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Minnie's Diary #27: Pride, Covetousness, Envy, and Lust

Sunday, July 10 - Went to Mass for first communion. Del called in afternoon. All alone at night.

— Minnie Gamache Diary, 1904, Hermansville, Michigan

Freddie’s First Communion

“Little brother! Don’t you look handsome?”

Minnie’s youngest brother, Freddie, grinned. He looked so grown-up in his new black wool jacket with pin-striped trousers. Now that he was helping Pa full-time on the farm, he’d grown in strength and maturity.

Today Freddie would receive Holy Communion for the first time, along with many other young people — most of them age 12 to 14.

St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Hermansville was full as the young people processed in, two by two, behind Father Glaser. They’d spent many Sundays in class memorizing the Catechism of the Roman Catholic religion.

They’d learned about the unity and trinity of God, the story of Adam and Eve, and the fall of man into sin. They’d learned about mortal and venial sins, avoiding the proximate occasion of sin, and obtaining forgiveness for sins by examining their conscience, confessing and obtaining absolution from a Priest.

Q. Which are the seven Capital sins? A. 1. Pride; 2. Covetousness; 3. Lust; 4. Anger; 5. Gluttony; 6. Envy and 7. Sloth.

Q. Why are they called Capital Sins? A. Because they are so many main sources from which all other sins take their rise.

-- From Deharbe, Joseph and Patrick Nelson Lynch. A Full Catechism of the Catholic Religion. Rev., enl. and edited, New York: Catholic Publication Society, 1890-1876.

They had learned about the Ten Commandments, the twelve disciples and the seven sacraments. They’d studied church teachings about Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory. They’d learned how to earn indulgences to benefit their own souls and souls of the departed.

Q. When do we sin by Pride?

A. When we think too much of ourselves, do not give God the honor due to Him, and despise our neighbor.

Q. When do we sin by Covetousness?

A. When we inordinately seek and love money or other worldly goods, and are hard-hearted towards those who are in distress.

Q. When do we sin by Lust?

A. By indulging in immodest or impure thoughts, desires, words, or actions.

Q. When do we sin by Envy?

A. When we repine at our neighbor's good, and are sad when he is in possession of temporal or spiritual blessings, and rejoice when he is deprived of them.

-- From Deharbe, pp. 235-6.

After all their years of study, they had attained the age of reason and could receive the Holy Eucharist. Father Glaser had heard their first confessions and now they approached the altar rail, knelt before it, and received the Sacred Host on their tongues for the first time. As Roman Catholics, they believed that the small sliver of bread had been transformed on the altar into the Body of Jesus Christ.

“Do not keep the Sacred Host in your mouth until it is quite dissolved; but let it moisten a little upon your tongue, and then swallow it. Should it stick to the roof of your mouth, remove it with your tongue, and not with your finger.”

-- Deharbe, p. 273

Del Displays Covetousness

After Mass, the Gamache family went home and enjoyed a nice Sunday dinner. Del Paquin called on Minnie in the afternoon, as he did most Sundays.

“I didn’t like how you treated me at Henry’s Fourth of July dance,” Del said.

“What do you mean?”

“You hardly talked to me. You danced all night with Joe, Charlie, Ernest — anyone but me.”

“Del, what are you talking about? You could have asked me to dance, just like those men did.”

“I shouldn’t have to. You’re my girl, aren’t you?”

Minnie was silent.

“Aren’t you?”

“You don’t own me, if that’s what you mean.”

“You know what I mean, Minnie. I just don’t understand you.”

With that, Del left early, leaving Minnie alone. Pa and Ma were out visiting. Edmond, Willie and Freddie were off with their friends, probably playing baseball.

Minnie sat on the porch in the warm summer air, watching the sun set over the fields and stumps on the 80 acres her father owned. She wondered if she’d ever find a partner who understood her for who she was, not who he thought she should be.

The Bishop in Spalding

Monday, July 11 - Went to Spalding for confirmation. Had a fine ride.

— Minnie Gamache Diary, 1904, Hermansville, Michigan

Buggies, carts, wagons and bicycles made a long procession on Road Number Two to Spalding, where Bishop Frederick Eis would confirm Freddie and dozens of other young people today, along with several adults joining the Catholic Church.

The distance was nearly eight miles and the road was filled with ruts and bumps. No one in Hermansville yet owned a motor car, so the caravan of Canadians, Italians, Irish, Croatians and Germans traveled by various horse-powered and human-powered means to Spalding.

Bonjour, Edmond,” Pa said, as he passed the Paquin family with the Gamache buggy. “Magnifique journée for a journey to Spalding, eh?”

Bonjour, Pierre,” Mr. Paquin replied. “Oui. C'est ça! A beautiful day it is. Did I hear that you have a birthday boy in your buggy?”

Oui,” said Minnie from the back of the buggy. “Freddie is 14 years old today.”

Joyeux anniversaire, Freddie!”

The Paquins had converted a farm wagon into a makeshift “bus” for the day, adding benches and cushions so Mrs. Paquin, their children and grandchildren could travel together for Permelia’s confirmation. Minnie waved and smiled at Del, but he acted as though he didn’t see her.

They arrived early at St. Francis Xavier Church, an impressive Gothic brick structure built in 1893 at a cost of $16,000 — half of which was paid before it was blessed. The confirmands from St. Mary’s Church in Hermansville joined others from Powers, Spalding, Wilson and surrounding farm country. The young ladies were dressed all in white and the young men in new communion/confirmation suits.

St. Francis Xavier Church, Spalding, Mich.

Their families quickly found seats inside, knowing the church would be standing-room only and the service would last two hours. Minnie’s brothers, Edmund and William, decided to stand, giving up seats to those less able. Ed was still off work after losing a finger in June. William had taken an unpaid day off from the sawmill. The bishop didn’t travel from Marquette to Spalding very often, so it was a big occasion.

Sweet floral and pine smells permeated throughout the church. The St. Anne’s Altar Society had filled the sanctuary with carnations, lilies, ferns and pine boughs.

The Knights of Columbus — newly organized in Menominee County — lined the center aisle wearing black tuxedos, top hats and white ties as Bishop Eis, Father Glaser and other priests from the Marquette Diocese processed into the church dressed in red chasubles and stoles. Red signified the Holy Spirit, who would descend on the confirmands during the ceremony.

Before anointing the confirmands with holy oil, the bishop quizzed them on what they had learned in their studies.

"What are the effects of Confirmation?"

Permelia Paquin raised her hand. “First, confirmation increases sanctifying grace in us. Second, it gives us the Holy Ghost, to enable us to fight against evil and to grow in virtue.”

“Good,” said the Bishop. “And what else?”

Freddie raised his hand. “The Holy Ghost makes us soldiers of Christ, giving us a spiritual mark which can never be taken away.”

“Yes. And, after I anoint you, why do I give you a slight blow on the cheek?”

The congregation stirred with smiles and soft giggles.

“To remind us that we ought to be prepared to suffer patiently any kind of humiliation for the name of Jesus,” said a young lady from Spalding.

“Very good. I can see you’ve been studying. Compliments to your catechism teachers.”

As each young person approached with his or her sponsor, the bishop used a holy oil to made the sign of the Cross upon each forehead, saying, “I sign thee with the sign of the Cross, and I confirm thee with the chrism of salvation, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”

The blow on the cheek wasn’t a hard one. It brought a smile to the boys’ faces and a look of embarrassment to the girls.

Lady Rose's Daughter

Tuesday, July 12 - Washed.
Wednesday, July 13 - Ironed and read all afternoon.

— Minnie Gamache Diary, 1904, Hermansville, Michigan

With the family’s clothing washed and neatly ironed, Minnie rested in the afternoon with a good book. She hadn’t yet finished the novel that Emily had given her for her birthday, Lady Rose’s Daughter by Mrs. Mary Humphry Ward — the top-selling book in America in 1903. Its protagonist was Julie Le Breton, secretly the illegitimate daughter of Lady Rose. When both her parents died, Julie took the name of the governess who raised her.

Minnie had reached the point where the clever and charming Julie had confessed her long-lasting love for Major Warkworth, who is engaged to her cousin. After leading her on for many months, Warkworth rebuffed her, saying, “You’ll marry. You’ll find someone worthy of you — some one who will give you the great position for which you were born.”

“I could have it at any moment,” she replied, looking at him quietly in the eyes.

Minnie read quickly, escaping into the confrontation between Julie and Warkworth. When Warkworth realizes that Julie speaks of Jacob Delafield, the future duke of Chudleigh Abbey, his reaction reveals his jealousy.

“No, you mustn’t make me tell you any more,” she said, putting the name aside with a proud gesture. “It would be poor and mean. But it’s true. I have only to put out my hand for what you call ‘a great position.’ I have refused to put it out. Sometimes, of course, it has dazzled me. To-night it seems to me — dust and ashes. No; when we two have said good-bye, I shall begin life again. And this time I shall live it in my own way, for my own ends. I’m very tired. Henceforth, ‘I’ll walk where my own nature would be leading — it vexes me to choose another guide.’”

Minnie recognized the final line came from Emily Brontë’s poem, Stanzas.

“Oh, to walk a path of my own choosing,” Minnie thought. “To feel the wild wind on my face and know I’m making my own way. That’s how I’d like to live my life. Yet the world’s expectations crush me again and again. ‘Find a husband. Be a good girl.’ Why can’t I be the woman I want to be?”

She paused.

“I will. I must.”

Joe Lusts After Minnie

Thursday, July 14 - Rained and Joe went after the turnips.

— Minnie Gamache Diary, 1904, Hermansville, Michigan

“Get in the rutabagas now; a timothy sod is the place for them. A few fed to the stock next winter will save doctor bills.”

— Farm Journal, July 1905

The rutabaga. So lowly, yet so important. During a long, cold winter, Pa fed rutabagas along with hay and corn silage to the cows. They also fed the family when Ma added them to soups and stews. Pa and Freddie had harvested a field of turnips last week and stored them in the root cellar under some timothy sod to keep them cool and moist. They would last for many months there.

Pa and Freddie spent the rainy day in the barn tinkering with equipment. Willie was working at the mill. And Edmund still moped about the house as his severed finger healed. It had been two weeks and he was itching to get back to work.

Joe Marcheterre Jr. surprised Minnie when he knocked on the door.

“Why, Joe, I didn’t expect to see you.”

“Nothing to do in the fields on a day like today. Pa sent me to borrow a tool from your Pa.”

“Well, the tools are in the shed, not here in the kitchen,” Minnie said with a smile.

“Oh sure, but the tools aren’t as pretty or as charming as you,” Joe said, adding a wink.

Minnie decided to put Joe’s flirtations to good use.

“As long as you’re all wet from the rain, maybe you’d do a favor for me?”

D’accord. What is it?”

“The turnips we need for dinner are out in the root cellar. Would you mind bringing me six of them?” She handed him a small basket.

Mon Plaisir. It would be my pleasure.”

Minnie watched Joe put on his cap and laughed as he ran through the raindrops, splashing through a large puddle in the drive. He heaved open the cellar door and ducked inside.

“He forgot to bring a light,” Minnie thought. "How will he even find them?”

Soon, Joe’s face sheepishly reappeared. After a trip back to the house to borrow a lantern, he returned to the root cellar and finally emerged with the small basket filled with turnips. He presented them to Minnie with a smile, rain dripping from the bill of his cap.

“Your turnips, Mademoiselle Gamache,” he said.

Merci, Monsieur Marchaterre,” Minnie said with a curtsy.

De rien, Cherie. You’re welcome, my dear,” he replied, bowing and doffing his cap.

Suddenly, Joe had a bright smile on his face.

“Say, that reminds me of the Three Little Pigs story that Miss Riopelle liked to read us at school in Champion. Do you remember?”

“Three Little Pigs? The ones who built houses of straw, sticks and bricks? What does that have to do with turnips?”

“I always remember that third, wise little pig, and not only because he built his house of bricks. That pig also beat the wolf to the turnip field at five o’clock the next morning. By the time the wolf arrived at six o’clock, the pig was already home with enough turnips to eat for supper. ”

"Like the early bird that gets the worm?"

"Exactement," Joe replied, looking deeply into Minnie's eyes.

Tragedy in Iron Mountain

Friday, July 15 - Went to Hville and wrote to E.G. A.F., O.G. Mrs. Dubey called but we were absents.

— Minnie Gamache Diary, 1904, Hermansville, Michigan

Everyone in the French community was mourning the death of Hector LePage, who had died after falling at the Pewabic iron mine in Iron Mountain a week earlier. He left behind his wife of three years, Maggie Arsenault of Vulcan, and their 18-month-old son. Another child was on the way.

Minnie and her mother went to Hermansville in the morning, before it got too hot, to visit Aurora’s niece, Minnie Arsenault Raiche, a distant cousin of Hector’s widow. A heat wave had descended over the region, with no break in sight. Temperatures were close to 90 during the day and barely fell below 80 at night.

“What happened to Hector?” Minnie asked.

Iron Mt. Press, July 14, 1904

“He was painting the smoke stack at the Pewabic mine. He worked there as a clerk during the day, but had a contract to paint the stack on his own time. He had his own equipment that he used to hang from the top of the stack, some kind of hook attached to a rope. He used it to move his way down the stack. Well, somehow the hook slipped.”

“They think he didn’t get it placed right on the top of the stack,” said Minnie’s cousin Charlie Arsenault. “Fell and hit his head.”

Mon Dieu,” Minnie said.

“We attended the funeral Sunday at St. Joseph’s church in Iron Mountain. You should have seen the crowd.”

“How is Maggie?”

“She’s devastated, but trying not to show it. They’re having a benefit dance this weekend in Vulcan to help raise money for the family,” Cousin Minnie said. “At least he had good insurance from the Modern Woodmen and the Catholic Order of Foresters.”

Oui, the Foresters are raising more money this weekend to help,” said Charlie.

“I’ll be sure to light a candle for them,” Minnie said.

1901 Wedding of Margaret "Maggie Arsenault and Hector LePage, attended by John Clash and Malorna Bouneau. Photo credit: Susan Knutson.

Minnie returned home and wrote to Emily Gagnon, Arthur Frechette and her cousin Olivine Gamache in Massachusetts. She had a lot of news to share. About selling soap. The Fourth of July festivities. Ed losing a finger. And now, news of Hector’s death.

While Minnie and her mother were out, Aldia Dubey had left a message with Pa, asking if Minnie could watch the children this weekend. The Dubeys were going to Vulcan to show their support for Hector’s wife and children.

“I think Pierre and I should go, too,” Aurora said.

Trip to Vulcan

Saturday, July 16 - Pa & Ma went to Vulcan with the crowd. I kept Mrs. L. Dubey’s children.

— Minnie Gamache Diary, 1904, Hermansville, Michigan

A large group of Frenchmen and Frenchwomen were waiting at the Chicago & Northwestern Depot at 8 o’clock in the morning to catch the train to Vulcan. Their spirits were high, even though a tragic death provided the reason for their trip.

About 14 miles west on the railway, Vulcan had one of the most productive mines on the Menominee Iron Range. A strip of iron ore deposits stretched along the Menominee River, which forms the border between Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and Wisconsin. The Penn Iron Mining Co. operated the Vulcan mine, which employed more than 1,000 workers.

Like many towns along the Menominee Range, Vulcan was company-owned. The Penn Iron Mining Co. opened two company stores in the the early 1880s, one in Norway and one in Vulcan. In 1902, they created a separate entity to manage the stores, ending two of the last so-called “company” stores in the U.P.

They’d built company houses and boarding houses, and deducted rent from the men’s pay. The uniform style, white housing was better made than the non-company homes, and rent was cheap — about $1 per room per month.

The company had also built a new changing house in the West Vulcan mine, with heated lockers where the men’s dirty mine clothes could dry overnight and separate lockers for the clean clothing they wore to and from home. The changing house had a separate room for washing, offering a wooden trough along three walls and multiple faucets for hot and cold water.

The company framed type-written rules and posted them in the building:

“Every man is to have two lockers, one for street clothes and the one opposite for dirty clothes.

“Dirty clothes must not be put in clean lockers.

“No one is allowed to put locks on lockers until assigned by the ‘Dry Man.’

“‘Dry Man’ is to keep names of men and lockers they occupy.

“Miners’ lamps must not be carried in and out of the building burning.

“No smoking allowed, nor pipes left in clothing.

“Caps, fuse and powder must not be taken into the building.

“Hats, boots and clothing left outside lockers will be disposed of by ‘Dry Man.’

“Sunshine must be put in barrel and not left in lockers.

“‘Dry Man’ is required to enforce the rules.

“There will be no charge for use of changing house.”

-- "A New Changing-house at the West Vulcan Mine," by William Kelly, from Proceedings of the Lake Superior Mining Institute, Volume 8

No Fondness for Mining

As they traveled the 14 miles to Vulcan, Ed Paquin turned to Peter Gamache.

“Do you miss working in the mines, Pierre?” he asked.

“Not for a minute,” Peter Gamache said, gazing out the train window and recalling the dark, cold, wet days underground in Champion. “I was lucky to get out of there alive. Why did I think a Frenchman would be a good miner?”

“Oh, lots of Frenchmen work in the mines,” Ed responded.

Oui, but I say it’s best to leave the mining to the Cornish, Finns, Irish and Slavs. We French need the fresh air and sunshine of the woods and the farm.”

“What about the Italians? I heard that 250,000 Italians are coming into the country every year — more than any other race.”

“I believe it,” Peter said. “When we arrived here in 1895, there were maybe 10 Italians in Hermansville. Today, how many do you think?”

“Hundreds,” Ed replied. “If it wasn’t for the horse manure and smoke from the mill, the town would smell like garlic.”


“Formerly our immigration problem had to do with the Germans and the Irish; now it is with a very different proposition, the Italian, the Jew and the Slav. But as most of our immigrants are of the peasant class, country folk, we do not have to encounter a people given over to city vices; rather simple folk not hardened, eager to learn and willing to work, and of the strictest economy. That they may send money to the over-taxed kin at home, they will live on nothing; sleep three in a bed, subsist on the poor Italian food. That is, those born in the old country will do this; the second generation has a different standard of living, has been greatly influenced by the American atmosphere in which it has spent all its days, by the American public school.”

— “From Sunny Italy: The Class of Immigrants That Land is Sending Us,” by Katherine Pope, Stevens Point Journal, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, June 10, 1904.


Comforting Mrs. LePage

Everyone was gathering at Saint Barbara’s Catholic Church, which provided spiritual direction and sustenance to 250 families in Vulcan. By nationality, they were Italian, French, Irish, German, Polish, Belgian and Slovenian.

Maggie LePage’s parents, Louis Arsenault and Caroline Beaudette, had been long-time members of Saint Barbara’s. Both had passed away, but Maggie's sisters still lived in the area.

The Hermansville crowd arrived early and gathered with others in Vulcan’s French community. By afternoon, the Foresters were out in force, along with the Modern Woodmen and members of Company E of Michigan’s 34th Volunteer Infantry. Hector had served with Company E in the Spanish-American War, including spending many soggy, hungry and miserable days in the hills outside Santiago, Cuba, in 1898.

Maggie, her sister and sons, Louis and Hector Jr. Photo credit: Susan Knutson.

Hector’s wife greeted friends and supporters at the church hall, accompanied by her sisters, Albertine Massie and Ellen Bedore.

“We’re so sorry about Hector, Maggie,” Aurora Gamache said, giving her a kiss on each cheek. “He was a good man. Everyone loved him.”

Merci, Madam Gamache. I don’t know what we’ll do without him.”

Minnie and the Girls

While the Gamaches, Dubeys, Raiches, Paquins and others were showing support for Maggie and visiting old friends in Vulcan, Minnie was home with Louis and Aldia’s girls, Clara, Flora and baby Marilda (known as Marie).

Minnie loved spending time with small children, especially these three girls. They sang songs. They baked strawberry tarts.

"Flora's tart is bigger than mine!" said Clara.

"Now, Clara, don't be envious of your sister," Minnie said. "Envy is one of the seven deadly sins."

At bedtime, Minnie told the girls the story of the Three Little Pigs, along with the part about the pig who got up early to get turnips before the wolf left his den.

At night, all three girls wanted to climb into bed with Minnie. She obliged them, though the result was she didn’t get much sleep. It seemed every time she got comfortable, a little hand or foot would land in the wrong place and wake her up again.

All the girls were up early, wanting to be like the wise little pig.

Sunday, July 17 - Crowd came back. Mr. Dubey came for his children. Del called in P.M. Stayed home eve.

— Minnie Gamache Diary, 1904, Hermansville, Michigan

“Did the girls behave themselves?” Louis Dubey asked, scooping Marie up in his arms and giving Clara and Flora a hug.

“Like angels,” Minnie said.

Del's Envy Comes Out

When Del came to see Minnie in the afternoon, it was nearly 90 degrees outside. They sat on the porch drinking cool drinks and fanning themselves.

“I heard that Joe Marchaterre was here the other day,” Del said.

“He stopped to borrow a tool from Pa. What’s wrong with that?”

“Nothing, but why was he calling on you in the house?”

“Oh Del, are you really that jealous?"

Del stared at Minnie.

"Yes, Joe stopped by here on his way to borrow the tool. That’s all there is.”

“I wonder,” said Del.

“You think I’m not telling the truth? Del Paquin, what’s gotten into you?”

“I think I’ve made it clear,” Del said. “I don’t like you seeing other men. And I don't like that Joe Marchaterre. He's prideful. He thinks he's better than the rest of us, with his high school diploma.”

Minnie had had enough. She bid Del a good afternoon, retreating into the sweltering house and trying to find a cool corner to rest in.

“I feel like I’m in a kettle on a hot stove, in more ways than one,” she thought. “But I’m determined to walk my own path.”

I'll walk, but not in old heroic traces,

And not in paths of high morality,

And not among the half-distinguished faces,

The clouded forms of long-past history.

I'll walk where my own nature would be leading:

It vexes me to choose another guide:

Where the gray flocks in ferny glens are feeding;

Where the wild wind blows on the mountain side.

— From Stanzas, by Emily Brontë, 1818-1848

Notes and Further Reading

Note to Readers: This blog took me a long time to piece together. I had so many questions about Minnie’s diary entries for this week. Was there a significance to first communion and confirmation on succeeding days? What was confirmation like in 1904? How did the family “ride” to Spalding — by train, buggy, wagon? Why was Joe “going after the turnips?” Why did “the crowd” go to Vulcan and leave behind the little ones? What was Minnie reading? I hope you found my answers to these questions satisfying.

As always, Minnie's Diary is part history and part fiction. While my great-grandmother's diary entries and the news clippings are real, the rest comes from my imagination and research into life in 1904 Hermansville, a company lumber town in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. For more about Minnie and her family, read this introductory page elsewhere on this website.

Remember to subscribe to my blog at the bottom of the page if you want to make sure you see every installment of Minnie's Diary. I'll send you an email each time I publish a new post, lately about once a month but hopefully once every week or two. I will never sell or share your contact information with other individuals or companies.

-- Jodi Perras, Minnie's Great-Granddaughter

New Characters: The only new character Minnie mentions in her diary this week is “O.G.” I have not been able to identify an O.G. who might be a friend of Minnie’s in Hermansville, Champion or anywhere nearby. So, I decided she was writing to her second cousin Olivine Gamache, who lived in Massachusetts at the time. Their families certainly knew each other, since Minnie's father and Olivine's father were first cousins and both had grown up in Le Bic near Rimouski. However, I don't know that Minnie and Olivine would ever have met in person. For those with Gamache ancestors, Larry King has a website where you can search for just about anyone in the Gamache family tree and see how they are related to you.

In addition to O.G., I introduced Hector LePage after finding the story of his tragic death in the Iron Mountain Press on July 14, 1904. Since his wife was an Arsenault, that became the best reason I could find for a crowd going to Vulcan. I couldn’t find any mention in the Iron Mountain or Menominee County newspapers of a festival or gathering in Vulcan that weekend. I’m not sure how Hector’s wife, Maggie Arsenault, was related to Minnie and Charlie Arsenault of Hermansville, but they were certainly cousins of some kind. Many thanks to Susan Knutson for sharing her photos of Hector and Maggie, along with the mine inspector’s report on Hector’s death (below).

Image Credit: Susan Knutson.

Confirmation Timing: In researching confirmation in 1904, I learned that the Roman Catholic Church’s practice in those days was to wait until age 12 to 14 for both first communion and confirmation. The young people would receive first communion one day and confirmation a day or two later. This seemed odd to me. I was in first grade when I had my first communion and in junior high school when I was confirmed. During my research, I learned that Pope Pius X decreed in 1910 that first communion should be offered to children as young as age 7. For more information on the history of these sacraments, visit this link.

Here’s an account of a 1903 confirmation/communion in L’Anse, Michigan, conducted by Bishop Eis, one of the accounts I used to describe the ceremony in Spalding.

Spalding, Mich., Catholic Parish: For an early history of the Catholic Church in Spalding, visit this link and look for page 341. Father Frederick Glaser, the priest who visited Hermansville every three weeks to say Mass, was assigned to Spalding as his main parish and Hermansville as a "mission."

Lady Rose's Daughter: As noted above, Lady Rose's Daughter by Mrs. Mary Humphry Ward was a top-selling book in 1903, exceeding all expectations and becoming part of pop culture. The New York Times satirized it. Harper's Magazine called it "A Novel Without a Purpose." In 1920, it was adapted for a film starring Elsie Ferguson, one of the best-known actors of that time. You can still purchase the e-book for about three dollars. I've also seen hard copies available for $20 - $28 online.

Vulcan and its Iron Mine: The Vulcan iron mine operated for 68 years and produced 21.6 million tons of iron ore for the steel mills of the Great Lakes. To see what Vulcan looked like at the height of its iron mining days, visit this excellent collection of photographs compiled by William Cummings for the Dickinson County Genealogical Society. The Proceedings of the Lake Superior Mining Institute, Volume 8, includes a 1902 paper about the “new” Vulcan changing house written by William H. Kelly, a well-known superintendent of the mine. You can visit the Vulcan mine site today. It’s a tourist attraction and state historical site along highway U.S. 2. Although the original buildings are no longer there, you can see mining machinery and even take a ride into an exploratory mine shaft. The underground tours are open from Memorial Day weekend to mid-October. After your underground tour, don’t forget to eat a Cornish pasty — the typical miner’s lunch.

Spanish-American War: While researching Hector LePage’s life, I learned a bit about Michigan’s role in the Spanish-American War in Cuba. You can see a photo of Hector’s unit, Company E of the 34th Michigan Volunteer Infantry, and accounts of its service at this link.

Immigration: Complaints about the nature of new immigrants to the United States were common in newspapers of 1904. In particular, the Detroit Free Press was calling for new restrictions on immigration. “Without going into details as to the undesirable quality of immigrants who have been coming in unceasing streams for ten years, it is obvious that a change in the law is necessary if there is to be any attempt to select the kind of people who shall come to America,” the Free Press said in an October 2, 1904, editorial.

So much for send me "your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free.”

Here’s a 1904 article from an Oshkosh, Wisconsin, newspaper that spells out one point of view on the new kind of immigrant coming to America.

-- "The New Immigration to the United States," The Oshkosh Northwestern, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, 10 Dec 1904.

More News from 1904: Here are a few other quotes from the 1904 news that readers might find interesting:

Iron Mountain Press, July 14, 1904: “We notice that Field Secretary Rutledge, of the Anti-Saloon League, has been spending several weeks in the copper country. We also notice that thus far he has made no attempt to stop Sunday ball playing in that section.”

Iron Mountain Press, July 14, 1904: “A third rural mail delivery route is to be established in Menominee county, thanks to the energetic boosting of Postmaster Kern. The farmers thereaway are all his friends.” [Based on other news accounts, I believe this new route was in Daggett.-jp]

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Oct 16, 2021

Thanks for another installment in this really interesting story!


Oct 15, 2021

I was born in Missouri in 1948 in a mining area referred to as the "Lead Belt." My father, of French descent, was employed by St. Joe Lead Company. I made my First Communion in June of 1955 at not quite 7 years of age, and was confirmed two weeks later. VERY common then.

Oct 15, 2021
Replying to

Thanks for the history. I think there was some variation, depending on the diocese.

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