History of the Hoytville Ladies Benevolent Society
By; Zoe Bell, June 21, 1976
My name is Zoe E. Bell and I have been appointed by the bicentennial Committee of Mulliken, Michigan to write up a history of the Hoy6tville Ladies Benevolent Society. This community of Hoytville was an active town and consisted of a blacksmith shop, a tin shop, a sawmill and a Grange or Gleaner hall which stood on northeast corner of Saginaw Road. This was replaced after many years with a small grocery store and gas station, owned and operated by Mr. and Mrs. Pearl and Matie Houghton. This too being removed, all is now the Victor Marlow property. Back to the south a way on west side of road was a building owned by L. W. Davis. This was a General Store on the main floor, and a large long hall upstairs where they held their activities which was boxing and wrestling matches. The Post Office was in the southeast corner of the store. This vacant building still stands. At one time, there was a cheese factory on the farm now owned by Ollie Schroeder. Hoytville was the original town until they put the railroad through; then it was moved 1-1/2 miles north and was named Mulliken. There were a few settlers in and around the vicinity and few of these ladies got together on February 14, 1906 at the home of Mrs. John (Belle) Haddix (who lived across the street from the general store), to organize a Society for charitable purposes, to be known as the Ladies Benevolent Society of Hoytville. They met and drew up a Constitution of By Laws, rules and regulations, and the duties of the officer’s elected, also some of the amendments included. Each member was to do good and to work for the best interest of the Society and its members, and the welfare and happiness of others. They selected their Motto of “Never grow weary in doing good”.
On Feb 14, 1907, they met at the hall for a chicken pie dinner for which they voted that each member pay 5 cents, including the visitors, at all meetings. Election of officers was: President, Belle Haddix; Vice-President, Mercy Austin; Secretary, Edith Jackson; and Treasurer, Mrs. Ollie Davis. In early years, they opened and closed their meeting by singing a hymn, repeating the 23rd Psalm, or the Lords Prayer, followed by quotations. They pieced and tied off quilts and sold them, or sold tickets and raffled them off to help build up their treasury. Sometime they would piece blocks, tie off quilts or sew carpet rags for the Hostess of the day. The
afternoon programs consisted of readings, recitations or music by some of the members or visitors.
On January 8, 1808, they voted to have chicken pie dinner and charge each one 10 cents. Their meetings were generally held at one of the members homes about every 4 weeks, unless a Holiday; the Ox Roast, Sunfield Picnic, or the Charlotte Fair.
On February 24, 1909, a sick committee of 3 was appointed to look after the sick ones and those that needed help. It was voted to pay 35 cents for a box of fruit and $2.00 for flowers for members or any of their family, not to exceed $5.00 per family. December 1, 1909, they made an amendment to the By Laws, that any one joining the Society would remain a member until they sent in their written resignation. In early years, they also held swamp socials, chicken or oyster dinners, shadow socials, etc. to raise money.
From the years 1913 t0 1939, the records have been lost. It was changed to having potluck dinners or suppers whichever the Hostess chose to do. They voted to give gifts of $1.00 to members who had their first baby after joining the Society. Sometimes if there weren’t programs at the meetings, they played Bingo or held penny suppers, bazaars or white elephant sales.
Members who reached their 70th birthday and were willing to reveal their ages, were placed on the Honor Roll, and were remembered with a gift for their birthdays and at Christmas. At the end of the year in 1942, membership had risen to 58 of which 8 of these were Honor Members. On November 5th of that year, it was voted and carried to hold the Society meetings on the 3rd Wednesday of each month instead of every 4 weeks as before. Also voted to have Mystery Pals with the members and pay 30 cents for the gifts and Christmas exchange with 10 cents gifts. It was voted to send all the sons or relatives of our members who were in armed services either in the United States or over seas, each a Christmas box (there were 32 names on the list). At this time during World War II, we had to register for sugar and coffee. The Society was able to get 12 pounds of sugar for 2 months and 2 pounds of coffee, December 1943 and January 1944 (each hostess to pay for amount used). To increase the treasury, members were asked to pay $1.00 for yearly dues but was changed to 10 cents each time we came. On July 21, 1943, the price of a box of fruit rose to 50 cents. March 21, 1945, the price of dinners remained at 10 cents for those that furnished a dish to pass, but 50 cents for those that didn’t. At February 1946 meeting, it was voted to have Co-Hostess to help the Hostess, neither one paid for dinner, only Co-Hostess’ family. On March 20, 1946, the price of a box of fruit or flowers was raised to 75 cents. The past years officers were presented money gifts for their services. Bingo seemed to be the entertainment after meetings, each brought a 10 cent gift and paid 5 cents to play. On November 13m, 1946, it was decided to give each of our Honor Members a box of candy for Christmas. On April 16, 1947, it was voted to raise dinner prices to 15 cents for adults, which they furnished (50 cents if they didn’t) and 10 cents for all children. Again in 1947 they voted to take a member assessment of $1.00 to build up the treasury. The price of fruit changed back to 50 cents for June
In 1948, the Roll Call was answered by a reading, a household hint, or a favorite recipe. A picnic was held in August at different parks and had committees for the contests. At the 1948 Christmas
meeting, the honor Members were presented a pretty handkerchief in a card. In the year 1950, a membership contest was held with Ione (Haddix-Green) Edick and Lulu Benjamin as Captains which created a lot of interest in attendance. Score was 104 present for Ione and 129 for Lulu (she winning the contest). A dinner was put on by the loosing side at Mulliken Church. During this year (1950), we raised money by having a Fair in July, homemade candy sales, and fish ponds of numerous articles, also had demonstrations of cosmetics and cards. It was on January 18, 1951 at Ione Edick's at Charlotte that we voted to send Get Well and Sympathy cards to people, so we bought our first boxes of cards from Edna Shortz to have on hand for members to sign at our meetings.
The second membership contest was held during 1951 with Leta Boucher and Ione Edick as Captains, but Lulu Benjamin finished out the year for Ione, with Leta winning. The looser pay off dinner was held at the Nickle School. Voted this year (1951) to raise dinners price to 25 cents if furnished a dish and 75 cents if one didn’t, for children 1 year to school age, 5 cents; beginners to 12 years, 10 cents; over 12 same as adults. During the year 1953, we voted to give both ministers of Hoytville and Mulliken Churches (Reverend Hewitt and Reverend Sorenson at this time) a $5.00 box of groceries for Christmas. On May 19, 1954 at the meeting with Ruth Aldrich hostess, the members sewed between 19 and 22 ticks for pillows for Hayes-Green-Beach Hospital. The next meeting, June 16, 1954, at Ione-Edick-Greggs, 42 pillows were filled. On July 21, 1954, motion carried to raise prices on boxes of fruit from 50 cents to 65 cents. At September and October meetings, members worked on Cancer dressings for the Charlotte Hospital. Again this year at Christmas, we remembered both Hoytville and Mulliken ministers with money gifts. At the end of 1954, we had 32 members plus 7 Honor Members which were remembered for Christmas and their birthdays.
The committees were increased to look after sick or needy in their own areas. There were 67 being remember with fruit, flowers, or money. Also during 1954, motion was carried that $5.00 be paid to members who had to go to the hospital, in place of fruit or flowers, and not more often than 6 months; also $3.00 to non-members in case of need or tragedy, not more often than once a year. Members who are sick will receive $1.00 in fruit or flowers; anyone of the member’s family will be classified as 65 cent groups and will receive a box of fruit (this did not apply to any communicable diseases). At the beginning of 1955, it was voted to order lemon and vanilla extracts and pepper for members to sell and we are to get an electric coffee put free. It was not to
be loaned outside the Society. At the end of 1955, 91 people had been remembered.
The big event of the Society was planned and the committees appointed to celebrate our 50th anniversary. It was held on February 15, 1956 with Ollie Schroeder as Hostess. The menu for the dinner was ham, escalloped potatoes, baked beans, salad, pickles, pie, rolls and butter, tea and coffee. 107 people registered and were served dinner. We took in $220.17 and after paying the bills, we cleared $195.62. Two of the charter members, Mrs. Mae Parker of Portland and Mrs. Clara Gregg of Charlotte were presented with Red and Gold corsages. There was a program and several pictures taken. All members were dressed in the styles of 50 years ago. Mrs. Don (Marguerite) Satterly and Mrs. Burr (Ruth) Aldrich each had belonged for 45 years (out of the 50). It was an occasion that most of us will remember for a long time…
As we were playing Bingo after most of our meetings now for our entertainment, it was voted and carried to buy a new bingo set and cards on March 20, 1957. During this year, we also had auctions, bake sales, and an Avon party at Erma Bacon’s which gave the Society a percent of sales.
In January 1962, we joined the Eaton County Infirmary Auxiliary and Marguerite Satterly was chosen to be Chairman for the Ladies Benevolent Society. They were having a fall festival on September 16th and we decided to have a fortune telling booth. Evelyn Green, Ilene Winger and Lulu Benjamin appointed to have charge of it. Evelyn was chosen to be the one to gaze into the crystal ball. We turned& 6.00 over to them from that. The Auxiliary needed some rags sewn for some rag rugs so some of our members did that for them to help too. We went 34 jars of jam and jelly wrapped in Christmas paper for the people at the County Farm for Christmas which they appreciated very much. During 1962, we gave 27 boxes of fruit to sick, and sent 126 Birthday, Get Well and Sympathy cards.
At our picnic meeting August 21, 1963, the price of playing Bingo was raised from 5 cents to 10 cents. During this year, 1963, we still donated to Cancer and Community Christmas funds, to both ministers of Hoytville and Mulliken, and to the Eaton County Infirmary Auxiliary, gave out 29 boxes of fruit to sick, and sent 60 cards. In April 1964, we started a new drawing game which the word “Lucky” was written on a piece of paper and put in a box with some blank ones, then sold for 10 cents each. The person that drew “Lucky” had to bring a gift worth around 60 cents to the next meeting and it was given to the person who drew lucky that day, then she in turn brings the next gift. Elsie Baisel won the 1st lucky gift on April 15th, 1964 and the gift was furnished by Ruth Aldrich. At the end of the year 1964, we had sent out 30 boxes of fruit, 53 cards and gave money donations to several families, plus Cancer and Christmas Community funds, both ministers and Eaton County Infirmary Auxiliary of the County Farm. We had tied off 3 quilts, gave one to Don Campbell family who lost their home by fire, and have 2 on had at this time. We held 5 auctions to raise money this year, 1964.
Ollie Bacon was in charge of the Blood Bank so we furnished sandwiches for the staff July 23, 1965 which they appreciated very much. On July 30 and 31, 1965, Mulliken had Ox Roast and Homecoming and the Ladies Benevolent Society held a bake sale at Al Boucher’s store which brought us in $24.00 for our treasury. Have tied off one quilt in 1965, and gave 2 more away to Andy Parker and Leis families both having house fire losses. Have given 24 boxes of fruit to the sick, gave out the usual Christmas money donations, sent 52 get well cards, 10 sympathy and several Christmas cards. Still remembering our Honor Members with money gifts of $1.00 each for their birthdays and cards at Christmas. It has been a busy year for 1965.
On our May 18, 1966 meeting, we obtained some films from the American Cancer Society at Charlotte to show our members. Reverend Maurice Glasgow (of Mulliken Church) ran the projector, and Mrs. Doreen Gilbert of Grand Ledge narrated on the importance of any of the 7 danger cancer signals. During the year 1967, Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Merritt of Mulliken celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary, so we sent them a donation.
On February 21, 1968, we voted to raise the price of dinner from 25 cents to 35 cents when we furnish a dish to pass, and leave it at 75 cents when we don’t. We donated one of our quilts to Henry Stenzal who lived east of Compton’s school corners, as he lost his home by fire in February 1968. We sold tickets on another quilt and raffled it off on Saturday night at the Rebekah Hall during the Ox Roast Homecoming in July. Mrs. Ina Emerson of Perry, Michigan held the lucky number. Leta Boucher and Ione Haddix-Jackson bought the other 2 quilts we had on hand. The tops of these were donated by 2 of our members, Rose Taylor and Callie Pierce.
In 1969, Maxine Shortz donated a quilt which was her mother’s (Visa Austin) that was put together and tied and only needed the edges finished, so Lizzie McDaniels kindly did that for us. We had heard that the Lee Seabolt family on Tupper Lake road had lost their home and everything from a disastrous fire which claimed the life of their 21 year old daughter who perished in the blaze, so we gave that quilt to them. Mrs. Lillian Hafer donated a few pieced crazy quilt blocks, so we finished the rest of the blocks for that top. We had 2 quilt meetings and met with Ione Haddix-Jackson at Jackie Butler’s home in Sunfield and tied off the crazy quilt which we have on hand at this time. The 2nd meeting held at the same place on March 4, 1969 and tied off a quilt for Mildred Withey for price of $5.00. We had also been given some pieced blocks by Maxine Shortz, and then on April 16, 1969, we met at Jackie Butler’s again in the forenoon and tied off that quilt for Jackie as she had allowed us to hold several meeting there at her home.
A PTA carnival was held at Mulliken School on Saturday, May 16, 1970, and we had a booth of articles which brought $15.55; the things not sold were taken to a garage sale in Sunfield, so with donations from some members, we received $23.00. We had one bake sale on our April 15th meeting at Jackie Butler’s with Ione Haddix-Jackson as hostess.
Mulliken had an Ox Roast and Homecoming on July 21 and 22, 1972, but we voted not to participate, although we donated $5.00 to the Firemen’s fund. At our December 1972 meeting, it was voted and carried to discontinue cards to our Honor Members at Christmas. On February 21, 1973, Zoe Bell sent in her resignation as Secretary of Hoytville Ladies Benevolent Society after 9 years of service, due to Lyle’s illness.
During the years 1974, 1975 and 1976, we have sent a total of 115 cards and sent the usual donations to our Honor Members and others at Christmas time. We are trying to collect enough old calendar towels to make a quilt top for the Bicentennial year, with Nellie Doolittle in charge of the project. Have continued the Lucky drawing game. This history terminates with our May 19, 1976 meeting. Have had some officers for a few consecutive terms except our President, Evelyn Green, who has held her office for more than 13 years. She was elected on February 20, 1963.
This history report shows we have spread a lot of sunshine and helped a lot of people over these 70 years. Hope it has done some good, and made their hearts and burdens seem lighter. I believe the purpose of our Benevolent Society has been fully carried out. Submitted by Mrs. Zoe E. Bell, June 21, 1976.