Page 32 - Scene Magazine 41-10 October 2016
P. 32

Scene In Time
   Stone Jug Road (2 Mile) runs south from Columbia to Leroy Township’s border. In the 1960s, it was split by I-94. The name comes from a set- tlement called
Stone Jug where Prairie Road (Territo- rial) intersected with Climax Road. The 1873 map simply says store and the name M. Trumble. Melvin Trumble was the son of Elijah Trumble. This Stone Jug farm- ing settlement no longer exists
due to construction of Kellogg airport and Camp Custer. I did not find any photos or drawings of Stone Jug.
In 1860, Elijah Trumble (1799-1880), wife Lucinda (1803-1879) and children moved
to Battle Creek. They were part
of a group of New York families
who came together and settled
on Goguac Prairie. Elijah built
a home of a mix of lime, sand
and cobblestones called a “mud
house.” In a History of Stone
Jug by Battle Creek histori-
an, J.H. Brown (Battle Creek Enquirer, November 9, 1917), the building was described as:
“located in the earth bank in the point of land... between the Climax road and its junction with the territorial highway that goes west across Camp Custer firing range toward Galesburg... It was 18x30 feet in size and fronted due east toward the road over the Willow Run bridge and Goguac Prairie. The lower floor was used as a store... The second floor was even with the ground on the west... This two- store mud building in time became known far and wide as ‘The Stone Jug.’ ”
A pump and watering trough in front of the store made for a stopping place. Customers bought tobacco, stick candy, sugar, coffee and tea. Melvin ran a sor- ghum press bringing in additional busi- ness. Brown describes the Climax road as busy with people from Climax and the “south woods” (Leroy) hauling wood and lumber in “bobsled strings of 50 to 100 teams.” In the summer, they hauled grain and hay.
What’s in a name: stone Jug road
According to Brown, Trumble was a temperance man but as he got older, he had a “stone jug” in back of the store. This was not advertised but by what Brown called, “original wireless com- munication,” customers appeared for a “swallow, finger, or bottle.” Stories in the Battle Creek papers appeared about ac- cidents because the drivers got too much “tanglefoot (illegal whiskey).” In 1885 the store was torn down. The Battle Creek Daily Moon of September 14, 1885 said, “The ‘stone jug’ a notorious place west of the city is being torn down.” The Stone
Jug built in the mid-1700s. Perhaps they were influenced by this. When it got more notorious, Stone Jug was sometimes called Five Points by area residents after a crime ridden slum in New York City. So the residents there did use various New York based names without those names appearing in the papers. For a short time, it was also called “Greeleyville” by the locals due to Trumble’s avid support for Horace Greeley who ran for president against Grant in 1872.
Even after the store was torn down, newspaper ads used Stone Jug as a ref- erence. According to the Battle Creek Daily Journal of Decem- ber 12, 1897, a witness in a tri- al when asked where he resided said, “Stone Jug.” When pressed to be more specific, he had no idea what county or state he was in. The Battle Creek Morning En- quirer of May 30, 1905 reported a baseball game between Sono- ma and Stone Jug. The score was 11-5 in favor of Stone Jug. A cemetery on Helmer (3 Mile) was called Stone Jug Cemetery but later absorbed by Memorial Park Sunset Gardens Cemetery across from Memorial Park Cemetery
and now maintained by them.
In 1917 as Camp Custer was con-
structed, soldiers of the 310th Engineers working on roads in the area wanted to know where the name came from so Brown told them the story. As an inter- esting side note, in July 5, 1918 the Bat- tle Creek Moon Journal explained that a sand hill on Territorial Road near Stone Jug was being filled with gravel by the soldiers. Before this, it was impassible by automobile but, “Now it allows an auto- mobile to make 25 miles an hour.”
The major source for this article was J.H. Brown (1859-1938). He is best known for his stone tower seen when you enter Battle Creek from I-194. Brown was a founding member of the Battle Creek Historical Society. See Mary Butler’s arti- cle on Brown at www.heritagebattlecreek. org. An article called “Rocks of Ages” by Battle Creek historian Frances Thornton is in Volume I of the magazine Heritage Battle Creek, Fall, 1991, pp. 6-15. You will learn more about Brown and his tower.
  Jug might have been unfairly maligned since the newspapers said most wagon drivers were already “loaded” with li- quor from town, only stopping at Stone Jug for a “refresher.” The Battle Creek Daily Journal of the same date was less judgmental than the Moon, “The ‘Old Stone Jug’ is one of oldest and most wide- ly known landmarks in the vicinity of the city, and the ‘Five Corners’ as the local- ity is also sometimes called, will indeed look strange to the old settlers without the stone building...” Earlier Goguac prairie pioneers called the area Willow Run after a nearby creek thick with willows.
In a later reminiscence of Stone Jug area resident Frank Imus, he was told the building looked like a two gallon jug, hence the name. J. H. Brown does not mention this. He was a detail person and not likely to miss a good story. Brown’s father was a friend of Trumble’s and lived in the area. However, the story may be valid since most of the Stone Jug area set- tlers came from an area in New York just north of a famous home called the Stone

   30   31   32   33   34