Welcome to the new version (2021) of SCHOCK MCCOY PRODUCTIONS by J.H. McCoy. This website is named in honor of my mother, Gloria (Schock) McCoy, and dedicated to her memory. Since it was founded in 2015, her JOURNAL and ALBUM have always been prominent features - now some of her recipes have been added to the website (RECIPES).
The new format for the HOMEPAGE is seasonal and changes as the seasons do. The NEWS section contains some of my recent photographs and comments on the local scene. PHOTO-ESSAYS is a record of my trips to iconic locations in the U.S. A short history of the Schock family, written over 50 years ago (1970) by my great-uncle, Edward D. Schock, is presented in HISTORY. I edited it in 2020.
I hope that you will always find something interesting on this website and that you will pass the word about it, especially since Schock McCoy Productions is no longer on Facebook or Twitter. Thank you for stopping by.
Please sign the Guest Book, and come back soon!
J.H. (John Herbert) McCoy
9636 Roberts Rd., Harbor Beach, MI 48441 // [email protected] // (989) 479-9594 // (989) 551-9487 (cell)
***CLICK ON THE NAME FOR A SHORT VIDEO***
SPRING - THE CAMERA SKETCH BOOK ***
*** With apologies to Washington Irving and THE SKETCH BOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. (1819-1820).
(Click on small "pics" to enlarge)
THE "BURN BOSS" IN THE WHITE HELMET
SAND BEACH TOWNSHIP
"I enjoy the spring more than the autumn now.
One does, I think, as one gets older."
VIRGINIA WOOLF (1882-1941)
"THE SCHOCK FAMILY TREE" by Edward D. Schock (1970) edited by J.H.McCoy
"From the end
spring new beginnings"
PLINY THE ELDER (23-79 AD)
ON INDIAN DAVE
SAMPLE ARTICLES/PHOTOS FROM THE MINDEN CITY HERALD
++ "BE IT EVER SO HUMBLE, THERE'S NOT PLACE LIKE HOME" ++ SINCE 1986
"SPRING IS THE TIME FOR PLANS AND PROJECTS."
A young Snowy Owl, my first of the winter, looks down from a power pole north of Ruth.
from The Minden City Herald, December 16, 2021
On Bay City-Forestville Road about ten miles east of Bay City, a weather-beaten historical marker tells the story of a legendary Chippewa, who followed the “old ways” and called the Thumb of Michigan, “home.” Erected forty years ago in 1981, the sign
is located on the road into Wisner Township Cemetery, where “David Stocker”
(English name) was buried in an unmarked grave in 1909.
He was called “Indian Dave,” but his Chippewa name was “Ishdonquit” / “Crossing Cloud.” He was born in 1803, thirty-four years before Michigan became a state in 1837.
Indian Dave lived to be over one hundred years old, and during his long life, he watched as white settlers tamed the Michigan wilderness. He saw the newcomers cut down trees and clear the land for farming; he observed the building of towns and the coming of the railroad. He stood witness as Chippewa land was slowly transformed by axe and plow into a world he no longer recognized.
Indian Dave was a legend during his lifetime, and stories about him abound. The historical marker near the Wisner Township Cemetery gives a brief overview of his life and times:
SIDE 1: “Indian Dave was one of the last Chippewas to hunt, fish and trap in the old manner in the Tuscola County area. Dave was born around 1803 and given the name Ish-Don-Quit. According to legend, in 1819 he attended the gathering at the Saginaw River where 114 Chippewa chiefs and braves signed the Treaty of Saginaw. The treaty ceded about 6,000,000 acres of land in central eastern Michigan to the United States. Indian Dave fascinated youngsters with his tales and native customs. A mural portrait honoring him has hung in a Vassar bank for decades.”
SIDE 2: “The earliest recorded inhabitants of Tuscola County were Sauk Indians. But Chippewas occupied the area by the time of the first permanent white settlement in 1836. Exactly when Indian Dave settled here is not known. However, in 1866, in order to resolve the Vassar/Caro county-seat dispute, he and Peter Bush transported the county records to Caro by canoe. Dave was an expert at making bows and arrows, which he often sold for his livelihood. When he died in 1909, he was believed to be
106 years old. He is buried nearby in Wisner Cemetery.”
The worn marker clearly links Indian Dave with Tuscola County, but he was known to walk and wander over much of the Thumb, including Sanilac County.
In the September 15, 1974 edition of the Port Huron Times Herald, James Donahue, Sanilac Bureau Chief, mentioned Indian Dave in an article he had written about a “lost Indian lead mine.” He said that sometimes the old Chippewa lived in Sanilac County:
“He had a log cabin in the heart of the Columbia Swamp, just east of the Petroglyphs and often wandered along the river.”
Indian Dave’s cabin near the Cass River was less than twelve miles from Minden City - an easy walk, at least for him.
Perhaps, he visited the area and camped in the unaxed woods, where one day the village of Minden would spring up in 1855. Or maybe he walked through the new settlement about the time it was renamed Minden City in 1883. In any case, I would
like to think that he did….that Crossing Cloud, the Last of the Chippewas, was here.
Photo by J.H. McCoy, Tuscola County, M-25 (east of Bay City), October 1, 2021.
Indian Dave was a legend in the Thumb. Born in 1803, his long life spanned the nineteenth century and extended into the twentieth. Five years after marking his centennial birthday, he still continued to follow the old ways of his Chippewa ancestors. He was at home in the forest, and even during the winter, he lived alone in a makeshift shelter in the woods.
On February 15, 1908, an article appeared in the Sunday edition of The Detroit Free Press with the headline: “INDIAN DAVE,” HUMAN RELIC OF THUMB’S RED MEN, SPENDS HIS WINTERS IN HUT IN WOODS NEAR AKRON. It included a picture of him in front of his snow-covered shack.
According to the newspaper, it was a severe winter; and in early 1908, several dangerous blizzards swept through the Thumb. Many locals were concerned about Indian Dave and feared for his survival; however, he continued to live in the woods as his Chippewa ancestors had done for centuries.
The Detroit Free Press reported the story:
Fairgrove, MIch., February 15—
Alone, throughout all the severe storms of the last four weeks, “Indian Dave,” the Thumb’s human relic of the Red Man’s reign, has lived in his shack - half tepee, half hut - near Akron.
During the last two big storms the snow practically buried the miserable shack and fears were felt for the old Indian’s safety.
Dave is very old - certainly 100 years - and by some it is said that he is 105 years. He himself says he is 102 or 103.
Dave still lives by trapping and fishing and trade in dog skins. Armed with a club he makes frequent journeys to nearby towns and for the sake of the skins kills such dogs as inhabitants wish to get rid of.
The old Indian has given away to civilization sufficiently to install a tiny wood heater in his shack, otherwise he would never have survived. He has also adopted, in a general way, the white man’s clothes, but still loves to stalk about enveloped in blankets.
Settlers who have lived in the Thumb forty-five years say “Dave” has shown no signs of change during all that time. He is much visited in the summer time by tourists, to his evident pleasure, but is true to racial instincts in his reticence. Dave could get better places to stay in during the winter with farmers but he prefers the solitude of the woods, no matter what the weather.
The following winter, Indian Dave was found frozen to death in the forest – some say, outside in the snow; others report he was in his shack. In any case, he died as he lived.
His death made news, not just in Michigan but across the country. The headline “INDIAN DAVE IS DEAD” appeared in newspapers in Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Idaho, and Utah. His demise was even reported in western Canada (The Representative – Leduc, Alberta – October 1, 1909):
Old “Indian Dave” died in his wigwam in Gilford Township a few days ago where he had made his home for 60 years. He was sure he had passed his 106th birthday. He was known to the oldest settlers in 1836, and was then considered quite old.
Dave claimed to be the son of Chief Nitmup of the Chippewa tribe, but was never recognized as such by his tribesmen. He was known as “Indian Dave,” but was recorded as Dave Stocker as a citizen.
He spent the winter in his bark and hide hut manufacturing baskets and bows and arrows and during the summer traveled about the resorts selling his wares. He is survived by one son, James.
Old Dave was liked by everybody and the citizens of Gilford Township arranged
to give him a citizen’s burial.
The historical marker east of Bay City indicates that Indian Dave was buried in
the Wisner Township Cemetery. Before his death, he asked to be laid to rest as
a “citizen.” It was one of the few concessions he made to civilization and the modern world. However, like his Chippewa ancestors, no headstone honors his memory or marks his final resting place.
Notes: The Millington-Arbela Historical Society features a display about Indian Dave at their museum on State Street in Millington. The museum showcases two small tables, which he made from tree branches and wooden slabs. Pictures of the tables can be found on their website:
Currently closed for the winter, the museum is open on Fridays from April through December. (I hope to go there in the spring.)
Outdoor writer Tom Lounsbury, Cass City, visited the museum in July 2021,
for his radio show on WLEW. Much of the broadcast focused on Indian Dave
and his life in the Thumb. You can listen to a rebroadcast of the program and learn more about the legendary Chippewa at: www.thumbnet.net/tomlounsbury (“Millington-Arbela Historical Museum” - 7/18/21).
“Tom Lounsbury Outdoors” is a regular Sunday afternoon feature of WLEW
(12 noon on 102.1 FM and 2:15 pm on 1340 AM). If you are outside the listening area, his show is also live-streamed on CRUISE 102.1 FM and WLEW / AM 1340.
The newspaper stories quoted in the article were taken from Newspapers.com.
from The Minden City Herald, January 6, 2022
The historical marker near the Wisner Township Cemetery tells the story of Indian Dave, the Last of the Chippewas.
Wearing moccasins and holding a pouch, Indian Dave poses for a photograph (date unknown) in "white man's clothes."
IN MEMORY OF MY COUSIN AND FRIEND, RICHARD J. "RICK" MCCOY, WHO PASSED INTO ETERNITY AT AGE 69 ON JANUARY 8, 2021.
REST IN PEACE.
REFLECTIONS - OTHER SPRINGS
"Spring won't let me stay in this house any longer! I must get out and breathe the air deeply again." GUSTAV MAHLER (1860-1911)
"I must have flowers, always and always." CLAUDE MONET (1840-1926)
"Nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own."
CHARLES DICKENS (1812-1870)
"The earth laughs in flowers." RALPH WALDO EMERSON (1803-1882)
I have been looking for a Snowy Owl all winter, and at the end of January, I finally found one. It was perched at the top of a power pole on Ruth Road in Huron County. Its extensive black markings indicated that it was a juvenile bird, not an adult.
My method for finding a Snowy Owl is really quite simple: I check the tops of power poles in the winter as I drive the roadways of the Thumb. Many motorists say that they have never seen a Snowy Owl, but are unaware that they often drive by them without noticing. Of course, I have my favorite “Snowy Owl roads,” like the section of Ruth Road which runs south from Helena Road to Ruth.
Snowy owls prefer open country – habitat that reminds them of their home range in the Arctic tundra. Unlike other owls in the Thumb, they are often visible during the day, sleeping on the ground or on elevated positions like poles, barn roofs, and even antennas.
According to Joe Rogers of the Wildlife Recovery Association, (Shepherd, Michigan - www.wildliferecovery.org), Snowy Owls usually hunt at night like other native owl species, not during the day as many believe. In the Thumb, they share the night sky with the Great Horned Owl and the much smaller Screech Owl.
Joe Rogers and his wife, Barb, rescue and rehabilitate injured and orphaned birds of prey - hawks, owls, eagles, falcons, and vultures. Over the years, this husband-and-wife team
from the Wildlife Recovery Association have saved many Snowy Owls from certain death.
Snowy owls travel south in the winter when prey is scarce on the tundra, or when too many owls compete for food in the same area. Often, it is the young which are forced to migrate. Driven by hunger, their ultimate survival in the Thumb depends on their ability to hunt in an unfamiliar agricultural terrain.
Even a slight reduction in a young owl’s energy reserves may be the difference between life and death. There is no way of knowing how weak or strong a Snowy Owl may be at any given time in its migratory journey, or how much energy it has in reserve. If it wastes even a small amount, its survival may be in jeopardy. It is not unusual for juveniles to starve to death during their first winter on their own.
When I see a Snowy Owl, I never get out of the car to photograph it. I use a telephoto lens and try to get a picture at long range without scaring the owl unnecessarily. Frightening a resting owl during the day and making it fly can cause it to loose vital energy reserves,
which it needs to hunt successfully and eventually to complete its long migratory journey.
So as you drive the roads of the Thumb this winter, watch for Snowy Owls at the top of power poles and enjoy them at a distance. But do not disturb them or make them fly. If you do, you are lessening their chances of a safe return to their home in the Arctic.
Photograph by J.H. McCoy, Ruth Rd., Huron County, January 30, 2022. I took the picture of the Snowy Owl on what would have been my mother’s 99th birthday. (It was also the seventh anniversary of my website, Schock McCoy Productions.) I was on the way to Sts. Peter and Paul Cemetery to take a winter picture of her tombstone for the “NEWS” section. The Snowy Owl was the first one I had seen, and winter was almost half over. I thought of it as an omen of some kind (owls definitely qualify for that role), perhaps connected with my mother’s 99th birthday. In any case, it was a strange coincidence.
It never occurred to me that this “Arctic omen” might pertain to me. Whether it did or not, the very next day, January 31, 2022, I was admitted to William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak. This is my first article since that day.
Hairy and marked with red and blue "warts," the Spongy Moth caterpillar, formerly the Gypsy Moth caterpillar, continues to pose a threat to Michigan's trees.
In the 21st century, even the names of insects and bugs must be politically correct. The Entomological Society of America (ESA) recently threw out the old common name “Gypsy Moth” (Lymantria dispar) and replaced it with the more politically acceptable “Spongy Moth.”
According to ESA, the word “gypsy” is considered a derogatory term for the Romani people – traditional itinerants, who originated in India and then migrated to Central Asia and the Middle East. Entering Bulgaria around 1100 AD, the Romani eventually spread across Europe.
Speaking a language that was foreign to their European neighbors, the newcomers continued their strange customs and wandering ways. They were considered
“outsiders” and were marginalized and excluded from mainstream culture. Today,
the world Romani population is estimated at 12 million, but that number is uncertain.
On March 2, 2022, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) issued a news release about the name change and has already made revisions to their website.
Joanne Foreman, DNR Invasive Species Communications Coordinator, explained the DNR’s logic: “When an invasive species carries the name of a nation or culture, it’s easy to unintentionally associate that culture with the pest’s harmful effects. We anticipate additional common name changes for other invasive species to reduce these negative connotations.”
The new name, “Spongy Moth,” is an Anglicized version of the French word “spongieuse,” the common name used for the Gypsy Moth in France and French-speaking Canada. “Spongy” refers to the moth’s teardrop-shaped egg mass, which resembles the texture and yellow-tan color of a sea sponge.
These egg clusters, containing 400-500 eggs, are usually deposited on tree trunks, but they can also end up on shrubbery, lawn furniture, and house siding. Incidentally, the primary way a Spongy Moth infestation spreads is by the movement of egg clusters –
they hitch rides to new locations on firewood, outdoor equipment, and even vehicles.
It is the larva or Spongy Moth caterpillar that does the damage – one fully grown caterpillar can eat a square foot of leaves in a single day. Typically, these destructive pests are easy to identify – they have long hair, a yellow face, and pairs of red and blue bumps down their backs. At the end of the larval stage, they measure about 2¾ inches in length.
Michigan’s most recent infestation of these voracious caterpillars occurred in 2021. I noticed the bare trees and chewed-up leaves along I-75 on my annual birdwatching trip to the Upper Peninsula in May. In 2021, the DNR said the Gypsy Moth was the culprit; now the blame rests squarely on the Spongy Moth.
Shakespeare once asked the question: “What’s in a name?” A moth-related paraphrase of the Bard’s answer might read:
“That which we call” a Gypsy Moth,
“By any other name,”
Would chew the spring leaves just the same.
That said, it is now official: “Gypsy Moth” is OUT; “Spongy Moth” is IN. For most people, getting used to the new name will take time; others will continue to use the old one.
Some will probably consider the whole matter, “much ado about nothing.”
Photograph of Spongy Moth: “Borrowed” from the Internet.
SCHOCK MCCOY PRODUCTIONS. www.schockmccoyproductions.com
SUBURBAN DEER: HOW MANY? WHEN? WHERE?
A female Eastern Towhee, formerly Rufous-sided Towhee, showed
up in Huron County's Sand Beach Township in December 2021.
MAY 30, 2022
Double click here to add text.
"HE WAS A MAN, TAKE HIM FOR ALL IN ALL -- I SHALL NOT LOOK ON HIS LIKE AGAIN." - HAMLET
Of the three questions about the photograph, the easiest to answer is the first one - you only have to count to “four.” Nothing about the “When” answer is unusual: March 11, 2022, 6:15 pm. Only the “Where” question generates some interest.
The photo of the four whitetails could have been taken almost anywhere in the Thumb. It is a scene that occurs every day in the numerous woodlots which dot the agricultural landscape of the area. The deer might have been photographed in the Minden City State Game Area in Sanilac County or the Verona State Game Area in Huron County….or even in the wooded subdivision where I live in Sand Beach Township (Huron County). The background looks like “deer country,” but it is deceptive.
In fact, I took the picture in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit - the state’s largest city. The deer were standing in a small clump of trees, which separate my brother’s lawn from
his neighbor’s. I photographed them through a picture window.
The four whitetails are “residents” of Oakland County. Like hundreds of others, they move freely through the suburban neighborhood. They meander through backyards and sleep on the lawns; they nibble on trees and flowers and browse on shrubbery and bushes near the well-landscaped houses.
These “suburban whitetails” have learned how to live in a densely populated area and are used
to people, dogs, and traffic. The deer in the picture are on alert because they were watching a neighbor’s two golden retrievers about 100 yards away, running freely inside an invisible, electrified dog fence.
Of course, no hunting is allowed in Bloomfield Hills, and so the deer population is steadily increasing. Many residents consider them a nuisance, especially when they destroy trees and shrubbery or cause accidents on the streets and highways.
According to the Michigan Deer Crash Coalition, Oakland County is the worst place in the state for vehicle-deer crashes. In 2014, Oakland topped the list of Michigan counties with 1,750 deer-car accidents, including six that were fatal. About 42% of these crashes occurred in October and November, when deer are in the rut and on the move.
Telegraph Road, which runs north and south about three-quarters of a mile west of my brother’s house, is where many deer-car accidents occur. The posted speed limit is 50 mph, but drivers often exceed it. If whitetails try to cross this busy six-lane highway, especially during rush hour
or at night, deer-car collisions are almost inevitable.
Regulation yellow deer-crossing signs are posted in wooded areas on both 13 Mile Road and
14 Mile Road. A smaller doe-fawn crossing sign is also used in Bloomfield Hills to remind motorists that deer often travel in family groups and where one deer crosses the road, others
are sure to follow.
The quiet residential streets of the suburban neighborhoods usually pose no threat to whitetails because traffic is light; the roadways are narrow; and most drivers respect the speed limit.
Deer feel safe crossing the roads in residential areas and move freely across streets, driveways, and lawns.
As a visitor to the suburbs, I have to say it is strange to look out the window and see deer
calmly walking by the house or frisking in the backyard. I told my brother: “It’s like living in a zoo.”
And in fact, deer are not the only animals seen on a regular basis in this “backyard zoo.” Besides the usual squirrels and rabbits, my brother has also spotted woodchucks, opossums, raccoons, skunks, wild turkeys, foxes, and coyotes. He has taken pictures of young triplet fawns and photographed a trophy buck in velvet, resting on the lawn. He has seen coyotes loping across the backyard and heard them howling near the house in the winter darkness.
While I stayed there, I saw dozens of deer, including a few bucks that had not yet shed their antlers even though it was almost spring. I photographed an opossum on several occasions as
it moved along the edge of the property and disappeared under the neighbor’s deck. I watched
a male Red-bellied Woodpecker for two weeks as he drilled a nest hole at the top of an old willow.
There is no question that more deer and wildlife pass through my brother’s backyard in Bloomfield Hills than through mine in Sand Beach Township. It was nice to visit his “backyard zoo.” I had a free pass and an unobstructed view.
Photograph of Whitetail Deer: Taken March 11, 2022, at the home of Paul and Mary Anne McCoy, Jackson Park Drive, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. They have lived at this location for almost 30 years and have four children: Christopher, Melissa, Bryan, and Robert.
Whitetail deer in the suburbs - a common sight in Bloomfield Hills and Oakland County.
CORRECTED VERSION - EDITOR'S MISTAKE. MORE IN NEWS.
MEMORIAL DAY 2022
WHO GAVE ALL