Ghosts of Local Sheep Lore and History

May 23, 2019

Dear Editor,
I read the May 3, 2019 article in the Marion Press, The Ghost of Main Street, regarding the sheep history in the Marion area. It was a very good article highlighting the historical sheep farmers in the area.

However, I was surprised to read and see that Orlan and Virgil Blackledge were not mentioned in the article. My dad, Orland Blackledge and Uncle Virgil Blackledge, were also sheep farmers in the area for many years.

Orland, for example, continually had over 1,000 head of sheep on his farm which included over 70 head of purebred Suffolk, Corridale and Oxfords. They were annually recognized as some of the best in northern Michigan as my brother, Norris Blackledge, showed sheep at various county fairs for many years.

Orland and Virgil, owners of the Marion Livestock Auction for many years, often shipped railcar loads of ewes from Montana for their own farms and other sheep farmers in northern Michigan.

I have enclosed an article that appeared in the Michigan Farmer magazine many years ago.. It looks like it was from 1969. I realize it is blurred and hard to read.

Raymond Baker, my father-in-law, also had sheep on his farm. He was one of the best sheep shearer’s in the area.

I thought you might be interested in more sheep history in the Marion area.

Orlean Blackledge Baker Lewelling

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