Posted tagged ‘Spanish American War’

Marquette’s Historic Pendill Homes – One for Sale

April 14, 2014

Marquette’s pioneer family left behind it a legacy that included owning one of Marquette’s earliest drugstores, family member Olive Pendill being the first historian of the Marquette Historical Society, and two beautiful historic homes, one of which is now for sale. Both houses and the information included here is taken from my book My Marquette, available at

The Pendill Home at 322 E. Ridge St. in Marquette.

The Pendill Home at 322 E. Ridge St. in Marquette.

The first generation of Pendills in Marquette, James and his wife Flavia, lived in this beautiful home at 322 E. Ridge Street. James Pendill was born in New York in 1812, and after living in Niles, Michigan and Sault Ste. Marie, he came to Marquette in 1855. He was the representative for Marquette County in 1863-1864 and after moving to Negaunee in 1867, he became its mayor from 1872-1873. He is credited with being the father of Negaunee because he was responsible for laying out a plan for the city. He then moved back to Marquette where he was mayor from 1879-1882. He also was city supervisor for many years and a school board trustee. Mr. Pendill opened the Pendill and McComber mines, and he was also in the mercantile business and built many storefronts and homes and also operated a sawmill. Mr. Pendill died in 1885.

The second generation Pendill home has a fascinating history as well. This house, built in 1878 and located at 401 N. Front Street, was home to James and Flavia’s son, Frank. Frank owned Pendill drugstore in Marquette, which operated for many, many years. His brother Louis also lived here and was involved in the drugstore. Later, their sister Olive lived here after her parents had passed away. Olive was a registered nurse who served in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. She later became the first superintendent of nurses at St. Luke’s Hospital, and she was the first historian of the Marquette County Historical Society when it was founded in 1918. She died in 1957 at the age of eighty-nine.

Several visitors and owners of the house in more recent years have claimed to see the ghost of a woman in white inside the home, although it is unclear who the woman is. I recently spoke to one former owner who told me the ghost liked to move about items associated with St. Paul’s Episcopalian Church. In any case, the ghost is reputably harmless.

If you’re looking to buy a historic home in Marquette, even if a haunted one, 401 N. Front Street is now for sale through Gina Feltner Bouws of RE/MAX. The house is listed at $209,900 and interior photos of it and further information can be found at RE/MAX’s website: You can’t beat the location, being within walking distance of the library, downtown, many churches, Third Street and Kaufman Auditorium. I wish you your chance to own a piece of Marquette’s history.

The Historic Pendill Home at 401 N. Front St. in the late 1800s. (Photo courtesy of the Marquette Regional History Center)

The Historic Pendill Home at 401 N. Front St. in the late 1800s. (Photo courtesy of the Marquette Regional History Center)

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.

Remembering Marquette’s Veterans

November 10, 2010

In honor of Veteran’s day, I’m posting the section from My Marquette on Marquette’s Veterans Memorial. In addition, two great books about Veterans by U.P. authors are Milly Balzarini’s The Lost Road Home and Loraine Koski’s Elwood’s War, both available at local bookstores.

Marquette's Peace globe and Veterans Walk

From My Marquette         

The number of Marquette’s sons who went to the war are too numerous to mention in full. Each one gave Marquette reason to be proud of its steadfast residents. David McClintock became a submarine commander at the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Otto Hultgren would be wounded three times, yet live to be Marquette’s most decorated hero. Many families made multiple sacrifices: William White would serve with the air force in England, while his brother Roland served in France and Germany, and his brother Frank was stationed in the Pacific. The U.S. Naval Air Base in Illinois was flooded with soldiers from Northern State Teachers College who became known as the “U.P. Wildcats,” after the college’s team name; several accomplished pilots would spring from this group. Michigan’s long winters forged the talents of many in the 10th Mountain Infantry Division, a skiing combat unit sent to the Italian Alps where it would achieve victories at Riva Ridge and Mount Belvedere. So many heroic exploits, too many to tell, but each a reason for gratitude. — The Queen City

            Harlow Park, named for city founder Amos Harlow, is at the edge of what can be considered the downtown area. It has long been a popular playground for children, and for several years, in the 1980s and 1990s, it was the site of the city Christmas tree. In the early twenty-first century, a Veterans memorial was also placed in the park, including a giant lit up peace globe. Since the Veterans memorial only includes the names of people whose family members donated to it, many veterans’ names are missing, but included is a brick for my great-great-uncle Byron McCombie who served in World War I.

Veterans Remembered

            Members of my family have fought in almost every war in United States history, and most of them lived in Marquette. My five-greats-grandfather, Elijah Bishop—father of Marquette pioneer Basil Bishop, fought in the American Revolution as did his father, brothers, and father-in-law. Basil Bishop fought in the War of 1812—he is believed to be the only War of 1812 veteran buried in Marquette. My great-great-great-grandfather, Edmond Remington, his son-in-law, Jerome White, and Jerome’s cousin, Francis Marion Bishop, all served in the Civil War. Just shortly after the Spanish American War, my great-great-uncle, Clement White, served in the Philippines. Besides Byron McCombie, another relative Robert S. Zryd was enlisted in World War I, as were my Grandma White’s brothers William and Daniel Molby. My grandfather’s brothers—Roland, William, and Frank White all fought in World War II. Numerous cousins fought in the later twentieth century wars—Korea, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf, as well as in Iraq in the twenty-first century.

Tyler's Civil War Ancestors - Sergeant Edmond Remington (top), his daughter Adda (left) and her husband Corporal Jerome White (left)

            Many veterans, my family members included, rest just above Harlow Park in Park Cemetery. Harlow Park is an appropriate place for a memorial to the veterans since it is in the center of Marquette where everyone who drives by can remember the sacrifice these brave souls made that Marquette might be free.