Lansing History

232 South Capitol

232 South Capitol. The home was built in 1885-1886, when Mason Chatterton moved to Lansing.

Mason D. Chatterton, died suddenly at his home at 232 South Capitol Avenue on October 27, 1903. He was 68 years old, and his death was a shock to the community. Mason had been in excellent condition his entire life, but in late 1902 he began to suffer periodical bouts of ill health. In early October 1903, Mason attended a stockholders meeting of the Farmers’ Bank in Mason, Michigan. He caught a cold while traveling to the meeting, two weeks later his health had not improved and he became noticeably weaker. On the advice of his doctor, Mason decided to remain at home and work in an attempt to hasten his recovery. After ten days he seemed to be recuperating, but late in the evening of October 26, 1903, he became violently ill and passed away suddenly from pneumonia. Mason Chatterton was born in Mt. Holly, Rutland County, Vermont on August 3, 1838. His parents Daniel and Betsey (née Jewett) Chatterton, moved their family to Michigan in 1851, stopping briefly in Oakland County, before purchasing property in Ingham County. The Chatterton farm in Meridian Township was 72 acres in size and was located in the north east corner of Hagadorn Road and Grand River Avenue, with additional lands below Grand River Avenue reaching the Red Cedar River. According to many sources, young Mason was the first student admitted to the Michigan Agricultural College where he studied for three years, he then attended the State Normal School in Ypsilanti,[1] for one year before he enrolled in the University of Michigan to study law. After Mason’s graduation from the University of Michigan, in March 1861, he was admitted to the state bar. Mason was a man on a mission, he was the town clerk of Meridian, selected as an Ingham County Court Commissioner, 1864-69; elected as an Ingham County Probate Judge, 1873-81; after leaving politics Mason became Director and President of the Farmers Bank of Mason. He practiced law in Okemos, Mason and Lansing where he moved in 1886. He was also an accomplished write, he wrote, Law and Practice in the Probate Courts and Immortality from the Standpoint of Reason, which was published by his wife after his death. On June 2, 1864, Mason married Miss Mary A. Morrison, who was the daughter of Norris and Jane (née Homer) Morrison. The couple had one child, Floyd M. Chatterton. Daniel’s wife Mary A. Chatterton passed away on April 29, 1923, at the age of 87. The home at 232 South Capitol was designed by the architectural firm of Mason & Rice.

Wolverine Insurance Building

The Wolverine Insurance Building soon after its completion. 

So, what happened to the Chatterton home, well it was torn down in 1924 and replaced by the Wolverine Insurance Building.[2] Accident Fund acquired the building in 1950 and moved into the old Wolverine Insurance building in January 1951. Surprisingly the oldBuilding is still standing, the façade is hidden behind metal panes that grace the entire structure at 232 S. Capitol. I am not sure what to make of this building, on the one had in many ways the exterior is disappointing and seems dated, while on the plus side the multi-storied atrium is wonderful.[3] Today the building is the home to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan.

For more information on Mason Chatterton see LJ 10/28/1903, SR 10/28/1903, Past and present of the city of Lansing and Ingham county, Michigan, Cowles page 137ff and Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections P 763 Vol 34 1904

[1] Today Eastern Michigan University

[2] The architects were Edwyn A. Bowd and Orlie J. Munson see LSJ 10/24/1925

[3] See LSJ 3/3/1986 and LSJ 3/15/1988

© Lost Lansing 2021


Another Rich Haul


Proprietor Charles Brand and Several Inmates of the House are Again Before the Bar of Justice

“Brand refused and reached as if for his pistol pocket, but the marshal quietly shoved a revolver under his nose, said he guess not, and right then and there Brand capitulated. The officers in the meantime, by the aid of a certain key in the hands of Officer Drum, had entered every room in the house and ordered every male and female occupant to dress and join the forces below. Every room contained a man and a woman and in several instances they were captured in bed. Two rooms refused admittance to the officers, the occupants having been warned by Miss Brand, sister of the proprietor, that officers were in the house, but without ceremony these doors were broken down and all except “Kit” Smith and Nora Keating, who were sick, were compelled to enter the hacks bound for jail.

There was the biggest kind of circus at the Gate House last night. Marshal Shubel, Officer Drum and six policemen raided the entire ranch and quartered seven girls and five men in city jail, with Proprietor Charles Brand as the head of the list, charged with keeping a house of ill fame. The raid has been on tap ever since March 26, and every preparation possible had been made. It worked almost beautifully. Between 2 and 3 o’clock this morning a hack stopped in front of the notorious ranch, apparently filled with gay young bloods who were out for the night, all more of less tipsy, with slathers of money. One jumped out and merrily made for the door. Aroused by the noise Proprietor Brand raised the window from above and in a minute opened the door to the man knocking. The man stepped inside, pulled off his false mustaches and revealed the determined countenance of Marshal Shubel. The astonished landlord gave a gasp, which was somewhat prolonged when out of the hack tumbled that officers’ efficient assistants instead of the anticipated gay young spendthrifts. The landlord was squelched and became most abject until the raid was over and Marshal Shubel ordered him to get into the hack and go to jail with the rest.

The foul language used by inmates during the raid would have done credit to a fiend incarnate. There was no limited to it, and in jail this morning the women were still inclined to swear at every and anything. They were all in bad temper, and looked longingly towards the door whenever anyone passed out.

“Don’t you put my name in the paper,” shouted one, “for if you do, you, I will kill you when I get out.” “Yes and I’ll help,” said another, with curses and the foulest epithets. The men are all quartered behind the bars, but the women are lying on couches and chairs in the office. The following is a list of those arrested, with the charges: Charles Brand, keeping a house of ill fame; A.E. Rude, disorderly; John Demorest, disorderly; F.H. Merrill, disorderly’ Bessie Benson, prostitute; Jennie Stage, prostitute; Margaret M. McCumery, prostitute; Flossie Martin, disorderly; Mabel Gray, disorderly; Ida Cook, disorderly, Emily Ford, disorderly; “Kit” Smith and Nora Keating have not yet been charged.

“This time,“ said Marshal Shubel, “I have got Brand sure and I will make it the warmest kind of a time for him” Certainly the outlook for that individual does not bear the rosiest hue imaginable. There is a disposition among the officers to believe that the Gate house has been the scene of crime, and a thorough search of that house and premises will be made on that theory., and if any crimes are hidden within its portals the officers intend to bring it to the surface. The raid was well planned, well carried out, and is well applauded by every decently inclined person in the city. The parties were arraigned before Justice Chase this afternoon, A.E. Rude pleaded guilty and was fined $10 or ten days in jail. Mabel Grey, Bessie Benson, Fred Merrill, Flossie Martin, Ida Cook, Frank Bowman, Jennie Sloge and Margaret McCumery pleaded not guilty and were held on bonds of $200 each until next week. Charles Brand pleaded not guilty to a charge of keeping a house of ill fame and was held in $500 bonds which he furnished.” (State Republican 4/17/1891)

On April 30, 1891, a jury of six men, Fayette M. Howe, D.B. Moon, J.A. Bowen, Charles Thenen, John B. Voiselle and William S Sellers, deadlocked over the guilt of Flossie Martin three jurors for a guilty verdict and three jurors for an acquittal. Just what happened in Flossie’s later life is unknown.

For DB