The Dam, Eaton Rapids, Michigan

The Dam Eaton Rapids Michigan pc1The Dam Eaton Rapids Michigan pc2

Wow, I’m a Michigander but didn’t know this until now:  Eaton Rapids is known as the Island City – it’s downtown is surrounded by water – the Grand River and the Grand’s Spring Brook tributary. The city has fourteen bridges and an island park, and holds an annual Dam Festival in June. Historically, it was known as “The Saratoga of the West.” See the Eaton Rapids Area Historical Society for lots more.

Some baseball trivia:  The Davidson Mill was established around 1921 in Eaton Rapids by Philadelphia-born John B. Davidson, Sr. This mill supplied 95% of the wool yarn for major league baseball, as well as high-grade yarns for other purposes. (per Wikipedia).

Related Eaton Rapids posts at Laurel Cottage:  G. Meachum Millinery and Dr. W. Derby’s Croup Mixture. There’s a millinery connection in this second link also. Hmmm, coincidence, or might it help to solve the Meachum mystery? (See EARHS’s Facebook page re G. Meachum.)

As to the age of this postcard on the dam, a semi-educated guess would be around 1910 – 1915 or so. The publisher E. C. Kropp went under the name of Kropp prior to 1907, but this fact doesn’t help us, as this is a Divided Back, so we already know this card was from at least 1907. The E.C. Kropp Co. sold it’s business to L.L. Cook in 1956.

Divided back, unused postcard. Publisher:  E.C. Kropp Co., Milwaukee. Circa 1910 – 1915.

Price:  $6.00

Sources:   Eaton Rapids Area Historical Society. (accessed August 23, 2015.)

Ogg, Aaron. (2012, July 16). Eaton Rapids is ‘Island City’ surrounded by Grand River and Spring Brook tributary. The Grand Rapids Press. (

Eaton Rapids, Michigan. n.d.,_Michigan. (accessed August 23, 2015).

E.C. Kropp Co. 1907 – 1956. Accessed August 23  2015.

Dr. W. Derby’s Croup Mixture

Dr W Derbys Croup Mixture pc1Dr W Derbys Croup Mixture pc2

“Wet feet, cold hands, Dr. W. Derby’s Croup Mixture, Eaton Rapids, Mich.”
is printed at the bottom of this artist-signed postcard showing merriment in winter – elves throwing snowballs.

I was searching for a Dr. W. Derby in Eaton Rapids around 1900 without finding an entry. Then after finding the below patent information, wondered if Dr. Derby was a fictional name; however the 1870 Federal Census taken in Eaton Rapids shows Willougby Derby, physician and surgeon, born in New York, about 1829; his wife Hattie, born in Michigan about 1839; living with them are Annie Pomeroy, invalid, and Adelbert Garfield, domestic servant. By the 1880 census, Hattie is widowed, and the 1900 shows Hattie working as a milliner, but several doors down from her on this census is Frank Godding, born Michigan, July 1863; his wife Emma, born Michigan April 1866. Frank Godding’s occupation is Pharmacist. Their son Dan is eight years old. George Wilcox is Frank Godding’s likely partner. He appears on the 1900 as a commercial traveler (drugs), born Illinois, August 1861; his wife is Katherine, born Michigan, September 1866; their daughter Florence is five years old. So, perhaps Dr. Willoughby Derby developed the croup mixture or possibly it was named in honor of him.

Wilcox & Godding

The lower right corner of this charming postcard shows the artist’s signature, which appears to be J.? Stauter. We’ll add this to the mystery category, as the full name of the artist is unknown.

Undivided back, unused, artist-signed postcard. Circa 1906. Artist:  Stauter. Publisher unknown.

Price:  $20.00

Sources:  The Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office, Volume 122, Issues 8-9. 1906. p. 3005. Web accessed January 10, 2015. (Google eBook)

Year: 1870; Census Place: Eaton Rapids, Eaton, Michigan; Roll: M593_670; Page: 231A; Image: 465; Family History Library Film: 552169. (

Year: 1900; Census Place: Eaton Rapids, Eaton, Michigan; Roll: 709; Page: 7B; Enumeration District: 0069; FHL microfilm: 1240709. (

Year: 1900; Census Place: Eaton Rapids, Eaton, Michigan; Roll: 709; Page: 14A; Enumeration District: 0069; FHL microfilm: 1240709. (