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1932 – Milford’s 100th Birthday Procession

From: Milford Times Files - edited by Carol Watkins

There have been bigger and more pretentious parades, with floats costing thousands of dollars but for what it was intended to represent, sequence of exhibits and real heart interest it would be hard to match the procession of July 4th, 1932.

A major feature in the Centennial Celebration, the procession ssembled on the south side of the public square, went west to the end of the road, then by way of Huron to Main Streetm turning east on Commerce, south on First, west on Liberty and traversing the business section of Main Street a second time. Deputies on motorcycles led the way followed by Clyde Shirtcliff as Marshall and the Vocational School Band of 60 pieces.

The first float recognized the bi-centennial of Washington’s birth and was prepared under direction of Mrs. Bennett Porter and Mrs. Fred Bourns. It was covered in white with two white pillars in front. M. Hewill, attired as “Uncle Sam” was driving with John Dawson as Washington, Mrs. Anna Foote as Martha, and Mary Jane McCall as Nellie Curtis.

The O.E.S. float followed with 13 ladies gowned in white representing the colonies and the Goddess of Liberty holding the lighted torch.

A float driven by Fred Sanford with Walpole Indians aboard depicted the original inhabitants.

Next came Elizur Ruggles, the first settler, afoot, impersonated by Ralph Trites.

A covered wagon driven by LeRoy Turner represented the pioneer family seeking a new home. Mrs. DeGarmo as the pioneer mother, Juliet Arms and John Culham as children, LeClaire Hicks walking beside with his dog, and Will Turner afoot as the prospector. The covered wagon had its water barrel and usual equipment of the immigrants and was prepared by John Dawson and Perry Orvis.

A long transport tyruck was the foundation for the float showing a log cabin home, with a pioneer family. Mrs. Hattie Austin impersonated the grandmother, sewing carpet rags. W.S. Foote and sister, Mrs. W. W. Porter and the Foote and Porter children were all descendents of the pioneer physician Dr. H.K. Foote.  Mr. and Mrs. S. L. McCall planned the float and an unexpected last minute job was to build the log cabin. It had been expected to utilize a cabin that was already constructed, but when this failed then Mr. Shirtcliff, Earl Stephens, Fred Skinner< Boy Scouts and others turned in and helped build it.

Milford’s first school was the contribution of the P.T.A. The float represented Mrs. Bigelow’s kitchen where the school was held. It had a fireplace and cooking utensils. Mrs. R.S. Pittenger, impersonating the teacher, rocked the cradle with one foot, operated the butter churn with one hand and held a school book with the other hand as she taught a group of quaintly clad children.

The “Women’s Club of 1832”, the Monday Literary Club’s float prepared under the direction of Mrs. Charles Pittenger, depicted a quilting party. The ladies engaged were Mrs. May Mendham, Mrs. Iva Goodrich, Mrs. Amy Bourns and Miss Lotti Hudson, all descendants of earliest pioneers.

The Wixom Farmers Club presented “Sibley’s Corners Singing School” was a happy assembly of Wixom people “to beat the band”. The leader was Fred Pearsall, the organist, Mrs. Everett Pearsall, the driver Rollin Porter, and 20 Wixom ladies and gentlemen in costume constituted the school. Webb Wilson officiated as fiddler and Mr. Coe played the harmonica.

Next came the Kearage stage coach, drawn by a four-horse team with cowboy drivers, all loaned for the occasion by Henry Ford. The passengers were a bevy of quaintly clad Milford young people and their ancient luggage reposed on top of the vehicle.

The Paris-made barouche loaned by Henry Ford was drawn by John Beaumont’s team and driven by Mr. Peasley.  The occupants were our centenarian Mrs. Lovisa Heath, Messers. George Sturdevant , Marvin Bogart, John  Beaumont and William Sherwood – all of venerable age. Over them was a banner marked “Our Guests” and carried by Wesley Howes and Harold Sinnock.

Following the barouche was a group of riders, Mrs. S.L. McCall, Mrs. Bauer and Miss Harriett Hubbell, the two later using side saddles.

G.S. Rowe, also on horseback, represented the pioneer physician. The saddlebags carried were once used by an early Milford doctor.

Even “Amos and Andy” were in the parade. That happens to be the names of a pair of young oxen that were brought down from Holly.

Mr. and Mrs. George Hubbell on a bicycle built for two recalled memories of other days.

The “Spirit of ‘61” was portrayed by a group of boys, some of them no younger than those who answered the call to the colors stirring Civil War days. The fifer was James Harland, the drummers Jas. Wilson, and the other Stanley Hewitt, David Bennett and William Lovejoy.

The W.C.R. float depicted women of Civil War era scraping lint, making bandages and packing a box of supplies for the 22nd Michigan, largely recruited from this region. This was arranged y Mrs. R.B. Lockwood.

A float labelled  “The Kinsman Band and Concert Troupe” brought back memories of that once important musical organization. The members were three generations of the Kinsman family and three were original members of the band – J.R. Gardner, Frank Beach and Mrs. A.B. Kinney.  Mrs. Hamilton played the organ and her son, Roman Hamilton used the violin of his great-grandfather.

“The Husking Bee” was a realistic contribution of the Rebekahs arranged by Mrs. Arthur Culham and the “Red ear” was not lacking.

The second section of the procession included old-fashioned turnouts driven or furnished by John Armstrong, Alfred Legg, J.M. Whitney,  B.A. Holden, Mr. and Mrs. Brock, John Sinnock, Frank Burch, and Whitney Allen.

There were floats by Wilkinson’s Drug Store, D.Boyle, Red Cross, J.H. Culham and Kroger Store.

Bert Vincent and Milford Chevrolet Co. showed old and new cars.  There were old cars by South Side Garage, L. Bridgman and new cars by General Motors and Albert Johnson.

Overheard from Visitors:

“Centennial? Why you know that means fifty years.”

“Didn’t suppose a little town like this would have fire engines like that.”

“I’ve seen a lot of parades that cost a lot of money but this has ‘em beat.”


The Indian band gave a concert on Main Street Saturday Afternoon and also one on Saturday evening.

Horses for the parade, in addition to those indicated, were furnished according to officials by: Melbourne Hewitt, Frank Buell, William Finingsdorf, Harry Beaumont, Frank Mack, Whitney Allen, William Crawford, William Johnson, Clarence Gittins and Ira Carnes.

The car on the Chevrolet Company show floor that looked more like a buggy than an automobile, was a “Kiblinger” built in 1896. In one of the large Automobile shows, it took second prize in the oldest car contest. It was loaned by the Pontiac Auto Part Co. The 1902 Cadillac shown by Thomas H. Padley is owned by Orvis Brothers, Milford.

**Grammer and spelling have been replicated from the original printing.