MiGenWeb USGenWeb Project

CREATION OF EATON COUNTY

The county of Eaton was created by an act of the legislative council of the territory of Michigan, passed October 29, 1829, which reads as follows: "That as much of the country as is included within the following limits, viz., north of the base line and south of the line between townships four and five north of the base line, and east of the line between ranges six and seven west of the meridian, and west of the line between ranges two and three west of the meridian, be and the same is set off into a separate county, and the name thereof shall be Eaton." The county was named in honor of Gen. John H. Eaton, secretary of war in the cabinet of President Andrew Jackson.

On November 4, 1829, the territorial council of Michigan enacted, "That the county of Eaton shall be attached to and compose a part of the county of St. Joseph."

The next day, November 5, 1829, the same council passed a law that the counties of Eaton, Branch and Calhoun, and all the country north attached to Eaton be set off into a township by the name of Eaton, and it was ordered that the first town meeting should be held at the house of Jabez Bronson, who lived on the site of the present village of Bronson in Branch county. This was no hardship, for there was not at that time a single white settler within the bounds of Eaton county.

On July 30, 1830, the territorial council attached Eaton to Kalamazoo county for judicial purposes. This attachment lasted for nearly five years, but on March 17, 1835, the territorial council enacted: "That the county of Eaton shall be a township of Belleville,' and the first township meeting shall be held at such place as the sheriff of Calhoun county shall appoint in said county of Eaton, and shall be attached to the county of Eaton for all judicial purposes."

The final act which gave Eaton county an independent existence was passed by the state legislature, December 29, 1837. It provided "that the county of Eaton be and the same is hereby organized, and the inhabitants thereof entitled to all the rights and privileges to which by law the inhabitants of other counties of this state are entitled."

While the name "Belleville" was given to the first organized township, including the whole county, it does not appear to have been used in any official documents. The second place where the name of the township is mentioned in a legislative enactment is in the session laws of 1837, March 17, where it appears under the name of "Bellevue." Official business has always been transacted under the latter name, and yet there is no known law showing that the name has ever been legally changed from "Belleville."

The first division of the town of Bellevue occurred March 11, 1837, when Eaton and Vermontville were organized. The four northwestern townships, now Vermontville, Chester, Roxand and Sunfield, were set off as a township and named Vermontville; while the four southeastern townships, now Eaton, Eaton Rapids, Hamlin, and Brookfield were organized as the township of Eaton.

This left the four northeastern towns, Benton, Oneida, Delta, and Windsor, and the four remaining towns, Bellevue, Kalamo, Carmel, and Walton, cornering at the geographical center of the county in a single organized township known as Bellevue. But on March 6, 1838, the northeast quarter of the county was detached from Bellevue and formed the town of Oneida.

As early as 1832, George W. Barnes, a surveyor, found the beautiful prairie near the center of Eaton county, on which the city of Charlotte is located, and bought the land of the government; and on March 21, 1833, before the county contained a single white settler, he made application to Governor George B. Porter for the appointment of commissioners to locate the seat of justice, making affidavit, "that in the month of may last he put up in three public places in the county of Kalamazoo notices that application would be made to the governor of the territory of Michigan to appoint commissioners to locate a seat of justice for Eaton County, agreeably to the law in such cases made and provided."

Thereupon on April 29, 1833, Charles C. Hascall, Stillman Blanchard, and John W. Strong were appointed such commissioners. On June 5, of the same year, they reported to Governor Porter that they met "at Prairie Round (Ronde) in the county of Kalamazoo on the 27th day of may, 1833, and on June 4, located the county seat on land which is owned by George W. Barnes;" and they added, "the point selected for the seat of justice in this county is on a beautiful prairie, about one mile square, near two and a half miles south of the center of the county, and about one mile north of the Battle creek, the nearest point to the center of the county where water can be obtained for hydraulic purposes.

Back to the table of contents

CHAPTER VII

LOCAL HISTORY - Early Settlements - Emigration of 1835-36 - A Colonization Scheme


EARLY SETTLEMENTS

The first actual settlement in the county was made by Capt. Reuben Fitzgerald in July 1833, in what is now the township of Bellevue. His daughter, Sarah Fitzgerald, whose birth occurred November 12, 1834, was the first white child born in Eaton county. The first white male child born in the county was Isaac E. Crary Hickok, son of Capt. James Hickok. His birth occurred September 7, 1836. Captain Hickok was the first settler in the town of Walton, but his son was born in Bellevue. On December 26, 1855, Sarah Fitzgerald was married to John Spaulding by Rev. G. W. Hoag. The first birth of a white child in the east part of the county was probably that of Phoebe K. Sarles, daughter of Samuel Sarles, a pioneer of Charlotte. She was born August 7, 1836, and became the wife of Jacob W. Rogers. Her death occurred may 28, 1875.

The first death of a white person in the county, as stated by John T. Hayt in a historical sketch of Bellevue, written in 1869, was that of a man named Baker, who was killed by the caving in of the walls of a limestone pit that he was excavating. His death occurred in the summer of 1835.

It frequently occurred that settlers moving into one part of a township would live for years without knowing that there was any other family in another part. Sometimes their introduction to their neighbors came about through the straying of cattle in the woods. This was the experience of Samuel Sarles, of Sarles street, two miles northeast of the courthouse, and William Wall, five miles east of him, both in the town of Eaton. It is said that it was two years before they learned of each other's presence. Edward Foote gives the following facts in regard to the first settlers in the county: "There was a settlement in the northeast corner of Brookfield, commenced in 1837 by the Moes and Boodys called Moetown. During the same fall, Jesse Hart came into the northwest corner of the same township, built his log shanty and shingled it with bass-wood troughs, and lived a long while ignorant of the existence of Moetown. In Oneida the first settler was Solomon Russell, who came in the fall of 1836. Erastus Ingersoll found his way into Delta in the summer of the same year. In Roxand the first settlers were Orrin Rowland and Henry Clark, who located in December 1837. Andrew Nickle settled on the first day of January 1838, having previously entered his land. In what is now Windsor, the first settlers were Orange Towslee and his family, who found their way into the township, October 1, 1837. They were followed, October 6, by Oramel D., John D. and William P. Skinner. The first settler in Benton was Japhat Fisher, who, through a mistake, located his land six miles farther north than he intended, having calculated to settle on section 30 in the township of Eaton. He arrived in the town of Benton in February 1837, and built an eight-by-ten shanty. In Walton township the first settler was Capt. James W. Hickok, who came to the county in February 1836, and moved in with his family the same year. His residence was on section 19. Vermontville was settled in 1836 by a colony from western Vermont, who gave it the name it bears in honor of the Green Mountain state. Samuel S. Hoyt and Peter Kinne were the first settlers in the town of Sunfield, having come in the fall of 1836. The first house in the township of Chester was built in September 1836, by H. and O. Williams, but they did not occupy it until June 1837. Messrs. Wheaton and Fuller came in about October or November 1836, and were the first families that settled in the township. Mr. Bouton followed in March 1837. Two miles east of Eaton Rapids, on the county line, a settlement was made January 1, 1836, by John Montgomery, whose house was built in what is now Hamlin township, while his land lay in both Hamlin and Eaton Rapids townships. Mr. Montgomery claims to have been the first settler in the east part of the county, but by the statement of William Wall, of Eaton, and of the members of the Sarles family, it appears that Samuel Sarles settled on Sarles street, in the town of Eaton, in the fall of 1835. William Wall, of Wall's settlement, came to the same township, in company with James F. Pixley, in June 1836. In what is now Eaton Rapids township, the first settler was Johnson Montgomery (brother to John), who located on section 36, in September 1836. In Carmel township the first settlers were Platt Morey and Nathan Brooks, who came in the winter of 1837-38. The first actual resident of Kalamo was Martin Leech, in the fall of 1836. Very soon after came P. S. Spaulding and Daniel B. and Hiram Bowen."

Back to the table of contents

EMIGRATION OF 1835-36

During these years there seemed to be a spontaneous and widespread migratory spirit developed throughout the western part of New England. This migration was to Michigan, Northern Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. Edward W. Barber, who has given some thought and study to the subject, accounts for this movement as follows: "The Migration from New England to the middle west began before 1836, and culminated soon after that year. At an early day the Erie canal was contemptuously called "Clinton's Ditch." This was opened in 1825 from the Hudson to Lake Erie. This movement was to western New York, that began soon after the canal was opened. Two of my uncles moved from Benson or Orwell, Vt., before I can remember. In 1832 another uncle moved to northern Ohio, and another one to Illinois, and a year or two later, still another went to Illinois. In 1835 Rev. Sylvester Cochran came to Michigan and on his return to Vermont set about organizing the Vermontville colony, that purchased land in 1836. The history of the Barber family is similar to that of many others.

Soon after the opening of the canal, the survey of land in Michigan commenced. In 1829 the first settler came to Jackson from New York. The land there had at that time been surveyed. It was land that the early settlers wanted. It has been the habit of Americans to seek new land, exhaust its original fertility, and then move to newer regions. In Vermont the land was worn out, the Erie canal opened a cheap waterway to several states, many had large families, and the migratory spirit was active. Times were fairly good, money plenty, but the panic of 1837 came-caused, I think, by Jackson's war on the United States bank, and his specie circular. After 1837 times were hard, and after 1839 migration was small.

"The New England migration was largely from Vermont, western Massachusetts, Connecticut, and some from New Hampshire. Maine did not send its contingent until our pine forests were brought into market, and here and there a Rhode Islander came. Connecticut filled up northern Ohio. The principal motive was farm homes in a more fertile region than among the New England hills."

In 1836 the parents of the writer, in company with others, moved from Connecticut to northern Indiana. One of the characteristic features of that migration was that it was composed mostly of young married men, in the prime of life. In attending church or any large gathering of people one would seldom see a gray-haired person, and one when found was treated with very great veneration. Again, land was not specially desirable for men whose children were mostly daughters, and they did not generally migrate; but when the families were mostly boys, fathers could not afford to buy farms for them in New England, and came west where land was cheap. In the schools it was very noticeable that the boys outnumbered the girls nearly two to one. This inequality had a marked effect on the social relation of the sexes. The young women were exceedingly independent and almost scornful to the young men. On going to Ohio some years later, where the sexes were more equally balanced, the demeanor of the young women was in marked contrast to that of those further west. (The social effects are not best where one sex far outnumbered the young women, said: "The young women there were the sassiest he ever saw." It could not well be otherwise.)

Back to the table of contents

A COLONIZATION SCHEME

The decade between 1830 and 1840 was prolific in schemes by Christian men for settling the newer parts of our country by colonies of families of kindred religious sympathies, who should go prepared at once to organize churches and establish schools for the educational and religious welfare of their own families, and that of the neighboring settlers. It was in 1832 that Rev. John J. Shipherd and Philo P. Stewart conceived the plan of the Oberlin colony, manual labor school and college. In 1835 the Rev. George W. Gale started in Illinois the town and colony named in his honor, Galesburg, and Knox college is the result. College building seemed to be a light task, in 1836 the colony and college at Oberlin seemed to be so thoroughly established that the founder could pass on to establish other colleges.

From Leonard's history of Oberlin, and a historical paper prepared in 1869 by Erastus S. Ingersoll, and another paper in 1876 by Mrs. Ingersoll, of Delta, Michigan, the following facts are chiefly gleaned:

"In 1835 Father Shipherd was pastor of the church of Oberlin, and Rev. Elihu P. Ingersoll was professor of music in the college there, and also principal of its preparatory department; while an older brother, Erastus Ingersoll, who sympathized with the Oberlin experiment, and was living in Farmington, Oakland county, in Michigan, determined to push into the wilderness and make a new home. He thought that the time was not distant when the capital of the state would be moved from Detroit to a point nearer the center of the state. With the intention of locating near the future capital he purchased in the northeast corner of Eaton county, six contiguous eighty-acre lots of wild land, midway between Detroit and Lake Michigan. How well he judged, is shown by the fact that twelve years later the capital was located where it now is, six miles from his purchase. In the spring of 1836 he built a log house upon the land into which he moved his family, and thus he became the first settler in the township of Delta."

In April, 1836, George Whipple, a member of the first class of theology at Oberlin, but later a secretary of the American missionary association, was apparently prompted by some of the wealthy men in New York who had made large promised to Oberlin, to write to Mr. Shipherd a letter, which shows in detail how this colonizing business was to be managed and we here present a part of the letter:

"Three or four of the brethren will furnish the money needed to purchase a township six miles square containing 23,040 acres, whenever a suitable location can be selected. This tract will be divided into 36 sections, of which the central one, containing 640 acres, will be reserved for the college, to be used for building, houses for the professors, etc., as well as for the production of vegetables, small fruits, etc. Two roads, crossing each other at right angles, will cut this section into quarters, and at the point of meeting a park will be laid out, within which the colonial chapel will stand. Also further away, to the north, south, east and west, the college will possess four additional sections, upon which crass and the larger grains will be grown, making a total of 32,000 acres. The charge for the village lots will be $75 to $300, and for farms from $4 to $10 an acre, according to location. The total cash value of the township is figured at $185,035. Of this sum they are ready to donate $10,000 to Oberlin, of the first money received to help her out of her financial troubles, and $80,000 for the endowment of the Illinois institution. Cannot you (Mr. Shipherd) or somebody else, go soon to Illinois, and make choice of an eligible tract, or at least come here to get the details of the undertaking proposed? After that some one should proceed to sell the lots, either to such as will remove to the township, or to those who are willing by making a purchase, to aid in founding a seminary in the far West. A profit of two hundred per cent will accrue to the investors. The New York brethren do not propose to put a dollar in their own pockets, but as soon as the township is sold, will purchase another and another, continuing until the whole western country is supplied with the means of obtaining a good Christian education."

Is not this feasible? Is not this the way to secure a right influence in that great valley? Is not this the way in which God means to keep it out of the hands of The Man of Sin, and to convert it to the true faith? Will not this hope warrant you in coming here to mature the plan and then at once set about pushing it forward? The location should be fixed immediately, for the most desirable sections will soon be appropriated.' [We cannot learn that this attractive scheme was ever carried out in detail, but it shows the main features which the originators wished to emphasize.]

It is possible to tell how much influence this letter had upon Mr. Shipherd, but in June of that year he resigned the pastorate of the Oberlin church, giving as one reason, that he could do more good in supplying the church with 'effective laborers through the Oberlin institute and kindred seminaries, which under God he might aid in building.

Very soon after his resignation, apparently in company with Mr. Elihu P. Ingersoll and some gentlemen from Massachusetts, he visited the land purchased the preceding year by Mr. Erastus Ingersoll. Those who are familiar with frontier hospitality and the elastic properties of log houses, will not find it difficult to believe the statement of Mrs. Ingersoll, that during the visit of these gentlemen their log cabin furnished lodging and entertainment for twenty-six persons.

"Mr. Shipherd was much pleased with Mr. Ingersoll's purchase and proposed to establish there a manual labor school to be call "The Grand River Seminary." Accordingly Grand River city was platted, lying partly in Delta township in Eaton county, and partly in Watertown in Clinton county. About the middle of the track, and in Watertown, Mr. Ingersoll set apart forty acres known on the maps as "Franklin Square," for the use of the college. The first work to be done was to clear the square of the timber, and Mr. Shipherd tried to make arrangements to have this work begun at once, and Rev. E. P. Ingersoll went to the eastern states, and spent the fall of 1836 and the winter following in soliciting funds for the enterprise. He was received with so much favor in the form of subscriptions, 'that a large building for the accommodation of pupils was formally commenced.' In the early part of June, 1837, Dr. Isaac Jennings, of Oberlin, visited Grand River city, but the bare fact of the visit is all that is known of it. Franklin Square lies about six miles northwest of the capitol of Lansing, but Grand River city was surveyed and platted ten years before the capital of the State was located in the woods, where it now is. It appears to have been laid out somewhat in accord with the letter of Mr. Whipple. Various documents establish the fact that about three years were consumed by Rev. Ingersoll and Shipherd in securing a site for the seminar, and in a canvass for funds and settlers with which the foundations could be laid. Things went on swimmingly for about a year. More than $10,000 had been subscribed, but it was the intention to keep on until $30,000 were promised, and fifty families were ready to go as pioneers to occupy land already secured. Moreover, an indebtedness of $3,000 had been incurred, 'money advanced by friends to buy a part of Grand River City.' But the crash of 1837 came and checked the work; no more money could be had, though for a year longer, subscriptions, that is, promises to pay some time, were secured. By May, 1839, however all prospect of immediate success vanished. A circular was therefore published and sent to all subscribers, reporting what had been done, and explaining the existing situation. It bore the signatures of J. J. Shipherd, Isaac Jennings and E. P. Ingersoll, "executive committee of Grand River Seminary." The whole amount pledged was $10,488.91. The amount collected $3,779.77; "expended to pay our loan, $1,448.97" traveling expenses, $480.10; agent's salary for three years, $736.08; expended in improvements, $1,123.62; a total expenditure equal to the receipts. We wish our patrons distinctly to understand that we intend to resume operations just as soon as their ability and willingness will permit us to do so. The resumption, however, never took place, and "Grand River City" is now known as "Delta Mills." and besides the Mills has a Methodist and a Congregational church, a school house, two or three stores, and perhaps forty or fifty houses. The Vermontville settlement was the most thoroughly organized colony in the county and we reproduce at length the sketch of it from the pen of Mr. Edward Barber."

Back to the table of contents

GENESIS OF "THE UNION COLONY"

In the fall of 1835 Rev. Sylvester Cochrane, a Congregational minister of East Poultney, Vermont, came to Michigan with a view to making a permanent location. He was the father of Lyman Cochrane, a prominent attorney of Detroit and a valuable member of the legislature, who died a few years ago. Mr. Cochrane found settlements so few and the inhabitants so widely scattered that it was impossible for them, except when gathered in villages, to have schools and enjoy religious privileges. Education and religion were needed at the start as essential to the orderly development of civilized society. He returned to Vermont, thought out the plan of a colony and began preparations for the execution of his project. The prevalence of the "Michigan fever," easily increased by accounts of the great lakes in the heart of the continent, the oak openings, the beautiful prairies and the vast wilderness of the wonderful peninsula, where the wild Indians still had happy hunting grounds, made it an easy matter to arouse among enterprising Vermonters the hereditary tendency of members of the Aryan race to move westward. A strong and earnest man, full of missionary zeal, he visited different places in Vermont and met and conferred with those who desired to emigrate. Early in the winter of 1835-6 a meeting was held in East Poultney, which was attended by a number of persons who had caught the western fever. The plan proposed by Mr. Cochrane was discussed, approved and the initiatory steps taken to carry it into effect. Subsequent meetings were held in Castleton, Vermont, and on the 27th day of March, 1836, the constitution of "The Union colony" was formally adopted. This being an unusual and unique inception of a colony for the settlement of a Michigan village and town, the document is worthy of preservation. That it might not be lost to posterity it is recorded in the office of the register of deeds of Eaton county. This fundamental declaration of principles and polity, with religion, education and association as its leading ideas carefully drawn, is styled.

Back to the table of contents

RULES AND REGULATIONS OF UNION COLONY

"WHEREAS, The enjoyment of the ordinances and institutions of the Gospel is in a great measure unknown in many parts of the western country; and
"WHEREAS, We believe that a pious and devoted emigration is to be one of the most efficient means, in the hands of God, in removing the moral darkness which hangs over a great portion of the valley of the Mississippi; and
"WHEREAS, We believe that a removal to the west may be a means of promoting our temporal interest, and we trust be made subservient to the advancement of Christ's kingdom;
"We do therefore, Form ourselves into an association or colony with the design of removing into some parts of the western country which shall hereafter be designated, and agree to bind ourselves to observe the following rules:
"1. The association or colony shall be known by the appellation or name of "The Union Colony."
"2. The Colony shall consist of those only who shall be admitted through a committee appointed for that purpose, and will subscribe their names to the articles and compact adopted by the colony.
"3. We hereby agree to make our arrangements for a removal as soon as our circumstances will permit-if possible, some time during the summer or fall of the present year, 1836.
"4. We agree, when we have arrived in the western country, to locate ourselves, if possible, in the same neighborhood with each other, and to form ourselves into such a community as will enable us to enjoy the same social and religious privileges which we leave behind.
"5. In order to accomplish this object, we solemnly pledge ourselves to do all that is in our power to carry with us the institutions of the Gospel, to support them with the means which God has given us, and to hand them down to our children.
"6. We do also agree that, for the benefit of our children and the rising generation, we will endeavor, so far as possible, to carry with the perpetuate among us the same literary privileges that we are permitted here to enjoy.
"7. We do also pledge ourselves that we will strictly and rigidly observe the holy Sabbath, neither, laboring ourselves, nor permitting our children, or workmen, or beasts to desecrate this day of rest by any kind of labor or recreation.
"8. As ardent spirits have invariably proved the bane of every community into which they have been introduced, we solemnly pledge ourselves that we will neither buy, nor sell, nor use this article, except for medical purposes, and we will use all lawful means to keep it utterly out of the settlement.
"9. As we must necessarily endure many of those trials and privations which are incident to a settlement in a new country, we agree that we will do all in our power to befriend each other; we will esteem it not only a duty, but a privilege to sympathize with each other under all our trials, to do good and lend, hoping for nothing again, and to assist each other on all necessary occasions."

The above fundamental declarations, in the nature of a constitution, clearly set forth the secular and religious purposes of the Vermontville colonists, and they indicate the dominant New England ideas of sixty years ago. They are distinctively Puritan in character. Minister Cochrane was the leader of the flock into the western wilderness and, no doubt, they were drafted by him. But a plan of operations was needed to carry into effect these declarations, and hence a series of rules and regulations was adopted as a practical mode of procedure in purchasing and distributing the needed land among the colonists. This plan is set forth in a series of votes and resolutions herewith presented in full, which may be properly designated as a

Back to the table of contents

CODE OF LAWS FOR THE COLONY

"The following votes and resolutions have been passed at the regular meetings of the colony, and are binding upon its members:
"1. Voted, That a committee of two be appointed, whose duty it shall be to make inquiry concerning the character of individuals who may wish to unite with the colony, and no person shall be admitted without the consent of this committee. (S. Cochrane and I. C. Culver were appointed a committee for this purpose.)
"2. Voted, That three agents be appointed to go into the western country and select a suitable location for the use of the colony, and purchase the same. (Col. J. B. Scovill of Orwell, Deacon S. S. Church of Sudbury, and Wm. G. Henry of Bennington, were appointed a standing committee for this purpose.) "3. Voted, That we hereby authorize our agents to purchase for the use of the colony three miles square, or 5,760 acres, and as much more as they may have funds to purchase.
"4. Voted, That the land, when purchased be laid out by the agents so as to conform as nearly as the location and other circumstances will permit to the schedule adopted by the colony.
"5. Voted, That no individual member of the colony shall be allowed to take more than one farm lot of 160 acres, and one village lot of ten acres, within the limits of the settlement.
"6. Voted, That the agents be authorized to take a duplicate or certificate of the purchased lands in the name of the committee for raising funds; and the said committee shall hold the said lands in their possession until the first Monday in October, 1836, at which time the land shall be distributed among the settlers, according to some plan on which they may then agree; the village lots, however, may be taken up by the settlers when they first arrive, each one taking his choice of the unoccupied lots.
"7. Voted, That each individual shall be obliged to settle the lot which he takes by the first of October, 1837, and in case of delinquency in this respect both the village and the farm lot may be sold to some other person, in which case the purchase money shall be refunded by the agents of the colony, with interest from the time it was paid.
"8. Voted, That each of the settlers, when he unites with the colony, shall advance $212.50, for which he shall be entitled to a farm lot of 160 acres and a village lot of ten acres, to be assigned to him according to the rules of the colony; and if any settler shall find himself unable to advance this sum, he may pay $106.25, for which he shall be entitled to a farm lot of eighty acres and one-half of a village lot; and in case no money is paid before the departure of the agents, those who are delinquent shall give a note to the committee for raising funds, payable on the 25th day of June next, with interest for three months.
"9. Voted, That each settler, when he receives a deed of his village lot, shall give a note to the agents of the colony, payable in two years from the first of September, 1836, for the sum of twenty-five dollars, and this sum shall be appropriated towards defraying the expenses of building a meeting-house for the use of the colony.
"10 Voted, That an eighty-acre lot be reserved for a parsonage, out of the purchase, to be selected by the agents.
"11. Voted, That our agents keep a regular bill of their necessary expenses, from the time they start until they have made a purchase and surveyed the village lots, and the colony pay one-half of said expenses.
"We, whose names are hereto annexed, do hereby pledge ourselves that we will willingly conform to all the articles and votes of the colony as contained above.
" The above and foregoing finally adopted March 28, 1836, at Castleton, Vermont."

Back to the table of contents

NAMES OF THE COLONISTS

The signatures of forty-two persons are affixed to the foregoing compact, but we give the names of only the twenty-two who became actual residents of the village and town of Vermontville, with the former residence and occupation of each when stated, in the order they appear. Except where otherwise noted they were citizens of Vermont, from Addison, Bennington and Rutland counties:

Rev. Sylvester Cochrane, Poultney, clergyman
Hiram J. Mears, Poultney, wheelwright
Levi Merrill, Jr., Poultney, farmer
Simon S. Church, Sudbury, farmer
Jacob Fuller, Bennington, cooper
Oren Dickinson, West haven, farmer
Elijah S. Mead, West Rutland, farmer
Wait J. Squier, New Haven, farmer
Stephen D. Scovell, Orwell, farmer
Simeon McCotter, Orwell, cabinet-maker
Walter S. Fairfield, Castleton, printer
Sidney B. Gates, Brandon, farmer
Daniel Barber, Benson, merchant
Jay Hawkins, Castleton, farmer
Martin S. Norton, Bennington, blacksmith
Dewey H. Robinson, Bennington, physician
Bazaleel Taft, Bennington, machinist
Roger W. Griswold, Benson, farmer
Edward H. Barber, Benson, farmer
Wells R. Martin, Bennington, surveyor
Charles Imus, Dorset, Vermont
Willard Davis, Bellevue, Michigan
George S. Browning, Bellevue, Michigan
Oliver J. Stiles, Bellevue, Michigan

Twelve different towns and eleven different trades or occupations are represented, but not a lawyer appears among them.

Of these pioneer settlers Dr. Oliver J. Stiles settled in the village, remained but a short time and removed to New York; Charles Imus settled on the farm now owned by Chauncey H. Dwight, four miles from the village, commenced an improvement, sold out in two or three years and moved away; Bazaleel Taft settled on his village lot, remained there about two years, then moved to a farm in the town of Kalamo, where he lived many years until his death; and Elijah S. Mead built a log house on his village lot and lived there a short time until his wife died in April, 1837, when he left never to return. The rest of those named became permanent settlers and were identified with the growth, progress and character of Vermontville.

Back to the table of contents

CONSIDERATIONS

Among the miscellaneous papers preserved by S. S. Church and now in the possession of his son, E. P. Church, superintendent of the Michigan School for the Blind, is one which sets forth the" Considerations for locating a colony," probably prepared by Rev. Sylvester Cochrane. It also contains the names of thirty-two of the colonists and the sum contributed by each towards the purchase money of the land-in all $5,792.50.

At the outset of these "Considerations" the charge of Moses to the delegates from the twelve tribes of Israel who were sent to search the land of Canaan is referred to-Numbers 13, 17-20, namely:
"And Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said unto them, Get you up this way southward, and go up into the mountain: "And see the land, what it is; and the people that dwelleth therein, whether they be strong or weak, few or many:
"And what the land is that they dwell in, whether it be good or bad; and what cities they be that they dwell in, whether in tents, or in strongholds: "And what the land is, whether it be fat or lean, whether there be wood therein or not; and be ye of good courage, and bring of the fruit of the land."

Of course the Vermonters were not freebooters like the ancient Israelites referred to, as they had put up the money to buy the land they wanted, and their faces, like those of their Aryan ancestors for forty centuries, were directed westward instead of southward; but their agents were asked to have in view, in selecting a location-"first consideration, a healthy place, with good water, realizing that life depends upon this; second, a rich and fertile soil, well watered, interspersed with wood and prairie if practicable; third, to be located on or near a water fall is of great service to a colony; fourth, consider the country around-is there a prospect of its being speedily settled-is it capable of supporting a dense population-is it where produce can be got to market-is the soil qualified for various productions, not only for grain of different kinds and fruits, but for the mulberry, cattle, horses and sheep; fifth a situation where a canal or railroad may cross, or in the center of a county, will greatly increase the value of real estate; sixth, let it be near some navigable water, not compel one hundred and fifty souls to make a journey of one hundred and fifty miles through intolerable roads and get homesick before they see the place."

Back to the table of contents

THE PROSPECTING PARTY

April 2, 1836, S. S. Church and William G. Henry, members of the purchasing committee, left Vermont, met by appointment at Troy, New York, and started by stage for Michigan. Their first Sunday was spent in Auburn. In western New York, Wait J. Squier, one of the colonists, joined them. These three pioneers to spy out the land went to Lewiston, near the mouth of Niagara River, intending to go through Canada to Detroit, but were advised not to make the attempt on account of the badness of the roads. Accepting this advice they went to Buffalo with the intentions of taking a steamboat, but the harbor and lower end of Lake Erie being covered with ice, they continued their journey by stage to Erie, Pennsylvania. Arriving there they found the south shore of the lake was free from ice and that a boat would leave for Detroit in a day or two, on which they took passage. At Detroit they waited twenty-four hours for the stage to leave. It was an open wagon, the roads were horrible and besides paying fare, they worked their passage, carrying fence rails to pry the wagon out of the mud where the holes were deepest. The objective point was the United States land office at Kalamazoo. Mr. church stopped at Battle Creek, where his brothers-in-law, Judge Tolman W. and Moses Hall resided, for a much-needed rest. Soon afterwards the committee met at Kalamazoo and began their search for a contiguous body of government land that would answer the purpose of the colonists. Failing to find such a tract as was wanted, Mr. Church returned to Battle Creek, procured a guide, and with one or two other colonists who had arrived there, set out on an exploring tour; while Messrs. Squier and Henry went to Grand Rapids to look for a location in that part of the territory. The Church party explored Barry county as far as Middleville and from there passed up the Thornapple river some distance east of Hastings, without finding what they wanted, namely: a tract of government land of the quality and quantity needed in a solid body, unbroken by swamps or marshes and free from "catholes." The original intention to obtain a location in the oak openings was found to be impossible, as all the desirable land had been entered by settlers and speculators. In 1836 the fever of speculation in Michigan real estate was at its height, and dreams of rapidly acquired wealth by land-grabbers were abundant. The continued until the collapse of the bubble a year or two later. It was also the wild-cat money era. The outlook for the committee was discouraging. With the money of over thirty persons in their possession to be wisely invested, with the ideals of the colony uppermost and with each one of the investors interests in obtaining as good a quarter-section farm lot and ten-acre village lot as any of their fellow colonists, it is not surprising that the committee began to despair of success.

Returning again to Battle Creek, Mr. Church, who was already on the alert for information, met Col. Barnes of Gull Prairie, who had helped survey Eaton county and was one of the original proprietors of Charlotte. From him he learned that the amount of land needed, if not taken within a short time, might be found in town 3 north of range 6 west. The next day by appointment they met at the Kalamazoo land office and obtained a plat which showed that only one parcel had been purchased in the township. A letter from Messrs. Squier and Henry stated that they were prospecting in the southwest part of Ionia county, with headquarters at Middleville. They had not found a desirable location on government land. Events began to focus on Vermontville.

Back to the table of contents

PLANTING THE COLONY

The committee were faithful to the trust reposed in them. They knew what they wanted, but thus far had failed to find it. In a narrative of the further steps taken to locate the colony, written by Mr. Church and printed in the Charlotte Republican several years ago, he says: "I repaired to Middleville and our company came in. they examined my plat and we concluded to go to Eaton county. The next morning I made out an application for land enough to cover the amount we wanted, sent one of our number to the land office with my application, while the rest of us went to Battle Creek to make arrangements to explore the town. Here we found two or three more of the newly arrived colonists. We were nearly two days procuring an outfit and getting to our destination. The third day we explored the town, running nearly every section line. All were satisfied with the land. We then went to Kalamazoo and on the 27th of May, 1836, I took up the amount of the colony purchase, also about twenty lots over and above that for members of the colony and others. We then returned to the purchase and selected the south half of section 21 for the village. W. J. Squier had his surveying implements with him, so that we were enabled to lay out the village, which we did agreeably to instructions. Those of us who were present selected our village lots and marked them on our plat."

The village was platted one mile and forty rods long east and west by half a mile north and south and was sub-divided into thirty-six lots, fronting twenty rods in width on the east and west street, extending eighty rods north and south and containing ten acres each. The east and west street became the leading highway from Charlotte to Hastings, and later, after the location of the State capitol at Lansing, a part of the Lansing and Allegan State road. The farm lots were located around the village in all directions. By adopting this plan of settlement the colonists became near neighbors and enjoyed the benefits of society, school and religious meetings from the start. Among the colonists were a clergyman, two physicians and a blacksmith. West, in Castleton, just over the town line, a shoemaker, Joseph Rasey, had settled on a wild eighty acres, and to him with a side of sole leather and enough upper leather to shoe the family the boys would go every fall, after the frost had begun to bite, and have a pair of cowhide boots made for winter, going barefoot and enjoying an occasional stonebruise having been the summer custom; while north of the village three and a half miles, in the edge of Sunfield, lived O. M. Wells, a tailor, who brought his trade with him from New York, and to him the cloth for making Sunday clothes would be taken and cut into garments to be made up by a seamstress in the house. The nearest place to get a pound of saleratus or green tea was at Bellevue, also the post office, fourteen miles away, and most of the trading was done at Marshall, twenty-eight miles distant, C. P. Dibble & Co. being the favorite merchants. The nearest grist mill was at Bellevue and the nearest saw mill, owned by Oliver M. Hyde, afterwards a prominent citizen of Detroit and mayor of the city, was in Kalamo, seven miles distant. From there W. J. Squier drew the lumber to build the first frame house erected in the village or town in 1837-8.

While William G. Henry was a member of the committee that selected the location and was one of the original members of the colony, signing its constitution and by-laws at Castleton, Vermont, he did not settle in Vermontville, but in Grand Rapids, where he was for many years a prominent and highly esteemed citizen. He married Huldana Squier, sister of Wait J. Squier, who, as the record shows, was a leading colonist. Mr. and Mrs. Henry's oldest daughter, Annette Henry, married Gen. Russell A. Alger, a prominent citizen of Detroit and of Michigan. As Mr. Henry was instrumental in locating the Vermontville colony, gave his counsel and advice to its organization, and selected a village lot, although not one of its pioneer settlers, he is justly entitled to special and honorable mention.

Back to the table of contents

THE VILLAGE PLAT

The Marshall and Ionia road passed through the center of the village from south to north and became the first weekly mail route from Bellevue to Ionia, through the western part of Eaton county. A post office was established in 1840 with Dr. Dewey H. Robinson as the first postmaster. From each of the four central village lots about an acre was taken and set apart for a public square. In the original conveyance from the trustees who located the land one-thirty-second part of this square was deeded to each colonist. By common consent the northwest quarter of the square was used as a site for the first log school house and a few years later for the academy building, the southwest quarter for the Congregational church, the northeast quarter for a Methodist church, and the southeast quarter was occupied for some years by hay scales and has been quite a place of resort for Canada thistles, which were introduced in 1837 in the Vermont rye straw used by W. J. Squier to pack his household goods for moving. With very few exceptions the original settlers have passed away, but the thistles still survive them.

The following diagram, with the names of the original selectors of village lots as of record in the office of the Eaton county register of deeds, gives a better idea of the plat then words can convey:

East
1. M. P. Squire Cochran 1.
2. J. Scoville Colver 2.
3. Warner-Bond Martin 3.
4. Mears Scoville 4.
5. Clark Mead 5.
6. Robinson-Francher McCotter 6.
7. Terrill Moffitt 7.
8. Merrill Squire 8.
9. Root Public Fowler 9.
10. Morse Square Warner 10.
11. Fairfield Henry 11.
12. Hawkins Church 12.
13. Barber J. Fuller 13.
14. Parker Norton-Warner 14.
15. Joy Hoyt 15.
16. Bascom Taft 16.
17. Towslee Selden 17.
18. C. Imus J. Hawkins 18.
West

Thus the "Union Colony" was planted. The actual fell far short of the ideal. Youthful imagination was disillusionized when living in the woods and clearing away the forests commenced. But few of the pastoral "considerations" presented in imitation of the ancient Hebrew example were realized. Barring the indigenous ague and fever, it was a healthy place; the water was good, the soil was rich and fertile but covered with heavy hardwood timber; there was no waterfall, only the sluggish Thornapple and Scipio winding through broad and miry bottom lands, with suckers, red horse and pickerel; all the forests and no prairie; far away from the desired center of a county and from markets-fourteen miles from Charlotte, fourteen miles from Hastings, twenty-eight miles from Marshall and twenty-six miles from Ionia; no navigable water nearer than Lake Michigan and the surveyed Clinton and Kalamazoo canal was never materialized; never a mulberry, but wild grapes, plums and cranberries and the most horrible and roughest roads-roots, stumps, corduroys and mud of great depth and adhesiveness-that mortals ever traveled through this vale of tears. The panic of 1837 came; the Michigan fever abated; there was no sale for land at any price; and with a good deal of heroism these early settlers commenced the work making homes in the wilderness.

Back to the table of contents

THE FIRST BLOW STRUCK

Some of the colonists who went with the first prospecting party to spy out the land, among whom the names of W. J. Squier, W. S. Fairfield and Levi Merrill are mentioned, remained in the woods, and the latter part of may, 1836, went to work felling the forest trees, building log houses and shanties and clearing for crops a few acres of land. The first potatoes and corn were grown among the stumps and logs. Sometimes potatoes were cooked in the hot ashes of a burning log heap and green corn roasted by its live coals. No portion of southern Michigan was more heavily timbered, mostly beech and maple, with ash, oak, elm, cherry, basswood and black walnut interspersed. The winter of 1835-6 was the last one of centuries of savage solitude. Prior to the advent of these first settlers, except an occasional blow struck by some hunter, surveyor or nomadic Indian, no sound of a civilizing axe had disturbed the silence or awakened an echo in the forest. So in May, 1836, the work of transformation from an unknown and prehistoric past of wild animals and men to the known present and to a future, the nature of which none of us can guess, actually commenced. The era of the bark shanty and pole and brush wigwam of the Indian ended there and then. Log houses were built that summer by those who remained for themselves and their coming families, and a colony house was erected to shelter other settlers as they arrived. Log house raisings were frequent and all turned out to help each other without expecting or desiring pay for the labor. Each house raising was a thank offering to the new and always welcome settler.

During that summer, 1836, Bazaleel Taft came with his family and settled on his village lot, but he moved to the town of Kalamo in a year or two and resided there the remainder of his life. Reuben Sanford, having purchased eighty acres of land adjoining the colony, also moved in that summer with his wife and only child, a daughter, living for a while in an unoccupied shanty on the Colver village lot until his own log house was built, and though not a member of the colony, became the first permanent settler in the town. Soon after their arrival, while living in the shanty, a son, Henry Sanford, was born, and was the first white child born in Vermontville. Twenty-five years later, when the civil war came, he was one of the first of the Vermontville boys to enlist as a soldier, and he died in the service. During the fall Jacob Fuller and wife, Elijah S. Mead and wife, jay Hawkins and wife with one child, Horace Hawkins, who still resides on a farm his father located, and W. S. Fairfield, arrived. March 24, 1837, Mrs. Elijah S. Mead died after a brief illness, at the age of 22 years, the first death in the colony. There was no physician to be had; womanly kindness and care did all that was possible for her, but in vain; and disheartened, Mr. Mead moved back to Vermont.

Besides these families, several of the men who belonged to the colony came that year to inspect the purchase and make up their minds about moving. On the first Monday of October, the third day of the month, a large number assembled at the colony house, and after a prayer by Rev. Mr. Cochrane, proceeded to distribute the farm lands by lot, agreeably to the plan set forth in the articles of association adopted at Castleton, Vermont, the previous March. To meet the expenses incurred by the agents for locating the land a committee was appointed to make an assessment upon the farm lots which, because of their location, were the most desirable. This was agreed to and the sum of $400 raised for that purpose. When it was voted to make the distribution by lot, and quoting S. S. Church again, "each one drew and was satisfied." In addition to the families already mentioned, several of the men who came in the fall remained, among them Oren Dickinson with two hired men, to make preparation for bringing their families the coming year. S. S. Church and W. J. Squier returned to Vermont that autumn for their families. About the middle of November, 1836, Mr. Church arrived in Battle Creek with his wife and six children, it having taken nine days to reach there from Detroit by wagon, and in January, 1837, they all moved to Vermontville and commenced housekeeping in the colony house. Mr. Squier returned with his family in April, 1837. In the fall of that year several colonists had arrived, and among them Rev. Sylvester Cochrane with his wife and two children-Lyman Cochrane and Sarah Cochrane.

Back to the table of contents

EARLY EXPERIENCE AND GROWTH

The work of founding a new colony in the wilderness was begun. Only those who have had experience of pioneer life know what it means. After a few acres of land were cleared by each settler there was always enough to eat. At first provisions were scarce, and there was no certainty as to where a supply could come from. R. W. Griswold, soon after his arrival, started out to find something to eat with the horse team and wagon owned by Oren Dickinson. He drove to Climax, Kalamazoo county, where he found and purchased a load of wheat, had it ground in a grist mill at Verona, a few miles northeast of Battle Creek, and after a week's absence returned to the colony with the first load of flour, shorts and bran for the anxious pioneers.

But the women and men of that early period did not live by bread alone. Physically they needed food, shelter and raiment, but mentally they were sustained by an earnest purpose. Intelligent, courageous and devoted, deprived of many familiar comforts, yet willing to endure privations and hardships for the sake of an idea and to make life better worth living for their children, still they belonged to their time, were firmly established in their inherited political and religious opinions, and did not think the thoughts that women and men think today. Transplanted to the west with its broader horizons, even they slowly yet steadily outgrew themselves and their New England prejudices. In after years, as they went back to make their old Vermont homes a visit, they lost all desire to return. The old life and environments they had forsaken seemed pinched and narrower to them. Thus the west has uniformly brought an expansion and liberalization of American ideas. Men cannot separate themselves wholly from the traditions of the past, but amid new surroundings these traditions grow weaker with the lapse of time. They were fully up to their time, but it was a slow-moving era, and thoughts ran in wagon ruts instead of along electric wires. By wagon road, canal and lake, and such horrid highways as Michigan then afforded, guided through the woods by blazed trees, it took three weeks to make the journey from Vermont to Vermontville if no time was lost, now made in thirty hours, yet fewer making it now than then; the postage on a letter was twenty-five cents; telegraphs and telephones were not invented; railroads were just beginning to revolutionize industrial and social conditions; nevertheless life, for the sake of home, family, virtue, morality, intelligence, kindness and love, and the refining influence of society, was no less worth living then than it is now; although, knowing the present, humanity could find but little external satisfaction in the past of our immediate ancestors. Words cannot convey an accurate impression of the labor of the days that antedate reapers and mowers, when the sickle and the grain cradle, the scythe and the handrake were the implements of the harvest and hay fields-the days that antedate railroads, telegraphs and telephones, before stream and electricity became agencies for doing the world's work. To those of us who knew something of that early period it seems like a dream.

Back to the table of contents

GETTING IN AND OUT

Roads were horrible; sometimes impassable; when not raised eighteen inches to two feet above the surface by hauling logs across the driveway and rolling them close together, called corduroy, they were two feet below the surface in the mire, and even then not very solid. Often as " In the days of Shamgar, the son of Anath in the days of Jael, the highways were unoccupied, and the travelers walked through the bye-ways." From Bellevue, through the woods for fourteen miles to the nearest post office, the road was of such a character as to make the last installment of the journey from New England to the colony the hardest part of the trip. It was merely underbrush, trees on each side blazed with an axe to guide the traveler, and passing over many low and wet places, they soon became quagmires by being cut up by passing teams. A mile an hour was good time over them. Some families, when moving in, were compelled to camp out in the woods over night, and to accommodate them a shanty was built near a brook for shelter. From this fact the stream got the name of Shanty Brook, by which it is still known. In October, 1839, when my father, Edward H. Barber, moved in, with his wife, four boys, an ox team, wagon and cow, we left Bellevue a clear and frosty morning, before the sun was up, stopped long enough in the woods to eat a lunch, feed the oxen and extract some milk from the brindle cow, and about nine o'clock in the evening arrived at the top of the hill in Vermontville, a rain storm having set in after dark at the close of the day and of Indian summer. The first log house at the top of the hill was owned by Sidney B. Gates, and he came out with an old-fashioned tin lantern and tallow dip to light and guide us to our destination, the house of Oren Dickinson, three quarters of a mile distant. For a mile or two north of Bellevue the road had been chopped out four rods wide, and also for half a mile or so south of Vermontville. The rest of the way the track was through the woods, and sometimes hard to find on account of the fallen leaves. But we made a mile an hour that last one of eight days from Detroit, and three weeks from Benson, Vermont, and reached our stumpy Canaan at last.

In the spring the Thornapple river about a mile south of the village overflowed its broad bottomland, rendering it impassable for teams. In April 1837, W. J. Squier arrived at the south bank of the river with his family just at night. The water was so high they could not cross. Learning of their arrival and knowing the situation, R. W. Griswold and W. S. Fairfield waded across with provisions and took them to an Indian wigwam not far away, where they stayed over night. The next morning Mr. Griswold ferried Mrs. Squier and their youngest child across in a small dugout, or log canoe, a distance of about eighty rods. During the day the team and household goods were got over. To go to Bellevue to mill and return always required two days.

Some incidents, not being able to make fourteen miles by daylight with a pair of horses and a wagon, show better than words can describe the character of the roads the first settlers traveled over. In a few years they were improved so that the trip to Marshall, where most of the settlers sold their products and did their trading, could be made comfortably in a day, going there one day and returning the next, though when goods were to be purchased for the winter outfit for the family the trip and trade would consume three days. While Michigan roads are not the best in the world all the year round, the soil being too good and the frost sinking too deep to permit making firm and solid roadbeds at a cost rural communities can stand, yet they have improved greatly and should be improved more. The first settlers did a great deal of gratuitous work on them in the way of chopping bees to cut down the timber for the four rods width of the highways and letting the sun in to dry out the soil. Even then the wagon track was for several years a line of curves to avoid big stumps. A vast amount of labor was involved in making them passable evidence of civilization, for, as Dr. Bushnell says: "The road is the physical sign or symbol by which you will best understand any age or people. If they have no roads they are savages, for the road is a creation of man and a type of civilization."

Almost every year during the spring freshets the low lands along the Thornapple were overflowed and impassable. The river channel ran close to the high bank on the south side and north of it to high land again, towards the village, was about eighty rods of bottom and in some places almost bottomless. Sometimes cattle would wade to the bridge and cross over to the south side to feed during the day, returning at night. One morning they went across, among them a cow belonging to W. S. Fairfield. Towards night they crossed the bridge, homeward bound, and commenced traveling in single file over the log causeway. The water had risen so much during the day that some of the logs were afloat. As the cattle stepped on them they were easily displaced and those in the rear found it difficult to make the passage. The last one was Fairfield's milch cow. She struggled along, plunging into the water, swimming in deep places and here and there finding logs that had not floated, succeeded in making slow progress, until she was nearly exhausted. About half way across were two big oak logs, nearly four feet in diameter, in the causeway, which were higher than the others and did float. The cow gained a position on these logs and would go no further. Poles were placed around her to keep her from falling off, feed and bedding were taken to her in a boat, she was milked twice a day and remained on these logs for several days until the water subsided.

Back to the table of contents

ORGANIZING THE CHURCH

Although much isolated from the rest of the world, these colonists had the advantage of good society and they provided themselves with religious privileges and a school for their children from the start. In February, 1837, a Congregational church with sixteen members was organized by Rev. S. Cochrane, its first pastor, and his duties extended over a period of five years. It would have been slim picking for the minister, no doubt, but for his working the land as did all the rest and some aid from the Home Missionary Society. we have an original subscription paper, dated September 24, 1838, which says: "We, the subscribers, being desirous to sustain the preached gospel in this place, agree to pay the several sums annexed to our names respectively, to the support of the Rev'd S. Cochrane as our minister. Said sums to be paid in labor in chopping or clearing off the land, in cash or produce, as may best suit the subscribers, and as they may agree with the said Mr. Cochrane, two-thirds of said subscription to be paid by the fifteenth day of May next, and the other third by the first day of October, 1839."

The names, conditions of payment, and amounts on this paper are; S. S. church, paid, $10; Warren Gray, in labor and team work, $6; H. J. Mears, in labor, $6; Jay Hawkins, in labor with team, $6; Jacob Fuller, in labor or cooperage, $5; Wait J. Squier in labor and team work, $10; S. D. Scovell, $10; Reuben Sanford, in produce, $5; Alexander and William Clark, $5; Martin & Robinson, in goods, $15; William P. Wilkinson, $1; M. S. Norton, $5; Sidney B. Gates, $5; George S. Browning, $8; Oren Dickinson, $10; Levi Merrill, $5; Oliver J. Stiles, $10; Samuel S. Hoyt, $5; Roger W. Griswold, $5; W. S. Fairfield, $5; Charles Imus, in shoemaking, $5; F. Hawkins, $1; Peter Kinne, $1; E. O. Smith, $1.

Of these subscribers Samuel S. Hoyt and E. O. Smith resided in what afterwards became the town of Sunfield. Mr. Hoyt lived six miles north and his nearest neighbors in 1837 were in Vermontville. S. S. Church, in a sketch of the early settlements says: "During this season, Samuel S. Hoyt, who lived six miles from any white inhabitant, and whose wife had not seen a white woman for several months at a time, brought his wife on an ox-sled to the colony, and after two or three weeks returned home, rejoicing in the possession of a fine daughter to cheer the loneliness of his forest home. Nor was this an isolated case. One from Chester occurred the same season, and not long after one from a remote part of our town."

Back to the table of contents

THE SCHOOL AND ACADEMY

In the summer of 1838 the first school was taught in a private house. In the fall of that year a log school house was erected on the northwest quarter of the public square, in which schools were regularly taught and the scholars uniformly whipped from three to four months in summer by a female teacher, and for three months in the winter by a male teacher. A rate bill was prepared by the teacher, and the wood was furnished pro rata by the patrons of the school. the teacher boarded around at the homes of the pupils, the length of time at each place determined by the number of scholars in the family. when there were but two rooms in a log house, one down stairs and the other up stairs, with hardly a spare corner, sleeping a teacher was more difficult than feeding him or her. An aristocratic log house would have two rooms on the ground floor, and that made matters pleasanter. However, all got along very well, and the petty annoyances were soon forgotten.

In 1843 an academical association was formed, the money raised by subscription and the materials procured to build an academy, the building to answer the double purpose of a school and meeting house. finding it best to have a legal existence, the Vermontville Academical association with W. U. Benedict, Oren Dickinson, S. S. Church, Daniel Barber, W. J. Squier, M. S. Norton, D. H. Robinson and Levi Merrill for the first board of trustees, was incorporated by act of the State legislature April 28, 1846, and vested with "power to establish at or near the village of Vermontville, in the county of Eaton, an institution for the instruction and education of young persons." Nine trustees were provided for and the capital stock of ten thousand dollars was divided into one thousand shares of ten dollars each.

    Prior to this act of incorporation, in the fall of 1844, the upper story of the academy building was completed, and Rev. w. U. Benedict, pastor of the church, taught for four months of the winter of 1844-5 the higher English branches and the languages. Mr. Benedict continued to teach in the academy for several successive winters and gave general satisfaction. the district school was also continued summer and winter until both were merged into a union school with two departments. In 1870 the present union school building was erected at a cost of about $12,000. The old academy was a well conducted and popular institution while under charge of Mr. Benedict, and scholars attended it from various parts of Eaton County and from battle Creek for several winters.

A handbill for the winter term of 1849 has been preserved and is worth reproducing entire: "VERMONTVILLE ACADEMY!!" --The Winter term of this Institution will commence October 9th, 1849, and continue 20 weeks under the superintendence of Rev. W. U. Benedict. Mr. B.'s success as Teacher hitherto, and the location of this Institution, removed from everything that tends to divert the student's mind and draw off his attention from his studies, renders this a desirable Institution for those who wish to make improvements. 

The terms of tuition are:

                                                     Per Quarter

     "For common English branches........$2.50

      For Higher English branches............ 3.00

      For Languages................................ 3.00

With a small charge for incidental expenses. Board can be obtained at from $1.00 to $1.25 a week. by order of the Trustees.

                                S. S. CHURCH, Clerk.

     Vermontville, Aug. 10, '49."

 

In the winter of 1846-7 George N. Potter of the town of Benton, sheriff of the county for four years and recently state senator, was one of the scholars, and he paid his board by slashing down the timber on several acres of land just north of the academy for W. S. Fairfield.

 

A full account of the colony that settled Olivet will be found elsewhere. these three colonies, Delta, Vermontville and Olivet are believed to be the only strictly colonizing efforts that were made in the county; yet it frequently happened that several families who were acquainted in the eastern states would settle near each other. this was true at Dimondale, and may have been of other places.

 

In 1836, six or eight young families, by the names of Nichols and Nixon, came into the state from near London, in Canada, and settled in the southeastern corner of the township of Oneida. They were soon followed by several other families from the same vicinity in Canada, so that the settlement was soon called "The Canada Settlement."

 

Back to the table of contents

Chapter VIII   

LOCAL HISTORY - "The Strenuous Life" - Personal Reminiscences


THE STRENUOUS LIFE

 Unless a man had had some experience in clearing up a new country he cannot realize under what great disadvantage all work is done. when a man has paid for his land, moved his family onto his lot, had secured a yoke of oxen, a lumber wagon, a cow, a dog and a rifle, and had ten dollars in his picket it might be thought that he was pretty well fixed to begin the world; but he found that everything needed to be done, and done at once.

The cattle were turned loose to get their living in the woods, but they were in a strange place and he could not tell where they would wander, and when wanted he must spend half the forenoon wading through the wet grass and weeds before he could find them.

The first necessities for cooking are fire and water, but the wood must first be cut and the water brought from some spring or stream, possibly half a mile or a mile away, and this must be done day after day until his house or shanty was finished. for help in digging his well, he must change work with some neighbor. by the time the house was built, his well dug, his money has been used up for provisions, and he was obliged to go to the older settlements and work several weeks in order to get a further supply of food. If he secured grain, he must go twenty miles to mill, and the roads were so bad that it took him three or four days. roads needed to be cut out and worked at once; the heavy timber must be cut and burned before he could put in any crops, and after the ground was cleared the fields must be fenced in order to save the growing crops. When his first crop of wheat was raised it must be stacked outside, for he has no barn in which to store it, and had to be threshed by laying the sheaves on the ground and driving his cattle round-and-round upon it, and then cleaned by the wind, and this was a very wasteful way of securing the crop. Very likely by that time he had broken a chain or lost a bolt from his wagon, and the nearest blacksmith who could repair the loss was eight or ten miles away.

He might find the blacksmith ready to do his work but out of iron�which occasioned further vexatious delay�for he had to go six or eight miles in another direction to a country store that carried a small stock of iron, to get ten cents� worth of iron, and it took him a whole day to get twenty-five cents� worth or blacksmithing done.

Then there were hundreds of little things, that at the old home were thought to be of so little value as not to be worth taking to the new home, that were sorely missed.

In case of sickness the doctor was many miles away.  In the clearing up of every new country there is more or less of ague to be encountered and few diseases are more vexatious and discouraging to the pioneer than the ague which hangs on and on, week after week and month after month.  A man may be able to do a little work one day and will be flat on his back the next, while his work is of necessity neglected.  In these circumstances many men determined that as soon as they could they would sell out and go back to the east; but after having �work out the ague� they changed their conclusions.


It is an interesting inquiry what food the pioneers found ready to their hand on coming into the woods.  From what has been said in regard to game it will be seen that if a many had a good rifle he could provide for his family a fair supply of meat from the deer, turkeys, squirrels, raccoons, bears and pigeons.  Fishes were also to be had in lakes and streams.

There was quite a variety of wild fruits, plums, crab-apples, huckleberries, raspberries, and elderberries.  Thee was also a great variety of nuts, acorns, beechnuts, hazel-nuts, butter-nuts, black walnuts and hickory-nuts.  Hogs would get quite fat on the nuts, and when fattened exclusively upon them, the lard was so soft that it would scarcely harden in the coldest weather, and was frequently used for lighting purposes, sometimes in lamps and at others placed in a saucer with a wick laid over the edge and set on fire.

Occasionally a tree was found that contained a swarm of bees, where they had worked for years and laid up quite a stock of honey.  But the chief source of sweetening was the sugar maple.  The Indians had obtained a great deal in this way, but were so untidy in their habits that few white people wished to patronize them.  But the early settlers made very large troughs from the whitewood trees, capable of holding several barrels of sap, and used them to store it in until it could be boiled down.  The sap as it flowed from the trees was caught in smaller troughs, made from basswood or whitewood trees about eighteen inches in diameter, cut into three-foot lengths, then split and each half hollowed out to make the trough.  And when not in its legitimate use was frequently found to be a convenient cradle for the baby.  This county abounded in sugar maples, and as long as cane sugar was sold at ten and twelve cents a pound the manufacture of maple sugar was a profitable industry; but since the best cane sugar is sold for five or six cents little maple sugar is made, and the farms were cutting down their sugar bushes.  In 1874 a census was taken and it was found that 322 tons of maple sugar had been manufactured in the county.  This was nearly twice as much as was manufactured in any other county in the state.

It was two or three years before the pioneer could raise sufficient food for his family, and in addition there were family supplies needed, such as clothing, boots and shoes.  About 1836 prices of all these things were quite high, wheat being $1.25 a bushel and pork a shilling a pound.  Some paid as high as two and three dollars a bushel for wheat and $40 per hundred for pork.

Simon Darling, of Eaton, says:  �All fabrics for clothing were sold at high prices.  Prints, poorest kind, were eighteen cents per yard, and thin cotton cloth eighteen or twenty cents.  Six yards of prints would make my wife a dress of ample proportions, but I think she did not put on many flounces.  We men would buy buck-skins at the Indians and make them up into breeches.  They were very durable and would have given satisfaction, had it not been for some peculiarities of the buckskin.  To illustrate:  A good neighbor had a pair and was working in the woods in a soft snow, when he found that his pants had grown so long that they hindered him in his work.  To obviate the trouble he cut them off.  In the evening, as he was sitting before a blazing fire, they shrunk up beyond all account, and his worthy helpmeet, upon learning the facts in the case, made him go to the woods and find what he had cut off, and the pants were spliced and once more gained their original length�

While all family supplies were very high there was but little that the pioneer could sell for money.  There was no market for the fine timber that they were burning, and they obtained only black salt that they made from the ashes; neither was there a market for the maple sugar, and the hides and furs of the animals they killed.  In 1837-8, as they began to have some produce to sell, the hard times came on and prices dropped.  Wheat would bring but forty to seventy-five cents a bushel, and a very peculiar scale regulated the price of pork; if a hog weighed only a hundred pounds, it was sold for a dollar a hundred; if it weighed 200 it brought $2.00 a hundred; if it weighed 300 it brought $3.00 a hundred.  What rendered the situation more stringent was the fact that very many of the settlers had borrowed money from friends in the east in order to get a start, and as fast as any money was to be had it was sent east to pay these debts, so there was scarcely any money left in the state.  Until nearly the breaking out of the civil war thee seemed to be very little money in circulation in these parts.  In November and December men began to hoard up money to pay their taxes.  After the first of January it would ease up a little and if a farmer had a fat cow to sell in midwinter he was thought to be very forehanded.

Those were indeed close times in money matters.  It was with the utmost difficulty that people met their case engagements.  They were ready to pay in work, or dicker in making terms, but money absolutely out of the question.  The first years on a heavily timbered farm, with all the money paid on the land, with nothing but an ox-team and as axe to work with, with no money to pay taxes, and the greater portion of the family down with the ague, were years of close economy and strenuous toil.  Had it not been for the black salts and maple sugar, it is difficult to tell how taxes could have been paid.  Five or ten dollars in a man�s pocket in those days created a sensation.  Everybody knew of it and respected the possessor; there were various schemes to borrow it for a few days; to sell him a watch or rifle, or get up a trade which would bring a little boot-money.

Those were slow times�slow in building frame houses; slower still in finishing them off and paying up; very slow in making money.  But there was neighborly sympathy and kindness and promptness in going to the bedside of the sick.  There were strong and willing arms to roll up the logs for a newcomer�s shanty, and the social life gathered about the welcome events of a wedding or a dance.

Back to the table of contents

PERSONAL REMINISCENCES

In order that coming generations may know something of the difficulties encountered by the pioneers in making a beginning in the woods, we insert the experience of a few of the earliest settlers as they were afterwards related by them and published in the papers of the day.  After one or two families had settled in a town, it was much easier for those who came later, for the well-known hospitality of the pioneers led them to shelter the new-comers until they had time to erect houses or shanties for themselves.

Edward A. Foote, at the meeting of the Eaton county pioneer society in 1877, presented the following sketch of the incoming of Jonathan and Samuel Sarles, who found their way through from Bellevue in October, 1835.  They left Mrs. Samuel Sarles at Bellevue until they could cut a track through for a team.  They worked five days cutting this track, and then hired a team to bring Mrs. Sarles and the household goods through.  This track followed the Indian trail from Bellevue to the Indian village in Walton, and then followed the ridge along the south side of Battle Creek until it reached the section line running south from Charlotte.  This was for a long time the only passable route between here and Bellevue.  For one year after they came Jonathan and Samuel had no team with which to work and by their own unaided strength they had to cut and move the logs for Samuel Sarles� house, and then raise those logs to their places on the building.  When those two men rolled up those logs alone there was not another house or family within eight miles.  In this house twelve or fifteen persons live at one time, after people began to come in.  But these two men worked alone, bare-handed, laying the foundation of the city, until the first day of February, 1837, when Japhet Fisher came in by the way of Bellevue, leaving his trunk there, and hired out to Samuel and Jonathan Sarles and went to work chopping for them.  He was there at �Uncle Samuel�s� in June, when Ruth Sarles, wife of Samuel, died of quick consumption, leaving an infant eight or nine months old.  But by that time another family had come�Stephen Kinne and his wife and Amos, his brother, who had come through on the first day of January, 1837, from Gull Prairie, by way of Bellevue, following the track cut out in 1835 by the two Sarles.  The nearest house to this place was Mr. Shumway�s, in Walton, two miles southwest of the ground where Olivet now stands.  Stephen and Amos Kinne built a log house sixteen-by-sixteen, about a mile south of this point. 

Mrs. Sarles died about sundown.  No one was in the house when she breathed her last.  Japhet Fisher, little Isaac Parish (an adopted child), Jonathan, and Samuel, the husband, were all out at work.  They came in and found that her spirit had fled.  Stephen Kinne and wife, crossing Battle Creek on a fallen tree, and going northeast across what is now the fair ground, reached the house of mourning about dark and remained there all night.  As no coffin was to be had there, the body had to be taken to Bellevue, sixteen or eighteen miles away, for a decent burial.  Before daylight Japhet Fisher started for Bellevue to prepare for the funeral.  They put bedding into the box of the lumber wagon (or as some say of the sled), upon which they laid the lifeless form, and Samuel and Jonathan, with their oxen drawing it along the rough roads, and fording creeks, went on to Bellevue, while Stephen Kinne and wife remained to take care of the children. 

Samuel was very badly dressed for such an occasion.  He had worn out all his clothes, working hard to build a home for his wife.  His corduroy pants were in tatters, his �wamus� was very ragged and a fragment of an old woolen cap was on his head.  But Japhet Fisher sent his trunk of clothes by David Kinne, then on his route here, to meet Samuel on the way.  They met at the Indian village in Walton, and Samuel dressed in a becoming manner for the funeral.  The hearts of the Bellevue people responded quickly to the call of Japhet Fisher.  They turned out to meet the ox-team.  The women took charge and laid the body tenderly in a coffin, and the next day the last rites were performed.

Although Samuel had to take the young babe back to New York, and although his home and hopes were blasted, he did not give up.  He brought back his sister Julia to keep house for him.  They had built a house for Jonathan farther west, on Sarles street (as the Eaton Rapids road, on which the Sarles brothers lived, was then known).  Jonathan went east and brought back his wife, Sally Sarles, in November, 1837; on their way from Bellevue they staid over night at Captain Hickok�s, in Walton. 

It was this log house of Jonathan�s that became for a time the headquarters of the county.  They held caucuses and conventions and county canvasses there.  They usually staid over night, and �Aunt Sally� served and waited on them.  She did the county cooking for years.  �We had a great deal of men�s company in those days,� she said, �but we seldom saw a woman.� 

The oldest building now standing in Charlotte, and the first frame house erected in the place, is one which was built, in 1840, by Simeon Harding, then county treasurer.  It is at present the wind on the boarding house of Mrs. Barr on Lawrence avenue, on the corner west of the Congregational church.  In 1837 or 1838 a log house was built on the south side of the same avenue, east of the Methodist church.  This was the first building erected on the prairie, as the house of Jonathan Sarles, was built in the edge of the timber, at the southeast corner of the prairie. 

In July, 1833, Reuben Fitzgerald moved into Bellevue and built a bark shanty, or wigwam, living in his wagon while it was being built.  The bark used was claimed by the Indians, who were then encamped where the village of Bellevue now stands, and they strenuously objected to having their old wigwams turned into a white man�s residence.  In the fall of that year (2833, with lumber and material bought in Marshall, Mr. Fitzgerald built on the site of the present residence of Hiram M. Allen, the first frame house erected in Eaton county.  At the same time he built one for Mr. Hunsiker, who had taken up land at the same time with him, but who did not move in until the following year.  Mr. Fitzgerald had reached the new home with but little means, and he built the house and broke up land for his more fortunate neighbor, Mr. Hunsiker, to obtain money to buy material for his own land.  Mr. Fitzgerald moved into his house before it was completed.  Mrs. Fitzgerald was sick at the time, but they could not choose the time of moving.  A severe storm came on before the roof was on, and Mr. Fitzgerald and another man held a buffalo robe over the sick-bed of Mrs. Fitzgerald during the storm.  In the little house thus built he lived many years, adding to it from time to time, as the increasing wants of his family required. 

In October, 1836, Sylvester Day sold his farm in Orleans county, in the state of New York, and with his wife moved into Bellevue, coming all the way with an ox-team.  They at once erected a shanty, in which they slept the second night after their arrival, though it had no cover, their bed being a couple of planks split out of a log.  The roof was made out of troughs dug out of basswood, their floor of plank split out of the same wood.  In this shanty they lived eighteen months.  All hands turned in and began at once to clear the land.  The feed for their cattle the first winter was corn and browse.  The following spring was a very wet one, so that they found it impossible to burn the logs, and the brush was cleared away and corn planted among the logs.  The crop which bade fair to be a good one was cut off by an early frost while it was yet green, thus adding to the hard times already felt.  The next fall they sowed seven acres of wheat, which was a good crop, and from that time life began to look brighter, and prosperous times commenced. 

Until the first wheat was harvested times were very hard.  Their means were exhausted.  Flour was twenty-five dollars per barrel, and they often saw hunger and want staring them in the face.  His oldest son, Sylvester, obtained the first flour for the family.  With a yoke of oxen he went to Marengo, in Calhoun county, a distance of thirty miles, bought ten bushels of wheat, paying three dollars per bushel, and took it to Marshall to be ground.  He asked the miller if he could have his wheat ground.  The answer was:  �Yes, in about six weeks.�  He said:  �What am I to do?  I am twenty-five miles from home, and my family is entirely out of bread.�  The miller replied that a great many said the same thing, and the best he could do was to let him have a little flour he had on hand.  In six weeks Mr. Day returned for his flour, which was ready for him the next morning, and he returned home rejoicing. 

Linus Potter was the first settler on the land where Potterville now stands.  He lost his property by financial reverses, in Saline, Washtenaw county, and instead of giving up he with his family of seven children pushed boldly into the woods, determined on making a new start.  This, by the way, is the history of some of our best pioneers and best blood.  From wealth and luxury they passed through poverty and affliction and came here determined to work.  Linus Potter came in 1844; his son, George N. Potter, was then eighteen years of age.  They came in by way of the Pray settlement, in Windsor, from which they cut a road through, four miles, to his location on section 23, the present site of Potterville.  They had but just settled in their log house when all the seven children were taken severely sick with the measles�all in one room, with no physician or near neighbors.  Eighteen months after moving in Linus Peter died, leaving his widow and seven children (five boys and two girls) upon a wild one hundred and twenty acres of heavily-timbered land.  With the well-known energy and courage of the Potter family, the boys went to work, cleared up the land and brought success out of apparent disaster.

Jesse Hart, of Brookfield, thus relates his experience:  �I was born in the township of Springfield, Portage (now Summit) county, Ohio, April 27, 1814, and lived there with my father until I was twenty-three years of age.  I then married Rachel Richards, July 16, 1837, and about the tenth day of the next October we started for Michigan with two yokes of oxen and one wagon.  We got along well until we got to what was called the �Black Swamp,�  then all the roads I ever saw or traveled over, that road through that swamp was the worst.  Suffice it to say I worked hard for eight days to get thirty-two miles.  We arrived at Joseph Bosworth�s on the sixty day of November following; he lived then in what is now the town of Walton, in Eaton county, Michigan.  He had moved two or three weeks before, and had built a shanty right in the woods.  My land was four miles northeast of there in what is now the town of Brookfield.  As Mr. Bosworth was the nearest one to my land, I made arrangements to stay with him until I could build a shanty and cut a road to it, and I got him to help me.  We got the body of the shanty up, three-fourths of the roof on, and the door cut out, but had neither door nor floor; then we moved in.  It was here in this partly built shanty that, on the 12th day of November, 1837, my wife and I first began keeping house.  It was four miles to the nearest neighbor, with no road but a crooked track I had cut through the woods, and the whole county an almost unbroken wilderness.  The screech of the owl and the howl of the wolf was our music by night, and the Indians our callers by day.  The first night we made our bed on some split pieces of basswood in one corner of the shanty, built a fire in another, hung up a blanket for a door and some on the walls around the bed, and it seemed quite like home, and we had a good night�s rest.  I soon made a pole bedstead, hewed out and put down a puncheon floor, built a stone back and stick chimney in one corner, made a clay hearth, and the shanty was finished, without a nail, except what were in the door.  We lived in that shanty nearly two years�yes, the happiest two years of my life were spent in that shanty.  There was something grand and romantic about it, which I very much enjoyed.  The grand old forest yielded up for our support of its wild fruits, its honey, and its venison.  It was in this shanty that our first child was born, cradled and rocked in a sap trough.�

But among all the hardships there were some amusing incidents.  J. C. Sherman thus tells the story of one:  A wedding occurred while Palmer Rose was justice of the peace, which occasioned no little fun at the time, and is well remembered by some of the first settlers.  It seems that a man by the name of Wickware was cruelly wounded by one of Cupid�s darts sent from the witching eyes of one Margaret Boody.  The bridegroom being destitute of hat, coat, or boots suitable for the emergency, applied to Cyrenus Kintner for the load of a wedding garment; but Kintner was, as we are informed, nearly as destitute as himself, and had nothing to offer him but an old pair of slipshod shoes, and a dilapidated chip hat.  Wickware said he thought it was a poor town where a many could not borrow clothes to get married in.  However, the matter was somehow arranged, and Esquire Rose was called upon to perform the ceremony.  At first he declined on account of inexperience; but after some urging by his wife, who, like all good wives, was anxious that her husband should make his mark in the world, he very reluctantly consented, and at the appointed time was on the spot.  But little preparation was necessary to prepare the happy couple for their nuptials, and they were very soon face to face with the bashful justice.  This being his first attempt at tying the nuptial knot, he found himself in quite a dilemma; for however well he may have arranged the form in his own mind, all idea of a suitable marriage ceremony had left him with the eventful time had come, and he could only turn red, then pale, stammer a little, tremble a good deal, and finally entirely breaking down he told the groom he could not do it and he would have to get some one else.  But the undaunted bridegroom had no notion of giving up so, nor of leaving his blushing bride to go in search of another justice; so he said he would tell him what to say, and if he would repeat the ceremony after him it would do just was well.  This was finally done, and so overjoyed was the bride at the favorable turn of events that she threw her arms around the neck of the frightened justice and gave him a good smack to pay as she said �for doing it so nicely.�

The first marriage in the town of Delta occurred in the summer of 1838, when Addison Hayden and Miss Mary Chadwick were united in matrimonial bonds at Grand River City, by Samuel Preston, Esquire, at the house of the brides� father.  An incident occurred in connection with this event that is worth preserving, and is related by the wife of Esquire Preston, as follows:  �Mr. Hayden called and inquired for the �Squire.�  I told him he was gone to Mr. Nichols�.  By and by he came home and told me Mr. Hayden wanted him to marry him.  �Well,� I said, �you can�t go, for your clothes are too ragged.�  But the boys came to the rescue and brought out their clothes, and Mr. Preston tried them on.  One could supply a coat, another pants, another vest, and the outfit was complete excepting a hat.  Jason was a pretty spruce young man, and had a fur hat which he kindly loaned.  This put on the finishing touch.  On his way to the house Mr. Preston thought of another dilemma, worse than the first.  He was not a praying man, and how could he perform the marriage ceremony without prayer?  After a time he hit upon a plan; he would invite E. S. Ingersoll to assist in the services.  All passed off pleasantly, no one suspecting the perplexities the justice had labored under.�

Erastus S. Ingersoll relates the following incidents in connection with the early settlement in Delta:  �On the 27th day of February, 1837, I moved my own family to Delta, having contracted to work for my father, Erastus Ingersoll.  We came in from Farmington by way of Shiawassee and De Witt with sleigh and horses.  We occupied the log house, Mrs. Erastus S. Ingersoll being duly installed �mistress of the mansion� and maid of all work.  Our supplies were transported by ox-teams from Detroit.  The price of provisions necessarily ruled high, pork being worth forty and flour fourteen dollars a hundred.  We were totally deprived of all vegetable supplies until the opening of the spring.  Fortunately for us a Mr. Butterfield came down the river in the early spring with a boat load of potatoes.  My father bought both the boat and its cargo, paying forty dollars for the boat and two dollars per bushel for the potatoes�seventy bushels in all.

�About the first of June, 1837, my father, his brother, the Rev. E. P. Ingersoll, Dr. Jennings, of Oberlin, Ohio, two Messrs. Bradley, their two sons, a Mr. Lyman and son from Massachusetts, and two hired men came though from Howell, bringing with them two yokes of oxen and four cows.  In this journey of forty miles, through the dense forests, they cut their own roads, built bridges, dug down hillsides, and removed numerous obstructions, experiencing many embarrassments, and encountering many trying delays:  At the approach of Saturday night the party encamped on the bank of Cedar river, spending the day as a day of rest and religious worship.  On the arrival of this party, Mr. Ingersoll�s family was increased to eighteen in number.

�Two weeks after the arrival of the above named party, myself and Edward Ingersoll, with two wagons, two yokes of oxen, and a span of houses, freighted with the household goods of Thomas Chadwick, followed the afore mentioned wining path from Howell to Delta.  In our company were Samuel Chadwick, brother of Thomas and Daniel Chadwick, Thomas Chadwick and wife, Sally Chadwick, afterwards the wife of D. S. Ingersoll, and my brother Egbert.  Towards night of the first day after entering this new and tortuous route we came to an open marsh, and, after having carefully examined the strength of its turf, it was decided that the horses should be the first to try it.  But when a little more than half way over away went the treacherous covering, and down went the horses in the mire.  By prompt and well applied efforts we at length released the sinking animals from the wagon, when they went ashore on the opposite side of this mischievous slough of despond.  After selecting a new route we put our good oxen on their trial for a crossing.  But before reaching even the middle of this soft meadow our second wagon was resting on its axles squarely upon its unstable surface.  So, losing our oxen, they went also to the opposite shore, leaving both wagons fully installed, far out in this untrodden sea of mire, with Mrs. Chadwick, an aged lady of unusual lustiness, occupying the last one of our entrenched vehicles.  �Now,� exclaimed this lady, �how am I to get ashore?��a question we thought more easily asked than answered.  This aged matron dared not trust her weight on the flimsy turf, and here we were, surrounded by a dreary, inhospitable wilderness, deeply involved in an implacable morass, and not a little puzzled with a dilemma which seemed likely to be too much either for our patience, our ingenuity or our endurance.  Our sympathies for the good Mrs. Chadwick were at their highest pitch, and we were not a little perplexed by our novel and distressing condition.  T length Edmund said:  �Mother, let me carry you ashore on my back.�  �All right,� said the old lady, �back up here, boy.�  No sooner said than done, and thereupon we had the ludicrous scene of seeing what good service a strong and resolute young man could do for age and helplessness.  Trying as our condition was we could not repress our mirth while watching our hero as he staggered through the deep more, bearing his precious, ponderous charge safely to the welcome shore.  We soon had evidence that this trial had not wholly dissipated the ready stock of Mother Chadwick�s characteristic humor, exclaiming as she did on alighting from her bearer�s back, �There, that is the first time I ever road a jackass.�  Having finished our laugh over Mother Chadwick�s comical ride, our attention was brought to the more serious business of getting our wagons out of the mire.  Having carried everything we could handle to the nearest shore, we cut several long poles, and having fastened them together with ropes and chains and attached them to the end of each wagon tongue, and with our teams drew them on to hard ground.  This long job lasted till dark and we were compelled to make our beds in the presence of this loathsome slough, amid the roar of rollicking frogs and marauding mosquitoes.  The next day one of our horses gave out and we were compelled to leave a portion of our load in the wilderness and drag along with impaired teams as best we could, encamping for the second time on the banks of Cedar river.  While at dinner on this day we were unexpectedly visited by John Stanley, of Canada settlement, looking for lost oxen.  By him we sent advice of our necessity for more provisions, and were happy to find, through the faithfulness of this kind messenger, a goodly supply of pork and beans sent on the next day, brought through on the back of a man sent by Mrs. Ingersoll.  We got through to Delta Mills at night of the third day after leaving Howell, and all found room to eat and to lie down in the spacious log house.  The log cabins of those days had a wonderful capacity for sheltering and feeding hungry adventurers.

�Our family now numbered twenty-six persons, besides occasional land-lookers and other rambling adventurers, and such as had decided to make their homes in this new region.  About the 20th of March in this year, as our large family were at supper, we were startled by the sound of several voices down at the river side, and soon heard the call of some person at our door.  We hastened down to the shore in the twilight, and found here a company of men, women, and children, with teams standing on the ice some distance from the river bank, quite anxious about their perilous situation, as the ice had melted away from the north shore of the river, and left an open space of deep water about ten feet wide.  So we all went to work to build a bridge from the ice to the shore, and soon led the teams across, and found by so doing we had rescued the persons and property of two worthy emigrants, who had traveled from Eaton Rapids on the ice, and told us of the many dangers they had encountered on the way down.

�One morning in April following we heard a loud call from the south side of the river.  A boat was sent across and soon returned, bringing four young men who had remained all night in the woods, without food, fire or covering, through a violent storm and upon a heavy depth of snow.  So thoroughly drenched wee they that when they reached our fireside the water was freely wrung from every part of their garments.�

Johnson Montgomery settled in Eaton Rapids in September, 1836, and says:  �It is hardly necessary to go through a long detail of events connected with the hardships and discouragements of settling a new country, but briefly to say it is hard enough cutting roads, building bridges across mire-holes, prying cattle out of the mire, going sixty miles to mill, paying very high prices for provisions, sometimes going several miles to help a neighbor raise a building, and cleaning out our millpond, which we did with a very good will, expecting to reap benefit from it at some future time�and which I did, for I got my wheat floured and took it east to Troy, N.Y., several years, where I received a reasonable price; here we could get only 44 cents per bushel, and not cash at that.  Corn was about 15 cents, buckwheat 12 1/2 cents, pork 1 � cents per pound.  This was mostly on account of the falling off of emigration, and although the people had made improvements and were raising a surplus, there was no home market.  It is well known that in plowing up a new country the decaying vegetable substances produce sickness, and but very few were fortunate enough to escape the fever and ague.   We could generally tell how long a man had been in the state; the second year he was obliged to wear his best coat every day, and the third year he was obliged to cut off his coat-tail to mend the sleeves.  It was often said the first settlers were themselves out to prepare the way for corporate bodies, speculators and loungers.  At this time we found ourselves in a new country without any school district or school house, so a few of us joined and built a small shanty and supported a school without any public aid.  It was four or five years before we had a district organized and a school house built.  Our schools were then mostly supported by rate bills, with the aid of a little public money, and having a large family of children it cost me considerable.  My children all received a good common school education.�

In February, 1837, Samuel Preston, with two other men, began cutting a road to his land in the township of Oneida, and Mr. Preston gives his experience as follows:  �Night coming on we clustered ourselves in a cave dug in the snow, after giving our team a supper of tree-tops.  Here in the depths of a snow bank, surrounded by almost interminable forests, we cooked, ate, and finally retired to our beds.  It is easier to speak of the occupation of such a position as was ours than to endure it.  Cut loose from any earthily home, dependent upon the capriciousness and uncertainty of circumstances, reflections must and did arise of no very pleasant nature.  And now in these better years, it is difficult to realize how this, as many of the succeeding trials of life in a new country, were so well endured.  About ten o�clock of the second day, from Mr. Fuller�s we reached the site of which we were in quest and after clearing away the deep snow, some logs and underbrush, began the work of building a log cabin.  To myself this was an entirely new experience, but with the skilful aid of my kind new neighbor, I succeeded in putting up a fourteen-by-eighteen habitation, which proved to be the second white man�s abode in the wilderness of Oneida.  After this feat, of course, we had the honor its first occupation over night.  Some time during this eventful night it commenced snowing, and before two o�clock the next day we had an additional of another foot of snow.  Judging it to be a matter of prudence to seek some safer asylum, and leaving our implements in the newly made cabin, we began our retreat.  Mr. Fuller�s home was full seven miles distant and it was still snowing.  When within about two miles of his place the snow rose so high above our floundering sled that we were compelled to abandon it altogether, and trust to our weary legs for the rest of the way, arriving at the house of my kind friend, Mr. Fuller, at night fall.�  As soon as the snow had settled, which took several days, by the help of my good Chester neighbors, I completed my cabin, excepting those very essential parts, floors, doors, windows and chimney.  In this unfinished condition we all went into it�self, wife, and a brace of little ones�on the fourth day of March, 1837.  This event, though infinitely less notable, we deemed of far greater importance to us than that parallel event then transpiring beneath the dome of our national capitol.  About one year after our first settlement Mrs. Preston attended a funeral at the Canada settlement, walking and carrying a young child in her arms, a distance of three or four miles.  On her return home the next day she missed her way, taking a deer-trail, supposing it to be the right path.  Being myself out the next day at about three o�clock P.M., for the purpose of driving in my cattle, they took a sudden fright at some unusual object when about two miles from home, and looking for the cause I saw my wandering wife, will bearing her babe in her arms.  Which party was the most frightened�myself or the cattle�it would be difficult to say.�

The foregoing are only a few out of many of the trying experiences of the pioneers in this county.

Back to the table of contents

CHAPTER IX

PRIMITIVE ARCHITECTURE - Log Shanties and Houses - Log Schoolhouses


LOG SHANTIES

The most primitive dwellings of the pioneers were log shanties.  They were eight by ten or twelve feet square, made by piling up small logs, cob-house fashion, notching them at the corners so the logs would come close together, and filing up the spaces between them with split pieces of wood two or three feet long, and plastering the outside with mud, unless the weather was so cold as to freeze the mud.  The fire-place was made in one corner, by pounding in earth against the logs about a foot thick to make a chimney back and keep the logs from burning.  The roof slanted in only one way, and was made of troughs from small basswood trees.  They were cut the right length, split in the middle and hollowed out with the ax, and laid close together; then other similar troughs were made and turned bottom up over the edges of those already laid so as to make a fairly tight roof which protected from rain; but was not proof against snow.  In this way a man could in a very few days, knock up a pretty comfortable shelter, and so at once begin to live on his land, while making a small clearing and putting up the more pretentious log house.

Back to the table of contents

LOG HOUSES

The day is not far distant when a description of the log houses and school houses, where the children of the early settlers lived and where they received their education, will seem like a story from a foreign land.  Those of a later generation may find the following description of them of interest.  They were of different sizes, but a common size about twenty by thirty feet.  Logs sufficient for the walls of the house were cut and drawn to the spot selected for the house; neighbors, if there were any, were then invited to the raising.  Two logs were laid parallel to each other and the right distance apart, saddles were made with the ax on the upper end of each log and shaped like the ridge of a house, logs were then rolled up on these ends and notches cut in them to fit the saddles on the logs below; when these logs were place, saddles were made on top of their ends, and then other logs were rolled across.  One man was stationed with an ax at each corner to make the saddles and notches, as the logs were rolled up.  When these walls were seven or eight feet high, hewn joints were put across to support the chamber floor.  Three or four tier of logs were laid above these, then the side logs were drawn in so as to make the right slant for the roof.  This was made of �shakes� or shingles, three feet long, and held in place by long poles laid across them.  The floor was made of �puncheons,� or slabs split out of logs, five or six feet long and hewed on one side to smooth them and take out the �twist.�  A fire-place was made at one end, by pounding in next to the logs a layer of moist earth, or clay, ten or twelve inches thick to make a chimney back, and protect the logs from the fire.  The chimney itself was built up of sticks split like laths and plastered with mud.  The spaces between the logs in the wall were filled as closely as possible with split sticks of basswood, and then these spaces were plastered on the outside with mud.  Occasionally a man had outside doors opposite each other, one on each side of the fire-place, so he could hitch a horse to a log and let the horse come in at one door drawing the log and pass out the opposite door.  Thus a good-sized back log could easily be put in place.  The logs were, of course, cut down for the doors, the latch was of wood, perhaps 18 inches long and so heavy it would fall of its own weight.  A leather string was attached to it and passed through a hole in the door so the latch could be raised from the outside, and when the door was to be fastened for the night all that was necessary was to pull in the latch-string, and it was securely bolted.  So it came about when a man wished to assure a friend that he would be welcome at his house at all times he would say, �Come when you will, you will find the latch string out.� 

As time went on, and more room was required, another similar house was built, standing end-to-end with this and about 12 feet distant, and the intervening space was roofed over and was used for the storage of axes, hoes, scythes, rakes, forks, saddles and harnesses, and the smaller agricultural implements.  This cool hall also furnished a comfortable lounging place while taking a nooning on a hot summer�s day.  In this way one house became the kitchen and work-shop and the other the parlor and sitting room, and place for social enjoyment. 

At first the settler was fortunate if he had a large dry-goods box that his wife could use for a closet and table, while she cooked the meals beside a green stump outside.  The bedstead was made by putting one end of a pole between the logs and supporting the other in a forked stick, which was driven into the ground between the puncheons of the floor, and then placing other poles so one end would rest on this one, and the other inserted in the space between the logs around the corner or the room.  On these were placed such other bedding as was at hand, either small brush or ticks filled with leaves or hay.  There were some advantages in this primitive way of living.  There was no woodwork to be cleaned and only six lights in the window to be washed and if the room was swept across the puncheons, the dirt all disappeared between the cracks in the floor.  But with the coming of other settlers, and the building of a saw-mill, luxuries began to appear; a board floor was found to be better than a dry goods box.  A regular bedstead superseded the poles, the posts of which had mortises in them, and the side pieces had tenons on their ends to fit the mortises; these side pieces had holes bored through them, about eight inches apart, and a long �bed cord� was drawn lengthwise and then crosswise and tightened with a winch, and thus a good support was made for the bed.  Underneath this was another smaller one on castors that was drawn out at night for the children.  This was the �trundle-bed.�  In the other back corner of the room was another bed, for the use of the school-master or any other guest, and a cheerful fire lighted the room the greater part of the night.  A ladder in one corner led to the one chamber above.  Here were sleeping accommodations for 10 or 12 persons, in beds arranged round the outside of the room.  It was at times quite a shock to eastern ladies to find that they must occupy the same lodging room with the male members of the family.  Occasionally a �tenderfoot� would find his way into the settlement, who thought the whole family must go out-doors while he undressed and went to bed, but he soon learned to remove modestly his shoes and stockings, collar, coat and vest in the presence of company, and, seating himself on the edge of the bed; lift the corner of the bed covering and throw it over his nether limbs, and under this protection withdraw his pants and wheel around into bed.  The women would stand up in the bed and quietly slip down out of their clothing into the bed.  Not many of the pioneers in those days indulged in the luxury of night shirts.

Back to the table of contents

LOG SCHOOLHOUSES

The schoolhouses were built much like the common dwelling, but differed in some respects.  The floor in the one where the writer studied was several inches higher in the back part of the room than it was near the fire-place, as it was thought that in this way it would be warmer there.  The desks for the larger pupils were made by boring holes in the logs on the side of the room and driving in pins about a foot long, and on these a board was nailed.  There was no seasoned lumber to be had, so the board was green and the plane of the carpenter left it rather rough.  For a window a log was cut out nearly the whole length, and a row of panes of glass was inserted in its place.  A long green slab served for a seat; holes were bored in it for the legs, which for our discomfort projected about a half or three-quarters of an inch above the upper surface of the slab.  The schoolhouse had no chair, and to our further annoyance the builders misjudged the height of the chairs and made the benches so high that we could only touch the floor by sitting on the extreme edge of the slab.  The smaller children had similar low slab seats in the middle of the room, but none of the seats had any backs to them.  The school room was minus a water-pail, and when thirsty we went to the pond and cut a hole in the ice with our knives and drank our fill.

Back to the table of contents

CHAPTER X   

EDUCATION - Primitive Schools - Evolution Of The Present System - Genesis Of The Academy - Olivet College


PRIMITIVE SCHOOLS

It used to be thought that a man was not qualified to teach a winter school unless he could whip any pupil in school.  Women taught the summer schools when only small children came, and it was thought to be a very hazardous business when one undertook to teach a winter school. 

The wages were princely; the first school taught by the writer paid $11 per month and board.  The second winter he taught in the same school and received $14 per month and board.  A man must have an extra good reputation to command $20 and board.  The price paid female teachers was $1.25 a week and board. 

The system of �boarding around� was quite interesting.  It was expected that every family would board the teacher, in proportion to the number of pupils it sent to school.  There was always a strong temptation to lengthen one�s time in some families and to cut it short in others.  A little preparation was generally made before hand, when the teacher was expected.  The writer well remembers his first experience in �boarding �round�� he thought he would begin with the place farthest from the schoolhouse, while the roads were good, and take those nearer in stormy weather, and the roads were bad.  The first place was about two miles distant and there were six children in the family.  The children reached home a little before he did, so all were on the �quivive� to see the schoolmaster.  He was shown the family wash basin, and then the family towel, which presumably, was once white, but had apparently been used to wipe off the boots and shoes of the family.  The teacher made but slight use of it and finished off with his pocket handkerchief.  He was seventeen years of age, but when he reached the supper-table he had lost his appetite.  Being some of a philosopher, he concluded he would not eat much until he was hungry.  But �hunger is a good kind of sauce,� and in the course of a week the writer had reached a point where he could relish anything unless it had been skimmed out of the swill-paid. 

There were two young women in the family, about sixteen or eighteen years of age, and the amount of news that those girls would pick up at school every day was amazing.  And every evening, after the dishes were put away and the family seated, the mother would question them, to learn who had made soap, who had not finished spinning, who had been coloring yarn, who was weaving a web of cloth, and whose children had the measles, etc.  The teacher often wished he was a stenographer and could take down some of these dialogues.  When sleeping accommodations were limited, sometimes one of the juveniles would be slipped into the bed with the school-master.  Of course when the children were included to be friendly and had the itch it was not so pleasant, but by frequent careful washing the teacher escaped that contagion. 

Every patron of the school was expected to furnish his share of wood and although it cost only the labor of getting it, it was usually green and was only brought as fast as it was needed.  In later times a thrifty school director would induce the patrons to get a year�s supply early enough to have it seasoned when required for use. 

A teacher who studied while occupying the position of school-master was held in light esteem and was considered incompetent to fill his office. 

Blackboards were unknown in the earlier schools and when the writer introduced one into his school it was with great difficulty that he could get the large boys to use it.  The rough soft-wood boards, of which the desks were made, were a strong temptation for the boys to use their jack-knives, to cut their initials, or to excavate small chambers over which a piece of glass could be fitted, and then used as a prison for the captured flies.  In every country school house it was easy to tell by these engravings where the boys sat, the girls were less skilful in the art of wood-carving.  When it was first proposed to put nicely polished and varnished desks in the school room it was deemed absurd, for it was thought to be impossible to keep the boys from cutting them.  Different kinds of torture were invented as a punishment for unruly boys.  One of the mildest punishments was to make a boy go and sit among the girls, to shame him; this, however, proved to be a very agreeable form of punishment for some of them.  The original orthodox form of punishment, that by the rod, came down from Solomon, but he probably knew nothing about the ferule that was applied to the open palm of the hand.  Sometimes a boy was made to toe a crack in the floor, and, stooping over, put his finger on a nailhead in the board in front of him, and stand in this bent position until it seemed as though his back would break.  At another time he was required to hold a heavy book at arm�s length, until he could not possibly hold it any longer.  The teacher was expected to go to the school house early in the morning to sweep the room, and to build the fire, so it would be warm when the children came.  He spent any leisure time that remained in ruling the copy books, for the paper was not ruled as it is today.  A favorite way was to have a round rule about an inch in diameter, and this was rolled down the page and the lines were marked with a �plummet� (a piece of soft lead shaped like a small knife blade).  Then the copies must be set.  �Fear God and keep his commandments,� �Command you may your mind from play,� etc. 

The pupils frequently brought ink of domestic manufacture, made from the bark of the soft maple, but it was of such a sticky nature that it would not dry during the whole winter. 

The pens were made from the quills of the goose or turkey; the teacher carried a very small and sharp knife with which to mend them.  Gold and steel pens were unknown. 

The settlers had come from many different localities, and brought with them the books in use where they formerly lived.  They were too poor to throw away these half-worn books and buy new ones, so it was almost impossible to classify the pupils.  Webster�s spelling book was in use almost everywhere, and so was the New Testament and the English reader.  Thus the large pupils could be classified in reading and spelling.  Once a day the pupils would read around two verses each from the new testament, and once a day they read around in the English reader.  Few persons of the present day have ever seen a copy of the old �English reader.�  It contained selections from the pens of the most classic writers of English literature; but many of these selections were beyond the comprehension of the pupil, and few were of any interest to him.  Webster�s spelling book provided reading lessons for the younger children, in the form of disconnected sentences after each spelling lesson, and containing some of the words found in the preceding lesson and defining them.  These sentences were destitute of interest for the child.  On one occasion the writer was mending pens for his pupils and to improve the time he had an awkward boy on the floor reading one of these sentence lessons, and this is what he heard:  �Pull-and�dress�your�flax�on�the�strength�of a�future-judgment.�  He did not remember ever to have seen that sentence, and went to see what the boy had gotten hold of, and this is what he found:  �Paul addressed Felix on the subject of a future judgment.� 

We had in school Daboll�s, Smith�s, and Adams� arithmetics.  Some teachers required the pupils to learn the rules and others were not careful about this.  Some required the pupil to work out a few problems under each rule to see how it was done.  If he found one too hard for him, the pupil called on the teacher for help, and the inquiry was, �Well, what does your rule say?� but no attempt was made to show why such a rule was given.  In grammars we had Murray�s, Brown�s, and Kirkham�s.  In grammar and geography, as well as in arithmetic, the pupils would recite separately, and when ready would call out, �Got a lesson,� and the teacher would hear it. 

In those days the spelling school was a great institution, and was held in the evening of about every other week.  Pupils would come in from the surrounding districts.  Two captains would choose sides and the words were given to the sides alternately, and if a word was missed on one and spelt by the other the speller was allowed to choose one from the side that missed.  Eventually all the pupils would be ranged on one side and at the close all would stand up and �spell down,� as when one missed a word he sat down.  The one who spelled the last one down was quite renowned, and would often stand quite a while alone before missing a word.  Frequently the exercises were enlivened by a dialogue. 

Evening singing schools were quite in vogue.  It was a semi-social function to which the young man who had a nice horse, cutter and harness, would take his best girl, and on their way home would find that a couple of sons of Belial, mounted on horses, had each taken the end of a rail, and one on each side of the road would carry that rail just before the nose of that horse at a snail�s pace for miles, which, of course, did not awaken any pious feelings in the breasts of the occupants of the cutter. 

The branches usually taught in the district schools were, reading and spelling, writing, arithmetic, geography, and grammar; but in most schools there were some pupils who wished to pursue higher branches.  In New England this want was met by the establishment of academies, where Latin and Greek, intellectual and moral philosophy, logic, rhetoric, and algebra were taught, and students were fitted for college.  If a young woman had taken the studies in the district school, and could have two or three terms in a good academy she was thought to be highly educated.  The first school ever opened in the county of Eaton was started in 1835 and the teacher was Willard Davis, later for many years a resident of Vermontville. 

John B. Hayt says the first district school was taught in 1836 by Hepsebeth Hutchinson and the next year, 1837, it was taught by Willard Davis.  He may have taught the first school in the county in �35 and Miss Hutchinson the first �district� school. 

But the old log schoolhouse has passed away; there is not one in use in the county today, and the old school master also has gone.

Back to the table of contents

EVOLUTION OF THE PRESENT SYSTEM

The process by which this change came about is thus described by Prof. Charles McKinney:  �For a quarter of a century the schools of Eaton county increased more in number than in efficiency.  The wages paid offered no inducement for young men and women to educate themselves for the profession of teaching.  School apparatus was limited to an ill-assorted lot of books in the hands of pupils, a square yard of blackboard, made of matched lumber, cubes of chalk an inch square, purchased in many instances by the children that used them, and erasers made by covering one side of a block of wood with a piece of sheepskin with the wool on.  Occasionally charts illustrating penmanship adorned the walls, but were never used.  The branches taught were reading, writing, spelling, arithmetic and geography, and commonly grammar; occasionally a class in algebra would be formed.  History, physiology and civil government were practically unknown.  Grammar was largely a girl�s study, for they could attend school during the summer, while the boys, who, after the age of twelve were kept at home to work, devoted the three or four months of the winter term to the �three R�s.�  Until 1867 the licensing of teachers was done by a township board, consisting of the township board and two school inspectors.  The board elected one of its members �visitor,� whose duty it was to visit each school in the township at least once a term, to examine the work of the teacher, and to test results by examining the pupils.  If capable men could have been chosen, such a system would have yielded fair results; but too frequently such was not the case.  Loose supervisioned and unprogressive schools were the net product.  Nor does this statement impeach the general intelligence and faithfulness of the officers of that day.  It simply implies that a man who only occasionally interests himself in educational affairs, and whose main thought is given to other matters, cannot in the very nature of the case, do efficient work in school supervision, which requires technical knowledge.� 

In 1867 the law creating the office of county superintendent of schools went into force, and F. A. Hooker, a young lawyer, now a member of the supreme court of Michigan, was elected superintendent.  In reply to a question concerning the condition of the schools at the passage of the law and the work accomplished by him, Mr. Hooker writes: 

�The law of 1867, providing for county superintendents of schools was a radical departure from existing condition.  Three school inspectors had previously granted certificates, and established and altered the boundaries of districts.  So far as I have discovered they seldom did more, though occasionally a man would be found among them who visited schools.  The qualifications necessary to obtain a certificate differed in the different localities.  In the villages and more advanced townships they were higher than in others.  In the townships, especially the newer ones, when log schoolhouses abounded, the granting of certificates was largely a matter of expediency, and depended on the character of the school to be taught.  They were usually secured after the school was engaged, and often the wishes of the school board went farther than the attainments of the teacher. 

�Methods of teaching were individual, of necessity, each teacher having his own.  As a rule they were very primitive.  One or two schools had maps, none had globes or other apparatus.  My first attempt was to raise the standard of examinations.  Manifestly a uniform standard was the result of a single examiner, but the result was consternation on the part of the patrons and teachers.  The first examination did not produce enough teachers to teach half of the schools, but by holding private examinations, and granting discretionary and short term certificates, all were provided for the first summer, and the community settled down to peace and quiet.  It had been badly disturbed and the office was very unpopular. 

�By fall the examination showed the result of work on the part of the teachers, and each successive examination gave better results, though two years was too short a time to accomplish very great improvement.  I worked persistently to introduce maps, globes, and a few other things, but I was not able to accomplish much in this direction.  During the two years I held the office, I devoted my energies to raising the standard of teachers, and felt that a marked improvement was discernible.  That seemed to me to be the firs step, and was a necessary foundation for other improvements in methods of instruction which would invariably follow.� 

The work so well inaugurated by Mr. Hooker, was carried on by his successors, Superintendents Townsend, Evans, and Shoop; but the office was unpopular throughout the state, and after eight years of trial it was abolished.  In place of a county superintendent there was elected a superintendent for each township.  Unity of plan at once disappeared, and the work accomplished by county supervision was gradually undone.  The utter failure of township supervision may be judged from the fact that in 1880 only fifteen schools in the county had prescribed courses of study, but nineteen were classified, and there were only ten that did not change teachers during the year. 

A demand for better schools led, in 1881 to the creation of a county board of school examiners, to be composed of three members, whose duty it was to examine and license candidates; the secretary of the board should visit schools when occasion demanded.  Prof. J. Estabrook, J. L. Wagner, and K. Kittredge were members of the first board.  From that day to this the schools have gradually improved.  By the law of 1889, the secretary of the board was to give his whole time to supervision with the title of �County Secretary of Schools.�  It was the good fortune of Eaton county to have for secretary Orr Schurtz, whose efficiency and zeal made her schools second to none in the state.  In 1891 Mr. Schurtz resigned to accept an important position in the schools of Grand Rapids, and was succeeded by J. L. Wagner, the present commissioner, who had been a member of the examining board since its creation.  Under the supervision of Mr. Wagner the schools have been efficient and progressive.  In 1891 the name of the officer was changed from county secretary to commissioner of schools. 

Without counting college buildings, there are in the county, at the present time, one hundred and fifty-three public school buildings, forty of which are built of brick and the remainder are frame buildings; of these, one hundred and thirty-seven have only one room, and sixteen have two or more rooms each.  Thee are six high schools in the county.  All the schools are graded on the same plan, and the common district schools usually carry the pupils to the close of the eighth grade.  Nearly all the schools are now furnished with the modern patent and finely finished desks, and each pupil is expected to be the only occupant of a desk.  And the boys no more think of using their knives on these desks than they would upon nice furniture at home.  The schools are now well equipped with maps, charts, and blackboard, though the blackboards are now being replaced with large slates.  Of the one hundred and thirty-seven rural schools, ninety-nine have libraries.  A great deal of care is taken to plant trees around the school houses in most districts, and to keep the grounds in a neat and tidy condition.  The business of teaching has fallen largely into the hands of women.  Of two hundred and forth-three teachers in the public schools of the county, only twenty-six are men.  The female teachers receive from $25 to $45 per month and board themselves.  Board, including fuel and lights, costs from $1.50 to $2.00 per week, thus giving them from $4.75 to $8.75 per week for services that, sixty years ago, young women were glad to render for from $1.25 to $2.00 per week.  Young men who are employed as principals of village schools receive about $500 for the ten months school year.  The highest paid teacher in the public schools of the county is the superintendent of the city schools in Charlotte, who receives $1,500 per annum, an the county school commissioner, who is obliged to keep a horse to visit the schools of the county, receives for his services only $1,200 per annum. 

Teachers� examination papers are prepared in the office of the state superintendent of public instruction, and, in 1891, only ten candidates took the examination for eighth grade certificates; but in May, 1905, 200 took this examination. 

The first teachers� institute ever held in the county was conducted by the writer, Rev. W. B. Williams, in the brick school house now used as a blacksmith�s shop in the rear of the hardware store just vacated by Mr. Munger.  It was convened and held in accordance with the following: 

CIRCULAR. 

DEAR SIR

�A TEACHERS� INSTITUTE will be held at the brick schoolhouse in the village of Charlotte, commencing on Monday, Oct. 20th, at 9 o�clock A.M., and will continue during the week. 

�Tuition for the time will be gratuitous, and board also, for at least thirty of those who attend from abroad; ladies having the preference. 

�Lectures upon educational or scientific topics may be expected every evening in the week. 

�An effort will be made to secure the assistance of the present State Superintendent of Public Instruction, and also that of his predecessor in office. 

�We, therefore, invite all to attend, and especially those who propose teaching in the County during the coming year; and we would earnestly request the School Inspectors to use their influence to induce the Teachers of their respective towns to attend the same. 

�School Directors, desirous of employing teachers, will doubtless find it to their advantage to be present during the session. 

                        T. W. Loring,

                        E. F. M. Torrey,            \            Committee

                        O. Hosford,                       /            of

                        W. B. Hosford,                       Arrangements.�

                        W. B. Williams,

                        H. Robinson,

Charlotte, 1856. 

About forty teachers responded to this invitation. 

Instruction was given by Profs. E. N. Bartlet, T. W. Loring, John Morris, W. B. Williams, John M. Gregory, and a Mr. Bottsford. 

Evening lectures were given by Professors Hosford and Bartlett and Dr. Thompson of Olivet, also by State Superintendent Ira Mayhew, and ex-Supt. John M. Gregory.  The write is supposed to be the only survivor of the nine men who were connected with that first teachers� institute. 

During the year 1904, there were thirteen teachers� institutes held in the county, but the session continued only one day.  During the present year (1905) it is intended to have fewer and to hold them three days. 

A discussion is now going on in the county with reference to having a high school in every township that has not one already, to be located at some central point, to which the children shall be carried from the primary school buildings and be brought home at night.  There are two townships in the county where it seemed as if this plan would be feasible, and it was submitted to the voters in those townships at the spring election of 1905, but failed of adoption. 

�Race suicide� seems to have been responsible for the disbanding of some half dozen districts in the county.  Many years ago there were a goodly number of children in those districts, but the number has so fallen off that it has been thought best to disband the districts and send the few remaining children to adjoining districts.

Back to the table of contents

GENESIS OF THE ACADEMIES

Soon after the settlement of the county began, there was a movement for academies.  Of the one in Vermontville, Deacon Church writes as follows: 

�In 1843 the population had so increased that an academical association was organized, and materials procured for a building, to answer the double purpose of academy and church.  This building was thirty by forty feet square and two stories high.  In the fall of 1844 the upper story was completed, and Rev. W. U. Benedict, the pastor of the church, taught a school during four months, in which the higher English branches and also the languages were taught.  He continued to teach for several successive winters, so that, notwithstanding our isolation from thoroughfares and the bustle and business of the world, our children and youth were better educated and better qualified for business, both mentally and morally, than those of many of the villages of the state, as their subsequent lives have abundantly proved.  With the exception of one or two seasons the academy school was kept up for several months of the year, until about 1866, when the academy and district school were united, with two departments, occupying both rooms in the building.  The academy, though organized in 1843, was not legally incorporated until April 28th, 1846.�  An account more in detail has been given elsewhere. 

The origin of the Charlotte academy, as given by E. A. Foote, was in this wise:  �William Johnston, who started and published the  famous �Eaton Bugle,� besides being an editor was also a printer, a teacher, a lawyer, a political stump-speaker by occupation, and an Irishman by descent.  He was called �Printer� Johnston to distinguish him from �Iron� Johnson, and �Wooden� Johnson (N. A.), here on the prairie, �Rhode Island� Johnson and �Quarter Post� Johnson, out in Carmel, and �Tailor� Johnson who came here some years later.  �Printer� Johnston established a high school here in 1845 or 1846, and was himself the teacher.  The Eaton Bugle sounded its notes over the prairie and through the forests, from the back end of a little wooden building, fronting the public square, and standing just east of Dr. Rand�s office.  In the front of this building was kept the Charlotte high school. 

�The two sensations each week were the coming out of The Bugle, well spiced with squibs, puffs, lampoons and local verse, and the gathering in the school-room of the villagers to hear the declamations of the boys, and particularly the composition of the girls.  These compositions usually furnished food for mirth and wrath during the whole week.  The editor seldom spared criticism in his paper, and wherever he discovered among his young women pupils a talent for irony or sarcasm, he carefully developed and fostered it, even at the expense of the young men, from whose ranks subjects for dissection were generally chosen; yet everything malevolent or bitter was carefully pruned away.  These girls loved to take a shining mark for their arrows, and the best looking, best dressed, and the most pretentious of the young men was likely to find himself shot full of them.  This drew in visitors, gave might to the pen, and kept the attention of the little community nervously fixed upon education, and especially upon the importance of learning how to write, which seemed to be an art of self-defense more necessary than boxing.  This naturally culminated in a school exhibition, which drew in all there was of the surrounding country, for ten miles away, and nearly filled the court house.  Many came even from the Vermont colony.  This compliment was in due time returned by Mr. Johnston taking his entire school up to Vermontville one winter evening to attend an exhibition there. 

�From this germ of a school finally sprouted and took root the ambitious project of organizing a joint stock company and incorporating the Charlotte academy.  Stock was not only liberally subscribed here but also in all the adjoining townships.  Mr. McComb, a land-owner, donated the academy ground and bell.  Nathan A. Johnson was the fortunate bidder who got the job of putting up the building and of collecting the subscriptions for his pay.  The work was begun about 1846 and for years was patiently prosecuted by Mr. Johnson alone.  When �Printer� Johnston suspended his Bugle and went back to Ohio to reside the academy enterprise languished, the subscription got cold, and Nate found academy building uphill work.  Just then people began to find fault because he was so slow in finishing off the academy.� 

I have a recollection of going down to that building one cold forenoon, during the winter of 1848 and �49, after it was roofed and sided up.  I remember of climbing in, with no plank to walk upon, and of seeing windows boarded up with long boards to save the lumber from spoiling.  Joists, sleepers, and studding were all bare.  There were just boards enough for the bench to stand upon in the middle of the lower room.  All was silent save a long shaving hitched to a sliver by the side of a crevice, streaming and fluttering in the wind.  There, all alone, sat the academy builder, Johnson, on the work bench, besides his empty nail-box, his coat buttoned up to his chin, his purple hand clinching the handle of his hammer.  There was not much sunshine in his countenance, and he found some fault because the subscribers were so slow in paying.  He had been dunning away at them for weeks without raising a dollar.  �Not a board,� said he, �not a nail, not a sash, not a pane of glass, nothing to work with, and those d---d fools all the while grumbling because I do not finish off this academy.�  This was �wooden� Johnson.  �Printer� Johnston, the instigator of the scheme, had deserted us and gone back to Ohio.  Somewhere, about 1850, the academy was finished.  Several professors were inveigled there at different times to teach, and found it up-hill work to collect their tuition.  Professor Wallace stood it as long as he could, and then went to railroading out west and got killed.  Miss C. A. Dickson, a graduate of Oberlin, had charge of the school during the winter of �52 and �53 and was followed by E. F. M. Torrey, who tried it for awhile and then he too went west and died.  T. W. Loring and his wife taught a few pupils, and boarded themselves in a frugal way in a small room up stairs in the academy, until they starved out and went to farming over in Eaton, where he soon died.  Prof. O. S. Ingham, who seemed expressly constituted for such work, browsed in this field of thorns and thistles, until the organization of the Union school gave him a salary.  Later he became a newspaper editor in Nebraska. 

The academy was finished, but in time the underpinning on the south side tumbled out and let the hogs under to rest and squeal thee, and let in gusts of southwest wind to whistle up through the cracks in the shrunken floor, while pupils in shawls and overcoats were shivering over their studies.  The building learned toward the south like a doughface in the days of slavery.  It used to shake so, during high winds, that pupils in the upper story would rush out and come tumbling pell-mell down the narrow steep stairs at the risk of their necks.  Boys, during the long vacations, used to throw stones through the windows, more particularly the front ones.  And when, for the sake of severe and secluded study, they took their books and climbed into the belfry, they would pass the time in removing the long thin slats from the belfry blinds, and sending them sailing down upon the wind into neighboring fields and gardens. 

Soon after the organization of the Union school, the academy building was sold and moved out to Main street and converted into a dwelling, and has since been enlarged and is known as the Peninsula House.

Back to the table of contents

OLIVET COLLEGE

No history of schools of Eaton county would be complete that did not speak of the founding and building up of the college in Olivet. 

In 1833, Rev. John J. Shipherd and Philo P. Stewart founded a college, which they named Oberlin, in the dense unbroken forests of Northern Ohio.  In ten years the institution seemed to be thoroughly established, with an attendance of five hundred pupils.  Mr. Shipherd then felt that his services were no longer needed there, and that it was his mission to establish other colleges in the new countries on the same plan.  His idea was to secure a tract of unoccupied land and gather upon it a number of Christian families, who would be in full sympathy with the school, and thus surround the students with a good moral influence.  The early success of the experiment at Oberlin may have led him to think that a similar result could be attained as readily elsewhere.  The college at Oberlin had acquired an interest in the land where Dimondale is located, and Mr. Shipherd came up to look after it. 

            On his way north from Marshall he passed through the town of Walton.  The hill on which the college now stands was covered with a dense growth of young oak trees and he lost his way in them; but when on the hill, near the residence of the late Professor Hosford, he saw, off to the southeast, the log house of Mr. Burroughs, and he went there to inquire his way and spend the night.  In the morning they directed him to go round the foot of the hill, and he would see where the track turned to the right and went to the center of the county; but so few teams had been over the track that he did not notice it, and he soon found himself back where he started.  This he did once or twice before he discovered the road; having finally found it he went on his way, and also found the land and examined it.  It would seem that he visited Vermontville also, for E. P. Church remembers that Mr. Shipherd spent the night at his father�s house and talked about the prospective college with him.  The land around Vermontville was at that time all taken up, so there was no opening for a college there.  Moreover, in his wandering around the hill in Walton, he had been impressed with the beauty of the spot and thought that the providential indications were that the Lord would have him plant the college there. 

On his return to Oberlin he at once set about securing colonists for his work.  He had already interested William Hosford, familiarly known as �Father Hosford,� and his wife.  It was to them that Mr. Shipherd first disclosed his plans.  Mr. Hosford had in the meantime enlisted Carlo Reed in the enterprise, and the latter was a sturdy, resolute man, not easily discouraged in anything he undertook. 

To these three families were added those of Willson C. Edsell, Hiram Pease, George Andrus and Phineas Pease, together with four young men�Albertus L. Green, Phineas Hagar, Joseph Bancroft, and Chauncey Cady�all of whom came as students of the embryo college.  These, with Reuben Hatch and Oramel Hosford, who had just graduated from Oberlin college, met frequently for consultation and prayer.  These meetings were always led by Mr. Shipherd.  At that time the college vacation, three months long, occurred in the winter, and it was decided that the colony should proceed to Olivet in the early spring and erect dwellings and a school-house, while the teachers, Messrs. Hatch and Hosford, were to follow and open the school during the next winter vacation.  Mr. Hatch was twenty-nine years of age and Mr. Hosford was twenty-three and both were in excellent health and full of hope and courage.  Three young women�Julia Edsell, Alice Green, and Abby Carter�and two hired laborers accompanied the colony.  The whole number of those who undertook the founding of the college, including fourteen children and youth, was thirty-nine.  Wednesday morning, February 14, 1844, the main colony began their journey, in their own conveyances, with farm wagons and ox-teams, driving their flocks and herds before them.  The colony spent the Sabbath together at Woodville, in the Black Swamp, and Father Shipherd preached in the school-house there.  Messrs. Cady and Bancroft, as well as the young women, were very fine singers, so they had good music.  The company passed through Marshall on the way, and the people there laughed at the old man who had gone off into the woods to start a college.  The main colony reached its destination Saturday afternoon, February 24.  There were two or three small clearings, and as many log houses that had been abandoned by their former owners.  Upon the outskirts were four or five dwellings.  These earlier settlers gave the newcomers a most cordial and enthusiastic welcome.  Mr. Shipherd and others were sheltered at the house of Mr. Shumway, who generously vacated his own dwelling for their use, and gave them free access to the stores of his cellar and barn.  Log houses are supposed to be capable of endless expansion, and a bed was improvised by brining in hay and spreading the whole length of the floor.  The neighbors, much to the surprise of Mr. Shipherd, had during the winter, nearly completed a long log house for his use.  A loose board partition was put up across the middle of it.  On Sunday these boards were taken down and made into seats, for on that day the house served as a church.  Some of the families found shelter in the abandoned log houses of the former owners of the land, and others were lodged with the few earlier settles until they could build houses of their own.  Work went bravely on until autumn, when fever and ague, so prevalent in most new countries, prostrated nearly every one of the colonists.  Mr. Shipherd came down with it, but was supposed to be getting better when, one evening soon after retiring he was stricken with apoplexy, as Mrs. Shipherd supposes, and died in a few hours without regaining consciousness.  This was like the falling overboard of the captain of a ship in the midst of a storm and led some of the more timid ones to abandon the enterprise and return to their old homes in Oberlin.  The question was seriously debated whether the whole scheme should not be given up; but health came with the winter�s cold, and a school building was erected about twenty-six by forty feet, and two stories high.  It was not yet completed when, some shavings having been put into the stove, the fire followed one out and fell through a crack in the floor among shavings below, and in a very few minutes the whole structure was in ashes.  February 17, just three days after the fire, the frame of another school building was erected on the foundations of the former one, and this was so nearly completed in June that the public exercises of the school were held in it. The upper story was designed for a chapel and the lower story was finished off into two recitation rooms.  It is easy to start a colony in the woods, but to start a college without buildings, money or students, requires faith, courage, self-denial, and hard work.  This first completed building served the college but a very few years, when it caught fire from a burning dwelling and itself was consumed.  The success of the institution, so far as human agency was concerned, depended upon the ability of its founders to enlist the assistance of enough other persons to carry on the work, for it had not the endorsement of any religious or political body.  The New England principle is that a college is a power in itself, and not an appendage to any other body, political or ecclesiastical.  While its teaching and its influence also should be decidedly Christian, no student, teacher or trustee should be required to assent to any creed.  A majority of the patrons, teachers and trustees of this institution have been Presbyterians, or Congregationalists, and it is usually called a Congregational college, but it is only so in the same sense than an agricultural society would be a Congregational society if the greater part of its members chanced to be of that faith. 

But the difficulties the founders encountered were not all found in Olivet.  Rev. John D. Pierce, the first state superintendent of public instruction, and the organizer of our most excellent system of education, including the university, feared that if the legislature granted charters to other colleges the different denominations would start colleges of their own, and thus the support of the Christian people of the state would be withdrawn from the university, and it would be ruined.  To cut off all occasion for the denominational college, the course of study in the university was made to embrace as much Christian instruction as was found in the most thoroughly Christian colleges in the land.  If anyone objected upon the ground that the state could not teach religion, he was met with the fact that the state was doing it, and if they could do it then, no reason could be given why they might not continue to teach it in all time to come.  Moreover, the Presbyterians, more generally than any other denomination, committed themselves to the university, indeed as one of them said:  �The Presbyterians seemed to be the whole thing.�  So there seemed to be no call for a Christian college and by that time the university was thought to be so thoroughly established that it might safely be done.  For years these colleges were dubbed �sectarian,� and were looked upon with contempt by many people.  It was for a long time difficult for a representative of the college to get a hearing before the state association of Congregational ministers and churches, and when he did, you might see a contemptuous smile play upon the faces of many in the audience. 

The first time that the college received a really cordial hearing by the state association of Congregational churches was at its meeting in Jackson, in 1866, after it had been in operation twenty-two years.  After a presentation of its work and needs, by Prof. Oramel Hosford, the association unanimously passed the following preamble and resolutions: 

Whereas,�God in his providence has graciously been pleased to enlarge the usefulness of the college at Olivet, rendering an increase of accommodation for students an imperative necessity; therefore 

Resolved, That we most cordially commend to the favorable regard of the benevolent in our churches, the effort now being made for that purpose by its friends and guardians.� 

In 1867 the Presbyterian synod of the state resolved �That the synod has heard with pleasure the statements of President Morrison concerning Olivet College, its facilities for furnishing an excellent education and its religious character, and they rejoice in its success.� 

For several successive years the synod appointed committees to visit the college and make a report.  In 1881 Witter J. Baxter, of Jonesville, was on the committee, and in closing his report he says:  �The college is worthy the entire confidence and hearty patronage of Christian parents, and of the cordial endorsement and approval of this synod.� 

The association and synod, in thus cordially commending the college to the churches, did not assume any responsibility for its support or management.  It was not until the school had been in existence more than a score of years that these bodies were willing to recommend it to their churches.  It was also many years before the public were assured of its permanent existence, and men do not like to put large sums of money into an institution that may ultimately fail.  Its continued existence is no longer doubtful.  It has of late greatly enlarged its borders and sphere of influence, and is not a mere Olivet affair.  The college has now ten buildings, viz.: the library building of mottled Ionia sandstone, one hundred and ten feet in length by fifty-two feet in breadth, having a capacity for 100,000 volumes.  Some thirty thousand volumes are now on the shelves, with an equal number of pamphlets, and its reading room is regularly supplied with one hundred and fifty periodicals and leading journals of news, politics, religion, science, literature, education and art. 

Mather Hall is a brick building erected at a cost of about $25,000, and devoted to the cabinet and the various laboratories.  The cabinet is one of the largest in the state and has the largest collection of shells. 

Parsons Hall, named after Philo Parsons, of Detroit, who gave largely for its construction, is a brick building, one hundred and twelve feet in length, four stories high, and has the art rooms, six recitation rooms, and dormitories for sixty young men. 

Shipherd Hall contains rooms for the dean, assistant teachers and matron, together with accommodations for fifty young women.  This is of brick and has a spacious dining room, also kitchen and laundry, and a commodious gymnasium for the young women. 

The college chapel, conservatory of music and the young men�s gymnasium, are well equipped frame buildings. 

The musical department of Olivet college is equipped with twenty pianos and two pipe organs.  The one placed in the chapel is a two-manual organ with sixteen registers.  The one built in the church is a three-manual organ of thirty full registers, and twenty mechanical appliances, couplers, combination pedals, etc. 

The musical library contains more than six thousand numbers, including music for piano, organ, voice, orchestra, chorus, and various combinations of instruments and voice. 

The young men�s literary societies, �The Adelphic� and the �Phi Alpha Pi,� have each an elegant stone building erected at a cost of $15,000 or $20,000 each. 

The young women have fitted up rooms for their literary society, �The Soronian, in the upper story of Shipherd Hall, and are raising money to erect a building of their own. 

The meeting house is an elegant stone structure, containing a very large and fine organ, and is the joint property of the church and college, and cost about $30,000. 

The entire college plant is valued at $400,000.  It has an enrollment of two hundred and eighty students, and a faculty numbering twenty-five.  It has sent out six hundred graduates, two principals of normal schools, and a multitude of ministers, lawyers, physicians and teachers.  But the college is still in its infancy, and plans are under consideration for greatly enlarging it. 

Henry D. Wild was a graduate of Williams College and was for a time professor of Latin in Olivet College and while there became acquainted with Miss Ada Goodwin, who became his wife.  He was so successful a teacher that he was called to the same professorship in his Alma Mater, at Williamstown, Massachusetts. 

Herman C. Bumpus was a graduate of Brown University at Providence, Rhode Island.  He laid the foundations of the department of Biology in Olivet college, and reduced chaos to cosmos, having had a genius for classification.  Besides his splendid work as a teacher, he arranged the museum, which stands to-day a monument to his skill and labor.  He was recalled to Brown University as professor of biology and later to New York City as curator of the Museum of Natural History. 

George W. Chadwick began his work as a teacher of music in Olivet, where he remained but two years.  He only showed talent as a musical composer, and has constantly grown in this, his favorite line of work, until his fame is world-wide.  His reputation as a teacher has also increased until he is known everywhere to-day as the director of the New England Conservatory of Music at Boston, Massachusetts. 

George W. Howard was professor of music much longer at Olivet and has since resided in Boston, where for some years he maintained a private school of music, where he is still teaching. 

Hubert L. Clark has been for some years a most successful teacher of biology in Olivet, and has just accepted a position for scientific research in the Agassiz Museum at Harvard University. 

Few people are aware of the wide influence exerted by many of the young people who have been educated at the small college located in this county.  We present a brief sketch of the work that has been done by a few of the six hundred graduates that have gone out from its halls. 

Willis E. Parsons was born in Keokuk, Iowa, October 26, 1857.  When fourteen years of age he went to Olivet and spent three years of study in the preparatory department and was graduated from the classical course of the college with the class of 1881.  His theological studies were taken in the Princeton Seminary.  His first pastorate of nine years was at Albion in this state, his second at Danville, Illinois, where he was pastor of the Presbyterian church for eleven years.  He was called to the presidency of Parsons College, which was founded by his grandfather at Fairfield, Iowa, his native state. 

George N. Ellis was born of sterling New England ancestry, near Alexandria Bay, New York, April 28, 1853.  His parents came to Michigan in1855 and located at Albion.  In 1866 they moved on to a new farm in the wilderness not far from Olivet, where father and son proceeded to make a home.  Mr. Ellis entered Olivet College in 1871 and was graduated in 1878 with the degree of Bachelor of Arts.  More of this class than of any other have become teachers in their Alma Mater.  Since graduation Mr. Ellis has given himself wholly to educational work.  At Talledega, Alabama, he organized the preparatory department of the college, was at the head of the normal department, and was successful in raising considerable money for the college.  For about twenty years he has been in Olivet acting variously as instructor, principal of the preparatory department, advertising agent and field secretary.  No other alumnus has been in the employ of the college so long.  He was the first regularly appointed instructor in Latin and brought that department to a high degree of efficiency.  As field secretary he went through the state, preaching, lecturing, addressing high schools, and presenting the financial needs of the college, the result being a large increase of a superior class of students and in part the addition of $100,000 to the endowment fund. 

In July, 1903, Mr. Ellis was unanimously elected president of Tabor College in Iowa, and at once assumed charge.  Both attendance and endowment have been enlarged.  New departments have been created and courses strengthened and the prospects of the college are bright. 

In September, 1879, Mr. Ellis married Miss Lon M. Brown, who has proved to be a most efficient helpmate in all his work.  Into their home have come four children:  Mabel Brown, Paul Victor, Edith Margarita, and Ralph Edward. 

James L. Kellogg was born in Kewanee, Illinois, September 15, 1866, and was graduated from Olivet in the class of 1888, receiving the degree of Bachelor of Arts.  He then studied at John Hopkins University, taking the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in 1892 and was at once appointed professor of biology and geology in Olivet College, which position he held from 1892 to 1899, when he was offered the professorship of biology in Williams College in Massachusetts, in which capacity he is acting at the present time.  He was for three summers instructor in the marine biological laboratory at �Woods Hole� in Massachusetts, and was for three summers in the employ of the United States Fish Commission as an investigator of mollusks.  He conducted investigations on marine food animals for the states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, and Louisiana.  His publications have been mainly upon mollusks,--their development, life, history, anatomy, relationships, growth, distribution, environment, artificial culture, etc., etc.  He married his classmate, Ida Archamblault. 

Irwin Shepard was born July 5, 1843, on a farm in Skaneateles township, New York.  In 1856 the family removed to a farm near Chelsea in this state, and in 1862 while Mr. Shepard was attending the State Normal School at Ypsilanti, he enlisted in the Seventeenth Regiment, Michigan Volunteers, and served nearly three years, winning a congressional medal of honor for special service at Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1863.  He entered the preparatory department of Olivet College in 1866 and was graduated from the classical course of the college in the class of 1871.  Soon after graduation he was united in marriage to Miss Mary B. Elmer and in September of that year went to Charles City, Iowa, as superintendent of schools.  In 1875 he became principal of the high school in Winona, Minnesota, serving three years in that position and one year as superintendent of schools.  In 1879 he was elected president of the State Normal School in Winona, which position he held nineteen years, resigning in 1898 to accept the permanent secretaryship of the National Educational Association, which office he still retains.  He has received from Olivet College the degrees of A. B., A. M., and Ph.D. 

Charles McKinne was born near Dimondale in this county, September 5, 1860.  In 1865 the family moved to Lansing, where he attended school for the next six years, after which for two years he lived with a sister in Ingham county.  He then spent four years in the family of Esek Pray in Windsor, working on the farm during the summer and attending district schools in the winter.  In September, 1877, he entered the Agricultural College, from which he was graduated in 1881 with the degree of Bachelor of Science.  As he wished a more complete education he entered Olivet College in 1887, graduating two years later with the degree of Bachelor of Arts, in the year 1892 the college conferring upon him the degree of Master of Arts. 

He taught in the district schools for three winters while attending the Agricultural College, and taught the eighth grade in the Charlotte public schools in 1882-5, was principal of Vermontville schools 1885-7, was instructor in Olivet 1889-95, professor of history in Olivet 1895-6, was elected principal of the Central State Normal School at Mt. Pleasant in July, 1896 and held the office until April, 1900, when he was offered the presidency of the State Normal School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which position he accepted and still holds. 

He was a member of the board of school examiners in Eaton county from 1885 to 1896.  In 1893 he was chosen secretary of the Michigan State Teachers� Association and was president of the same in 1894-5.  He is at this time president of the Council of Normal School Presidents of the North Central States.  He married Minnie E. Alderman, of Vermontville. 

J. F. Loba was born in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1846; in 1853, his father and mother having been converted to the Mormon faith, they, with five children, left Switzerland for the United States, crossing the Atlantic in a sailing vessel and landing in New Orleans, from whence they took a steamer to St. Louis, where they spent the winter.  In May they went up the river as far as Fort Leavenworth and from that point started across the plains with ox-teams.  Soon after they left cholera broke out among them and the mother and several others of the company died when only about fifteen miles from the Missouri River.  After great hardships the company reached Salt Lake City about the first of October, where his father married again.  After three years he found the moral conditions so insupportable, that he and his wife in April, 1857, escaped on foot, leaving the children behind.  These, eight in number, were some time later conducted by a brother of their stepmother northward from Salt Lake City over the mountains covered with snow and thus, by a long detour, they joined their parents, who were waiting for them at Fort Laramie.  Two of the younger children died and the family, after great hardship and losing everything they had, reached Leavenworth City in the spring of 1858.  Here four of the children found work and became self-supporting.  From this time until the autumn of 1854 our subject struggled on with various hardships.  During the summer of that year he was employed as a newsboy on the train between St. Louis and Cincinnati.  In the autumn he enlisted at St. Louis in the Thirteenth Missouri Infantry and served in the Southwest and the extreme West about Denver until the spring of 1866, when he was mustered out.  While in Leavenworth he made the acquaintance of some Christian friends, through whose influence he was led to come to Olivet in this county.  Here he spent seven years and was graduated with the class of 1873.  He then for two years taught Greek in Knox College, Illinois, after which he visited his old home in Switzerland and studied one year in the University of Bale.  On returning to this country he spent a year in the divinity school at Yale and a part of a year in the Chicago Theological Seminary.  He was a pastor in Kankakee, Illinois, for a year and four months, and was in Kewaunee four years, from whence he came to Olivet and taught in the college for six years, serving also as associate pastor of the church.  From 1888 to 1891 he was pastor of the Presbyterian church in Kalamazoo, and in the latter year was invited to go to Paris to become the successor of Dr. McCall in his great mission in France, which he accepted.  During that year he delivered three hundred sermons and addresses in Paris and in other cities of France.  At the close of the year he was invited to the pastorate of the First Congregational Church of Evanston, Illinois, which he accepted and still retains.  In 19901 he was one of a deputation sent by the American Board of Missions to visit and advise their missionaries in India and Ceylon. 

Hamilton King was born in St. Johns, Newfoundland, June 10, 1852, and was graduated from the classical course at Olivet with the class of 1878.  He spent a year in study at the Chicago Theological Seminary and was then recalled to Olivet to the principalship of the preparatory department and served in this capacity from 1879 to 1898.  He devoted his energies unsparingly to the improvement of the preparatory course in its organization and scholarship and was the author of a Greek Reader and Outlines of United State History.  He devised an extensive scheme of advertising the college so that the attendance became the largest that the college has ever had, was interested in athletics and it was through his influence that the gymnasium was equipped.  In the years 1883 and 1884 he studied at the university in Leipsic, Germany, and in 1884 spent some time at the American School at Athens, Greece. 

He was an eloquent speaker and was a frequent lecturer at teachers� institutes in this and other counties in the state.  In 1896 he became much interested in politics and made many speeches in the interest of the Republican party, and was a delegate to the national republican convention that nominated William McKinley for the presidency.  Soon after the election of Mr. McKinley he was appointed consul general at Bangkok in Siam.  He held this office for seven years and performed his duties so satisfactorily that he has not been made minister plenipotentiary.  In 1883 he made the acquaintance of Cora Lee Seward, connected with the well-known family of that name in the state of New York, whom he married.  Three daughters who are now studying in Europe have gladdened their home.  His familiarity with educational matters has enabled him to aid the king of Siam in promoting the educational interests of the kingdom.  He secured from the kind a good site for a mission school building and a generous donation of money toward the erection of the same. 

Alexander Tison was born in St. Louis county, Missouri, December 23, 1857, and lived there until September, 1872, when he came to Olivet, Michigan, to prepare for college.  Olivet was his home for eleven years.  He here completed the preparatory course in two years and entering the classical course of the college in 1874 graduated with the class of 1878.  He taught Latin and was the college librarian from 1878 to 1883 inclusive.  In October, 1883, he entered the Harvard Law School at Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he spent three years and received the degree of Master of Arts and also that of Bachelor of Laws.  In July of that year he went to New York city and entered a law office.  In the autumn of 1885 he was admitted to the bar of this state by the supreme court at Lansing, while he was admitted to the bar of New York in 1887, after spending one year as a student in the office of the late James C. Carter, Esq.  He continued in general practice in the city until February, 1889, when the Japanese government, through President Elliott, of Harvard, called him to become the professor of English and American law in the Imperial University of Japan at Tokio.  He accepted and remained from March, 1889, until January, 1894, lecturing in English to five successive classes of Japanese students in law and political science.  These were in large part picked men and came from all parts of the empire.  As graduates they have made their mark in all departments of the national life of Japan.  Some of them he numbers among his warmest personal friends. 

Because of the existence at that time of what was called ex-territorial rights in favor of the various treaty powers having diplomatic relations with Japan, he had, during his residence in Tokio, the opportunity to practice his professional as well as teaching it.  He practiced as a lawyer in the United States Consular courts in Yokohama and Kobe and, through the kindness of Her Brittanic Majesty�s Judge for Japan, was granted the status and privileges of a British barrister, which enabled him to have a part as counsel in the practice of the British courts throughout the county.  This practice in the foreign courts of Japan was varied, interesting, and profitable, while at the same time it helped to keep him proficient while away from his office in New York.  In January, 1894, he left Japan for New York, by way of China, India, Egypt, Palestine, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Holland, Belgium, France and England.  He was nearly a year on the way and reached America late in 1894.  Soon after his return he was married in New York to Annie H. Stevens, of Boston, Massachusetts, and they have three children, two sons and a daughter.  Since his return he has lived in New York City and practiced his profession there.  His practice is general in its nature and has led him to make four visits to Japan upon legal business within the past eight years. 

If he has any specialty in his practice it may be said to grow out of his knowledge of Japanese persons and conditions by reason of which he has been put into pleasant relations with the great merchants in Japan and some of the most progressive capitalists of New York. 

For his work at the Imperial University at Tokio and his subsequent association with the investment of American capital in Japanese business enterprises, it has pleased the Emperor of Japan to confer upon him two decorations, the first being the �Order of the Sacred Treasure� and the second the �Order of the Rising Sun.� 

John Henry Barrows was born in a log cabin about five miles from Medina in Lenawee county, Michigan, July 11, 1847.  In 1860 the family moved to Olivet, his father being made professor of natural science and his mother the matron of the boarding hall.  The next seven years of his life were spent in study there, where he was graduated from the classical course in 1867, in the first class of men graduated from the college.  He spent a year in study at the divinity school at Yale, another year at the Union Theological Seminary in New York and finally finished his theological course at Andover.  In 1869 the family moved to Arvonia, Kansas, where he devoted some time to farming, while he preached and lectured in the village and adjoining towns.  He started a literary society, secured a course of lectures and wrote articles on educational topics for the papers.  In 1871 he was elected superintendent of schools of Osage county.  The population was gathered from all parts of this and many foreign countries, making his experience with all these classes very amusing.  In 1872 he supplied for a time the pulpit in Springfield, Illinois, but his health failed and he made a voyage to Europe, sailing July 21, 1873, remaining six months.  This was the first of several trips to Europe.  On the voyage out he made the acquaintance of Miss Sarah Eleanor Mole, of Williamstown, Massachusetts, who subsequently became his wife.  During his European trips he became acquainted with  many of the leading preachers and teachers in England, France and Germany.  On his return he was ordained in Lawrence, Massachusetts, April 19, 1875.  His first pastorate was over the Elliott church in Lawrence and continued five years.  He then accepted a call to the Maverick church in East Boston but had not been there a year before he was called to the First Presbyterian church in Chicago.  The Maverick church was unwilling to let him go as they were in debt $33,000 but the Chicago church offered $5,000 toward paying the debt and with this leverage the debt was soon raised and he accepted the call to Chicago and began a pastorate of seventeen busy years.  During this time he delivered seventy addresses before twenty different colleges.  Fourteen of his addresses were published in pamphlet form.  In 1890 he was made chairman of a committee on which representatives of fifteen different denominations were found, to make arrangements for a parliament of religions to be held in connection with the World�s Columbian Exposition.  The leading object of this parliament was to bring together in conference, for the first time in history, the leading representatives of the great historic religions of the world, the Brahman, Buddhist, Confucian, Parsee Mohammedan, Jewish and other faiths, and of the different denominations of Christians.  It was no small task to secure harmony among men of such a variety of opinions.  In speaking of it afterwards, he says:  �I had to toil for an unprecedented achievement with the General Assembly of my own church, forty infallible religious editors, the Sultan of Turkey, and the Archbishop of Canterbury pulling hard on my clerical coat tails.�  But the parliament was a success and moved off with hardly a jar. 

Dr. Barrows with the author of seven books.  

The parliament of religions awakened so much interest that a member of his congregation (Mrs. Caroline E. Haskell), was led to give to the University of Chicago $20,000 to found a lectureship on comparative religion.  Her design was to have the income from this sum devoted from time to time to sending talented lecturers to India to deliver six or more lectures on the Christian religion in Calcutta and if deemed best in Bombay, Madras or other prominent city of India.  Dr. Barrows was the first lecturer to go to India on this foundation.  He and Mrs. Barrows arrived in Bombay December 16, 1896 and received a most cordial welcome from Hindus, Jains, Parsees, Brahmos, and Christians.  He delivered several lectures in Benares, twenty-two addresses in Calcutta, and had several long conversations with prominent men.  He also visited several mission stations and gave addresses there. 

On his return to this country he was invited to the presidency of Oberlin College, which he accepted and was the inspiration of a movement that resulted in adding $600,000 to the endowment of the college, together with some new buildings.  His work there lasted but three and a half years, when he was taken with pleuro-pneumonia and other complications.  He died June 3, 1902, in his fifty-fifth year.

Back to the table of contents

CHAPTER XI

RELIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS - Early Churches - Congregational Churches - Methodist Episcopal Churches - Camp-Meetings Grounds - Baptist churches - United Brethren Church - Catholic Church - Episcopal Church - German Brethren or Dunkard Church


EARLY CHURCHES

The larger log houses of the early settlers, with extemporaneous seats of boards and chairs, were the first places of worship in the county. A log shanty in Bellevue is said to have been the first meeting-house built in the county and this also served the purpose of school-house and town hall. when log schoolhouses were built, services were held in them. when the farms were cleared and the settlers had secured homes for themselves, good houses of worship were erected that cost no small amount of labor and self-denial. the ministers who, through the years between 1835 and 1850, threaded their way through the forests of this country on foot or on horseback, fording the streams to meet their appointments, many miles apart, have nearly all gone to their reward.

In 1833, at the house of Reuben Fitzgerald, in Bellevue, Rev. John D. Pierce, a Congregational minister from Marshall, delivered the first sermon ever heard in Eaton county. Mr. Pierce was the first superintendent of public instruction in the state, and we are more indebted to him than to anyone else in the state for shaping our excellent system of public schools; also for outlining the work of the university. a full-length portrait of him adorns the walls of the reading room of Olivet college. In 1834 the Methodists organized the first church in the county. the second was organized by the Congregationalists in Vermontville, February 28, 1838, and was followed, October 7, in the same year, by the Griffith Methodist Episcopal church, on the south line of Hamlin township. In 1840 the Methodists of Eaton Rapids organized the fourth church in the county. A brief review of the several denominations of the county follows, but inability to obtain the facts in regard to some of them prevents in those cases extended notice.

Back to the table of contents

CONGREGATIONAL CHURCHES

The Congregational church in Vermontville was organized February 28, 1838, by Rev. Sylvanus Cochrane, one of the leading colonists of Vermontville.  He preached for a time in the large log house of Deacon Church.  When a log school-house was built the congregation met there for worship.  In 1844 a two story frame building was erected for an academy, the upper story being fitted up for a chapel, and the building is still used for the latter purpose.  The present house of worship was built in 1864, during the pastorate of Rev. O. H. Spoor.  During the pastorate of Rev. David Beaton, in 1886, a lot was purchased and a commodious parsonage was erected upon it at a cost of $2,000.  It is the oldest Congregational church in the county.

The Eaton Rapids Congregational church was organized July 13, 1843, by Rev. Joseph Smith, who was pastor for only about two years, but lived in Eaton Rapids until his death, in 1867.  After the close of his pastorate, for about ten years, the church had only occasional services.  In 1855 Rev. John S. Kidder became pastor, and the church as ever since steadily maintained its church life.  It occupied a small unfinished house of worship of its own for the first time, October 30, 1846.  It stood about three blocks south of its present location.  In 1855 the building was completed, and in 1860 it was removed to its present site and greatly enlarged and improved.  But on the night of January 6, 1877, it was burned down and the present neat brick edifice was erected on the ground where it stood. 

The Congregational church in Olivet was organized with seventeen members by a council that convened at the house of George Andrus in Olivet, March 20, 1845.  At first its services were held in private houses.  When the first college building was erected, the upper story was fitted up for a chapel and the church worshiped there.  The next place of worship was in a chapel across the east end of Colonial Hall, the building now used for a gymnasium, and which stood about the middle of the college campus and opposite Shipherd Hall.  In 1852 it united with the college in building a house of worship, which, in 1865, was enlarged by adding several feet to the length and putting under the whole a basement story.  In 1894 college and church united in the erection of a beautiful house of worship of field stone, containing some five hundred sittings.  The very superior organ within cost $5,000. 

In 1851 a man, named Joseph Dunton, made his appearance in the county, lecturing upon mesmerism and preaching.  Some religious interest was awakened in the western part of the town of Carmel, which resulted in the organization of a church with seven members, and it was called �The Congregational church of Christ in Carmel.�  It met for worship in the Ellis school-house, situated a few rods north of the present Congregational church in Carmel.  It had occasional preaching by Prof. E. N. Bartlett, of Olivet college, and Rev. W. U. Benedict, of Vermontville.  In 1852 it changed its place of worship to the court house in Charlotte, and its name to the �First Congregational church of Charlotte.�  On New Year�s day, 1854, Wolcott B. Williams, a recent graduate of Oberlin college, began his ministry here, and was ordained by a council that convened in the old court house February 3, 1854; he remained pastor for thirteen years.  In 1856 the society erected, at the south end of Bostwick avenue on the lot now occupied by the resident of J. M. C. Smith, a frame house of worship at an expense of $1,275, for house and lot.  It had two hundred and fifty sittings, and was innocent of vestibule, bell and steeple.  By outsiders it was dubbed �The Basswood Church.�  It was, however, the first house of worship in Charlotte, and at the time there was no other one within ten miles.  In 1873 the society erected its present house of worship, which was not fully completed until 1881, and which cost about $35,000, exclusive or organ and bell.

The Congregational church of Grand Ledge was not organized until 1864.  Rev. W. P. Esler was the organizer and the church had four original members.  It now reports one hundred and seventy members, with one hundred and twenty-five in the Sunday-school.  It built a meeting house in 1866, with two hundred sittings, at a cost of $2,000.  In 1904 a new church was erected at a cost of $6,000.

Back to the table of contents

METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCHES

The Griffith Methodist Episcopal church, in Hamlin, although a country church, in a remote part of the county and but little known, is really one of the oldest religious organizations in the county.  The first religious meetings held in the neighborhood were conducted by local preachers at the house of Stephen Reynolds.  Those were days of boundless hospitality, and Mr. Reynolds seems to have kept a veritable �minister�s tavern.�  At one time he had three local preachers and their families living in his house, vis.:  Revs. William Crane, Truman Barr, and Turner.  It is said that thirty-two persons lodged at Mr. Reynolds� at one time.  It is not strange that such a household should have felt the need of religious services at least once a week, nor that, with so many preachers on hand, Mr. Reynolds should have been able to secure them.  In 1836 the Michigan conference was held in Mansfield, Ohio, and it sent a missionary by the name of Kinnean into these parts.  In 1839, the conference met in Detroit and sent, as a missionary, Rev. Washington Jackson, who moved into his field with his family and lived in the house with the Blodgetts, where three families have been living before their arrival.  Mr. Jackson preached at different houses in the Griffith neighborhood.  The service was fortnightly, alternating with Grand Rapids, some eighty miles distant.  He went to his appointments on foot and held meetings at intermediate points on the way.  His first station west of Griffith�s seems to have been the house of Jonathan Sarles, two miles southeast of Charlotte.  In 1838 the conference sent David Thomas as preacher, who, on October 7 of that year, organized a class of fourteen members, and about the same time another class of seven members was organized at Truman Barr�s; these two classes were soon after merged into one.  In 1840 meetings were held in a school-house.  In February, 1855, the society had the pleasure of worshiping in their own sanctuary. 

In 1838, Rev. E. H. Pilcher was presiding elder, and with the exception of Bellevue, the Methodist work in Eaton county was known as �The Ingham Mission Belonging to the Marshall District.�  This mission embraced the west half of Ingham county.  Rev. Washington Jackson was preacher, and conducted services at the house of Jonathan Sarles.  In 1839 Rev. Isaac Bennett was pastor and held services in the new court-room in the hewn log tavern, known as �The Eagle Hotel,� that stood where the Phenix now stands.  It is supposed that he performed the first marriage ceremony in Charlotte, the parties being Rollo Cushing and Susan Sarles.  In 1841 Rev. Levi Warner was preacher, and the meetings were transferred to a hewn log building, sixteen by twenty feet, that stood just east of the Pythian Temple, and which, according to the exigency of the times, did service as a school-house, printing office, chapel, and dwelling.  In that year a class was organized with David Darwin Hughes, who later became a distinguished lawyer, as leader.  The next place of meeting was in a block school-house on the corner, just east of the boarding house of Mr. Bush.  In 1846 the court house was built, and for some thirteen years the people met there for worship.  In 1859 the society erected a brick church, forty by sixty feet.  During the pastorate of Rev. C. S. Fox this building was enlarged by putting a transept across the south end and carrying out a vestibule and a steeple in front. 

In 1904 the present beautiful structure was erected at a cost of about $40,000.  It is the most expensive and beautiful church in the county. 

In 1840 Rev. Isaac Bennett was pastor in charge and organized a class in Eaton Rapids with nine members.  During the pastorate of Rev. W. E. Bigelow, in 1845, the church erected a small frame building there for a meeting house; it was not finished, however, until 1855.  In 1882 the society erected its present and beautiful house of worship at the expense of about $15,000. 

The first Methodist meeting in Grand Ledge was held in 1851 by Rev. John Clayton, an earnest local preacher.  The meeting was at the house of one Adam Smith.  In 1852, the present Grand Ledge charge belonged to the Ionia circuit, and O. Whitmore and A. R. Bartlett were preachers.  No record shows the number in class at that date.  Its house of worship, built of brick, is furnished with a town clock.

Back to the table of contents

CAMP MEETING GROUNDS

Eaton Rapids has the only camp meeting ground in the county.  It consists of thirty-three acres lying on the right bank of Grand river, a short distance above the city, and is owned by the Methodists.  The ground was originally covered with oak and other timber and many of the trees are still left standing.  Near the entrance is an office; there is also a hotel of two stories, twenty by forty feet, with two wings, each twenty by sixty feet, and a dormitory twenty by thirty feet, also two stories high.  The auditorium will seat about one thousand persons and by opening the sides about as many more can hear from the outside.  The Epworth League has a chapel, twenty by fifty fee square.  The camp meeting lasts about ten days.  Some of the cottagers occupy the grounds a few days before the meeting opens and about one-half of the cottages are occupied for several weeks afterward by families who find it a pleasant place to take their summer outing.  Boats are furnished for those who wish to go boating and fishing.

Back to the table of contents

BAPTIST CHURCHES

February 22, 1845, Calvin Race, Ann Race, Henry R. Jeffries, Mary L. Jeffries, Timothy Wheeler, Asenath Wheeler, Ann Arnold and Samuel Ferris, met and organized themselves into the First Baptist church of Eaton Rapids, by adopting articles of faith and entering into covenant with each other.  On the 17th of the following April it was recognized by council.  For three years the church was supplied by different ministers, among them Rev. J. C. Post and Elder Hill.  The first building occupied by the church is the present upright part of the old Dr. S. M. Wilkins house, next to the present edifice.  In 1859, under the pastorate of Rev. H. G. Mosher, a frame meeting-house was erected on the present site.  This was extensively repaired in 1878, under the supervision of Rev. J. M. Titterington.  It was again enlarged and remodeled in 1890, under the pastorate of Rev. J. P. Farmer. 

In 1851, Mrs. Esther Sarles, Julia Pierce, and Mary Rager, were, so far as known, the only Baptists living in the vicinity of Charlotte, and in 1852 they secured a visit from Elder John Tampkins, who preached in the old log building known as the Ells schoolhouse, in Carmel, and then and there were recognized as the Baptist conference of Carmel.  In 1855 they changed their place of meeting to the court house in Charlotte, seven new members being added to their number, and these ten were recognized as the first Baptist church in Charlotte; and the services of Elder Tampkins were secured for one-half of the time.  For several years, services were held in the old court house, the Congregational church and in Carmel Hall.  In 1869 a frame building was erected for a house of worship.  In 1882 it was enlarged, veneered with brick and a spire added, and more recently it has been still further improved and decorated. 

The Baptist church of Grand Ledge was organized in the Johnson settlement, four miles west of Grand Ledge, by Rev. S. A. Cusner, in 1851 (one authority says 1863).  There was also a small society of the same faith in Eagle, in Ionia county, and in 1871 these united and changed their place of meeting to Grand Ledge and built a meeting house there.

Back to the table of contents

UNITED BRETHREN

The first United Brethren church of Eaton county was organized in Walton by Rev. Ross.  It had five members.  In 1877 they built a church at a cost of $800.  It has a seating capacity for 200 persons.  They have also a $400 parsonage. 

In 1864 those of that faith organized a church in Charlotte.  Their present edifice, a neat brick structure, was built in 1874, largely by the efforts of Elder Titus, at a cost of $3,000. 

In 1872 the United Brethren attempted to build a small brick church in Potterville, and laid the foundations and gathered some materials, but the leader became discouraged and called on Rev. W. B. Williams, then superintendent of missions, and requested him to organize a Congregational church and take the foundation and materials on the ground and go forward and complete the edifice, and this was done. 

Since then they have rallied and built a brick meeting house in Potterville. 

In 1885 the United Brethren built a brick house of worship in Mulliken, but before it was paid for dissensions arose and the building was advertised for sale to pay debts incurred in its erection; and Rev. Leroy Warren, then superintendent of missions, was invited to organize a Congregational church in Mulliken and take the meeting house, on condition of settling all claims against a the property.  This he did, organizing a church of eleven members, and securing a liberal grant from the Congregational church building society, he became personally responsible for the balance of the claims.

Back to the table of contents

CATHOLIC CHURCHES

In 1851 there were, so far as known, not more than a half-dozen Catholic families in Eaton county, and only two or three in Charlotte, and for several years thereafter no services were held in Charlotte; but during the time Patrick McDonald and wife went once a year to Marshall to attend worship, and they finally persuaded Rev. P. C. Koopmans to visit Charlotte occasionally and celebrate mass in Mr. McDonald�s house.  The building of the Chicago & Grand Truck railroad brought many more Catholics to the town, and in, 1868, Rev. C. M. Frain, with the assistance of Mr. McDonald, raised money to erect, upon a lot donated by the priest and situated on the high ground in the northern outskirts of the city, a modest edifice, with a seating capacity of two hundred.  In this effort they were generously aided by the Protestants.  In 1892 Rev. F. Broegger, of Hastings, was in charge of the parish, and raised money to purchase the site upon which the present church was built, in 1893, through the agency of Rev. P. Langhorn.  In this effort also they gratefully acknowledge the liberal aid of the Protestants. 

In the spring of 1891, the Catholics of Eaton Rapids, under the lead of Rev. Francis Broegger, of Hastings, bought the property of the Episcopal society in Eaton Rapids, put it in repair and furnished it, and in September of that year it was consecrated by Bishop Foley, of Detroit.

Back to the table of contents


EPISCOPAL CHURCHES 

In 1846 Rev. Luman Foote began holding the services of the Protestant Episcopal church in the old court house in Charlotte, and continued them for six years.  Then, for twenty years, there were only occasional services.  In 1872 a mission was organized under the name of St. John�s mission of Charlotte, subject to the visitation of Bishop Samuel McCoskry, of Detroit, and occasional services were held by Rev. G. P. Schetky and Rev. G. E. Peters.  In 1873 a wing of the old court house was bought and fitted up for a chapel.  The Rev. J. L. Taylor took charge of the mission as permanent rector, in the spring of 1874, and continued services in Charlotte and Eaton Rapids four years.  In 1877 Bishop Gillespie changed the name of the mission to that of �Grace Mission, Charlotte.�  On the retirement of Mr. Taylor services were suspended for several years, but in 1887, they were renewed by Rev. J. W. Bancroft and for two years were held by him and Orr Schurtz, a lay reader.  In 1889 the present house of worship was built and Rev. Van Antwerp served as rector for one year.  Rev. M. H. Martin served as rector from 1891 to 1894.

Back to the table of contents

THE GERMAN BRETHREN CHURCH

This church, located in Sunfield and sometimes known as the Dunkard church, is the only one of this denomination in the county.  One of the peculiar tenets of this organization is its opposition to a salaried pastor.  They are also opposed to recording the statistics of churches, as they think it savors of pride.  During the past year the church as made several contributions for benevolent objects, of which no record has been kept.  The denomination supports missions in Canada, India, Denmark, Sweden, and Germany. 

Ever since 1853 there has been occasional liberal preaching in Charlotte by Unitarian and Universalist clergymen.  For some months Rev. J. Pardee, a Unitarian minister, held services here regularly.  In 1870 a Universalist society was organized.  Rev. James Gorton was the first resident Universalist minister.  He began his ministry in Charlotte in 1881.  In 1889 the society was reorganized with seventy members.

Back to the table of contents

CHURCHES AND HOUSES OF WORSHIP

The foregoing are some of the pioneer efforts of the different denominations in the county.  Our scope does not permit us to go into an account of every church organization.  There are seventy-four houses of worship in the county, and the following list shows how they are distributed among the different denominations. 

Methodist Episcopal ...������������..21

Congregational���������������..13

United Brethren���������������.11

Free Methodist������������..��..   5

Adventist ��������������..��..   5

Baptist ���������������..��..   4

Protestant Methodist ����������...��   4

Universalist ��������������...�..   3

Union Churches������������...��   2

Protestant Episcopal ����������...�.. .   1

Dunkard  ��������������......�..   1

Presbyterian ������������......��    2

Catholic ��������������......�..    2

                                                                                    __

      Total                                                                      74

 The town of Sunfield has eleven church edifices, which is more than there is in any other township in the county.

Back to the table of contents

CHAPTER XII

THE COUNTY PRESS - Eaton County Gazette - Eaton Bugle - Eaton Republican - Charlotte Leader - Grand Ledge Times - Potterville Press - Dimondale News - Sunfield Sentinel - Eaton Rapids Journal - Grand Ledge Independent - Mulliken News - Bellevue Gazette - Charlotte Tribune


THE EATON COUNTY GAZETTE

The first paper published in the county was called the Eaton County Gazette, established by Warren Isham and the first number was issued January 1, 1843.  It was five column folio, sixteen by twenty-four inches.  The subscription price was $1.50 per annum.  The office was in the old Eagle Hotel.  It contained nothing whatever of local news, and the patronage, which was exceedingly limited, came mostly from Bellevue.  After struggling for an existence for about six months it was discontinued.

Back to the table of contents

THE EATON BUGLE

The venture was not, however, discouraging to others for on March 26, 1845, a second paper known as The Eaton Bugle, neutral only in politics, made its appearance, published by William Johnston, Esq., a lawyer from Richland county, Ohio.  Mr. Johnston was a fluent speaker, and lectured through Eaton county on temperance.  His paper was ably conducted, but succumbed to circumstances a year after its first number was issued, and Mr. Johnston returned to Ohio, where he became distinguished as an eloquent campaigner.  It is said that after the Bugle was discontinued, probably in 1846, William Martin, of Marshall, started a small sheet here know as The Eaton County Democrat, which was very short lived.

Back to the table of contents

THE EATON COUNTY REPUBLICAN

In 1847, a paper called The Eaton Democrat, was started in Eaton Rapids by L. W. McKinney and was afterwards published by Judge Ezra D. Burr.  The election of 1854 was very gratifying to the republicans, and they agreed to raise $200 to aid the parties who should establish a party organ in the county.  The office of The Eaton Democrat was purchased and the press and material removed to Charlotte; a rude board shanty was erected in the midst of winter, and the printing office was established in it.  The weather was so severe, and the wood so green that it was almost impossible to work, but January 6, 1855, the first number was issued, to the gratification of patrons and proprietors.  It was called The Eaton County Republican, and Mr. Edward A. Foote was the choice of the republicans for editor and he was regarded as its founder.  His associate was Mr. Mark H. Marsh, a practical printer, afterwards connected with the Evening News of Detroit.  Mr. Foote conducted the paper through four volumes and seven numbers and sold it February 12, 1859, to Joseph Saunders, who relates his experience as editor in the following language: 

�During the first few years of my connection with the paper it was hard work for me, but my wife greatly assisted me, going to Jackson, Marshall, and Battle Creek to procure advertisements and secure pay for them, which met the wants of a growing family.  The white paper came from Detroit to Marshall by railroad, and from thence to Charlotte by �Force�s express.�  Occasionally there was a failure to connect, and then a journey must be made to Marshall with a horse and buggy to procure paper for the coming issue.  On one occasion I rode all night to procure five quires of paper rather than to disappoint my subscribers.  The legal advertising was the main dependence for money, many of the subscribers paying in produce.  We always had a plenty of wood and maple sugar.  The wood was reckoned at five shillings per cord and the sugar cost from six to seven cents per pound.  The first payment made to me on The Republican, was by a blink-eyed man, who lived on or beyond the �island.�  It was a cord of white beech, and when I split it up for the stove, it was found that the liquids in it had frozen to ice.  My wife declared that the cooking could never be done with such icicles, but the farms of Eaton county were generous with what they had, and very frequently presented the editor with the best products of their farms.  At the closing of the agricultural fairs it took a good sized wagon to carry home the fruits, vegetables, etc., presented.� 

Five years after taking charge of the paper, Mr. Saunders wisely adopted the advance payment rule, owing to losses he sustained on the credit system.  His subscription list was materially reduced by the change, but soon began to increase and the business was prosperous.  Two new presses were purchased to print the enlarged paper, and finally a steam power press was procured to lessen the labor of printing the large edition.  Mr. Saunders was appointed postmaster under President Lincoln�s administration, and the income from both establishments enabled him to make extensive improvements.  During his connection with the paper, Mr. Saunders was associated with numerous parties in its publication, it being conducted by Saunders and Holmes, Joseph Saunders & Co., and Capt. W. S. Trask had an interest in it at one time.  Mr. Saunders finally sold to K. Kittredge, who continued it two years and in 1877 sold to Dr. B. Ainger, who afterward received an appointment to a postmastership at Washington, D. C.  The paper then passed into the hands of S. J. Tomlinson who about two years later sold to L. B. Bissell, who after conducting it for five years sold to R. L. Warren.  Four years later it passed into the hands of H. T. McGrath, the present proprietor, who has had it for the last three years.

Back to the table of contents

THE CHARLOTTE LEADER

It is a little uncertain whether a Mr. Sanford or C. C. Chatfield was the first editor of The Charlotte Leader.  It was a Democratic sheet published at Eaton Rapids under the name of The Eaton County Argus.  It was moved to Charlotte in 1860, at which time F. W. Higby was its editor and Thornton Brothers the publishers.  Ten months later William Saunders took possession of the office, and continued its publication until 1865, when D. F. Webber became the proprietor.  He changed its name to The Charlotte Argus, and in the spring of 1868 sold to W. S. Thornton, who in June of that year admitted J. V. Johnson as a partner in the business.  The latter, after four months, purchased Thornton�s interest, and remained as manager until January 1, 1875, when Frank A. Ells became its published and change its name to The Charlotte Leader.  J. V. Johnson bought it back July 27, 1880.  He had it about two years when it came back to Ells.  In 1884 it was sold to W. G. Blymer of Defiance, Ohio, who on account of ill health sold it 1886 to Capt. G. C. Bragdon, who conducted it until October, 1895, when it was again sold to is present owner and publisher, Frank A. Ells.

Back to the table of contents

THE GRAND LEDGE TIMES

In 1886 a stock company was formed to publish The Vidette, a Greenback organ of which James Winnie was the political editor.  It ran under this management for two years, when it was sold to Charles P. Warner, who changes its name to The Graphic.  Soon after acquiring control, Mr. Warner took in as partner M. L. Phares, who later bought out Warner�s interest and became sole owner.  About seventeen years ago M. H. Gunsenhouser bought out Mr. Phares and the name was again changes to The Republican, when the sheet espoused the cause of the party its name indicated.  During this period it enjoyed the distinction of being aggressive and original, but was carelessly made up and edited.  July 1, 1902, the paper again changed name and owner.  C. W. Waring being the purchaser, and the paper thereafter being known as The Grand Ledge Times.  The paper is now a seven column quarto in size and enjoys a much greater degree of prosperity than in its earlier years.  It is independent in politics. 

Back to the table of contents

THE POTTERVILLE PRESS

The Potterville Press was established in October, 1897, by Len W. Feighner.  The editor was W. O. Hullinger, until October 5, 1899, when George C. Higdon took charge.  June 27, 1901, he was relived by Lloyd C. Feighner, brother of the owner, who edited the paper six weeks.  July 26, 1901, the plant was purchased by W. E. Warner, the present owner and editor.  It is now in its ninth year. 

Back to the table of contents

THE DIMONDALE NEWS

This paper was established October 1, 1897, by E. C. Sibley, and has enjoyed a steady growth ever since, under the same ownership.

Back to the table of contents

THE SUNFIELD SENTINEL

The Sunfield Sentinel was established in 1888 by J. C. Rounds and at that time was called The Sun.  The Sun was sold to W. J. Jenkins who was burned out in 1896.  Soon after the fire, M. L. Phares and C. J. Strang bought The Sun�s subscription list and started the paper anew, changing the name to The Sunfield Sentinel, the first issue being March 12, 1896.  The partnership of Phares and Strang continued but a short time, Phares selling out to Strang.  C. J. Strang continued the publication of the paper until November, 1898, when he leased it to J. T. Mansil, who afterwards bought it, and in 1900 sold to James H. Cramer.  The latter published The Sentinel until January 30, 1905, when he sold to Frank E. Merritt, who has continued publishing the paper up to the present time.  It is a five column quarto published on Thursday of each week.

Back to the table of contents

THE EATON RAPIDS JOURNAL

The Eaton Rapids Journal was founded by J. B. Teneyck in November, 1865, and sold to Frank C. Cully, in 1869, who, in 1874, changed the name to The Saturday Journal.  From 1876 to January 1, 1879, E. O. Brien was the published and the paper resumed its old name.  It then passed into the hands of Kendall Kittridge, who made many changes and improvements in the looks of the sheet and brought it to the front rank of county papers; he sold to Prof. Orr Schurtz.  After that the paper changes owners quite frequently; C. W. Stevens, Hendee & Fairfield, Charles T. Fairfield, E. Goodnow, O. E. Hawkins, and J. B. Hendee, being owners in the order named.  Later it came into the hands of the present owner, J. Sumner Hamlin, a former school teacher, who has kept it up to a very excellent standard.

Back to the table of contents

THE GRAND LEDGE INDEPENDENT

The Grand Ledge Independent was established in 1869, by B. F. Saunders, son of Joseph Saunders, one of the earlier publishers of the Charlotte Republican.  He induced W. C. Westland, in February, 1894, to take a half interest in the business, and for a period of three years the paper was published by the firm of Saunders & Westland.  The firm was dissolved the following May, the junior member becoming the sole proprietor.  For a time it was difficult to make the paper pay expenses, but the business men and other citizens rallied to its support and it has prospered.

Back to the table of contents

THE MULLIKEN NEWS

The Mulliken News was established in July, 1897, with S. J. Jacob as editor and W. J. Fish, publisher.  At the expiration of nine months, the paper and plant were purchased by W. J. Fish, who has managed it ever since.  It is a seven column sheet with from four to six pages, well filled with advertising matter, and has a good circulation in the northern part of the county.

Back to the table of contents

THE BELLEVUE GAZETTE

The Bellevue Gazette was established Jun 9, 1871, by Alfred Rindge, on May 29, 1873, it was bought by E. S. Hoskins, who conducted it until May 27, 1882, when G. W. Perry became owner and editor.  April 26, 1892, Willard E. Holt, its present owner, became editor and publisher.  The Gazette editors appear to be in the way of promotion; Hoskins was made secretary of the Michigan state senate, and later had a fine position at Washington, D. C.  Perry was deputy revenue collector and secretary of the Michigan press association, and Holt is postmaster and president of the Michigan postmasters� association.

Back to the table of contents

THE CHARLOTTE TRIBUNE

Upon the failure of The Potterville Enterprise, in 1887, Francis M. Potter, formerly of The Vermontville Hawk (now Echo), bought the plant, removed it to Charlotte, and, on August 17, 1887, issued the first copy of The Charlotte Tribune.  On December 1, 1887, Mr. George A. Perry bought a half interest.  The old Washington hand press was exchanged for a Prouty, this since giving way to a Cottrell.  From January 1, 1888 to May 1, 1888, Warren F. Pattison held an interest, the firm name being Perry, Potter & Pattison.  Mr. Potter retired July 1, 1889, and two months later Harry T. McGrath bought a half interest, the partnership continuing to April 1, 1904, at which time Mr. McGrath exchanged his interest in The Tribune for Mr. Perry�s interest in The Republican, which they had bought in May, 1903.  After resuming full ownership of The Tribune, Mr. Perry changed the firm name to Perry & Perry, thus recognizing Mrs. Perry�s work on the paper, which has always been much more than her own �Good Cheer� or �Home� page, a prominent feature of the paper from the first.  The Tribune has always held patriotism above partisanship and stood for the best for all as the editor saw it.  It takes front rank in the country press of the state and is recognized as one of the leading newspapers in Michigan in this field.

Back to the table of contents

THE ECHO

The Olivet college paper, �The Echo,� was founded by the students in 1888.  Its object was to give a record of current events in the college and town, of special interest, and to be a medium through which, graduate and former students, might gain information concerning the college and each other.  It is first of all a college newspaper but it also endeavors to maintain a high literary standard and welcomes within the limits of its pages the best work of the students in prose or verse and special papers from graduates, faculty, and friends. In the fall of 1892, after four years as a monthly, �The Echo,� was published bi-weekly and has so continued under a system that so far as we know is unique in the management of college papers. The editor-in-chief is given credit for a course in English for his work on the �Echo,� and is held responsible to the head of the English department.  This arrangement gives the editor time to devote to the paper and insures a high grade of work.

Back to the table of contents


THE VERMONTVILLE ECHO

The Vermontville Echo was founded in 1874 by J. C. Worcester, under the name of �The Vermontville Enterprise.�  He was followed by G. W. Hoskins for a short time,, who sold it to Kendall Kitridge.  He sold to F. M. Potter who changed the name to �The Hawk.�  The paper then passed into the hands of Holt and Knox who changed the name to �The Vermontville Echo� and ran it for a number of years when J. C. Sherman bought out Knox and the firm became Holt and Sherman.  Then Mr. Holt sold to H. B. Sherman and the firm became J. C. Sherman & Son.  H. B. Sherman sold out to this father and J. C. Sherman ran the paper a y ear alone when he sold to Henry Curtis the present owner who took possession January 1, 1903.  It is an eight page paper of six columns and is independent in politics.

Back to the table of contents

THE OLIVET ECHO

The Olivet Optic was founded April 13, 1889, by Mrs. Stella Marie Warner, on the nineteenth of the following October it was bought by the present owner, Frank N. Green, who also edits it.  It is an eight page, five column paper and is all printed in Olivet.  In connection with the paper is one of the finest job offices in the county.  All the college printing is done there.

Back to the table of contents

CHAPTER XIII

PUBLIC LANDS, BUILDINGS, INSTITUTIONS AND WORKS�Proposition of Bostwick�The County Jail�The First Court House�The New Court House�The County Farm�Cemeteries�Drains


OFFER OF BOSTWICK

On the 8th of June, 1840, Edmund B. Bostwick conveyed to the county commissioners of this county by a warranty deed the public square described by metes and bounds, and containing about an acre of ground, and the deed contains this provision, �to be used for county buildings and for no other purposes.�  There is no other clause in the deed to indicate that the square would revert to Mr. Bostwick, or his heirs if the property was used for any other purpose than for county buildings. 

Twenty-eight years later, on the fourth day of September, 1868, Mrs. Charlotte Bostwick, an executrix and devisee of Bostwick, by a quit claim deed conveyed to H. I. Lawrence all the interest her husband, Edmund Bostwick, devised to her.  It was in this way that Mr. Lawrence acquired a residuary interest in our public square.

Back to the table of contents

THE COUNTY JAIL

The early settlers were not all saints.  Some black sheet got in among the flock at an early day, or some unable to withstand temptation, and it was occasionally found necessary to exercise restraint.  Bellevue at an early date was practically the county seat of the county.  Some of the settlers, who were boys in those days, tell us that a man from that place who was sent to buy goods skipped out with the money, but was pursued, brought back and was confined to a room in a large building called �The Arsenal.�  The window was grated, but was not regarded as very strong, so an iron band was fastened around the waist of the prisoner, to which a strong chain was attached, and the other end made secure.  The boys used to go to the barred window and look in to see the prisoner in chains.  He was on hand, however, when wanted for trial.  This was the initial movement in the community in the handling of the criminal class. 

The county commissioners at their session in 1841 passed the following:  �Resolved to allow William Stoddard twenty-five dollars per year, for five years, from the 15th day of May next, as rent for two rooms, each fifteen feet by twelve square, with sufficient fireplaces or stoves to warm the same; said rooms to be sufficiently secure for a jail; that when the county shall have no use for said rooms as a prison or jail, said Stoddard shall have the use of said rooms gratis; provided said rooms are ready for use by the first day of  the circuit court for the county of Eaton next.  And the commissioners further resolve, that twenty-five dollars of said rent is to be paid to said Stoddard in advance, as soon as he shall have the body of said building erected.� 

But during the year 1842 it became evident that some more secure place must be provided for prisoners, and in September the supervisors appointed William Stoddard, Alonzo Baker, and A. D. Shaw a committee to draft a plan for a jail, and receive proposals for building the same, and submit them to the board for approval.  In January, 1843, the subject was again taken up, and it was finally resolved to submit the question to the people at their coming town meetings.  Before the session closed, the sum of four dollars was allowed to W. S. Fairfield for building a temporary jail, which must indeed have been an imposing affair.  In July, 1843, William Stoddard was allowed five dollars for furnishing jail.  At this time Austin Blair, afterwards governor of the state, was clerk of the board. 

In the fall of 1846 the committee presented plans for a �jail of hewn timber,� and it was resolved that the county proceed to build one after the plans submitted, out of funds due the treasurer and not otherwise appropriated, and the building was to be ready by September 1, 1847.  This jail was a long two story building, the jail proper being in the eastern end, while the western end was the sheriff�s residence.  The jail part was made of hewn hardwood timber about ten inches square, set on end and fastened together with dowell pins, the floors and ceiling were made of the same materials and fastened in the same manner.  There were two cells about ten by fifteen feet square, with a hallway between them and above them was a single cell designed for women, but which appears not to have been very popular as it was little used.  The building was small and cost but a few hundred dollars; it stood very nearly on the ground occupied by the present jail and was used until it was entirely unfit for its purpose. 

In 1867 at the January session of the supervisors, they resolved to submit to the voters of the county, on the first Monday of the following April, a proposition to raise eight thousand dollars for the purpose of building a jail and a house for the jailer, one-half to be raised in the year 1867 and the other half in the year 1868.  The voters refused to sanction the tax. 

A month later at the October session of the supervisors in 1868 Mr. Lawrence presented to them a diagram of the public square and proposed that they release to him the public square on which the court house stands, and the lot on which the brick office of Dr. Rand and the commissioner of the poor now stands, and in return he would deed to the county residuary interest in the lots marked on the diagram �jail lot,� and �court house lot,� and the buildings thereon and also that he would give the county the sum of $8,000 towards the erection of a new court house with county offices attached to be located on the aforesaid square, $4,000 to be paid without interest, when such building or buildings are entirely completed, said building or buildings to cost not less than $8,000.  This diagram has disappeared, and the offer was not accepted, for in 1871, Mr. Lawrence offered to release to the county his interest in the west half of the public square, and pay the county the sum of $12,000; provided the county transferred to him its interest in the east half of the said square, and the lot four in block 24 on which the offices of the county treasurer and register of deeds are located.  This offer was accepted by the supervisors; provided the preliminaries could be satisfactorily adjusted.  A committee consisting of Osmum Chappell, Earl T. Church, and John Dow, was appointed to negotiate and make the sale, on certain conditions, which cover more than a page of the records.  From the fact that among these conditions is one that provides that two alleys twenty feet in width shall be reserved, one from the middle of the square on Harris avenue, and the other from the middle of the square on Bostwick avenue to intersect each other in the center of the square, we conclude that Mr. Lawrence�s first offer was to give $8,000 for three quarters of the square and the lot on which Dr. Rand�s office stands, and he would transfer to the county his residuary interest in the northwest quarter of the square.  As we find no further record of his second proposition, we conclude that the preliminaries could not be satisfactorily adjusted, and the whole fell through. 

At the January session in 1870, the supervisors resolved that the proposition for raising by tax, fifteen thousand dollars for the purpose of building a jail and jailer�s residence for the county of Eaton, he submitted to the voters on the first Monday in the following April.  The result showed that the voters did not approve of this tax.  There was evidently some misunderstanding the confusion in the votes cast, therefore the supervisors resolved to submit the proposition to the voters again in April, 1871.  This time the proposition was carried by a majority of one thousand five hundred and fifty-two of the electors.  E. T. Church, E. S. Lacey and A. D. Shaw were appointed a committee to secure plans and specifications for the jail and jailer�s residence.  These gentlemen were subsequently made the building committee, and under their supervision the present commodious and elegant building was erected.  It was completed in 1873.  It is built of red brick in tasteful style, and the first cost was about $16,000.  A few years later, a steel lining was put on the inside of the walls.  A year ago a steel cage about ten by sixteen feet square was built in the upper story of the jail.  In it were placed bunks for four prisoners and it was thought to be secure.  The first night it was used three men were put in and all were outside the jail in the morning; since then two have been put in and they were out before morning.

Back to the table of contents

THE FIRST COURT HOUSE

The first court house built in the county was a small building twenty by twenty-four feet erected and still standing in Bellevue.  The courts were held in it for several years, but in 1840 the county business was removed from Bellevue to the house of William Stoddard in Charlotte (the old Eagle Hotel).  The old building in Bellevue was enlarged by erecting in front of it another building of the same size and the whole was converted into a two-roomed school house.

Back to the table of contents

OLD EAGLE HOTEL

In October, 1844, the supervisors appropriated $500 toward building a court house, which was to be located two rods east of the west line of the public square, and in the center from north to south, and was to be built according to a plan presented by Millett & Scout.  The dimensions were to be twenty-four by forty-two feet, with the feet posts and the ceiling of the room was to be arched; there were to be also two wings eighteen by fourteen feet to be used for jury rooms.  The whole must not exceed in cost $750.  The finishing of the building was delayed for a year or two. 

According to the Eaton Eagle the entire cost proved to be nearly $1,000.  Shortly before the court house was completed, John P. Reznor, of Ohio, purchased a bell and sent it on at an expense of over $200, donating it to the county if they would hang it on the building.  A motion was made by some member of the board of supervisors, in October, 1845, to construct a belfry on the house and hang the bell therein; this proposition was rejected by the board in a vote of nine to seven.  Some of those who voted against it actually gave as a reason for so doing that their were too far away to hear the bell ring, and it would benefit no place but Charlotte.  William Johnston, the editor of the Bugle, became indignant, and through his paper soundly rated the supervisors for their action.  It was not until after much discussion by the board that the belfry was built and the bell hung.  The final resolution to add the belfry was adopted January 6, 1846, by a vote of nine to six.  A vote of thanks was also tendered to Mr. Reznor for his donation, and to S. E. Millett for the interest taken by him in securing to this county the bell proffered by J. P. Reznor.  The old court house was used until 1867 when it was moved to the east side of Cochran avenue, and converted into an Episcopal chapel.  It has since been removed to the rear of the residence of F. Z. Hamilton and used for a store room, shop and stable.  In January, 1867, the supervisors made arrangements to hold the sessions of the circuit court in Sampson Hall while the new court house was in building.  The old bell is now stored in the basement of the public library building.

Back to the table of contents

THE NEW COURT HOUSE

In January, 1882, the supervisors voted to submit the question of building a court house to the electors of the county if the city of Charlotte will give a bonus of $5000 toward it.  The next day $5,000 was stricken out and a �reasonable amount� substituted.  This action was undoubtedly prompted by an informal offer of citizens of Eaton Rapids to put up and give to the county the court house if that town was made the county seat.  Judge F. A. Hooker, Amos Munson, and Gary Fox were made a committee to secure plans for a new court house.  The supervisors also submitted to the electors the question whether they would raise $40,000 to put up the building.  At the election in April, 1882, there was a decided majority in favor of raising that amount for the purpose, and the supervisors authorized the building of a courthouse at a cost not exceeding $40,000.  A K. Warren, Frank A. Hooker, James Gallery, Charles Hull and George N. Potter, were appointed a building committee.  It soon became evident that $40,000 would not be sufficient to complete the building according to the plan adopted, and the supervisors voted not to confine the committee to the $40,000 voted, and the treasurer was authorized to draw on the general fund after the building fund was exhausted, and $6,000 was appropriated for furnishing the building. 

On the fourth of July, 1894, when the firemen were on an excursion to another town, painters were at work on the cornice of the court house, and using a lamp to burn off the old paint.  At five o�clock in the afternoon the building was found to be on fire; the flames made rapid progress, and the dome, tower clock and bell came down with a crash.  The woodwork was burned, and the spectators saw fireworks on a scale that had not been anticipated.  The walls sufferance but little injury, and the occupants of the several offices had plenty of time to put their records and important papers into their vaults, where they were uninjured, temporary roofs were erected over them and business went on as usual. 

Miss Josephine Johnson, one of our poets, describes the burning thus: 

From its place in the beautiful court house tower,

Where it patiently noted the minute and hour,

With its tic, tick, tock�

Through the summer and winter by night and by day,

Going steadily on in its roundabout way,

Its hands chasing each other like children at play,

Lighted up in the night, like a pumpkin-man gay,

Looked the fine old clock.

 

Ah! how little we dreamed that this stead old friend,

Was to have such a sad, such a tragical end,

            By the terrible fire.

Like a sneaking assassin the tiny flames creep,

And ere long out of ambush they cautiously creep,

Then more rapidly growing, right onward they sweep,

And soon under full headway they hungrily leap,

            Upward, higher and higher

 

In an instant the crowd, on a holiday gay,

With alarm cry aloud, or are dumb with dismay;

            While the clock never tires,

But as steady as ever, its hands their course take,

And not wishing its record of honor to break,

Though the fierce flames around it a holocaust make,

Like a faithful old martyr who sung at the stake,

            It strikes six and expires.

 

�Tis a lesson for us in these troublesome days,

Asking help of the Lord, let each vote as he prays,

            And together unit�

�Mid the fires of class hatred that threaten our land,

With the strikers so bold, and the anarchist band,

Satan quick to give work to the unemployed hand,

With true courage and hope, like the clock let us stand,

            And strike for the right. 

It is needless to say that by the aid of the insurance the building was promptly repaired.  While it was being repaired as well as while it was in building, courts were held in Sampson Hall.

Back to the table of contents

COST OF THE COURT HOUSE

In 1885, at the October session of the board of supervisors, Judge Hooker in behalf of the building committee, made a final report of the cost of building and furnishing the new court house, as follows: 

Cost of court house��������$49,739.39

Architect������������.   2,816.85

Electric bells�����������     156.00

Repairing same����������       25.00

Clock and bell����������.   2,354.49

Electric clocks����������      112.50

Furnishing ����..$5,474.86

P. Ihling on boxes,          $14.45���.   5,489.31

Plumbing ������������   2,192.00

Heating court house and jail ����.     4,014.29

Finishing basement��������.    3,206.63

Bath tub, etc., at jail�������...    1,011.55

Cleaning (paid Fullerton)����.�            10.00

Treasurer�s receipt��������..            .35

                                                                 _________

                                                              $71.306.79 

Some eight pages of the records of the supervisors are taken up with more full explanations of the several items. 

The citizens of Charlotte, by private subscription, raised the money to buy the clock and bell for the court house that was burned. 

At the meeting of the supervisors January 8, 1884, they voted �that the court house building committee be authorized to use so much of the amount collected on subscriptions to court house fund from citizens of Charlotte as may be necessary to purchase a bell and clock for the court house, but the committee shall not be authorized to make such purchase until a sufficient amount has been collected to defray the whole expense of the same.� 

Supervisor Warren moved that the old bell on Sampson Hall be taken down at the expense of the county and placed in the care of the Charlotte library association, to be kept by them in their vault in the court house, and that it be properly labeled as a souvenir of the county.  Motion prevailed.

Back to the table of contents

EATON RAPIDS LIBRARY

The project for establishing a library for the benefit of the citizens of Eaton Rapids was first suggested publicly in the Red Ribbon Club in the year 1880 but two years passed before any thing was done about it.  At a meeting of the club held February 3, 1882, the subject was introduced by Rev. D. P. Breed, and after a long discussion of different plans a committee of five, consisting of Rev. D. P. Breed, C. S. Cobb, J. M. Corbin, Orr Schurtz and Rev. H. L. Field, was appointed to take the subject under consideration and to report some plan for the accomplishment of the object.  This committee made a report February 17, 1882, recommending that a committee be appointed to lay the whole matter before the common council of the city, and request the council to take immediate steps for the establishment of a public library and free reading room in accordance with the provision of the act of the legislature, No. 164 of the public acts of Michigan for the year 1877, and that the Red Ribbon Club, as an inducement to such action, offer to give at once the sum of fifty dollars for the purchase of temperance literature for the said library to duplicate this donation at the end of six months and again at the end of one year.  The report of the committee was adopted and the committee continued to carry out the plan.  The overture above referred to was promptly made to the council and the desired action was taken by that body on February 28, 1882.  Two weeks later Mayor H. H. Hamilton nominated the following persons as a board of directors for the Library, John M. Corbin, K. Kittredge, D. Payson Breed, H. F. Reynolds, H. A. Shaw, Joseph Carr, E. C. Osborn, H. L. Field and Orr Schurtz.  The board was organized in due time and entered upon its duties.  The library opened with a small number of books donated chiefly by citizens.  At first it was kept in news rooms or stores and a few of five cents a week was charged for the use of books but later it was made free.  In September 1899 a store building was bought and the books were removed to the new room, Miss Florence Harris was appointed librarian and the Dewey system of cataloguing was adopted.  The library is supported by appropriates made from time to time by the common council, this year the amount being $700 and the rent of the opera house, and that of a part of the building in which the library is located.  There are now about three thousand volumes on its shelves.

Back to the table of contents

COUNTY FARM

A history of the county farm for the poor was published a few years ago and from it we gather many of the following facts: 

The manner in which the poor of the county should be cared for was for a number of years a matter of considerable discussion, and preliminary steps toward purchasing a farm to be used as a county poor farm were taken on numerous occasions.  The first legislation of this nature appears in the minutes of the session of the board of supervisors in October, 1847, at which time the county superintendents of the poor were directed to ascertain the expense of purchasing a farm, and of providing for the support of the county poor with or without a farm.  Their report was made a year later, but it was thought impracticable to build a poor house at that time, and the sum of $125 was voted for the support of the poor as it existed February 28, 1846.  Agreeable to an act passed March 1, 1849, the board in that year, by a two-thirds vote, reinstated the rule for the maintenance of the poor as it existed February 28, 1846.  In January, 1852, it was resolved to appropriate $700, out of moneys due from the state, to purchase a county farm and erect buildings thereon; but it seems this also shared the fate of previous efforts, for in June, 1856, a committee was appointed to �examine the terms, price, and location of a wild eighty-acre lot for the purposes of a county farm for the benefit and uses of the county poor,� and report at the next session of the board.  No purchase was yet made, but $800 was raised toward supporting the poor.  In January, 1857, Harvey Williams was appointed a committee to purchase for the county a farm containing from eighty to one hundred and sixty acres, and pay ten dollars an acre for the same, but there is no record of such a purchase having been made.  In January, 1858, a motion to postpone indefinitely all further action concerning a poor farm was lost, and another committee was appointed with a similar object, and the farm they should purchase must have no less than twenty acres improved.  Again the project failed, but finally, in January, 1859, a committee was intrusted with the business, and the result was the purchase of one hundred and sixty acres in the township of Chester (southwest quarter of section thirty-six) from John Turner and wife, for four thousand dollars.  In October following the sum of eight hundred dollars was appropriated to erect and furnish a suitable building on the poor-farm.  The contract for erecting the building was let to Stephen Tuttle, of Charlotte, in December, 1859, for six hundred dollars, and the house was completed in June, 1860.  In October, 1863, the board of supervisors appropriated six hundred dollars with which to construct a suitable addition to the poor-house to keep insane persons dependent upon the county.  A tax of eight thousand dollars was voted in 1873 to erect a new poor-house, and it was accordingly built the next year.  It is three stories high, including basement, and is built of brick.  It is a fine building and a credit to the county.  In October, 1878, a further sum of three hundred dollars was appropriated to building hog-pens, boiler room, ice-house, etc.

In 1888 and 1889 another building of brick three stories high and thirty by sixty feet on the ground, was erected for men.  Steam heat was put in in 1890, and a frame barn forty by eighty feet built in 1901.

Back to the table of contents

CEMETERIES

In olden time the burying grounds were the most neglected and God-forsaken pieces of ground to be found anywhere, frequently suffered to grow up with bushes and briers.  But during the last seventy-five years a great change has come about.  There are in this county forty-six cemeteries, and with few exceptions they are very well kept, some of them being places of great beauty.  The first burying ground in Vermontville was on the south side of the road, about three-fourths of a mile west of the village.  In 1874 another beautiful spot was selected about a mile and a half a little to the northwest of the village on the banks of the �Terpo� diversified by hill and dale was surveyed and neatly laid out by the late Frank Davis.  The surviving friends of many who were buried in the old ground have removed the remains of their cherished dead to the new cemetery.  Many, however, still remain in the old ground, and their friends having died or moved away, the grounds are neglected and many of the gravestones have fallen.  There is but one tomb in the new cemetery and that bears the inscription:

�SQUIER 1899.  VAUGHN.�   

The cemetery at Bellevue is the oldest in the county, and it is on a plan in the southwestern outskirts of the village.  The first white man buried in it was a Mr. Baker, who was killed by the caving in of a lime-pit, in which he was digging.  This was in 1835. 

The cemetery at Grand Ledge lies near the village, on the northeast.  It has no tomb, but it has a soldiers� monument, elsewhere described. 

The small cemetery at Dimondale lies a little west of the village and is noted for having the most expensive monument in the county.  Dr. Tyler Hull, a well-known citizen and most highly esteemed, a physician and lawyer, had spent nearly all his life in that town and had accumulated a handsome property.  He had no children and made provision in his will for expending $10,000 for a suitable monument.  The material is the gray Barre granite.  The statue of Dr. Hull is of heroic size. 

The cemeteries of Eaton Rapids and Hamlin adjoin each other, being separated by an interval of low land, about twenty rods in width.  The land is slightly rolling, and there is a very tasteful entrance to the grounds, which are laid out with winding walks. 

The original burying ground at Charlotte was what is now the city park, lying on the corner of Clinton and Seminary streets. 

In 1868 it became evident that larger grounds were required and a location more remote from the rush of traffic.  An eighty-acre lot was chosen on the Lansing road, where E. T. Church now lives.  It was surveyed and platted and roadways were staked out and plowed, when a series of articles appears in the �Republican,� urging a change to the present site and the consequent discussion resulted in the change being made in 1869.  The present site embraces eighty acres of ground, lying a mile and a quarter northeast of the courthouse, adjoining the right of way of the Chicago & Grand Trunk Railway on the northwest, and eight hundred feet from the state road to Lansing.  It embraces a group of small hills, that were originally covered with heavy timber.  About five acres of this, in the northwest part of the grounds, have been spared, and only the oldest trees are from time to time removed.  Around the northwest corner, near the railroad, is a grip of low ground through which Butternut creek winds its way.  A dam was built across the steam at this point at an early day and a saw-mill erected, familiarly known as �The Mud Mill.�  The dam now furnishes a very convenient roadway.  Near the stream is a large flowing spring, and on the bank a small building has been erected, in which is a gasoline engine that forces water from the spring to a tank or tower, twenty feet in height and ten feet in diameter, with a capacity of holding over eleven thousand gallons of water.  From this tank water is carried in pipes to all parts of the ground.  There are two natural grassy basins on the ground, the one on the west side of the ground being about one hundred feet in diameter, and the one on the east side about one hundred and fifty feet across.  Both are about six feet deep and have fountains in them.  A large receiving vault has been constructed, with shelves for holding twenty-four caskets.  Lot owners have the privilege of depositing bodies here during severed weather in winter, and those who have no lots are expected to pay a small fee for the privilege.  There are seven other vaults on the grounds, erected by private parties.  There is only one other vault in the county, and that is at Vermontville.  The cemetery is designed to present the appearance of a beautiful landscape, hence the enclosing of the lots with fences, hedges or curbing is discouraged, and the roadways are made to gracefully follow the natural pathways.  Much variety is exhibited in the selection of monuments.  A house for the sexton stands at the entrance to the grounds.

Back to the table of contents

DRAINS

While nearly every acre of ground in the county has a fertile soil, that of the swamps being especially rich, the settlers found much of it too wet for cultivation.  There is so much clay in the soil of the upland that water collected in depressions of the surface, often preventing cultivation.  In order to redeem this useless land extensive drains have been planned and excavated at great expense.  There have been from five hundred to six hundred miles of these public drains dug in the county, and they vary in width from a few inches to forty feet.  Aside from these, a thousand or more miles of tile drains have been put in by private parties.  If the surveyors could get a fall of four feet to the mile they were well satisfied, but in several instances they could get only a foot or a foot and a half to the mile.  About sixty miles of the large drains have been excavated by dredges, run by steam.  The cost of dredge work depends upon the amount of earth to be moved but has usually been between five and six cents per cubic yard.  It is a curious fact that the muck or peat in some places in the tamarack swamp settles when the water is drain off so that in a few years the drains have to be sunk still deeper.  In one place on the farm of Mr. Charles Chappell, the subsidence has been about four feet. 

The drains have been pretty evenly divided among the several towns of the county.  But Bellevue and Vermontville have less than the other towns.  

The entire cost of several of the large drains is given below: 

Battle Creek drain�������.. $   73,710

Big Thornapple drain�����.�.      42,000

Big Thornapple extension���.�..      31,000

Little Thornapple�������....       7,800

Huber drain��������...�.       2,200

Shanty Brook drain������.....     11,000

Sebewa drain��������...�    29,500

Collier drain����������.    11,600

                                                           _________

            Total��������..��208,810 

The expense has been great, but many thousands of acres of land that were unfit for cultivation on account of water have been converted by them into profitable meadows and to arable lands.

Back to the table of contents

CHAPTER XIV

 LEGAL HISTORY�Elections�Circuit Court�Probate Courts�Legislation on the Liquor Question


ELECTIONS

The first election ever held in this county was held at Bellevue in 1835.  Bellevue, at that time, embraced the whole county.  There were then only four men in the entire county whose residence entitled them to the privileges of legal voters; they were Capt. Reuben Fitzgerald, Sylvanus Hunsiker, Calvin Phelps and John T. Hayt.  The first three named were the election board, and they chose Mr. Hayt clerk of this election, to perform the difficult task of keeping the poll list as the voters from five hundred and seventy-six square miles of territory came in to vote.  The election was held in a log shanty, which they called �the meeting-house.�  When the officers of election had taken their seats, Calvin Phelps was ordered to proclaim the polls opened, which he promptly did.  Stepping to the door, with his hat off, he proclaimed in a loud voice:  �The polls of this election are now opened,� and warned all men, under the penalty of the law, to keep the peace, which created a hearty laugh in the board.  These four voters were then triumphantly elected to all the best offices in the gift of the people, unanimously taking two or three of the best offices apiece.  There were too many offices to go around.  They gave the minor ones to the outsiders who had not been residents long enough to be legal voters.  In strict accordance with law they sat all day, until the legal hour for closing the polls, and then counted up and ascertained the result.  Not one of the men who took part in this election is now living. 

After the spring election, in 1838, the board of county canvassers met at Mr. Sarles� house to canvass the votes and decide who were elected.  It was a question in their minds whether his house was properly at the county seat, and, �to make assurance doubly sure,� they adjourned to the prairie and met in the small log building, afterwards used as a schoolhouse, which stood on the block north of the Methodist Church, and there went through the formality of determining who had been elected.  The day was cold and stormy and the cabin was �unchinked,� but they braved all difficulties that their proceedings might be strictly legal.  They then returned to the house of Mr. Sarles and transacted other and less important business. 

The first election in the town of Carmel was held at the house of Robert Dunn.  A. D. Shaw tells the story thus:  �The settlement in which I lived contained only five men and one woman, to wit:  R. T. Cushing, S. N. Dunton, John Dunton, H. Woods, myself and my wife.  When the day of the annual township meeting came, I thought what we all ought to attend election; they thought so too, and early in the morning we all started for what was then called �Hyde�s Mills,� a place seven miles distant, in the town of Kalamo.  When we got there we were told that we did not belong there any longer; that our town had been set off and organized into a town by itself.  We were then in a dilemma.  We did not know the name of our town nor the place where we were to hold our first meeting.  We knew that Mr. Daniel Barber, of Vermontville, was our representative in the legislature, and we clubbed together and raised a dollar, and hired a boy by the name of Charles Herring to go to Vermontville and see Mr. Barber.  Said boy, anxious to get the dollar, pulled off his coat and hat, shoes and stockings, and with head up started on a run through the woods, and after about two hours returned with a line from Mr. Barber, stating that our town had been organized into a township by the name of Carmel, and that the first election was to be held at the house of Robert Dunn.  We knew where that was, for we had passed it, only a few hours before, and we turned our faces in that direction.  When we arrived we found it to be a small shanty, shingled with hollow logs split in two and laid on so as to turn the water off.  I had to get on the tallest side of the shanty before I could stand erect.  We then and there made our nominations and prepared our ballots; made a ballot box, and organized our board of inspectors.  Between two and three o�clock in the afternoon we began voting.  Every elector in town voted�eighteen in all.  We closed the pools at the hour of four o�clock p.m., canvassed the votes and made statements, as required by statute.  We got home late in the evening and found my wife anxiously awaiting our arrival; she had called the dog into the house with her and fastened the door�the only entrance to the house.  The politics of our town was largely Whig�only three Democrats in town.  I was with the majority.�

Back to the table of contents

CIRCUIT COURT

We are indebted to Edward A. Foote for the greater part of the history of the courts of this county.  The first terms of the circuit court in this county were held at Bellevue.  The circuit court journal opens with the following entry:  �The circuit court for the county of Eaton having been opened in pursuance of law by the sheriff of said county on the 31st day of May, 1838, at five o�clock p.m., there not appearing a quorum of judges, S. S. Church, one of the associate judges being present, adjourned said court to the next day at ten o�clock a.m., W. R. Carpenter, deputy clerk.� 

Upon the next day, June 1, 1838, the entry is more formal, showing that the court was opened at the court house in the village of Bellevue, in said county, and that Epaphroditus Ransom, circuit judge, and S. S. Church, associate judge, were present.  The entry then recites the return of the first venire issued for a grand jury and the calling of the jurors.   The following persons appeared and answered to their names:  James W. Hickok, Eliel Bond, Ruloff Butler, Samuel Higgins, Reuben Haskell, Reuben Fitzgerald, Andrew W. Rogers, George S. Browning, Wait J. Squier, John T. Ellis, Ephraim Follett, David Judson, Isaac Dubois, Nathan G. Hedges, James Kimberly, Aaron White, John B. Crary, Timothy Haskell, Norman S. Booth, Charles Hunsiker, Christopher Parsons, Bezaleel Taft, Abner Carpenter, Jr., all good and lawful men of the county of Eaton.  Reuben Fitzgerald was appointed by the court foreman of the grand jury, and authorized to issue subpoenas for and administer oaths to witnesses. The grand jury, being sworn and charged by the court �to inquire in and for the body of the county of Eaton, retired to consider business appertaining to them.�  

The grand jury system, though not yet abolished, has nearly fallen into disuse.  The bill of indictment found by a grand jury against an accused person formerly took the place of the information which is now filed by the prosecuting attorney upon preliminary examination before a magistrate.  The sessions of the grand jury were in private.  Each juror was sworn to secrecy, and �to present no person for envy, hatred or malice, and not to leave any person unpresented for love, fear, favor, affection, or hope of reward.� 

They were usually instructed carefully and cautioned as to their duties in a somewhat lengthy and impressive charge by the court before retiring.  It was the duty of the prosecuting attorney to attend before them when requested by the foreman, to assist in drawing indictments, or in the examination of witnesses.  Any person wishing to make complaint of any offense against the law was admitted before this body, and permitted to tell his story under oath.  Any of the jurors could ask questions.  After hearing the complaint the complainant was requested to withdraw.  The jury then discussed and decided whether they would proceed further with the inquiry.  If a majority desired further investigation witnesses were brought in one by one and separately examined as to their knowledge of the matter of which complaint was made.  After hearing the testimony of which minutes were kept by one of their number who acted as clerk, twelve of their number if they concurred, could find a bill of indictment, upon which document the foreman certified that it was a �true bill.�  It was not permissible for even the prosecuting attorney to be present while the jurors were expressing their opinions that it could not be known by the outside world which of the jurors favored or opposed the indictment.  The drawing of the indictment required not a little legal skill and readiness, for the presentation of this bill was usually followed, after arraignment, by a motion to quash by the attorney for the defendant.  When one or more indictments were ready for presentation to the court the entire jury were escorted by an officer into the courtroom.  All other business in court was at once suspended, silence prevailed, and every eye was fixed upon this formidable array of inquisitors.  The court deferentially asked the foreman if the jury had any business to present to the court; when that personage, if he had business, arose and handed some papers to the clerk, who took them, and without looking at them to see whether he himself was indicted, at once handed them to the judge, who, upon looking and finding that the clerk was not indicted, handed them back to that officer, who took them and carefully locked them up, informing no one who was indicted until the defendant, by virtue of a bench warrant, had been arrested and safely lodged in jail to await his arraignment and trial, or placed under the bonds for his appearance at the next term of court.  After the arrest of the defendant the indictment was placed on file, and became a public record, open to the inspection of all persons interested.  As this grand jury system belongs to the past it is properly a matter of history, says Mr. Foote.  Still a grand jury may be called whenever the judge thinks it best, and within the last few years one was called by a circuit judge, Clement Smith, to take testimony in regard to the illegal sale of ardent spirits in this county. 

The November term, 1839, was the last held at Bellevue.  While the terms were held there, the name of Martin S. Bracket is signed one time as clerk, and at another as deputy clerk.  He afterwards became one of the most prominent members of the Eaton county bar.  The old Eagle Hotel, which stood on the corner now occupied by the Phoenix House in Charlotte, was originally designed for a steam grist mill, but the promise of having the terms of court held at the county seat as soon as there could be a court-room and jail ready for occupation induced the mill proprietors to change their original plan, and convert the mill building into one which would answer for a hotel, jail and court room.  The building was made of smoothly hewed timbers laid one upon the other, and dove-tailed at the corners.  The court-room was upon the second floor, and for a time answered for courts, dancing parties, and public worship.  Esquire Stoddard acted as landlord and jailer.  The last session of the circuit court was held at Bellevue on November 28 and 29, 1839.  The journal entries are very short and informal.  The following are samples: 

�The People of the State of Michigan

                        vs.

            William Henderson.

�The defendant being arraigned pleads not guilty.  Plea of not guilty withdrawn and pleads guilty.�

The next day we find an entry in the same case as follows:

�In this case the court assesses a fine upon the respondent of five dollars, and that he stand committed until said fine and costs are paid.� 

The above is all that appears of the case.  I surmise from the size of the fine that the defendant had been indicted by the grand jury for selling liquor to the Indians.  At the previous term there is a similar entry against Christopher Darling, with a fine of five dollars and the addition of �indictment for selling spirituous liquor to the Indians.� 

The journal next shows the court in session for the first time in Charlotte, on May 19, 1840.  Epaphroditus Ransom, circuit judge, Simeon S. Church and Amos Spicer, associate judges are present.  A grand jury appears and answers to the call of their names, and are sworn and charged.  Among the names of these jurors we find those of Roger W. Griswold, Alonzo Baker, Asa Fuller, Bezaleel Taft, Simeon Harding (the first county treasurer and builder of the first frame house in Charlotte), Oramel D. Skinner, Phineas S. Spaulding, Aaron Bonton, Zebulon Wheaton, George Y. Cowan, and other well known pioneers.  There being no district attorney, the court appointed John Willard for that term.  The journal entries are as short and informal as in previous terms.  The name of Charles T. Moffitt appears as a litigant defendant in about ten suits and also the case of Alonzo Baker, plaintiff, against Erastus Ingersoll, defendant. 

Phineas Ferrand, Abner Pratt, Gibbs & Sandford, and E. Bradley appear from the journal entries to be the attorneys who conducted the business.  One Henry Hewitt applied for admission to practice.  Messrs. A. Pratt, Bradley, and Van Arman were appointed an examining committee.  Nothing further appears in regard to this application.  Whether examined and admitted, or rejected, the journal does not state.  November 16, 1842, Judge Ransom�s name appears for the last time on the journal.  According to the opinion of all who knew him, he was a good man and an upright judge.  His charges to the jury were so clear and free from technical terms that a boy twelve years old could understand them. 

Judge Ransom was appointed one of the judges of the supreme court of Michigan in 1836, and in 1843 became chief justice, in which position he remained until 1848.  He was governor of the state for two years, beginning January 1, 1848.  He is described as a man of commanding presence, in height over six feet, in weight, exceeding two hundred pounds, with massive head, and a powerful voice.  When off the bench it was his pride to mingle with the people, and talk with them about their farms and mechanical employments, carefully nothing their experiences and profiting thereby. 

Judge Ransom was succeeded by Hon.  Alpheus Felch, who opened his first term in our county September 6, 1843.  Presiding with him as associate judges were S. S. Church of Vermontville, and James McQueen of Eaton Rapids.  Austin Blair, since governor of the state, was clerk but acting by his deputy, F. F. White. 

In those days the statute provided for the election of two associate judges in each county for four years.  The circuit judges were justices of the supreme court, and presided together at Detroit, Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo, and Pontiac at times fixed by law.  They were nominated by the governor, by and with the advice of the senate�one from each of the four judicial circuits�and held office four years.  Besides presiding together to form a supreme court, each justice was required to hold circuit courts in the several counties of his circuit, and he, with one or two of the associate judges, elected in each county, constituted the circuit court.  The two associate judges could together hold the court, but one alone could only adjourn from day to day.  The justice of the supreme court could preside with one or two of his associates.  The legislature afterwards changed this system by providing for a county court to be held on the first day of each month.  A county court judge was elected to preside for four years, and also a second judge to preside in the absence or disability of the county judge. 

When the county court was established, its two judges presided without the presence of the circuit judge, and the circuit judge presided alone in the circuit.  Litigants in the county courts could, by an entry upon the record, remove their cases from the county court to the circuit, and there have them tried before the circuit court. 

The first county court appears to have opened June 7, 1847, with N. S. Booth of Bellevue as presiding judge, A. D. Shaw as clerk.  A. L. Jordan of Chester had been elected second judge. 

The county court was a short-lived institution.  The attorneys did not at all times manifest the respect due to a court, and managed to prolong trials beyond endurance.  The last county judge was Charles E. Beardsley, Esquire, of Bellevue, a lawyer who had practiced in the courts of Canada, where an attorney was not recognized by the court, unless he was properly arrayed in his black gown. 

Judge Beardsley was hardly prepared for the rough ways of a back-woods bar, and the attorneys, knowing his ideas of judicial decorum, determined to give him a surprise.  The journal of November 11, 1851, shows bad feeling on the part of the bar toward the judge, by the continuance by consent of nearly all the cases on the calendar.  This is followed by a large number of elections to remove the cases to circuit court for trial.  Several pages of the journal are filled with these elections, until hardly a case is left pending in the county court.  Finally on November 13 is an entry in the handwriting of T. D. Green, clerk, as follows: 

�It is hereby ordered and adjudged that Henry A. Shaw be and is fined five dollars for contemptuous language used to the court, to wit:  �I will pay the court for sitting here if he thinks he is not paid already,� in answer to a remark of court.  Charles Beardsley, County Judge.� 

The grand jury came in with indictments and were discharged.  The next day, November 14, 1851, was the last of the county court.  It ended in open rebellion against the judge.  When the judge ordered Mr. Shaw to pay a fine of five dollars Mr. Shaw is said to have retorted, �Fine and be d---d.�  For this the judge ordered him imprisoned for five days, and the sheriff was ordered to arrest him.  John Van Arman, Henry A. Shaw, Martin S. Bracket, C. C. Chatfield, and quite a number of other attorneys stood up in battle array, some with their coats off and shirt sleeves rolled up (instead of having their black gowns on), and gave the judge and sheriff to understand that not one of their number could be taken out of that bar.  The sheriff stood hesitating at the entrance, when some of them in friendly tones assured him that he had better not try to come in there.  He probably saw at a glance that the caution was given him for his good.  They were many of them men whom it would be difficult to handle.  M. S. Bracket bore the reputation of being physically the most powerful man in the county.  Spectators say that as he bared his arms muscles and tendons rose up like whip-cords.  Mr. Shaw was tall, quick and powerful--he had nearly broken the next of an antagonist by kicking him under the chin while standing before him.  John Van Arman had been a soldier in the Mexican war and looked as if he would rather fight than eat.  No arrest was made.  A jury of twelve men sat looking on.  Some of them afterwards censured the sheriff for not calling on them for help.  At the time calling for help was not thought of.  The judge, finding himself powerless, adjourned court and put on his hat and cloak and started across the square for the Eagle Hotel.  Mr. Bracket accompanied him with a raw-hide in his hand, with which he beat, not the judge, but time for the judge.  They reached the hotel together, and Mr. Bracket, still beating time, escorted the judge upstairs to his room, but did not strike him a blow.  Thus ended the county court.  Some litigation followed between the judge and Mr. Shaw, but without serious results.  Judge Beardsley was a highly educated gentleman and in the Canada courts, where he had practiced, he was known as a lawyer of good standing.  His great mistake here was probably in endeavoring to act the part of a dignified judge in such a place as a county court.  Another mistake was in resenting some want of courtesy on the part of Mr. Brackett by giving utterance to a severe tirade of invectives, during which he must have lost his self-control.  He afterwards retired from practice, and entered the ministry of the Episcopal church. 

The judges who have administered justice in this county are:  Epaphroditus Ransom, Alpheus Felch, Warner Wing, George Miles, Edward Mundy, George Martin, Abner Pratt, Edward H. C. Wilson, Benjamin F. Graves, Flavius J. Littlejohn, George Woodruff, Philip T. Van Zile, Frank A. Hooker and the present incumbent, Clement Smith.  Many of them very able and all upright men.  Few of the present generation can remember the list farther back than Judge Abner Pratt. 

�Several of the attorneys who practiced in Eaton county during early days have since either become distinguished as attorneys or have obtained to high office.  Among these may be mentioned ex-Governor Austin Blair, who during the war of the rebellion, when Michigan furnished 90,000 men, was considered one of the ablest of that brilliant galaxy of loyal governors and pure statesmen who clustered around the great Lincoln.� 

One hundred and seven applicants have been admitted to the bar in this county since March, 1845. 

On April 1, 1906, the following attorneys numbering twenty-seven were residing in Eaton county and practicing law in the courts. 

George Huggett����������Charlotte

J. M. C. Smith����������..    

Garry C. Fox�����������    

Lyman H. McCall���������     

Alvin G. Fleury����������     

John C. Nichols����������    

H. S. Maynard����������..    

George L. Hauser���������.     

W. F. Stine������������    

Lewis J. Dann����������...     

Frank A. Dean����������..      

Ernest Davids�����������     

Russell R. McPeek���������     

Emerson Boyles����������       

G. D. Blasier�����������.      

Hugh Sykes�������..����Bellevue

Fred Slayton������..���.Eaton Rapids

Carl O. Markham��������          

A. M. Nelson���������..           

J. B. Hendee����������          

S. J. Humeston���������           

Elmer Peters����������           

George W. Irish��������..Grand Ledge

W. R. Clarke����������         

Cassius Alexander��������         

B. T. Jones�����������         

R. A. Latting����������.         

 

Eaton county at an early day was attached to Calhoun county and the lawyers practicing here were admitted to the bar in what is now Calhoun county, but the first lawyer admitted to the bar in this county after its separate organization was Chester C. Chatfield who was admitted March 26, 1845.

Back to the table of contents

PROBATE COURT

The first estate administered in the county was that of Worcester B. Woodruff of the township of Oneida.  Sylvanus Hunsiker, the first judge of probate for the county, appointed Addison Hayden as administrator on December 13, 1838.  The goods and chattels of Mr. Woodruff inventoried $336.39, according to the estimate of the appraisers who were Moses Ingersoll and Daniel Chadwick and later, Eliel Ingersoll and Erastus Ingersoll.  The administrator made his final report February 5, 1847.  During a number of years after the county was organized the probate court was held in the township in which the deceased had lived, and thus we find it held in Oneida, Eaton, Bellevue, etc.  December 14, 1838, Judge Hunsiker appointed David Barr and Rebecca Fowler administrators of the estate of Simeon Fowler, deceased.  This estate inventoried $1,078.64. 

No other state was administered upon until 1840.  On the third day of October in that year Judge Hunsiker appointed Jeremiah P. Woodbury administrator of the estate of Stephen Woodbury, Jr., deceased.  The latter was a shoemaker by trade.  His effects were a rifle valued at twelve dollars, a silver watch worth forty dollars, a set of shoemaker�s tools, village and farm lots, and inventoried $647.06.  During the time the second judge of probate, Osmyn Childs, was in office, the business increased largely.  Robert Le Conte, of Charlotte, a promising young lawyer, who died in the winter of 1841-42, left a considerable amount of personal property.  His administrator was William Stoddard, landlord of the old �Eagle Hotel.� 

The entire number of cases administered upon since the organization of the county and up to June, 1880 is about one thousand eight hundred and twenty-five.  These include estates of minors, incompetent persons, etc.  From August, 1879, to June, 1880, the number of cases was about ninety. 

Judge G. B. Allen has (at this date, January1, 1906) been in office about three years and two months, and has had in that time about seven hundred and fifty cases.  About four hundred and fifty of these were in the settlement of the estates of deceased persons.  On an average about two hundred estates are probated annually.

Back to the table of contents

THE LIQUOR TRAFFIC

In 1853, the legislature of this state enacted a law prohibiting the manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquors, with this provision:  �The township board of every organized township, or a majority of them, and the village board or common council of any incorporated city or village, on the first Monday in October annually, or as soon thereafter as may be convenient, may appoint some suitable person as the agent of said township, city or village, to sell at some central or convenient place, within said township, city or village, spirits, wines, or other intoxicating liquors, to be used for mechanical and medicinal purposes, and no other.  And said agent shall receive such compensation for his services, as the said board or legal authority appointing him shall prescribe.� 

The act also provided for submission of the electors of the state for their approval or disapproval, on the third Monday in June, 1853, a law prohibiting the manufacturer and sale of intoxicating liquors in the state.  It is worthy of note that the legislature that enacted this law was Democratic and the governor, Robert McClelland, was also a Democrat.  The law still further provided that if a majority of the electors approved the law, it was to go into effect on the first day of December, 1853, if a majority disapproved it, it should not go into effect until the first of March, 1870. 

In 1854, at the January term of the supreme court, the judges were unanimous in the opinion, �that the power of enacting general laws cannot be delegated by the legislative body even to the people.� 

When the law was submitted to the electors of the state it was approved by a majority of 20,000 of the voters. 

The vote, however, revealed the wishes of the people, and the next legislature, that of 1855, was Republican, and so was the governor, Kinsley S. Bingham.  This legislature enacted a prohibitory law unconditionally, and repealed the former law. 

It was supposed by many that the law of �55 would almost entirely put an end to the evils of intemperance, but after a trial of twenty years it was found that the law would not enforce itself.  Jurors were very apt to disagree, and a great amount of evidence was required in order to secure a conviction. 

Meantime, public sentiment was tending strongly in favor of a license law, as a better way of dealing with the liquor evil, but there were a great many people who were appalled at the thought of �licensing� a crime or sin.  

The legislature of 1875 repealed the prohibitory law of �55, and enacted instead one taxing �the business of manufacturing, selling, or keeping for sale, distilled or malt liquors.�  This law was meant to avoid the licensing of an evil, and to compel the traffic to pay the expenses entailed by it upon the public in the punishment of criminals, and the support of paupers made such by the sale of intoxicants. 

In the year 1887 at the spring election the question was submitted to the voters of the state, whether a prohibitory amendment should be inserted in the constitution of the state.  The proposition was defeated by a majority of the voters in the state, amounting to 5,835.  The vote in Eaton county showed that out of 7,406 votes cast there were 5,318 for it and 2,088 against it, showing a majority for it in the county of 3,230 in favor of the amendment. 

All state laws were operative in this county as well as in the other counties of the state and thus have place in a history of the county. 

But the legislature of 1887 enacted a local option law, giving to the voters in every county the privilege to decide whether the manufacture and sale of intoxicating drinks should be prohibited in the county. 

In accordance with this law, a petition asking the board of supervisors to submit the question with the requisite number of voters� names attached, was handed to the county clerk who called a special meeting of the supervisors to take action on the petition, on the 16th of January, 1892.  In accordance with the petition a special election was held on February 29, 1892.  But the voters took but little interest in the election as only 3,745 votes were polled, of these 52 were blank and rejected, 2,654 were in favor of prohibition and 1,039 were against it, so there was a majority of 1,615 in favor of prohibition.  In 1895 the question was again submitted.  Greater interest was felt in this election and 6,705 votes were polled, 58 were blank or rejected, and 4,275 were for prohibition and 2,372 against it.  A majority of 1,903 in favor of it. 

The question was submitted in 1899 and there were 7,039 ballots case, 3,332 for it and 3,666 against it, 41 were blank, so that it was lost by a majority of 334.  The amount of taxes collected from the liquor dealers in that year was $5,666.68. 

It was again submitted in 1902, and the whole number of votes case was 7,633; of these 107 were blank and rejected, 3,893 for prohibition and 3,633 against it, so it was carried by a majority of 260 votes. 

It was submitted again in 1904, when 7,961 were polled, of which 3,334 were for prohibition and 3,827 were against it, showing a majority of 493 against prohibition, so that we are now trying the �high license system.� 

The liquor tax collected in 1886 showed there were 21 deals and $5,875 taxes. 

The liquor tax collected in 1887 showed that there were 23 dealers and $6,650 taxes. 

The liquor tax collected in 1888 showed that there were 14 dealers and $5,633.37 taxes. 

The liquor tax collected in 1889 showed that there were 16 dealers and $7,225.22 taxes. 

The liquor tax collected in 1890 showed that there were 16 dealers and $7,158.33 taxes. 

The liquor tax collected in 1891 showed that there were 17 dealers and $7,791.60 taxes. 

In the years from 1892 to 1898, inclusive, the county prohibited the sale of liquor and there were no taxes collected. 

The liquor tax collected in 1899 showed 15 dealers and $5,666.68 taxes. 

The liquor tax collected in 1900 showed 22 dealers and $9,858.68 taxes. 

The liquor tax collected in 1901 showed 19 dealers and $9,065.00 taxes. 

In the years 1902-3 the county prohibited the sale of liquor and there were no taxes.

The liquor taxes collected in 1904 showed 21 dealers and $10,320.04 taxes. 

The liquor taxes collected in 1905 showed 23 dealers and $10,976.88 taxes.

Back to the table of contents

CHAPTER XV 

SOCIETIES�The Pioneer Society�The Agricultural Society�Bench and Bar�Medical Society�The Mason Temple


THE PIONEER SOCIETY

Pursuant to a call signed by several citizens, a meeting was held on January 6, 1872, at the office of Henry A. Shaw, in Eaton Rapids, for the purpose of organizing a pioneer society.  The following persons were present, viz:  George W. Bentley, Henry A. Shaw, John Montgomery, Johnson Montgomery, John E. Clark, J. W. Toles, Calvin Hale, David B. Hale, Lorin Harwood, James H. Arnold, Samuel Ferris, Tillison Wood, Nelson Wood, G. W. Knight, H. P. Onderdonk, Joel Latson, Parker Taylor, N. J. Seelye, Aldro Atwood, Simon Darling, Benjamin L. Bentley, Russell D. Mead, Zadock Beebe, Nathaniel Taylor, Oliver L. Powers, and David Sterling, of whom, December 9, 1905, only David B. Hale is living.  Hon. John Montgomery was elected chairman, and G. W. Knight secretary of the meeting.  On motion of Henry A. Shaw it was

Resolved, That we, the old residents of Eaton county, will organize an old settlers� society and meet once a year.� 

H. A. Shaw, Joel Latson, and J. W. Toles were appointed a committee to make arrangements for the first meeting, to be held at Eaton Rapids, February 22, 1872.  Other necessary business was transacted, and the meeting adjourned.  On the day appointed the society met at the Vaughn House, in Eaton Rapids, and after the appointment of a chairman, Rev. W. U. Benedict of Vermontville, the first resident minister of the gospel in Eaton county, made the opening prayer.  The committee on constitution made its report, which was accepted and adopted.  The opening clauses of the constitution are as follows: 

�This association shall be known as the Pioneer Society of Eaton and Ingham counties.  Its object shall be to renew old acquaintances, and continue the friendly and social relations of its members,� etc. 

Any person having resided twenty-five years in the state, and being at the time of application a citizen of either of the counties named, is eligible to membership.  A small admission fee is charged to male members.  The annual day of meeting was first set on February 22, or the Monday following, should the day be Saturday or Sunday.  The second annual meeting was held at Charlotte, February 24, 1873.  A historical committee of Joseph Saunders, H. A. Shaw and W. U. Benedict, was appointed to receive sketches of history and personal reminiscences.  Speeches were made by H. A. Shaw, M. S. Brackett, Jesse Hart and others, and many recollections of pioneer days were revived. 

The third annual meeting was held at the Vaughn House in Eaton Rapids, February 25, 1874.  Hon. Austin Blair was present, and gave an interesting account of his experiences in the early days of the county, which was followed by an address by C. C. Darling.  At this meeting the constitution was amended so as to provide for holding meetings in June instead of February.  Two meetings were held in 1874�the second in Vermontville, June 25.  The fourth annual meeting was held in Charlotte, on the fair grounds, June 10, 1875, and that has been the place at which all subsequent meetings have been held.  At the fifth annual meeting, held in 1876, a most enjoyable day was had, and short histories of several townships were read by persons chosen by the executive committee to prepare them.  At the subsequent meetings numerous interesting speeches were made, and historical papers read.  It has been the custom to have at each meeting, an address by some pioneer who has been designated beforehand.  With few exceptions this custom has continued until the present time.  Occasionally the speaker has been unable on account of ill health to fill his place on the program, and the time has been spent in brief incidents related by those who were present.  The addresses delivered or a synopsis of them has been printed in some of the city papers and a copy preserved in the records of the society.  The following is a list of the speakers who have given the principal addresses at these meetings: 

In 1878, Edward W. Barger; 1879, H. A. Shaw; 1880, P. A. Durant; 1881, Home G. Barber; 1882, Austin Blair; 1883, E. S. Lacey; the records of the meeting of 1884 have so faded as to be illegible; 1885, W. B. Williams; 1886, Homer G. Barber; 1887, Hiram M. Allen; 1888, P. T. Van Zile; 1889, Frank Dean; 1890, Jacob L. McPeek; 1891, George Huggett; 1892, Hon. Thomas Palmer was engaged but a business meeting of the managers of the World�s Fair compelled him to be absent, although in anticipation of his presence there was a very large gathering; 1893, Gov. John T. Rich gave the address; 1894, Daniel Strange; 1895, Edward W. Barber; 1896, Jacob L. McPeek; 1897, Mrs. Nancy Ward read a paper on �Pioneer Mothers,� and was followed by Mrs. G. Barnum with one on �Pioneer Daughters�; in 1898, recitations and short speeches took the place of the regular address.  The orator for 1889, was Frank A. Dean, but for some reason he was unable to be present; in 1900, the time was taken up with miscellaneous papers; 1901, the address was by C. D. Spafford; in 1902, H. F. Pennington was to speak but was detained on account of sickness, and Daniel Strange was pressed into service, and ill-health kept Mr. Pennington away from the meeting in 1903 also; he gave the address, however, in 1904.  The address in 1905 was given by Rev. T. R. McRoberts.

Back to the table of contents

EATON COUNTY MEDICAL SOCIETY

There have been two or three medical societies formed in the county but they have not lived many years.  The present Eaton County Medical Society was organized September 25, 1902.  Every physician residing and practicing in the county, and legally registering as such, and who is in good professional standing is eligible for membership.  They are not required to adopt the same system of therapeutics.  Dr. Gardner T. Rand is supposed to have been the first homeopathic physician in the county and he began practicing about 1848.  In 1880 there were eleven physicians in the county who practiced in this school, and at the present time there are fifteen.  There is one eclectic and one osteopathic physician in the county.  About the year 1900 Dr. F. H. Williams, an osteopathic physician of Lansing, opened an office in Charlotte, and for several months came two or three times a week.  He was followed by Dr. S. W. Vallier who remained only two or three months.  In June 1904, Dr. Edward C. Skinner, a graduate of the S. S. Stille Medical College at Des Moines, Iowa, opened an office and is still engaged in practice.  The Eaton County Medical society has at the present time about eighty members, and meetings are held quarterly.

Back to the table of contents

DENTISTS

Dr. A. B. Winslow, a dental surgeon, opened an office in Charlotte about 1855, and after practicing a few years left the town for a time and then returned, and for a short time was in partnership with Dr. M. S. Phillips who came here from the state of New York in the spring of 1866, and continued in practice until his death, July 23, 1895. 

Dr. Winslow is supposed to have been the first dentist in the county; there are now fifteen but they have no county dental society.

Back to the table of contents

EATON COUNTY AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY

January 3, 1855, pursuant to notice, a meeting of the citizens of the county was held in the court house in the village of Charlotte, for the purpose of organizing a county agricultural society.  Willard Davis of Vermontville was chosen chairman of the meeting, and L. H. Ion, secretary.  A resolution was adopted to organize the Eaton county agricultural society, whereupon a committee of three, consisting of Harvey Williams, J. C. Spencer, and L. H. Ion, were appointed to draft a constitution and by-laws for the society, and the meeting then adjourned until the twelfth of February following.  A second meeting was held on the day appointed, the committee reported and their report was accepted.  At a session of the board of supervisors, held in the following October, they voted to appropriate $229.56 for the use of the society and the clerk was directed to draw an order for that amount. 

The first officers of the society were W. U. Benedict, of Vermontville, president; L. H. Ion of Charlotte, secretary, and Harvey Williams of Charlotte, treasurer.  The first fair was held in the village of Charlotte, October 11 and 12, 1855, the citizens of Charlotte furnishing the grounds, buildings and fences free of cost to the society.  The total amount of premiums awarded that year was $194.  In the following May, the society bought eight acres of ground at a cost of $700, which was enclosed and buildings were erected for the use of exhibitors.  The amount of premiums awarded for the year 1856 was $230.25. 

Annual fairs have been held ever since with increasing success, showing by the larger number and quality of articles and animals exhibited the interest taken by farmers and mechanics in the success of the society, and its influence in encouraging and developing the resources of the county. 

In the year 1868 it became evident that the society needed more room, and arrangements were made to sell the old grounds and buy others in a more suitable location.  The grounds that the society had used were sold June 19, 1868, for $3,000.  The present grounds, comprising thirty-five acres, were bought at a cost of $3,875; and a half mile track, buildings and fences have been constructed at an expense of about $5,500.  The new location is in the southern part of the city of Charlotte.  In the eastern part of the grounds is a natural grove of about ten acres, free from all bushes and undergrowth.  Winding walks and drive-ways have been laid out and the Battle creek runs through a corner of it, making a convenient watering-place for teams.  In the purchasing and fitting up these grounds the society became involved in debt to the amount of $3,285 which bore interest at the rate of 10% per annum, and for several years all available means were spent in improvements.  A stringency in the money market came on and it was difficult for the society to meet its obligations.  The debt was however, gradually reduced, until on December 31, 1878, the net indebtedness was $2,042. 

In 1878 the total number of entries was one thousand six hundred and seventy-four, and the total amount of premiums awarded was $900.50, aside from those offered by private parties. 

The above facts are taken from a historical sketch prepared by the late Seth Ketcham.  Changes have been gradually introduced in the management of the society and its fairs.  For several years, in its early history, it was the custom to have an address delivered in the afternoon of the last day of the fair, just before the announcement of premiums.  For many years past this has been omitted.  A large typical log house has been erected on the grounds as a reminder of the olden times and a monument to the pioneers.  Every town in the county was requested to contribute a log to the building and nearly every one did so.  It is an object of interest to the children and strangers who never saw a log house. 

The society has found it impossible to secure a full attendance through the three days of the fair, if the only attractions were an exhibition of animals, vegetable productions and machinery.  They have therefore introduced many novel amusements and entertainments.  Balloon ascensions, ropewalking, feats in bicycle riding, acrobatic performances, games and other attractions, and by these means, and a different program each day, a large attendance has been secured.  In this way the debt was gradually wiped out, and at the annual meeting of the society, held February 19, 1891, the secretary announced the debts all paid and $721 in the treasury. 

The following is the annual report of the Treasurer of the Eaton County Agricultural Society for 1905: 

                                    RECEIPTS

 

Cash on hand Jan. 19, 1905������$     16.59

Membership Tickets��������.� 1,527.00

Single Admission�������.���  2,485.25

Grand Stand������������     679.65

Vehicle Tickets���������.�...     449.00

Privileges������������.�.    783.50

Races������������...��    480.00

Horse Stalls����������....�..      44.70

Cattle Stalls����������....�..        9.45

Swine Pens����������.�..�       3.80

Sheep Pens����������.�..�       3.00

Hay and Straw���������.........      51.75

From all other Sources��������.    119.50

                                                                    _________

                                                                   $6,653.19

 

                              DISBURSEMENTS

 

American Trotting Association����.. $     30.00

Dredge Tax�����������..        49.90

Water Tax �����������...        25.00

Telephone and Telegraph�����...�       10.14

Institute������������..�         8.00

Hay, Grain and Straw�������.....       94.05

Printing and Advertising�������.      590.10

Lumber and rent of Tent�������      112.36

Starting Judges and Clerk�����...�       42.50

Police and Gate���������..�     179.50

Sprinkling������������...       10.00

Labor with Team����������       84.75

Repairs on Grounds���������     311.13

Insurance�����������..�..       18.80

Officers, Judges, Supts. And Assists�.�...     785.64

Entertainment����������...�    540.00

Races��������������.  1,555.00

Premiums�������������. 1,586.28

 

                                                                   $6,033.75

Cash on Hand����������.�     619.44

 

                                                                  $6,653.19

Back to the table of contents

THE CHARLOTTE LIBRARY ASSOCIATION

This association was organized in December, 1870, under the general laws of the state, and in less than two years, the library contained five hundred volumes.  Joseph Saunders, at that time editor and publisher of The Republican, was the prime mover in this organization, as he thought it would have a most beneficial influence upon the young people of the village.  His printing office was over what is now Bryan�s drug store, which building he erected, and he neatly fitted up the two front rooms of that story for library and reading rooms.  His plan was not as successful as he hoped.  The association was too poor to employ a librarian to have charge of the rooms, and they became a �trysting place� for the young people.  The men who formed the association were too busy to give it proper attention, and a meeting was called to see what should be done.  On inquiry it was found that very few men ever drew books, and that the women were its chief patrons, and the association voted to turn its management over to the women, which was done. 

A subsidiary association of women was formed who elected a board of managers.  It was found best to give up the rooms that had been occupied, and the books were kept for a few years in the studio of Mr. Whalen, a photographer.  When the new court house was built, the supervisors allowed the library board to occupy the northwest rooms of the basement if they would plaster and finish the rooms. 

The public library and reading rooms were established by an ordinance passed on November 19, 1894, at a meeting of the common council.  At this meeting the major, Frank Merritt, appointed, with the approval of the council, the following electors as a board of directors,--Frank S. Belcher, Frank E. Ells, Horace Maynard, Philo D. Patterson, A. D. Baughman, George Huggett, George H. Spencer, Herbert F. Reynolds, and Charles J. Hall.  

After the organization of the board, a room was hired of F. G. Warren on the east side of Main street in the block just south of Lovett street.  Miss Sarah N. Williams was appointed librarian at a salary of $12.50 per month and the first list of nine hundred and eleven volumes for the library selected.  Besides these five hundred and eighty-nine were added from the public school library, making a well selected library of fifteen hundred volumes.  In January, 1901, the library was removed to the Piper building on Lawrence avenue next door east of the brick office of Dr. Rand.  In January, 1902, a committee was appointed to learn from Mr. Carnegie what steps must be taken to secure from him ten thousand dollars for a library building.  It was learned ten percent of the amount which he gave, must be raised by the city annually for the support of the library.  On these conditions, the common council accepted his offer.  The new library building was erected during the years 1902-3.  The library was moved into the new building in December, 19093.  About the year 1898 the supervisors wanted for the use of the drain commissioners, the rooms that had been occupied by the library association in the basement of the court house, no other room being available, and it was deemed best to place its books, over fifteen hundred in number, upon the shelves of the public library; so that April 1, 1905, the public library had upon its shelves the catalogued number of six thousand one hundred and ninety volumes.  The erection of the new building created a new interest in the library, and during the year ending April 1, 1904, fourteen thousand six hundred and fifty-three books were drawn and the year ending April 1, 1905, thirteen thousand one hundred and forty-six.

Back to the table of contents

THE MASONIC TEMPLE, CHARLOTTE

This building was erected in 1904, at a cost of $35,000.  It is fifty-one by one hundred and twenty-six feet on the ground, and five stories high.  It is faced with paving brick, trimmed with stone, has a large auditorium with stage, is heated with steam, equipped with both electric and gas systems for lighting, and has one of the finest and best furnished lodge rooms in the state.  The building is devoted entirely to the use of the Masonic order.

Back to the table of contents

CHAPTER XVI

MILITARY HISTORY - The Sixth Michigan Infantry - The Thirteenth Infantry - The Twentieth Infantry - The Second Cavalry - The Seventh Cavalry - Provisions For Soldiers' Families' Monuments


SIXTH MICHIGAN

Eaton County furnished one thousand seven hundred and forty-one soldiers for the union armies in the Civil war. They were found in a great number of organizations in numbers from one to one hundred and fifty. The larger number was found in Company H, Sixth Michigan infantry, and in Company D of the Seventh cavalry. Space will not allow us to mention the doings of each soldier, but we may speak briefly of the history of the two regiments in which the greater number of our men were found. The Sixth Michigan was raised at Kalamazoo by col. Frederick W. Curtenius, and had about two hundred men from Eaton and Ingham counties, the greater part from Eaton being in Company H. On June 19, 1861, the officers and non-commissioned officers went to Fort Wayne in this state for drill. August 3, the officers came home, and August 20, the company, one hundred and eleven strong, left Charlotte to join the regiment at Kalamazoo. It left that place on the thirtieth of the same month for Camp McKim, in Baltimore, with nine hundred and forty-four men on its rolls. Here the company found pleasant quarters. November 14, it went on board the steamer Georgiana and formed a part of an expedition in command of Gen. Lockwood to the eastern shore of Virginia, for the purpose of driving out a rebel force under Gen. Henry A. Wise, who were fortifying a point on the Potomac. Upon the approach of the Union soldiers they hurried dispersed, leaving considerable ammunition and small arms. There was no fighting, and the march through Accomac and Northampton counties, was greatly enjoyed by the men, who after destroying the rebel works returned to Baltimore.

While the regiment lay in Baltimore, it was presented by the Union ladies of that city, with a handsome silk flag. It was presented on behalf of the ladies by a prominent lawyer of that city, and a suitable response was made by Co., Curtenius. The Sixty, left Baltimore, February 22, 1862, by steamer for Fortress Monroe, arriving there the next day and went into camp at Newport News. The Congress and Cumberland were anchored there, just before their contest with the Merrimac, which occurred March 8, 1862. March 4, the regiment embarked with the fourth Wisconsin and the Twenty-first Indiana on the transport steamer �Constitution,� and going to sea passed under fire of rebel batteries on Sewall�s Point, and encountered a severe story off Cape Hatteras, but the run down the coast of Florida was very pleasant. The command disembarked on Ship Island, Mississippi, March 13, where it remained until April 14, when the three regiments went on board of the transport ship �Great Republic,� the largest sailing vessel at that time in our mercantile navy, and in tow of a steamer proceeded to the mouth of the Mississippi, to form a part of the attacking force, on the expedition against New Orleans. The troops began landing in Black Bay, in rear of Fort St. Philip, with the intention of attacking that point, but while in the act, news was received that both Forts Jackson and St. Philip had surrendered and consequently the expedition ended. After the destruction of a bridge in that vicinity, they went to the mouth of the Mississippi, thence up that river by boats to New Orleans, where they arrived May 2, just after the surrender of the city of Farragut and Butler, and took possession of the United States mint, and being one of the first regiments to occupy that city after its capture by the Union troops. On May 9 the regiment embarked on the �Laurel Hill� and went about thirty-seven miles up the river. They landed, started inland, marching all night through a cypress swamp, in water so deep that the rations were all destroyed, and it required great effort to save the ammunition. The object of this expedition was the capture of a train of cars on the New Orleans and Jackson Railroad, and to cut the road and destroy bridges, which being successfully accomplished, the force returned, arriving at Kenner May 10, and embarking on steamers, went to Baton rouge, and thence up the river on a reconnaissance, as far as Warrenton, five miles below Vicksburg. On the return trip, they were fired into by a light battery at Grand Gulf. The force landed and drove the enemy inland about two miles, and returning, continued the trip down the river, and arrived at Baton Rouge May 29, and went into pleasant quarters at the barracks. The long confinement on the transports had been under unfavorable conditions; sickness broke out, and nine of the Company H died there. Soon after the arrival of the regiment at Baton Rouge, and while it was comfortably situated in barracks, an order was given by the general commanding, to Col. T. S. Clark, then in command of the regiment, to move out and bivouac in the adjoining woods, without tents or any other shelter to make room for the Ninth Connecticut, a regiment having tents, while the use of these tents which belonged to the United States, was denied the Michigan regiment.

Against this order the officers protested, and on refusing to obey it, the field officers and several of the line officers were placed under arrest, but finally reluctantly complied with the order. The regiment, under the order of a captain, marched out into the woods where it remained, without shelter, and suffering much from exposure until after the battle, which soon occurred. This was a most unaccountable proceeding on the part of the commander, as the regiment had not deserved so unreasonable a test of discipline, nor such a discrimination against it in favor of another regiment, and it is presumed that had he lived but a short time longer the gallantry of the regiment in battle would have secured a more favorable consideration at his hands. The officers arrested were sent to New Orleans for trial, but were released on the order of General Butler.

We are indebted to Capt. Trask for the following account of this battle: �While in Baton Rouge we suffered much from sickness as a result of our long confinement on transports, and nine of our number were buried there. We left our pleasant quarters very reluctantly, and went out July 28, to bivouac in the woods. Here it was that the morning of the fifth of August found us, when we marched out for the first time to try the realities of the battlefield.

�It was a day to be remembered, for, though overshadowed by other battles where greater numbers were engaged, few excel it in desperate fighting, or the importance of the results determined by the issue of the fight. It was the first effort of the enemy to win back the mastery of the river below Vicksburg, won from them by the heroism of Farragut. The capture of Baton Rouge was not merely for the possession of the place, the few sickly troops stationed there and their supplies and munitions of war; it was to reestablish their communication with the west by three important lines. For this purpose General Breckenridge advanced on the place with three brigades, numbering nearly or quite twice our effective force. Our numbers and the sickly condition of our troops were well known to the enemy, for their friends in the city not only kept them well posted as to our condition and numbers, but had actually prepared food for their breakfast after the brief morning exercise of whipping the �Yanks.� Before making the assault, Breckenridge, in an address to his troops, assured them that the place was garrisoned by a few sickly regiments only, and promised that if they would only make one vigorous dash they should breakfast at the State House. How well I remember in the early twilight the scattering shots here and there, followed by the heavier voices of the cannons that awoke many that morning to summon them to a deeper slumber ere nightfall. I can hear as then, the shouts of "Fall in, fall in," and the tumultuous rattle of the drums beating the long roll, I can see now, as I saw then, the mist rising from the ground in the balmy morning air, and the blue smoke that came stealing through the woods from the scene of conflict. The firing had ceased, the Fourteenth Maine had been driven from their camp in an exposed condition, the pickets were coming in and the enemy was advancing. I remember the first and only time I saw a smile on the face of Gen. Williams as he complimented us on the force we mustered for battle, for many of us weak from sickness, were staggering under the weight of our arms, and were fitter for the hospital than the fight. It was the first pleasant words that I had ever heard from his lips, -- and in my mind atoned for much of his severity in the past. I remember the hearty and cheerful salutations of the Indiana officers as we filed into a line on their right in a fog of mingled vapor and smoke, so dense that one could see but a short distance in advance. We were in a line along the edge of a wood fronting the Magnolia cemetery. Our right rested on a rod where a section of artillery was posted. We were hardly in line when we were ordered to lie down, and again the firing commenced and a few cannon shots flew over us. It was the prelude to the enemy's charge. A confused yelling was heard in our front. It was the much talked-of rebel yell. They charged up to the cemetery fence, only separated from us by a narrow road. We were expecting the retreat of our skirmishers and reserved our fire, not being able to distinguish friend from foe. The battery on our right opened and then came the entire storm of rebel lead. We were then lying almost under the muzzles of their guns, and the tempest that went over us was simply terrific. 'Fire' rang along our line, and we fired as we lay. There was no chance to overshoot. It was like a blast from the destroying angel, and the living went back faster then they came. Their spirit was broken, and Gen., Williams, a few moments before his death said, 'Give the Michigan regiment the praise of checking the enemy.' Other advances were made, but the delusive hope of an easy victory was gone, and they were easily repelled by the artillery. Such was the battle of Baton Rouge as I saw it."

During the battle the ranking officers were in arrest, and the regiment was divided into detachments, commanded by Captain Corden, Spitzer, and Soule. The loss of the regiment was twenty killed, forty-three wounded and six missing. Gen. Williams was killed in the engagement while mounted, and while saying to the Twenty-first Indiana, "Boys, your field officers are all gone, I will lead you." If the rebel attack had been successful they would have captured a large part of the Union artillery, and gained the superior advantage of securing a complete flanking position. The importance of the repulse of the principal attack of the Confederates on that day by the Sixth Michigan was fully acknowledged by Gen. Butler in his congratulatory order issued soon after.

August 20, the regiment under the command of Col. T. S. Clark, was recalled from Baton Rouge and stationed at Mattarie Ridge, guarding one of the approaches to New Orleans. Owing to the unhealthy locality in which the regiment was stationed, the number fit for duty when it moved to New Orleans, December 6, was only one hundred and ninety-one out of an aggregate of seven hundred and fifty-five. January 14, 1863, the regiment participated in the expedition under Gen. Weitzel, to Bayou Tesche, which destroyed the rebel gunboat, Cotton. Returning to New Orleans, the regiment, February 6, was stationed at Camp Parapet and at Kennersville, 18 miles from the city. From this point they made a long march of twenty seven miles from Kennersville to Manchac Pass, twelve of it over trestlework. This march was not only difficult but dangerous, as many men had to fall out in consequence of being injured by falling through the trestlework. March 24, the regiment, on the advance upon Ponchatoula, had a brilliant skirmish with an equal force of Calvary in the pinewoods, and defeated them without the loss of a man on the part of the Sixth. From March 24 until May 19, they were encamped at Manchac Pass, in the gloomy cypress swamp, with no camping ground except a narrow railway embankment, and no drinking water but that of the swamp or the tepid waters of the lake. Under these circumstances it was surprising that in general they were in nearly as good health as usual.

The regiment was also engaged with the enemy at Amite River, April 7, 1863, at Tickfaw River on April 12, and again at Amite River on May 12. On the last date, the Sixth made a raid up the Jackson railroad, destroying the enemy's camp at Pangipaho, capturing sixty prisoners, burning two bridges, a large gun-carriage factory, a shoe factory, and a tannery, used by the Confederate authorities. The value of this property was estimated at upwards of $400,000. The loss of the regiment in this affair was only one wounded.

The Sixth then returned to New Orleans, and on May 21, went on board the "Creole" bound for Port Hudson, disembarking at Springfield Landing the next day. The regiment was at once placed in the most advanced position and held it until the surrender. The twenty-seventy of May was a bloody day. In the assault of this day the regiment led the division of Gen. T. W. Sherman. Captain P. D. Montgomery led a forlorn hope of two hundred volunteers mostly from Company H, and the regiment lost more than one-third of the men engaged. The storm of shot and shell against which it advanced was something terrific. Gen. Sherman of Buena Vista fame said he had never seen anything like it before. As it tore through our columns one could hear the crash as it struck the bodies of the men, and the fresh earth thrown in the air by the ricocheting shot was so dense that one could see but a short distance before him. The assault was repulsed, Captain Montgomery fell with a ball through his body and left for dead, but finally recovered and is still living. Another assault was made on June 14, when the Sixth, then commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Bacon, advanced by detachment. The leading detachment was commanded by Captain John Cordon, one by Captain Stark following, with the balance of the regiment bringing up the rear. This assault also failed. June 29, the regiment, then commanded by Captain Cordon, again advanced to the assault, with thirty-five of the regiment, composing a forlorn hope, assailed the enemy's works at a point known as the citadel. The party succeeded in gaining the ditch, but were overpowered and driven back, with a loss of eight killed and nine wounded.

Mr. Greeley in his "American Conflict" says of these assaults, "Never was fighting more heroic than that of our army, assailing nearly equal numbers, behind strong defenses, approached through almost impassable abates, swept by rebel shell and grape. If valor could have triumphed over such odds, they would have carried the works; but only abject cowardice or pitiable imbecility could have lost such a position to so small an army; and the rebels fought well." On the ninth of July, Port Hudson surrendered to our forces. After its fall the regiment received the thanks of General Banks for gallant and efficient service during the siege, and was by his order, on July 10, converted into a regiment of heavy artillery, on account of faithful and valuable services, "to retain, until otherwise designated, its infantry number, and to have the organization, pay, clothing, and equipment prescribed by law, and regulations for troops of the artillery arm;" and on July 30 this order was approved by the secretary of war.

The regiment was stationed at Port Hudson until March 11, 1864, where two hundred and forty-seven re-enlisted, being a sufficient number of veterans to preserve its organization. It started for Michigan, in command of Colonel Edward Bacon. The regiment arrived at Kalamazoo, where it was furloughed for thirty days. Having again assembled at Kalamazoo, it returned to Port Hudson where it arrived May 11, with a very large number of recruits, enlisted while in Michigan. On June 6, the regiment was ordered to Morganzia to serve as infantry, where it remained until June 24. From Morganzia it went to Vicksburg, Mississippi where it served with the engineer brigade. July 23 the Company H left Vicksburg on the ill-fated steamer "Clara Bell" bound for the White river, thence to St. Charles. The boat was destroyed by a rebel battery, and Company H lost everything but their arms and the clothes they wore. The stay at St. Charles was very short, and on returning they went to New Orleans, and were went immediately to Mobile Bay, to take part in the reduction of the forts. The regiment arrived at Fort Gaines in time to witness the bombardment of Fort Morgan and its surrender. From this time until the following July, 1865, Fort Gaines was their very comfortable home, with the exception of a short expedition to Pascagoula, and at no time in their four years' service did they enjoy better quarters or maintain a more efficient discipline than on Dauphine Island at the mouth of Mobile Bay. On the ninth of July the regiment took steamers for New Orleans, with orders to report to Major General Sheridan. It arrived on the eleventh and encamped at Greenville, four miles from the city. There it was furnished with new camp equipage and wagon train, and put in condition for service in Texas, but on August 5, orders were received for its muster out which was accomplished August 20, just four years to a day from their muster in at Kalamazoo. On August 23, the regiment started for Michigan, going by steamer to Cairo, where it arrived on the twenty-eighth, and thence by rail to Jackson, Michigan, arriving there on the thirtieth, and on the fifth of September it was paid off and discharged.

The total enrollment of the Sixth was one thousand nine hundred and fifty-seven officers and men, its losses being five hundred and forty-two, of which two officers and forty-three men were killed in action, twenty-one died of wounds, and of disease six officers and four hundred and seventy men, making a total loss of five hundred and forty-two men. The soldiers were in far more deadly peril in the camp than on the battlefield. We can see now the wisdom of the Japanese in their sanitary measures for the preservation of health in their army. It is said that the Sixth Michigan lost more soldiers than any other regiment from this state.

Back to the table of contents

THIRTEENTH INFANTRY

From an earlier history of Eaton and Ingham counties we glean the following facts in regard to the part the men of Eaton County took in the Civil war.

The Thirteenth Infantry was recruited at Kalamazoo by Hon. Charles E. Stewart, who held the commission of colonel from October 3, 1861, to January 28, 1862, when he resigned and was succeeded by Col. Michael Shoemaker. It was largely composed of men from Kalamazoo County, but it included about one hundred men from Eaton and Ingham counties, the majority being from the former. The regiment left Kalamazoo on the twelfth of February with nine hundred and twenty-five names on its muster rolls, and proceeded to the army on the Tennessee by way of Bowling Green and Nashville. By a forced march it reached Pittsburg Landing late in the afternoon of April 7, in time to see the last of the battle of Shiloh. From that date until the evacuation of Corinth, Mississippi, by the rebel army under General Beauragard, it was engaged in picket and fatigue duty. When the army under General Buell fell back towards Louisville it was the last to leave northern Alabama, and in October it took part in the pursuit of Bragg�s army. It was actively engaged in the great battles around Murfreesboro, in the last days of 1862 and the first days of 1863. In the battle of Stone River its losses were twenty-five killed, sixty-two wounded, and eight missing out of a total of two hundred and twenty-four men engaged, equivalent to more than forty per cent. On December 31 it recaptured with the bayonet, two guns that had been taken by the enemy. It was employed upon the fortifications at Murfreesboro until the latter part of June 1863, when it moved with Rosecrans� army Tullahoma, and advanced as far as Pelham, at the foot of the mountains, from which point it returned and encamped at Hillsboro until August 16. It joined in the movement upon Chattanooga, and the division was in the advance when approaching that city which it entered September 8. In the great battle of Chickamauga, September 19 and 20, 1863, it bore an active part under Col. J. B. Culver, and sustained a loss of fourteen killed, sixty-eight wounded, and twenty-five missing, making a total one hundred and seven out of two hundred and seventeen officers and men who went into action, --nearly fifty per cent. Its losses during the year were: fifty-one men died in action or of wounds; sixty-six died of disease; one hundred and sixty-six discharged, nearly all for disability; seventy-seven deserted or dropped from the rolls; fifteen missing in action; thirty-two taken prisoners; ninety-three wounded in action, making a total of five hundred.

On November 5, 1863, the Thirteenth was assigned to duty at Chattanooga. From the twenty-second to the twenty-fifth of the same month the thirteenth took part in the battles for the possession of Chattanooga.

In January 1864, a large number of the men re-enlisted as veterans, and on the fifth of February left for Michigan, arriving at Kalamazoo on the twelfth, where they were furloughed for thirty days. At the end of that time the regiment assembled at the rendezvous, and on March 26, left Kalamazoo for the seat of war with four hundred recruits in its ranks. It reached Chattanooga on April 20, and from that date until September 25 was stationed on Lookout Mountain, employed in erecting hospitals. On November 7, it joined the army of Sherman, at Kingston, Georgia, and made the great march to the sea, arriving in the front of Savannah on December 16. The command followed the fortunes of the army in the movement north, through South and North Carolina, and was engaged on the Catawba River, South Carolina, February 28, 1865; at Averysboro, North Carolina, March 16; and at Bentonville, North Carolina, March 9. In the last action it was fiercely engaged, and lost one hundred and ten men killed, wounded, and missing, and among the killed was its commander, Col. W. G. Eaton, a brave and efficient officer. It moved with the army upon Raleigh, in pursuit of General Johnston, and, during the negotiations between that commander and General Sherman, was stationed on the Cape Fear River about thirty miles south of Raleigh. On April 30, it moved north, and reached Washington on May 19. On the twenty-fourth it participated in the grand review of Sherman�s army, and later encamped near the city, where it remained until June 9, when it was ordered to Louisville, Kentucky. It was mustered out of the service on July 25, and paid and disbanded at Jackson, Michigan on July 25, 1865.

Back to the table of contents

TWENTIETH INFANTRY

There were about an hundred men from Eaton County in Company G of the Twentieth Infantry. The regiment left Jackson for Washington, September 1, 1862, under command of Col. Adolphus W. Williams, with one thousand and twelve names on its rolls. At the battle of Fredericksburg, December 13, 1862, it crossed the river and was slightly engaged, losing eleven men wounded. In the camp at Falmouth the regiment suffered severely from sickness, and on the nineteenth of March it was sent to Kentucky.

May 9 a detachment of one hundred men was sent out to break up a guerrilla force, and on its return was attacked by the advance of General Morgan�s Confederate army, and driven back with considerable loss. On the following morning Morgan�s whole force attacked the position held by the Twentieth at Horse-shoe Bend on the Cumberland River. The action continued throughout the day and resulted in the complete defeat of the enemy, who retreated from the ground with a loss of about four hundred men. The Twentieth lost twenty-nine men killed, wounded and missing.

June 3, the regiment received orders to proceed with the Ninth Army corps to Vicksburg, Mississippi. It was cantoned about Haynes Bluff during the siege, and after the surrender of the place formed a portion of the force under Sherman sent to operate against Johnston, at Jackson. July 24 it returned to Haynes� Bluff. The heat was excessive during these operations, and the army suffered greatly from sickness.  During its stay in Mississippi the regiment lost twenty men by disease, and there were times when nearly half the command was disabled by sickness.

August 3, the Ninth Army corps returned to Kentucky, and in September the Twentieth participated in the movement upon Knoxville, Tennessee, going via Cumberland Gap. October 10, the regiment was engaged at Blue Springs, loosing three men killed and wounded. During the year, eight died of wounds; ninety of disease; one hundred and forty-eight discharged; ten deserted; seven missing in action; four taken prisoners; twenty-one wounded; nine officers resigned; one transferred, making a total of 298.

November 14, 1863, the regiment was ordered to Hough�s Ferry to check the advance of Longstreet�s army, now rapidly approaching Knoxville from the Chickamauga field. The regiment was compelled to fall back to Lenoir, covering the retreat of the force sent out, and held the Loudon road through the night. On the sixteenth Burnside�s army continued its movement on Knoxville, the Twentieth, with the Second and Seventeenth Michigan infantry, constituting the rear guard. The enemy followed vigorously, and attacked the rear at Turkey Creek, near Campbell�s station, but they were held at bay until the rear guard was re-inforced. The losses in the Twentieth amounted to thirty-three men. Among the killed was Lieut. Col. W. Huntington Smith, who commanded the regiment. The rear-guard arrived at Knoxville on the morning of the seventeenth, after a heavy night�s march over bad roads, and having been three nights without rest.

On the same day Longstreet�s army sat down to the siege of Knoxville, which was continued with unabated vigor until December 5, when, hearing that Sherman�s army was rapidly approaching by forced marches, the revel commander raised the siege and retreated swiftly towards Virginia.

The sufferings of Burnside�s army during the siege were severe, and the Twentieth bore its full share of privations. The stress was so severe that many soldiers were without shoes, overcoats, or under-clothing, and the weather was intensely cold.

March 21, 1864, the regiment marched from Knoxville to Nicholasville, Kentucky, and went thence by rail to Annapolis, Maryland, and on the fourth of May the Twentieth crossed the Rappahannock, and the Rapidan at Germania Ford on the fifth. It was engaged in the battle of the Wilderness on the sixth in which it lost eight killed, wounded and missing. On the ninth it was under fire on the Ny River, and on the twelfth participated in the battle at Spottsylvania Court-house, losing thirty killed, eighty-two wounded, and thirty-one missing.

July 30, it participated in the severe fighting, which followed the great explosion in front of Petersburg, on which occasion it charged and planted its colors on the Confederate works. The casualties in the command during the year were very heavy, as follows; eleven commissioned officers, died in action or of wounds, ten wounded, and two taken prisoners, and the total loss was five hundred and forty-eight. During the year seventy-six recruits joined the regiment.

On the twenty-eighth it moved with the division to the extreme right, east of Petersburg, and took position in the trenches, occupying Battery Nine near the river where it relieved a portion of the Second corps. The enemy�s sharpshooters annoyed the command exceedingly during the night and killed a number of men.

In this position the regiment continued through the winter, exposed more or less to a heavy fire from the batteries of the enemy in front, and to a flanking fire from heavy batteries across the river, composed of Whitworth and other rifled guns. It was the enemy�s custom to open fire at intervals of from three to four days, and the first gun was the signal for every man to take shelter in the works. The picket lines in front of the Twentieth were only about two hundred yards apart, and the fire from the rebel lines was at times severe. February 15, Capt. H. F. Robinson was killed by a Confederate sharpshooter while riding along the lines. The men also suffered from lack of fuel and the insufficiency of shelter, but they bore up under every privation, never flinching for a moment from the work set before them. As the spring advanced there were signs of important movements, and about March 1 the rebels were observed strengthening their lines as if expecting an assault. March 13, the regiment was in line of battle prepared for any emergency, and on the fifteenth orders were received to be in readiness to move at a moment�s notice. The sick were sent to City Point, and the men were required to sleep on their arms at night.

On the morning of the twenty-fifth before it was fairly light, the whole line at this point was aroused by the sudden cry, from one of the sentinels, �A charge,� and in a moment the troops were in line along the works, peering out into the darkness towards the ominous looking works in front of them, anxiously watching for the rushing gray lines of the enemy. Firing was heard to the left, and it was shortly ascertained that the enemy had taken Fort Steadman by a sudden rush in force, and were now deploying in the rear of the troops with a determination to capture the whole right of the line. It was a critical moment for a panic meant that all would be lost. But men who had trod the battle-field for three long years are not easily demoralized, and the gallant rank and file of the Twentieth Michigan infantry, who held the line immediately to the right of Fort Steadman were equal to the emergency. All the guns which the enemy could bring to bear, including those in the captured fort, were turned upon the position held by the Twentieth and the Second Michigan. The rebels were pouring masses of men through the broken line, and sweeping triumphantly toward the right; and such was the tremendous force of the charge that the Second Michigan was forced back into Battery Nine, with considerable loss in prisoners. The gray lines of the confederate infantry were also massing for a charge in front, and the situation was desperate. At this moment was Seventeenth Michigan came forward rapidly from its division head-quarters and charged the swarming enemy, but was compelled to fall back before vastly superior numbers. Reforming, the gallant regiment again charged into the thickest of the advancing enemy, and this time supported by the Twentieth and Second Michigan, who swept down upon the right, covered by the guns of Fort McGilvery. The onset was terrific, and seeing the utter hopelessness of persisting in their advance, the rebel columns at once became demoralized and broke in great disorder for the rear. The Twentieth was thrown forward along the picket line, where about three hundred and fifty of the retreating enemy were taken prisoners and brought in by the regiment. The loss of the Twentieth in this desperate affair was light compared with the magnitude of the conflict, --only nine men wounded, three mortally. From this time there was constant alarm, and the regiment was under arms almost the whole time until the final collapse of the rebellion.

On the third of April at three A.M. it was ordered to the right to support the Michigan Sharpshooters, which charged the enemy�s lines and entered Petersburg. It captured a number of prisoners and munitions, and at 4:10 A.M. hoisted its colors on the courthouse, being the first regiment to enter the city.

April 20, the regiment was ordered to City Point, arriving there on the twenty-second, and immediately embarked for Alexandria, where it arrived on the twenty-fourth and went into camp at Fort Lyon. On the twenty-eighth it marched over the Long Bridge and through Washington and Georgetown to a camp about four miles from the latter place, where it remained until the 30th. May 23 it participated in the grand review of the Potomac army, and was mustered out of service on the thirtieth.

Back to the table of contents

SECOND CAVALRY

There were many men from Eaton County in the Second and the Seventh cavalry. The movement of the cavalry were far more rapid than those of the infantry, and space will not permit us to trace their movements in detail.

The second regiment was raised and organized at Grand Rapids by Hon. F. W. Kellogg, in the fall of 1861. The command left the Rapids on the 14th of November with one thousand one hundred and sixty-three names on its rolls, and went to St. Louis, Missouri, where it was assigned to duty at Benton Barracks, and remained there until March, 1862, when it formed a part of General Pope�s command, operating against Island No. 10 and New Madrid. During the latter part of the year and the first part of 1862 it was actively employed in Kentucky and Tennessee. On the thirty-first of October it had 794 men on its rolls. On the twenty-fifth of March 1863, it made a gallant fight with a large force under Stearns and Forrest, in which the enemy suffered severely, losing, besides killed and wounded, fifty-two prisoners and a great amount of munitions and baggage. The losses of the regiment were; one dead of wounds, six wounded, and two missing. On the fourth of June, while moving from Triune to Franklin, it had another sharp skirmish, in which it lost two killed, and three wounded. The casualties in the regiment from October, 1862, to October, 1863, were: eight died in action or of wounds; twenty-three of disease; one hundred and eighty-three discharged mostly for disability; seventy deserted; thirty-one missing in action; eight wounded in action; ten officers resigned; total three hundred and thirty-eight. Aggregate on the rolls, November 1863, six hundred and sixty-two.

Early in January 1864, the regiment went on a foraging expedition to Fayetteville, where it gathered in four hundred bushels of wheat, sixty-five head of cattle, from five hundred to six hundred head of sheep and a number of mules and horses. August 30, it moved from Nashville in pursuit of General wheeler, in command of a large cavalry force of Confederates. He was encountered about twelve miles from Nashville, and driven back several miles; and from this time until September 8 the command was in pursuit of the enemy, skirmishing near Campbellville on the fifth. On September 7, it was at Florence, Alabama, and on the twelfth it reached Franklin, Tennessee. During the remainder of the month the regiment was engaged in fighting, and in obstructing the advance of Hood�s army. Its losses for the year, during which it had marched nearly fourteen hundred miles were as follows: died in action or of wounds, twenty-five, died of disease fifty-seven, discharged for disability one hundred and eighty-five, transferred to other commands thirty-three, missing in action twenty-two, --total three hundred and twenty-two, re-enlisted as veterans, three hundred and twenty-eight. On the thirtieth of November it took part in Schofield�s great battle at Franklin and lost twenty-one men, --one killed, seventeen wounded, and three missing. On the first of December it fell back to within a few miles of Nashville, and remained in line of battle during the night. On the fifteenth the regiment advanced two miles, and skirmished during the continuance of operations around Nashville. Hood�s army was completely broken to pieces by the veterans under the indomitable Thomas, and its scattered fragments sent flying in utter rout towards the Tennessee. On the first of April the command crossed the Black Warrior river, at Johnston�s Ferry, swimming their horses, and had a skirmish with the enemy on the second at Triune, arriving at Tuscaloosa on the third, where they surprised the pickets and captured the city, together with three guns and a considerable number of prisoners. The public stores and buildings and the bridge over the river were destroyed, and the regiment proceeded to Bridgeville, where, on the sixth, the Confederates made a sudden attack, but after a sharp engagement were handsomely repulsed with a loss to the regiment of three wounded. The command reached Macon, Georgia, on the first of May. At this point it remained encamped until July 17, when the regiment was broken into detachments, and sent to garrison Perry, Thomaston, Barnesville, Forsyth, and Milledgeville, two companies and the headquarters remaining at Macon. It was mustered out August 17, reached Michigan on the twenty-sixth, and was immediately paid and disbanded at Jackson.

Back to the table of contents

SEVENTH CAVALRY

The Seventy cavalry was also recruited at Grand Rapids, and went into the service in detachments. The first two battalions left that place for the front February 20, 1863, and the remainder of the regiment in May. Although they took the field late in the war they saw a great deal of hard fighting. There were no very definite returns for the first year, but they participated in seventeen engagements during the year, one of which was that on the third of July at Gettysburg in which the regiment lost sixteen killed, forty-one wounded, and twenty-four missing and prisoners. During the year up to November 1, 1863, its losses in killed, wounded, prisoners, missing, deserted, and discharged for various causes were three hundred and twenty-eight men. On November 7, 1863, the regiment accompanied the advance of the Army of the Potomac into Virginia, crossing the Rappahannock near Morton�s ford, and capturing a number of prisoners from the enemy�s rear. From this time until the last of February it was on picket duty. On the twenty-eight of that month it started on the Kilpatrick raid, and on the following day reached Beaver Dam on the Virginia railroad, after a 20 hours� march. At this point the station and track were destroyed. On the afternoon of the 30th it reached the vicinity of Richmond, and while on picket the following night was attacked by a superior force of the enemy, and, after a desperate fight, compelled to fall back with the loss of forty-four men missing, among them Lieut. Col. A. C. Litchfield. The command moved rapidly from the vicinity of the Confederate capital of Yorktown, from whence it went to Alexandria by transports, and marched to its former camp near Stevensburg. On the 17th of March the brigade was transferred to the First cavalry division and removed its camp to Culpepper.

Upon the opening of the great campaign of 1864 it crossed the Rapidan on the fifth of May and on the sixth and seventh encountered the enemy at Todd�s Tavern, losing three men, w2ounded. On the ninth it formed a part of the force under General Sheridan, which made a raid on the enemy�s communications. The South Anna River was crossed on May 10, and on the eleventh was fought the battle of Yellow Tavern, where the Seventh charged the Confederate Calvary and assisted in driving them from the field. In this engagement the Seventh lost three killed, fifteen wounded, and thirteen missing; among the dead was Maj. Henry W. Granger, commanding the regiment. On the twelfth the regiment was engaged at Meadow Bridge and Mechanicsville, losing one man wounded. On the fourteenth it was at Malvern Hill, and soon after joined the army at Milford. On the twenty-seventh the Confederate cavalry in its front were driven several miles, and the Seventh captured forty-one prisoners and a large number of horses. In the cavalry action at Hawes� Shop, on the twenty-eighth, it took an active part, losing seventeen men killed, wounded and missing. On the 29th it had a skirmish at Baltimore Cross-Roads, where it lost two men wounded; and the next day participated in the attack upon the Confederate works at Cold Harbor. It was attacked by a strong force of infantry, but held its position until relieved. Its loss was four killed and wounded.

In the raid toward Gordonsville it was warmly engaged at Trevillian Station on June 11 and 12. On the eleventh a portion of the command recaptured from the enemy a piece of artillery, which they had taken from the Union forces. During these last engagements the regiment lost two men killed, twenty-seven wounded, and forty-eight missing. From the White House it moved forward to the James River and encamped until the latter part of July, when it was ordered to Washington and from thence to the Shenandoah Valley.

On August 11, the Sixth and Seventh Michigan Cavalry repelled an assault of the enemy near Winchester. On the sixteenth the Seventh took part in the battle of Crooked Run, where a battalion routed a brigade of rebel cavalry, and captured about an hundred prisoners, with horses and equipments. It lost in the affair one killed, eleven wounded, and seven missing.

On the 25th during a reconnaissance, it had a sharp action near Shepardstown, losing six men, wounded and missing. Being cut off from the main army the brigade crossed the Potomac near Sharpsburg, and from thence returned by way of Harper�s Ferry to the south side of the river.

On the 29th the cavalry division to which it belonged was attacked by a heavy force of infantry, and compelled to retreat, the Seventh covering the rear and losing two killed and fourteen wounded. The division fell back to Smithfield. September 3, during a reconnaissance to White Post, it was shelled by a rebel battery and lost four men, killed and wounded. It participated on the nineteenth in the battle at Opequan Creek, where it charged across the stream, drove the enemy and pushed on to Winchester, where it again charged, and drove them through the place. During these movements it lost four men killed, nineteen wounded, and two missing. Lieut. Col. Melvin Brewer, commanding the regiment, was mortally wounded. At Luray on the twenty-fourth, the command captured sixty prisoners and several horses, losing three men wounded. From the twenty-sixth to the twenty-eighth it was skirmishing near Port Republic; and on the eighth and ninth of October was engaged with the corps near Woodstock, where the new cavalry general, Rosser, was completely routed and driven up the valley. In these actions it lost three men wounded.

At Cedar Creek, October 19, it was attacked while on picket duty, but escaped without loss. Later in the day it was the decisive movement by which the enemy was routed. The Seventh captured one hundred prisoners. Its own loss was four wounded and twenty-nine missing. During the year its losses from all causes were four hundred and fifty-seven. In the same period its recruits were two hundred and forty-eight.

The regiment was in winter-quarters at Camp Russell near Winchester, Virginia, until the last of February, when it left camp and proceeded with the cavalry command towards Staunton, Virginia, which was the opening of General Sheridan�s raid to the James River. February 8, the Seventh was engaged with Rosser�s cavalry near Louisa Court House, routed them, captured the place, and destroyed a large amount of property. The regiment was employed during the movement in destroying property along the Lynchburg and Gordonsville railroad, and on the James River canal, where the locks, aqueducts, mills, etc., were destroyed or rendered useless.

March 30 the Seventh was engaged at Five Forks with the Confederate Cavalry, which was driven within its works. On the fourth there was fighting at Duck Pond mills, and two days later at Sailor�s Creek; and on the eighth and ninth the Seventh Cavalry saw the last of it at Appomattox Court House.

Following Gen. Lee�s surrender, the regiment marched with the cavalry corps to Petersburg where it remained a short time and then it was sent into North Carolina, from whence it was soon ordered to Washington, D. C. It participated in the review of the army of the Potomac, May 23, and soon after, in company with the Michigan Cavalry brigade, proceeded west, via the Baltimore and Ohio railroad and the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, to St. Louis, Missouri where it took steamers and went to Leavenworth, Kansas.

At that point it was learned that its destination was Colorado, where it was to operate against the hostile Indians, who were making trouble along the various lines of travel. There was much dissatisfaction expressed when these facts were known to the command, but, remembering their former untarnished record, the men, like good soldiers, fell in and obeyed orders. The regiment marched across the plains and reached Camp Collins, seventy miles west of Denver, at the base of the mountains, July 26, having traveled seven hundred miles since leaving Leavenworth. It was immediately assigned to duty along the overland stage route, which was greatly infested with Indians. Here it continued guarding United States mails, and giving protection to immigrants until November 1, 1865, when an order was received to transfer all the men whose term of service extended beyond march 1, 1866, to the First Michigan cavalry, and then report at Denver to be mustered out of service. This order transferred about two hundred and fifty men who were recruited in the winter of 1864. From Denver the regiment was ordered to Fort Leavenworth. All its horses were ordered to be turned over to the quartermaster�s department at Denver, and the command was left to march on foot over the plains or make its way to Leavenworth as best it could. It was a harsh and unreasonable proceeding of the government, and the men justly complained of their treatment. A statement was made to General Upton commanding that department, but he declined to make any arrangements for transportation. The men, however, were finally granted permission to hire their passage in mule trains, returning to the east, and most of them availed themselves to this means, paying twenty-five dollars each, for the privilege of riding in a heavy wagon. The journey was made in twenty-six days, and on arriving at Leavenworth, the command was mustered out and ordered to Michigan. It arrived at Jackson on December 20, and was paid and disbanded six days later.

Back to the table of contents

PROVISION FOR SOLDIERS' FAMILIES

June 12, 1861, the board of supervisors authorized the supervisors of the several townships to afford such relief as might be required by the families of volunteers (agreeable to an act of the legislature, passed May 10, 1861), and draw their orders for amounts thus raised on the general fund of the county.  Each supervisor was subsequently ordered to open and keep an accurate account with each family to who such relief should be afforded in his township, and the clerk was directed to procure and furnish blank volunteer relief orders.  In 1861 the total number of families aided was eighty-five, and the amount thus expended was $1,469.14.  In October, 1862, a report was made to the board by a special committee appointed at a citizens� meeting, held in Charlotte July 29, 1862, to collect, take charge of, and pay a bounty of twenty-five dollars to each soldier enlisted in Company G. Twentieth Michigan infantry.  This report was accepted by the board.  At the same session the county treasurer was authorized to pay orders drawn on the Volunteer Relief fund, and pay interest on the same at a rate not to exceed ten percent per annum.  The clerk was at the same time authorized to draw orders in favor of subscribers to the bounty fund of the above mentioned company for the amount subscribed;  and it was also voted that $8,000 of the total tax raised in the county should belong to the Volunteer relief fund. 

In June, 1863, the report of a committee was adopted in respect to relief given out of this fund, the terms of which was as follows:  claimants for relief were divided into four classes,--viz:  class first, consisting of families wholly without support; class second, families able to furnish one-fourth of their support; class third, families able to furnish one-half of their support; and class fourth, those able to furnish three-fourths of their own support.  These classes were paid at the following rates per month:  class one, four dollars to head of family and two dollars for each child; class two, three dollars to head of family and one and a half dollars to each child; class three, two dollars to head of family and one dollar to each child; class four, one dollar to head of family and half a dollar to each child.  Able-bodied children, male or female, over sixteen years of age were not to be considered as proper subjects for support, unless their services were in absolute demand in their families.  The sum apportioned from the taxes for 1864 to the Volunteer Relief fund was seventeen thousand dollars, voted in October, 1863.  A year later it was resolved that the fund should be twenty-one thousand dollars.  In February, 1865, it was resolved to issue bonds in the sums of fifth and one hundred dollars each, for the payment of bounties to volunteers, agreeable to an act of February 4, 1865, entitled �An act to provide for the payment of volunteers in the military and naval service of the United States.�  The board also passed a resolution requesting the legislature so to amend this act that the bounties could be paid to persons furnishing substitutes under the last call, and so that said local and state bounties could be paid to drafted persons, who should afterwards enlist to the credit of their respective townships.  In October, 1865, the supervisors authorized that the sum of $13,695.13 should be appropriated from the tax next to be raised in the county for the Soldiers� Relief fund, and in October, 1866, the sum of $300 only was appropriated, with directions that no supervisor should furnish relief to the family of any deceased soldier after the first day of January, 1867.

Back to the table of contents

SOLDIERS' MONUMENTS

There are but two soldiers� monuments in the county.  In the cemetery at Eaton Rapids is a small but very tasteful soldiers� monument of granite about eight feet in height.  It is surrounded by an iron railing, and is defended by a large cannon facing the entrance.  No soldiers� names appear upon it, but upon one side are the words

�OUR FALLEN HEROES� 

Grand Ledge has a soldiers� monument, six by ten feet square, built of granite blocks, and about five feet high.  It is surmounted by a seven inch rifled cannon, and four cannon balls are stacked on each corner.  The lot is surrounded by a cement walk. 

The Soldiers and Patriotic Citizens of the township of Sunfield have adopted a novel way to perpetuate the memory of the services of the soldiers from that town.  They have erected a G. A. R. Hall, a frame building, twenty by forty feet on the ground in which are stored the flags and other relics of the war.  In front of it stands a steel skeleton tower that carries a flag staff.  On each side of the entrance stands a stone pillar four by seven feet square and two feet high.  These pillars are each surmounted by a flag-stone on which is mounted a large cannon with seven inch bore.  Every soldier was invited to contribute a stone to one of these columns or pillars and was permitted to have his name and rank in the army chiseled on the stone.

Back to the table of contents

CHAPTER XVII 

RAILROADS�Grand River Valley Railroad�Peninsular Railroad�Chicago and  Trunk Railroad�Northern Central Michigan Railroad�Detroit, Lansing and Northern Railroad�Coldwater and Marshall Railroad

GRAND RIVER VALLEY RAILROAD

The Grand River Valley Railroad Company was incorporated in 1846, and the incorporators were Amos Root, Harvey Williams, Benjamin Porter, Benjamin Knight, Ephraim B. Danforth, Abram V. Berry, Ira C. Backus, John Sumner, Amasa B. Gibson, Allen Bennett, Jr., William P. Kassick, Amos Roberts, Philo M. Everett, John Garrow and Lewis Bascom, with a capital of $1,000,000 and $20,000 shares of $50 each.  The act of incorporation seems to have remained in a state of �innocuous desuetude� for the space of sixteen years, for in 1862 a new board of directors was chosen and officers elected, with a view to commence the work of building the road.  In 1894 pursuant to a general act of the legislature, the company reorganized under the general railroad law of Michigan, with a capital stock of $1,000,000 and 10,000 shares of $100 each.  The policy of the state was to have all the railroads operate under the general railroad law, and hence the legislation authorizing the change, the legislature going so far as to repeal some if not all the special charters. 

In 1864 the legislature held a special session, and by an act approved February 5, 1864, and amended in 1865, it was made lawful for the county of Eaton to loan to the Grand River Valley Railroad Company a sum not exceeding $75,000, to build a road between Jackson and Grand Rapids, and passing through said county.  This was only one of a dozen similar laws enacted at the same session, authorizing different cities and counties to aid in the construction of other railroads.  In accordance with the provisions of this law, the supervisors submitted to the electors of this county the question whether such loan should be made.  The election was held April 29, 1865, and resulted in favor of making such loan. 

The township of Salem in Washtenaw county, voted thus to aid the Detroit and Howell Railroad Company to build a road from the vicinity of Detroit to Howell, but the township officers refused to issue the bonds voted on the ground that the law was unconstitutional, and the railroad company applied to the supreme court to issue a �mandamus� requiring them to issue the bonds.  The supreme court decided that the law was unconstitutional and refused to issue the �mandamus.�  The decision affected all the other similar special laws, and then the question was raised whether the bonds already issued under the laws were valid and must be paid.  The question was submitted to the United States circuit court held in Grand Rapids, and the decision was that the bonds were valid and must be paid.  When this decision was rendered the supervisors of this county ordered the county treasurer to pay the principal and interest on these bonds as fast as they matured, and they levied taxes to enable him to do so.  The county paid the last of these bonds in 1880.  

The company commenced building without any spare cash on hand, the officers paid their own expenses, and it held its own all the time so far as money was concerned.  Subscriptions to the stock and municipal aid were the sole dependence. 

It was apparent that the bonds of the company would need to be endorsed and guaranteed by some established railroad company.  Representatives of the Michigan Southern and Northern Indiana railroad gave the company to understand that that company would endorse their bonds and make the Grand River Valley one of their permanent tributary lines, but when they put their proposition in writing it was found to be so one sided that the Grand River Valley Company could not accept it.  The company at once made an arrangement with James F. Joy, then president of the Michigan Central railroad, by which the latter road agreed to guarantee the bonds and complete the road to Grand Rapids, and take practically a permanent lease of the road.  The rental paid by the Michigan Central is five per cent annually on the full paid capital stock of $491,200, and this has been paid to the Grand River Valley stockholders ever since January 1, 1872, two and one-half per cent in January and two and one-half per cent in July of each year.  The lease to the Michigan Central brought matters out all right.  At this time more than half of the distance had been graded, ties procured, and bridges and culverts built by private subscriptions and the aid of municipal bodies.  In the fall of 1867 the line was opened to Onondaga; in July, 1868, to Eaton Rapids; in October, 1868, to Charlotte; in April, 1869, to Hastings; and it was finally completed into Grand Rapids by the Michigan Central in March, 1870.  The lease for 999 years did not go into effect until the reorganization in 1894, that being the lifetime of the corporation under the general railroad law.  Before the reorganization the term of the lease was during the existence of the corporation, the organization prolonged that existence 999 years. 

When the Grand River Valley Railroad Company determined in 1862 to build the road from Jackson To Grand Rapids, the plan of its projectors and promoters was to form a connection with the Jackson branch of the Michigan Southern and Northern Indiana and have a through line from Grand Rapids to Toledo.  But that plan fell through.  The Michigan Central and Michigan Southern are now controlled by the same parties, and on June 18, 1905, for the first time trains began running direct between Grand Rapids and Toledo, a train leaving each terminal every morning, and thus after a delay of forty years the original plan is carried out, and the connection with Detroit by the Michigan Central at the same time remains undisturbed.

Back to the table of contents

PENINSULAR RAILROAD

The articles of association of the Peninsular railroad were filed in the office of the secretary of state in Lansing, October 3, 1865.  From these it appears that the corporation was to continue 10,000 years, the road was to extend from Battle Creek to Lansing, forty-four miles, that stock to the amount of $500,000 had been subscribed.  The names of sixty-seven stockholders are given who had taken 10,000 shares at $50 each of which five per cent had been paid in.  The first ten directors were Leonidas D. Dibble, Joseph M. Ward, Elijah W. Pendill, William Wallace, Martin S. Brackett, Reuben Fitzgerald, Joseph Musgrave, Sumner P. Webber, Cyrus Cummings and George N. Potter.  The following five, Alonzo Noble, Edwin C. Nichols, John Evans, Elisha Shepherd, and Silas E. Millett were appointed commissioners to open books of subscription to the stock.  May 1, 1869, it was mortgaged to the Union Trust Company for $1,800,000 in order to purchase iron and rolling stock.  On December 1, 1879, it was sold by Addison Randall, master commissioner, to Joseph Hickson et al., who were the highest bidders for $300,000.  Hickson sold it March 13, 1880, to the Michigan Railroad Company for $2,089,500. 

The following statement from records in the office of the commissioner of railroads, shows how the Michigan railway (including the Peninsular) became a part of the Grand Trunk system.

Back to the table of contents

CHICAGO AND GRAND TRUNK RAILROAD 

This road extends from Chicago, Ill., to Fort Gratiot, Mich., and was formed by the consolidation of five other companies.  Articles were filed April 6, 1880, and amended October 7, 1887.  (P. 18, Com. Report, 1880.)  The five other companies are: 

(1)    Grand Trunk Railway extending from Chicago to Valparaiso.

(2)     Indiana Railway extending from Valparaiso to Michigan state line.

(3)      Michigan Railway extending from state line to Lansing.  This company filed articles January 7, 1880, and bought at mortgage sale that part of the Chicago & Lake Huron Railroad which was formerly owned by the Peninsular Railroad.  The Chicago & Lake Huron railway was a consolidation of two roads, articles filed August 15, 1873.

(a)    Port Huron & Lake Michigan Railroad.

(b)    Peninsular Railroad, articles of consolidation filed April 30, 1870.

(1)    Peninsular Railroad of Illinois.

(2)    Peninsular Railroad of Indiana.

(3)    Peninsular Railroad of Michigan, articles of consolidation filed February 17, 1868.

(a)    Peninsular Railroad, articles filed October 3, 1865.

(b)    Peninsular Railroad Extension Company, articles filed January 3, 1868.

(4)    Chicago & Northeastern Railroad, extending from Lansing to Flint, articles filed August 12, 1874.

Northeastern Grand Trunk Railroad, extending from Flint to Port Huron, articles filed January 7, 1880.  This company bought that part of the Chicago & Lake Huron Railroad formerly owned by the Port Huron and Lake Michigan Railroad.  (See Michigan Railway above.)

Back to the table of contents

NORTHERN CENTRAL MICHIGAN RAILROAD

This company filed articles Nov. 2, 1866, and amended the same Oct. 2, 1868.  The Amboy, Lansing & Traverse Bay Railroad Company made an assignment of all its rights and franchises to this company, the minutes of which was filed with the secretary of state, January 14, 1867. 

The Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway advanced the entire sum for the construction of this road and owns the entire capital stock. 

The lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway Company built this road in 1872, advancing the entire sum required ($1,347,495), and receiving therefore the entire issue of stock ($610,000), and bonds ($1,525,000). 

This road is operated as a branch (called the �Lansing Division�) of the L. S. & M. S. Ry., and extends from Albion to Lansing.  Its earnings, expenses and all other statistics are included in the general annual report of that company.  Work began on this road at an early day, and was delayed for many years until it came under the control of the Lake Shore Railroad Company.  It was familiarly known as �The Ram�s Horn.�

Back to the table of contents

DETROIT, LANSING AND NORTHERN RAILROAD

This company filed articles Dec. 7, 1876, and amended the same Dec. 8, 1879, and bought at mortgage sale the Detroit, Lansing & Lake Michigan Railroad, and also consolidated later with the Ionia, Stanton & Northern Railroad, which filed articles Dec. 11, 1870. 

The Detroit, Lansing & Lake Michigan Railroad was a consolidation of two other roads, articles of consolidation filed April 11, 1871, the two roads are: 

(1)       Ionia & Lansing Railroad, file articles Feb. 26, 1866, and amended the same Feb. 5, 1869.

(2)       Detroit, Howell & Lansing Railroad filed articles of consolidation April 11, 1870, and was composed of the following two roads:

(a)    Detroit & Howell Railroad, articles filed Sept. 21, 1864.

(b)   Howell & Lansing Railroad, articles filed June 23, 1868. 

This road now extends from West Detroit to Howard City.

Back to the table of contents

GRAND RAPIDS, LANSING & DETROIT RAILROAD

This company filed articles May 17, 1887, and has been leased and operated by the Detroit, Lansing & Northern Railroad since its completion (p. 20, Com. Report, 1889).  The road extends from Grand Ledge to Grand Rapids, passing through the northern tier of towns of the county, and now forms a part of the �Pere Marquette� system.

Back to the table of contents


COLDWATER AND MARSHALL RAILWAY

This road, although not yet in operations, has quite a history.  It was incorporated September 22, 1870, and the first board of directors were A. L. Green, F. V. Smith, J. G. Parkhurst, M. V. Wagoner, H. I. Perrin, George Ingersoll, C. S. Crane, C. P. Dibble, P. A. Spicer, Joseph Fish, and Henry C. Lewis.  On Dec. 22, 1874, the name of the road was changed to Coldwater & Mackinaw Company, and on Oct. 22, 1884, it was sold to the Toledo, Marshall & Northern Company. 

The right of way with few exceptions had been secured from Coldwater to Elm Hall in the northwestern part of Gratiot county, and the road had been graded the greater part of the way, and for some distance culverts had been put in, bridges built, and ties secured. 

The president of the road, Mr. Albertus L. Green, died October 21, 1875; work ceased soon after, and nothing more was done on the road for thirty years. 

On Jan. 16, 1905, it was mortgaged to the Knickerbocker Trust Company for $4,000,000, and The Detroit Free Press of November 21, has this announcement:  �Marshall, Mich., Nov. 20.�A meeting of the stockholders of the Marshall, Toledo & Northern Railroad Company was held at the company�s offices here today.  It was decided to raise capital stock of the company from $800,000 to $2,000,000.  One of the stockholders stated that this was necessary in order to float the company�s bonds in New York.  The failure to commence work as early as was expected is said to be due to the big insurance upheaval in New York, which has made it very difficult for new companies to float bonds.  The officers state that the road will surely be built.� 

This is the present state of affairs. 

There is no electric road in the county, although a company has been formed to build one from Battle Creek to Lansing through Bellevue, Olivet, and Charlotte.

Back to the table of contents

CHAPTER XVIII


BANKS AND MANUFACTURES

In January, 1862, Messrs. Musgrave and Lacey established a banking house in Charlotte, to do a general banking business.  On the second of January, 1871, the First National Bank of Charlotte was organized, with a capital of $100,000, of which $50,000 was paid in.  The officers were:  Joseph Musgrave, President; E. S. Lacey, Cashier; A. J. Ives, Vice President; Joseph Musgrave, E. s. Lacey, A. J. Ives, E. W. Barber, Ellzey Hayden, Directors.  Mr. Ives had been the bookkeeper in the private bank.  Mr. Musgrave continued its president until his death in April 1880. 

He was followed in the presidency by Ellzey Hayden, whose death occurred a few years later, and Mr. E. S. Lacey became President.  He was followed by Frank Belcher, who died in office, and John M. C. Smith was chosen and continued in office at the present time.  F. H. Pollard is the Cashier. 

The bank has now a savings department for the accommodation of the public. 

The bank of Homer G. Barber, of Vermontville, established in 1862, was reorganized in 1887.  William Alsover is Cashier. 

Banking in Olivet has been conducted since 1892 by George W. Keyes & Son, succeeding George W. Keyes, who began an exchange business in 1872.  It is a private institution with a capital of $6,000.  Karl D. Keyes, the junior member of the firm, manages its affairs. 

The First National Bank of Eaton Rapids commenced business September first, 1877, with a capital of $50,000 with the following officers:--a. J. Bowne, President; F. H. De Golia, Cashier.  The following constituted the Board of Directors:--A. J. Bowne, George E. Goodyear, F. H. De Golia, Daniel Stryker, A. C. Cutton, Philip Leonard, and Allen Crawford.  Allen Crawford and F. H. De Golia are the only members of the original board that are now living.  The bank has now a surplus of $10,000.  The present Board of Directors are Marshal Wood, E. E. Horner, F. H. De Golia, A. Osborn, J. H. Gallery, M. D. Crawford, and Allen Crawford.  At the present time Marshal Wood is President; E. E. Horner, Vice President; F. H. De Golia, Cashier; and A. Osborn, Assistant Cashier.  Its deposits are about $200,000. 

The Bellevue Bank was opened in June, 1883, by Longyear & Klockstein, of Lansing.  About the year 1884 the partnership was dissolved and H. Longyear became manager.  In December, 1890, the bank was sold to George Neasmith and C. Mason.  Mr. Neasmith died in August, 1892, and in the following October Hiram M. Allen was called into the bank as President, with E. J. Frost as Cashier.  The present officers are H. M. Allen, President; E. W. Stevens, of the firm of Brown, Stevens & Carger, and Charles Dyer, capitalist, are the Vice Presidents; and C. D. Kimberly is Cashier.  The present capital is $15,000 with a surplus of $2,000.  Its deposits amount to $100,000.  The volume of business transacted has doubled under the present management. 

The Merchants� National Bank of Charlotte was organized in the summer of 1883, largely through the efforts of George M. Ely, and was opened for business October 1 of that year with a paid up capital of $50,000.  The first officers were Phineas Spaulding, President; A. D. Baughman, Vice President, and George M. Ely, Cashier.  These officers, with Frank A. Ells, Frank Merritt, John T. Wilson and John M. Corbin constituted the first board of directors.  One of the primary causes leading up to the organization of the Merchants� National Bank was to furnish the citizens of Charlotte and vicinity with facilities in banking, and financial lines, which up to that time had never been afforded them.  The need of this institution at that time and the appreciation of it by the community at large is best shown by the steady growth the bank has always enjoyed, until at this writing it has deposits of over $300,000, and in addition to its capital of $50,000 has accumulated a surplus fund of over $60,000 besides having paid its stockholders satisfactory dividends.  The late Earl T. Church was president of the bank from October 1, 1884, until his death in February, 1906.  During his administration, the ban, in 1902, erected the most commodious and complete banking house in central Michigan.  In 1904 it was designated a United States depository and has since carried a deposit of public funds.  Early in 1906 the State Treasurer also selected the Merchants� National Bank as one of the depositories for the funds of the state. 

The Michigan State Bank of Eaton Rapids was organized in July, 1884, with a capital of $50,000, which was the next year increased to $75,000.  The first President was H. H. Cobb, who was succeeded in July, 1890, by John Corbin.  The first Cashier was Charles S. Cobb, who was succeeded by the present Cashier, H. H. Hamilton.  The first Vice President was C. W. Stevens, and the second, H. P. Webster.  The bank has a surplus of $20,000 and deposits to the amount of $250,000.  The directors are Joseph Carr, John Corbin, H. P. Webster, I. N. Reynolds, E. F. Knapp, H. C. Minnie, F. S. Leighton, H. H. Hamilton and E. F. Harris, who is also Assistant Cashier. 

The Loan and Deposit Bank of Grand Ledge is a private bank, George N. Berry, Proprietor and President; E. M. Briggs, Cashier; and Fred L. Berry, Assistant Cashier.  It began business in 1891. 

The Exchange Bank of Dimondale is a private bank with a capital of $8,000.  It opened its doors in 1897.  It is owned and managed by B. S. Harris. 

The Sunfield Banking Company began business in 1897.  It is a private bank owned by P. S. Shelly, of Toledo, who is the President.  H. S. Reames is the Cashier.  It has a responsibility of $100,000, and its deposits average $50,000. 

The Bank of Mulliken is a private bank owned by Reed & Berry.  It commenced business in 1898, with M. E. Reed acting as cashier and manager.  It has a very neat banking office. 

In 1899 the directors of the Merchants National Bank, believing that the best interests of the community could be better conserved by increasing the banking capital in Charlotte, and that in the form of a savings bank, accordingly organized, and in August of that year opened the Eaton County Savings Bank, with a capital of $25,000.  This effort met with a ready response, and the need seemed so urgent that the capital of the bank has been twice increased�in March, 1903, to $50,000, and in September, 1905, to $100,000, which with its surplus of $25,000, today makes it the strongest capitalized bank in the county.  It is the only savings bank in the county.  The officers of the Merchants� National Bank and the Eaton County Savings Bank are A. D. Baughman, President; Homer G. Barber, Vice President; H. K. Jennings, Cashier.  These officers with the following gentlemen constitute the board of directors of the two banks:  Edwin N. Ely, Judge W. F. Stine, W. B. Otto, Albert Murray and George H. Spencer. 

The Citizens Bank of Bellevue is a private institution, opened in 1902, with a responsibility of $150,000.  C. E. Scott is President, F. M. Mulvany and J. R. Hall Vice Presidents, and B. D. Vaughan Cashier. 

The Potterville Exchange is a private bank opened in May, 1903, by F. J. McConnell & Co.  On February 23, 1896, their interests were purchased by Dwight and C. J. Backus, who expect soon to increase the capital to $50,000.  Dwight Backus is the cashier and manager. 

The Grand Ledge State Bank has a capital of $25,000 and began business May 16, 1905.  W. R. Clarke is President; S. C. Schumaker, First Vice President; and B. R. Moore, Cashier.  The following gentlemen are Directors:--A. R. Gillies, W. R. Howe, A. B. Schumaker, Danford Shadduck, Dudley E. Water, W. R. Clarke, A. T. Slaght, Dr. J. E. Hinkson, and M. T. Vanderbosch.  It has on deposit $78,475. 

In the vicinity of Grand Ledge clay is found of a superior quality for the manufacture of stone ware, sewer pipe and tiling, and the only place in the county where sewer pipe is made on a large scale is located in the western part of that village.  The clay is hauled in heavy wagons to the factory where it is placed in what is called the �drying pan,� which has a capacity of 100 tons a day.  Here the clay is ground and conveyed to a revolving screen where it is thoroughly sifted.  It is then thrown into a large bin which is directly over two wet pans, and from the bin is dropped into the pans and mixed with water to give the proper temper for moulding.  It is then carried on an elevator to an endless belt, which delivers the tempered clay into the presses where it is made into pipe and tile.  The largest press turns out all pipe from three to twenty-four inches; the second press is smaller and is used for sizes two and one-half inches to twelve inches.  Flue chimneys, chimney pipes, wall coping, and all styles, sizes and lengths of building blocks are also made.  The plant is equipped with twelve kilns, each one thirty feet in diameter, and has a capacity of several carloads; one of these is drawn and set each day.  The loading facilities are excellent, so that 15 or 20 cars can be loaded daily. 

The Crawford Chair Company has this year erected at Grand Ledge a fine building of cream-white brick, 60 by 160 feet square, five stories in height above the basement, and surmounted by a cupola.  It has but recently begun work; will bake a specialty of dining tables, and when running at its full capacity, expects to employ two hundred hands. 

The most famous summer resort in the county is at Grand Ledge.  The steep, rocky banks of the river and the group of seven islands form a romantic scenery.  A hotel and several other buildings have been erected on the islands for the accommodation of visitors, and boats are supplied in abundance.  It is frequently patronized by families and parties from Lansing, Charlotte and other neighboring towns, for a picnic or for an outing of a few days.  

From The Independent the information is obtained that E. A. Turnbull, the proprietor of this concern, assumed control about a dozen years ago, and at the same time added several improvements and installed new machinery which doubled the capacity of the business.  The reputation of this institution extends all over the United States, and is product has the reputation of being the finest grade of chair furniture in the market.  The factory makes a specialty of high grade chairs, dining room, library, office, parlor and also den furniture.  This concern is equipped with all the latest and improved wood working machinery; the management is all that could be desired; only the best of skilled labor is employed, and the highest wages are paid.  The plant is so located that a perfect water power system is in force and it is also equipped with steam power, having installed two one hundred-horse power boilers and a seventy-five-horse power engine.  The fire protection in this institution is of the best, having several feet of hose on each floor, besides all the best class of fire extinguishers.  Each floor is furnished with two toilet rooms, and the whole is lighted by electricity.  Four dry kilns having a capacity of one car-load each are in use.  The firm employs two hundred and twenty-five men the full year, and the books show a pay roll of $8,000 a month.  The employees of this concern are well protected, having organized what is known as the employees� insurance association.  Each man is assessed one per cent of his wages until the treasury contains $100.  The firm has built a stone foundation for a new brick building six hundred feet by sixty and three stories high above the basement.  Its completion will enable the firm to employ an additional force of over four hundred men.  It is said to be the largest manufactory of �box seat� chairs in the world. 

The Vanator Edge Tool Works, in Grand Ledge was organized in 1902, succeeding N. M. Vanator, who established the business in 1891.  The company has a paid up capital and surplus of $20,000.  Their specialty is knives of all kinds for house, shop, and farm use, also pruning shears and cold chisels.  When running full capacity they employ fifteen men. 

About eighteen years ago Ward & Dolson came to Charlotte and erected a brick building fifty by two hundred and fifty feet and three stories in height, and began the manufacture of carriages.  After a few years Mr. Ward died and the business was carried on by Dolson & Sons, and grew rapidly so that the firm employed one hundred and twenty men.  In their most prosperous year, the firm turned out 4,800 carriages. 

The company has just been reorganized under the state law as the Dolson Automobile Company, and will hereafter devote themselves to the manufacture of this style of road carriage, and expect when in full operation to employ one hundred and fifty men. 

Charles and Aaron Bennett came to Charlotte in 1870, and became members of the firm of Bennett Bros., Coder & Houck, and were engaged in the manufacture of sash, blinds and doors.  Later Houck dropped out, and J. J. Curtis bought out Coder and the firm became Curtis & Bennett.  They secured a location on West Seminary street, just west of the Chicago & Grand Trunk railway, and erected on the north side of the street a brick building sixty by one hundred and fifty feet and three stories high, and directly opposite a frame building fifty by one hundred and ten feet.  The two buildings are connected by a high bridge.  The larger building contains the engine and machinery, and is devoted to the manufacture of their goods, and the smaller one contains the office and the finishing rooms.  The firm turns their attention to furniture, making a specialty of chamber suits and bureaus.  About fifty men are employed and their pay roll is about $1,500 per month.  Mr. Curtis retired from the company twelve years ago, and the firm became the Charles Bennett Furniture Company.  Mr. Bennett died Nov. 27, 1903, but the business is still carried on by the heirs under the same firm name, his son George being business manager.

In 1892-3 J. J. Curtis & Son put up in the southeastern part of the city a large brick building sixty by two hundred feet, and four stories high, intending to go into the manufacture of furniture, but the building was scarcely completed when the firm met with reverses, and the plant was closed by creditors, and remained idle for six years when in 1901 the property was purchased by the John Widdicomb Co., and has since been operated in connection with their Grand Rapids factories, in the manufacture of furniture and sewing machine cases.  The plant consists of sixteen acres of ground on the Michigan Central railroad, at the corner of Henry & Merritt streets; the main factory building is of brick sixty by two hundred, four stories with boiler and engine rooms adjoining, all equipped with the latest improved machinery for woodworking, two modern dry kilns, saw mill, etc.  The average number of employees is from seventy-five to one hundred, the pay roll $3,000 per month, and the value of the goods turned out about $100,000 yearly. 

Mr. George Fenn of Charlotte invented a plan for bending scythe snaths by forcing them through a mold, and established a factory for making them.  It employs thirty-five men and has a monthly pay roll of about $1,400.  Last year it turned out seven thousand dozen scythe snaths. 

The Benton Manufacturing Company has a plant valued at $15,000.  They make snaths, hay and garden rakes.  They employ forty hands and have a monthly pay roll of about $1,000 per month. 

The Charlotte Manufacturing Company makes tables for dwellings, offices, libraries, and hotels.  It uses chiefly quartered oak and mahogany.  They employ about sixty-five men and have a monthly pay roll of from $2,000 to $2,500. 

The Beach Manufacturing Company moved their business from Portland, in this state, to Charlotte, in 1904.  It manufactures triple expansion cast iron road culverts, of its own invention, and steel bridges, and job everything in the road supply line.  The moulding room is 90 by 155 feet, the engine room and machine sop each 20 by 30 feet.  It employs about fifteen men in winter and twenty-five in summer, the monthly pay roll in summer being $450.  The business is steadily increasing and the company hopes, next year, to double its output. 

William Smith in 1887 started a factory near Eaton Rapids, using the water power of the Grand river about a mile and a half above the city.  He lost his life by an accident about eight years ago, and was succeeded by his brothers, L. J. Smith & Co. 

Their specialties are egg crates and fillers, and all kinds of egg packers supplies.  They have about twenty buildings of various kinds on their grounds and employ regularly twenty-five hands, and at times as many as forty; their pay roll averages about $1,000 per month. 

Eaton Rapids has a woolen mill, a brick building seventy by one hundred and ten feet on the ground, and two stories high.  The mill has been running about six years, and employs about seventy-five hands, and has a monthly pay roll of from $1,800 to $2,000.  It makes a specialty of colored yarns, and turns out about 15,000 pounds a week, which is used chiefly for knitting purposes. 

In 1898 the Michigan Alkali Company bought three hundred acres of land in Bellevue, containing the stratum of limestone, intending to use it in the manufacture of soda ash and bi-carbonate of soda.  As a part of their equipment, they had four hundred gondola cars capable of carrying forty tons each, and a train load of crushed limestone went daily to their works near Detroit.  They operated the quarry for two years, but on account of some properties the lime possessed, it was not entirely satisfactory for their use, and in 1904 they sold their whole plant to W. R. Burt, of Saginaw. 

The properties of the limestone that hurt its value for the manufacture of soda ash and the bi-carbonate of soda, were just the properties that were needed for the manufacture of the �Portland Cement.�  Welling R. Burt, of Saginaw, learned its value for the production of this article, and bought the whole plant of three hundred acres, with the buildings thereon, paying for the same $100 per acre.  He has erected on it a large factory for the manufacture of cement at a cost of more than a half million of dollars, and commenced work August 1, 1905.  From one hundred to an hundred and twenty-five men are employed, and it is found necessary when once the machinery is started, to keep it running day and night throughout the year.  The shift that work in the night one week, work in the day time the next week.  The pay roll is about $6,000 a month.  The amount of product turned out daily is one thousand six hundred barrels.  The layer of rock that can be profitably worked is thirty feet in depth, and the quality of the rock varies somewhat with the depth.  Below thirty feet, occasional layers of shale and clay are found. 

In the quarry the rock is, for the most part, in a broken condition rendering it unfit for building purposes, although there are some places where good building material could be found.  What is said to be the heaviest steam shovel in the world, weighing one hundred and seventeen tons, is here at work.  (The largest at work on the Panama canal weighs only one hundred tons.)  This shovel has also a lifting capacity at end of dipper of forty-five tons, and scoops up the limestone from the quarry with as much apparent east as though it was mellow earth.  The rock is then taken to the large crusher which can take in blocks eighteen by thirty-six inches in size and reduce them to blocks three inches in diameter.  From a second crusher they emerge in blocks about a half inch square, and are elevated about 60 feet to the dryer, and then carried to the kilns, 60 feet long and six and a half feet in diameter, and lined with fire brick.  The kilns have a rotary motion and in the half hour in which the material is passing through it is subjected to a heat of three thousand degrees F.  There are eight of these enormous kilns.  After the material has been sufficiently roasted it is carried to the mills for grinding, which is done by the use of flint pebbles about the size of goose eggs, which are imported from Denmark at a cost of $25 per ton.  The machinery is run wholly by electricity, and this is generated by the use of five boilers of three hundred horse power each and one thousand eight hundred horse power engines.  The fly wheel weighs thirty-five tons, and the chimney that furnishes the draught is one hundred and eighty feet in height, is built of cement and steel and has walls six feet in thickness and is eight feet in diameter on the inside.  One hundred and fifty tons of coal are required daily, and this is first reduced to a fine flour and is fed into the furnaces and kilns by a hot air blast. 

When the success of this plant is assured to the satisfaction of other capitalists, it is thought several more plants will be erected, as there appears to be an abundance of material. 

The fact that in a dry summer, fires frequently burned the soil in the swamps to a considerable depth, has led many people to furnish an almost inexhaustible supply of fuel for the county, but the abundance of wool has not hitherto made it profitable to develop this source of supply.  The forests have now largely disappeared and people are turning their attention to the swamps to see whether they can be made to furnish a valuable and economical fuel.  Thus far only one peat factory has been erected in the county and this is not yet fully completed.  It is built near the track of the Lansing branch of the Lake Shore railroad and two and one-half miles north of Eaton Rapids, and is known as Michigan Peat Co.  Two buildings have been erected with solid cement walls.  One is the engine room, eighty-four by forty feet, and contains two Sterling boilers, in which the water passes through the tubes which are surrounded by the fires.  Slack coal is burned and the smokestack is one hundred and five feet high.  The other building, which is devoted to the machinery, is two hundred by fifty feet.  The swamp from which the peat is to be taken, lies about a half mile west of this building, and embraces several hundred acres, and the peat-bed is found to be from five to twenty-five feet in depth.  In the edge of the peat bed, a barge thirty by sixty feet has been constructed which carries a swinging crane and �orange-peel dipper.�  If from a given point of an orange four slits are made in its rind half way down, and these four sections of the rind are peeled, the sections will give the exact shape of four blades, or shovels, that constitute the dipper that when closed, form a hollow hemispherical dipper capable of holding several bushels of peat.  When these blades are open the dipper sinks into the peat by its own weight, and as the dipper is hoisted the blades are made to close by a system of chains and pulleys inside the dipper which is then, by means of the crane, raised and swung around over an iron tank twelve feet in diameter and five feet deep into which the contents are dropped.  After being thoroughly mixed with water, the peat in this liquid state is forced up twenty-five feet into the end of an inclined trough of galvanized iron erected on trestle work through which it flows to the factory. 

The barge is lighted and its machinery is driven by electricity generated in the power house a half mile distant.

The power house is equipped with two electric generators one of two hundred and twenty-five horse power to drive the machinery, and one of one hundred and thirty horse power to furnish the lights.  The factory receives the flow of liquid peat into a large iron tank where it is again thoroughly stirred, and forced into an elevated hopper from which it descends into four centrifugal extractors that make eleven hundred revolutions a minute; by this process a large part of the water is driven out and the opening of a valve in the bottom of the extractors allows the contents to fall into a trough through which it is conveyed to another drier.  After the peat leaves the extractors there are three other processes by which it is further dried and pressed into briquettes, which are placed on a carrier of netting nine and one-half feet wide and moving ten inches a minute through a heated room or closet one hundred and sixty feet in length, and when they emerge from the farther end are dry and ready for the market.  When the factory is in full operation, the company expects to employ about twenty men and to turn out two hundred tons of prepared peat daily. 

The Capitol Peat Fuel Company has been recently incorporated and capitalized at $300,000.  William B. Otto is the largest stockholder.  The company has bought eight hundred acres of land in the �Old Maid�s Swamp,� lying on the Grand Trunk railway, between Potterville and Lansing.  The peat on this tract averages in depth five and one-half feet and in some places is more than fifteen feet in depth, it is thought that the machinery for manufacturing it for use can be put up for less than $4,000.  If this proves to be true these swamps that have been a reproach to the state, will prove to be a source of wealth, and furnish an exhaustless supply of cheap fuel.

Back to the table of contents

CHAPTER XIX 

CLIMATIC CONDITIONS�Cyclones


CYCLONES

The county has several times been visited by cyclones, since the natural phenomena of the county have become a matter of record.  About 1833 a cyclone passed through the town of Kalamo, its north line was about a quarter of a mile south of the north line of sections 9 and 10 in that town, and its south line was about the middle of the next tier of sections south.  Within these limits it blew down or tore out nearly all the standing timber.  Deacon S. S. Church, one of the committee to locate the Vermontville colony, relates that while on his first visit to the place, coming from the south, his party was met by an old Indian, who by signs with his walking sticks told them of this large tract of fallen timber, and told them how to go around it on the west. 

J. Boutman says that June 2, 1853, a cyclone passed through Charlesworth, destroying the house of Nathan Sayers, and scattering the timbers and carrying some of them more than a half mile.  Mr. And Mrs. Sayers were pinned to the ground by the falling debris and could not extricate themselves without help.  A boy was blow out of the house and carried many rods, but was unharmed. 

May 15, 1855, a cyclone struck the ground about a mile west of Ira Bradley�s place, in Kalamo, cutting quite a swath through a piece of timber, and sweeping through Mr. Bradley�s barn-yard carried away the log barn, grainery, and hog house.  Every hen on the place was carried into the swamp east of the farm, and many of the hogs were also carried there.  His log dwelling escaped the greatest fury of the funnel-shaped cloud but its roof and upper story were carried away.  An ox and a couple of hogs were killed.  Mr. Joseph Bradley lived just across the road in a plank house, which was reduced to kindling wood, and a large log barn was leveled and some of the logs were carried into the swamp.  A yoke of oxen, a span of horses, and a cow were in the barn but none of them were killed, but Mr. Charles Woodbury, who was working for Mr. Bradley, was hurt so badly that he was unable to do any more work during the summer.  A piece of roof-board from one of these buildings eight feet long and six inches wide was carried some seven miles and driven into the ground in the door-yard of Henry Arnold.  H. F. Pennington, who was at home on his father�s farm, four and one-half miles southeast, saw the storm coming and clung to a tree, but the wind tore the front of his vest off. 

On the evening of May 29, 1860, a cyclone dropped down upon the village of Olivet and utterly destroyed the dwelling of Dr. Munger.  The entire family, consisting of the Doctor, his wife and a young woman, had just retired, but escaped unharmed.  The young woman found herself lying upon the ground with large timbers around her.  The cooking stove was dashed to pieces and a mirror was carried safely out, but the tornado passed so quickly that the nearest neighbors knew nothing of it until the family came rushing in, in their night clothes.  Across the street a lad named Merrill Frost was blown against the board fence with such force as to flatten his chest on his left side enough to throw the lower end of the sternum at least two inches toward the right side.  He received also a cut on the scalp and other injuries.  A large barn across the street was carried with little injury about twelve feet from its foundation.  A littler further on a large rake factory lost its roof.  Some of the timbers were carried about thirty rods across the mill pond, and planted almost perpendicularly in the ground.  Very little other damage was done in the path of the storm, either before it reached Olivet or after it left it. 

J. Wilbur had a fine new barn costing a thousand dollars, carried quite a distance from its foundation, set on end and almost wholly destroyed, and quite a number of cattle and horses were killed.  The house of Mr. Vanockens was entirely destroyed.  Samuel Young lost barn, windmill and orchard.  The Cook brothers� barn was totally destroyed, and an apple tree was driven through the side of the house roots foremost.  John Wilbur�s house was unroofed and the fences on the whole farm carried away.  Henry Talmage, on his return from Bellevue, found his house, two barns, fences and orchard in ruins. 

October 2, 1880, a cyclone formed in Johnstown, Barry county.  It entered this county near the southwest corner of Bellevue, and destroyed a barn about thirty by forty feet belonging to a Mr. Patchen.  It turned his house about one-quarter round and destroyed a part of it, and tore up by the roots the trees in the orchard.  On the next farm, owned by Lawrence Toole, a house ad a new barn were completely swept away and the cellar filled with debris.  It also tore up by the roots every apple tree but one in the orchard.  A child four years old was dashed on the ground and killed, and a nursing baby was carried about fifteen rods and thrown on a brush heap where it was found after the storm had passed, unconscious and with a broken arm.  Mrs. Toole, a strong, healthy woman, was found about twenty rods from the house, walking back and forth, utterly bewildered, covered with bruises from head to foot and with nearly all her clothing gone. 

The cyclone next struck the home of J. A. Burchard, who heard it coming, and with his wife and three children, rushed into a small bedroom.  The entire house was swept away with the exception of the floor of the bedroom on which the family stood; but no one of them was seriously injured. 

At the corner of the farm of H. M. Allen an oak tree was split in two; one-half was carried to the east and the other part to the west and they were found some fifty rods from each other.  A tamarack tree about ten inches through was broken off and carried nearly five miles and thrown down there.  At this point the storm seemed to have spent its force having swept a path fifty or sixty rods wide. 

About five P.M. April 6, 1882, a cyclone passed through this county, destroying much property and killing several people.  It appears to have started near Raymond, in Indiana, and passed through Kalamazoo and Barry counties in this state, and pursued an easterly course, from Eaton county.  It destroyed the house of Levi Kenyon, on the county line near the southwest corner of Kalamo.  Silas Reynolds, the father-in-law of Mr. Kenyon, was in the house with his daughter, and tried to escape with her and his grandchildren, but the storm overtook them.  The mother three her children on the ground and herself over them to protect them, while the old father threw his arms over them all.  None were injured except the old gentleman, who was struck on the head by some flying substance and instantly killed.  It next almost wholly destroyed the barn of Walter Mapes; Mr. Bowen lost a stable.  Mr. Tillotson lost a barn, and several hay-stacks were blown away.  The house of Thomas Garrety was unroofed, and the roof and doors were taken from his barn; on the opposite side of the road the barn of H. L. Robinson was wrecked.  It then totally destroyed the blacksmith�s shop and barn of Henry Wirtz; two horses, seven head of cattle, and thirty head of sheep were in the barn, but all escaped serious injury.  Daniel Mead was the next victim; he had a new frame house and one of the best barns in Kalamo, both of which were utterly ruined.  He and his family succeeded in getting into the cellar just in time to save their lives.  Mr. Mead�s daughter, Mrs. Graves, relates some curious facts in regard to this storm.  Nothing whatever fell into the cellar; the bricks in the chimney fell west of the house, while the house itself was lifted up bodily and carried five or six rods to the east and dashed to pieces.  The barn had been built only three years; of three horses which were tied in it one was wedged in by timbers and comparatively uninjured, and the other two were found running around the field, apparently greatly frightened, and it is supposed that they were carried out into the field by the wind.  There were several cows in the barn, and one was carried about twenty rods and killed.  A lamp standing on a bureau in the chamber was found out in the field entirely uninjured with not even the chimney broken, and a glass can of fruit was found nearly bedded in the ground but also unbroken.  The rafters of the barn were carried about a half mile and driven five or six feet into the ground.  Of all the furniture in the house only one chair was saved.  A feather bed was found and the holes in the tick were tied up, the women thinking that when they had leisure they would try to save the feathers.  This they accomplished by taking out a small handful at a time, but took out also seven pailfuls of mortar, pieces of broken glass and bricks. 

Horace Sherman lived a little further on across the road and about fifty or sixty feet away was another house occupied by his mother.  The family became alarmed and all went into the house of the old lady, but both buildings were completely ruined, and the family were carried some eight or ten rods and thrown among stumps and logs, instantly killing Mr. Sherman�s sister, breaking the arm of his mother, and the lower jaw of his wife. 

Alden Swift, just west of Lacey�s lake, came next.  He had a good frame house, and a new barn, both were demolished.  In the barn were horses, cows, and sheep, but one horse only was killed.  Mr. Swift�s wife and hired man saved themselves by running out of the way and lying flat on the ground. 

Going east the cyclone seemed to leap over a piece of woods and come down on Lacey�s lake, widely scattering the water fishes and frogs.  It next took off the upper story of Jesse Steven�s house.  It then tore its way through woods and orchards to the house of Peter Horn where it took off the roof and the wind of his brick house. 

About five minutes before the coming of this cyclone a smaller one passed through Kalamo about a mile to the south.  It wrecked several barns, and when nearly south of Charlotte, it joined the larger one and both come down in Ingham county. 

The damage to property in Kalamo was fully six thousand dollars; but Eaton county did not suffer any worse than some others further east.  In Ingham county the tornado struck the township of White Oak about eight o�clock in the evening, and a house belonging to a Mr. Wolcott was demolished, and some of the flying timber struck a man named Myron Clark and killed him almost instantly.  Another house belonging to Mr. Gifford, was lifted from its foundation and turned over, and struck nearly upside down on its original foundation.  Mrs. Gifford had her arm broken.  

In Midland county the house of R. E. Walton was turned over and badly broken up, after which it took fire from the stove and was burned.  In Oakland county the most damage was done, and the destruction of life great.  At a point about a mile south of Clyde the storm struck the house of Lafayette Crandall.  Mr. Crandall, and his son of six years, and Mrs. Taylor, of Pontiac, were instantly killed, and another of the Crandall family, a little girl, had her arm so badly crushed that it had to be amputated. 

On July 22, 1883, a cyclone swept through the town of Hamlin, and through the kindness of V. M. Smith, who was very near its path, we are able to give the following account of it.  He says:  �I lived at the time on section 12 in the township of Hamlin.  The cyclone started on section 11 about a mile and a half west, and a half mile north of my place, and went a little south of east.  I was at the time reading about a windstorm that happened the week before in the state of Iowa.  Hearing a heavy roaring sound unlike anything I ever heard before I went to the door, and looking west saw the air was full of rubbish, and at once guessed the cause.  I immediately told my wife, who was getting dinner at the time, and we took our two little girls and hurried into the cellar.  I then came up to take another look.  In the direction from which the storm was coming a large barn belonging to Nathaniel Taylor, and filled with hay, was lifted from the earth and scattered in every direction.  As the storm was at this time coming directly toward our house, I hurried back into the cellar and stayed there until it passed.  I shall never forget the picture presented as the barn with its contents was lifted some fifteen feet in the air, as suddenly as though blown up by dynamite.  The body of hay dropped back to the ground but the building was scattered in all directions.  The separator of a threshing machine was standing at the end of the barn was turned bottom up, the trucks were torn from it, and carried nearly a half of a mile and dropped receiving very little damage.  The carrier was carried entirely away.  One of the iron whirls was found some time after about two miles away.  After I returned to the cellar, through the cellar window, I watched the trees in an orchard near by as they bent nearly to the ground, and expected every minute that the house would go.  Suddenly above the din and roar I heard a grinding sound as of crushing timbers, then as the storm passed on, the noise died away.  We hurried from the cellar expecting to find our barns swept away, but were thankful that our house and lives were spared.  Our buildings were unharmed, but our neighbor just across the street, Mr. Nesbit, had suffered the loss of his new barn and wagon shed, and the chimney was blown from his house.  After destroying the barn of Mr. Taylor the storm veered toward the south, leaving us about twenty-rods north of its path.  I went at once to Mr. Nesbit�s and found them still in their cellar, and my wife�s brother, Leroy Sherman, looking over the ruins of the barn.  When he saw the storm coming he ran into the barn and stood leaning against the door, and in a moment he found himself under a load of hay, which stood on the floor, and this probably saved his life.  The upper and lighter part of the frame was carried away with the roof, but some of the heavier timbers fell across the load and broke a wheel.  After going about eighty rods from this point, the cyclone lifted above the timber for a half mile to the county line where it again dipped and took the roof off Rue Perrine�s house, swept away his granary and hog pen and dug through the heavy sod a hole as large as an ordinary cellar  Eugene Henry sustained the heaviest loss.  His house, in which were his wife and six children, were literally blown to atoms; his wife was seriously injured; two of the children who were on the bed were found forty-four rods from the house, dead, and three others were badly injured, while the baby asleep in its crib, did not receive a scratch, although no one knows what became of the crib.  Large apple trees were torn up by the roots and carried twenty rods or more, a round Oak stove was carried across Grand river and smashed, while bundles of wheat were carried to the tops of trees and hung there.  The tornado did much damage in the west part of Leslie.  The house of Mrs. Elizabeth Barlow was picked up by the furious wind and torn to pieces.  Mrs. Barlow was in the house and was instantly killed, she was found about two rods from her house with her neck broken. 

The Bellevue Gazette states tat on Thursday evening, May 23, 1901, that place was visited by a violent windstorm.  It destroyed many fruit trees and ruined many of the beautiful shade trees.  It overturned wind mills and small buildings were scattered broadcast over the face of the earth.  A large number of barns were demolished, and among them one in which C. A. Newcomb, while taking shelter therein, lost his life.  The tornado struck the building with tremendous fury and before Mr. Newcomb could escape, he was pinned to the ground by falling timbers and crushed to death.  He had just hitched a horse in the barn and the animal also perished in the wreck.  Among the most severe losses were included the Follett school-house, which was scattered to the four winds, although not a shingle was lifted from either of the small outbuildings only a very few feet away.  Passing on to the northeast it destroyed many fruit and shade trees.  The buildings on the Benedict place were considerably shattered.  Frank Hire sustained a very heavy loss, his barn and outbuildings being totally wrecked, and his home much injured.  It was his intention to have it insured on the following Saturday, but the storm did not wait for him.  Ira K. Smead also lost his barn. 

On June 12, 1902, a cyclone formed about six miles southwest of Grand Ledge and moved in a northeasterly direction passing three or four miles south of Grand Ledge, but plainly seen from that point.  Its path was about three hundred feet wide and six miles long, and it swept everything before it.  It destroyed the orchards of Walter Woods, James Backus, Myron Hinman, John Motter and Fred Fess; Mr. Hinman�s barn and the house of William Pelton were blown off their foundations, and the house was turned around.  A binder that was standing near was dashed against a fence post and completely wrecked, and the barn of George Watson was unroofed.  It then lifted from the ground for about three miles and sweeping down again destroyed some timber, and spent its force a little east of Grand Ledge.  Some of the eye witnesses from Charlotte describe the funnel-shaped storm as a terrible sigh and the desolation which it caused beyond the power of words to express.  The force was marvelous and the destruction immediate.  The damage it wrought was estimated at twenty thousand dollars. 

It is worth of notice that the southwestern quarter of the county has been visited by cyclones more frequently than any other part, and they seem to have spent their fury before they reach the eastern half of the county.  Whether or not a scientific explanation can be given to this phenomenon, is not known.

Back to the table of contents

CHAPTER XX


PROMINENT MEN AND WOMEN

There are many men and women who have been prominently before the public some of whose early years were spent in this county.  It may seem invidious to attempt to mention any of these when there may be many more equally worthy of mention, whose names do not appear.  They are found in all walks of life. 

We find this record of Austin Blair.  He was born in Carolina, Tompkins county, New York, February 8, 1818, and graduated at Union College in 1839, where he studied law and then removed to Michigan.  In 1843 he was a resident of Eaton Rapids and county clerk; it is said that he walked through the woods from Eaton Rapids to Charlotte.  He subsequently removed to Jackson and was noted as the war governor of the state holding the office from 1861 to 1865.  His status adorns the capitol grounds at Lansing.  He was a member of Congress from 1867 to 1873. 

Governor A. B. Cummins of Iowa, early in life was a civil engineer and helped in the construction of the railroad from Albion to Lansing.  It was while engaged in this work that he became acquainted with Miss Gallery who subsequently became his wife.  After a time he studied law and removed to the state of Iowa, and is now serving his second term as governor of the state.  He has become a leader of national fame in the Republican party. 

Amory H. Bradford is the son of Rev. B. F. Bradford, the second pastor of the Congregational church in Charlotte, and was for a time a member of the church here.  He finished his studies, was ordained in 1870 and went at once to a letter church of eighty-seven members where he has since continued, the church now numbering one thousand and fifty-three members.  He has crossed the Atlantic several times, and occupied prominent pulpits in England where he is well known.  He occasionally occupied the pulpit of Mr. Beecher, is the author of several books, and was once elected moderator of the National Council of Congregational churches. 

Philip S. Moxom began his ministry with the Baptists and for a time supplied the little Baptist church in Bellevue.  He is now pastor of the South Congregational church in Springfield, Massachusetts, a church of four hundred and eighty-five members. 

Judge Clement Smith was born near Fort Wayne, Indiana, December 4, 1844.  In the following spring the family removed to Castleton in Barry county, where the boyhood of Smith was spent in farm labor, his education being acquired in the district school, the academy at Vermontville, and the high school in Charlotte.  He also attended lectures for one year in the law department at Ann Arbor.  For several winters he taught district schools, beginning when only seventeen years of age, and for one year was employed as a teacher in the grammar department of the high school in Charlotte.  In the spring of 1868, he was admitted to the practice of law before Judge Woodruff in this county, after which he taught school in Nashville for a year, passed a year in Minnesota and in 1870 engaged in the practice of law in Nashville, where for several years he was secretary of the Barry and Eaton County Insurance Co.  He was elected judge of probate for Barry county in 1876 and held the office for eight y ears.  In 1889 he was appointed to the bench of the fifth Judicial Circuit by Governor Rich.  In the spring election he was elected for the vacancy and full term and still occupies this seat.  Until 1901 Calhoun county was a part of this circuit.  In 1871 Mr. Smith married Frances Wheeler of Woodland. 

Frank A. Hooker was born in Hartford, Connecticut, January 16, 1844.  He received his education in the public schools of that city and in the law department of the University of Michigan.  Was admitted to the bar in Ann Arbor in 1865 and immediately after located in Bryan, Ohio, but in August of the following year he removed to Charlotte and in 1867 was elected county superintendent of schools, and in 1869 justice of the peace.  In 1872 and 1874 he was prosecuting attorney.  Governor Croswell appointed him Circuit Judge in April, 1878.  In the fall of that year he was elected to fill out the remainder of the term and held the office by successive elections until January 1, 1893, when he took a seat as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Judge Moore.  In 1893 he was elected to this bench for ten years, and in the election in 1903 was again re-elected for another ten years. 

He was chiefly instrumental for the erection of the new court house in this county.  Gas was introduced here by him and the gas works were largely built by him practically at his own expense.  The drinking fountains were put in at his suggestion, and the subscription was circulated by him to purchase the fountain at the east end of Lawrence avenue.  The original abstract of titles in the county was made by him and I. E. C. Hickok, and was afterwards sold by them to Mr. Belcher and L. O. Smith. 

Frank McAlpine was born in Orange, Steuben county, New York, February 13, 1847.  When he was twelve years of age the family moved to Cass county, this state, where after finishing the high school course he studied for a time under a private tutor.  He studied theology under the direction of Rev. W. J. Chaplin, a pioneer Universalist minister, and afterward married his daughter, Miss Ida Chaplin.  At the age of seventeen Mr. McAlpine enlisted in Co. D, Sixty-sixth Illinois Western Sharp-shooters and was with Sherman in his famous march to the sea. 

He was teacher, superintendent of schools and author, before he entered the ministry.  The titles of his books were, �Treasures from the Prose World,� �Album of Authors,� and �Milestones.�  He began preaching in Dowagiac, in 1886, afterwards going to Portland and in 1889 came to Charlotte where he remained for four years when he accepted a call to Peoria, Illinois, and was pastor of the Universalist church there six years.  At its close he returned to the pastorate of the Universalist church in Charlotte, but in 1902 he was offered the Chaplaincy of the state prison in Jackson, which he accepted, and assumed his duties there, in November of that year.  He was a man much beloved by those who knew him and was highly esteemed by the prison officials and the prisoners.  He suffered a slight stroke of paralysis January 28, 1905, and gradually failed until April 28 when the end came just three months from the time of the first attack. 

Edward S. Lacey was born in Chili, Monroe county, New York, November 26, 1835, came with the family to Michigan in 1842, and located at Charlotte.  He received a good common school education which was supplemented by a course at Olivet college.  When eighteen years of age he began his business career as salesman in a general store in Kalamazoo where he remained four years.  He then returned home and was elected Register of Deeds and held the office two terms, then entering into a co-partnership in the banking business with Hon. Joseph Musgrave.  In 1861 Musgrave & Lacey, as private bankers, established the first banking office in the county of Eaton.  At that time there was no railroad nor express office in the county and their shipments of currency in and out were intrusted to the drivers of stages running between Charlotte and Jackson. 

The private bank thus established was in 1871 merged into the First National Bank, of which mention is made elsewhere in this volume. 

Mr. Lacey has been interested in many business operations, and has been uniformly successful.  He took a prominent part in the building of the Grand River Valley Railway, of which he was a director and for many years treasurer, was the first mayor of Charlotte, and contributed largely to its systems of permanent improvements.  He entered political life as a Republican in 1860 and has occupied many positions of trust in this county and state.  He was a delegate to the national republican convention in 1876 when Rutherford B. Hayes was nominated for the presidency.  In 1880 he was elected representative in congress from the Third Congressional District of Michigan, and in 1882 was re-elected to the same office.  During the campaign of 1882 he served acceptably as chairman of the Republican State Committee. 

While in congress he was an active and efficient member of the committee on coinage, weights and measures, and post office and roads, and of the assay commission in 1884.  During his second term in congress he delivered a speech on the silver question which gave him conspicuous recognition among students of monetary questions at home and abroad. 

In 1889 without any solicitation on his part, President Harrison appointed him comptroller of the currency.  His long experience as a banker eminently qualified him for this position and the duties of the office were administered with great efficiency and ability.  The policy he pursued toward the national banks was both vigorous and conservative tending to the protection of shareholders and public alike.  He resigned in 1892 to accept the presidency of the Bankers National Bank of Chicago, one of the most successful of the newer banks in that city.  He has led a very busy life, and whether in his own private business, in the service of his state, or in the halls of congress, he has been a close student of questions affecting the silver problem, the currency, and banking institutions of the country, while the benefits that have resulted therefrom have been national in character and of manifest service to the country. 

Robert Clark Kedzie was born in Delhi, New York, January 28, 1823.  In 1826 the family moved to Lenawee county in this state.  His father died soon after and his mother was left with seven children on a partially cleared farm in the woods.  The children early in life learned to work and help clear the farm.  Oberlin was just starting and offered excellent opportunities for young people of limited means to get an education, so desiring a better education than the district schools of that day afforded, thither went Robert, and by manual labor and teaching school in the winter, worked his way through the college and was graduated in the class of 1847.  After graduation he taught an academy in Rochester, Michigan, for two years, and then entered the medical department of the University of Michigan and completed the course in 1851.  Harriet Eliza Fairchild graduated from Oberlin college in the same class with the Doctor in 1847, and on the twentieth of May, 1850, they were married at Brownhelm, Ohio.  He commenced practice in Kalamazoo where he remained but one year and in 1852 removed to Vermontville where he added much to the life and character of the little village.  Nine years later at the breaking out of the war between the states Dr. Kedzie enlisted and enlisting about thirty other men for the Twelfth Michigan Infantry they joined Company G. Captain Isaac M. Cravath of Lansing.  Dr. Kedzie was commissioned assistant surgeon of the regiment January 15, 1862, and was promoted to surgeon April 25, 1862, after the battle of Shiloh, which occurred April 6 and 7 where he was taken a prisoner while attending the wounded.  He resigned October 8, 1862.  In January, 1863, he was appointed professor of chemistry in the Michigan Agricultural College, a position which he held until his death which occurred November 7, 1902.  He was elected a representative in the state legislature in 1866, his object in taking office was to promote the welfare of the Agricultural College. 

His scientific investigations have been of very great value to the state.  He called attention to the impure oils that were sold in the state and the danger to life and property that resulted from their use and secured the enactment of laws preventing the same of any except those that came up to a safe standard of purity. 

At one time a report was current that so much arsenic had been used in destroying the potato bugs that the soil had become impregnated with it thus poisoning the wheat and other vegetables raised upon this soil.  This report was hurting the sale of whet but by most careful experiments he showed that, however, thoroughly the soil might be impregnated with arsenic it was not taken up by any plant, thus stopping the harm resulting from the report. 

He is said to have been the father of the beet sugar industry in Michigan and to have shown how the sandy pine lands of the state could be utilized after the pine had been taken off.  These are but a few of the scientific services he rendered the state in his capacity as a chemist. 

Philip T. Van Zile was born in Osceola, Tioga county, Pennsylvania, July 20, 1843.  He prepared for college at Union Academy near Knoxville, Pennsylvania, and entered the classical course of the Alfred University and was graduate from it in 1863, at once enlisting in the army, and serving in Battery E. First Ohio Light Artillery, until its close.  He received his discharge in August, 1865, and with the opening of the fall term of the University of Michigan entered the law department and was graduated in the spring of 1867.  He then went to Charlotte and was admitted to the bar in Judge Woodruff�s court and began the practice of law.  In the fall of 1868 he was elected prosecuting attorney and re-elected in 1870.  In 1872 he was elected judge of probate, and in 1875 was chosen circuit judge.  In 1878 on the joint recommendation of United States Senators Ferry and Christiancy and Representative McGowan, he accepted at the hands of President Hayes the office of United States District Attorney for the Territory of Utah.  On the first of April, 1878, he resigned the circuit judgeship and went to Salt Lake City, where he served for nearly six years.  The Mormon Oligarchy had set up a rival government to that of the United States.  These men had treason in their hearts and their hands were red with the blood of murdered men and women in their determination to carry out their religious and fanatical views.  It was a time when a man risked his very life if he performed his duty. 

Aside from his duties as District Attorney he succeeded in getting congress to enact some laws that broke the back of the oligarchy, the first being a law disfranchising every polygamist in the territory of Utah.  This law secured for the territory a legislature none  of whom were polygamists whereas hitherto ninety-five percent of that body had been polygamists.  It also retired from the halls of congress George Q. Cannon who had been a delegate in congress for ten years, and secured in his place a man who was not a polygamist.  It was one of the laws which has made it possible for the dawn of a new civilization to shine in upon that benighted and priest ridden country.  He also succeeded in securing the passage of a law regulating marriages thus taking it from those secret and unenterable halls of the Endowment House, and making it a public ceremony, where records can be made of it.  Another bill permitted the first and legal wife to testify against her husband in polygamy cases.  Judge Van Zile also secured the passage of another law, punishing lewd and lascivious co-habitation which struck at the very vitals of the old outlawed polygamist marriage, thus making it possible to break up that relation among the members of the Mormon church. 

He also prosecuted and convicted John Miles, in the celebrated case of the United States vs. Miles, which finally went to the Supreme Court of the United States where his contention was sustained, namely, that a Mormon who believed in the prophecies of Joseph Smith upon this question was not qualified to sit as a juror. 

In 1884 Mr. Van Zile returned from Utah to Michigan.  In the Blaine campaign he was chosen by the convention, in his absence, to be chairman of the republican state central committee.  He removed to Detroit in 1899 and the following year became a lecturer in the Detroit College of Law, and shortly after was elected dean of the college and has held that position ever since.  In 1894 Alfred University conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and in 1904 that of Doctor of Laws.  Aside from some small books, he has written for the legal profession, as well as for the college, �Van Ziile�s Bailments and Carriers,� and �Van Zile�s Equity Pleading and Practice.� 

The �Detroit College of Law� has a faculty consisting of twenty-two of the leading lawyers in the city of Detroit. 

Women have done their full share in the material, intellectual, and moral development of the county.  They have shared with their husbands all the hardships incident to the settlement of a new country, keeping house in the unfinished shanty or cabin, content to cook beside a stump outside the door, keeping the lonely vigil at night when husbands were gone days together for family supplies.  They have cheered and encouraged their husbands in their work and have nursed the sick back to health.  The education of the present generation has been chiefly their work, and they have been the mainstay of the churches.  Like the sunshine their influence has pervaded all the life of the county.  Space will not allow us to mention the work of but a few of this great army of laborers. 

Miss Julia F. King came to Charlotte from the public schools of Flint, was appointed superintendent of the city schools and for several years discharged the duties of that office very satisfactorily.  She was then appointed to a professorship in the Normal School at Ypsilanti which position she still files. 

Miss M. Louise Jones was her successor as superintendent of the public schools in Charlotte, and held the office for several years, when she too was given a professorship in the State Normal School in Emporia, Kansas, and remains there.  She is one of the permanent teachers in the summer school at Bay View.  These two ladies are the only ones that have been superintendents of the city schools of Charlotte.  The writer regrets that he has not succeeded in getting a more detailed account of their life work. 

Abigail Harlow Allen-Hosford was born in Mansfield, Massachusetts, April 10, 1824, and was graduated from the classical course in Oberlin in the class of 1846 and on the twenty-seventh of August of that year was married to Prof. Oramel Hosford and came at once with him to Olivet.  In September, 1848, she was chosen principal of the female department of the institution and taught from three to five hours a day for a term of ten years, sometimes when prostrated by sickness so that she heard her classes while reclining on a lounge.  It is said she received no pay for her ten years� services as principal of the female department, but eked out the meager salary of her husband by giving music lessons and taking boarders, dispensing the while a most generous hospitality. 

Mary E. Green was born in 1844 near Machias in New York.  Six years later the family moved to Battle Creek and from there to Barry county.  Her education was in district schools and the high schools of Battle Creek and Hastings, and a short time was spent in the college at Olivet and at Oberlin.  In 1865 she entered the New York Medical College for Women and a year later married her cousin Alonzo Green.  She graduated from the medical college in 1868 and opened an office in New York City.  Much of her practice was charitable work, for poor and needy women. 

In 1873 the family moved to Charlotte.  She was twice elected health officer of the city and was the first one to call attention to the laying out street lawns in front of the dwellings of the city.  She was the only woman appointed judge of food products at the World�s Columbian Exposition.  She was for five years president of the National Household Economic Association and did much to introduce in the schools the study of domestic science.  She lectured in many of the large cities before women�s clubs on hygiene, sanitation and home economics and wrote a book entitled �The Food Products of the World,� which has passed through three editions.  When the Spanish-American war broke out she received an order from the Surgeon General�s office to establish a �diet kitchen� at Fort Thomas, Kentucky, where typhoid patients were sent from Tampa and other points south.  After spending two months at Fort Thomas, the Red Cross society urged her to go to Washington to establish at Fort Meyer a �diet kitchen� as at the breaking up of Camp Alger five hundred patients were concentrated there.  It is thought that she was the first person to establish such in connection with the army. 

Emma F. Angell-Drake was born in Angellville, N.Y., Sept. 15, 1849.  When she was fourteen years of age the family moved to Lamont in this state.  Her early education was in the select and district schools of New York and Michigan.  After teaching ten terms in district schools near home she went, in September, 1869, to Olivet College and was graduated there in the class of 1874.  She worked her way through college by working for her board in the boarding hall, canvassing in summer, teaching one term near Olivet, meanwhile making up some studies and on Saturday reciting to one of the teachers in Olivet.  After graduation she taught in a grammar school one year and then two years in the high school in Muskegon, and was for one year principal of the high school at Big Rapids. 

In the fall of 1878 she entered the Medical Department of the Boston University and was graduated in 1882 and in the autumn of that year accepted the position of principal and physician of the Moody School in Northfield, Massachusetts. At the close of the year she was married to Rev. Ellis R. Drake, for seven years resident pastor of the Congregational church there.  On account of poor health they removed to Kansas, and eight years later to Colorado.  They have three children, a daughter and two sons.  In Denver she was for four years professor of obstetrics in the homeopathic college. 

She has written three books, and two booklets.  A prize of $1,000 was offered for the best book on �What a Young Wife Ought to Know.�  It was open to competition by persons in Canada, the British Isles and America.  The book by Mrs. Drake won the prize.  Her second book was on �What a Woman of Forty-five Ought to Know,� and the third was on �Maternity.�  The two booklets are entitled �Maternal Responsibilities,� and �Our Daughters.�  She has been in practice twenty-three years, and has been actively engaged in missionary work during the time, secretary of the Women�s Home Missionary Society in Kansas and for four years president of a similar society in Colorado.  

Lydia Tichenor was born in Kalamo in this county some sixty years ago, her mother died before she was two years of age and her father went to Chicago leaving her in the care of her aunt Mrs. James Walworth who lived just over the Vermontville town line.  When she was fourteen years of age she began teaching in the district schools and continued this for about five years, stopping to attend school whenever she had money enough to pay her expenses.  As she had friends near Adrian College she attended school there for a time, and after that studied at Olivet.  It was while she was at school in Olivet that she first made a profession of religion.  This was characteristic of her independence, for no one spoke to her upon the subject but she was convinced that it was her duty and went alone to the pastor of the church ad was the only one admitted at that time. 

In 1870 she went to Chicago and entered what is now the Chicago Normal School and was graduated the following year.  She then accepted the position of principal of the Lake View school which was at that time the best position held by any woman in the county.  She held it for four years.  In 1876 Mr. Moody held revival meetings in Chicago, and she became intensely interested in them and resigned her position in the school and devoted her time to visitation from house to house.  She had united with the Lincoln Park church which was small, poor, and in debt, but they agreed to give her a support if she would devote herself to the building up of the church and Sunday school.  This she did for four years.  At that time Christian schools were being started in Utah and she offered her services to the New West Education Commission, and chose a rural district and was sent to Hooper, about twelve miles west of Ogden and six miles from the railroad.  The people there had all been Mormons, a few had apostatized, but these were all either infidels or spiritualists.  She was the first and only gentile to live among them and there was not a single person who could sympathize with her.  Her day school grew from twelve to seventy-eight pupils, she had an evening school of about forty, and a Sunday school of one hundred and twenty-five, ranging in age from three years to eighty.  Mormons and apostates came into the movement but there were enough outside to make it unpleasant for her.  She had never thought of preaching but the young people urged her to do so and she did, her services being always well attended.  She did not think at the time that there was anything unusual in her work but the secretary of the society visited her field in the spring and was so much interested in her work that he proposed that she go east during the vacation to interest ladies in the work.  She began in Chicago where men as well as women attended her first meeting.  She had inside facts that could not be learned from tourists and had words of encouragement for Christian people, that something could be done, and had been done.  She proved to be an intensely interesting speaker and went on to New England, where the invitations came in so fast that it was absolutely impossible for her to accept them all.  The largest pulpits in the country were open to her including the Plymouth church in Brooklyn (Mr. Beecher�s), and the church of the Pilgrims (Dr. Storr�s), while all others were opened for her on Sunday mornings as well as evenings.  Money raising was not the object but it came in freely.  It was not unusual for some one to come forward and offer to support a teacher before she left the platform.  The Boston ministers were a very conservative body of men, and she was the first woman who had the honor of addressing them.  She continued speaking with from twenty-five to thirty engagements a month until her marriage in 1882 to Rev. Amos J. Bailey since when her work has been merged as a co-laborer with his.  Several times she has been called on to do special work and has left home for a series of meetings and addresses occupying weeks.  In 1886 they were in a pastorate in Chicago but were requested by the New West Commission to go to Ogden, Utah, and try to build up the church there.  They went spending five and a half years, and the church increased in numbers from twelve to about one hundred.  They also organized two suburban churches.  During the time she taught in the Academy three years and had care of two outside fields. 

In 1892 Mr. Bailey was appointed superintendent of missions for the state of Washington and they moved to Seattle, which was their headquarters for the next nine years.  That was at the beginning of the financial stress that continued for four or five years.  This threatened the life of many of the new weak churches that were heavily in debt.  Several of what are to-day the strong churches of the state would have been disbanded and their buildings sold for debt but for the faith, courage, and persistent efforts of the superintendent.  During those years Mrs. Bailey was the state president of the Woman�s Home Missionary Union and spent a great deal of her time in supplying pastorless churches having served more than thirty churches in that way, some of them only for a single Sabbath, others for several weeks or months.  In 1900 they left Seattle for New England to help raise the debt of the Home Missionary Society.  They traveled and made addresses for six months and then went up into New Hampshire for needed rest.  They found at Meriden a small church without a pastor and Mr. Bailey agreed to supply them for two months.  They have been there ever since.  They find that there is as much destitution in the little churches among the hills of New England as there is in the west and that those churches are not attractive to young ministers.  Although the town is small the Kimball Academy is located there and the students are gathered from several different states so that there is a fine field for effort.  The residents are a noble class of people as are the summer visitors from the cities while there are several outlying neighborhoods that are destitute, they being able to supply those. 

Mrs. Bailey has no children of her own but Mr. Bailey was a widower with three daughter and a son when she married him. 

Alice Bunker was born of Quaker parentage at Cardington, Ohio, in 1833.  When she was about three years of age her parents moved to Hastings in this state.  Their home for the first year was in a log cabin, Indians were their only neighbors and for six months they never saw a white woman.  As a girl she was short, plump and endowed with great vitality and force of character.  After a time her father who was a miller by profession bought a flouring mill in Bellevue and the family removed there.  She had an intense desire for a more thorough education than could be had in the district schools of the state and went to Olivet, the institution there then being in is infancy.  She attended it irregularly for about four years taking nearly all the branches taught at that time.  She taught school during the summer and worked for her board while attending school, some of the time in the family of Prof. E. N. Bartlett.  On her twentieth birthday she entered the Eclectic Medical College, at Cincinnati, the only medical school in the west at that time open to women.  In a class of over three hundred students there were eight women.  She with three others boarded themselves.  During her three years of medical study she spent her summers at various hydropathic institutions both as assistant and as student, in this way earning much of the money needed for her medical course.  During her studies she met Dr. G. H. Stockham who she married in 1856 and they settled down in the practice of their profession in Lafayette, Indiana, where they remained fifteen years and there their children were born.  In 1870 the family moved to Leavenworth, Kansas, and here she began her parlor lectures to women but soon moved to Chicago.  In 1889 she visited England, Russia, Sweden and Finland.  While in Russia she was the guest of County Tolstoi, who together with his wife became much interested in Tokology a book she had written for women and under their supervision it was translated into Russian.  While in Sweden and Finland she visited the schools and became so much interest in �Sloyd,� that though her influence it was introduced into the Cook County Normal School..  In 1891 Mrs. Stockham made a tour of the world, visiting China, India, and Japan, and attended the great Theosophical Convention at Madras as the guest of Col. Olcott the renowned occultist.  The great demand for her lectures finally led her to embody the substance of them in a book to which allusion has been made, entitled, �Tokology.�  Over a half million copies of this book have already been sold.  She has also written other books, entitled, �The Lovers� World,� �Karezza,� �Koradine,� and �Tolstoi, a Man of Peace.�  She has also published several booklets. 

Belle McArthur was born in Brookfield in this county October 21, 1856.  She attended the district school near home until about fourteen years of age and then for five years she alternated teaching and attending the high school in Charlotte and at the end of this time completed the course of study in the high school in a class of six young women.  September 19, 1876, she was married to George A. Perry.  In 1889 she completed the four years� course of the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle taking her diploma with a large class at Bay View.  She was the first woman elected on the schoolboard in Charlotte and was a member of it for three years.  For several years she was elected president of the Michigan Woman�s Press Association, and for sometime Michigan State President of the International Sunshine Society.  For fifteen years she has edited the �Home Page� of the Tribune, and for a little more than two years has been a member of the firm.  

Isaac M. Dimond, a business man of New York City, early acquired an interest in wild lands in the township of Windsor in this county and in 1850 moved into the woods to develop his property.  With him or soon after came a Mr. Crafts and wife and a Mrs. Gray, the widow of a physician of Springfield, Massachusetts.  The Mrs. Dimond, Gray, and Crafts were sisters.  Mrs. Dimond had a daughter Minnie and Mrs. Gray one named Clara, girls about twelve years of age.  In the winter of 1854-5 Rev. John T. Avery, and evangelist, held a series of meetings in the old court-house in Charlotte.  Mrs. Gray and the two girls came and stayed through the meeting.  The girls were hopefully converted.  Mrs. Gray soon after moved with her family to Olivet and the girls attended school there.  Some years later Mrs. Gray married Charles Merriam of Springfield, Massachusetts, widely known as the publisher of Webster�s Dictionary.  Minnie Dimond became the wife of Pres. Morrison, the veteran college builder, and Clara Gray married Rev. H. A. Schaufler and was for many years a successful missionary with him in Austria.  Her health failing the family returned to this country and she died in Cleveland.  Her husband understood the Bohemian language and has founded and built up a most successful mission and school among the Bohemians in Cleveland where he quite readily died. 

Among the prominent educators of the county mention should be made of Professor Oramel Hosford who was born in Thetford, Vermont, May 7, 1820.    The family moved to Oberlin at an early day, and he was graduated from the college there in the class of 1843.  He completed the course of study in the theological department there in 1846.  At that time the long vacation in Oberlin occurred in the winter and during his theological course he spent his winters in teaching in Olivet, and was one of the first teachers on the ground there.  On the twenty-seventh of August, 1846, he married Abigail H. Allen of Mansfield, Massachusetts.  He came at once to Olivet where he was appointed professor of mathematics, natural philosophy, and astronomy.  He was ordained to the gospel ministry by a council convened in Olivet February 24, 1858.  From 1865 to 1872 he was chosen state superintendent of public instruction and performed valuable service in improving our public school system.  With the exception of these eight years he was connected with the Olivet Institute and College as a professor from 1844 til 1890 when failing health led him to resign.  His death occurred December 9, 1893.  In the beginning the salary of the Olivet professors was placed at $400 but at the same time a vote was passed that whatever deficiency there might be at the end of the year should not remain as a debt against the college.  For several years the business of the institution was conducted on this principle.  Among the faithful teachers in the Olivet Institute and College none were more devoted to it than Prof. Oramel Hosford.  He was present at the opening of the first term of the school and supposes he heard the first lesson.  Other teachers might come or go he was always on hand.  At the end of the year the other teachers ere usually paid first, if there was a shortage (and there usually was one) he was the one to suffer.  In one year all the cash he received for his services was $36.  He always looked on the bright side of things and in the darkest hours had full faith in the final success of the enterprise.  Many of the pleasantest memories of the early visitors in Olivet are associated with the generous hospitality dispensed at the Hosford home. 

Rev. Enoch N. Bartlett was born in Bath, New Hampshire, July 4, 1813.  He was graduated from Oberlin College in 1838, being a member of the second class graduated from that institution.  In 1841 he finished his course in theology there.  He preached and taught in many places.  He began his work as a teacher in Olivet in the Autumn of 1846, the institution then being but two years old and he shared in its privations and struggles for twelve years.  Pres. Morrison says of him:  �During all this time he devoted himself with indefatigable zeal and persistent energy to promoting the interests of the colony and school.  Too much cannot be said of his faithful, untiring labors.  Never was there a man more thoroughly consecrated to any work, or who showed more unselfish devotion in its prosecution.  He was a good teacher, a strict disciplinarian, and a very prudent manager of the affairs of the institution.  His ever busy hand is still visible in all the belongings of school and village, from the church and �halls,� to the cabinet of minerals, and to the shade trees that line the streets.  Besides acting as one of the principals of the school and teaching five or six hours daily, he was also pastor of the church for a great part of the time he was in Olivet.� 

He held several pastorates after leaving Olivet, and taught some, gradually moving westward to California, dying in Ventura, in that state August 13, 1897. 

Nathan Jackson Morrison was born in Franklin, New Hampshire, November 25, 1828.  He was graduated from Dartmouth College in 1853, and in 1857 completed his theological studies at Oberlin.  In the same year he was ordained to the gospel ministry at Rochester in this state and remained there two years when he accepted the professorship of Latin and Greek in Olivet College.  In 1859 he was chosen president of the college which office he held for eight years.  He insisted that the standard of scholarship should be the highest and succeeded in brining the college to the notice of eastern churches and capitalists and securing from them some $50,000 for its use.  He devoted himself with unsparing devotion to the interests of the college and succeeded in placing it on a good foundation. 

Immediately after his resignation he accepted a call to the pastorate of the Congregational church at Mattoon, Illinois, but was not permitted to remain there long, for a movement had been started to found a college in Missouri, and some of those interested in it, knowing of Mr. Morrison�s ability as a college builder invited him to take the lead in the enterprise and he accepted the call.  He remained at the head of the college fourteen years, perfecting the organization, and securing a good equipment for it.  Dr. E. C. Evans did not speak too strongly when he said:  �Dr. Morrison was the man upon whose coming depended the destiny of the enterprise.  His ability as a teacher, his large acquaintance with the friends of education in the east, his experience in the shaping and management of a struggling young college, his power to impart to others his own enthusiasm, his energy and versatility, his steadiness of purpose, his patience and unfailing hopefulness under all sorts of discouragements, together with his great personal worth, made him pre-eminently the man of providence at the right time.�  �He had great sagacity as seen for instance in his persistence in securing the noble college campus.  He had broad visions and high ideals;--it will be another twenty-five years before the college fills out the outlines he drew for it.  The perennial hopefulness and optimism which was sometimes the despair of his friends, was after all the source of his power and the reason of his success.�  Hen then resigned and accepted a call to the chair of philosophy in Marietta College in Ohio, which he held for seven years.  In 1895 the Congregational Education Society requested him to go to Wichita, Kansas, and take charge of an academy that was started there in 1892 and develop it into a college.  As he was an experienced college building he accepted the charge and has been at the head of the college since.  In 1903 the college reported twenty-one teachers, twenty-two thousand volumes in the library and thirty thousand pamphlets; buildings and grounds are worth $73,000 and its scientific apparatus and furniture $4,000 more. 

Horatio Quincy Butterfield was a son of Asa and Hannah (Jordan) Butterfield and was born in Phillips, Maine, August 5, 1822.  He prepared for college at the Farmington Academy and spent the first two years of his college course at Waterville College, and the last two at Harvard where he was graduated in 1848.  He then taught two years in Roxbury, and afterwards studied theology in the seminary at Bangor, finishing his course in 1853.  He was ordained at St. Stephen, New Brunswick, and after a pastorate of three years, held pastorates in Hallowell, Maine, Great Falls, New Hampshire, and Rockville, Connecticut.  In 1866 he was appointed professor of ancient languages in Washburn College in Kansas and after three years became president of the college but was not permitted to hold this position long for in 1870 he was chosen secretary of the Society for the Promotion of Collegiate Education with an office in New York.  After six years service this society was merged in another and thus was enabled to dispense with one secretary.  The trustees of Olivet College embraced the opportune moment to offer him the presidency of that institution, and he accepted their offer.  He was a fine specimen of dignified, courteous gentleman of the old school.  Professor Daniels who was intimately associated with him during his entire administration, says of him:  �This, though long delayed, was a wise choice, for it brought to the college a man of mature mind, broad scholarship, rich experience in the pastorate and college work, and what was more, a wide acquaintance with the friends of Christian education in New York and New England.�  His professorship and presidency of Washburn College and his four years� experience in the office of the Western College Society had broadened his views of the work of the Christian college both in its development of true manhood in the individual and its vital importance in the education and training of a consecrated ministry for the church.  Dr. Butterfield was a preacher of intense force both in thought and style.  By a joint arrangement of the church and college his call to the presidency included also a call to the pastorate of the church and the supply of the pulpit for one half the time of the college year.  This arrangement, with modifications, continued for the greater part of his presidency, giving him the best opportunity for the moral and religious instruction of the students. 

The sunshine of christian love won for him the friendship of faculty, students and citizens.  Pre-eminent was this quality in his home where in the same spirit Mrs. Butterfield presided and made it for every student the most attractive spot in student life.  Hospitality, courtesy, and refinement were there enthroned.  President Butterfield pushed the financial work begun in the east by President Morrison and secured some $200,000 for the college from parties living in New York and New England.  A small trace of his, entitled, �How to Build the Best Monument,� fell into the hands of Mr. Cornelius B. Erwin of New Britain, Connecticut, and was instrumental in turning his thoughts toward the valuable work done by the Christian colleges, and he bequeathed to have a dozen of them more than a half million dollars, of which Olivet received $115,000.  In June, 1892, President Butterfield tendered his resignation to take effect when his successor was appointed and a year later on account of ill health made his resignation final. 

On one occasion a cabinet of minerals and shells valued at $18,000 was offered to the college for $4,500.  Liberal as the offer was, the college dared not incur any liabilities on that account and just here the characteristic nobility of President Butterfield was seen in his giving his personal note for the amount thus securing the collection for the college, and taking the risk of protecting himself by a solicitation of the amount from personal friends.  The book in which he kept a record of the donations for the cabinet has only $3,250 on it of which he subscribed $200.  The remaining $1,250 he probably paid himself and said nothing about it. 

At another time a subscription of $100,000 was started on condition that the whole should be raised by a given time, it was found that the time would expire in about two hours and that $2,400 were lacking to bind the whole amount.  He and another gentleman subscribed the entire sum, and the President met his pledge by deducting the amount from his salary.  At the time of his resignation he had only about $4,000 in invested funds on which to depend.  He never had any children and continued to live in Olivet, but his health gradually failed.  He suffered an attack of pneumonia, from which he died painlessly February 12, 1894.

Joseph Leonard Daniels was born in East Medway, Massachusetts, August 1, 1833.  His ancestor Joseph Daniels from whom he received his name, was living on the same site in 1676 and had his house burned by the Indians in King Phillip�s war.  The old homestead has been in the hands of the Daniels family ever since.  Mr. Daniels gives large credit for whatever success he has had to faithful home training, outdoor life on the farm, and the excellent public schools of that town.  His preparation for college was made at Philips Academy in Andover, under Dr. Samuel H. Taylor, who more than any other man taught him self-reliance�how to use his own powers and do his own thinking.  The teaching of two terms of district school during this preparatory period furnished more of this kind of discipline.  From Andover Mr. Daniels went to Yale College, where he was graduated in 1860 in a class of one hundred and eight, many of whom have become eminent in public life.  After graduation he spent three years of study in the Yale Divinity School and took a course of medical lectures, and was assistant in the college library.  He then taught at Lawrence Academy in Groton, Massachusetts, and from there accepted a call to the principalship of the Guilford Institute in Connecticut.  In 1865 he was called to the professorship of Greek in Olivet College.  During his professorship he supplied the pulpit in Olivet and neighboring churches much of the time.  He was ordained in Charlotte August 17, 1876.  While carrying on this twofold work of teaching and preaching he has been the college librarian for more than thirty years.  This phase of his work has shown more tangible results than the others for it appeals more directly to the senses and finds expression in figures.  When he took charge of the library it had only two thousand volumes.  Now it numbers thirty thousand well selected books adapted to the needs of a growing college.  Then it had no income and no local habitation.  Now it has a fund of $15,000 and an elegant stone building costing $30,000 secure mainly by the personal efforts of the librarian.  In recognition of his faithful work as an educator and preacher Yale University conferred upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity in 1894, and in the following year Olivet College after his forty years of service bestowed upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.  No sketch of his life would be complete without a tribute to Mrs. Daniels.  Her maiden name was Julia Burrage Allen.  Owing to the death of her father in her infancy, she became the foster child of Leonard Burrage the donor of �Burrage Hall,� the home of the college library.  Her presence in Olivet brought this generous gift to the college.  But this was the least of her benefactions.  Her cheerful, hopeful, courageous spirit was sunshine in the home, hospitality for every guest, and inspiration to her husband and a benediction to a great multitude of students. 

Probably no teacher in Michigan is so affectionately remembered by so large a number of his pupils as is Joseph Estabrook, whom Superintendent Orr Schurtz calls �one of the greatest teachers that Michigan ever produced.� 

Professor Estabrook was graduated from Oberlin College in the class of 1847 and has made teaching his life work though he was so zealous a christian that he often preached and was very successful in revival work.  He was ordained to the gospel ministry at Franklin, Michigan, in December, 1851.  From the pen of others who knew him well we have this testimony:  �He taught first in the district schools of the state, then in a select school; and for three years he had charge of the Tecumseh Institute.  In 1853 he was called to take charge of the Union School in Ypsilanti, and retained this position for fourteen years, making the school one of the best in the state.  In 1866 he was made the first superintendent of the schools in East Saginaw, and five years later he became principal of the State Normal School in Ypsilanti, where for nine years his noble character was a pattern for the growing teachers of our state, and his tireless energy infused new life along educational lines.  During this time he was for eight years one of the regents of the State University.� 

He came to Olivet in 1880, and devoted the last fourteen years of his life to the normal work there.  With his ripe experience he revised the course of study and inspired it with new life.  During this time he served four years as State Superintendent of Public Instruction.  He had rare tact in winning the affections of his pupils, and inspiring them with a desire to lead noble and upright lives.  He was a thorough believer in the Christian religion, and was very successful in leading his pupils to become followers of Christ.  He conducted several protracted meetings with marked success even while in his regular work as a teacher.  His death occurred in Olivet September 29, 1894. 

Orr Schurtz was born in Constantine, Michigan, September 25, 1853.  His preparation for college was made in the high schools of Kalamazoo and Ann Arbor, graduating from the University in 1878.  In the fall of 1879 he became principal of the school in Dansville, Ingham county, and the following year of that at Eaton Rapids where a large share of his school work was done.  In 1886 he was elected Secretary of the County Board of Examiners for this county.  For many years there had been but little county supervision of schools and it was a great task to bring teachers, pupils and parents into harmony with the new system.  He visited the schools, gathered the teachers into sections which he met in different places in the county, giving informal lectures on methods, school management, classification, organization, and methods of conducting recitations.  He worked out a system of monthly reports of the attendance, programs, etc., and also put in every school a record for the classification of every pupil, indicating how far he had pursued his studies, so that at the beginning of every new year the teacher would know how far every scholar had gone and where he should take up the different studies.  He sent out to each teacher every month a publication full of suggestions helpful to them in their work.  He also established the present eight grade examinations.  In addition to his work in this county he did a great deal of institute work in other counties under the direction of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction.  With the advice and approval of the superintendent, he devised, arranged, and published a manual and course of study for the country schools of the state.  In this he was assisted by four other secretaries, among them Mr. C. L. Bemis, for the last fourteen years superintendent of the public schools in Ionia who prepared a large part of the matter.  The work was favorably received by the educators of the state and has passed through several editions, with additions and improvements under the administration of succeeding superintendents.  In 1890 Mr. Schurtz was nominated on the Republic ticket for State Superintendent of Public Instruction.  It was an unfortunate year for the party in this state and he went down with the rest of the ticket.  The four years spent in this county were probably more prolific of good than any other four of his work. 

In 1891 he accepted the principalship of the West Side High School in Grand Rapids at a greatly increased salary, and remained there six years.  He is now superintendent of schools in Negaunee in the upper Peninsula. 

Joseph L. Wagner must have received a warm welcome when in 1851 he made his appearance on earth, for he is said to have been born in Mt. Etna, Indiana�this is a small town, however, on the Salimonie river in the central part of the state.  His parents were sturdy Virginians, of German extraction.  Joseph was one of eleven children.  The father and several of the children besides himself were teachers.  He attended the district schools five or six months of the year until he was about eighteen years of age, when he started to work his way through Hillsdale College.  He was obliged to teach several winters and work on the farm in summer in order to earn money to pay his way, and he lost one full year on account of failing eye sight.  By reason of these interruptions it was ten years before he was able to complete the classical course in college.  In 1879 he was elected principal of the Grand Ledge schools, and held this position until 1891, when he was appointed county commissioner of schools, and has performed the duties of that office so satisfactorily that he has been re-elected continuously since.

Back to the table of contents

CHAPTER XXI


CONCLUSION

Those who visit the county today for the first time can have little idea of it as it appeared to those who saw it for the first time eighty years ago.  With the exception of the small prairie where Charlotte now stands and a few Indian corn fields in the south part of the county the whole was covered with a dense forest of gigantic trees and impassable swamps of vast extent.  There was not a road and no bridges spanned the creeks and rivers; no white man had built a house; there was not a school house or a church, no railroads, mills, or factories.  But what changes four score years have wrought.  The forests have been cleared, the swamps drained, roads opened everywhere, every stream is bridged, four railroads cross the county, and everywhere the visitor beholds a beautiful landscape dotted with comfortable houses, barns and orchards.  An hundred school houses afford education and seventy-four churches invite people every Sunday to worship God; a college has been built that already has six hundred graduates in the field; newspapers, banks, and factories abound on every hand.  In case of accident or sudden illness it is unnecessary to send a messenger eight or ten miles for a physician but the farmer steps to the telephone and calls up his doctor who at once dashes off in his automobile.  Instead of being obliged to come to town once a week for his mail it is delivered at his door every day. 

If inventions go forward as rapidly during the coming years, as they have during the past, automobiles and trolley cars may be antiquated, and people traveling through the air will wonder how the men of this generation were contented to plod along amid the dust and noise of those clumsy old vehicles.  But none of us will be here to read the history.

Back to the table of contents

PERSONAL AND GENEALOGICAL BIOGRAPHIES

Bio-Index

Back to the table of contents


This page was last updated Thursday, December 06, 2012
You Found Us At: http://www.rootsweb.com/~mieaton/pageone.htm
Non-commercial individuals and libraries are encouraged to copy and use the information found on these pages.
Commercial use requires permission.
Copyright (C)- 1999 - 2006