Letter to the Editor
To the editor
Since 1905, Abiel Fellows Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution has served the City of Three Rivers and the surrounding area in fulfillment of DAR’s aims of promoting historical, educational, and patriotic information and events.
Beginning in 1911, the chapter placed numerous historical markers in the area, bringing historical knowledge literally to your doorstep. You may recognize them from Scidmore Park, to Moab, Cassoway and Gibson Trading Post, the 1670 Jesuit Mission at the corner of Michigan and Main in downtown Three Rivers, to name just a few. On Memorial Day in 2016 we did a reenactment of the 1915 dedication of the sundial at Bowman Memorial Park on North Main Street in Three Rivers. Thanks to the City of Three Rivers, we were able to relocate the stone for Chief Sauganash to Riverside Cemetery after years of vandalism at other locations.
In 1976 Chapter members led by Helen Wickman, researcher for the historic downtown designation, were able to protect the Arthur Silliman House at 116 S. Main and secure the National Historic Site recognition, the first in this area. With the support of many individuals, the Three Rivers Community Foundation, GTE, the State of Michigan, the Upjohn Foundation and more, restoration was completed and Abiel Fellows Chapter was able to commence the development of the Sue Silliman House Museum you see and visit today, 38 years later.
Thanks to the trust of the many who have placed their historic artifacts and information with us, we have a special treasure to share with the community and visitors to the area. Along with an archive rescued literally from the dump in the mid-1940s, we have also received in recent years a collection of Three Rivers history and memorabilia through the generosity of Tom Meyer, Bruce Monroe the late Tom Mittler, and Bill Dehn: the “Dehn Collection.” Recent re-organization of the museum’s displays is an attempt to focus on what put Three Rivers on the world map a century ago — Three Rivers Tannery/Furs, Sheffield Car Co./Fairbanks Morse, and the Kellogg Farm. From pre-historic stone artifacts to the more recent history of the area as we approach our Bi-Centennial, you will find much worthy of your study and attention. As we attract visitors from across the state and the country, we have learned of rare and exciting articles and information in our collections. We are deeply grateful to all, past and present, who have contributed along the way. It’s why we are here 38 years later — your source for the history of Three Rivers and the surrounding area.
All are welcome to access the images and information available in the Sue Silliman House Museum Library. We ask that if any are used in displays or publications that the Silliman source be acknowledged. Thank you.