julie maxson, peninsula community library, old mission peninsula, crochet, old mission gazette, old mission, old mission michigan, old mission crafters, peninsula township
Old Mission Peninsula Bedspread | Julie Maxson Photo
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I’ve had a couple of requests recently to help solve two Old Mission Peninsula mysteries. I’m hoping one of you might be able to help us figure these out or maybe even offer some clues.

OMP MYSTERY #1 – THE CASE OF THE BEAUTIFUL BEDSPREAD

The first request comes from Julie Maxson, who was the director of the Peninsula Community Library during the time my mom, Mary Johnson, was on the library board.

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Julie has a lovely hand-made bedspread consisting of extremely detailed and beautiful needlework. The spread is ecru in color and has been carefully stored. Julie is planning to donate it for a Peninsula Community Library fundraiser (read more about the fundraising campaign to build a new library here).

She says the spread was made by a very skilled needleworker who lived on the Old Mission Peninsula, but has been deceased for at least 20 years. Whoever made the spread gave it to OMP resident Thelma Crawford, and Thelma gave it to Julie many years ago.

“I want to donate it for a library fundraiser and would like to know who made it,” says Julie. “I remember a grainy newspaper article about this woman. I know this is a long shot, but thought I would ask.”

Hopefully, not TOO long a longshot, Julie. Anyone know who made this gorgeous bedspread? Here are some photos.

julie maxson, peninsula community library, old mission peninsula, crochet, old mission gazette, old mission, old mission michigan, old mission crafters, peninsula township
Old Mission Peninsula Bedspread | Julie Maxson Photo
julie maxson, peninsula community library, old mission peninsula, crochet, old mission gazette, old mission, old mission michigan, old mission crafters, peninsula township
Old Mission Peninsula Bedspread | Julie Maxson Photo

OMP MYSTERY #2 – THE CASE OF THE MIGRANT WORKERS

The second mystery comes from Wendy Warren, owner of Warren Orchards – Between the Bays (they sell farm fresh fruits and veggies in season during the warmer months, as well as jams, jellies, pies, maple syrup, honey and more all year long – check out their website here).

Wendy received a call from the grandson of some migrant workers who worked on the Old Mission Peninsula in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Their names were Cleve and Estelle McCaslin. Their grandson is trying to figure out which OMP farm they worked on.

The McCaslins were a white family from Tennessee who brought their grandson with them to the Old Mission Peninsula. We don’t know if there were other children or grandchildren with them, but the grandson remembers driving out M37 and turning left. We’re not sure if the farm was on the left, or if perhaps they drove down another road to get to the farm.

Any ideas on which farm this might have been? If they turned left, it must have either been a farm along the west side of M37 (Center Road) or perhaps a farm on the west side of the Peninsula.

Thanks for your help with these two Old Mission Peninsula mysteries! Leave thoughts in the comments below at the bottom of this article.

A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers and magazines like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So I started my own newspaper.

Because Old Mission Gazette is a "Reader Supported Newspaper" -- meaning it exists because of your financial support -- I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks our way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the OMP. In a time when local news is becoming a thing of the past, supporting an independent community newspaper is more important now than ever.

To keep the Gazette going, click here to make a donation. Thank you so much for your support. -jb

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8 COMMENTS

  1. Both of those are very interesting stories. I’m trying to think back to the people that Thelma would have spent time with, and was she part of the OMW group? Hopefully someone will know something about it. The other one was a long time ago – I hope a farm family remembers that family name.

  2. I’ve examined my share of needle work pieces, that bedspread is amazing. I can only imagine the hours put into this item. It looks like she used very high quality fibers as well. Good luck on getting answers.

  3. Hi, I am writing to inquire about the Hermitage at Old Mission which is where my great grandparents were from. The name was Montague. My grandmother was raised there with her siblings until they moved to South Alabama in the early 1900’s. Her father was a boat builder. Any information would be appreciated. Jean Lulue email : [email protected]

    • Thanks for the note. I know of two clans of Montagues, one was the Amos Montague kinfolk who lived along Montague Road about a third of the way out on the Peninsula. The other was a family who lived on Bay Street in Old Mission village proper just up from Haserot Beach.I went to school with some of the Bay Street bunch back in the 50s and 60s. They were Pete, Terry, Dennis and I believe there was a sister and maybe other siblings. I don’t recall the parents’ names. Amos was quite a character in his day and passed away at a ripe old age some 30 or 40 years ago, so I would start by looking in the archives of the Grand Traverse Herald and the Traverse City Record Eagle.

      Tim Boursaw
      Associate Editor
      Old Mission Gazette

  4. RE: your Tennessee migrant worker–a long shot: I remember a boy from Tennessee who picked cherries at the William Wells cherry farm, about 1/2 mile north of Gray road on Peninsula Drive. This would have been in the late 1950s or 1960-2, somewhere around there. I thought there were other people from Tennessee with him. He was probably 12-15. I remember him because he was kind of a jokester–a goofy, happy guy with a thick Southern accent who would humor me by repeating words I would ask him to, just so I could hear him pronounce them. One day, he yelled at a fellow cherry picker to be careful on the ladder or “you might fall on your B-U utt!”. My repeating the expression later in the day to my mother did not go over well. No sure what his name was, but I think he was only there a year. Mr. Wells was probably in his late 60’s or early 70’s around that time–a thin average sized man. Hope that helps.

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