Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.


Morning Star, March 18, 2001, pg. 14

This year marks Detroit’s 300th anniversary, and there are historical articles written almost daily about this in the Detroit newspapers. You’ve probably seen the advertisements for the Detroit Almanac, a book which is filled with interesting facts and information. One fact not found in that Almanac, however, concerns Albion’s "contribution" to the Motor City:" the first woman killed in an automobile accident in Detroit was from Albion.

Lucy (Torrey) Mudge of Albion, traveled to Detroit on Tuesday, October 6, 1903 with her cousin John A. Winslow to visit their mutual friend and former Albion resident, Mrs. Adell F. Comstock. Adell (her husband Lyman worked at the Stone Mill and "genealogically" disappears around 1900) used to live across the street from the Torrey’s in Albion.

While in Detroit, Adell’s nephew, State Senator Frank P. Glazier of Chelsea invited the ladies and Adell’s two daughters for an automobile tour of Detroit. Glazier "had quite a checkered past," according to one relative. At about 7 o’clock in the evening, Senator Glazier lost control of his car at the intersection of McDougall and Hendrie Avenues and East Boulevard. The steering mechanism malfunctioned. While trying to steady the swerving vehicle after turning onto Hendrie Ave, the car jumped the curb and crashed into a tree, flipping the auto. Lucy was thrown ten feet and fractured the base of her skull, rendering her unconscious. Although medical help was summoned, she was dead upon arrival at Grace Hospital shortly thereafter. The others also sustained various injuries, but not to the extent as Mrs. Mudge.

Lucy Torrey Mudge (1861-1903) was the daughter of Ripley and Mary Jane (Staples) Torrey. The family residence was at 210 W. Porter St. The Torrey family was originally from Malone, New York, and came to Michigan from Vermont in 1840, settling in Albion in 1843. Lucy’s brother Aldis (1863-1924) was a local downtown grocer who still has descendants in the area today, such as grandson and carpenter, Claire Torrey. Lucy was a member of the first graduating class of Albion High School, 1878. The first AHS class reception was held in the Torrey home at 210 W. Porter St. The house is still standing today.

Lucy was married to Niram Mudge (1861-1897), a native of Hastings who came to Albion in 1879. Niram was an uncle to the late Helen (Mrs. Philip) Henderson who passed away in 1999--her mother Mina was a sister of Niram. Niram was an electrician who was involved in laying and installing the first electric lines to Albion homes and businesses in the 1880s. Niram died in 1897 following a lengthy illness, leaving Lucy a widow with their son Clarence. At the time of the fatal accident, Clarence was left an orphan at 16 years old. He graduated from Albion High School in 1906, and then went on to Albion College. Clarence went into the photography business with J. Clifford Smith for a few years. He later moved to Washington state where he married and raised several daughters.

At the time of the 1903 accident, Lucy’s body was returned to Albion and burial was in Riverside Cemetery. From our Historical Notebook we present a photograph of Lucy Torrey Mudge, the first woman to be killed in an automobile accident in Detroit.

* Photo Credit Information Below

Lucy Torrey Mudge


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* Photo Credit Information: Images with this code are from the
"Albion Historical Society Collection / Local History Room / Albion Public Library Collection"