Posted tagged ‘Park Cemetery’

My Newest Book: Haunted Marquette-Ghost Stories from the Queen City

October 2, 2017

October 2, 2017—Local author Tyler Tichelaar will be giving his readers a treat this Halloween season. On Wednesday, October 11 at 6:00 p.m. at the Marquette Regional History Center he will be releasing his newest book, Haunted Marquette: Ghost Stories from the Queen City. The book contains more than forty stories of ghosts and paranormal activity within the city of Marquette.

Tyler Tichelaar, 7th generation Marquette resident, has spent years collecting stories of Marquette’s hauntings.

“For years I’ve heard stories of various hauntings and collected them,” says Tichelaar. “I never thought I’d have enough for a book, but as I interviewed people, one story led to another. I’ve found sufficient evidence to make me believe several buildings in Marquette may be haunted or have experienced hauntings in the past.”

Haunted Marquette is divided into several sections on hauntings in Marquette’s churches and cemeteries, the downtown businesses, the lakeshore, various houses, and Northern Michigan University. Tichelaar researched each location to determine the likelihood of a haunting there and whether any historical evidence existed to make the haunting plausible. He also interviewed numerous people about their personal experiences with ghosts.

“I was afraid I would end up talking to a bunch of crazy people when I set out to write this book,” said Tichelaar, “but everyone I talked to was very sincere. Not one of them was seeking attention; most had not believed in ghosts before until they had a strange experience they could not explain logically.”

Numerous city landmarks are highlighted in the book as locations where ghosts have been sighted, including the former Holy Family Orphanage, Park Cemetery, the Marquette lighthouse, the Landmark Inn, the Peter White Public Library, and the Thomas Fine Arts building at NMU.

“Haunted Marquette” highlights more than forty places in Marquette that may be haunted.

“Only a couple of the hauntings can really be described as frightening,” says Tichelaar. “Most of these stories are about unexplainable phenomena; a few are heart-wrenching when you realize the tragedies some of the alleged ghosts experienced while still human, which has caused them to linger on this earth.”

Tichelaar will release Haunted Marquette at the Marquette Regional History Center on Wednesday, October 11. A presentation will begin at 6:00 p.m. and last about an hour, followed by a book signing. Partial proceeds from the book signing will be donated to the history center.

Tyler R. Tichelaar is a seventh generation Marquette resident. He is the author of The Marquette Trilogy, My Marquette, and numerous other books. In 2011, he received the Outstanding Writer Award in the Marquette County Arts Awards, and the Barb H. Kelly Historic Preservation Award. His novel Narrow Lives won the 2008 Reader Views Historical Fiction Award. In 2014, his play Willpower was produced by the Marquette Regional History Center at Kaufman Auditorium. You can learn more at Tichelaar’s website and at the MRHC’s website


Nathan Kaufman and the Breitung Family

September 13, 2012

The following passage is taken from my book My Marquette:

The Breitung home, previously at 334 E. Ridge in Marquette, is no longer standing, but its history provides an interesting look into the lives of its owners. The house was built by Edward Breitung and his wife, Mary. Breitung, the son of a Lutheran minister, was born in 1831 in the Duchy of Saxe-Meiningen in Germany. He attended the College of Mining in Meiningen, and then in 1849, immigrated to the United States and settled in Kalamazoo County, Michigan. He moved to Detroit in 1851 and became a clerk in a mercantile house. His mining and mercantile background led him to Marquette and later Negaunee where he continued his mercantile business. By 1864, he completely transitioned into iron mining. He located several profitable mines in Marquette and Menominee Counties, and later became involved with gold and silver mining in Colorado. Breitung Township in Minnesota is named after him for his work in developing its Soudan Mine in the 1880s. Breitung Township in Dickinson County, Michigan is also named for him.

Edward Breitung became involved in politics and was elected to the Michigan State House of Representatives in 1873 and 1874. He served as a Michigan State Senator in 1877 and 1878. He was Negaunee’s mayor in 1879, 1880, and 1882, and from 1883-1885, he was in the United States House of Representatives for Michigan’s 11th congressional district.

Mr. Breitung met his wife, Mary, in a boarding house in Republic, Michigan where he often ate when in town on business and where she worked as a chambermaid. They would have two children, William, who died young, and Edward N. Breitung who was fifteen at the time of his father’s death in 1887. Breitung built this home just before his death.

Six years after Mr. Breitung’s death, Mary Breitung married Nathan Kaufman, whom her husband had relied on to handle many business details for him. The marriage created gossip that Mary and Nathan had been seeing each other before Mr. Breitung’s death, but considering they waited six years to marry, that seems unlikely. The gossip was more due to people disliking Nathan Kaufman and being jealous of how the Kaufman family’s social position rose as a result of this marriage. In the 1890s, Nathan Kaufman would serve as mayor, be responsible for building the city hall, be involved in starting the Marquette Street Railway, and would help to establish and become president of the Savings Bank.

The Breitung Mausoleum, Park Cemetery, Marquette

The Breitung Mausoleum, Park Cemetery, Marquette

Meanwhile, Edward N. Breitung reached adulthood and married his stepfather’s younger sister Charlotte Graveraet Kaufman. Nathan Kaufman would continue to oversee operation of the Breitung money and businesses until his death in 1918.

When Nathan Kaufman died, his will left everything to the Kaufman rather than Breitung side of the family. When his wife, Mary Breitung Kaufman, went to court to break the will it resulted in a trial where so many unsavory details came out about Nathan that Mary decided to divorce him posthumously.

About the same time, Nathan’s younger brother, Louis Kaufman, built the impressive Kaufman Mausoleum in Park Cemetery—a scaled-down replica of the Parthenon in Greece and said to cost about three million dollars. To be buried in the marvelous marble mausoleum was not good enough reason for Mary to stay married to her deceased second husband. Today she is buried in the smaller Breitung mausoleum built of sandstone.

As for Mary’s son Edward Breitung who married Nathan Kaufman’s sister, they had their own fascinating family scandals, which you can read more about in my book My Marquette, available at

Carroll Watson Rankin’s Daughter Imogene

June 9, 2012

209 E. Arch St. Marquette – Home of Imogene Rankin Miller

Last night I was fortunate to see Monica Nordeen’s wonderful performance in Behind the Dandelions, the story of Carroll Watson Rankin, author of Dandelion Cottage. She brought the life of Marquette’s first author to life and Carrie Biolo did a marvelous job accompanying the story with music. I learned much about Rankin as a mother, wife, and aspiring author from the performance.

June has been named Dandelion Cottage Month by the Marquette Regional History Center and they have many wonderful activities this month to celebrate Dandelion Cottage, its author, and its place in Marquette history, including book discussions and walking tours. Be sure to visit the history center at for all the details as well as to get your copy of the timeless classic novel.

I’ve posted previously about Dandelion Cottage and Carroll Watson Rankin, so I thought in honor of the month I would post a section from my book My Marquette about Rankin’s daughter Imogene. This section was written for my book by my second cousin Nan Rushton, who worked for Imogene (Mrs. Miller) toward the end of her life. For more information, see my book My Marquette.

From My Marquette:

Carroll Watson Rankin’s daughter, Imogene Miller, lived at 209 E. Arch Street. She had married Stuart Miller and moved away but returned to Marquette with her husband when he retired; they bought this property just a block from where her sister, Phyllis, lived in the Rankin family home. My second cousin, Nanette Rushton, knew Mrs. Miller so I asked her to contribute her memories of the family:


Mrs. Miller was in her early nineties when I first met her and her “little sister” Phyllis Rankin, who was then in her eighties. Phyllis would go to the Garden Room Restaurant every day for lunch. I had been waitressing at the Coachlight and later the Garden Room at this time while working for the Trust Department at Union Bank. Some mutual friends, Homer and Margaret Hilton, called me to ask whether I was available to help a friend. They knew I worked for the Trust Department at Union Bank and wondered whether I would work for the Trust Department of First National, which handled all of Mrs. Miller’s business as well as that of her sister, Phyllis Rankin. Mrs. Miller had just lost her son, Berwick Rankin Miller, to a heart attack and was now living alone. She did not care to leave the house so needed someone to grocery shop and keep up the house. Her home was painted white, had a green mansard roof, and lace curtains in the tall windows.

Mrs. Miller’s house was almost exactly a block behind her parents’ house on Ridge Street where her sister Phyllis lived at that time. Across the street was a parking area for the Episcopal Church, an empty lot, and Dandelion Cottage with a couple of more houses on the block toward Pine. Mrs. Argeropoulus was then living in Dandelion Cottage. Her daughter Joyce and son-in-law Scott Matthews would eventually live next door to me. Mrs. Argeropoulus had quite a large garden and would bring beets and “greens” for Mrs. Miller that she liked.

Imogene Rankin Miller in her youth.

Mrs. Miller told me about how she became engaged to her husband at this time. In the early 1900s, Mr. Stuart Berwick Miller was in town to oversee the local branch of DuPont while it was being built; he was a chemical engineer in the munitions field. According to Mrs. Miller, he originally dated her sister Eleanor, but when he asked their father for Eleanor’s hand in marriage, Mr. Rankin said, “I have to have the eldest daughter married first.” So Mr. Miller ended up marrying Imogene, since she was the oldest. They were married in 1910, and they moved back “out east” when Mr. Miller was finished overseeing the project. Over the years, the Millers tried many times to have children. It was heartbreaking for Mrs. Miller that only her son Berwick had survived out of her many pregnancies. Because he never married and died before her, she never had any grandchildren.

When Mr. Miller retired from DuPont, they moved back to Marquette. Besides the house on Arch Street, they had a cabin for summer and hunting not far out of town. During World War II, Mr. Miller was volunteering in the Rationing Stamp office where he died at his desk. Mrs. Miller was always a member of the Episcopal Church and in 1952 she donated the stained glass rose window above the church entrance in her husband and mother’s memories.

Besides grocery shopping, I often visited with Mrs. Miller and stayed with her for a few hours. She did not have a TV until her sister, Phyllis talked her into buying one in 1981 by telling her, “Nan would really like to watch the royal wedding” (of Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer). I could have watched the wedding at home but played along so Mrs. Miller would buy a TV. Once she owned the TV, she rarely watched it. She preferred to do crossword puzzles, read books and magazines, (The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, etc) and read the five newspapers she subscribed to… the local Mining Journal, Washington Post, New York Times and a couple of others. She knew everything worth knowing without seeing anything on TV.

Working for Mrs. Miller was like having another grandparent. She was very shy, quiet, reserved, and very humble. I enjoyed hearing about her first ride in a car (the doctor had the first car in town), antidotes about the neighbors as she grew up at the turn of the century, her experiences out east involving the DuPont mansion when Stuart worked for the family. My interest in history was developed during our conversations. One day, she mentioned something about “…when my husband was in the war” I was trying to figure out if she meant World War I or World War II, so I asked, “Which war was that?” I was totally unprepared for her answer. She sat up straight, gave me a look with a pause, and said, “The Spanish-American War, of course!”

In January of 1986, Mrs. Miller passed away at the age of ninety-nine in her home. She had fallen in November, and then had round the clock nursing care at home since she refused to go to the hospital because her son had died there. She is buried with her family in Park Cemetery.

The best word to describe Mrs. Miller is “shy.” It’s always the first word that comes to my mind. She was very down to earth, unassuming, yet had known unique experiences in life. A conversation with Imogene Watson Rankin Miller was equal to interaction with an encyclopedia, history text, and society column all at the same time.

Hampson Gregory – “The Man who Made Marquette Beautiful”

May 2, 2012

The following post is taken from my book My Marquette:

The Hampson Gregory Home

The Hampson Gregory Home

This home (at 301 N. Fourth St. in Marquette) belonged to Hampson Gregory, a local architect and builder whom The Mining Journal said was the man more than any other who was responsible for building Marquette. Gregory was born in Devonshire, England in 1834. He and his family migrated to Canada and then arrived in Marquette in 1867. He frequently worked with sandstone, and many of his buildings reflect the style of English architecture common in his native Devonshire and neighboring Cornwall, England.

Among the buildings Gregory built were:

The Adams Home 200 E. Ridge

The Rankin Home 219 E. Ridge

The Merritt Home at 410 E. Ridge

The Call Home 450 E. Ridge

The Pickands Home 455 E. Ridge

The Hornbogen Home 212 E. Arch

The Read Home 425 E. Arch

The Powell Home 224 E. Michigan

The Ely Home at 135 W. Bluff

St. Mary’s Hospital (the original building, no longer there)

St. Peter’s Cathedral, prior to the 1935 fire

The first high school on Ridge Street, burnt in 1889

The Harlow Block on Washington Street

The Gregory Block on Washington Street (no longer there)

The Pickands Home - one of Hampson Gregory's masterpieces

The Pickands Home – one of Hampson Gregory’s masterpieces

Iron Bay Foundry on the corner of Lake and Washington, later to be the LS&I office

The First Methodist Church – (the foundation only)

The People’s State Bank in Munising, Michigan

One of his finest homes, the Merritt home, introduced Gregory to the Merritt family, and later his daughter, Clara would marry C.H. Merritt. The First Methodist Church has a memorial stained glass window to the Gregory family’s memory. Hampson Gregory died in 1922 and is buried in Park Cemetery. Today, nearly a century after his death, Gregory’s true memorial is the many homes and public buildings he built and which still stand today. The Mining Journal was correct—he remains one of the men most responsible for building Marquette.

Find out more about Hampson Gregory’s legacy in Marquette in My Marquette.

Marquette’s Catholic Cemeteries

March 5, 2012
Sign that today marks the Old Catholic Cemetery

Sign that today marks the Old Catholic Cemetery on Pioneer Road

The following passage is from My Marquette

Across the street from the former Brookridge Estate, on the corner of County Road 553 and Pioneer Road, is a patch of woods where once the Old Catholic Cemetery existed. It became the burial place for Marquette’s Catholics in 1861. Prior to that, Catholics had been buried on the property where the cathedral now stands. The new cemetery would within fifty years become the Old Catholic Cemetery. By the early 1900s, the new Holy Cross Cemetery off Wright Street opened, and between 1912 and 1925, some 165 Catholics’ remains were transferred from the old cemetery to the new one, although not all the bodies were removed.

While I do not know for certain where they rest, my best guess is that my great-great-grandparents, John Buschell, his wife Elizabeth, and maybe her second husband Jeremiah O’Leary are all buried in the Old Catholic Cemetery.

Today, the forest has reclaimed the old cemetery property off Pioneer Road. Gradually, while some of the bodies were left behind, all the gravestones were removed—some for a time in the 1980s I remember being in the front yard of the John Burt Pioneer home when it was still a museum, but eventually all the stones that remained intact were transferred to Holy Cross Cemetery where they lie in the grass, most of them scarcely readable.

Today, all Catholics are buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Marquette. In the cemetery’s early years, Catholics were strict that only Catholics could be buried there. As a result, my great-grandmother, Lily Buschell Molby, lies in Holy Cross while her husband, John Molby, not being Catholic, is buried in Park Cemetery, which accepted all denominations.

Pioneer Cemetery Gravestones now in Holy Cross Cemetery

By the 1980s, burial laws were less strict. John and Lily’s daughter, my grandmother, Grace Molby White, also married outside the Catholic Church, but she wanted to be buried in the Catholic cemetery, so my grandpa, raised a Baptist, also agreed to be buried there. Today my grandparents rest in Holy Cross Cemetery with my grandma’s family while my grandpa’s family rests in Park Cemetery.

A few years after my grandparents passed away, my parents bought plots near them in Holy Cross Cemetery, including plots for my brother and me. At the time, I wasn’t too crazy about having a grave plot waiting for me when I was only thirty years old, but I guess it doesn’t hurt to plan ahead.

Marquette’s First Ghost

October 28, 2010

Happy Halloween everyone! To celebrate the holiday, here is a ghost story from my novel The Queen City that Will Whitman tells to his grandchildren about Marquette’s first ghost.         

The Queen City: The Marquette Trilogy, Book Two

“All right, then,” said Will, winking at his granddaughters. “This story was first told to me by my father many years ago, but it’s completely true because I saw the ghost myself.”

            “Really?” asked Jimmy.

            “Yes, it all began back when Marquette was just a little town, newly settled. There were only a few buildings surrounded by large, scary forests.”

            “What year was it?” Jimmy asked.

            “Oh, it was way back in the 1800s–the 1850s I think.”

            “Almost a hundred years ago!” Jimmy gasped.

            “Yes, but first I have to tell you about when I was a boy, just a few years older than you. Back then, I lived on the farm with my father and my brother and my sisters.”

            “Barry’s grandma is your sister, right Grandpa?” said Jimmy.

            “Yes,” said Will. “We all lived on the farm with my father, a few miles out of town, but my grandparents lived in town. They lived up on top of the hill. Sometimes I would go visit them on the way home from school. My brother Clarence would usually go with me, but that day he had been too sick to go to school so I had to walk home by myself. That was partly why I went to visit my grandparents. They didn’t know Clarence was sick so I wanted to let them know–that, and I wanted to ask them what I should buy my pa for Christmas.

            “I wasn’t going to stay long, but my grandmother, like all good grandmothers, insisted I have some cake, and my grandfather started telling me one of his stories. He was always full of stories and could talk for hours.”

            “Sounds like someone I know,” laughed Ronald.

            “We’re all big storytellers in our family, I guess,” said Will, “my father was the same too. So anyway, by the time I left my grandparents’ house, it was getting dark. It was also starting to snow. Now that I think back on it, I’m surprised my grandparents even let me leave because it looked like a storm was brewing, but back in those days, hardly anyone had a telephone so I couldn’t call my father, and I didn’t want him to worry if I didn’t make it home.

            “Just as I set off for our farm, the snow picked up. I only walked a couple blocks before I was huffing and puffing as I struggled against the blowing wind and tried to see where I was going. When I reached Park Cemetery, I decided to take a short cut through it. By then, the snow was up to my knees and–”

            “Oh come on, Pa, within three blocks of walking the snow was up to your knees!” laughed Ada.

            “You don’t know how bad the winters were back then,” said Will. “Anyway, I got into the cemetery, but the snow was so high by then I was walking on top of the gravestones.”

            Jimmy looked alarmed at the thought of walking over the dead.

            “Then I tripped on a stone sticking up out of the snow. I remember falling forward and my face landing in the snow. That’s all I remember. I think I passed out from exhaustion. When I woke, I found myself huddled up inside the door of a crypt where I was sheltered from the wind. For a second I was confused, but then I looked out into the storm. There was a young girl, about my age, walking away from me.

Annabella Stonegate's Grave

            “At first, I thought she was also lost in the storm. I called to her, but she only looked back and smiled. I remember thinking it was odd I could see her smile so clearly when the snow was coming down so hard I couldn’t see anything else. A sort of glow about her made her stand out despite the storm. Then, all of a sudden, she just disappeared. I couldn’t believe it. I sat there, wondering whether I had ever really seen her, or whether the storm just made it look as if she had disappeared. At that very second, the snow stopped, so I got up and looked for her footsteps. I tried to follow them, only to discover they disappeared at a gravestone sticking up out of the snow.”

            “The snow probably drifted and covered the rest of her footprints,” said Louis.

            “And the snow can play tricks when the wind whips it around,” said Thelma. “You probably never saw an actual girl. Why, I’ve often seen gusts of snow that looked like angels floating over the earth.”

            “Now listen,” said Will. “I can’t explain it, but let me tell the rest.”

            The grownups smiled good-naturedly, but the children’s eyes widened as he finished his tale.

            “When I got home, I told my father what had happened, and then he told me the story of Annabella Stonegate.”

            “Who’s she?” asked Lucy.

            “Just listen and you’ll find out,” said Will.

            “Annabella’s a dumb name,” said Jimmy. “And why does it have to be a girl ghost?”

            “Well, Jimmy, I’m sorry,” said Will, “but since I’m telling you what really happened to me, I don’t have any control over it being a boy or a girl ghost.”

            “So what did your father tell you?” asked Jessie.

            “He told me Annabella Stonegate is buried in Park Cemetery. She met an early death as a little girl, and several people have seen her ghost since then.”

            “How did she die?” asked Jimmy, hoping for a gruesome death to make up for a girl ghost.

            “Well,” said Will, “Marquette was so small during the first few years when it was founded that Annabella had no other little girls to play with, and she was very lonely. Her parents lived outside of town, but sometimes they let her walk a mile to a nearby farm to go visit some other little girls. Her mother made her always promise to be home before dark.”

            “How far did she have to walk?” asked Lucy.

            “About a mile I said,” Will replied.

            “How far is a mile?” Jimmy wanted to know.

            “About halfway from here to downtown,” said Will.

            “That’s far,” said Jimmy. “She might get lost.”

            “Not if she followed the road,” said Lucy.

            “Will you let me tell the story?” asked their grandfather, thinking he never would have started to tell one if he had known it would mean so many interruptions.

            “Well, Pa, they just want to understand better,” said Eleanor.

            “Well, they can ask questions after I finish,” said Will. “Now, one day, just before Christmas–since this is a Christmas ghost story you know,” he said, winking at Ellen, “Annabella went to bring Christmas presents to her friends, Virginia and Georgianna Ridge. She stayed a couple hours at the house while she opened her present from the Ridges, and they had a little tea party like little girls love to have.”

            Lucy smiled; she loved playing tea party with her dolls.

            “When it started to get dark, Mrs. Ridge told Annabella she had better head home. Mrs. Ridge was sorry her husband was not home to drive Annabella back, but Annabella was a brave girl, as little girls growing up in the Northwoods have to be, so she put on her winter coat, and picked up the Christmas present she had gotten from her friends, and she was–”

            “What was the Christmas present?” asked Maud.

            “Ah, I was just coming to that,” said Will. “She had gotten a lovely new doll for Christmas, a doll the likes of which had never before been seen in Marquette in those early days. And Annabella loved it. She carried it beneath her coat because it had a china face, and she didn’t want to drop and break it or even for the cold weather to crack it. But she had barely left the house when a snowstorm started up, and as it got darker out, and the snow got fiercer, she lost her way. She wasn’t sure which direction she was going, but she just kept walking, hoping to see the light from her parents’ window. Instead, she saw an Indian. Now all the Indians around Marquette were friendly to the settlers, but Annabella was just a little girl, and the boys at school had told her that Indians like to scalp little girls.”

            “Sound like typical boys,” laughed Ada.

            “What’s scalp?” asked Maud.

            “To cut off your hair,” said Will, giving a mild description that relieved Eleanor, who did not want her girls to have nightmares.

            “What’s so bad about getting a haircut?” asked Maud.

            “Maybe she had really beautiful hair, so she didn’t want it cut off,” said Judy.

            “So,” said Will, “when Annabella saw the Indian, she was so scared she ran out into the storm and never was seen alive again.”

            “Did the Indian get her?” asked Jimmy.

            “No, but the Indian tried to find her because he was a good Indian, and he knew she was going the wrong way. Only he couldn’t see her footsteps because of the blowing, drifting snow. Finally he went to her parents’ house to tell them he had seen her. Then her father walked to the Ridges’ farm to try and find her. He and Mr. Ridge searched for Annabella all night, but it was an Indian who found her and brought her home, frozen to death.”

            “Oh no,” squeaked Ellen.

            “Yes. It was very sad,” said Will. “She was such a sweet little girl that everyone in Marquette cried when they heard she had died.”

            Beth could not help shedding a tear, as she remembered how her own father had died from being caught in a blizzard.

            “Is that the end?” asked Jimmy.

            “Almost,” said Will. “Annabella was such a good girl that people say God blessed her by letting her come back to earth to help people who are lost in blizzards. That’s why I saw her ghost in Park Cemetery. She must have pulled me from where I fell over in the snow and laid me in the doorway of the crypt where I would stay warm.”

            “So she’s not really so much a ghost as an angel,” said Jessie.

            “I guess so,” said Will. “They say good people tend to become angels.”

            Most of the grownups smiled, appreciating the story’s moral ending, but Henry only laughed.

            “Pa, you told me that story when I was little, and I remember going to Park Cemetery to look for Annabella’s gravestone, but I never could find it.”

            “You must not have looked hard enough,” said Will.

            Henry laughed again, but Jimmy, despite his initial dislike for a girl ghost, said, “There are lots of gravestones in the cemetery, Daddy. You probably missed it. We should go look again.”

            “Why do you even need to look?” asked Will. “Don’t you trust your grandpa?”

            “If he’s smart, he won’t,” Henry smiled.

            “Well, the gravestone is there,” said Will. “And furthermore, I went to school with one of the Stonegate boys. He told me about Annabella–she was his father’s older sister–and when I told him the next day at school that I had seen her ghost, he verified it was her.”

            “You’re too much, Pa,” said Henry.

            “Can we open our presents now?” asked Maud.