Contributed by Jody Doran
Millersburg Pioneer Passed Away
Albert Tonkey, pioneer resident of Millersburg, died about nine o'clock Thursday night,(April 7, 1949) age 88. Fire
of unknown origin destroyed the one stroy building owned by Joe Freel, in which Mr. Tonkey was living, and it is
thought he was overcome by the smoke before he was rescued from the flames. The fire had a good start. Ronnie Freel
and Delmar Lenox got the door open. He was alive but died about an hour after being taken from the building. Apparently
he had tried to get out of the place and got as far as the door before he was overcome. It was thought that because
of his age and feebleness he had difficulty in escaping unaided.
Albert Tonkey was born in Ontario, Canada, June 13th, 1863. He came to Michigan at about the age of 16 and like many another young man he followed "the woods." The writer first knew him as a boy, when in the prime of life he wore the stagged trousers and cocky hat of the riverman. In those days he told me tall tales of the woods and he was much at home in the eary lumber camps. He had worked at Flint and Saginaw, in the early days the center of the timber industry, and quite naturally followed the timber harvest as it worked its way north.
He worked for the J.C. Brown Co. which cut the early pine in this section, and later worked on the Tahquamenon, the Two-Hearted River and in the vicinity of Whitefish Bay. About 1894 he worked at Cheboygan, Hammond Bay and Rogers City. Following this he bought what was known as the Chas. Brenner farm near Millersburg. Here was a bachelor but his farm home was neat and his farm was well kept.
It was while living on his farm in Case township that he served that township as its supervisor for a number of terms. He also acted as a justice for more than 20 years in the community. He had a good practical education and served in public office capably. About 1929 he sold his farm and moved Millersburg where he lived until his death.
Funeral services were held Saturday at the Millersburg M.E. chhurch, Rev. Harry Smith officiating. Mrs. Keith Schular sang "Does Jesus Care?". and "Beautiful Garden of Prayer," accompanied by Mrs. Freda Schuler at the piano. He was borne to his last resting place by Walter and James Inglis, George and Tom Crow, James and Charles Loomis.
Published April 9, 1949 Presque Isle County Advance