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The ghost of Minnie Quay is a legend in the paranormal circles of Michigan. The legend stems from a small foresting town in the eastern region of Michigan, known as The Thumb, called Forester, in present-day Forester Township.
The Quay family, father James and mother Mary Ann, lived in the busy lumbering town of Forester. Their daughter, Minnie Quay, was only 15 at the time. She had given her heart to a young sailor whose ship would dock in Forester often for either shipping or merchant reasons. Not much is known about the gentleman, only that Minnie had fallen in love with him. Many in town warned her about this affair. Her own mother would often yell out loud enough for others in town to hear that she would rather see her dead than with this man. In the early spring of 1876, word came back to Forester that his ship had gone down in the Great Lakes of Michigan. Minnie was torn, as her parents had not allowed her to say goodbye the last time he had left town. A few days later, on April 27, her parents gave her charge to watch her younger brother, James Jr. As the infant was sleeping, Minnie walked into town, and passed by the town inn, the Tanner House. People sitting on the porch waved to the young girl as she passed them and walked to the pier. The onlookers watched as she jumped off the pier, into the waters of Lake Huron.
Her ghost has been said to roam the beaches of Forester. Some have said that she just walks, waiting for her lover to dock, while others have stated that she has tried to beckon young girls into the waters to their deaths.
To the north of Port Sanilac, the cemetery and a few buildings remain. There also exists a tavern (Ray And Connie's Forester Inn), as well as the Tanner Inn. The 150-year-old Tanner Inn has been renovated and is being used a residence years after its use as an inn, a blind pig, and a house of prostitution.
Year-round residents of the area number around 40. In the summer months the population increases, and local campgrounds are full. Many also visit this area in search of the ghost of Minnie Quay.
Ballad of Minnie Quay
The ballad has been popular in the region for over 100 years. It has been passed down the generations. Many versions exist. Here is one.
'Twas long ago besides Lake Huron,
She walked the sandy shore.
Where the voice of one sweet Minnie Quay,
'Twill echo ever more.
Sailors still hear her crying,
Young lovers hear her, too.
As she calls for them to join her,
In the waters, icy blue.
Young Minnie loved a sailor,
The sailor loved her, too.
And on the shore behind the trees,
The pair would rendezvous.
But gossips soon got wind of it,
And tongues began to wag.
The tale was told to Minnie's Ma,
By some old babbling hag.
Minnie's Ma was angry,
And to her daughter said,
"Married to a sailor?
I'd rather see you dead."
They knew that she'd been sneaking out,
To see the lad at night.
They boarded up her bedroom door,
And kept her locked in tight.
He waited for his love in vain,
A tear was in his eye.
When he set sail the next morning,
Without kissing her goodbye.
He never saw his love again,
For alas, a storm arose.
That raging gale sank many ships,
And his was one of those.
The ship that carried Minnie's love,
Sank like it was lead.
And when the news reached Forester,
They said that he was dead.
Minnie wore a dress of white,
She looked just like a bride.
She plunged into the water deep,
To die there by his side.
But Minnie Quay is not at rest,
Or so the people say.
Her ghost still walks the lonely shore.
Some see her to this day.
- Kuclo, Marion, "Michigan Haunts and Hauntings,"
- The Ghost of Minnie Quay,"https://web.archive.org/web/20110711150015/http://www.hauntedplacesinamerica.com/the-ghost-of-minnie-quay-forester-michigan,"