Letter from 1886 found in pristine condition during home renovation in Michigan

1886 Letter Found in Nunica
Posted at 10:07 AM, Mar 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-31 12:44:49-04

NUNICA, Mich. (WXMI) — A family working on some renovations in a home they recently bought in Michigan were shocked to discover a letter from 1886 hidden neatly behind a baseboard.

Erik Erhorn and his wife purchased the home and the property it sits on in 2017.

Erhorn, who also happens to be the Crockery Township supervisor, was working inside the house with his brother Tyler awhile back when they made the interesting find.

"From August 3 of 1886, M. Spencer, Sir..." Erhorn read from the top of the letter.

The letter is addressed to Mr. Medad Spencer, who was born in New York in 1831, and later moved to Nunica, Michigan.

According to online family records, Medad Spencer would spend the rest of his life at the property, and was eventually buried in the Nunica Cemetery in October 1919.

Come 2017, Erhorn and his wife bought the property from a woman whose husband had passed away.

Interestingly enough, that woman's family had purchased the parcel from Erhorn's ancestors several decades prior.

“They bought it from my great-grandpa, who bought the farm from the Spencer family in the early 1940s,” Erhorn said.

That would be the Spencer family — Medad Spencer's ancestors.

The letter found addressed to Medad asked him to consider purchasing a large parcel of land from the man who wrote the letter, a Mr. Charles V. Warren.

“Charles V. Warren of Hart wanted Medad to sell his property down here, and buy the property up in Hart, his 160 acres,” Erhorn explained of the letter. “And it talks about, you know, the good tillage, the streams that run through it, and then the good timber. 'There's good rail timber, good buildable timber, plenty of wood… small brooks running with trout.'”

Erhorn also found an old leather belt under some carpet, as well as some sort of promotional brochure for a state-of-the-art — at the time, at least — washboard.

It's a unique first-hand look into what life was like in West Michigan over a century ago. Erhorn and his family still haven't decided what they will do with their finds.

"Things that we think of as being so long ago — this letter far exceeds them," he said.

This story originally reported by Michael Martin on