1839 - 1897 (58 years)
||Lewis Croin "Lou" Mudge |
||2 Apr 1839
||Blenheim Twp., Oxford Co., Ontario, Canada [1, 2, 3]
||10 Apr 1839 
||Woodstock, Oxford Co., Ontario, Canada
|Lewis aged 22 in Woodstock Jail |
||Black Horse Corners, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada
|Black Horse Inn |
||Strasburg, (Kitchener) Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada 
|hotel keeper |
||14 Jan 1865
||Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada
|Crime was "selling liquor without a license". After paying $34.70 fine and court costs he was released on 18 Jan 1865. |
||Lewis Croin Mudge with wife Matilda (Maude) and daughter Alzemina (Mina) |
||crime, life story |
- From Message Board on Mudge Family.
Mudge arrived on Upper Michigan peninsula around 1875 Mudge gang operated in Florence in 1880ies but I found no substantial evidence from reading the microfilm "Florence Mining News" from Nov 1881 through all of 1882 through Sept 1883.The following is all I found concerning Mudge
FLORENCE MINING NEWS: publisher James F. Atkinson May 13, 1882
The Rev Louis C. Mudge, formerly a shining and luminous light in this village, has, we hear, accepted a call to administer to the spiritual necessities, of a small but appreciative congregation, away down in Southern Illinois the Land of Egypt. It is presumable that his work will be mostly and generally of the missionary kind and it is but reasonable to suppose that he will, ere many moons wax and wane, succeed in dispelling some of the darkness which envelopes that benighted land. Our only regret is that his removal will deprive certain denizens of Marinette, of a resort at which they could secure both spiritual comfort and consolation.
May 20, 1882
The Rev L.C. Mudge comes again before the public. This time he has had a little misunderstanding with the deacons of the church, in Southern Illinois of whose congregation he was to take personal supervision in the worldly matter of salary, and he has decided to benefit his fellow man by opening in Chicago an asylum for suffering humanity to be called "The Infidels Home." As far as we can learn, it is to be conducted on strict geometric and aesthetic principals. His preliminary announcements have already been received in this vicinity and in Marinette.
???date: MUDGE REMOVES TO CHICAGO
July 22, 1882 "OLD MUDGE" is here on a short vacation, for the benefit of his health. Getting his "Infidels Home," in Chicago in running order has been a great tax on his constitution.
Nov 18, 1882 The reverend Louis C. Mudge, sometimes called "Old Mudge" has retired to the depth of the shade of the primeval forest, about three quarters of a mile away from this beautiful village, where he is engaged in keeping a house of entertainment on the "European plan," whatever that is. Ta-ta, old man; sorry to lose you.
5/1883 Charles S. Osborn reporter from Milwaukee Evening News was in town to look to buy the Florence Mining News. And he was the one that in the Iron Hunter and Iron Brew stories tried to clean up the town and he organized the Regulators who ran Mudge out of town. Dates don't fit. 1883 Mudge gang exploded the office of the editor of PIONEER, Major Clarke, in Manistique, Michigan
Dec 30, 1882 WILL SOMEONE PLEASE GIVE OLD MUDGE SEVERAL NEW LEAVES TO TURN OVER.
March 3, 1883 FLORENCE , Wisconsin, Feb 28, 1883 Editor News:---Why couldn't George Washington tell a lie? Please answer and oblige, LOUIS C. MUDGE. ANS: He was short-sighted.
Aug 18, 1883 A resident of Florence who for years pursued the lowest paths of vice, but who has since reformed and is now a man among men and a leading church member, sends to the NEWS the appended communication. He knows what of he speaks, and there is no doubt but that the topic in hand could be painted even more vividly and honestly too:
ED.NEWS: Through a sense of justice I am satisfied you will give the following space in your valuable paper: In most all the leading towns and villages in this iron region, we find outside of the village limits dance houses. These places being allowed is bad enough, I care not how well they are conducted, but I find from personal observation that some of them are nothing more than dens of infamy. I tell you, Mr. Editor, candidly, the horrors of the inquisition would be a paradise to some of the inm??? of these places. There are many young girls in these dens who would be willing to have their arms severed from their bodies, if they could only get away. They are persuaded to go to these places by "good talk", it often being represented that they want them for waiters. When they are once inside the walls of these dens, there is no getting away. They are made to understand "this is your home, and you must make the best of it." They are warned if they ever try to escape they will be shot and are heavily "fined" by the proprietor. Weeping and begging to be allowed to go away is no use. They are whipped and abused most shamefully for the slightest move to escape. If they consult the sheriff or his deputies, they will say: "What can I do?" If you are fools enough to go to such places, you must suffer." Such things are a shame and disgrace to our country, and steps should immediately be taken to check the ravages of this monster. The proprietors of some of these places have a spark of kindness left, and treat these poor fallen women with a semblance of humanity. These women. should be protected instead of being punished. Let the officials join hand in hand and liberate those of the unfortunates who have been basely betrayed and decoyed to living deaths, whose aim in life is and greatest boon would be to escape. While the horror lasts to them, is the time to aid them. After they are dead or become hardened to their surroundings, it will be too late. Pity them practically and aid them. ONE WHO KNOWS. A new railroad gives the towns in the counties west of Madison, upon the Madison and Montfort line of the same company, direct connection with Milwaukee and all points north or south from there.
(Could this Montfort line name be the name that Mina liked and choose to name her two boys or did she have an affair with someone named MONTFORT???
9/9/1882: Our Iron River correspondent writes us that a man of the name of Bolduc attempted to start an illegitimate business upon the property of a homesteader, near town and when remonstrated with, felled the owner with an axe and fled. A son of the injured man, supposing that his father had been killed, snatched a rifle and followed the would be assassin, firing a number of shots, none of which took effect. Upon examination the injured man was found to be only stunned and bruised, by the flat side of the axe striking him on the side of the head. Bolduc was arrested and after a hearing before Esquire Scipshen, took a ride to Marquette, with deputy sheriff Gillman as a traveling companion.[this was probably one of Frank Bolduc's brothers that lived in Iron River either Octavious or Francois] [Frank Bolduc sometimes used the name Bonaventire]
May 1882 towns of Stambaugh and Iron River were established.
Will DICKENSON KIDNAPPED: November 1881 on his way home from school. Nothing is mentioned about Mudge's connection with the kidnapping in the paper but according to the stories in the Iron Hunter and Iron Brew the Mudge gang was suspected. I received this account from the HERITAGE OF IRON AND TIMBER 1880-1980 from The State Historical Society of Wisconsin Library. The year was 1883. The Florence Mining news was purchased by Chase Osborn. "After his fearless career as the editor of the paper during the 'Old Man Mudge' days, Osborn sold out to Campbell and Young in 1887."
The Florence Mining News had only the brief accounts of Mudge and nothing really damaging as you can see by the dates and enclosed information. According to this Historical society information, Mudge operated his gang during this time. The Historical society paper also stated that Willie Dickinson disappeared on Nov 1, 1882 instead of 1881 that the Mining News said was the date. This also contradicts some of the information that the Iron Brew stated : "The newspaper office at Mantisque was exploded in 1883 when the Mudge gang was in real power and then came the kidnapping of Willie Dickinson when Capt Dickinson in charge of the Commonwealth mine, two miles outside of Florence sent word to Mudge to move on. The Dickinson affair proved to be the undoing of Old Mudge and a group of Florence citizens took action along with Chase Osborn, who was also attacking Mudge in print, and they organized the Florence Regulators." Iron Brew said that Willie disappeared after Osborn took over the paper but the newspaper accounts showed that Willie disappeared in 1881 making Willie disappearing before Osborn took over the paper in 1883. Actually little was mentioned about Mudge during the time Osborn was the owner.
The letter I received from the reference librarian at the State Historical Society said, "ONE THING THAT STRIKES ME IS THE TOTAL LACK OF DATES INVOLVED SO THE ACCOUNT READS AS MUCH LIKE A FOLK TALE AS A HISTORICAL ACCOUNT." He suggested I get the microfilm from the Florence Mining News which I did, and found little information except that the name of Old Man Mudge was Louis C. Mudge, my great grandfather. I have sent for the microfilm from the Newspaper PIONEER in Manistique, Michigan where Mudge was to have exploded the office there in 1883. The microfilm started Dec 1881 so no mention of Willie was made until the following in
January 1882. Jan 14, 1882 Capt. W.E. Dickenson offers $3000. reward for the recovery of his lost boy.
June 24, 1882: Nothing has yet been heard from Capt. Dickinson's little boy. The affair is enwrapped in a great mystery.
August 12, 1882: A full and thrilling account of the long search to solve the mystery of the lost boy Willie Dickinson.
May 12, 1883: STILL A MYSTERY, The awful absence of Little Willie Dickinson. The matter revived by a Dakota Clue, and the Affair revamped for the readers of the NEWS
May 19, 1883: Capt. W.E. Dickinson, of the Commonwealth, wishes to say that he has caused a thorough search of the surrounding woods, pits and swamps, to be made this spring in the hopes of finding some clue to the lost Willie, but without avail. So carefully was the ground gone over that, a broad-axe which disappeared a year ago, was found hidden in the hollow of a basswood tree, covered with brush. It really seems that if the child was lost in the woods some trace, at least, could be discovered.
Nov. 1883: The sad case of the mysterious disappearance of little Willie Dickenson, of Commonwealth, which occurred one year ago (another contradiction in the newspaper as Willie disappeared in 1881) the first of last November, is revived to a certain extent by a letter received by Capt. Dickenson from a man at Fargo, Dakota. The writer gave his name, good references, and asked for four pictures of the missing child. Other than this he was very mysterious and failed to exactly state whether he had a definite clue or not, but hinted to that effect. The captain is assured of his good intentions and will send the pictures. Capt. Dickenson is still firm in the belief that his little son is alive and was taken from him by some fiend in human form. Every parent in the land will join us in the heartfelt wish that the child is still alive, in good hands, and the hope that the great Omnipotent will soon be pleased to restore him to the arms of his fond father and mother.
My Father, Louis Bolduc Montfort was born June 12, 1883 about the time the Mudge gang was suppose to be creating such terror. According to the two books, Old Man Mudge had a command of language that was remarkable and often classic. Frank Bolduc was illiterate from what my father said and I have letter from Bolduc to Dad stating that he could neither read nor write. Bolduc also asked my father to please type the letters so others could read them for him and Bolduc said that he was embarrassed because the letters from my Dad were signed Louis Montfort when his name was really Bolduc (Bolduc was on his birth certificate). On my Father's birth certificate Frank Bolduc was Father and occupation "Saloon Keeper" (could that have meant a house of ill repute??) Jeannie Baker Berube, Murray and Clarance's youngest sister sent me a tape and transcript of the tape made in 1967 by her family at the home of their parents, Frank and Frances Baker. Seven of the ten children were there: Frank Baker Sr and his wife Frances (Belland) Baker.
! William Baker "Bill" James "Jim Baker" Irene Baker Fernetter Baker Cather Baker (Murray's daughter)
They said Old Man Mudge was buried in in Stambaugh in the Baker plot but doesn't have a marker on his grave. The Stambaugh cemetary has no record of him being there but Clarance, Murray and Jeannie all say he is and so do the Baker clan. I n 1997 a note from Clarance Baker said, "I remember a small stone being there and my Dad telling me it was Frank Bolduc's.
CONVERSATION as follows on tape from Jeannie Baker Berube : "You know Old Man Mudge is buried down here and he don't even have a rock on his grave?" Then they said they mean Frank Bolduc. One person asks if he is Miney Mudge? They talk about putting a rock on the grave. They assumed he died in lower Michigan but later changed it to Green Bay, Wis. "But he is in their lot with Grandpa, Grandma and Uncle Nels." They discuss that Grandmaw Baker's name was Bolduc. (Jeannie Berube told me via the phone that some of the Bakers, possibly Frank and George, went to Green Bay, got his body and buried it in the night in the Baker family plot. She said she thot he was a bad guy.) Jim said, "That was after his rambling days were over." Then Jim mentions the old book when he ran into the swamp" (which actually refers to Mudge going in the swamp after being run out of Florence, Wis.) Bill says: "Nobody knows about that."
Then Jim says: "That was the book bit. He ran into the swamp and that was the end of him right?" "That was the book but supposedly he never died in there." Dad says: "NO NO NO." Jim says: "He came back to the farm." Jim asks: "Which one was the Mudge…the Mudge in Florence." Mother said: Mina Mudge's son…. (possibly she meant husband. Dad said: "I think Frank Bolduc." Jim said: "He was Mudge?" Mom said: "He must have been" The Dad remembered him because he was at the house when he was sick and then he went to Green Bay and died there. This information clears nothing up as the folks seem confused as to who was Mudge and who was Bolduc. Perhaps Frank Bolduc was part of the gang as he had some connection with Mina during the Mudge gang times since Louis Bolduc Montfort was born in 1883 and Frank Bolduc was listed as FATHER. Who knows who his father really was!!!!!!!!!
||Strathroy, Middlesex Co., Ontario 
||Lewis C. Mudge |
||Lou Mudge |
||Old Mudge |
||, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada
||Lou Mudge notorious Travelling Daguerreotype Wagon
From: 100 Years of Progress in Waterloo County Canada Semi-Centennial Souvenir 1856-1906
||Lapeer, Lapeer, Michigan, USA 
|saloon keeper |
||Florence, Florence, Wisconsin, United States
|Saloon Keeper |
||Lewis C. Mudge's Saloon in Florence, Wisconsin 1874
|Eby ID Number
||6 Aug 1897
||, USA [2, 6]
||Morton Hill Cemetery, Benton Harbor, Berrien, Michigan, USA 
||12 Jun 2019 |
||Rev. Abel Mudge, b. 16 Sep 1812, Blenheim Twp., Oxford Co., Ontario, Canada , d. 18 Dec 1855, Blenheim Twp., Oxford Co., Ontario, Canada (Age 43 years) |
||Mary Harp, b. 1816, d. 1885 (Age 69 years) |
||Group Sheet | Family Chart
||Matilda Wood "Maude" Hunt, b. 9 Apr 1846, , Brant Co., Ontario, Canada , d. 16 Jan 1924 (Age 77 years) |
||8 Apr 1862
||, Oxford Co., Ontario
| ||1. Alzemina Gertrude "Mina" Mudge, b. 8 Jun 1862, , Oxford Co., Ontario , d. 11 Mar 1930, Benton Harbor, Berrien, Michigan, USA (Age 67 years)|
| ||2. Louis Franklin "Frank" Mudge, b. 6 Sep 1864, Blenheim Twp., Oxford Co., Ontario, Canada , d. 1 Jul 1871, Blenheim Twp., Oxford Co., Ontario, Canada (Age 6 years)|
||14 Jun 2019 |
||Group Sheet | Family Chart
|Born - 2 Apr 1839 - Blenheim Twp., Oxford Co., Ontario, Canada
|Crime - Lewis aged 22 in Woodstock Jail - 1860 - Woodstock, Oxford Co., Ontario, Canada
|Business - Black Horse Inn - CA 1862 - Black Horse Corners, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada
|Married - 8 Apr 1862 - , Oxford Co., Ontario
|Occupation - hotel keeper - 1864 - Strasburg, (Kitchener) Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada
|Crime - Crime was "selling liquor without a license". After paying $34.70 fine and court costs he was released on 18 Jan 1865. - 14 Jan 1865 - Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada
|Residence - CA 1866 - Strathroy, Middlesex Co., Ontario
|Immigration - 1870 - USA
|Occupation - Photographer - - , Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada
|Occupation - saloon keeper - 1870 - Lapeer, Lapeer, Michigan, USA
|Occupation - Saloon Keeper - 1884 - Florence, Florence, Wisconsin, United States
|Died - 6 Aug 1897 - , USA
|Buried - - Morton Hill Cemetery, Benton Harbor, Berrien, Michigan, USA
- COMPACT WITH THE DEVIL.
Louis Mudge, locally pronounced "Mutch," a notorious character living in the southern part of Waterloo County in the middle part of the last century, was believed to have made a compact for forty years with the Devil. He was much dreaded by the people living in the neighborhood. It is said that he once escaped from a moving train with a woman, and took flight across a lake, with the officers of the law in hot pursuit. He was never caught, however, because the Devil always helped him. (Roseville.)
FOLK-LORE COLLECTED IN THE COUNTIES OF OXFORD AND WATERLOO, ONTARIO. BY W. J. WINTEMBERG.
"Black Horse Inn itself was purchased in 1853 by the owner Nelson Newcombe and his wife Fanny. He and his wife and four children lived at the inn while offering room and board for travellers passing through. A man of local history, William Campbell, once told Harley about the inn. He described the building as two storeys with a large front porch and bedrooms upstairs which could be accessed by a stairway that entered into the centre of a long narrow hall. Records held from 1851 and 1861 show that the tavern was a frame building with "five spare bedrooms and stabling for eight horses". The foundations proves that the inn stood at a size of 70' x 40'.
The inn became a popular stop-over area between Galt and Plattsville and not only did it provide a room to rest but also a bar, dining room and sitting room. It was said that it was at the Black Horse Tavern where a group of notorious highway robbers directed under Lou Mudge worked out of. David, son of John Goldie founder of Greenfield Village, was advised to bring a gun with him as he traveled down the road past the tavern."
The Deserted Village A Black Horse Corner Mystery By Rachel Morgan Redshaw, Historical Researcher of the North Dumfries Municipal Heritage Committee https://www.ayrnews.ca/uploads/files/Historical%20Stories/Page10%20black%20horse%20corner%20pdf.pdf
WOLVES. HUMAN AND OTHERWISE
DOSE AWFUL wolves!!!"
My wife exclaimed, as a long, low, blood. freezing howl sifted to our ears with the pine. needle, wind rhythms. It came from a mile north on the course of a late fall gale. Our baby, a girlie a year old, slept like a little hairless savage in a padded, corn-can box. The wolf howl did not reach the tiny ears. We were in the back room of a rakish, one. story shack. There were three such rooms, just little cages partitioned with rough ceiling boards, with broken tongues and warped edges, making cracks that pre-vented anything like eye privacy. As for hearing, our ears were not shut off at all. I used the front end of the building as a print-ing office. It contained an old Washington hand lever. press and a new Taylor cylinder, painted as floridly as a German reception room. There were two job presses, a Peerless and a Universal-both new-a paper cutter, imposing stone, type cases, small piles of print and job papers, a big box stove, and the usual athletic towel, ethiopic with ink. The smell that came from the room needed no ambergris as a matrix, but was like wild roses in the nostrils of a young, country newspaper man.
The blood. searching howl was repeated in greater volume-four wolves this time. It was getting late in the little mining town, but drunken shouts and the crack of a shot could now and then he heard.
"We can't live here. Chase," my wife said. "Even if we can, it is no place for the baby."
"You are right," I replied. "Just give me a little time to clean this place up and make it a fit place for decent people. If I fail, we will go back to Milwaukee or some other place where outlaws are not the law."
This took place at Florence, Wisconsin, in the heart of the Menominee iron range, One of the Lake Superior iron ore districts. Conditions here were similar to those of every new range. There is always an outlaw headquarters in all new regions remote from disciplined centers. Florence, at this period of the early eighties, was a metropolis of vice. There was gambling on the main streets, outdoors inclement weather and unscreened indoors when driven in by cold and storm. Prostitution was just as bold. Its red passion garbing paraded every prominent place in town. A mile out of town, Mudge's stockade was the central supply station. It was the prison used by the nerviest white slavers that ever dealt in women. A big log camp with frame gables held a bar and dance hall and stalls on the first floor. On the second Floor were rooms about the size of those in a Tokio Yoshiwara. A third floor attic contained dungeons and two trap doors. In the cellar were dark cells and a secret passage, well timbered with cedar, leading to where the hill on which the stockade was located broke down into a dense swamp. Surrounding this camp of death, and worse, were sharp pointed palisades, ten feet high, of the kind used against the Indians to inclose pioneer blockhouses. There were loopholes. Two passages led through the stockade. One was wide enough to admit a team. This was fastened with hornbeam cross bars. The other entrance was narrower and for commoner use. It was protected by a solid sliding gate of ironwood. On either side of this gate, inside, two big, gaunt, terrifying timber wolves were chained. It was the howls of these four wolves we had heard. This stockade was a wholesale warehouse of women. There were several in the Lake Superior iron country in the early days, but l think this one at Florence was the most notorious and the worst. It was built by "Old Man" Mudge. He was a white. livered, sepulchral individual who wore a cotton tie, a Prince Albert coat and a plug hat; even wore this outfit when he fed the wolves. Mudge worked as a preacher through northern Indiana and Ohio and the scoundrel used his clerical makeup to fine advantage. He had a ready tongue and roped in girl after girl. Not much attention was paid in chose days to pimping and procuring. Whenever a murder grew out of his acts, the old fox would so involve his trail that, if it led anywhere at all, a church was at the end of it, and that would throw off the sleuth.
Old Mudge ruined his daughter Mina, and she was "keeper" of the place. Mina Mudge was a stunning woman. Her concentrated depravity, for she too had a child and brought it up in infamy, was glossed over by a tiny animal figure, a rubescent complexion, semi-pug nose, lurking gray eyes, sensual lips and sharpish chin. Her lips were the clew to passion, and eyes and chin betokened the cruelty of a she hyena. Girls were wheedled or beaten into submission, and nearly always when she sold them she had them broken to the business.
Two days before, in the evening, a shrinking, girlish young woman was found just outside our door by my wife. She cowered and shivered and looked wild. eyed. It took some time to coax her in. After warmth and food, she told her story. Old Mudge had found her on a farm in Ohio. An orphan, she was sort of bound out, and her life was one of work and little else. Rather attractive, she was spied by the old serpent, and taken north "to a good home." In her heart the girl was good and she was brave. Mina Mudge starved her, beat her, tied her ankles and wrists with thongs and, to break her in with terror, fastened her just out of the reach of the wolves. It was night, and the girl grew cold with exposure and fear. Her wrists and ankles shrunk some, and she wriggled out of the cutting thongs. Then she fled to the swamp and hid until hunger forced her to search for food. We took as good care of her as our means afforded and planned her complete rescue. The day we heard the wolves howling, as men-tioned in the beginning of the chapter, the girl disappeared. It was years later before I knew what had befallen her. Mudge's gang had located and trapped her. They forcibly kidnaped her and carried her to the wolf stockade. There she was given no chance again to escape. Her spirit was broken. She was sold to a brothel. keeper in Ontonagon County, Michigan, and was murdered by him one night in a ranch near to the Lake Superior shore. Murders often occurred, but those guilty were seldom punished. When this girl so mysteriously disappeared from our house, I was suspicious. I went to the sheriff, an Irish saloon-keeper, but could not get him to act. He was either a member of the gang or honestly afraid.
The Mudge gang was organized over a territory including the region for five hundred miles south of Lake Superior from Canada to Minnesota. "Old Man" Mudge was as much of a genius in some directions as he was a devil in others. Compared with him, Machiavelli was a saint. They did not confine themselves to woman stealing. They would run off witnesses when arrests occurred near the law and order line. If they could not get rid of them any other way, the witnesses were killed. Any man who showed an inclination to oppose the gang was either intimidated or murdered. Within their own ranks a rebel never got away alive. Mudge tolerated no rivals. No sea pirate was ever more bloodthirsty or vengeful. The most notorious murder he was responsible (or was that of Dan Dunn at Trout Lake. Dunn was just as bad a man as Mudge, and not so much of a sneak about it. That was really how Mudge came to get him.
Such were conditions in the iron country when I arrived. The picture cannot he overdrawn. I had gone there upon a telegram sent by Hiram D. Fisher, discoverer of the Florence mine, to Colonel H.. A. Watrous of Milwaukee, asking him to "send up a young fellow not afraid to a newspaper." It was a weekly publication. The owner and editor, a man of culture and courage, too old and too fine for the rough pioneering and outlaws, had just "disappeared." The gang was against all newspapers and dead against any that tried to improve conditions or oppose them in any way. Just a little time before they had burned the Manistique Pioneer office and had tried desperately but unsuccessfully to assassinate its brave editor, the late Major Clarke, a veteran of the Civil War. All along the line they had terrorized editors if possible. So the first night after I arrived they shot out my windows and shot a leg off one of the job presses, just to show me what they would do to me it I wasn't "good."
A short time before that the gang had gotten down on Captain William E. Dickinson, superintendent of the Commonwealth mine, two miles from Florence. Captain Dickinson had come there from the New York mine in one of the older Lake Superior districts. He was fearless and a man of order and high ideals. With a fine family of young children, he felt the necessity of improving conditions. Successful in his previous environment, he did not apprehend serious trouble. But he did not correctly take the measure of the desperate characters who made up the Mudge gang. Hardly had he started to move against them before they stole his little son Willie. They sent him word that if he fought them they would kill the child. It was a knife in his heart, the wound of which finally carried him to his grave. Captain Dickinson spent money, followed clews, sent spies to join the gang and gave up every thought except the recovery of his little son. It is nearly forty years ago now. Captain Dickinson has gone to his final reward. Where Willie Dickinson is or what became of him or whether he is dead or alive, is a mystery to this day. It is the most piteous tragedy of scores enacted by the iron pirates.
Something had to be done. I began a study of the situation in detail. The encouraging fact was developed that the law. abiding citizens outnumbered the outlaws. A majority of them were timid and could not be depended upon to act, but we could be certain that not many of them would openly join the leeches. Many men with families deplored conditions but feared that a war on the toughs would hurt business. Hasn't it been always so? Then to my amazement and chagrin, for I was only twenty. three years old and to a degree unsophisticated, I uncovered the fact that that Borgia of a Mina Mudge had something on half or more of the merchants, who thought easily or made that excuse to their con-science, that they had to be good fellows and go to her place with the miners and woodsmen in order to get business. The outlaws laws were able to keep close tab on the plans of any who threat. coed them through these dwellers in the twilight zone of morals.
As soon as I could he certain of some backing, I attacked Mudge and his gang in my little paper. It was a thunderer there though, no matter what its size. I charged crimes home and named those who were guilty or probably so, whenever I had facts or tangible suspicions. The time must have been just ripe for it, for some astounding things occurred. Some of those against whom I made charges came to see me; not all peaceably. But from some of them I obtained denials of participation, and one or two gave to me invaluable inside information. Consequently I was informed in advance when my office was to be wrecked, and when I was to be gotten rid of. I built a little conning place of glass and kept someone on watch there every daylight moment. Also I bought Winchesters for all the office force, and for a long time every type stand was a gun rack for a repeating rifle. At night I took extra care and kept watch.. A couple of faithful dogs with plenty of bulldog blood guarded the office, and were much better for the purpose than Mudge's wolves, but did not make as terrifying a setting in the mind of a tenderfoot.
I found a fighting preacher at the little mission church in Florence in the person of Harlan Page Cory, a young Presbyterian just suited to the work to he done and entirely unafraid. An undersheriff named Charley Noyes, from the Androscoggin country, was found to be clean and brave and dependable. Bill Noyes, his brother, was a six looter plus, and the best shot and dry ground trailer anywhere around. He was not afraid of a mad catamount, and his morals had sprouted in the Green Mountains where Ethan Allen got his. Bill was eager to help clean up.
A little concave chested hardware man named Rolbstell, with whiskers like a deer mouse and a voice like a consumptive cuckoo, was found, when the meter was applied to him, to be as full of good points as a box of tacks. There was no law against shining deer in those days; anyhow not in Florence. Rolbstell built a scaffold one day, twenty feet up in a birch that leaned over a connecting gut of Spread Eagle Lake, where a fine runway crossed. The first dark, soft night that came he climbed up there with a bull's. eye lamp cocked over his left eye. He nearly went to sleep before he heard anything. Then he suddenly came to and saw a pair of silvery eyes and let go at them. Forgetting in his state of mind where he was, he stepped off the scaffold just as if he had been on the solid ground and down he went. That is where Rolbstell made his reputation. He lit astride of a two- hundred pound buck that he had wounded and which was floundering in about four feet of water. Of course, he lost his gun in the descent. Pulling out his tomahawk, he nearly chopped the buck's head off before he succeeded in killing him. Rolbstell had plenty of that intestinal courage that was the fascination of Tsin, who built the Great Wall and measured all men by it. So he he. came a leader, if not the leader, in the new movement.
With these and others assured, we called a meeting and organized the Citizen Regulators. The meeting was such a hummer and so many joined that the sheriff and district attorney had a street duel the next day, growing out of a row that was caused by each trying to shift blame upon the other. I had publicly charged them both with being controlled by the Mudge gang. The district attorney shot the sheriff through the lungs. A lot of the sheriff's friends gut a rope ready to hang the lawyer, who really was one of the worst of citizens, while the sheriff had told several that he intended to join the Regulators. Meanwhile, the sheriff lived long enough for the mob to cool off. The preacher and I decided that we must get rid of all crooked and cowardly officials.
I started to Milwaukee and Madison to enlist influence and see the governor, in order to have the district attorney removed and a man appointed who would enforce the law. All the way to Milwaukee I was harassed by telegrams for my arrest. The gang tried to capture me at the train, but I learned of their plans in time to elude them. Then we had a wild race through the woods to the Michigan line. If they had caught me in Wisconsin they were going to finish me in some way. The pursuit kept up almost to Inns Mountain, which was nearly as bad as Florence at the time. I dodged them but was afraid to stop at Iron Mountain be-cause the local authorities there were believed to be under the control of the Mudge outlaws. It was night. I had expected to
take an evening train. Prevented from doing this, I ran two miles through the woods to Commonwealth. There one of my faithful printers, an Irish lad named Billy Doyle, had a team in waiting. Hastily climbing into the buckboard and taking the lines, I lashed the horses into a gallop. Over any shoulders l could see the gang coming on foot, on horse, and in rigs. I had a Colt's revolver and could shoot it quite well enough. Billy had thrown in a Winchester. I made up my mind they would not take me in Wisconsin without a fight. We madly galloped over the corduroy roads in the dark. That it was night and the pursuers were unor-ganized was all that saved me. We crossed the line. On the outskirts skirts of Iron Mountain I gave the reins to Billy and jumped out and went on alone. Safely making a detour of the town, I took the railroad track and hiked southwards towards law and order.
I was in Michigan. Between Keel Ridge and Quinnesec three alien stepped out of the gloom and leveled guns at my head. I obeyed their order to hold tip my hands and they took me hack to Iron Mountain by main force, and not a sign of legal warrant. They were Mudge agents. It was after midnight. I made a big roar as soon as I got where anybody could hear. In spite of the racket I made they took me to a place which was not the jail and locked me in a room. Before they got me confined I managed to send word to Cook and Flannigan, whose firm of attorneys at Norway was the ablest on the Range. The late Hon. A. C. Cook got to me and secured my release. To this day I do not know how he did it. Perhaps his partner, R. C. Flannigan, now a prominent mining country judge, and a good one, could tell if he wished to. I continued on my way. Efforts were made to stop me at Mari-nette and Green Bay. These were unsuccessful. Finally I got to Milwaukee where I had any number of strong friends. Lemuel Ellsworth had just become chief of police, and the present Mil-waukee chief, John T. Janssen, was on the detective staff. I went to the central station to call upon them, as they were old friends of mine dtving my police reporter days. The chief handed me a telegram to read. It was for any arrest. They had sent it to the wrong place. I told my story. All of us knew the chief affection-ately as Lens. He said: "Glad to see you, Chase. Now, let's do something to those hell. hounds. I will wire I have you and ask them to send for you with a strong guard. This will possibly bring a crowd of them down, and I will throw them all into the bull pen. "
"Of course I can't wait to do that," I replied, for I had to accomplish my bigger mission and return as quickly as possible. During the afternoon l received a telegram signed "H. P. Cory." It read: "Don't come back. They are going to kill you if you do. "
I knew it as a fake at once, for that preacher would have had me come back and he killed rather than have me run away from the fine fight I had started. 1 felt the same way. It was only wisdom to be apprehensive enough to be on the alert, as the gang had not hesitated to resort to murder in the dark before.
I saw rugged Jeremiah M. Rusk, then governor of Wisconsin, and secured the appointment of a clean, but rather gentle lawyer named Howard E. Thompson as district attorney, to succeed the Mudge gang lawyer, who, although possessed of a kind of brute bravery, got out of the way. Before he had downed the sheriff that officer had bowled him over, after being shot through the body himself, and stood over him, futilely snapping a revolver, all the loads of which had been discharged, in a frantic attempt to kill. Then the sheriff fell into the pool of blood that had trick-led around his feet and the lawyer bad man was nut off.
Governor Rusk gave me every encouragement.
"Go after them, boy," he said, "and if you need help just say the word. I'll back you with the troops if it is necessary. "
I made my way back north about as rapidly as I had fled. The gang was in a panic when they saw me and heard of the support the governor had fortified me with. I had it told to them in as amplified and impressive a manner as possible and then I played it up in my paper with all my might and type. The gang was on the run from that time, but it was not beaten yet. Dives and relays were started along the border so that the outlaws could jump from one State to the other handily.
Claudius B. Grant was a circuit judge in the adjacent region of Michigan. He became a terror to the had men and women and clearly showed what a man rightly constituted can do with the law in his own hands. He was waging a solitary war against the gang, and sheriffs and prosecuting attorneys who were their tools. Finally he made it so hot for them on his side, and we so reciprocated on our side that the had people began to look for other and less troublesome pastures. They tied to Seney, Trout Lake, Ewen, Sidnaw, Hurley and other points in the Lake Superior country out of Grant's jurisdiction, and out of our reach, where they operated for some years without molestation. There was a temporary renascence of outlawry in Judge Grant's district because the gang had gotten rid of him by designedly electing him to the Supreme Court of Michigan. But it did not last long. Civilization must have something more than that kind of outlawry to subsist upon, and civilization was growing a good deal like a weed.
All of this was not achieved as easily as it has been briefly written. There were many clashes and exciting performances. Both sides were high handed. Shootings occurred by day and night, and the tight was a real battle.
At first the gang had nearly all the law officers on its side. By degrees we changed this. The average fellow in office is quick to try to pick the winning side. These trimmers, usually so despicable, were a real help to us because they trimmed gradually to our side.
Mudge withdrew his worst operations to more remote spots in the woods. The Regulators determined to clean all of them out. The law was too slow under the conditions that existed and the punishments inadequate. At the time there was really no law against white slavery and procuring.
Pat McHugh, a bully and retired prize fighter, was Mudge's head man. Nearly everybody was afraid of him. He had even been known to fight in the daytime with his backers at hand, and he was fairly quick with a gun, but could not fan. On a day agreed upon the Regulators, armed with Winchester rifles, Colt revolvers and blacksnake whips, starred on a rodeo. They drove the toughs off the streets. Those who did not move quickly enough were lashed smartly with the blacksnakes. Theirs had been a reign of terror long enough. It was our turn. They showed as many temperaments as one could find among any men and women. Some were whimpering cowards. Others were sullen. The women were most hold and loudest in profanity and vulgar-ity. A woman has capacity to be the very best and the very worst. McHugh was one of the first to run. He hid in the swamp stockade with half a dozen others of the gang. The Regulators rode down against them. They opened a Ian fire with Winchester repeaters. The Regulators replied and charged. It fell to Bill Noyes to capture Pat McHugh. The bully had often boasted what he would do to Bill if he ever got a chance. Now he hid into the swamp, revolver in hand. Bill saw him and ran after him. They dodged from tree to tree, Indian fashion, exchanging shots from time to time. Bill was too good a woodsmen for McHugh. He loaded his gun as he ran and soon had a drop on the leader of the outfit. McHugh fell on his knees and begged for mercy. Bill spared him. He said to me only a short time ago:
"Chase, I reckon I oughta killed that red. handed devil that day I got him in the swamp, but I'm kinda glad I didn't, 'cause it goes agin the grain with me to kill anything I can't eat. "
After that we burned a number of stockades and stain had the community so fit to live in that I spent four happy years there. And my wife, who had given up a good home to share her lot with a young reporter, was contented, and our girlie grew (at and crowed when her first brother was born in the little boarded rooms full of cracks, in the rear of the one. story, country printing office.
What became of Mudge will never be told. Only a half dozen Regulators ever knew.
The Iron Hunter by Chase Osborn 1919
Florence Mining News; On Tuesday evening, Jan. 29, (1884) Thomas Andrew Dace, of Florence, was fatally shot in the saloon of L. C. Mudge, Florence, by Thomas A. Williams, alias Charley Ross, keeper of the Lost Charley Ross saloon at iron Mountain. According to the statement of the News, both men had been drinking and the shooting was entirely without provocation. Williams fired five times, four shots taking effect one in the right side. Lodging in the groin; one in the left side; one in the left breast, lodging in the lungs and the last shattering the right wrist. Williams escaped by a side door and had not been captured up to Saturday. Dace lingered in great agony until 10: 00 Wednesday night and died. Dace was a powerful man, a native of London, England, of wealthy parents, who left him only ?100 per year. He served in the war of the rebellion, was badly wounded in the battle of the Wilderness and would soon have received $2,000 pension. He had become dissolute in his habits.4a
4aFlorence Mining News; Tuesday, Jan.l 29, 1884
"There was no bank nearer than Galt in this early pioneer period. Highwaymen wandered the roads ready to rob such business men as David Goldie who had to drive 10 miles on lonely roads to deposit his cash from the mill. He refused to carry a gun but on one occasion a fearful neighbour handed him one for protection against the notorious Lou Mudge whose robber band worked out of his Black Horse Tavern at the corner where the Roseville Road was intersected by the Black Horse Road, now Highway 97. The presence of the gun on the seat beside him made his trip so miserable that he threw it in the bushes by the roadside on his return journey. But Father had nothing to fear as Lou Mudge assured him later when they met in the United States where Lou was vacationing from the law under an assumed name. When they were alone in the smoking car Lou thanked him for sending food to his mother whenever he abandoned her."5a
5aThe Goldie Saga - written by Theresa Goldie Falkner 1968
The Rev Louis C. Mudge, formerly a shining and luminous light in this village, has, we hear, accepted a call to administer to the spiritual necessities, of a small but appreciative congregation, away down in Southern Illinois the Land of Egypt. It is presumable that his work will be mostly and generally of the missionary kind and it is but reasonable to suppose that he will, ere many moons wax and wane, succeed in dispelling some of the darkness which envelopes that benighted land. Our only regret is that his removal will deprive certain denizens of Marinette, of a resort at which they could secure both spiritual comfort and consolation.6a
6aFLORENCE MINING NEWS: publisher James F. Atkinson May 13, 1882
The Rev L.C. Mudge comes again before the public. This time he has had a little misunderstanding with the deacons of the church, in Southern Illinois of whose congregation he was to take personal supervision in the worldly matter of salary, and he has decided to benefit his fellow man by opening in Chicago an asylum for suffering humanity to be called "The Infidels Home." As far as we can learn, it is to be conducted on strict geometric and aesthetic principals. His preliminary announcements have already been received in this vicinity and in Marinette.7a
7aFLORENCE MINING NEWS: publisher James F. Atkinson May 20, 1882
"OLD MUDGE" is here on a short vacation, for the benefit of his health. Getting his "Infidels Home," in Chicago in running order has been a great tax on his constitution.8a
8aFLORENCE MINING NEWS: publisher James F. Atkinson July 22, 1882
WILL SOMEONE PLEASE GIVE OLD MUDGE SEVERAL NEW LEAVES TO TURN OVER.9a
9aFLORENCE MINING NEWS 30 Dec 1882
Editor News:---Why couldn't George Washington tell a lie? Please answer and oblige, LOUIS C. MUDGE. ANS: He was short-sighted.10a
10aFLORENCE MINING NEWS 3 Mar 1883
Lewis C. Mudge died Friday, August 6m, at 4 p. m., after an extended illness Mr. Mudge was born in Canda, April 2 1839: married Miss Matilda Fonger a native of Canada, when about twenty three years of age, and shortly afterward came to the United States.
The Rev. Abel Mudge father of the deceased was a Methodist minister: as was also the grandfather, the Rev. Enoch Mudge being the first native born Methodist clergman of New England. Lewis C. Mudge was not a member of any church: was a member of the Modern Wodomen of America.
A wife and two daughters Miss Maud and Mrs. Albright of Florence, Wis., also three sisters, Mrs. Swean of ontario, Mrs. McCumber of Gallen, and Mrs. Hicks of St. Joseph, survive him.
The funeral service will be held at the residence of Britain Avenue near Pipestone Street, Sunday, Aguust 8, at 2: 30 p. m., conducted by the Rev. George A. Sahlin of the Universalist church. The M. W. A. will have charge of the serviceds of the grave.11a
11aObituary Newspaper unknown
- [S2373] Memorials: being a genealogical, biographical and historical account of the name of Mudge in America from 1638-1868, pg 153.
- [S2173] Find A Grave, Morton Hill Cemetery Benton Harbor Berrien County Michigan, USA.
- [S2374] Census - U.S. Census Population Schedule, 1870 9th Census, Ward No. 4 Pg 3.
Lewis Mudge, aged 31, b. Canada Saloon Keeper
Matilda aged 24 b. Canada
Abzamina aged 7 b. Canada
Frank aged 6 b. Canada
- [S330] Directory - ON, Waterloo - 1864 - County of Waterloo gazetteer and general business directory for 1864.
- [S2373] Memorials: being a genealogical, biographical and historical account of the name of Mudge in America from 1638-1868, pg 152.
- [S2375] News - Michigan, Berrier, Benton Harbour, 7 Aug 1897.
The late Lewis C. Mudge, who died yesterday was a veteran of the late war.
- [S2173] Find A Grave, Morton Hill Cemetery Benton Harbor Berrien County Michigan, USA.