Schoolcraft County
Hiawatha, Michigan
Postal History
Hiawatha Village Association
 
 
 
 
 
 
Hiawatha, Michigan Post Mark (May 23, 1912) - Photo contributed by Paul Petosky
 
 
THE HIAWATHA POST OFFICE
 
 The Hiawatha Post Office was active from 1897 to 1941.  It was located 11 miles north of Manistique on the Manistique and Northwestern Railroad.  Civil War veteran Francis G. Dodge was the postmaster in 1905.  Frank Hutt was serving as postmaster in 1915 and Hiawatha's final postmaster was Ezra Aldrich.  The post office closed permanently on January 31, 1941.
 
 
 
 
 
Cooperative Society
 
Source: Semi-Weekly Pioneer, April 25, 1894
 
    Mr. Byers asked us yesterday to say that a meeting will be held on Friday morning at 9 o'clock in the courthouse for the purpose of a thorough organization of the much talked about cooperative society.  Mr. Mills, a man who is well known as a speaker in favor of such movements, will be here to address the people.  He will deliver two or three lectures while here; and a general invitation is given to the people to come out and hear the matter discussed.
 
 
 
 
The Hiawatha Village Association
 
Source:  Semi-Weekly Pioneer, August 11, 1894
 
  Twelve miles north of Manistique in Schoolcraft County is a new and interesting enterprise.  A new village is being built upon a plan called product sharing.  Product sharing means that the wage system remains in force, only that the employer shall share his profits with the employee, when he has any, as an additional advantage to him in the work of production and as a premium to the workman over and above regular wages.
 
   It is not cooperation in the ordinary sense of the term, for this usually means a company of men working together to produce some single article, they being their own employers and managers and workers, but still depending upon the market for the sale of the single article which they produce in order that they may purchase the things which they will need for their own consumption.
 
    It is not socialism in the ordinary sense, for socialism means the production of all the things necessary for our use under the authority and direction of the State.
 
  Now product sharing has nothing in common with profit sharing.  Like cooperation, the workers are their own employers, managers and workmen; but unlike cooperation, neither its sole nor its main reliance is on the market for the worker's support, and unlike socialism in the ordinary sense, it is a voluntary organization like a corporation, partnership or firm acting under their own management and without the authority, interference or patronage from the State.
 
  It is not communism.  It proposes no community of goods, and involves no interference with family.  Briefly stated, it simply proposes that workmen shall join their savings that they may purchase and own together the machines and materials necessary for production, and that working together as producers, each shall have his share being determined by the part he has had as a producer.  Every family has its own home, manages its own affairs, controls its own interests.  Private property is complete, is in no way interfered with, and is in every way protected.  Only is is a doctrine of the Association that there is no other basis for ownership than that of production, or of an honest exchange of equivalents, and that all business transactions which involve the obtaining of something for nothing are essentially wrong, and that all property rights based on such transactions are morally void.  They insist that each man has naturally the right of what his own toil may produce, but that by no trick of commerce and no scheme of exchanges can he ever establish a property right in anything which represents no effort of his own.
 
    The Association was organized at the close of a series of addresses by Walter Thomas Mills, he having been invited to Manistique late in April by A.S. Byers, who was already engaged in promoting such an organization and under preliminary agreement work was commenced by about twenty members on the 1st of May.  There are now fifty-one members including carpenters, brickmakers, masons, machinists, engineers, printers, farmers, lumbermen, clergymen, teachers, dressmakers, typewriters, showmakers, and tanners.  These people have been working together clearing land, planting crops, building houses, and are probably today the most cheerful, hopeful and contented company of workmen to be found anywhere in the county.  The Association now owns about 1,100 acres of land, of which they have under cultivation about 150 acres.  The land is made up of ten farms, all joining, which are turned over to the association by the farmers, who themselves became members of the organization.  The land is bounded on one side by a great waste of pine lands from which the timber has been cut, and seems now to be utterly valueless except for the wild fruits, especially blue berrries which grow in great abundance.  On the other side are wild meadows, which for a large portion of every year are under water and are entirely valueless for any other purpose than for gathering hay in season which must be taken from the meadows as gathered.  But lying between these two tracts of worthless country is a small tract of about 2,000 acres, more than half already belongs to the Association, of remarkably fertile lands.  It is a hardwood redge covered with the finest birdseye maple, black birch, elm, basswood, and other varieties of hardwood, all of which will be available for many lines of manufacture.  The finest strawberries ever shipped to the market, cherries that are rarely equaled, apples which are of the finest quality, together with other varieties of fruit of a less excellent quality are or may be produced in abundance.  The association will winter 100 cattle, will have a large force at work throughout the fall and winter clearing land, converting the timber into saw logs for the mill or into stove wood for which there is a ready market.  More than 100 acres of new land will be added to the territory under cultivation for the coming season, and in the mean time homes for all the families will be constructed.  The building has gone on without interruption from the first, but it has been impossible to construct homes for newcomers as fast as the newcomers have been arriving.
 
   Many more people have been refused membership than have been accepted, this Association being intended only for able bodied industrious and frugal Christian people.
 
   The work of the Association is not solely or even mainly one of self support for its members, or the improvements of its lands.  Its members fully believe that men are better than things and their first concern is for improvement of themselves rather than the improvement of their property.  There are interesting items illustrative of the determination of which these people are seeking to be better as well as to do bettter in their new undertaking.  Of the persons who first formed the Association but a small portion of them were active in any church, but they had been thinking earnestly of the best things that life offers, and on their organization all joined in a declaration of faith and unanimously voted to make their Association emphatically and entirely a religious body.  Only three of them did not use tobacco, but all voted with a unanimous vote that the habit was to be abandoned and its use forbidden in the Association, and the manner in whcih men who for long years have been addicted to the use of tobacco have abandoned its use and have sturdily refused to return to the habit has been remarkable.  In a single instance when its abandonment led to illness, the young man on being offered tobacco with the assurance that it would relieve him said, "No, not if I die."
 
   When the property of the farmers which was turned over to the Association in payment of capital sock had been appraised by disinterested parties, the farmers themselves, without a dissenting voice agreed to cut the appraisal in two in the middle, and turned their property over to the Association at fifty percent of the appraisal-- not because the appraisal was unwise or unfair, but because other members were to put in cash against the property, and they wished to deal with absolute fairness, and so attempted to reduce their own property to an absolute cash basis.
 
   This is not an effort to withdraw from the world or to abandon their interest in the general welfare.  Hewing their own homes out of the forest and building their cabins for the winter, they are already devoting on tenth of their products to the work of promoting such organizations elsewhere and to hastening the application of the ethics of the New Testament to the commercial and industrial life of the world.
 
   Instance of such self denial, of such self control , of continued and determined industry and commendable public spirit could be indefinitely multiplied.  But these are sufficient to indicate the temper and strength of this company of people, who in the midst of general depression, when in idleness, disorder or despair the many are waiting for something to turn up are diligently turning up with their own hands, with strong purpose and good hope, a place in the forest for themselves.  Here they toil with unfailing good cheer amidst the laughter of children and hum of industry and the songs of worshipers.
 
 
 
 
Association Membership
 
Sources:  Schoolcraft County Register of Deeds, Liber 5, page 171 (dated Jan. 21, 1895) and Liber 5, pp. 293-294 (dated June 1, 1895)
 
Charles Bernardo
Catherine Bernardo
George C. Bonney
Abraham S. Byers
Elizabeth A. Byers
A. Lincoln Byers
A. Jane Byers
Alva L. Byers
David C. Byers
Elonzo Byers
Hettie A. Byers
J. B. Byers
William Byers
Effie Byers
C. A. Brown
Sabella Brown
M. Cassidy
Sarah Cassidy
Herbert Coykendall
Mrs. Herbert Coykendall
William M. Dorr
Mrs. William M. Dorr
Claude M. Faust
J. Emil Foreberg
Lillie E. Foreberg
Benton Gale
Roxie Gale
Gust Highland
Eli Huey
Sarah E. Huey
Edgar E. Huey
Vincent E. Huey
David Jennings
Mrs. David Jennings
H. E. Jerauld
Nellie M. Jerauld
Alva C. Kepler
Sarah A. Kepler
Jno. D. Kepler
Elvila A. Kepler
Charles Mills
Mehetabel S. Mills
Elias E. Mills
Bessie Mills
Francis Mills
Nora Mills
Judith P. Mills
Schuyler Mills
Nettie J. Mills
Walter Thomas Mills
Magnus Oberg
H. Emolene Odell
Albert Olson
Eugene Pahl
Ed Randall
Kate Randall
J.H. Randall, M.D.
Charlotte Randall
William Rightmyer
Eva A. Rightmyer
F.H. Robinson
B.F. Smith
Ella Smith
Ralph Smith
Ida Smith
George F. Steel
J. B. Wright
Emma Wright