Michigan diver finds nearly 100-year-old message in a bottle, connects with writer's family

Posted at 2:39 PM, Jun 30, 2021

CHEBOYGAN, MI (WXYZ) — Jennifer Dowker, owner of Nautical North Family Adventures, has found lots of hidden treasures in the Cheboygan River.

“Last week I found this double-headed ax blade,” she said.

But most of the treasures she finds don’t compare to the green bottle she found on Father’s Day weekend.

bottle with note

“It changed my life as soon as we opened it up.”

Nautical North Family Adventures is a glass-bottom boat company that gives boat tours and scuba lessons to visitors.

“I had a potential scuba client that was wanting to try breathing through the regulator," Dowker said. "They were watching me through the windows of the boat. I was underneath washing and I thought—I should probably try to find something to keep his interest peaked.”

In the middle of the river, Dowker found this glass bottle with a message inside

bottle and letter

“It’s like the find of a lifetime a message in a bottle.”

The letter came from a then 18-year- George Morrow of Cheboygan.

George Morrow

“I knew immediately that it was my father. He was the George Morrow everyone was looking for," his daughter Michele Primeau said.

After finding the 95-year-old note, Dowker took to Facebook to return the note just as morrow asked.

“The name Murrow is relatively common in our area so I put it on my business page expecting like 25 people to see it and we’d find grandpa Murrow and that’d be the end of it,” Dowker said.

Tens of thousands of comments, likes, and shares later—she did.

“And Michele, the daughter of George, doesn’t even have Facebook,” Dowker said.

Dowker said one of the thousands of commenters figured out that Michele Primeau was the daughter of George Morrow

“My dad, he would be flabbergasted with this,” Primeau said.

Primeau says leaving notes around isn’t a new phenomenon for her dad.

"My dad was a real sentimental guy," Primeau said. “I can remember when we would go camping, one time we threw a bottle with a note in it into Lake Huron. He just liked to do little things like that.”

After comparing an old journal entry to the note left in the glass bottle. Both Dowker and Primeau agreed that this note was indeed George Morrow’s.

“I have a feeling because he was so sentimental, and the note was dated November 1926, that he went down to the river and threw the bottle in probably around his birthday. When he was turning 18.”

Primeau is heading to Cheboygan this fall to see the note in person because she’s allowing Dowker to keep it as memorabilia.

“So we’re gonna have this in a good shadow box framed with a bottle,” Dowker said.

And Primeau said she's just happy to see her dad’s memory live on.

"And it all happened on Father's Day weekend," Primeau said. “My dad’s been gone for 27 years and then this comes along.”

George Morrow