at Bluffton
1908 - 1938

Buster Keaton
and the
Muskegon Connection

Earl and Wilson

Lew Earl
"Mayor of Bluffton"
Born:   August 1868,
Tiffin, OH
Died:  March 1, 1927
Muskegon MI

Florence (Jackson) Wilson
Born:  Unknown
Died: December 1, 1936
Chicago, IL

Florence Wilson     Mr. and Mrs. Hermann Zeigler were the first vaudevillians to purchase a home in Bluffton. The couple, touring as Earl and Wilson, performed a  music, singing and comedy act with the Keith circuit. A musician who played the violin and cornet, Lew Earl drifted into vaudeville with his wife, Florence Jackson before the turn of the century. Among the skits was one entitled “Fodder Bill”, and, as part of the act, Florence sat and sang "In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree"; while live snakes crawled out of her hat.

      A founder of the Actor's Colony with Joe Keaton and Paul Lucier, Wilson purchased a cottage in the area in 1906, becoming the first thespian to make Muskegon his permanent summer home. Because of this, he was commonly referred to as the "Mayor of Bluffton. An honorary title, Earl would jokingly remind visitors to the colony that he would defend his political reign in Bluffton against any and all challengers. He assured them they didn't want to start that fight.
     Earl donated a piece of waterfront property on Lake Street (now Edgewater) to the Colony for the purpose of building a clubhouse. It became the site of Cobwebs and Rafters. An avid sportsman, Earl owned Dixie Pirate, the first speedboat to dock permanently on Muskegon Lake.
     In later years, Earl formed a booking agency in Chicago, Earl and Perkins, which handled programs for the Western Vaudeville Association.

Lew Earl - the honorary Mayor of Bluffton
Lew Earl
 -  the Honorary Mayor of Bluffton
Dixie Pirate
Lew Earl's speedboat
 - Dixie Pirate 

1907 Decatur IL Earl and Wilson