Questions, Anyone?

Henry Ford in Alpena

Q. A reader asks,”Is it true that Henry Ford spent some time in Alpena?”

A. Henry Ford visited Alpena at least twice, as shown by materials in Special Collections

at the Alpena County George N. Fletcher Public Library. A July 18, 1917 newspaper report, sent by Bob Lyngos, special collections staff, stated, “Henry Ford of Detroit spent Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, with Charles Luce at his cottage.” (Long Lake)

An original letter written in in 1891 by Henry Ford to his wife is also in the county library’s Special Collections. He wrote on letterhead of the “Globe Hotel, Dougald McDonald, Proprietor, Cor. Second St. and Washington Ave., Alpena, Mich, Mar 3td 1891” Ford’s letter, just as he wrote it (with misspellings and lack of periods and paragraphs) said,

“My Own Dear little wife I left Detroit about 10. o.clock for Ausable but changed my minde on the boat – came to Alpena it took 27 hours we got to Lexington about dark and i was afraid of takeing cold so I got a room and went to bed we had horses Cattle and Chickens on bord the first thing i knew after I went to bed was to hear the …roosters croing and then heard some one ask another if we were in some ones farm yard but we were in the middle of Saginaw bay

“Saginaw Bay was ruff but no one was sea sick I like Alpena. Every body friendly their was a

turnout last night 2 miles long there is music here night and day I haven’t been around mutch yet but have a good idea of the town. There is 14000 people here but I wish you were here I bet I will never go so far from you again look for me any time after Tuesday Good by Darling Yours Henry -“

Worth your salt

Q. What is the origin of the expression “worth your salt”?

A. Various websites explain that the Roman army required salt for its soldiers, horses and livestock. At times soldiers were paid in salt, thus the terms of “earning his salt” and “worth his salt”.

Other internet statements include the following.

“When we say someone is worth their salt, we mean literally that he or she earns whatever reward they get, which usually refers to their paycheck, but can also simply denote a person who is worthy of respect or admiration.”

“… salt is a mineral that has been a commodity in every part of the world, throughout history. People bartered with it and may have actually carried cakes of salt around with them. If you could carry your weight in salt then you had a lot of spending power!”

“At times, Roman soldiers were paid partly or fully in salt. In fact, the Latin word for salt was sal and these salt rations were called a salarium, from which we derive out modern word salary. Not only that, but the Latin word sal also became the French word solde, meaning pay. This is the origin of the word soldier.”

Please send questions and comments to or to “Questions, Anyone?” The Alpena News, 130 Park Place, Alpena, MI 49707.