Just north of Port Sanilac, on the eastern Michigan coast, lies the small community of Forester. This small village has only a few residents in the winter time, although it is filled to capacity in the summer, when travelers gather around the camp fires and spin tales of the Lake Huron coast....and especially the ghostly legend of Minnie Quay.... at tale that has it's roots in fact, not fiction.

Along a street in Forester is an abandoned tavern with the name "Quay" and the year of "1852" lettered above the door. This house once belonged to James Quay and his wife, Mary Ann, who had come to Forester from New England. Their eldest daughter Minnie was nearly fifteen-years-old when she died in April of 1876. It is this young woman whose ghost is still said to walk the shore near Forester.

At the time of Minnie's death, Forester was a busy lumbering town and a busy ship port for boats hauling lumber to various places on the Great Lakes. There were four long warehouses and a pier that extended out into the bay (the pilings of the pier can still be seen today) and people from town came every day to see what ships had docked and to get news from the outside world.

Minnie Quay, like many young girls who lived in ports, fell in love with one of the sailors who visited Forester. No one knows for sure what his name was but the relationship was greatly disapproved of in town, especially by Minnie's parents. The Quay's did not want their daughter carrying on with a sailor and they forbid her to see him again.

In the spring of 1876, word reached Forester that the ship that the young man had been working on had gone down in a storm. Minnie was heart-broken, especially since she had not even been able to tell him goodbye the last time that he had been in port. A few days later, she committed suicide by plunging off the town pier and into the cold waters of Lake Huron.

Minnie was buried in the Forester Cemetery on the north end of town... but most say that she does not rest in peace.

The legends say that Minnie's ghost has been seen walking along the shore of Lake Huron near Forester. She is said cry mournfully for the spirit of her lost love, for whom she seeks but never finds. Over the years, several young women have reported that Minnie has beckoned to them from the icy waters as if inviting them to join her. It is even said that one girl drowned after claiming that she saw Minnie one night....suicide? Or simply the invitation of a ghost who is lonely in her watery grave of despair?

Forester is located north of Port Sanilac on Michigan's eastern coast. The small village lies on Lake Huron and can be found on the east central side of the state. The Old Quay house stands across the street from the Forester Inn Tavern.

Copyright 1998 by Troy Taylor

Return to the Main Page