Letter written by B. F. Hill [Benjamin Franklin Hill], Benzie County, Michigan, to Alexander McDaniel, Wilmette, Illinois, on September 14, 1881.

Hill, B. F., Author
McDaniel, Alexander
Media Type:
Item Type:
Letter answers McDaniel's inquiry about the date [Wendell] Alles made his first land claim in the Wilmette area. The letter continues with an eye-witness description of the wreck of the Canadian freighter, Columbia, on September 10, 1881 near Hill's home in Frankfort, Michigan.
Date of Publication:
14 Sep 1881
Date Of Event:
10 Sep 1881
Personal Name(s):
Alles, Wendell ; Hill, Benjamin Franklin
Local identifier:
Document 12
Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
  • Latitude: 44.6369429 Longitude: -86.2339842
Copyright Statement:
Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
Wilmette Public Library
WWW address
Agency street/mail address
1242 Wilmette Avenue
Wilmette, IL
U.S.A. Phone: 847-256-6930
Full Text


Frankfort Sept. 14, 1881

A. McDaniel

Wilmette, Ill.

Dear Friend in ancer [answer] too [to] your request

will say according to my best relection [recollection]

Mr. Allis [Alles] came the yeare [year] after we came and

made his first claim whare [where] Mr.

Clifford now live [lives] or at least whare [where] one

of them lives and when Father

mooved [moved] up on the ridge from the Mulford place

E. Alles had moved in to [into] the house

or shantey that Father had ingage [engaged] of

Breret [Bre?et] and we moved in with him

and lived with him for sevrel [several] dayes [days]

untill [until] he could get a shantey built

and Father wente [went] over and helped him

get his house redey [ready] to go in[.] I think

that was the yeare [year] 1838 and wee [we] came the

year 1837 and lived on the Mulford[.?]

[p.2] lived on the lore [lower?] ridge one yeare [year][.] don't

know but Mrs. Hill can in form [inform] you

as she and ware [were] hunting our record

when I was home last[.] Wal [well] I am glad

that bisnes [business] is good with you and that

property is mooving [moving] sum [some] for I want

to see Wilmette build [built] up a little

and wood [would] lik [like] to help it a little my

self [myself] and will try and help some

when I get there but can't tell when that

wil [will] be but shall come soon shure [sure] to

stay a weeak [week] or too [two][.] I had some delay

in geting [getting] lumber shiped [shipped] fasta nough [fast enough.]

thare [there] has ben [been] a good deal of excitement

hare [here] a bout [about] the loss of the Collumbey [Columbia]

a Canady [Canadian] propelor [propellor.] She was lost

Saterday [Saturday] night last [September 10, 1881.] She was sunk

rite [right] opisit [opposite] of our place heare [here.] She was

loaded with corn had 20 thousand bush [bushels]

and as sh [she] came a long [along] heare [here] the west

wind was blowing harde [hard] and the

[p.3] sea run vary [very] high and strong and

her cargo shifted and listed her

over on one side and she became unm-

anageble lost her corse [course] and the sea

so strong that it brok [broke] in hear [her] lea

ganway [gangway] and then she filed [filled] with water

and then her upper deck was swep [swept] a

way [away] and she sunk in les [less] time then [than]

I can tell it[.] The crew consisted of 20

and one ladey [lady] Caban [cabin?] maid one pasanger [passenger]

ladey[.] They ware [were] left hanging on to [onto] the

upper deck whitch [which] floated and thare [there]

was too [two] boates [boats] loard [lowered] and the capten and

8 or 9 persones [persons] got in to [into] his boat and start-

ed for shore and in a bout [about] ten minetes [minutes]

later the stewart [steward] and cook and five men

and the ladey [lady] pasanger [passenger] got redey [ready] and

started for shore [.] thay [they] ware [were] site [sight] of the

Frankfort Lite [light] and started for it and the

last boat landad [landed] on shore and as she

struck the shore jest [just] south of the peeare [pier?]

[p.4] she ended over and threw the peeple [people]

all out in to [into] the serf [surf] and the men all

but one got out of the water and he was

puled [pulled] out unconches [unconscious] and the Ladey [lady]

was struck by the boat and probable [probably]

killed but was not found till ...? [next?]

morning[.] The other boat came in with

out [without] her pasangers [passengers] and thay [they] have been

comeing [coming] in evry [ever] since six of them

and probble [probably] a bout [about] 3 more will come

in[.] the balance went down with the

vesal [vessel] seven out of the 22 ware [were] saved

and the rest lost[.] the vesal [vessel] was a

see [sea] worthely [worthy] and a god [good] saleing [sailing] vesal [vessel]

and she had a nobel [noble] crew and was

well managed[.] did not think of

ritin [writing] so much when I started so good

night as it is late[.] hope to come home

soon and see my friends if I can kind [find?]


Yours truley [truly],

B. F. Hill

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Letter written by B. F. Hill [Benjamin Franklin Hill], Benzie County, Michigan, to Alexander McDaniel, Wilmette, Illinois, on September 14, 1881.