The Ghost Town of Summitville, Michigan
A Legacy of Christian Ancestors
Douglas B. Sharp
This old ledger was donated to the Archives of Michigan on 11/28/2018. It is available for the public to view there.
Summitville, Michigan was a lumbering town on the Pere Marquette Railroad about four miles west of Chase. Today, there is very little evidence that there was a town at the junction of State Road and U.S. 10. There is indeed a summit, which currently is etched with ORV trails, and the old railroad bed is also a trail. The book, Michigan Ghosts Towns by R. L. Dodge, Glendon Publishing, Las Vegas NV, 1971, has an entry about Summitville: In 1877 a village in Chase Township on the F. & P. M. Railroad, 9 miles west of Reed City. “Has one sawmill and seven other sawmills nearby. S. G. Randall, postmaster and station agent.” Samuel G. Randall was my great-great-great grandfather.
In my grandmother’s attic, I found the old ledger that belonged to Samuel G. Randall. It was apparently passed on to his son John Randall, then to his granddaughter Minnie Randall, who was the sister of my great-grandmother Mable Randall. Minnie was married to Elmer Thompson and when Elmer died, he left an old lumber baron’s house in Lewiston to my grandmother, which our family used for many years as a vacation home. This ledger undoubtedly was found in Uncle Elmer’s old house. What follows are scanned images from the old ledger.
The entries in the old ledger start in 1839. What is remarkable about this book, though, is that it is filled with marvelous pencil drawings, poetry, music, newspaper clippings, letters and other pieces that are snippets of information about someone’s life. My conclusion from the evidence found in this ledger is that these ancestors of mine were highly educated, intelligent, talented, and with spiritual qualities I have come to greatly admire, and hope to meet someday in heaven. It is my pleasure and privilege to share these snippets of Michigan history with you.
My impressions are that the people of that time took great pleasure in poetry, music, penmanship, and had a high regard for spiritual, romantic, and emotional expression. The poetry by Edward Randall, especially the Indian’s Adieu, exemplifies the precise care that they took to craft their words to express their feelings.
This leads me to ask a question. What lasting legacies are we leaving behind that will be observed by our descendants 150 years from now? My ancestors’ testimonies of their faith in God is an inspiration to me, and I am certain by their actions I am reaping the benefits of their prayers.