Mary Pack McNairy [daughter of George Willis Pack and Frances Farman]
b. September 23, 1860, Fort Gratiot, MI
d. November 14, 1939, Manchester, VT
Note:  Written (or dictated) in 1939, the "Memories" appear to not be complete, as the account ends abruptly after three pages. Strikethroughs are on the original copy.
I.  My earliest recollections are associated with the little village of Sand Beach, now a town with a government made Harbor-of-Refuge, located on the east shore of the southern peninsula of Michigan south of Saginaw Bay. When first married my parents lived in Lexington, Michigan to be near Grand -father and Grandmother Pack and their family, but they soon settled in Port Huron where my brother Charles was born in 1857. Three years later when Fort Gratiot was given up vacated by the government father and three or four young married men made an appeal at Washington for the privilege of occupying the former homes of the army officers of the Fort, and it was there I was born on the 23rd of September 1860. Many are the happy tales my mother told me in later years of the happy times there with the little group of intimate friends. Among them Major and Mrs. Tom Hunt, whose daughter "Pink" (Frances) visited us in Cleveland when we were grown. Fort Gratiot came into being in the days of the French and Indian wars and was named I believe for the first Commanding officer. It was located at the head of the St. Clair river where Lake Huron empties into it and must have been a pretty place with lawns and flower beds running down to the water's edge.
During those years father was a surveyor for the government (he surveyed much of the lower peninsula.) Naturally his work took him from home frequently and for long intervals, and it was during their days at the Fort that Mother made up her mind to go with him into the wilderness and establish a little home where they could be together. Unbeknown to Father she collected information from Dr. Brown, the family doctor, and learned of him the remedies then used for children's diseases and ordinary ailments, and also made it her business to learn how to sew up a wound. Armed with medicines, surgeon's needle and silk thread, and with much of the household goods ready for shipment, she greeted father upon his next return with the statement that when he should leave again, she and the two children [Charles and Mary] would go with him. A brave step for a small and delicate woman who had been city bred and knew nothing of hardships. It was soon after this that they settled at Sand Beach. in the spot that was to become Sand Beach, and I was less than two years old when the family moved there
II.  Entire house heated by wood in stoves, no furnace. Lighting by kerosene lamps and candles. Describe the arrangement of the house of clapbards [sic], white with green blinds. A separate low building of brick called the cellar. Held the winter supplies brought by boat late in the fall, and barrels of apples, sugar, flour, potatoes, etc. kegs of raw oysters, and a separate room for preserves, jellies and pies. Indians and their baskets. Maria Robinson, mother's first cook and with the family till she died in 1886. Fred Puls sister Mrs. Boetcher her husband, two sons, and Freda all young, German dancers crocheted tidy with M. Pack across the top, a souvenior [sic] made by Freda in 1870. Wild red raspberries, plentyful [sic] in the clearings. The general store where Mr. Vibbert, our next door neighbor was bookkeeper. The saw mills Mr. Carrington's house and the many small houses built by the company for its employees. Nellie Vibbert a trifle younger than I, her buff cashmere dress with wide border in tiny white braid made by her mother. The stove and the candy we made on it. The rain water barrels. The cookie jar and the $5 bill found on the side walk with no claimers. Nellie now in 1939 a widow in Detroit, no children. Her brother the head of the department of modern languages in the University of Michigan. Our flag pole, the climbing rose bush, with clusters of very double white roses to the top. Lake captains told mother they steered by it. The flower beds, pansies that bloomed under the hemlock boughs. The punishment I received for popping off the little heads. Uncle Fred duck shooting from behind a stump near the mill pond. I accompanied squatting behind him. His gun always kicked him over onto me and I into a puddle. One of the most delightful experiences of my life in those years. Pine pitch on the ends of the logs piled on the shores of the pond. The gathering of it into empty tomato cans and the hiding of the cans on the fence rail behind the cellar, precious and valuable. The surreptitious taking of butter to remove the pitch from my long curls. The visit of Howard Perry who introduced the new popular song "Captain Jink of the Horse Marines." Our performance in the laundry an out building, where Howard sang, Charlie talked, and I did the Grecian bend with and entrance charge of ten pins per head. The great forest fire, flaming pieces of bark settling over the village or into the lake, the fight to save the building. Water carried in buckets, many the old fashioned leather fire bucket. Ferd Puls on the roof of our home for hours, his eyebrows and hair burned from
III. ...his head. The gathering of the women and children with their bundles of bedding and clothing all about our home where they felt they would be saved. All their homes burned, only the mills, our home, and the company store was saved. Mother, Fedy all but the men of the family fled in a steamboat that came to our rescue. I remember being taken out pick-a-pack by Fred Puls who had to crawl with me on his back on the stringers that ran from pier to pier,  -- The planks having been entirely burned off with the exception of those at the end of the long pier. . There we huddled in a freight shed. The Jenks family of Rock Falls five or six miles south of Sand Beach. The shanty of a fisherman and his wife who lived near the beach midway, their dinner Charlie and I shared of fried salt pork with milk gravy, potatoes boiled in their jackets, salt rising bread, and dried apple pie, and our advice to mother to have that often at home. Jeremiah Jenks groaning board, doughnuts, casters, and spoon holders. The drive Charlie and I took on the frozen water of Lake Huron to Port Huron with Uncle Fred Farman, when for some reason he let me hold the reigns of the two fine horses and tried the very soul of Charlie of denying him the privilege. I wore no shoes outside the house in winter but high nee [?] Indian moccosins [sic] embroidered gayly [sic] on the toes and worn over three pairs of home knit woolen stockings. The red flannel hood bound with red ribbon and the ends of the top bow a clue for the searching party when Charlie and I were working in our hideout in the drifts, and forgot to go home at luncheon time. The Potter boys tepid winter-green tea made in an old tin coffee pot, very sweet. The cedar fence posts, the wide low sleds with corner posts make of sapplings [sic] with the bark on, the iron work all made by the village black smith. My hatchet for twigs and return ride from the dock on the  empty sled. The two wounded draft horses kicked by a small mule that got loose in the night. The report to father by the barn man that they must be shot, mother's demand to be taken to the company barns to dress and sew the gashes, the platform built for her to stand on.