NATHANIEL H. SPACE

 

      NATHANIEL H. SPACE is one of the honored and influential citizens and substantial farmers of Delta Township, is a representative of one of the honored pioneer families of Eaton county and is a veteran of the war of the Rebellion, in which he rendered gallant service. Mr. Space was born in Wyandot County, Ohio, April 8, 1843, and is a son of John N. and Margaret (Benjamin) Space, the former of whom was born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1822, and the latter in Zanesville, that state, in 1825, her death occurring in 1863. In the early days the father, who died January 29, 1906, was one of the venerable pioneers of the county, and a successful hunter and trapper, devoting the major portion of his time to this sort of occupation. In 1846 he came to Eaton County and purchased one hundred and eighty-three acres of wild land, in section 6 and 7, Delta Township. He built a log house in the midst of the forest and for many years devoted his attention to hunting and trapping, having killed many deer, bear and wild turkeys, but having made a specialty of trapping coon, mink and other fur-bearing animals, which were most plentiful in those days. He also bought a great deal of fur, and he found a ready market for his furs in Detroit, realizing good profits from his operations. After the hunting and trapping ceased to be profitable, owing to the development of the country, he turned his attention to reclaiming his land, eventually developing a good farm, upon which he has erected good buildings. He still owns one hundred and forty-three acres of his original land and resides on the homestead. In politics he is a stanch Democrat. After the death of his first wife, he married Eliza VanGilder. Of the two children of the first marriage the subject of this sketch was the first born, and the younger, Deliah died at the age of fifteen years. Nathaniel H. Space secured his early educational training in the pioneer schools of Delta Township and later attended a select school for three months, at Garden Grove, Iowa. He began his independent career at the early age of fourteen years, and no one has a deeper respect for an appreciation of the dignity of honest toil than has he. He was employed by the month at farm work until the outbreak of the war of the Rebellion, having been at the time in Iowa. August 15, 1861, he enlisted in the Third Iowa Cavalry, with which he served two years, taking part in the battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas, and other minor engagements. He was finally discharged on account of physical disability and returned to his old home in Michigan. March 24, 1864, he enlisted in Company F, Seventy Michigan Cavalry, with which he continued in active service until November 1866, when he received his honorable discharge, being mustered out at Detroit, Michigan. He was an active participant in the battle of the Wilderness and those of Yellow Tavern, cold Harbor and Trevellian Station. In the engagement at the last named place he was captured by the enemy and was sent to Libby prison, later being transferred to the equally odious Andersonville prison. From that point he was sent into Georgia, and at Savannah, that state, he received his parole. He managed to escape at one time but was recaptured, and for eight hours was kept in the stocks, without food or water. His regiment made a most gallant and meritorious record. After the close of the war the regiment was divided and he was assigned to that portion of the command which was sent to the west to guard stages and immigrants from the attacks of the Indians and border desperadoes, having been stationed at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and in Nebraska. After receiving his discharge Mr. Space returned to Eaton County and purchased eighty acres of wild land, in section 30, Delta Township, securing the property from Governor Crapo. He built a plank house and began the work of improving his land, which is now under a high state of cultivation and equipped with good modern buildings. In 1890 he bought an adjoining tract of forty acres more, in the same section. A few years ago he deeded one-half of the farm to his son, who now resides on the old homestead, the subject of this sketch having his home on the property later purchased; on the same he erected a house and barn at an aggregate cost of more than three thousand dollars. He devotes his attention to diversified agriculture, and formerly made a specialty of raising shorthorn cattle. This branch of the business has been made secondary since his son assumed the active management of the farm. Mr. Space is a man of sterling integrity and is held in uniform confidence and esteem in the community, which has so long represented his home and field of effort. He was aligned as a supporter of the Republican party until the nomination of Samuel J. Tilden by the Democratic party, when he transferred his allegiance to the latter, with which he has since been identified. He served four years as justice of the peace, one year as highway commissioner and two years as drain commissioner. He is a valued member of the Grand Army of the Republic and is also affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. September 27, 1867, Mr. Space was united in marriage to Miss Alma L. Smith, who was born in Quincy, Branch County, Michigan, being a daughter of Peter Smith, and having been but two weeks old at the time of her motherís death. Her father later married Miss Eliza Jones. Shortly afterward they came to Delta Township, where Mr. Smith bought a quarter section of government land, in section 6m where he reclaimed a good farm and where he passed the residue of his life, one of the honored pioneers of the county. He was a Republican in politics and he and his wife were members of the Methodist Episcopal church. Of the six children of Peter Smith, two were born of his first marriage and four of the second; Olive is the wife of James Haepster, of Lansing, now deceased; Mrs. Space was the next in order of birth; Mary is the wife of Charles Whitney, of Grand Ledge; Edgar, who married Abigail Smith, resides on the old homestead; Simeon, who married Addie Whitney, is likewise a successful farmer of Delta Township; and Ellsworth is engaged in farming in the same township. To Mr. and Mrs. Space were born three children: Alta is the wife of John Scherer, of Wisconsin, and they have four children,---Margaret, Pauline, John and Gertrude; Nelson, who now resides on the old homestead, married Miss Gratia Hitchcock; and the third child, a son, died when four days old.