Nearly 100-year-old message in a bottle found by diver - Dallas News |

Nearly 100-year-old message in a bottle found by diver in St. Clair River

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The message in a bottle found by diver Dave Leander. The message in a bottle found by diver Dave Leander.

A mysterious message in a bottle laid hidden for 97 years until the right person came along.

"I happened upon a note in a bottle. The note was from two young girls that were riding the Tashmoo going to Tashmoo Park for a day event," said Dave Leander from Great Lakes Dive Center.

Last June, Leander and his buddies were diving in the St. Clair River looking for lost treasure not thinking they would actually find something of value.

"It was a little bit under the silt, and whenever you see a little, tiny piece of glass ... you kind of fan away at it to see if it's intact," Leander explained. "I happened to see a piece of paper in there, and I could actually read the writing under water."

The message was simple. "Having a great time at Tashmoo," The popular amusement park on Harsens Island back in the day.

The note was written on the back on a white, Starline deposit ticket hand scribbled in pencil by two young Detroit girls -- 18-year-old Selina Pramstaller and 21-year-old Tillie Esper.

"She must of just been having a great time on the boat that day and said, 'Why don't we do this and see what happens,'" said Eric Schiebold.

He is one of Esper's 32 grandchildren. She was born on September 24, 1892. She married John Schaefer in August on 1917.

"Here's something that's 100 years old in the bottom of the river, and how can that be related to me?" Schiebold said. "I remember her from the time I was a kid, but what about her life before? This is a fascinating story."

News of the message in a bottle traveled by word of mouth from divers, who came to see Leander at Great Lakes Dive Center in Shelby Township. It took a full year for news to reach the curator at the Harsens Island museum, who plans to display the bottle this summer with permission from the grandson, who now gets to share his grandmother with the world.

You can see the bottle for yourself at the historical center on Harsens Island during Tashmoo Days this summer. For more information, visit

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