Stanley(Samuel) “Big Sam” Graczyk

Stanley(Samuel) “Big Sam” Graczyk

Death 21 May 1910 (aged 23)
Elmira, Otsego County, Michigan, USA
Burial Elmira, Otsego County, Michigan, USA
Memorial ID 137246102 · View Source
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The sign located at Deadman's Hill reads: "The period of early logging in the Hills of the Jordan River Valley was marred by several fatal accidents.

The last known and best recalled tragedy took the life of 21 year old Stanley (Big Sam) Graczyk, a fun loving lumberjack soon to be married.

He became legend on May 20, 1910 when he was killed while driving a team and big wheels loaded with logs down a steep slope near here. Anthony (Tony) Wojciechowski who was with Big Sam when he died is responsible for the accurate recounting of this legend.
This high point, with its commanding view of the valley, has ever since been known as "Deadman's Hill."

Historical researchers in Mancelona dug a little deeper to find out more information on Deadman's Hill and Stanley Graczyk. Death certificates identify Samuel Graczyk born May 5, 1887 in Germany to John Graczyk and Agnes Popech. He died May 21, 1910 at the age 23, unmarried. Cause of death indicates he was "run over by wheels loaded with saw logs. Killed in the woods; accidental." He was buried in Elmira, Michigan. It is believed that the first name of the man who died at Deadman's Hill is actually Samuel Graczyk, not Stanley. We are presently working on this mystery to find out why the sign reads "Stanley" instead of "Samuel," and will post our findings when we know.

Extracted from:
The Northland Press
[Boyne City, Charlevoix County, Michigan]
Thursday November 20, 1969

Eye Witness to Dead Man’s Hill Tragedy Tells His Story.

Dear Editor,

I’m sick and tired of reading phony accounts of the death of Stanley “Big Sam” Graczyk, who figured in the naming of Dead Man’s Hill.

I was present and helped carry Big Sam off the road with a man by the name of Tony Miller. He was my wheel loader. The date was sometime in May of 1910 to the best of my knowledge.

What actually happened was: Big Sam was running between the logs and the eveners on the horses. He stumbled and fell in the wheel track, but threw his body out and the bunch of logs caught his feet and pulled his body under the wheels.

I was sitting on another pair of wheels waiting for Big Sam to get by me. When the wheels ran over him, I jumped up and ran over and raised his head and asked him, “Are you hurt?” He did not answer, he just kind of rolled his eyes and looked at me.

The wheels are not at the site as some writers have claimed. They were pulled right out of there the day that he was killed.
Before this accident happened, Big Sam had broken an axle on his wheels and killed a horse; and this is the axle that probably was left in the woods that is sometimes referred to as the lost wheels that killed Big Sam.

Big Sam never lived in the Bohemian settlement. He lived in Elmira, he was not a Bohemian, he was Polish, and he lived with his sister, Mrs. John Ojczynasz, who lived just across the road from the Ray Cherry Farm, on M-32.

On the day that he was killed, he had also received notice from the G. R. & I Railroad to report for taking an examination for fireman.

Tony Wojciechowski
Boyne Falls, Mich.

P.S. Also working that day in the vicinity was Stanley Dzwik, of Elmira, who is still alive. Also present was John Waszak, whom I believe is dead now, and several other Elmira area residents, whose names I do not recall – but whom I believe are all deceased now.

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  • Created by: mourninglory
  • Added: 14 Oct 2014
  • Find A Grave Memorial 137246102
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Stanley(Samuel) “Big Sam” Graczyk (5 May 1887–21 May 1910), Find A Grave Memorial no. 137246102, citing Saint Thomas Cemetery, Elmira, Otsego County, Michigan, USA ; Maintained by mourninglory (contributor 47048056) .