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Mrs. Charles Ten Eyck’s Potato Salad

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• Slice cold boiled potatoes and an onion (onions thinner than potatoes). The quantity of onions is according to taste.

• Salt slightly, pour a little vinegar over top and chill for an hour or two.

• Make a mayonnaise dressing.

• Just before serving, pour off what vinegar might be left in the dish.

• Add 3 or 4 hard boiled eggs, sliced, and then pour mayonnaise dressing all over, lightly stir or toss with a fork (never use a spoon).

• Garnish with parsley and add a few slices of egg on top. 

The maps indicating the locations of the Ten Eyck Mill and the Ten Eyck home are from the 1877 Atlas of Saginaw County

Charles Ten Eyck was born in Rensselaer County, New York in 1839. According to a biography in Chapman’s 1881 history of Saginaw:

L to R: Shingle Mill, Map of Mill marked with red dot, Mill Ad. The Advertisement for the Ten Eyck mill and the listing for Ten Eyck family and businesses are from the 1886 directory for East Saginaw.

Cemetery monuments located in Brady Hill Cemetery.

“His ambition was to become a proficient civil engineer and architect, and to further that end he took course of study in the Polytechnical Institute of Troy, New York. Having mastered the details of his profession, in 1858, he visited Detroit, Mich. and entered the office of a well-known architect of that city. In 1860 he came to East Saginaw, and soon erected a saw-mill. The manufacture of staves was made a part of the business. . . . In 1864 Mr. Ten Eyck was untied in marriage to Isabella, daughter of William and Caroline (Smith) Dollbeer [Sic.], a native of Wyoming, Co., N.Y. Two children were born to this union- Alfred and Charles D. Mr. Ten Eyck officiated as a member of the School Board and Common Council of East Saginaw, and was recognized as a man of undeniable integrity and spotless character. He departed life at Denver, Col. Aged 37 years.”

Shingle Baller on display at the Castle Museum

When Charles Ten Eyck died in 1876, he left his family a thriving mill specializing in the production of barrel staves and shingles and an associated salt works. City directories indicate that after his death Isabella Ten Eyck took some role in managing the company. However, the exact extent and nature of her involvement is unknown. When she died in February 1896, her obituary in the Saginaw Courier Herald noted:

“Mrs. Ten Eyck, who took a great interest in munical [sic.] matters, was for some years president of the Euterpean club. She was active in good works, and in many a home outside her immediate circle of good friends there is sorrow because she is no more. A member of St. Paul’s Episcopal church since coming to the city, her life has always been that of an earnest, consistent Christian.”

Recipe Book Intro

Unfortunately, the only record of her rather wonderful potato salad is preserved in a cookbook published by the First Congregational Church.

(Note: In the First Congregational Cookbook, this recipe is simply identified by Mrs. Charles Ten Eyck. She had a son named Charles D. Ten Eyck and it is conceivable, that may have been Isabella Ten Eyck’s daughter-in-law’s recipe. However, as we have noted that her son always included his middle initial in his name, we are assuming that this is Isabella D. Ten Eyck’s recipe. While it has a complicated history, it is an easy to make, delicious salad.)

This potato salad was wonderful. The vinegar that soaked into the potatoes along with the mayonnaise dressing took it to another level. This is one of the best potato salads I have had. Simple, easy, and delicious!

Deana Coleman, our staff associate, tests out weekly recipes from the cookbook Savoring Saginaw.


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