County Seat Newspaper
of Clare County

Sleuthing in History-The Tatman House in Clare


Recently the Clare County Historical Society came into possession of two old undated photographs which appeared to have been taken in about the same general time frame.  One photograph was of the Samuel E. Saul house which was located on E. Adams Road in Hatton Township, 1 and ½ miles East of Old-US 27.  The house is no longer standing. 

The second photograph was of the Tatman House built in 1891, located on W. Sixth Street in the City of Clare, formerly the law office of Richard S. Allen, and presently owned by Greg and Jody Robinson, and operated as a B & B.   

The historical questions were – When were the photographs taken?  And,  was there a connection between the two photographs?   A small bit of historical sleuthing provided the answers.                 

The Saul house photograph had on the back side a listing in order of appearance of individuals of the Robert Armstrong Allen family – Everett, Hazel, Perrie, Dorothy, Josephine, Floyd, and Arm. 

A newspaper search on the internet at Central Michigan University, Clarke Historical Library, Michigan Digital Newspapers resulted in the finding of Perrie Allen marrying Leo Smock, in 1915, at age 19.  In the photograph, Perrie, the 3rd individual from the viewer’s left, appears to be about age 6 to 8 and so the photograph can be reasonably dated to about 1902 – 1904.

On the back side of the Tatman House photo there appears “11-12-__2” and there seems to be a very small zero below and just to the front of the “2” – so most likely the date of 1902.  If so, the Tatman House photograph was taken approximately 10 years after the building of the Tatman House. 

In providing further evidence of a connection between the Saul and Tatman photographs, Robert Armstrong Allen’s wife was Dorothy Tatman, in the photograph she is 4th from the viewer’s left, their marriage occurring on January 31, 1886.  Dorothy Tatman was a sister of James F. Tatman, a Village/City of Clare grocer and owner of the Tatman House.

Framed enlarged copies of the Tatman House photograph were provided to Greg and Jody Robinson by the Clare County Historical Society, the photographs to be hung in the Tatman House B & B.   A framed enlarged copy of the Samuel E. Saul house can be seen at the Clare County Historical Society Museum, corner of Eberhart Avenue and Dover Road, open May thru September, Saturday afternoon, 1 to 4 p.m.

© Clare County Cleaver


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