How “Deadman’s Hill” Got Its Name, Otsego County
The song says "you won't come back from Dead Man's Curve".....and one man didn't come back from Deadman's Hill.
This scenic Michigan site is part of the Mackinaw State Forest, overlooking the Jordan River Valley. This 1,329-foot elevation gives you a panoramic view of 18,000 acres of Mackinaw State Forest and Jordan River Valley, with a 400-foot drop.
Why it's called Deadman's Hill is a tragic tale. It concerns a 23-year-old lumberman named Samuel Graczyk, nicknamed 'Big Sam' by his friends and fellow lumbermen. Big Sam was engaged to his childhood sweetheart and was working diligently to make enough money for he and his soon-to-be-bride. On May 20, 1910, he went to work near the steep cliffs of the Jordan River Valley, driving a team of horses pulling a huge cart of logs down a ridge. The cart slipped, went out of control, ran him over, crushed and killed him instantly.
Ever since Big Sam's death in 1910, this scenic area has been known as Deadman’s Hill (the descriptive sign at the site mistakenly states Big Sam was 21, but he was listed as 23 on his death certificate. The sign also says his first name was Stanley, but it was actually Samuel).
You can find his grave in St. Thomas Cemetery in Elmira.
Deadman's Hill is located at the end of Deadman's Hill Road, heading west of the Mackinac Trail (US-131).