Questions, Anyone?

Rummage and garage sales

  • ?Q. What is the difference between a rummage sale, a garage sale, and a flea market??

A. Read on for descriptions from a Merriam Webster dictionary and several word origin books.??

Rummage sale: ?A rummage sale is usually an informal sale of miscellaneous goods, especially a sale of donated articles conducted by a nonprofit organization (such as a church or charity) to help support its programs.?

The first known use of “rummage sale” was around 1858. ?As early as the 14th century the French word arrumage, related to our word “arrange,” meant “loading a cargo ship.” Sometimes cargo from the arrumage was damaged during the voyage and warehouses held special sales of these damaged items, sales that were at first called arrumage sales and then rummage sales. Rummage thus came to mean any damaged goods and finally any goods low in quality, including the used clothing and other items sold at charity rummage sales. ??

Garage sale: A garage sale is a sale of used household or personal articles (such as furniture, tools, or clothing) held on the seller’s own premises. The first known use of garage sale is 1964.??

Flea market: A flea market is usually an open-air market for secondhand articles and antiques. It’s a translation of French March aux puces, a market in Paris.?

First known use is 1922.?

These bargain markets have nothing to do with fleas. Flea market has been an American expression as far back as Dutch colonial days when there was a very real Vallie (Valley) Market at the valley, or foot, of the Maiden Lane in downtown Manhattan. The Vallie Market came to be abbreviated to Vlie Market and this was soon being pronounced Flea Market.??

Alpena’s pioneer Carters

  • Q. Who were the first white settlers in Alpena?

A. Historian Robert Haltiner, in “The Town That Wouldn’t Die”, called the Carters “The Pioneer Family.”?

He stated, “In November, 1856, Daniel Carter brought his wife Sarah and daughter Mary to what was to become Alpena – thus becoming Alpena’s first family of permanent white settlers. When the Carters arrived here there was a little board building that Walter Scott had built, a mere shell of a building with no windows. Mr. Carter fixed it up and it became not only their family home but was the hotel of the region. Often it was filled to overflowing but its guests always found a good bed and a tempting meal. There was a small clearing around the house which was their garden; the rest of Alpena was covered with swamp, trees and brush.?

“It was indeed a desolate and forbidding prospect for a woman to contemplate, but Mrs. Carter was not a woman to be dismayed. She was a typical pioneer. Often she was alone. Possessed of a robust constitution, courageous spirit, and kindness of heart, she was admirably adapted to the manifold emergencies of that time.

  • “Mr. Carter was one of the prime movers in getting the county organized and took a leading part in its affairs.” He was active in many positions including first postmaster, Supervisor, and Justice of the Peace.

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