Old desk yields local link

TAWAS CITY – A downstate couple has discovered a century old envelope and receipt with ties to Gladstone, but their search for additional history on the corresponding parties has yielded unsuccessful results so far.

Patti Cardinal, of Tawas City, and her husband, William, purchased an old roll top desk a few years ago from a man living further north in the Lower Peninsula. He, in turn, had purchased the desk from someone in the Upper Peninsula.

While she and her husband began taking apart the desk to restore it, they found an envelope containing a receipt dating back to 1909, which was lodged behind the roll and cubby holes of the desk.

The envelope was addressed to a Gus Lilquist of Gladstone from a C.W. Davis Lumber and Coal Company, also of Gladstone. Inside the envelope, a receipt dated April 29, 1909, is made out to Lilquist for 1,000 pounds of nut coal. The bill is marked paid on May 4, 1909 by a C.W. Davis.

Cardinal noted the address was made out to “Gus Lilquist, City” instead of his specific Gladstone address, but upon contacting the Delta County Historical Society, she found this was not uncommon of mail sent within city limits.

Following her discovery, Cardinal tried to research any Lilquists from the Escanaba and Gladstone area since she and her husband were hoping to find more information on the desk. However, this proved unsuccessful.

“Just trying to do a little search, I saw that there were a lot of Lindquists up there and thought, ‘Well sometimes people change their last names,'” she said. However, upon contacting some Lindquists locally, they did not know of any relation or affiliation to the Lilquists.

According to Karen Lindquist of the Delta County Historical Society, there is very little information on both the Lilquist name in the area and on the C.W. Davis Lumber Company after consulting a number of books on the history of Gladstone. However, she said the company seems to have been in business for quite some time.

“Looking at city directories it wasn’t in existence in 1902, but by 1907 it was listed as C.W. Davis Lumber – boards at the Hawarden Inn; the home address is listed as Wilmette, Ill.,” said Lindquist. “But then that business stayed in Gladstone until the 1940s. By 1945, it was listed as a Davis Estate, so I suspect somewhere in there, the C.W., or Charles W., Davis died. And by 1948, it was gone.”

The name Lilquist and variations of this spelling were also listed in city directories from that time, ranging from “Lilquist” to “Lillquist” to “Liliquist.” However, Lindquist said these probably refer to the same people.

An Emil Lilquist from Michigan Avenue in Gladstone was listed in 1902 as a laborer, while an August Lillquist made his first appearance in city directories in 1907, when he owned a fine wines, liquors, and cigars store on Delta Avenue. The store was later listed as a saloon and cafe in 1911, and later, only as a saloon up until 1918. After this, the directory only lists a Victor Lillquist.

In addition to the receipt, Cardinal also noted the desk is interesting as she and her husband believe there’s an indent of a bullet hole in one of the front drawers.

“There is a bullet hole all the way through the front of the oak drawer that lines up directly with the ball indentation on the inside of the side of the drawer,” she said. “This indentation is where the ball-type bullet stopped, since it didn’t go through the side of the drawer – just made a big dent.”

She noted the wood was splintered around the hole in the drawer front where the bullet would have gone through.

“The round ball indentation would be from a black power-type gun,” said Cardinal. “My husband isn’t an expert, but he does know that it is a bullet hole.”

Cardinal said a door on the desk had also been kicked out where it would normally have been locked. She and her husband have since repaired the broken door, but have still been interested in finding out if there is more of a story behind it.

However, Lindquist from the historical society said any information on a potential robbery or shooting relative to the desk would be very difficult to obtain if it was printed in any newspaper at all.