Michigan boat captain finds 1926 message in a bottle

As the captain of a boat, Jennifer Dowker has found a lot of things in the water — but nothing as special as a message in a bottle thrown into the Cheboygan River in 1926.

Dowker found it earlier this month while she was cleaning the windows of her glass-bottomed boat. "At first I thought it was just a cool bottle and then when I picked it up, when I was still under the water, I could read the word 'This' in the paper," she told CNN. "It was kind of like, 'Holy smokes! We've got a message in a bottle here. Cool!'"

Back on the boat, Dowker used a tool to carefully pull the piece of paper out of the bottle, which had just a small piece of cork still inside it. Dated November 1926, the message read, "Will the person who finds this bottle return this paper to George Morrow Cheboygan, Michigan and tell where it was found?" Dowker posted pictures of the message and bottle on Facebook, and on Father's Day, she heard from George Morrow's daughter, Michele Primeau.

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Primeau isn't on Facebook, but a stranger who saw the message tracked her down to tell her about the discovery. Primeau said her father was a teenager when he wrote the note, and she immediately recognized his handwriting. She also remembered that when she was a kid, he threw a message in a bottle into Lake Huron during a camping trip and left a note in their basement wall when it was remodeled.

Morrow died in 1995, and Primeau told Dowker she wanted her to keep the bottle. "I thought the right thing to do would be to give it to her," Primeau said. "She found it and that would keep my dad's name living on." Primeau told CNN she plans on sending a photo of her father to Dowker, who will put it in a shadowbox alongside the bottle and message. Primeau will also visit Cheboygan in September to see the display in person.

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Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for TheWeek.com. Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and EW.com, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.