1845 letter from Thunder Bay Island discovered

Photo Courtesy of Kamila Mazurek George and Diane Kullis of Holly, dressed in period garb, traveled to Alpena recently to share an 1845 letter they found regarding Thunder Bay Island. A portion of the letter is pictured at right

Members of the Northeast Michigan Genealogical Society hosted an interesting couple at their annual meeting held Oct. 28 at the Alpena Family History Center. George and Diane Kullis of Holly came dressed in period garb to bring some history of Thunder Bay Island.

George Kullis shared that he had discovered a 1845 letter in the rafters of an old home near Holly. The letter was from a resident on the island, and the aged document provided insight into life of the island.

The letter was especially significant as it revealed the surnames of many residents on the island at that time. It also revealed the fact a cemetery and general store were present on the island in 1845. The letter proved to be written by a sister to her sibling regarding the death of their father.

In appreciation of their efforts, George and Diane Kullis were presented with a copy of “The Smugglers of Thunder Bay Island,” produced by the Northeast Michigan Genealogical Society through the efforts of Diane Laseck a few years ago. Copies also are available at the Besser Museum.

The couple is looking for a home for the document, which they plan to frame in a double-glass frame.

A short business meeting also was held, during which three members were honored with certificates of appreciation and candles as they were dubbed “those who light the way.”

The honorees included Mary Ackerman, who has been archiving the Burston Negative Collection at the Besser Museum for four years as well as maintaining a committee chairmanship for the projects committee.

Edie Kelley was honored for indexing the society newsletters, “Roots & Branches,” for the years 1993-2015. She also input data on the Burston collection for the years 1936-1967 and reviewed the Nancy Wessler manuscript before entering it into the manuscript collection.

Robert (Bob) Lakin received an award for composing over 500 World War I veterans biographies during 2016-17. The society plans to publish a text on WWI veterans of Alpena County in the future.

A potluck meal was then held as four members read memories of their ancestors. All were considered wonderful, but Linda Pletcher had the winning story with her memory of her great-grandfather, Bernard Enger. She received a gift of “Following the Paper Trail.”

The evening offered a time for laughter as well as reminiscing, and an enthusiastic conclusion to a year of family history discoveries.