“The Curtis family was surprised to learn that,” says McCauley. “They knew about Lillian, but they didn’t know George Spathelf was her father. I also tracked down some of the Spathelf descendants. I sent that information to Richard and [his wife] Carol Curtis and told them, ‘If you want to contact them, go ahead, they’re your family.’ The Curtises did, and the Spathelf descendants were very surprised. They had never heard the story. They’ve gotten together a few times as a result. They sent me a picture of them all together.” In December, Carol and Richard Curtis’s family stopped by to visit McCauley, and he gave them a tour of the house.
Spathelf also once owned the lot next door to McCauley’s house. Last year, a house was moved there from downtown. Ironically, it’s the planned home of the African American Cultural and Historical Museum of Washtenaw County.
[Originally published in April, 2009.]