Historical Society to host ‘Trial of the Century’ at White Pine Village

September 19, 2023

The Caswell house, built in 1847.

Historical Society to host ‘Trial of the Century’ at White Pine Village

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief

PERE MARQUETTE TOWNSHIP — In celebration of Ludington’s sesquicentennial, the Mason County Historical Society will hold “The Trial of the Century” on Saturday, Sept. 23 at Historic White Pine Village. 

The mock trial was written by Dr. Rick Plummer, former executive director of the Mason County Historical Society and professor emeritus, retired director of performing arts of West Shore Community College and is based on an actual court case from 1900 that involved the plaintiff suing the Flint & Pere Marquette Railway for damages due to lost cattle. 

Interior of the Caswell house, original Mason County courthouse.

The trial will take place in Mason County’s first courthouse. Located on the land where it was homesteaded in 1847, the courthouse was the home of Burr and Hannah Caswell and was the inspiration for the creation of White Pine Village. 

Mason County Chief Judge Jeffrey Nellis will preside over the trial portraying Judge James B. McMahon, who served as the presiding judge over the actual case. Additionally, Ludington Mayor Mark Barnett, who is also the former Ludington police chief, will play the role of an escaping prisoner, bringing a touch of suspense to the proceedings. 

Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole will portray his great-grandfather, Henry Cole, who served as Mason County sheriff from 1899 to 1903. 

Plummer will play the role of court bailiff. 

The trial will be held twice on Saturday, at 11 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. Gates to the Village open at 10 a.m. 

The Village will also host an ice cream social, pie baking contest and artisan demonstrations. 

Historic White Pine Village is located at 1687 S. Lakeshore Dr., north of Iris Road on the Buttersville Peninsula. Take Pere Marquette Highway to Iris Road, west to Lakeshore Drive then north to the Village. 

Tickets can be purchased on the day of the event: $20 for adults; $18 for senior citizens; $15 for children ages 4 to 17. Children ages 3 and under are free. All proceeds go towards the preservation of Mason County history at White Pine Village. 

For more information, click here. 


Area Churches