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Julius B. Hart (1816-1877) & B. B. Hart
Historical Biographies. (Paragraphing has been modified for easy viewing.)
  • Transcribed September 2003.
  • Brief biography, Julius B. Hart. - Added Sept., 2003.

    History of the Lake Huron Shore, 1883, H.R. Page, Chicago, IL
    Bay County


    Julius B. Hart will be long remembered in connection with the early days in Lower Saginaw. He was born in Litchfield, Conn., in 1816. In 1888 he emigrated to Michigan, and in 1846 came to Bay City with his brother, B. B. Hart. They established a trade with the few whites who were here, but dealt more extensively with the Indians. In early years they were extensively engaged in the fur and fish trade.

    There are few persons in this region who have not heard of “Jule” Hart’s red letter day in the muskrat skin trade, in which he was so ably assisted by George Lord. This occurrence is narrated on another page.

    Mr. Hart continued in various business enterprises, but never allowed business to interfere with an opportunity to play a joke upon anyone who chanced to come along.

    In 1875 he retired from active business, and died in Bay City, in November, 1877. With all his fondness for fun, Mr. Hart was emphatically a humane man, and as willing to do an act of kindness as to play a joke.

    Tales of Julius Hart's humerous side. - Added Dec., 2010.

    History of Bay County, Michigan - 1883
    Page 79.

    How Lord Got Even With Hart.

    George Lord and Julius Hart owned fisheries on the Bay Shore contiguous to each other, where in proper seasons of the year, the caught and shipped to Detroit and other points, the results of their endeavors often realizing large amounts of money from successful seasons, and at other times enjoying (?) the discomforts of “fishermen's luck,” generally. Both enjoyed, and each knew how to give and take a joke. One cold bright morning in the Fall of 18--, the two met near the foot of Third Street, and after passing the compliments of the morning turned to separate, when Hart exclaimed, “By the way, Lord, I'd nearly forgotten: I was down to the shore this morning and Joe (Lord's foreman at the fishery) told me to tell you that fish were running like blazes, and he wanted you to send him down a lot of dressers (men to dress and pack fish,) salt and barrels.” “Thunder!” shouted Lord, “is that so?” and away he sped to pick up all the adepts in dressing fish he could find, and in an hour his large boat was loaded with fish barrels, salt and men, ready to start for the shore, with Lord along to enjoy the rich harvest in prospect a waiting him. Just as the boat was shoved away from the dock to start her trip, Hart came hurriedly to the dock with “Hold on, Lord, I've just heard from the shore again; the fish have just stopped running, and Joe don't want anything more than he's got.” Lord saw that he was sold; the boat was hauled to the dock and was unloaded, and with vengeance in his eye Lord went home studying revenge. Weeks passed by and the joke was almost forgotten by all who had enjoyed a hearty laugh Lord's expense. Not so with the chief victim, however. His opportunity came at last. The saloon in the basement of the Wolverton House was the fashionable resort of that day, and looking in at the door one afternoon Lord spied Hart at the table with some friends, playing an innocent game of “penny ante.” While he looked, an Indian entered with three muskrat skins, a commodity in which Hart dealt. “Ugh!” said Lo, “Jule Hart you by um skins?” “Yes,” was the response, “give you ten cents; throw them over in the corner; here's your money.” The Indian took the money, threw down the skins, and departed, at which Hart returned his attention to the game, which was becoming interesting. The skins were thrown back of Hart and directly under the window, which was near the floor. Lord reached in and carefully pulled out the skins, and just then another man came along who was owing Hart “one.” Lord explained to him the situation and he at once got a Frenchman, who stretched the skins on shingles and took them down to Hart, who paid for them as before and ordered them thrown under the window. Lord was ready to fish them out, and his companion was hunting up parties to sell them again to Hart. It was but a few moments before a young boy entered the saloon and sold Hart a rat skin, throwing it into the corner as directed, and receiving his pay. The game went on, interrupted every few moments by a rat skin trade. Skins came in stretched on shingles, and on doubled twigs, and unstretched. Hart bought them all. At last the day was drawing to a close, and the game came to an end. Hart rose from the table remarking, “I've lost at the game, but I've bought a thundering pile of skins this afternoon,” and he threw his gratified eye over toward the corner where his skins had been deposited. “Whew!” was his exclamation as but three skins met his vision, “who in thunder stole my skins!” Lord at the instant edging toward the door, remarked, “It has been almost as good a day for rats, as that morning was for fish, Jule.” Hart saw that he was sold; he had paid out about five dollars on three rat skins, and Lord was made disbursing officer, to see that the price of those skins was duly appropriated for the general good, in the manner common to those days.

    One time when Hart was coming down on the boat he noticed a stranger on board, who was dressed with unusual nicety, and who was evidently a stranger in this country. Hart managed to get into a conversation with him, and soon they came in sight of a herd of Indian ponies feeding not far from the river. The stranger inquired who owned all those ponies. “O!” say Hart, “they belong to any one who will take the trouble to catch them.” “What!” said the stranger, “can any one have one who wants?” “Certainly; all that is necessary is to go out and pick out what you want.” The stranger thought he had indeed struck a fine country, and after being assured by Hart that with the aid of two or three boys he could capture one, he settled down to the conviction that he would become the possessor of a steed. After landing he hunted up some boys and they proceeded to corner the ponies, but their Indian owners happened to be around and came near killing the too credulous stranger. He escaped with his scalp, but concluded he had better not have a horse in that way.

    Page 80.


    There was a man live here at an early day, whom "Jule" Hart was always playing his tricks upon, and vice versa. He lived up near what is now the corner of Twenty-third and Water Streets, on the mound which was quite an elevation in those days, but has since been graded down. His name was Thomas Stevenson. He was very fond of his whiskey, which he always bought by the barrel, as he used large quantities of it. On one occasion his barrel got empty and he was obliged to go to his friend "Jule" to get his jug filled with "Jule's" Indina whiskey. One day he came to "Jule" and said he did not want any more of his Indian whiskey as it was nothing but Saginaw water, so he ordered a barrel from Detroit. In due time he got a letter saying the whiskey had been shippped to Lower Saginaw, (as Bay City was then called) in care of Julius B. Hart. Old Tom used to go down every day to see if his barrel of whiskey had come, but no whiskey was then to be found. In the meantime, "Jule" told him he would give him all the whiskey he wanted for nothing until his barrel came. Finally, old Tom could stand Indian whiskey no longer, and he wrote to the parties in Detroit telling them his whiskey had never come, they answered him that they had Julius Hart's receipt for its delivery at his waerehouse. Down he went with blood in his eye to see "Jule." "Well," says "Jule," I might have overlooked it, but you come down town in an hour or two and I will look through the warehouse and try and find it." Away went Tom up town to play penny ante. It was not long after he had gone before the accustomed crowd came down to take a swig out of old Tom's barrel, when a council of war was held how to get out the scrape, as old Tom would be back soon. Finanlly, "Jule" took an empty whiskey barrel and filled it with water, and marked on the head, "Thomas Stevenson, Lower Saginaw." He had scracely got it finished and had thrown something over it, when done comes old Tom swearing that he knew that the Whiskey was there, when "Jule" met him at the door and said he had looked the warehouse over but could ot find it. Tom said he knew better; he would go and look the warehouse over himself. He had ot looked long before he came across the barrel of water, marked Thomas Sevenson, Lower Saginaw, when his rage knew no bounds, when he commenced at Jule, calling him an old fool. "Here," say he "is my barrel of whiskey all the time, and I have been drinking your poor Indian whiskey enough to kill me." So, off the went to get a team to take it to his home, a mile and a half off. There were no drays in those days. He finally, after some trouble, got it drawn up to his house, but how to get it down celar was the next thing. He finally got some help, telling them he would give them something good to drink -- "no Saginaw water." They finally got it down cellar and tapped it, when old Tom drew a glass full and handed it to one of them. When the fellow had tasted it, he asked old Tom if he called that whiskey, "Yes, you have drank Saginaw water so long, you fool, you don't know what good whiskey is!" "Well, try it yourself!" Tom tastd, and threw it on the floor, glass and all. Then there was trouble; the first thing he said was,"----- Jule Hart." Then he went to work, got the barrel out of the cellar, put it on the wagon and started back for the warehouse, swearing all the way there, saying he would kill "Jule." In the meantime, the crowd had taken thier last drink out of old Tom's barrel, filled it up with water and rolled it out where Tom could see it when he came back. The next thing was to hide "Jule" away, or old Tom would kill him. It was not long before old Tom came back determined to kill "Jule," but they told him "Jule" had just done down on the Bay to his fishery. "Well," says old Tom, "it is a lucky thing, or I would have killed him, sure!" It was a long time before peace was declared between old Tom and "Jule."

    Brazilla B. Hart references. - Added Sept., 2003.

    History of Bay County, Michigan - 1883.

    B. B. Hart continued in business with his brother until about 1850, when they dissolved. Subsequently he was engaged in the manufacture of Lumber and salt with Dr. George E. Smith, and still later in they were in the gorcery trade until about 1874, when they sold their business to other parties.

    Page 75. (Ref. Dr. George F. Smith.)
    In 1850 he came o Lower Saginaw and for was for a time the only physician in the vicinity. He continued to practice until 1861, when he turned his attenton to other branches of business. He was engaged in the manufacture of lumber and salt, and in the grocery business with B. B. Hart.

    Page 78.
    W. L. Fay settled in Lower Saginaw in 1854, coming from New York State. Upon coming here he took an interest with Mr. George Lord in the lumber business, but in a short time went into the mercantile business with B. B. Hart.

    Mr. Hart is now a resident of Minneapolis, where he has been engaged for two or three years in the coffee and spice business.

    Additional Notes.

      Notes from History of Bay Co., Mich., 1883.

    • 1858 - J. B. Hart was among the first superintendents of the poor, the others were E. N. Bradford and Israel Catlin.
    • 1865 - J. B. Hart was president of the village of Bay City, which at that time had a population of 3,359. That year Bay City became a chartered city. About this time, J.B. Hart formed a partnership with Charles B. Cottrell, maintaining a warehouse and acting as agents for a line boats.
    • B.B. Hart was at one time owner of the former St. Joseph cemtery, located on State Street, south of Visitation Church.
    • J. B. Hart was in partnership with John Sharp in the fishing business for a number of years.
    Related Pages/Notes

    Related Pages:
    Campbell, Harry
    Lord, George
    1847 Residents of Bay Co.
    People Referenced
    Bradford, E.N.
    Catlin, Isrel
    Cottrell, Charles B.
    Hart, B.B. (bro)
    Hart, Julius B.(Subject)
    Lord, George
    Sharp, John
    Smith, George E. Dr.
    Stevenson, Thomas
    Subjects Referenced
    Bay City, MI
    Detroit, MI
    Fish trader
    Fur trader
    Litchfield, CT
    Minneapolis, MN
    Lower Saginaw, MI
    St. Joseph Cemetery
    Superintendent of Poor
    Visitation Church
    Wolverton House
    WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.