Message in a Bottle Found 97 Years Later

Message in a Bottle Discovered near Detroit.  Last June diver Dave Leander discovered a message in a bottle nearly a century old.

A Michigan diver who last year found an unread message in a bottle

When two young ladies on a day trip to  Tashmoo amusement park  on  Harsen’s  Island, Michigan threw their message in a bottle into the water, they likely never dreamed that  someone finding their note near a century later.

The message was found by Diver Dave Leander of Shelby Township, 30 feet below the surface in the St.  Clair River.

Immediately after the diver discovered the time capsule treasure he began trying to locate any living next of kin.

After a news story broke about …Eric Schiebold, 59,  the grandson of  one of the women saw the news about his grandmother, Tillie Esper, who was just 23-years-old on the day the note was written.

Selina Pramstaller, 17,  and Tillie Esper of Detroit  wrote a simple note as they enjoyed a day which read,  “Having a good time at Tashmoo,” their message states in neat cursive writing.

They stuffed the message in a bottle, corked it and threw it in the waters of the St. Clair River, where it sank to the bottom.

Tashmoo Park was an amusement park in Algonac, Michigan. Opened in 1897, it closed in 1951.

About the message writers

Tillie (Matilda) Esper
Born in September 1893 to Mathias (Matthew) and Caroline Esper, youngest of nine children with her eldest sister, Mary, being 23 years older.
Lived at 141 Maybury Grand until marrying Joseph J. Schaefer, a saloon-keeper, in 1917. She was a milliner or ladies’ hat maker.
By the 1930 census, Schaefer is vice president of the Schaefer Lunch Co. and the couple lives in Dearborn with their seven children. They have two more children by the 1940 census and live at 7823 Bingham in Dearborn. Schaefer is manager of the Factory Lunch Corp. and two of their children, Joseph J. and Rita, have completed three years and one year of college, respectively.
Last listing for Matilda is an obituary for Tillie Schaefer, who died at age 91 on Jan. 26, 1984 in Wayne.
Source: Michael Brodzik’s article in the October 2012 issue of Antique Bottle & Glass Collector Magazine.

Selina J. Pramstaller
Born Jan. 18, 1898, daughter of John P. and Elizabeth Pramstaller.
Lived at 377 Wabash in 1915.
Had several occupations through the years, including stenographer at the Caille Perfection Motor Co. in 1917 and clerk at Standard Computing Scale Co. in 1921. Later in 1921, she worked with her older sister, Irene.
Married Stanley L. Kellum, a switchman for the railroad, in 1921; she is a Dictaphone operator. They reside at 4515 Larchmont in 1923 and Kellum now is a conductor.
Listed as divorced in the 1930 census and living at her parents’ house with her 8-year-old daughter, Elizabeth (Marie). She is a drain clerk at the county office. By the 1940 census, she is living with her widowed father and her daughter, 17. She is a private family nurse.
Nothing further was found on her history.

Related Message in a Bottle News:

Mass. Couple’s 2001 Message in a Bottle Found

The couple from Massachusetts had just finished off a bottle of champagne to celebrate their engagement on a Florida beach in August 2001 when they got a crazy idea.

They wrote a message, shoved the cork back into the bottle, and tossed it into the waves off Tampa.

The message read: ‘‘To whoever finds this bottle: may you be blessed as the two of us. May you find someone to love with as much compassion. May you find and keep someone who completes you. This is our message in a bottle.’’

They included their first names and a post office box in their hometown of Attleboro.

Karl and Michele Kimmell, now the parents of two children and about to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary, say they occasionally wondered if anyone had found the bottle.

‘‘It was just a regular cork in the bottle so I figured the cork would start leaking eventually,’’ Karl, 36, told WLNE-TV.

Turns out someone had found it, on the opposite coast of Florida.

Michael Souvigny found the bottle in February while out hunting along the St. John’s River in Green Cove Springs, Fla.

‘‘It was very much a surprise,’’ Michele, 35, told The Sun Chronicle newspaper.

He responded to the message, but his letter was returned because the post office box account was closed and Karl and Michele had moved to neighboring Rehoboth.

At the urging of a friend, Souvigny turned to The Sun Chronicle, which published a story about the bottle.

Michele’s sister saw the story and recognized the handwriting on the letter, a copy of which was printed with the article.

She contacted the Kimmells, who plan on contacting Souvigny.

‘‘It’s neat that someone actually ended up finding it,’’ Michele said.

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