Fort Gratiot Lighthouse; April 27, 2013

Case Background & Claims

The Motor City Ghost Hunters head back to Port huron, Michigan for our spring adult walk. Here is some information regarding the Lighthouse Keepers who manned the Lighthouse from the 1800’s to 1930’s.


(1) Rufus Hatch & (2) Jean B Desnoyers


(3) George McDougall, Jr (assisted by Reuben Hamilton): Rufus Hatch and Jean B. Desnoyers operated the light until December 2nd when George McDougall of Detroit arrived. McDougall had been appointed as official keeper after pulling some political strings. He was a large man, weighing over 200 pounds and finding that the specifications for the lighthouse varied considerably from what actually existed, he reported his dismay to William Woodbridge, then Collector of Customs at Detroit. Woodbridge would later become Governor of Michigan and a Senator, but as Collector of Customs, McDougall would inform him that the stairs were so steep that they had to be ascended sideways and the trap door, measuring 18 inches by 21¼ inches was barely large enough to squeeze through.


(4) William Church – The logbook of Bois Blanc Island Lighthouse on Lake Huron provides interesting details about cow swapping. In 1843, Lightkeeper Eber Ward, Sr arranged to exchange assignments with William Church at Fort Gratiot Lighthouse, also on Lake Huron. The Switch was approved by the Mackinac Island Collector of Customs, who oversaw the area lighthouses, and the two men firmed up the particulars. In a letter to Church before the transfer, Ward suggested keeping a horse on Bois Blanc Island to haul wood and cross the ice to Mackinac Island in the winter. He alerted Church to the difficulty in obtaining hay on the island and suggested terms for selling each man’s cow.


(5) Eber Ward: Eber Ward was the founder of Newport. He had a daughter named Emily who was born in Manlius, NY. Her father was a “great wanderer” His wife died early. He was the Bois Blanc Lightkeeper in 1829 and then exchanged lighthouses in 1834. His daughter lived there with him for three years. They moved to Newport after his service.


(6) Nathan Wright – no info


(7) Elijah Crane


(8) William Taylor


(9) Elihu Granger d 1922; wife Juda Bosworth and 5 children (Zetta (d 1959), William b1855, d1855, Lucy(1858-1929) , Hattie(b 1862) , and Henry (1865-1926). William died as a baby while father was serving the lighthouse.


(10) Elijah Burch built and kept the Central Hotel in 1834.


(11) Peter McMartin


(12) Ober Lewis


(13) John Van Horn


(14) David Cooper


(15) W Sutherland – no children or spouse while at lighthouse


(16) John Van Horn


(17) John Sinclair B 1802 in Scotland, w – Agnes (B Scotland), son Daniel (b Scotland), D-I-L Margaret, Son James (b Scotland) {1869-1881}

Assistant 1: John Hutton (b 1801England), w Dora, son Henry, Son Albert

Assistant 2: John Sinclair, Jr


(18) John Sinclair Jr (b 1832 Scotland), wife Jane, Daughter Grace (b1864 MI) and son Edward (b 1875, MI)

Assistant 1: Frank Cowan


(19) Israel Palmer (b 1818 NH), w Mary, son Samuel (1852 NY) , son Edward (1856), son James (1858), son Walter (1871) , son Frank (1873) , and son Calvin (1866)

Assistant 1: Samuel Palmer (son)

Assistant 2: Frank Palmer (son)

Assistant: Daniel Carrigan


(20) Frank E Kimball was born 04 May 1859 in Port Austin, Huron County, Michigan to Sergeant Kimball and Sarah Brooks. He had at least two sisters, Emma and Ellie. 1860 – 1880 United States Federal Census records place Frank in Port Austin, Huron County, Michigan, working as a clerk, until the fall of 1882. On 11 October 1882, he married Adelaide Mary Kimball, the daughter of Alonzo L. Kimball and Mary Tibbits, in Point Aux Barques, Huron County, Michigan. On 31 October 1894, Mr. Kimball began his tenure as Head Light-keeper at Fort Gratiot. Frank and Adelaide made the Light-keeper’s duplex their home for the next thirty three years, until Adelaide’s death on 07 June 1927. The cause of death is unknown at this time; she was laid to rest 10 June 1927 in Port Huron’s Lakeside Cemetery. (Block E, Lot 093, Grave 3) Frank continued to tend the light until his retirement on 01 September 1929. The 1930 US Federal Census finds Frank in Saginaw, Saginaw County, Michigan, remarried with an adoptive daughter. As of the date of this report, little is known about Frank’s second wife Emma or their adopted daughter Marion. They are included due to their presence on the census record; marriage and adoption records to further support this information have yet to be located. Frank died on 28 December 1933 in Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan. He was buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Saginaw, Michigan.

It is unclear when Frank was awarded the rank of Captain, but he is referred to as Captain Frank E. Kimball in many of Fort Gratiot’s historical accounts. Frank’s cause of death is also uncertain. One could surmise that Frank died of age related issues/natural causes, as he was 74 at the time of this death. However, without obtaining a copy of the death certificate, no one can say for sure. (Cause of death is not a required field for volunteers indexing’s collection of Michigan Death Certificates.) What can be verified is that Frank did not pass on the lighthouse grounds. The same could be said for his first wife Adelaide; without obtaining a copy of the death certificate, a cause of death cannot be confirmed. Her place of death is listed at Port Huron. This does not prove that Adelaide died on the lighthouse property.

Assistant 3: Emil Kohnert, wife Margaret, son Emil

Assistant 4: George Barkley

Assistant 5: John Van Natter (b 1885), Wife Emily (b 1884)

Assistant 6: David McRae


(21) John Smith (b 1872 Canada), wife Charlotte, (b 1874 MI), dau Jean, (b1913 MI); dau Helma (b 1915, MI)

Assistant: Levi Whipple, wife (1) Dorcas (d bef 1940), wife 2 Mary, dau Murtie (b 1882, MI), son Kenneth (b 1920, MI), dau Maxine (b 1925 MI), dau Margaret (b 1927, MI), dau Doris (b 1930, MI).



  • Investigators: 

Team #1 John, Bert, Adel, Caryn, Susan, Heather, Lesley

Team #2 Tim W, T3, Brenda, Kate, Don, two reporters from Chevy in the D, Museum staff Caitlyn.

  • Date: Apr 27.2013
  • Time: 8:00PM to 1:00 AM
  • Moon: Full
  • Weather: Cool and clear
  • Equipment used: 

Ovilus w/DTD, Various Audio Recorders, Digital Cameras, Dowsing Rods, EMF Pumps, Mag

Lights, K-II Meters, Laser Grids, iPad, Motion Detectors, MEL REM ATDD meter.

Living Quarters

Team #2 went into the living quarters and first went into the attic of the building where a Coast Guard officer allegedly hung himself.  We had little activity, but did experience movement through the laser grid and interaction through the Frank’s Box. Team #2 then moved to the basement of the living quarters where flashlight activity was very prevalent.  We found through the questions that we were speaking to a former lighthouse keeper.

Audio Evidence Obtained from the Living Quarters


“Sigh” EVP Class C

 “HELP & HELP ME” EVP class C.

 “Male says NO” EVP class C.

  “NO & WHAT TIM” EVP class C.

  “NO” EVP class C.

  ” Bullshit” EVP class B: Brenda is talking about the camera and the entity says BULLSHIT

   “NO” EVP class B: Caught in the basement. The question “Is Slick trying to get a hold of me” an answer of “no” maybe received


383_DuplexTeam #2 went to the Duplex house.  Team #1 reported activity and motion detectors going off but when Team #2 went to investigate.  T3 came up with the following EVP:

Team #1 picked up the following photographs (look under the table):

Teams #1 and #2 came together in the Duplex and attempted a final investigation.


Audio Evidence Obtained in the Duplex

 “I Can’t” EVP class C.

Lighthouse –


2013-05-11 21.41.47

Team #1 investigated the lighthouse hearing heavy breathing at many times during our session. At a few times our flashlights responded to questions the team was asking. Also noted John’s MEL responded to temperature changes as well as a few frequency changes.








 Audio Evidence Obtained in the Lighthouse

 ” Sigh” EVP class B.  




The team extremely enjoys hosting  adult walks with people passionate for the paranormal. The compound never fails to give us activity.

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