1932 : 3000 Participate in Ford Hunger March from Detroit to Dearborn
Mar 7 all-day

On March 7, 1932, the Ford Hunger March was organized by John Schmies, communist candidate for mayor of Detroit, and led by Albert Goetz. 3,000 marched from Detroit to Dearborn asking for union recognition, full employment (Ford had undergone massive layoffs) and a 6-hour work day with no reduction in wages. When Dearborn police attempted to stop them at the border, rioting resulted, killing 4 marchers and injuring around 60.  A fifth participant later died as well.

Tear gas fills the air as Dearborn Police and Ford Motor Company Servicemen attack demonstrators outside of the Rouge Plant during the 1932 Ford Hunger March.  Photo courtesy of the Walter P. Reuther Library.

The press vilified the Hunger Marchers as communist radicals. But Henry Ford was already unpopular among some middle class workers. Despite news reports, popular opinion was on the side of those who participated in the Hunger March.

After the Hunger March, Ford employees were forbidden to even talk to each other before starting work and during lunch breaks at the Ford plant.

Within a few days of the Hunger March, Ford discharged thousands of workers. If there was any suspicion that a worker was even sympathetic to the Hunger Marchers’ cause, they were let go.

If you’re on the shop floor in 1935, and you start speaking about labor organizing, you were escorted out,” Mike Smith, Archivist for the Michigan Historical Collections at the University of Michigan’s Bentley Historical Library, says. “In fact, Henry Ford was the last of the Big Three to organize. Ironically, he gave the UAW its best contract, because if he was going to let a union organize, he didn’t want to be outdone by GM or Chrysler.”

Sources :

Detroit Historical Society Facebook Page

CuriosiD: What was the 1932 Ford Hunger March?“, WDET, August 10, 2015.

“4 Die in Riot at Ford Plant; Murder Charges Asked After Red Mob Fights Police”, Detroit Free Press, March 8, 1932, front page.

John Lippert, “Hard Times ’32: A Hunger March”, Detroit Free Press, March 7, 1982, p. 13.

CuriosiD: What was the 1932 Ford Hunger March?

1942 : Congress Orders New Lock at Sault Ste. Marie
Mar 7 all-day

Larger and larger lake freighters were carrying the ore vital to the war effort, and it was determined that a new, longer and deeper lock had to be built to replace the now obsolete Weitzel Lock. The St. Mary’s River had been dredged during the 1930s to 24 feet, but the Poe and Sabin Locks, which handled most of the traffic on the American side, couldn’t accommodate boats drawing more than 20 feet.

Congress ordered construction of a new lock on March 7, 1942, to replace the old Weitzel with one that would handle the new breed of freighters. The new lock would be named after Douglas MacArthur, the war hero of the Pacific theater. Previously, the Weitzel and Poe Locks had taken eight years to build; the Davis Lock, six. But this was wartime, and the new lock had to be built ASAP.

Work began on September 1, 1942, as the initial cement forms were laid. Crews of the Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company worked around the clock. When temperatures plunged below zero during the frigid winter months, heaters had to be employed to allow the cement to set. Work on the MacArthur Lock was completed in a mere 16 months, and dedication ceremonies were held on July 11, 1943. The first boat through the new lock was the Carl D. Bradley. The contractor and its workers received the Army–Navy E Award for their efforts in building the crucial new lock in record time. The estimated 1,000-plus construction workers added to the housing burden that already had tiny Sault Ste. Marie bursting with soldiers.


Rachel North, “Northern Michigan History: When the Soo Locks Readied for World War II“, UpNorth, February 18, 2014.

1972 : East Lansing Bans Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation in Regards to City Hiring
Mar 7 all-day

On March 7, 1972, East Lansing, Michigan became the first city in the country to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in regards to city hiring. The city of East Lansing has also prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing and public accomodations or services in addition to employment, according to city code. Still fighting for inclusiveness, the city council voted in January 2012 to support a lawsuit pushed by the American Civil Liberties Union against the state of Michigan, which passed a law prohibiting public employers from offering benefits to domestic partners, including gay and lesbian couples.

Source : Beau Hayhoe, “E. L. celbrates anniversary banning LGBT discrimination”, State News, March 12, 2012.

1989 : Michigan Library & Historical Center Dedicated In Lansing
Mar 7 all-day

In 2019, the Michigan Library & Historical Center will celebrate its 30th year. The dedication took place on Tuesday, March 7, 1989.

At a cost of 42 million dollars, it combined the museum, state library, and archives all under one roof. Previously, all three were scattered throughout the area.

Governor James Blanchard cut the symbolic ribbon and announced, “Now we have the envy of the nation”.

Located at 702 W. Kalamazoo Street in downtown Lansing, it still proudly stands, holding many of Michigan’s treasured history within.

Source:  John Robinson, “Michigan Library & Historical Center’s 30th Anniversary“, 99.1 WFMK Blog. February 12, 2019.


2017 : Windstorm Impacts 1/3 of State; Has Largest Impact of Any Weather Event in History
Mar 7 all-day

The windstorms that started Tuesday (March 7) in the Upper Peninsula and then stretch across the rest of the state on Wednesday (March 8) left two people dead and affected nearly one-third of the state’s nearly 10 million people.

The windstorm – where winds were recorded at more than 60 miles an hour in a number of locations in the state – left more than 1,100 of Consumers Energy’s poles toppled and some 4,000 wires of DTE Energy downed in their respective service areas.

That had a larger overall effect than the ice storm that struck just before Christmas in 2013, which left some 400 poles collapsed for CMS and affected close to 1 million people in the center region of the state. Some places did not get electricity restored for close to nine days after that storm.

Jerry Norcia, president and COO at DTE, said as many 800,000 people in their service area lost power. The utility has more than 3,500 employees, including 1,500 linemen and some 750 linemen from other states, working on restoring service. He said they expected to have 90 percent of their customers restored by Sunday night.

Consumers Energy President and CEO Patricia Poppe said some 320,000 customers had lost power and the utility has succeeded in restoring service to nearly half of them. In its service area, Consumers has seen serious problems in Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent and Genesee counties. There are 2,200 people working on restoring power, she said.

Source : Lauren Gibbons, “Windstorm outages ‘largest combined statewide event in history,’ Snyder says”, MLive, March 9, 2017.

1843 : Michigan Renames Counties Originally Named After Indian Words or Chiefs
Mar 8 all-day

On March, 8, 1843, several counties in Michigan officially received new names.  Most had been named after Indian chiefs or combinations of Indian words by Henry Schoolcraft.  However, with the influx of white settlers, Michigan lawmakers thought the names should be anglacized.

Aishcum County, Michigan was formed 1 April 1840 from Mackinac County and renamed Lake County on 8 March 1843.

Anamickee County, Michigan was formed 1 April 1840 and renamed Alpena County on 8 March 1843.

Cheonoquet County, Michigan was formed 1 April 1840 and renamed Montmorency County on the 8 March 1843.

Kanotin County, Michigan was formed 1 Feburary 1840 and renamed Iosco County in 1843.

Kautawaubet County, Michigan was formed 1 Feburary 1840 from MacKinac County and renamed Wexford County in 1843.

Kaykakee County, Michigan was formed 1 Feburary 1840 from MacKinac County, Saginaw County, and renamed Clare County in 1843.

The Keskkauko County was originally set off in 1840  and name changed in 1843. It was split between Charlevoix County, Michigan and part in Emmet County, Michigan

Meegisee County, Michigan was formed 1840 from renamed Antrim County in 8 March 1843.

Michilimackinac County, Michigan was formed 26 Oct 1818 from Wayne County and renamed Mackinac County in 1843.

Mikenauk County, Michigan was formed 1 April 1843 from MacKinac County and unorganized land was renamed Roscommon County in 1843.

Neewago County, Michigan was formed 1 April 1843 from MacKinac County and was renamed Antrim County in 1843.

Notipekago County, Michigan was formed 1 April 1843 from MacKinac County and was renamed Mason County in 1843.

Okkuddo County, Michigan was formed 1 April 1843 from MacKinac County and was renamed Otsego County in 1843.

Omeena County, Michigan was formed 1840 from Mackinac County and abolished in 1853. It become part of Grand Traverse County in 1843.

Shawano County, Michigan was formed 26 Oct 1818 from MacKinac County and was renamed Crawford County in 1843.

Tonedagana County, Michigan was formed 1 April 1840 from Mackinac County became Emmet County in 1843.

Unwattin County, Michigan was formed 1 April 1840 from Mackinac County became Osceola County in 1843.

Wabassee County, Michigan was formed 1 April 1840 from Mackinac County became Kalkaska County in 1843.

Other extinct Michigan counties include:

Bleeker County, Michigan was formed 1861 and renamed Menominee County on 19 March 1863.

Brown County, Michigan was formed 26 Oct 1818 and became part of the Wisconsin territory December 7 of 1836. It is now part of Wisconsin as Brown County, Wisconsin.

Des Moines County, Michigan was formed 1834 from unorgainzed land and became a part of Wisconsin territory in 1836 and is now [[Des Moines_County, Iowa Genealogy|Des Moines_County, Iowa].

Dubuque County, Michigan was formed 1834 from unorgainzed land and became a part of Wisconsin territory in 1836 and is now Dubuque County, Iowa.

Iowa County, Michigan was formed 1830 from Crawford County and became a part of Wisconsin territory in 1836 and is now Iowa County, Wisconsin

Isle Royal County, Michigan was formed 1875 from Keweenaw County and was attached to Houghton County in 1885 abolished in 1895 and became part of Keweenaw County.

Manitou County, Michigan was formed 13 Feburary 1855 from Emmet County, and Leelanau County. In 1861 the county government was disorganized and Manitou was attached to Mackinac County. In 1865 it was attached again to Leelanau County and then in 1869. Finally in 1869 Manitou County was abolished and taken into Charlevoix and Leelanau County.

Washington County, Michigan was formed 1869 from Marquette County but declare unconstitutional.

Wyandot County, Michigan was formed 1840 from Mackinac County and abolished in 1853 becoming part of Cheboygan County.

Source: Michigan Every Day

Michigan Counties in the 1840s

Family Search Extinct or Renamed Counties

1843 : Tonedagana County Renamed Emmet County in Honor of Irish Patriot
Mar 8 all-day

Emmet County was formed April 1, 1840, from Mackinac County. It was first named Tonedagana County and renamed Emmet County on March 8, 1843. Emmet County remained attached to Mackinac County for administrative purposes until county government was organized in 1853. The county was named for the Irish patriot Robert Emmet, who was hanged as a traitor to the British government at the age of 23.

Source : Emmet County Wikipedia entry.

1849 : Charles O’Malley Renames Michigan Counties
Mar 8 all-day

Throughout much of the early 1800s, it was common for young Irish men and women to leave Ireland in search of opportunities elsewhere. Ireland lacked a middle class, most natives were poor farmers and those who were educated and ambitious had limited opportunities to advance.

Charles M. O’Malley was one of those young Irishmen who sought an avenue to advance by leaving his village of Derradda in County Mayo. Charley was educated – he had finished his regular schooling and then enrolled in Maynooth Seminary to study for the priesthood. He interrupted his seminary studies to leave Ireland, never to return. He immigrated to Canada in 1834 with his younger brother Tully and the pair landed in Montreal. Both became affiliated with the University of Montreal, with Charles teaching mathematics for a brief period.

But the two were restless and anxious for more adventure than university life could provide. They soon left the urban center of Montreal for the wild and unsettled area of northern Michigan. They ended their westward journey in Mackinaw in 1835 and happened upon another ambitious man, John Jacob Astor. Astor was just then in the midst of building his fur trading empire, and he hired the pair to serve as clerks in his growing enterprise.

Neither man stayed with Astor very long although their employment must have been profitable because Charlie soon opened his own mercantile business on the island with the help of young Tully. Mackinac Island was a busy place. The fur business required the warehousing and movement of large stores of trade goods and furs. The island village was host to traders, Indians, and businessmen of all types who were regularly coming and going and visiting the row of stores that fronted the busy waterfront area.

O’Malley was described as an honest and industrious merchant. His financial success and generosity enabled his helping other Irish emigrate from their homeland to the U.S. both before and during the Irish potato famine. One of those who came was O’Malley’s sister, Margaret, who promptly married another Irishman named Chambers.

Another of O’Malley’s sponsored immigrants was his niece, Bridget. Bridget also married an Irishman on the trip to America. The pair settled in Mackinaw and ultimately built the Cloghaun Bed & Breakfast on Mackinac Island after raising enough capital by fishing and exporting salted fish.

Charlie’s success in business provoked his entry into politics where he was also successful. He entered local politics first and then succeeded to state-wide office becoming Mackinaw’s representative to the State legislature in 1846, 1847 and 1849. In 1849, Charlie’s peers elected him as Speaker Pro Tem in a show of their admiration.

Not everyone was happy with Charlie, however. One of Charlie’s jobs was in jurisprudence, as he became a judge while brother Tully became sheriff of Mackinaw County. Mackinaw was the political center of northern Michigan and the pair were involved in several disputes. By 1850 Charlie had developed a reputation of being an irascible sort who was given to impulsive decisions.

Two examples of Charlie’s decisions are illustrative: the Michael Dousman case and that of “King” Strang. The wealthy Dousman was being sued in O’Malley’s court and the judge objected to Dousman’s testimony as being too personal. The two men had a chance meeting sometime later and their quarrel took on a physical aspect with both men using their fists. Charlie was bested. He promptly returned to his court and wrote an order demanding Douseman’s arrest and imprisonment on the charge of contempt of court.

Charlie gave “King” Strang the same treatment. [Strang took the name “King” to indicate his exalted status as king of the Mormons who resided on Beaver Island.] Charlie had no particular respect for Strang and he demonstrated his opinion by sentencing Strang to life imprisonment for contempt of court after Strang had given testimony in court that Charlie didn’t like. The charge was later reduced to one year in jail. By the way, Strang also represented Beaver Island in the state legislature proving that Charlie believed in uniform treatment regardless of one’s station in life.

Charlie left Mackinaw for a time when he moved to Escanaba. It was reported that both he and Tully dabbled in the lumbering business in the Upper Peninsula while maintaining their primary interests on Mackinac Island.

In addition to the naming of several Michigan counties, Charlie’s most lasting legacy was the building of the Island House Hotel in 1852, the first hotel on Mackinac Island. The hotel still proudly stands along the shore of the Island bearing testimony to the work and success of Irish immigrant Charles M. O’Malley, he who named Roscommon County, Michigan in honor of his Irish homeland.


Charles O’Malley: Mackinac Island’s Legendary Legislator, MIRS, September 20, 2013.

W. E. Tudor, “The Story of Charlie O’Malley“, Houghton Lake Resorter, April 26, 2012.

Michigan Maps in the 1840s

1887 : Philip Parmelee Born, Early Aviator
Mar 8 all-day


Born in Michigan and raised in St. Johns by his father after his mother was killed by a runaway horse, Philip Orin Parmelee (8 March 1887 – 1 June 1912) was an American aviation pioneer trained by the Wright brothers and credited with several early world aviation records and “firsts” in flight. He turned a keen interest in small engines into employment with the Wright Company in its early years and was one of several young pilots hired by the Wright brothers to demonstrate and publicize the capabilities of their airplanes. Because of his youth, blond good looks, and daring reputation, Parmelee had the nickname “Skyman” attributed to him.

Among the feats credited to Parmelee are the first commercial flight of an airplane, establishing a world cross-country speed record, holding the world flying endurance record, piloting the first aircraft to drop a bomb, conducting the first military reconnaissance flight and piloting the first aircraft involved in the world’s first parachute jump.

Parmelee was killed in the crash of an airplane he was piloting at an exhibition in Yakima, Washington, when turbulence flipped the airplane upside down.

An historic marker to Philip O. Parmelee, erected in 1978, is displayed at the Lansing Capital Region International Airport terminal in DeWitt Township, Michigan.

Parmelee appeared in an early silent film A Dash Through the Clouds directed by Mack Sennett and starring Mabel Normand. In the film Parmelee plays a pilot called ‘Slim’ and flies Mabel around in his Wright B aeroplane. Parmelee completed this film and it was released two weeks after his death on June 24, 1912.


Philip Parmalee wikipedia entry

1918 : Ft. Custer Issues Two Dog Tags To Each Recruit
Mar 8 all-day

On March 8,  1918 at Ft. Custer, the army issued two dog tags to each of 30-thousand draftees, with instructions that they wear one around their neck and the other around their wrist “to make identification certain in case of explosion where portions of the body might be blown to pieces!”

Source : WAKV (Plainwell, MI) : The Memory Station Facebook Page

Sarah Sicard, “A Brief History of the Dog Tag“, January 15, 2016.

History of Dog Tags