Gratiot County Michigan MIGenWeb Project

Beaver Creek Ladies Aid Society

Seville Township, Gratiot Co., Michigan

A Part of Local History


Just a beaver dam built on a creek near Lumberjack Park which emptied into the Pine River, became the name of the Beaver Creek Ladies Aid, as remembered by Norma Archambault.

On April 9, 1922 on a sunny afternoon, a group of ladies met at Winnie Leonard`s home and the aid was organized with Emma Leonard acting as chairman. Emma Leonard was the first president, Hattie Van Buskirt as vice president, Winnie Leonard as treasurer and Lizzie Welch as secretary.

The first regular meeting was held at Hattie Van Buskirt`s home where a good number joined the aid that day. Their aim was to help the Seville Church of God and the Riverdale Methodist Church and Sunday schools, to help those who were sick and in need or any other work to aid in the betterment of the community.

I, Thelma Hamp, joined the aid in 1934. As I remember their activities, we always had good meetings where a large number of members, neighbors and friends attended.

We had yearly dinners for the road commission, many times, at Lumberjack Park, prepared in our kitchen, which was built on the cabin by our husbands and other men for only our use. We had the dinners in the large part of the cabin which was used as a dining room. The road commission always enjoyed our meals and looked forward to them each year. The men paid a nice price and always tipped us for our nice dinners. We also sold pies and other food when there were other activities at the park. We also cooked for our husbands and other men when they worked at the park. At our regular meetings the young women always brought their children and they were welcome. They played on some of the equipment we purchased for the park.

We sold tickets on homemade quilts and tore carpet rags for small rugs to sell.

When we had our meetings in our homes, we always prepared enough food so our husbands and other men working in the fields could have dinner with us and they would give us one dollar each for the dinners and with this collection it all helped out.

We had many meetings in our homes after we were told we could not sell dinners or other food at the park. We gave up our Aid room and had an auction at Mayme Lake`s home. We sold off all our equipment, including dishes, and etc. The organ, stove, folding chairs and coffee pots were previously sold.

We gave Rock Lake Assembly ten dollars each year, gave quilts to fire victims, donated slides, teeter-totters, and cookout stoves to the park. We made layettes for mothers who needed them, sewed for the hospital, mended clothing for those that needed it. We remembered the sick with fruit, cards, or flowers and helped some in need and gave to charities and churches.

In later years, we have had many happy meetings in our aid member's homes. We met at Mabel Boyer`s and Majorie Whitehead showed pictures of her Alaska trip. We also met at Julia King`s who showed pictures of her Alaska trip. At Effie Lapaugh`s meeting, Ash Lapaugh took pictures of us. We were having a costume meeting. Later at another meeting, Ash entertained us with these pictures which were really hilarious, we laughed over them and really enjoyed his efforts of taking the pictures. We appreciated this very much and thanked Ash for his wonderful hospitality.

Another time we enjoyed ourselves was on a trip to Grand Rapids, Michigan. We were on a television show called the Don Melvin Show, in order to be given a large coffee pot. We left our homes on an icy January morning and arrived on time to put on the show. It started with Zelma Leach throwing water in a man's face. Water was all over the floor and they didn't mop it up. Four of the women had to take off their shoes and throw them in a pile on the stage. Then we were blindfolded and had to find our shoes. I said to the women when we were still backstage that it would be just like Don to step one of us in that water barefooted. He must have heard me. Fern Race found her shoes first and won a basket of fruit and the rest of us received a pound of coffee. Anyway, when we were on stage to find our shoes, well, what did Don do, but have me step in the water then sit me down on a chair with a blown up rubber duck on it. It squawked when he sat me down. I said, "oh I sat on a duck", and really believed I had, so I got up in a hurry. This really made everybody laugh. Clayton, my husband, said it was real good and that he enjoyed watching it on television at home. Edna Archambault and Vida Church received a kiss from Don Melvin for being the oldest members there. We were presented with a coffeepot for our efforts and later sold it to Clayton Hamp for ten dollars.

We have had our social gatherings in restaurants and antique shops. We talk about old times and about our loved members of the aid who have passed on, the ones we miss, who used to be with us and the good times we have had at our meetings in the past.

As of this year, 1999, the aid is seventy seven years old. We have eight members, Vida Church, being the oldest member at ninety-one years old. She has been a member for fifty-three years. We have four charities we give to yearly. We no longer give quilts to fire victims or give to the Rock Lake Assembly. We at present are doing very well for so few members when at one time we had over one hundred members. We meet in our homes, tie off quilts for our members and for others for a sum depending on the size of the quilt. We make scrapbooks and lap robes for folks in the nursing homes who really enjoy them.

In July of 1999, Riverdale celebrated being 125 years old. There were many activities going on. We had a table in the craft show where we sold some big quilts and baby quilts we had made. At eleven o'clock there was a parade. Michael Hamp, great grandson of Thelma Hamp, and his wife Rhonda, drove their pickup truck in the parade. In the back, we had chairs, where we sat and two of the women, Pat Stone and Ula Keeler, held a banner with the word "BEAVER CREEK LADIES AID" on it. Later on, Mike drove his truck to the library where Pat Stone held their new son, Trevor, and Jim Stone took pictures of the aid members who participated in the parade.

As a group this year of 1999, we gave fifty dollars to the Equipment Locker in Alma, Michigan to do as they wished, gave twenty five dollars to the Salvation Army and donated a sum to the Senior Citizen's building in St. Louis, Michigan to help build a new kitchen.

Thelma Hamp


Member for 65 years

Precious Memories

Seventy seven years come and gone

Since our ladies aid was started by some

They were the ones we still hold dear

Ones who filled our hearts with cheer.

We hope we can still be the same

As the ones we remember only by name

Working with our hands to fulfill the needs

And everyday, each, doing good deeds.

As of today we are only a few

To carry on the work these ladies did do

But we still can have the love and the joy

They shared with us and we all enjoyed.

By Thelma Hamp - 85 years old

Members who have moved or do not attend are as of 1999:

1.Viola Alexander

13. Shirley Austin

2. Ermina Knapp

14. Myrtle Lapaugh

3.Harriet Kruger

15. Majorie Whitehead

4.Emma Bradley

16. Gladys Griswold

5. Harriet Beard

17. Estol Nickleous

6. Laura Freed

18. Margaret Freed

7. Verla Fisher

19. June Freed

8. Norma Archambault

20. Thelma Stacy

9. Lucille Bradley

21. Carol Hamp

10. Virginia Freeman

22. Treva Schnapp

11. Fern Race

23. Ilene McGill

12. Julia King

24. Ada McGill


25. Janice King



Members who have passed on:

1. Nellie Abbot

23. Dorothy Freed

45. Effie Lapaugh

2. Fannie Austin

24. Zella Freed

46. Myra Sadler Larson

3. Lucy Austin

25. Mrs French

47. Ada Lucas

4. Viola Austin

26. Lena Gossett

48. Clara McCoy

5. Edna Archambault

27. Libbie Gould

49. Ora Nelson

6. Pearl Battles

28. Ruth Grant

50. Mrs Oaks

7. Georgiana Bowers

29. Hazel Greenman

51. Dorothy Pearl

8. Mabel Boyer

30. Amelia Hamp

52. Lena Pearson

9. Dora Bradley

31.Ola Hamp

53. Sophie Rockefellow

10. Blanch Beeson

32. Flossie Hillis

54. Ola Schnepp

11. Doris Britten

33. Mayme Hundy

55. Mrs Scofield

12. Regina Britten

34. Mrs Hunt

56. Mrs Vanalstine

13. Agnes Brownridge

35. Mrs Inman

57. Hattie Vanbuskirt

14. Nora Chase

36. Mrs Isenhath

58. Mrs Van Louvin

15. Helen Chase

37. Mina Jacques

59. Lizzie Welch

16. Reva Clark

38. Blanch Johnson

60. Mrs Clair Welch

17. Mrs Dalrymple

39. Mrs Kimmel

61. Ruth Wiltshire

18. Flossie Demeyer

40. Clara Layman

62. Mrs Wolfgang

19. Sadie Dickerson

41. Zelma Leach

63. Georgie Wolfgang

20. Anna Fairchild

42. Emma Lemmons

64. Mrs Wilk

21. Annie Fairchild

43. Emma Leonard

65. Mrs Whitehead

22. Florence Fisk

44. Winnie Leonard

66. Mrs Young

And more who we may not have records on over the years.

Members at present:

1. Ula Keeler

5. Viola Church

2. Pat Stone

6. Carol Wertz

3. Pat Stimson

7. Evelyn Nickerson

4. Orah Reed

8. Thelma Hamp


Tuesday, 09 November, 1999

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Yep, that's Grandma!