which includes a personal letter from Lelitia Dickie and newspaper articles written by the Bay City Tribune about the fire. A map of the area devastated by the fire is provided in upper right hand corner of each page.

    The following was prepared by Carolyn McGrath on the background of Lelitia Dickie and the names mentioned in her letter.

    Background Information to Letter

    Letitia McCulloch Dickie, daughter of Hugh McCulloch and Sarah Curleso. Hugh McCulloch was born in Ireland and Sarah was born in England. At some point the McCullochs moved to Nova Scotia; Letitia was born 8 Jan. 1834 in Nova Scotia. She married 8 April 1856 Robert Barry Dickie of Hantsport, NS. Robert born 20 Nov. 1829 in Hantsport, NS, son of Samuel Dickie and Sarah Brothers Bradshaw. Letitia died in Michigan 8 Nov. 1913; Robert died in Caro 5 May 1912. The Dickies spent many years in Nova Scotia, then brief sojourns in Delaware and California before moving to Bay City in, I believe, the 1870's. Letitia's sister, Margaret McCulloch Rose (born in NS, c. 1823), wife of John Rose (born c. 1830 in England). I don't yet have much more information about the Roses although they did have children: Mary, born NY c. 1867; John E., born MI c. 1868; and Charles F. born MI c. 1871. Mr. Rose was a ship's carpenter.

    Robert Barrie Dickie, according to the 1880 census of Bay City, was a mason/plasterer. The Dickies had a boarding house at 401 Taylor St. in Bay City. John Fagert was one of their boarders as was James McGuire. Don't know more about them.

    However, Letitia's letter to Robert, Margaret, and May was not to her sister, Margaret, but rather to their brother, Robert McCulloch, his wife, Margaret Dickie Michener McCulloch, and their youngest daughter, (Sarah) May McCulloch. Robert McCulloch was born 28 Dec. 1814 in Ireland; Margaret Dickie was born 4 July 1827 in Hantsport, NS to Samuel and Sarah Brothers Bradshaw Dickie. Robert was Margaret's 2nd husband, her first, Simeon Michener, having died on a voyage to check out Michigan as a possible place for the family to emigrate in the early 1850's. Margaret and Robert were married 9 April 1856 in Nova Scotia. They had 2 children: (Sarah) May, born Hantsport, NS 1864, died at Eastern Michigan Asylum in Pontiac in 1903. I don't really know what happened to May; she had been a teacher when the family first arrived in Caro. A second daughter, Edith Annette "Nettie" was born 1858 in Hantsport, NS; married in Bay City to James McKay on 24 Nov. 1881. Nettie and James had no children. Nettie died in Caro in 1938 and James died in Caro in 1933. I have a newspaper picture of them on their 50th wedding anniversary.

    Ella is the daughter of Letitia and Robert Barrie Dickie. She was born in Hantsport, NS c. 1858 and married John Mason, born MI c. 1852. They had son, John born Dec. 1879 in Michigan. John was a salt mill contractor/well borer for the William Peer Co. They resided in 1890 at 913 N. Lincoln Ave.

    Anna is the second daughter of Letitia and Robert Barrie Dickie. She was born May 1860 in Hantsport, NS, died before 1910. She married in Bay City 10 May 1883 to Gibbs Huntley born Hantsport, NS June 1858. Anna and Gibbs had
    Arthur born Feb. 1885 and Charles born Oct. 1890. Charles married Sylvia ? and had Elizabeth born 1915 and Jack A. born 1917. I do not know anything about Arthur.

    "Old Mr. Campbell" I think is Colan Campbell, born in Scotland c. 1825; wife Ellen born CAN c. 1838. Living in Bay City in the 1880 census.

    Letter by Lelita Dickie about fire.

    1892 Fire Menu
    * Introduction
    * Letter, Letitia Dickie
    * Acres in Ruins
    * Fire in Detail
    * Under Control.
    * Slept in the Streets
    * Unfounded Rumor
    * A Relief Meeting
    Related Notes & Pages

    (Click to enlarge.)
    The fire of July 25, 1892 was Bay City's most disatrous, it started in the city's south end, near the Miller & Turner mill, located between Harrison street and the Saginaw river and foot of 31st street. Fed by gale force winds, it destroyed 350 homes and businesses covering a forty-block area. 1800 people went homeless, most lost all of their possessions.
    People Referenced
    Bradshaw(Brothers), Sarah
    Campbell, Colan (?)
    Campbell(?), Ellen
    Dickie(McCulloch), Lelitia
    Dickie, Robert B.
    Fagert, John
    Huntley(Dickie), Anna
    Huntley, Arthur
    Huntley, Charles
    Huntley, Elizabeth
    Huntley, Gibbs
    Huntley, Jack A.
    Huntley(?), Sylvia
    Mason(Dickie), Ella
    Mason, John
    Mason, John Jr.
    McCulloch, Hugh
    McCulloch(Dickie), Marg.
    McCulloch, Robert
    McCulloch(Curleso), Sarah
    McCulloch, Sara May
    McGuire, James
    McKay(McCulloch), Edith
    McKay, James
    Miller, Albert
    Michener(Dickie), Marg.
    Michener, Simeon
    Rose, Charles F.
    Rose, John
    Rose, John E. Jr.
    Rose(McCulloch), Margaret
    Rose, Mary
    Subjects Referenced
    California
    Caro, MI
    Delaware
    Eastern MI Asylum
    England
    Hantsport, NS
    Ireland
    Lincoln, N, 913
    Methodist church
    Nova Schotia
    Pontiac, MI
    Scotland
    William Peer Co.
    Internet References
  • None at this time.
  • WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.