E pluribus unum the great seal of the United States of America

William Schram –
U.S. Navy, Spanish American War

“Omena’s Legacy of Service – A Common Bond”
An occasional series celebrating and honoring our veterans
February 12, 2021

The Spanish American war was a turning point in world politics. Spain lost its navy, its territories, and its position as a world power, and the U.S. emerged as a global force. Omena was home to several Spanish-American War veterans. Here is a look at one of them, William (Bill) Jay Schram.

USS Dorothea in Port during 1898

USS Dorothea in Port, 1898

 William Jay Schram was born July 15, 1872  In Ionia, Michigan, one of seven children of Canadian born parents Marcena and Sarah Schram.  The family lived in Isabella County in 1880. At the age of 12 William came to Leelanau County. 

USS Fish Hawk

The USS Fish Hawk, Schram also served on this ship.

In 1898 William Jay Schram enlisted in the U.S. Navy to serve in the Spanish American War. He was a Seaman on USS Fish Hawk and USS Dorothea, and received his discharge in 1899. He filed for and received an Invalid Certificate in 1931 for a disability resulting from his service.

Invalid Certificate for William Schram

Invalid Certificate for William Schram

Before settling in Omena, Bill worked as a fisherman in Lee’s Bay with his partner William Davis from 1909 until 1917, when his legendary Omena Bay partnership with John Bauer began. Schram and Bauer were partners in the fishing and box making business until Bill’s death in 1949 at 77 years of age. They were kindly men, and would take an early rising youngster on their boat as they tended their nets.

Bill Schram and his fishing boat the Eclipse. Courtesy of the Leelanau Historical Society

Bill Schram and his fishing boat the Eclipse. Courtesy of the Leelanau Historical Society

William ran unsuccessfully for the Michigan Legislature as Democrat in 1934, and again in 1936. He was a member of Hannah Camp No. 23; Little Finger Post No. 7731 of V F W; and Knights of Pythias. We would love to hear from you if you have an Omena veteran in your family! We are gathering info about all our Omena veterans for an ongoing project and exhibit in 2021. Please email us at OmenaVeterans@gmail.com or contact us through Facebook. Thanks and please share!

Schram and Bauer Fishing buildings

Schram and Bauer Fishing buildings , July 1943. Located on the East side of Omena bay and North of the yacht club.

two men standing near a porch with a fly swatter


Find a Grave; US Census; Escanaba Daily Press Sat, 7.14.1934; Benton Harbor Michigan News Palladium Tues, 7.28.1936, pg.6