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History of the Lighthouse near the Saginaw Bay.
In 1837 a group petitioned the state for a lighthouse.
  • Added: April, 2014.

  • Journal of the Senate of the State of Michigan - 1837

    Page 61.

    Wednesday, January 18, 1837.

    Mr. McDonell laid the following resolution on the table:

    Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Michigan, That our senators in Congress be instructed, and our representative request, to procure the passage of a law to establish a port of entry at the town of Lower Saginaw, on the Saginaw river, and an appropriation to build a light-house near said point, on said river.

    Page 75.

    Monday, January 23, 1837.

    The Senate, on motion of Mr. McDonell, took up for consideration the resolution laid on the table by him on the 18th, relative to a port of entry and light-house at Lower Saginaw; Mr. Clark moved to amend the resolutions as follows:

    “Also a light-house at or near Windmill point, at the entrance of Lake St. Clair;” which amendment was adopted by yeas and nays, as follows:

    Mr. Barry, Mr. Britain, Mr. Clark, Mr. Comstock, Mr. Cooper, Mr. Manning, Mr. Rumsey, Mr. Summers,

    Mr. Davis, Mr. Ellis, Mr. Hough, Mr. McDonell.

    And on motion of Mr. Britain, the resolution was further amended by adding “and also a light-house upon Stoney point, in Monroe county.”

    Mr. Summers moved that the Senate do now adjourn, which motion did not prevail.

    The question recurring on the adoption of the resolution as amended, said resolution was adopted.

    On motion of Mr. Britain,

    Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Michigan, That our senators in Congress be instructed, and our representative requested, to procure the passage of a law establishing a port of entry at the town of St. Joseph, at the mouth of the St. Joseph river, in Berrien county.

    Notes: (1) John McDonell, of Detroit, was a member of the State's first convention when it became a State in 1837. (2) Lower Saginaw is what Bay City was known as originally.

    Journal of the House of Representatives of the State of Michigan, 1843

    Page 251.

    Thursday, February 9, 1843.

    By Mr. Beach. Of James G. Birney and others, for the establishment of a state road from Tuscola to intersect a road leading from Cass river to Lower Saginaw. Referred to the same committee.

    Notes: Noah Beach, Sixth District. (2) James G. Birney, twice ran for president of USA, and for Governor of Michigan.

    History of Bay County, Michigan - 1905

    Page 94.

    In July, 1939, Captain Stiles with a chartered vessel brought Stephen Wolverton from Detroit to begin erection of the old lighthouse at the mouth of the river, which is still standing, a picturesque landmark of those early mariners. It has since been replaced by a larger and more modern lighthouse. Capt. Levi Johnson, of Cleveland, finished the first one in 1841.

    Page 273.

    1839 - “In July 1839, Capt. Stephen Wolverton arrived to build for the government the first lighthouse, near the mouth of the river, on the west shore.

    This lighthouse, was built more than 60 years ago, has never been a conspicuous landmark at the harbor entrance. The snow-white slating sides reflect the rays of the sun, and are visible for miles by day. A more modern lighthouse with stronger reflectors was built some 20 years later, and guards to-day the entrance to the river, a little south by west of the original beacon light. The old house has since served as a home for the light-keeper. In March, 1905, an order came to demolish the old beacon light, and contracts have already been let for a more modern home for the light-keeper. Hardly did the remaining pioneers hear of the order for demolition, when they petitioned Congressman Loud, on the committee of naval affairs, to preserve the beloved old landmark, and efforts are now being made in Washington to save the structure. A buoy system was later introduced, so that deep-draught steamers would not go too far toward the Kawkawlin, which swift running stream is also ever busy carrying down the sediments gathered along its banks. The fact that not one single wreck with loss of life or property has taken place there for 30 years or more speaks well for the fine harbor facilities, and easy accessibility of Bay City, by our lake craft.

    Note: Capt. Malden was light-house keeper.

    Michigan Historical Collections, Vol X, 1888

    By Ephram S. Williams, of Flint.

    In the years 1836, 37 and 38 we had living with us a gentleman and his family, consisting of his wife and two beautiful daughters, by the name of Jospeh J. Malden, formerly a sea captain. The captain and his family were very much esteemed and respected. Mrs. Malden was a good, motherly, lovely woman; the daughters were married in Saginaw; the eldest was married to James Busby, one to a Mr. Beach, and the other to Mr. Palmer. Mr. Palmer established a tannery, the first in Saginaw. In a few years he died, and at about the same time Mrs. Malden died. Both were much missed in our little settlement. The captain remained with us a few years; he received the appointment of light house keeper at the Island of Mackinaw.

    History of Bay County, Michigan - 1883.

    Dewitt C. Brawn, son of the late Peter Brawn, was born in , December 18, 1850. He came to Zilwaukee, Mich., with his parents, and remained there two years, when he came to Bay City. His father was appointed by the Government of Michigan as light-house keeper, which office he held until his death, which occurred January 21, 1872. Dewitt C. remained five years with his mother, attending to the light-house, but is at present engaged with the Smith Tug Line. He was married November 30, 1876 to Mb, and has two children.

    Additional Notes:

      1850s – William Pomeroy, an early sawmill man, was lighthouse keeper for three years. (History of Bay County, Mich - 1883)

      1857 - Thomas Simpson, and old pioneer of the valley, kept the lighthouse at the mouth of the river in 1847. He died at Saginaw. (Residents of Bay County, 1847, Albert Miller)

      1862 – Peter Brawn, born in 1809, at Penobscot, Maine, became lighthouse keeper, which he held to his death in 1873. His wife, Julia R. Toby, continued to maintain the lighthouse after his death.

      1938 - The first lighthouse was torn down and a new built about 1938. (Bay County Past and Present)

    Subject Notes

    Light House 2013
    by Bay City Times.

    Entrance to Saginaw River
    off Saginaw Bay.

    Related Pages:
    Brawn, Dewitt C.
    Brawn, Peter
    Pomeroy, William
    Internet Resources:
  • [Saginaw River Marine Historical Society]
  • [Article by Dave Rogers, MyBayCity.com]
  • [Wikipeddia] MyBayCity.com
  • People Referenced
    Barry, Mr.
    Beach, Mr.
    Birney, James G.
    Britain, Mr.
    Brawn, Dewitt
    Brawn, Peter
    Busby, James
    Clark, Mr.
    Comstock, Mr.
    Cooper, Mr.
    Davis, Mr.
    Ellis, Mr.
    Hough, Mr.
    Johnson, Levi
    Kawkawlin, MI
    Loud, Congressman
    Malden, Joseph J.
    Manning, Mr.
    McDonell, Mr.
    Palmer, Mr.
    Pomeroy, Wm.
    Rumsey, Mr.
    Simson, Thomas
    Summers, Mr.
    Stiles, Capt.
    Toby, Julia
    Washinton, DC
    Wolverton, Stephen
    Subjects Referenced
    Bay City, MI
    Berrien Co., MI
    Cass River, MI
    Cleveland, OH
    Lake St. Clair, MI
    Lower Saginaw, MI
    Mackinaw Island, MI
    Monroe Co., MI
    Saginaw, MI
    Smith Tug Line
    St. Joseph River, MI
    Tuscola Road
    Zilwaukee, MI
    WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.