131-year-old Mason farmhouse showcases vast war memento collection
By RACHEL GRECO
Lansing State Journal
AP Member Exchange
MASON — Five generations of Scott Shattuck’s family have lived in his 131-year-old farmhouse.
The white house, with its wrap-around porch sits on more than 12 acres. Shattuck’s grandfather and father were born there. He grew up there, and raised his kids there.
The property is a family legacy, renovated carefully two decades ago to maintain as much of its past as possible.
The 3,000-square-foot home is steeped in local history, the Lansing State Journal reported.
But you have to look closer to see what else Shattuck has turned the property into — a haven for local military history.
The only clue from the outside of the home is a statue of Amos Steele, a prominent Mason resident who died at the Battle of Gettysburg. It sits in Shattuck’s front yard, greeting cars as they pull in the home’s driveway.
For more than 25 years Shattuck has been collecting war memorabilia and historical items that have deep ties to Ingham County.
A trip out to the carriage house on his property won’t turn up horses, straw or antique transportation.
“I keep stories of our military alive out there,” Shattuck said.
Shattuck was a teenager when he found a box filled with his own family’s Civil War legacy. It was tucked away in an upstairs closet on the second floor of the home.
The items inside it — including knives, artillery fuses, artwork, a spoon, a pair of spectacles and buckles and buttons from a war uniform — belonged to Shattuck’s great-great-great grandfather.
Shattuck never forgot about the collection and, years later, he asked his grandparents if he could have it.
Those odds and ends became Shattuck’s first war memorabilia display.
They sat in his home’s front room when he moved into the family home in 1999. They are now part of an extensive collection that spans more than 150 years of U.S. conflicts, and requires its own space.
Shattuck’s 57. He’s been collecting historical pieces of Ingham County’s veteran history since he was 25.
The collection is broad, and most of it is housed inside the property’s carriage house, built in 2009 to model one that might have been constructed a century ago.
There are antique windows from a Grand Army of the Republic hall, weapons and journals, letters and medals. Military uniforms from nearly every conflict in the country’s history are displayed on mannequins.
Photos, Civil War drums and other items are displayed on the walls, on shelves and in glass cases.
Some of the items are more than 150 years old, and date back to the Civil War. Others belonged to local veterans who served in World War I and II, and the Vietnam War.
“When you ask me how many pieces I have, I don’t really know,” Shattuck said on a recent tour of the space. “It’s something I evolved and grew. What you pay attention to grows, and so I really kind of leaned into the stories of our past, and that just became more and more a mantra, something I was really interested in.”
Over the years Shattuck has connected with countless residents who have entrusted him with their own family’s war memorabilia.
“You should never say no,” he said, of the historical items that have come his way.
He’s also returned items to family members who didn’t know they existed, when he finds them.
Carl Woodard of Dansville is a friend and a Navy veteran who served during the Vietnam War.
The collection is “100% in keeping” with Shattuck’s true passion for history, he said.
“Most of these things, if not all of the items, were things local men and women had,” Woodard said. “This is a personal collection. These were all Ingham County residents, and you just couldn’t find a better caretaker.”
Shattuck said he cares about every item he’s collected, and often shares them when asked.
“Vets come and visit,” Shattuck said. “The American Legion post tries to do an annual meeting here. Family members come to see their loved one’s items on display. It’s about keeping the story alive, preserving a piece of history, using it for the betterment of society.”
Someday Shattuck envisions establishing a public museum in downtown Mason, but until then he said he’s simply watching over pieces of history.
“All those things in the past create a mosaic that represents who we are today, the good and the bad,” Shattuck said. “I think the more we understand the past, the more we understand who we are, and I think that helps us move forward.”